Landon in The Literary Gazette 1823/Artist’s Studio

Literary Gazette, 26th July 1823, Page 474-475


- - - - - - Methinks
Beauty should be around the beautiful,
And these fine Arts live in an atmosphere
Of light surrounded by thrice delicate shapes
Of grace and love.


The light came dim, but beautiful, through blinds
Of the linked jessamine, which wooed the vine
With its white kisses; and a fragrant air,
Bearing low music from the wind-touched harp,
Came floating through the room. By glimpses seen,
As o'er the lattices the moonlight played
And lighted up its waters, shone the lake,
With its white swans, like spirits, gliding on
Its isles of floating lilies; and its banks,
Where swept the graceful willows, and the turf,
Silver'd with dew and star-light, spread beneath,
Dotted with clumps of gloomy cypresses,
Mixed with the fairer blossomed orange trees.
And far beyond, like shadowy thunder-clouds,
Rose high but distant hills; and over all
A soft and blue Italian sky,—the blue
That painters and that poets love,—the blue
The lover worships in the maiden's eyes,
Whose beauty is their power and spell. And, like
Sweet incense to sweet shrines, dew-scented flowers
Filled up the casements; roses, on whose leaves
The summer had just breathed ; the buds of pearl
That are the myrtle's dower; carnation stems,
Rich in their perfumed blushes—all were here,
Looking and breathing June. The marble floor
Had not one spot, save two or three rich stains
Cast from the pictured roof, on which is told
The history of Aurora and her love,
The earthly Youth she wooed, and wooed in vain,
Oh, love is very constant! 'tis most cold,
Untrue, and heartless raillery, to say
That love's life is not longer than those flowers
Whose sunrise beauty is by noontide past;
That it should ever change, is but the curse
Shadowing our every earthly happiness,
And for one record of its fickleness
Are thousand memories of its deep truth,
Its entire faith, its self-devotedness.—

    On one side of the roof a golden blaze,
Curtained by crimson clouds, told that the Sun,
Heralded by her star, had met his bride,
The sweet young Morning; and around, a ring
Of radiant shapes were gathered: in the midst
Was one, a very dream of loveliness,
Her hair streamed on the wind, a shower of gold
Hung from a crown of stars, and four white steeds
Were harnessed by spring blossoms to the car
Whereon she stood. Her eye was on a youth,
Graceful as young Endymion when the moon
Shed her pale smile upon his marble brow
And thick and raven curls: he stood beneath
A green beech tree, two hounds were by his side,
Impatient of his idleness, while he
Leant on his useless spear, watching the sleep
Of his young Bride. He had just heard his name
Murmured, in tones low as a bird's first song,
From her half opened lips, which like spring flowers
Drank the fresh air, then sighed it forth again
With added fragrance. There was shade around
The laurel, and the darker bay, the oak,
All sacred as the crowns of fame: the first
Bound round the Poet's tuneful lyre; the next
Around the Warrior's helm, mixed with the pine
And with the waving poplar. In the midst,
As in a favourite haunt, were flowers entwined;
And there the sleeper lay: one pearl white hand—
The violets rose to kiss its azure veins,
Coloured with their own purity,—beneath
One cheek was as a pillow, and that one
Was flushed with crimson, while the other wore
A tint less warm, but not less beautiful—
Two shades of blushing on the self-same rose;
And through the tremulous shadow of the leaves
Came two or three bright kisses from the sun,
Wandering in light o'er her white brow; a shower
Of rose leaves lay amid the raven curls
Of her long hair and on her neck. That morn

Around her slender waist and graceful head
She had bound new-blown buds. But all fair things
Are very fragile, and each scattered bloom
Had fallen from the loosened braid: even those
Prisoners in the soft hand, which lay like snow
Upon the grass, had half escaped; and there
She slept amid the roses she had gathered.
    And round the walls were Pictures: some calm scenes
Of Earth's green loveliness, and some whose hues
Were caught from faces in whose smile our life
Is one of Paradise; and Statues, whose white grace
Is as a dream of poetry. But, hung
Apart from all the rest, as if too dear
For aught but solitude, was one,—it was
The portrait of a lovely Girl: the lips
Were such as Summer kisses, when he first
Touches the pure and rosy mouth of Spring;
A languid smile lay on them, as just curled
By some soft thought, which spoke too in her eyes,
Dark and bewildering, whose light is like that
Of an Italian midnight, when the clouds
Send forth their summer lightning, but yet filled
With woman's tenderness. Those lips, those eyes,
Had been voluptuous, melting as they were,
But for the pale cheek, o'er which e’en a blush
Had scarcely passed, it looked so innocent;
And the white brow, with its dark parted hair
Shading its purity; and the clear temples,
Whose blue veins were half hidden by the braids
Of the thick tresses, which, unfastened, fell
Over the veiled bosom. The white dress
Just left the slender throat exposed, as fair
As graceful as the cygnet's. Neither gems
Nor gold marred youth's sweet simpleness; but one
Slight flower lay on her neck,—a green rosebud,
Tinged with faint promise of its future bloom;
And near it the young Painter leant his head,
Bowed as in bitter thought upon his hand;
Over his cheek there was a burning red—

Half passionate emotion, half disease—
And the damp lay on his white brow, and hung
On his thick curls of auburn hair; his eyes,
Blue as his native sky when it shines forth
Amid the pauses of an April shower,
Seem'd as they drank the Moon's light, with such bright
And such wild glance they turned towards her ray.
    He was a stranger in fair Italy:
He sought her kingdom, for it was a home
For genius and for beauty; it had been
His land of promise through the sunny dreams
Of his impassioned boyhood; he had come
With a rich store of burning thoughts, of hopes
Like sunrise, vivid fancies, feelings wild,
High energies, all that young talent has;
And he had nourished them amid those shades
Hallowed by memories of old, and still
Kept sacred by their own green pleasantness,—
Amid the glorious works of glorious men:
Pictures alive with light, and stately domes
Built for eternity,—music like hope,
So very sweet,—and poetry, whose songs
Are Love's own words, until he dreamed that fame
Was a reality that he might win.
He dream'd but to awake with withered heart
And wasted health, and hopes like fallen stars,
Crushed and stained with the earth to which they fell.
    Oh Genius! fling aside thy starry crown,
Close up thy rainbow wings, and on thy head
Lay dust and ashes—for, this cold drear world
Is but thy prison-house. Alas for him
Who has thy dangerous gifts, for they are like
The fatal ones that evil spirits give,—
Bright and bewildering, leading unto death.
Oh, not amid the chill and earthly cares
That waste our life, may those fine feelings live
That are the Painter's or the Poet's light.
    Amid the many graves which in the shade
Of Rome's dark cypresses are graved with names
Of foreign sound to Italy's sweet tongue,
Was one,—an English name was on the stone,—
There that young Painter slept:—around the sod
Were planted flowers and one or two green shrubs.
’Twas said that they were placed in fondness there
By an Italian Girl, whom he had loved!—L. E. L.