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•«• m.ri 

Two thouaaaid and sixty-tioo copies qf this 
edition — qf which two thousand are for sale in 
England and America-^have been pinted at the 
Ballaniyne PresSy Edinburghy and the type has 
been distributed. 












/harvar d a 

('JN'Vtr'S.TY • 
j LlbkA^.Y ■ 
' liUN 24 194fi 



jill rights resirved 








St. Catherine 
















Imtsoduction to this Volume xix 

Part I. "Sir Joshua and Holbein" (I860): — 


TRZT ........... 3 

Part II. "The Study of Architecture in Schools" (1865): — 


TEXT 19 


Part III. "The Cestus of Aolaia" (1865, 1866):— 





Part IV. " The Relation of National Ethics to National Arts/ 



TEXT l63 

Part V. "On the Present State of Modern Art, with Refer- 
ence TO THE Advisable Arrangement of a National 
Gallery" (1867):— 
bibuooraphical note 196 

TEXT 197 





Part VI. " Fairy Stories " : a Prbfack to " German Popular 
Stories" (1868):— 
bibuooraphical note 282 

TEXT 288 

Part VII. "The Flamboyant Architecture of the Valley of 
THE Somme" (1869):— 
bibliographical note 242 

TEXT 248 

'Preferences to the series of paintings and sketches from 


Part VIII. "The Queen of the Air" (1869):— 



TEXT • . . 291 


Part IX. ''Verona, and its Rivers" (1870): — 


TEXT 429 

FEB. 4th, 1870" 449 



I. Architecture in France (1861) 461 

II. Competition and Mechanical Art (1865) .... 465 
III. The Three-Legged Stool of Art (1868) .... 469 



Thb following Minor Ruskiniana are albo included in this 
Volume : ^ — 


ExTRAOTs FROM Rubkin's Lbtters TO HIS Fathbb^ 1861^ 1862 : — 

A 8VNSBT AT BOULOONB (aUOUST 4, 1861) . . • • . xlH n. 

LUINl's FRBB00B8 IN 8. MAURIZIO, MILAN (jVNE 13, 16) IxZli, IxxiH 

rubkin's oonr of the st. Catherine (mil an, june 29, july 26; 


Lbttrr to the Brothers Dalziel (Geneva, August 12, 1862) 


Thb Sionificanoe of Names : a Letter to his Father (Mornbz, 

March 22, 1863) 199 

Pasraorb from Ruskin's Diary (1867, 1868) :— 
8tudibb of birds (january 1867) 

FLANS OF COTTAGE UFB (maRCH 14, 1867) • 

sortbb boojom (1867) 

a drram of thb lake of constance (january 3, 1868) 
liooking and staring (february 29, november 2, 1868) 
the grace of the poplar (abbeville, 1868) . 


«T. RiQUiBR (august 27, 1868) .... 


turner's artistic UCENSES (SEPTEMBER 29, 1868) 




^'singing TO myself" (SEPTEMBER 18, 1868) 

HOUDON's statue of VOLTAIRE (PARIS, OCTOBER 7, 1868) 


. XZlll 

. xxiv 

. xxvi 



xliv, xlv 

LflTTBR TO A Friend, foreshadowing St. George's Guild (Denmark 

Hill, May 15, 1867) xxvi 

Lbttbr to Acland on the Curatorship of the University Gal- 

(September 23, 1867) xxxiv 

Lvrriaw to his Mother from the Lake Country, 1867 : — 






ST. J0HN*8 VALE (KRBWICK, JULY 19) .... 














^ Short extracts from ^lleotions of Rnskiu's letters (such as those to 
Professor Norton), which appear t» Mtenso in a later volume, are not included 
in these lists. 



Minor Ruikiniana : Continued : — 


A Vaoillatino Mood : Letter to his Mother (Winninoton, May 25, 

1868) xxii 

Lbtters to his Mother from Abbeville^ 1868 : — 

^'mtbblp again" (august 25) xxxviii 








Letthrs TO HIS Mother from Switzerland and Italy, 1869 


LuiNi's ^^sf. Catherine" (milan, may 7) • 

THE tombs of VERONA (maY 10) 





THE 0A8TELBARC0 TOMB (mAY 25, 26; JULY 23, 25) 





^'aND only man is vile" (vERONA, JUNE 8) 

J. W. BUNNEY's work at VERONA (jUNE 10) 








THB peace of the FIELDS (VERONA, JUNK 25) 



























liv, Ixiv 
. Ivi 


Minor Ruskiniana: Continued: — 


THALy AUGUST 15) Iviii, lix 


''too many irons in the fire" (oibssbach, august 21) Ix 

a walk above the gibbsbaoh (august 22) iz 

harie of thb gibbsbaoh (august 26) llz 

Lbttbrs from Carlylb : — 


TO froudb on the same (1869) Mil 

to rubkin (oheubea^ october 1, 1869) mu 

Hbminieobnces of Ruskin : — 

AT KBBWIOK : BY F. W. H. MYERS (1867) ZXZii 




AT MILAN: BY B. BURNB-JONES (1862) hodv 



St. Cathbrinc, by Luini {Photogravure from the copy by 

Ruskm of the fretoo at Milan) . FrotdUpiece 


I. Tiu Holy Family, by Sir Joshua Reynolds 
(Photognwyre from the engravmg by W, Sharp) 

To face page 4t 

II. Portrait of George Gyzen, by Holbein (Photo- 
gravure from the picture in the Berlin Gallery) „ „ 10 

III. The ''Meyer" Madonna, by Holbein {Photo- 

graourefrom the picture in the Dresden Gallery) „ „ 13 

IV. St. Barbara and St. Elizabeth, by Holbein 

{from the pictures in the Munich Gallery) . „ „ 14 

V. The Cannon, by DOrer {Photogravure) . „ „ US 


VI. Love leading Alcestis, by Sir Edward Burne- 
Jones {Photogravure from the drawing in the 
Rusldn Drawing School, Oxford) . . . „ „ 207 

VII. The Two Wives of Jason, by Sir Edward 
BurneJones {Photogravure from the drawing 
in the Ruskin Drawing School^ Oxford). . „ „ 208 







VIII. The Market Place, Abbeville, 1868 {Photo- 

gramtre from a dramng by Enukm) . To face page 244 

IX. St. Vulfran, Abbeville, from the East {Steel- 
engraving by J, C, Armytage from a dramng 
by Ruekin) „ „ 246 

X. The Doge Andrea Gritti, by Titian {Photo- 
gravure from the picture at Braninfood) , , „ „ 248 

XI. Details from the West Front of St. Vul- 
FRAN, Abbeville {Photogravure from a draw- 
ing by Ruskin) „ „ 252 

XI I. The Southern Porch of St. Vulfran, Abbe- 
ville {Photogravure from a dramng by Ruskin) „ „ 254 

XIII. The West Front of Rouen Cathedral {from ^f 

a photograph by Arthur Burgess) . . . „ „ 266 


XIV. Athena {Photogravure from a statue from Her- 

culaneum) „ „ 806 

XV. The Delphic Apollo {Wood'engravmg by 

H, Uhlrich from a Greek vase) • • • » »9 938 

XVI. The Chariot of Apollo; and Athena with 
Hermes {Wood-engraving by H, Uhlrich from 
a Greek vase) „ „ 340 

XVII. Erba della Madonna {Photogravure from a 

drawing by Ruskin) „ „ 377 

XVIII. The Hercules of Camarina and other Greek 

Coins {Photogravure from in^jressions) > . „ „ 410 


{From Drawings by the Autiior) 

XIX. Niche on the Tomb of Can Signorio, Verona 

{ChromO'lUhograph) „ „ 429 

XX. The Market Place, Verona : 1841 {Photogravure) „ „ 432 



XXI. Study of a CapitaLj Vkrona {Pkoiograimre) To face page 434 

XXII. Uppbr Part of the Tomb of Can Sionorio, 

Vkrona {Photogravure) „ „ 440 

XXIII. Tomb of Can Grandc, Verona: 1869 (Photo- 

groimre) „ w 441 

XXIV. Dctails from the Same: 1869 (Photogrmmre) . ,, „ ^^ 

XXV. The Caftelbarco Tomb, Verona: 1835 {Photo- 

gratmre) „ ,,4^51 

XXVI. The Piazza dr' Sionori, Verona: 186*9 {Photo- 

gratmre) „ w 4.57 


A Paos of the MS. of ''Sir Joshua and Holbein" 

(§§ 15« 16) Between pages 16, 17 

A Page of the MS. of ''The Cbftus of Aolaia" 

(§22) To face page 72 

A Page of the MS. of "The Queen of the Air" 

(§3) » ,,297 

Nate, — Of the dr&wings reproduced in this volame, six have appeared 
before. Na VIII. was reproduced by autotype procera at Plate I. in the 
huge-paper edition of £. T. Cook's 8tudie$ in Bu»hm; and, by half-tone pro- 
cess, in the Magaatine <tf Art, April 1900. No. XIX. was Plate I. (chromo- 
lithograph) in Verona and Other Leduree (1894). No. XXI. was Plate X. in 
the same book, and No. XXII. was Plate VI. The two subjects included in 
No. XXIV. were Pktes VII. and VUI. in the same book, and No. XXV. 
was Pkte V. 

Of the drawings, those of the JronHepieee and of Plates VL and VII. are 
permanently exhibited on the walls of the Ruskin Drawing School, Oxford, 
while others are in the cabinets of the same collection. That of Plate VIII. 
was shown at the Ruskin Exhibition at the Royal Society of Painters in 
Water-Colours, 1901 (No. 6), and at the Ruskin Exhibition, Manchester, 1904 
(Na d06) ; that of Plate XII. was No. 216 at the Royal Society of Painters 
in Water-Colours, and No. 437 in the Bradford Exhibition of 1004 ; that of 
PUte XIX. was Na 232 at the Royal Society of Pointers in Water-Colours, 
No. 313 at Manchester, and No. 172 in the Coniston Exhibition of 1900; 
that of PUte XX. was Na 439 at Bradford ; that of Plate XXI. (in the col- 
lection of Mr. T. F. Taylor) was No. 312 at Manchester ; that of Plate XXII. 
was No. 116 at the Royal Society of Pointers in Water-Colours ; of those in 
Plate XXIV., the Madonna (in the collection of Mr. T. F. Taylor) was Na 316 
at Manchester, and the Can Grande was No. 264 at the Royal Society of 
Painters in Water-Colours. 



This is a volume of miscellanies, collecting the papers and a book 
written by Ruskin on artistic and literary subjects between 1866 and 
18699 together with one paper of an earlier date. It contains three 
lectures of considerable interest which have not hitherto been published, 
and presents in a complete form a series of papers on the laws of art, 
hitherto so attainable only in the back numbers of a periodical. 

The contents of the volume, which are arranged chronologically, 
are as follow : — 

I. A paper on Sir Joshua and Holbein^ which originally appeared 
in the CornhiU Magazine for March 1860. — This is a chapter which 
was crowded out from the last volume of Modem PainierSj and recalls 
in style and treatment the chapters in that volume which contrast 
Diirer and Salvator, Wouvermans and Angelico, or Rubens and Paul 
Veronese. If the reader will compare § 15 of this paper (p. 12) with 
the chapter in Modem Painters describing the difference in the out- 
look of Diirer and Holbein on the one side, and of Salvator on the 
other,^ he will see at once that the passage upon Holbein must have 
been written at the same time and with the same ideas in the author^s 

IL A paper on 7^ Study of Architecture in Schools^ read to the 
Royal Institute of British Architects on May 15, 1865. — Into this 
paper Ruskin compressed much that was most deeply felt in his theory 
of the place of the fine arts in human life, and the discussion which 
followed the reading of his paper shows the strong impression which 
it made at the time. **The French word ff)loui^ said one of the 
speakers, '^was the only term which could adequately define the mixed 
state of surprise, delight, and general acute excitement in which the 
fiery essay had left him. Within the compass of a brief discourse the 
aooompUshed lecturer had handled nearly the whole scope of human 
philosophy, as well as of the art which it was their privilege to 
practise, tracing, as far as practicable, the infinite ramifications which 
he supposed to connect the material elements of the successful practice 

i Part \x. ch. iv. § 4 (Vol. VII. p. 302). 


of architecture with our moral natures.*"^ The speaker rightly charac- 
terised the paper in noting its fiery energy and width of range; it 
was characteristic also in its confession of the speaker^s divided 
counsels— continuing his pursuit of the beautiful, and yet half " seced- 
ing firom the study of all art.^ In this respect the paper is typical, 
as we have already seen and shall again see presently, of Ruskin^s 
temper at the time. The incidental references in the paper to the 
characteristics of Greek art, and notices of Greek coins, connect it also 
with other pages in the present volume. 

III. 7%^ Cestus of AglaiOj being nine papers on the Laws of Art, 
with especial reference to engraving, which originally appeared in the 
Art Journal during 1865 and 1866. — Passages from these papers were 
afterwards incorporated by Ruskin in other books, and such passages 
were omitted from The Ceshis of Aglaia when the papers were re- 
printed in On the Old Road (1885). In this edition of his writings, 
which is complete and chronological, it has seemed better to reprint 
the papers in their entirety, referring back to them in the later books. 
Tlte Cestus of Aglaia is thus for the first time here printed in a 
complete and collected form; and it is accordingly furnished with a 
title-page and list of contents (pp. 4S, 47). The papers are very 
characteristic, as the author himself said,' of one of his manners of 
writing; and some further remarks upon them are given lower down 
in this Introduction (p. Ixiv.). 

IV. The Relation of National Ethics to National Arts, a lecture 
delivered on Sir Robert Rede^s foundation to the University of Cam- 
bridge on May S4, 1867. — This lecture, here printed from the author^s 
MS., has not hitherto been published. The significance of it in sub- 
ject is touched upon lower down (p. zxiii.); in style, it shows the note 
of academical state, of courtly elaboration, which was often heard in 
the Professor'^s lectures at Oxford. 

V. On the Present StcUe of Modem Art^ with Rrference to the Ad' 
visaUe Arrangement of the National Cralkry^ a lecture delivered at the 
Royal Institution on June 7, 1867. — ^This lecture also, here printed 
from the author^s MS., has not hitherto been published, though 
Ruskin (as we know from a passage in Time and Tide^) had intended 
to include it in his Works. The practical suggestions with which it 
concludes were directed to purposes which he had closely at heart, 

^ The speaker was Mr. Digby Wyatt : see Sessional Ptipen qf the Boya! InsHttUe 
^ BritUh ArehUeeU^ 1864-1866, p. 162. 

* Queen qf the Air, § 134 (below, p. 408). 

* See VoL XVII. p. 469. 



and which foreshadowed in a remarkable way some things afterwards 
accomplished. In reading his suggestions for PeopIe^s Palaces (§§ S6, 
S6), we may remember that Sir Walter Besaurs AU Sorts and Condi- 
tions of Men — ^the story from which the People^s Palace in the Mile 
End Road was to spring-— did not appear till fifteen years later (1882). 
Raskin^s suggestions of a Standard Series of art specimens (§ S9) and 
of a Standard Library (§ S8) were in some measure carried out by 
himself in his Art Collection at Oxford and in his Biblioiheca PasU>rum. 
His plea for Municipal Art Galleries (§ S9) was delivered at a time 
when few such institutions as yet existed. Whether Ruskin would 
altogether have approved of the Tate Gallery may be doubted, but 
it is worth noting that he advocated the building of a new National 
Gallery on the Millbank site (§ S7). Ruskin'*s views on the proper 
co-ordination of museums and galleries — his distinction between popu- 
lar and educational collections and treasure-houses of what is rich 
and rare — are well worth attention to«day. He returned to the sub- 
ject thirteen years later in a series of letters in the Art Journal on 
*^A Museum or Picture Gallery: its Functions and its Formation,^ 
and in the St. Greorge^s Museum at Shei&eld he was able, on a small 
scale, to give an object-lesson in what he meant. 

VI. Fawy Stories^ an Introduction (written in 1868) to a re-issue 
of the English translation of the Mdrchen of the Brothers Grimm with 
Cruikshank^s illustrations. — A letter written in 188S after one of his 
illnesses, in which Ruskin fears that he ^^ can never more write things 
rich in thought like the preface to drimm^^ indicates the importance 
which he attached to this piece. Its relation to Cruikshank, and its 
remarks on the historical significance of mythology, connect it with other 
pages in the present volume. 

VII. The Flamboyant Architecture of the Valley qf the Somme^ a 
lecture delivered at the Royal Institution on January S9, 1869. — ^This 
is a third lecture which has not hitherto been published. It is here 
printed from the author^s MS.' The lecture is one of the most charm- 
ing, as also perhaps one of the least discursive and most closely knit, 
of Ruskin^s occasional discourses. Had he been able to complete his 
scheme for Our Faihers have Told Usy it is probable that he would 

^ These are reprinted in a later volume. 

* See the letter to F. S. Ellis of Jane 11, 1883 ; at p. 66 of the privately issued 
Stray Letters from Prqfessor Ruskin to a London BiUiopole (1892), reprinted in a later 
volume of this edition. 

' It appears that Raskin had some idea of publishing it at the time, for the 
readers of the Art Joum<U, 1869, p. 95, were told of ^'an expectation that the 
leetore may appear entire in our pages." 



have used the lecture in the eighth part of that work, which was to 
be given to *Hhe Cathedral of Rouen and the schools of architecture 
which it represents;^ for Abbeville,^ he says elsewhere,' **is the pre- 
face and interpretation of Rouen.^ Abbeville was one of the towns to 
which Ruskin was most attached, and it was after a long sojourn there 
in 1868 that the lecture was written. He took immense pains with 
it, and put together an Exhibition of Fifty Paintings and Sketches 
to illusfanate it The Catalogue of this Exhibition is here reprinted as 
an appendix to the lecture (pp. 269-277); and several of Ruskin'^s 
drawings, as well as some other illustrations, are included among the 
plates (see below, pp. Ixxv., Ixxvi.). 

VIII. The Queen of the Air (1869).— This well-known book is dis* 
cussed below (pp. Ixv.-lxxi.). 

IX. Verona and iis Riveny a lecture delivered at the Royal Institu- 
tion on February 6, 1870. — ^This lecture, written similarly after a long 
sojourn at Verona in 1869, is here reprinted from the volume entitled 
Verona and Other LectureSy issued in 1895. For it, as for the Abbe* 
ville lecture, Ruskin prepared an Exhibition of Fifty Drawings and 
Photographs; and here, again, the Catalogue is reprinted as an appendix 
to the lecture (pp. 449-468),' and several of the illustrations are given 
(see pp. Ixxviii., Ixxix.). 

Finally, in an appendix to the volume, reports are given of some 
minor lectures on artistic subjects (1861, 1865, 1868). 


The writings and discourses, thus included in the present volume, 
comprise, as we have seen in the introduction to the preceding volume, 
only one side of Ruskin^s work during the years in question. A passage 
in a letter to his mother, written from Winnington on May 85, 1868, 
well describes his divided allegiance: — 

''My writing is so entirely at present the picture of my mind 
that it seems to me as if the one must be as inscrutable as the other. 
For indeed I am quite unable from any present crises to judge of 
what is best for me to do. There is so much misery and error in 
the world which I see I could have immense power to set various 
human influences against, by giving up my science and art, and 

1 See the '^ General Plan of Our Fathers have TM Us*' given in the volume 
containing The BU>le of AnUeTU, 
* PneterUa, i. § 180. 


wholly tvjing to teach peace and justice; and yet mj own gifts 
seem so apedallj directed towards quiet investigation of beautiful 
things that I cannot make up my mind, and my writing is as 
▼adUating as my temper." 

The working compromise at which Ruskin arrived has already been 
indicated (Vol. XVIII., p. zx«). More and more he connected his art- 
teaching with moral, and even political, injunctions; in this respect 
the Bede Lecture is especially characteristic. 

Having in the preceding Introduction traced his movements during 
the years 1864-1866, we now proceed to follow the outer tenor of his 
life and the developments of his temper during 1867, 1868, and 1869. 

Ruskin^s principal work in the early part of 1867 was the letters 
to Thomas Dixon, published later in the year as Time and Tide 
(Vol. XVII.). They were, as he says, desultory, and were written with* 
oot any extreme care, for he was in a state of health which admitted 
of DO intense concentration. His diary indicates various morbid con- 
ditions; he records many weird dreams, and notes that he sees *' float- 
ing sparks in his eyes^; but it was in the life of the affections that 
he was most suffering.^ Alternations of disappointment and hope, 
diagrin, anxiety, and the weariness of waiting — these were the causes 
of the despondency, sleeplessness, and nervous prostration from which 
he often suffered, and which caused him to write to a young artist 
friend, to whom at this time he opened his heart, that he was ^ dying 
slowly.*^ Ruskin, more even than most men of wayward genius, 
coloared his writings with his moods, and readers of the letters to 
Dixon in a previous volume will already have noted in them many a 
sign of irritability and gloom. He found relief in drawing, and several 
of the studies of birds and shells which now form part of the Ruskin 
Art Collection at Oxford were done in the early part of 1867. Some 
extracts from his diary record the progress of his studies in this sort, 
and show how much pains he took with them: — 

" 1867. Jan, 17. — Painting pheasant — large: a singularly good and 
bright day. 

"Jan. 18. — Finished pheasant satisfactorily, though day foggy. 

"Jati. 20. — Got on with partridge. 

"Jan, 21. — Finished partridge; three birds in a week. I began 
smallest pheasant on Tuesday last; on Wednesday finished it and 
began the large one. Thursday and Friday, worked hard at large 

> Raferenees to this thread in Raskin's life oceiur on pp. xxxviiL, lix, ; the 
story is already partly fitmiliar to readers of Praterita (iii. en. iii.). 


one. Saturday, finished it (all bat done on Friday)^ and began 
partridge ; yesterday worked hard and to-day hardor and finished it : 
the best of the three. 

''/cm. 2S. — Hard to work again on my partridge's bill to-day, 
but got it right. 

''Jan. 23. — Got a bit of snipe nicely done. 

**Jan, 34. — Finished snipe all but wing. 

''•/an. 25. — Bettered ray snipe's wing. 

** Jan, 26. — Angry in morning and unhappy all day, but painted 
teal's head wonderfully. 

''/an. 28. — Worked hard at teal in morning. 

"/on. 29.— Finished teal, successfully." 

A study of a wild duck, probably the finest of Ruskin^s drawings of 
birds, is now included in the collections of the British Museum.^ Re- 
productions of it and of some similar studies will be found in later 

He was busy too, at this time, with schemes of practical bene- 
volence. ^Plan cottage life,^ he notes in his diary (March 14), '^and 
help to poor, if spared; Joanna very happy about it.^ Other entries 
record visits from Miss Octavia Hill, doubtless on the business of his 
housing schemes, to which reference has already been made.* These 
schemes which Miss Hill originated with Ruskin^s help have borne 
fruit in the reclamation of some of the worst areas in London. 

"They aroused public opinion," writes a fHend of their author,* "stimu« 
lated legislation, and turned the attention of plilanthropists and capitalists 
in the direction of providing dvUised dwellings for the poor. Miss Hill's 
reoommendations and methods have spread to most of the cities and 
crowded towns of Great Britain, and have been adopted in America and 
in many European countries. . . . The 'grain of mustard seed,' from which 
the sturdy plant of housing reform sprang, was first planted in Ruskin's 
house at Denmark Hill. One day he and Miss Octavia Hill were having 
a friendly chat, and he lamented the dreariness of life without an object 
other than the usual daily round. 'I paint, take my mother for a drive, 
dine with friends or answer these correspondents,' said Mr. Ruskin, draw- 
ing a heap of letters from his pocket with a rueful faee, 'but one longs 
to do something more satisfying.' 'Most of us feel like that at times,' 
said his visitor. 'Well, what would you like to be doing?' asked Ruskin. 

1 It was " B. 296 " in Quidtt to an EshibUUm ^ Drawingi and Sketch^ by Old 
Matteri and DeeeoMd MaHen qf the En^k Scliool^ 1901. 
> See Time and Tide, § 148 (Vol. xVlI. p. 437). 
* Sarah A. Tooley ia the Dat'i^ ChrmMe, July 24, 1905. 




'Something to provide better homes for the poor/ was Miss OeUvia Hill's 
quick reply. The idea seemed to strike Ruskin, and, turning sharp round 
in his seat, he asked : ' How could it be done ? Have you a buthiess 

ss Hill was only a girl at the time, but was impressed by Mr. 
in's desire that the scheme should pay. He said if she could make 
it do so the work would spread. After further consideration, Mr. Ruskin 
provided the working capital, and Miss Hill became the happy landlady of 
three dirty and neglected houses, in the neighbourhood of her own home. 
In the Marylebone Road. . . . Personal management was the keynote then 
as it 18 now of Miss Hill's work, and from the first she collected the rents 
herself and made friends with her tenants. I have heard Miss Hill de- 
scribe how, in those early days, she climbed dark stairways covered with 
every kind of dirt and abomination, and grasped her rent4>ag tightly when 
in the darkness some evil-looking fiuse suddenly appeared. But never once 
was she robbed or insulted. The people trusted her from the first, and 
when they learned that almsgiving was not a part of her scheme, and that 
no arrears of rent were allowed, began to take a pride in cultivating self- 
respect and independence. Money was spent to make the houses decently 
habitable, overcrowding was discouraged by letting two-roomed tenements 
for little more than had been charged for one room, but the net profits 
on the property were not reduced because no arrears were allowed. The 
financial result was that at the end of a year and a half the scheme had 
paid five per cent, revenue, and had repaid £48 of the capital. Miss Hill's 
labour was gratuitous, bat she put aside the percentage which a collector 
would have charged and devoted it to beneficent purposes. Mr. Ruskin's 
£iith in her was amply justified, and under his advice and encouragement 
Miss Hill took an increasing number of courts under her management, and 
so her work grew." 

Ruakin referred to Miss HilPs labours in one of his public lectures of 
this year (see p. SIS, below). 

He saw much, during these months, of Carlyle, Froude, and Helps ; 
the gentle wisdom of the author of Friends in Council was perhaps 
more helpful to his mood than the stimulus, through thunder and 
lightning, of Carlyle. How strongly Helps sympathised with Ruskin^s 
social aims, how greatly he admired the devotion which inspired them, 
is shown in the dedication of Conversations on War and CuUure.^ A 
letter of a somewhat later date in this same year (1867) shows the germ 
in Ruskin^s mind of those practical efforts towards social regeneration 
which were presently to take shape in Fors Clavigera and ^* St. Greorge^s 

1 Now giren in a note to The Eagle's Nest, § 208 (Vol. XXL). 


Goild.^ It was written to a Yorkshire correspondent and friend, who 

desires to remain anonymous: — 

"Dbnvabk Hnx, S.^ ISih Ma^, '67. 

''It was very nice of jroa to wait till I had done with those 
letters, though I can't even yet write for a little while^ for I have 
two most troublesome lectures to write, one for Cambridge and one 
for London ; ^ but I shall be nearly free by the 7th of next month, 
I hope* • • • 

''I am very glad of your letter, in all ways. Do you know, I 
think the end of it will be that any of us who have yet hearts 
sound enough must verily and in deed draw together and initiate a 
true and wholesome way of life, in defiance of the world,' and with 
laws which we will vow to obey, and endeavour to make others, by 
our example, accept. I think it must eome to this, but accidents 
of my own life have prevented me until lately from being able to 
give to such a plan any practical hope ; but now I might, with some 
help, be led on to its organisaticm. Would you join it, and vow to 
keep justice and judgment and the peace of God on this earth ? 

''Ever affectionately yours, 


For inner consolation, meanwhile, in hours of sufiering and anxiety 
Ruskin tamed, as his diary shows, to the Bible. He tried, daily for 
some months, to cast his horoscope, and to be guided and strengthened, 
by Sories Biblicas. Thus on May 15 we read, ^^ Open at * Behold, we 
have left all and followed thee ^ ^ ; on May 19, ^* Open in evening at 
* Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he 
shall receive the crown of life^^; and on August 14, ^^Thou hast 
loved righteousness and hated iniquity, wherefore God, thy God, hath 
anointed thee with the oil of gladness ^^; and again, on the same day, 
*^ Opened at Isaiah xxxiii. 17: * Thine eyes shall see the King in his 
beauty; they shall behold the land that is very hx off.'' My old 
Bible often doe$ open there, bat it was a happy first reading.^ Other 
entries here follow (as in some other similar pages of the diary), which 
seem to show that he enumerated methodically such good things as 
befell him, in accord with his Bible readings: — 

"By Grasmere and St. John's Vale to Keswick, (a) Met poor 
woman at Wythbum and helped her. (6) Crossed my forehead 
three times with the waters of the spring at St. John's Chapel. 

1 The lectures here printed, pp. 163-229. 

* In a later letter to the same correipondent (May 21) Ruskin qualifies these 
words thus: "I do not in the least propose any onsiaugnt on public ooinion or 
Gostom in any violent way ; but only^ the observance of certain lawi whicli may be 
seen to be exemplary la their worldug." 


(c) Conqttered petty anxiety; forded brook, and found good of it 

(d) Drank healtiis after dinner — seven. («) Out on lake in evening. 
Fell asleep in boat near St Herbert's. Glorious sky of broketi white 
silvery jagged-edged clouds." 

This last entry has taken us forward to Ruskin's summer holiday. 
In May he had given the Rede Lecture at Cambridge (pp. 163-194), 
and received there an honorary degree. He writes a pleasant account 
of the ceremony to his mother (May 28X knowing how much it would 
pleaae her, and signs it ^^Ever, my dearest mother, your most affec- 
tionate son, J. Ruskin, LL.D.'^ He notes the Public Orator^s ^^ Latin 
laadatoiy speech (recommendatory of you for the honour of degree), 
some ten or fifteen minutes long; in my case, there being nothing 
particular to rehearse, except that I had written books * exquisite in 
language and faultlessly pure in contention with evil principles.^ ^ The 
orator, he adds, ^ dwelt more on 7%^ Crown qf Wild Olive than on any 
oHier of my books, which pleased me, as it was the last.^ Then, a 
fortnight later, he had a lecture to deliver at the Royal Institution 
(pp. 197-5BS9). Both lectures were successful, but such exercises were 
hardly to be commended as tonics for overwrought nerves ; so he deter- 
mined, after a visit to Osborne Gordon at Easthampstead Rectory, in 
Berkshire, to seek rest and refreshment, if such might be, in the 
English lakeland which had given him so many happy days in his 
boyhood, and which was to be the home of his later years.^ At first 
the contrast between old times and new — ^between the recollections of 
the unclouded home of childhood and the burden and the mystery of 
later knowledge and suffering, and the sight, moreover, of new hotels 
and fouled streams — saddened him, as letters to his mother show: — 

" LowwooD, WiNDKRMERS^ Sunday mormng, June SO. — It is all very 
painful and saddening to me. But I am absolutely in want of fresh 
air and idleness, and mutt take them as a nasty medicine, though 
I would incomparably rather be working amongst the camphor and 
ambergris of insects and mummies in the British Museum, and de- 
ciphering wing-scales and hieroglyphics, if I could, or working all 
day long in my own mineral room. But I cannot, and must walk 
and strive to buiish sad thoughts as best I can. I feel a Mle better- 
ing in strength, already." 

*'I have the secret,^ he writes to his mother later (July 16), *'of ex- 
tracting sadness from all things, instead of joy, which is no enviable 

' His itinaraiy was as follows: Greta Bridge (Jans 28), Lowwood (June 90), 
Boraess (July 1), Huntle^r Bum (Julv 2\ Keswick (July 4), Carlisle (July 10), 
Wigtown (Jiuy 11), Keswick (July 16), vvaterhead, ou Windermere (August 7), 
Keswick (August U\ Matlock (August 23), Denmark Hill (August 24). 


talisman. Forgive me if I ever write in a way that miy pain 

you. It is best that you should know, when I write cheerfully, it is 

no pretended cheerfulness; so when I am sad, I think it right to 

confess it.^^ 

"Crown Hotel, Bownbbb, 

"Monday morning, l$t Juiy, '67* 

'^My dearbst Mother, — Lowwood was too noisy and fiuihion- 
able (Manchester fashion) for me, so I drove over here yesterday, 
and got a lovely little comer-parlour in, I believe, your old Inn, 
though I am confused about it, the view seeming to me so much 
more beautiful than it did then. But the change in myself, and in 
all things connected with me, is so great and so sorrowful to me 
that I can hardly bear the places. It is very different — having you 
laid up at home, and my father dead, and myself old and ill — ^fvom 
running about the hills, with both of you expecting me home to 
tea, and I myself as lithe as a stag. I would give anything to be 
back at home at wovk on my minerals. But I have no doubt the 
fresh air and exercise are not only good for me, but vitally neces- 
sary just now, so I must endure my rest and liberty with patience. 
I had a pleasant row across the lake last night, and it is all very 
lovely. I went up and examined Mr. Richmond's estate before 
dinner, the father and son (of the farm) showing me everything 
with great courtesy and niceness. It is very beautiful, but the 
railroad station, not a mile distant, is a fatal eyesore. If Mr. 
Richmond builds the house at all for me, my principal study room 
must be at the back, looking up to the rocks and the wild roses 
(very lovely, both, just now), and only the company room looking to 
the great view — a very noble one, hut for the railroad, and having 
the advantage of endless study of magnificent sunset. I am much 
struck by the fiery purity and power of the worlkem sky. Last night 
it was more like an Aurora Borealis than mere sunset; the fire 
seemed t» the clouds, and there is hardly any night. It is twilight 
till eleven, and dear dawn at two (as I know — to my discomfort 
when sleepless). I hope to reach Huntley Bum about 5 o'clock 
to-day. I leave this note behind me here, to be sure of post. 

''Ever, my dearest mother, 

''Your most affectionate Son, 


" I will send you an envelope from Huntley Bum. I can't to-day, 
because I don't know if I shall choose to stay longer than a day 
there (supposing they ask me), it depends so much on their ways." 

i This extract b reprinted from W. O. CoUiDprood's Life qf RuMn, p. 242 
(1900 ed.), wliere it is moorporated in a letter of July 19. 


It will be noticed in this letter that Ruskin already had some 
▼ague idea of settling in the Lake Country. After a few days on 
Windermere, Ruskin went to pay his visit to Lady Henry Kerr at 
Huntley Bum, on the Scottish Border, close to Abbotsford. He en- 
joyed the company of his hosts, and recollections of it came back to 
him in after years. *'Will you forgive my connecting the personal 
memory,^ he said in one of his last Oxford lectures, ^^of having once 
had a wild rose gathered for me, in the glen of Thomas the Rhjnner, 
by the daughter of one of the few remaining Catholic houses of Scot- 
land, with the pleasure I have in reading to you this following true 
account of the origin of the name of St. Cuthber^s birthplace; — the 
rather because I owe it to friendship of the same date, with Mr. Cock- 
bum Muir, of Melrose .'^^^ But Ruskin found the routine of a visit 
tiresome, and soon returned to solitude. The hills and moors brought 

him increase of strength : — 

'' Kbbwick^ 2nd July, 1867. 

" My dbarist Mother, — I have your nice line of yesterday. . . . 
The letter from Mr. Brown of Venice ' contained nothing particular, 
but he is quite welL 

''I had a really fine walk yesterday, discovering two pieces of 
mountain scenery hitherto unknown to me, and very truly noble — 
buttress of rock on the flanks of Grasmere, between this lake and 
Crummock water, which may compare not disadvantageously with 
many pieces of Swiss scenery. I was dehghted to find them, as it 
is always good to have a motive for one's walks, and I shall want to 
see these on all sides. The weather was delightful — though sudden 
and mysterious blasts of wind came up through the gorges, the iopt 
of the hills were all in perfect repose. I had rather a severe walk 
of five hours, without stopping more than twenty minutes in all 
(I never drew bridle once, from here to Grasmere top — five miles, 
and 2800 feet up), and came in very fresh and frightfully hungry, so 
I must certainly be gaining strength. 

''Your letter to-day is very prettily written, so you are certainly 
not loiing it. 

''Ever, my dearest mother, 

"Your most affectionate Son, 

"J. Ruskin. 

^ I take some pains with my writing, but am always shocked to 
look at it afterwards. I had a botanist break&sting with me to-day 
who Mrrote a most beautiful hand, but he was one lump of pleasant 
active egotism — utterly insensitive, and I fiincy my broken hand 
comes partly of sensitiveness, which I should be sorry to lose." 

1 PUamiru of England, % 66. 

* Rawdon Brown: see below, p. liv. 


There are frequent apologies in the letters to his mother, now and earlier, 
for bad handwriting. She was somewhat of a precisian in all things, 
and doubtless told John to mind his ps and js; at the present time, 
too, her sight was failing. She could never quite realise, moreoTer, 
that her boy was grown up, and she wrote to him on this occasion, 
*^ hoping that he always had some one with him on his mountain 
rambles.'" Ruskin next went for a few days on a visit to Miss Agnew^s 
home at Wigtown, where she was now taking a brief holiday. Shortly 
afterwards she returned to Denmark Hill, and Ruskin used to send, 
to amuse her, the familiar ^'rhymed travelling letters,^ of which he 
has printed a specimen or two in Prceterita} He himself returned 
again to Keswick, moving from the Royal Oak Inn in the town to 
the old Derwentwater Hotel on the margin of the lake: — 

*' Kbswiok, l^th JiOy, '67. 

'^ Afternoon — haff-poit thrM. 

''My dearest Mother, — As this is the last post before Sunday, 
I send one more line to say I've had a delightful forenoon's walk — 
since half-past ten, by St. John's Vale — and had pleasant thoughts, 
and found one of the most variedly beautiful torrent beds I ever saw 
in my life, and I feel that I gain strength, slowly but certainly, 
every day ; the great good of the place is that I can be content 
without going on great excursions which fatigue and do me hann 
(or else worry me with problems). I am content here with the road- 
side hedges and streams, and this contentment is the great thing 
for health ; and there is hardly anything to annoy me of absurd or 
calamitous human doing, but still the ancient cottage life — very 
rude, and miserable enough in its torpor — but clean and calm, not 
a vile cholera and plague of bestirred pollution, like back streets of 
London. There is also much more real and deep beauty than I 
expected to find, in some of the minor pieces of scenery and in the 
cloud effects. . . . 

''Ever, my dearest Mother, 

"Your most affectionate Son, 


''But please don't say where I am to anybody. I like to be 
utterly free — ^to be able to get off anjrwhere at any moment" * 

Ruskin had his servant Crawley with him on this tour, and he now 
sent for Downs, the gardener at Denmark Hill, in order to give him 

1 See i. § 163 (where in the current editions <'1867" should be corrected to 

* Reprinted from W. G. Collingwood's Life ^ Buikin, p. 242 (1900 edition). 


also a g^&npse of the Lake Country. His mother^s hope was often 
realised, for on many of the walks described in later letters, Ruskin 
was attended by Downs ** hunting up ferns ^ and Crawley ^'carrying 
my rock specimens^ (August 11). It was characteristic of Ruskin 
that many of his movements were arranged in order to show Downs 
this, and enable Downs to do that. It was characteristic also that, 
before starting on his own holiday, he had sent his assistants, Mr. 
George Allen and Mr. William Ward, on a sketching and walking 
tour in the Meuse country.^ Letters to his mother describe many of 
his own rambles:* — 

**{Jufy 30.) — Downs arrived yesterday quite comfortable and in 
fine weather. It is not bad this morning, and I hope to take him 
for a walk up Saddleback, which, after all, is the finest to my mind 
of all the Cumberland bills — though that is not saying much, for they 
are much lower in effect, in proportion to their real height, than 
I had expected. The beauty of the country is in its quiet roadside 
bits, and rusticity of cottage life and shepherd labour — its mountains 
are sorrowfully melted away from my old dreams of them.'* 

''Kbswick, Jufy 81. — The weather is really very endurable now, 
and to be commended, for Cumberland ; it was shady and clear yes- 
terday, without rain, and I did what I had long had it in my mind 
to do, went straight up the steep front of Saddleback by the central 
ridge to the summit. It is the finest thing I've yet seen, there being 
several bits of real crag-work, and a fine view at the top over the 
great plains of Penrith on one side, and the Cumberland hills as a 
chain on the other. Fine fresh wind blowing and plenty of crows. 
Do you remember poor papa's fiivourite story about the Quaker whom 
the crows ate on Saddleback ? There were some of the biggest and 
hoarsest voiced ones about the cliff' that I've ever had sympathetic 
croaks firom, and one on the top, or near it, so big, that Dovms 
and Crawley, having Austrian tendencies in polities' took it for a 
'black eagle.' Downs went up capitally, though I couldn't get 
him down again, because he would stop to gather ferns. However, 
we did it all, and came down to Threlkeld— of the Bridal of Trier- 
main — 

'''The King his way punned 
By lonely Threlkeld's waste and wood' — 

in good time for me to dress, and, for a wonder, go out to dinner 

1 See the Letten to WUkam Ward, vol. L pp. 73 M9. ; privately issued in 1893, 
and reprinted in a later volume of this edition. 

' Tne letters of July 90 and 31 are reprinted from CoUingwood's I4fe qf 
Bmkin, p. 243. 

* See VoL XVIII. pp^ 538^539. 


with Adand's friends the Butlers — chiefly to meet a young Sootchr 
man ^ — ^whom I will tell you about in Joanna's letter as this is enough 
for you to read to-day." 

" KcswicE^ August 6. — I wished old times could come back again, 
on Skiddaw top to-day. Nothing in the world is so entirely un- 
changed in aspect as these hilltops — and the five-and-thirty years 
are there 'as a mist that rolls away/* But I am really thankful 
to find myself so strong of limb again in the course of only a 
month's practice. I went up in two hours, and was coming down 
in cheerfiil speed, in the condition which, if I were a horse, would 
be described as 'without a hair turned/ when I met a strong- 
looking man in a guide's charge panting for breath. He asked me 
'if I had such a thing as a drop of brandy, for he had forgotten 
to bring any up/ I told him 'it was not the least cold at the 
top, and he could rest there as long as he liked — and he would be 
much better with no brandy.' He was superfluous enough to thank 
me for this not very expensive consolation. But Crawley says it 
turned cold at the top very soon after I left it, so I hope the poor 
man got his brandy from somebody else." 

It must have been after one of these mountain rambles that Frederic 
Myers, then a young man of twenty-four, first saw Raskin. '^I met 
him first,^ says Myers, *Mn my own earliest home, beneath the spurs 
of Skiddaw — its long slopes 'bronzed with deepest radiance,^ as the 
boy Wordsworth had seen them long since in even such an evening^s 
glow. Since early morning Raskin had lain and wandered in the folds 
and hollows of tiie hill; and he came back, grave as from a solemn 
service, from * day-long gazing on the heather and the blue.^^' In 
a letter to his mother, Raskin himself describes such a day of solemn 
service and gazing : — 

"Lanodalb^ 19th August 1887. I^mimii^. 

''My dearest Mother, — It is perfectly calm to-night, not pain- 
fully hot, and the full moon shining over the mountains, opposite 
my window, which are the scene of Wordsworth's Excursum. It 

* Perhaps Mr. Cockburn Muir, referred to above, p. xxiz. 

* Tennyson: "In the Valley of Cauterets" :— 

"All along the valley, where thy waters flow, 
I walk*d with one I loved two-and-thirty years ago. 
All along the valley, while I walk'd to-day. 
The two-and-thirty years wers a mist that rolls away." 

> Fragmsnts qf Prose and Poetry^ by Frederic W. H. Myers, 19(V4, p. 90. Myers' 
fiither was incumbent of St. John's, Keswick. Myers was often to meet Rasldn 
in later years at Broadlands, and his psychical researches had much of Ruskin's 


ieniblj hot in the earlier day, and I did not leave the house 
till five o'clock, then I went out, and in the heart of Langdale Pikes 
found the loveliest rock-scenery (chased with silver waterfalls) that 
I ever set foot or heart upon. The Swiss torrent beds are always 
more or less savage and ruinous, with a terrible sense of over- 
flowing strength and danger lulled. But here, the sweet heather 
and ferns and stone mosses nestled in close to the cool dashing of 
the narrow streams; while every cranny of crag held its own little 
placid lake of amber, trembling with falling drops, but quietly 
trembling, not troubled into ridgy wave or foam, the rocks themselves 
— ^ideal rock as hard as iron — no, not quite that, but 90 hard that, 
after Iweaking some of it, breaking solid white quartz seemed like 
smashing brittle sugar-loaf in comparison — and cloven into the most 
noble masses, not grotesque, but majestic and full of harmony with 
the larger mountain mass of which they formed a part. Fancy what 
a place! for a hot afternoon after five, with no wind and absolute 
solitude — ^no creature, except a lamb or two, to mix any ruder sound 
or voice with the plash of the innumerable streamlets. I stayed up 
there so long that it's bed-time now — after writing Joan's letter — 
and I won't sit up; that is one great reason for my being better — 
that I'm always early in bed. To-morrow I leave early for Keswick, 
but shall probably go up Helvellyn again on the way. I leave these 
letters behind me, for surety of arrival. 

''Ever, my dearest Mother, 

"Your most afiectionate Son, 

"J. RUSKIN."! 

Another letter is of interest as recording a visit to Coniston, which 
was afterwards to be his home: — ' 

**1 was at Coniston to-day/' he writes (August 10). ''Our old 
Waterhead Inn, where I was so happy playing in the boats, eMsU no 
more. Its place is grown over with smooth park grass — the very site 
of it forgotten ! — and, a quarter of a mile down the lake, a vast hotel 
built in tlie railroad station style, making up, I suppose, its fifty or 
eighty beds, with coffee-room, smoking-room, and every pestilent and 
devilish Yankeeism that money can buy, or speculation plan. 

''The depression, whatever its cause, does not affect my strength. 
I walked up a long hill on the road to Coniston to-day (gathering 
wild raspberries); then from this new Inn two miles, to the foot of 
Coniston Old Man; up it, down again (necessarily!), and back to 
dinner — ^without so much as warming myself-*not that there was 
much danger of doing that at the top, for a keen west wind was 

^ This letter and the one next following are reprinted from Collingwood's I^f^ 
•/ Ruakmy pp. 245, 24i. 



blowing drifts of cloud by, at a great pace, and one was glad of the 
shelter of the pile of stones, the largest and oldert I ever saw on a 
mountain top. I suppose the whole mountain is named from it. It 
is of the shape of a bee-hive, strongly built, about fifteen feet high 
(so that I made Downs foUow me up it before I would allow he 
had been at the top of the Old Man), and covered with lichen and 
short moss. Lancaster sands and the Irish sea were veiy beautiful, 
and so also the two lakes of Coniston and Windermere, lying in the 
vastest space of sweet cultivated country I ever looked over (a great 
part of the view from the Rigi being merely over black pine forest, 
even on the plains). Well, after dinner the evening was very 
beautiful, and I walked up the long hill on the road back from 
Coniston, and kept ahead of the carriage for two miles, and was 
sadly vexed when I had to get in ; and now, I don't feel as if I had 
been walking at all, and shall probably lie awake for an hour or two — 
and feeling as if I had not had exercise enough to send me to sleep." 

On returning home Kuskin went for some time to Norwood, with 
his mother and cousin Joan, to take, under Dr. Powell, what would now 
be called a rest-cure. The rest included, however, a good deal of quiet 
work at botany and many concerts at the Crystal Palace ; and Ruskin^a 
diary contains indications of physical discomfort and nervous depression. 
A letter to Acland shows that he was in ill humour with the world. 
Acland, who was one of the Curators of the Oxford University Galleries,^ 
seems to have contemplated resigning the office, with a view to getting 
Ruskin appointed in his place; this arrangement would have brought 
Ruskin occasionally to the University, and perhaps have led him to give 
lectures there upon thei art collections. Ruskin^s reply was this : — 

^'2Srd September 1867. 
''My dear Acland, — Not in despair nor in sick sloth, but in a 
deep, though stern hope, and in reserve of what strength is in me, 
I refuse to talk about art The English nation is fast, and with 
furious acceleration, becoming a mob to whom it will be impossible 
to talk about anything. Read the last seven verses of yesterday^s 
first Lesson.^ They are literally, and in every syllable, true of Eng- 
land, and the weapons with which such evil may be stayed before 
'the end thereof are not camel's-hair pencils. Camers-hair raiment 
might do something. 

^ See below, p. 226. 

> Jeremiah v. (lesson for the 14th Sunday after Trinity) : '' Your iniquities have 
tamed away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. 
. . . They are waxen fat, they shine. . . . The prophets prophesy falsely, and the 
priests bear rule by their- means ; and my people love to have it so ; and what will 
ye do in the end thereof?" 


''You have 'no idea of folded hands, while there is hope of 
safety/ Nor I ; bat if the Tyne had gone off into deep water 
with a leak gaining on her,^ you would not have called the car- 
penters to paint her sides. Nevertheless, we will keep our cabins 
tidj to the last (though, by the way, if you and Richmond had not 
had your heads full of Raphael chalk scratches and Roman plaster 
patches, and had worked with wider sight, you might have had 
the Peter Martyr in the National gallery here instead of in Hades),' 
and, if you are tired of that curatorship and think that I can be 
of any use, I will do the best I can. But in no phrase of polite- 
^ ness I tell you that you are fitter for the place than I, and working 
with your old friend the Dean, and entering into the fruit of your 
effiyrts for many years, you had much better stay as you are, if 
you are not weary. 

''Ever affectionately yours, 

"J. RusuN."* 

Adand seemed to think that this conditional acceptance was suf- 
ficient; but another friend of Ruskini of less enthusiastic tempera- 
ment, was more cautious. ^^Are you positively certain,^ wrote Dean 
Liddell, ^* that Ruskin would like to be Curator of the Galleries ? 
Have you it in writing? And can his inclination or wish in August 
be depended upon in November P"^^ LiddelPs cold water stopped the 
scheme, and Ruskin^s call to Oxford was to come two years later in 
a different way. 

Ruskin spent the winter of 1867-1868 quietly at home. He made 
acquaintance with Miss Jean Ingelow, whose poems he sometimes quotes 
at this period.^ He went sometimes to see Coventry Patmore, ^^ which,^ 
as he notes in his diary (January S), ^^ comforted and relieved me."^ Sir 
Herbert Edwardes (whose papers Ruskin was afterwards to edit^), Mr. 
Arthur Severn (who was to become so closely connected with Ruskin), 
and Mr. Brabazon, the artist, are among the friends whose visits are 
particularly recorded in the diary. Many others came to see him at 
Denmark Hill ; but this was not always unalloyed pleasure. ** Mama 

> For Adand's coolness when wrecked in the Tyne (a West India Mail Company's 
steamer) in 1858^ see Prtgterita, i. § 232. 

* For the destruction of Titian's ''Peter Martyr" by fire in 1866, see VoL III. 
p. 28 n. 

s This letter is reprinted from p^ 369 of J. B. Atky's Memoir qf Sir Henry 
Wentw&rih Adand, 1903. 

« IbkL, p. 369. 

6 See Suame and LUite, § 139 n., and Ethioe of th« DuH, § 3 (VoL XVIII. 
pa 185 n., 211). 

* A Knighf9 FaUk (in Raskin's Bibiiotheca Paetorum^ 1886. 


provoking in abuse of people,^ is a significant entry in the diary. His 
mother was affectionate, but also exacting and somewhat censorious; 
she was firmly persuaded that only the pernicious influence of ill-chosen 
friends had seduced her son from the evangelical principles which 
she had inculcated in his youth. She liked, too, to be mistress in her 
own house; and in that capacity she was a great martinet. But if 
her dependants feared, they also respected her, and never was an old 
servant turned away from her household. A charming story is told 
of a young friend who asked the mistress of the house what were 
the duties of one of several ancient maids. ^^ She, my deai-,^ answered 
the old lady, "puts out the dessert.''^ ^ Now that advancing years 
had confirmed her in habits of great regularity and precision, she did 
not always welcome the sight of new faces and unexpected guests. We 
have seen, in the recollections of a visitor at an earlier date,^ with 
what beautiful deference Kuskin treated his mother, and this was 
always his attitude, though sometimes he would venture indirectly to 
answer her reproaches. "At dinner,^ says Lady Bume-Jones, "if 
anything her son said, though not addressed to herself, did not reach 
her ear, she demanded to have it repeated, and from her end of the 
table came a clear thread of voice, * John — John Ruskin — what was that 
you said ? ^ When the sharply questioning sound at last penetrated to 
him, he never fedled with tiie utmost respect to repeat his words for 
her.*" He met her demands upon his patience, says- the same delicate 
observer, "with indescribable gentleness.*" The instinct for contrap- 
diction was strong in her, and her son's impulsive and enthusiastic talk 
often called it into exercise. "I remember an evening spent with her 
and her son,^ says Lady Bume-Jones, "when Edward read aloud, 
from Lane^s Arabian Nights^ the Story of the Barber, in which there 
is scarce a paragraph without some mention of God, the High, the 
Great, and at its conclusion Ruskin expressed great admiration for 
it. ^Grod forgive you, my child," said a pitying voice from the fire- 
side ; and as we waited in silent astonishment for some explanation, she 
continued, ^for taking His name in vain.^ Her son listened with 
perfect patience and dignity, and then, almost as if thinking aloud, 
answered with a solemn and simple refutation of the charge and a 
noble definition of what taking the name of God in vain really was. 
Would that I could remember his words! His mother seemed quite 
unmoved.^' She was given to combating his opinions strongly and 

1 W. 6. Collingwood's Life qf Ruikin, p. 282. 

« VoL V. p. xlviii. 

> MemoriaU qf Edward Bume^onee, vol. i. pp. 252, 300. 


publicly ; the remark, ^ John, you are talking great nonsense,^ was often 
heard; and she would never admit any doubt of her own inf&llibility. 
But though she reserved to herself full liberty to criticise and con- 
tiadict her son, yet no one was more sensitive than she to any criticism 
of him by others : like many another mother, she liked, and expected, 
to see her bairn respected. She loved him, as Mr. CoUingwood well 
sBLjBj ^^with all the intensity of a fierce lioness nature."*^^ And this 
was one reason why she resented anything which she considered as an 
attempt to impose upon his credulity or generosity. If her circle of 
interests was narrow, and her outlook on the problems of life and 
destiny confined within fixed and strict ideas, her reading of character 
was often as penetrating in substance as it was sharp in expression. 
Howell had on one occasion been regaling them with some of those 
wonderful tales, which are characterised in a '^ Limerick"^ by D. 6. 
Bossetti;' the old lady threw down her netting, and said, ^*How can 
you two sit there and listen to such a pack of lies?^^ Ruskin^s tact 
and readiness no doubt smoothed over the outburst, and no one ever 
visited Denmark Hil^ without being struck by his gentle submissive- 
ness.* But such reminiscences as have here been brought together 
serve to explain the entry in his diary, given above, or this passage in 
a letter to Professor Norton: '^Fm viery weary and sad. Joan is 
gone away — and the evenings sitting beside my mother only makes 
me sadder still.'" ^ His cousin Joan was the good angel in many 
domestic difficulties,^ and her presence at Denmark Hill during these 
years was an equal comfort to the mother and the son. 

Gradually Ruskin recovered strength and spirits, and the year 1868 
was to be one of varied activity and much happy work. Already at 
the end of 1867 he had prepared Time and THde for publication, and 
then, as also in the early months of 1868, he wrote and illustrated a 
series of geological papers. It was a bright spring-tide, and Ruskin^s 
mood responded to it. At the beginning of the year he had a dream 
of good omen: ^^ Dreamed on night of Snd>3rd [January] of seeing 

1 Life qf John Ruskin, p. 283. 

> See Boisetti Papers, edited by W. M. Roesetti^ p. 496. 

3 W. 6. Collingwood's U/e qf Buskin, p. 283 (1900 edition). 

* See, for instance. Professor Norton's Letters of John Ruskin, vol. i. p. 43. 

' Letters of John Ruskin, vol. ii. p. 26 (reprinted in a later volume of this 

' For instance, Ruskin's mother '^objected stronffly, in these later years, to 
the theatre; and when sometimes her son would wish to take a party into town 
to see the last new piece, her permission had to be asked, and was not readily 
granted, unless to Miss Agnew, who was the ambassadress in such affairs of 
diplomacy " (W. G. Collingwood's Life of Ruskin, p. 283, 1900 edition). 


Lake of Constance, in lovely light — under sweet crisping wind and 
mountains far away."*^ And, in the life of waking hours, *' Could do 
nothing but stare ^ at the blue sky, and flowers, and intense bright- 
ness ^ (February 29). The Turners on the walls flashed back the glory 
of the days: ^*Up a minute or two before five. Lovely clear sunrise. 
Greta and Tees^ looking prettier than ever. Read geology at my 
breakfast, with my two loveliest flint chalcedonies shining in the sun.'^ 
And hope shone brightly, too. On May 4 a letter came from Ireland, 
which Ruskin notes in his diary by the one word ''Peace.'" His Pre- 
face to '' Grimm ^ had been written at Easter time, and he now set 
himself with renewed zest to write the lecture which he was to deliver 
in Dublin, for the sake of her who had sent him the message of peace.' 
He went to Winnmgton for a few days (May 6-12) to finish the 
lecture, and then crossed to Dublin. The lecture — on '' The Mystery of 
Life and its Arts ^ — ^was, as we have seen,^ a great success. After spend- 
ing a few days in Dublin, Ruskin revisited Winnington (May 96 to 
June 1), and then returned to Denmark Hill. He was busy during 
July and August with speeches at the Social Science Association on 
strikes, and letters on the management of railways;^ but also with 
cataloguing his minerals, and with "drawing drapery at Ned^s.**^* 

He now determined to devote himself for a while to drawing; 
and he chose, as being not too far from home, one of his favourite 
haunts — ^the town of Abbeville.^ He loved the Frendi air and the 
French landscape, as we have seen; and he wished to re-study, and to 
draw with his now more accomplished skill, the flamboyant architec- 
ture which, as a boy, he had loved intensely.^ His diary and his 
letters show that he enjoyed more peace of mind during these months 
at Abbeville than had been his for a long time past. The first letter 
to his mother sets the key: — 

"August 25. — The old place is little spoiled yet^ and I hope to 
get some valuable notes. The weather is lovely, and my first sketch 

^ In recording a dream at a later date (November 2)^ Ruskin Bays, ''Dreamed 
of being in Verona^ or some place that was and wasnH Venice. Met an Englishman 
who said 'he had been staring at things.' I said I was glad to hear it— to stare 
was the right thinf^ to lock only was no use." 

' The drawing by Turner^ afterwards given by Ruskin to his School at Oxford : 
Standard Series^ No. 2. 

' See Preface to the 1871 edition of Sesame and Lilies (Vol. XVIII. p. 47 a.). 

* See Vol. XVIII. p. Iviii. 

• Vol. XVU. pp. B28-534. 
*. Bume-Jones. 

' He left Folkestone on August 24; was at Abbeville from August 25 to 
October 5 ; at Paris, October 6-8; and again at Abbeville, October 9-21. 
8 See Eagle's Nest, § 92. 


bas begun well, and I've had a walk afterwards on chalk hiUa, covered 
with scabioui and bloebelb^ and I've ate a cutlet for luncb^ and 
half a fowl and a whole pigeon and some Neuchfttel cheese for 
dinner, and I feel quite myself again." 

He was himself again in his keen enjoyment of nature and in his un- 
fla^^ing interests. In the diary the entries alternate between memo- 
imndA of skies and clouds and flowers, and notes upon architectural 

''The line of poplars round the cemetery of the village of St. 
Riquier as tall as a mountain precipice, as graceful as girls." 

"{AuguH 30.) — Got to chalk down with branching road through 
dingle, exquisite, like a scene in Italy. Road wound upwards through 
small plantation; scabious and bluebell everywhere, and look of 
woods of Jura. Came out on top of down with heavenly view of 
the poplar groves and vale of Abbeville as far as the embouchure of 
the Somme. 

''Beside the larkspur, in the stubble fields there grows luxuri- 
antly a labiate plant, purple, with a little yellowish white double spot 
on its broadly expanded lower lip, otherwise much like euphrasy; 
bnt in such quantities that it purples the fields when one looks low 
along the surfaces, like the fringed soldanella of the Alps; and 
as that with primrose, so this is mixed with the pale yellow toad- 
flax, giving just the same opposition of colours." 

"August S7. — Bright morning with light breeze. I drove to St. 
Riquier. The town wholly desolate; the church scraped down and 
spoiled; the fringes which Nash represents^ in the Lady Chapel 
round the windows taken away — probably falling, and too expensive 
to restore. St. Riquier built in 1500 precisely, marking civilization 
of France at end of the fifteenth century. The carving is elaborately 
stupid and vulgar, the last phase of flamboyant — monstrously, and to 
sickness, rich without design. The statues distorted and hideous." 

"August 29- — To Rue. This chapel is the richest piece of flamboy- 
ant I have seen, and well worth study as a delicate example of the 
corrupt style. Its vaulted roof with pendants all chased like lace 
(a very fine vault, with ribs edged by knotted cable, is at St. 
Riquier). Its little niches with pedestals carried on long ends, 
emergent just under pedestal of very great grace and merit. An 
upper chapel is nearly as rich. 

" Note that the sculpture of grotesque faces, throughout flami>oy- 
ant period, is always ugly, never humorous in any true way. I am 

* See Plate 16 in ArekUeoture of the MkUUe Ages dratonjrom Nature mnd o» 8kme, 
by Jeaeph Nash : 1838. 



especially shocked by the wooden brackets of the richer street houses^ 
mnd by the deadly and ghastly purpose of nearly alL At Rue, the 
pedestal of the highest niche above entrance is formed by three 
skulls." 1 

"September 29. — Looking at black signs in square to^iay^ and 
showing Ward how much less dark they were than the open win- 
dows {conf, passage about this in Elements of Drawing^, I thought 
of Turner's late license in oil Venices of putting hollows of white 
campaniles in with blacky even in distance. Turner took two great 
licenses in his later years, in black and yermilion ; this, and vermilion 
for sun-shadow and for flesh in sunshine. Both these — or rather 
these three — licenses (for the third is founded on a third fact) led 
finally to abuse, though all three were founded on fact, and all had 
begun with his earliest work : in my Battle Abbey, black windows 
in Llanwrst no less than n Nottingham red flesh. Now, therefore, 
note of Turner's, as opposed to other people's licenses, how they 
were founded on fact; but also how their indulgence leads to evil. 
The black led to black and white sea pictures, with black steamers ; 
at last to Burial of Wilkie.* The red shadow, to habitual vermilion 
outline, and general abuse of vermilion in fish, etc. The red flesh, 
to foreground figures and all that came of them." 

"September 12. — Yesterday in morning at turn of river by the 
shipping quay, — ^which reminds me in the strangest way of the 
rapture of the last stage by the Brenta before coming in sight of 
Venice — the sunshine was full of white showering specks and gleams, 
which were a shoal of swallows who all dipped together and rose 
together, making the water quiver as with a shower of stones, and 
not merely touching it, but going fiiirly in, and rising heavily after 
a moment's bath. I was always afraid they would be caught, and 
not be able to get out of the water again." 

"September 22. — Sunset on ramparts as opposite [sketch], first; 
then, ruby below ; and at last thunderous and wild with delicate bars 
of flecked cloud mixed. I never saw anything more noble." 

"September 29- — Up hill on Montreuil road — crashing shower, 
succeeded by divine gleam of sun on chalk banks and hedges, lurid 
green and tawny; then rosy and dim on cathedral and town, the 
cemetery spire coming out in gold, and its top fretted dark against 
purple grey — a perfect picture, with cathedral also dark. Finally, 
rainbow flushed in thunder-cloud in east." 

^ For another reference to the chapel at Rue, see Eagle*9 Nest, § 92. 

* See Vol. XV. p. 64 seq. 

' No. 628 m the National Gallery : see Notes im the Turner Oailerp (Vol. XIII. 
p. 169), where Raskin says that tlie picture is '' spoiled by Tomer^s endeavour to 
give funereal and unnatural blackness to the sails. ' 


Letters to his mother contain much pleasant gossip, record the 
pleasure which he found in sketching, and describe how he spent his 

days: — 

"September 1. — I am getting into a good line of usefal and 
peaceful work; for I feel convinced that the sketches I make now 
will please people, and be important records of things now soon to 
pass away." 

"September 9.— I think I shall be able to write a little Stones of 
Abbeville when I have done, as I shall know every remnant of in- 
terest in the town/' 

"Simdiigf evenings 1th September, — It is as hot, I think, as it was 
the greatest part of the summer; I have both my windows wide 
open, letting in more noise than I like, lit nine in the evening. 

" I think you may like to know how my days are spent just now. 
I rise at six, get everything in order for the day, cast up accounts 
of previous one, to the last sou, and then go out for a stroll on the 
ramparts, where the effects of morning mists are lovely among the 
tall trees and huge red walls. I come in to breakfast — French roll 
and tea at eight — and read Italian history, Sismondi, till nine. Then 
I go out to draw, for two hours and a half, or a little over, always 
stopping before twelve. From twelve to one another stroll, about 
the streets, and so in to lunch — a chop or steak or bit of cold 
game. After that I write my letters and rest — generally falling 
asleep for a minute or two (though not so happily as beside you) 
till three. At three I go out again for my second drawing from 
three to five. At five I stop for the day, and start on my main 
walk from five to seven. At seven I come in to dinner (no pastry 
or dessert), and I have tea immediately afterwards, and so rest till 
half-past nine, and then to bed." 

"September 18. — Many thanks for the little interrupted note; but 
you seem to have a most uncomfortable time of it, with the dis- 
turbance of the house. However, I can only leave you to manage 
these things as you think best, or feel pleasantest to yourself. 

" I am saddened by another kind of disorder — France is in every- 
thing so fidlen back, so desolate and comfortless compared to what 
it was twenty years ago — ^the people so much rougher, clumsier, 
more uncivilised — everything they do, vulgar and base. Remnants 
of the old nature come out when they begin to know you. I am 
drawing at a nice tallow-chandler's door, and today, for the first 
time, had to go inside for rain. He was very courteous and nice, 
and warned me against running against the candle-ends, or bottoms, 
as they were piled on the shelves, saying, * You must take care, you 
see, not to steal any of my candles — or steal from my candles,' 
meaning not to rub them off on my coat. He has a beautiful 


fiuaily of cats— papa and nuuna and two superb 

''Work going on weU."i 

The talks with the tallow-chandler who figores in this and the 
following letter are recorded in Fors Clavigera, where Ruskin de» 
scribes how he engaged his friend on the ethics of candles, ecclesi- 
astical and domestic.' 

*' (September 22.) — I am just going to my cats and tallow- 
chandler. ... I am very much struck by the superiority of manner^ 
both in him and in his two daughters, who serve at the counter, to 
persons of the same class in England. When the girls have weighed 
out their candles, or written down the orders that are sent in, they 
instantly sit down to their needlework behind the counter, and are 
always busy, yet always quiet; and their father, though of course 
there may be vulgar idioms in his language which I do not recogniae, 
has entirely the manners of a gentleman." 

"(September 30.) — I have one advantage here I had not counted 
on. I see by the papers that the weather in England is very stormy 
and bad. Now, though it is showery here, and hreetj, it has always 
allowed me at some time of the day to draw — ^the air is tender and 
soft, invariably, even when blowing with force; and to-day I have 
seen quite the loveliest sunset I ever yet saw— one at Boulogne, in 
'61, was richer,^ but for delicacy and loveliness, nothing of past sight 
ever came near this." 

** September 30. — I am well satisfied with the work I am doing, 
and even with my own power of doing it, if only I can keep my- 
self from avariciously trying to do too much, and working hurriedly. 
But I can do very little quite well each day; with that little, how- 
ever, it is my bounden duty to be content. 

''And now I have a little piece of news for you. Our old 
Heme Hill house being now tenantless and requiring some repairs 
before I can get a tenant, I have resolved to keep it myself for 
my rougher mineral work and mass of collections, keeping only my 
finest specimens at Denmark Hill. My first reason for this is 
afiection for the old house; my second, want of room; my third, 

1 The letter of September 18 (in part) and the passara from the letters of 
September 18, 22, and 30, and October 19 have appeared In W. G. CoUingwood's 
I^fe (f Huikin, pp. 261-264 (1900 edition). 

' Letter 6. And, in this volume, see the conclusion of the Abbeville lecture 
(p. 267). 

^ In a letter to his father from Boulogne, August 4, 1861, Ruskin wrote : " The 
sunset on Friday evening here was without ezceotion the most beautiful, and by 
far the most beautiful, I have ever seen in my lire. It consisted of bars of ruby- 
eoleured cloud, waved like sand, with a JfncaeM of wave I never saw approached." 


the incompatiliility of hammering, washing, and experimenting on 
stones with ekaiiliness in my stores of drawings; and my fourth 
is the power I shall have, when I want to do anything veiy quietly, 
of going up the hill and thinking it out in the old garden, where 
your greenhouse still stands, and the aviary, without fear of inter- 
ruption from callers. 

" It may perhaps amuse you, in hours which otherwise would be 
listless, to think over what may be done with the old house. I have 
ordered it at once to be put in proper repair by Mr. Snell, but for 
the furnishing I can give no directions at present; it is to be very 
simple, at all events, and calculated chiefly for museum work and 
for store of stones and books, and you really must not set your 
heart on having it furnished like Buckingham Palace. 

" I have bought to-day, for five pounds, the front of the porch of 
the Church of St. James. It was going to be entirely destroyed. It 
is worn away, and has little of its old beauty, but as a remnant of 
the Gothic of Abbeville— as I happen to be here, and as the church 
was dedicate to my father's patron saint (as distinct from mine) — I'm 
glad to have got it. It is a low arch, with tracery and niches, which 
ivy and the Erba della Madonna will grow over beautifully, wherever 
I rebuild it" 

" (October I9.) — I am glad to come home, though much mortified 
at having fiuled in half my plans, and done nothing compared to what 
I expected. But it is better than if I were displeased with all I had 
done. It isn't Turner; and it isn't Correggio; it isn't even Prout; 
but it isn't bad." 

Of the drawings which Raskin thus made at Abbeville some account 
is given below, in the description of the illustrations to the present 
volume (p. Ixzv.). He had occasional distractions, in the visits of 
a s sistants and friends. Mr. William Ward joined him for a while. 
He had Downs, too, for a week, to show him the country and how 
the French market-gardeners raised their melons. Professor Norton 
also visited him. ^^He spent most of the day in drawing, studying 
the church from various points, and portraying the elaborate and 
fiEuiciful details of its architecture with the mastery of genius.^^ Norton 
carried him off for a day or two to Paris, where they fell in with 
Longfellow, whose poetry Ruskin often much admired, and the poef^s 
brother-in-law, Tom Appleton. ^^ There could not be a pleasanter 
dinner,^ adds Professor Norton, **than that which we had one evening 
at Meorice's. Ruskin, Longfellow, and Appleton were each at his 
respectively unsurpassed best, and when late at night the little company 
broke up, its members parted from each other as if all had been old 


firiends.^^ Ruskin was, indeed, in a good mood during most of these 
months in France. *^I went to my work,^ he notes in his diary (Sep- 
tember 18), ^^for the first time tiiis many and many a day singing 
a little to myself.^ 

His main work was drawing; his intellectual interests were still 
much scattered. He was reading a good deal in the classics, and at 
one page of the diary he notes a morning spent on *^ planning con- 
centration of work on antiquities.^ But in the afternoon he came 
down firom Athena in the Air, and worked at *^ paper on employ- 
ment — ^that is, the pamphlet of Notes on the General Principles of 
Empht/fnent for the Destitute and Criminal Classes^ which he issued 
for private circulation later in the year.' 

This was the subject which absorbed much of Ruskin^s time after 
his return from Abbeville at the end of October. A committee had 
been formed of persons interested in the subject of the Unemployed; 
Ruskin was on the general committee, and also on the executive sub- 
committee. He had a point of view of his own — sufficiently indicated 
in his Notes — and fought hard for such recognition of it as was possible. 
He found a valuable coadjutor in Cardinal (then Archbishop) Manning, 
and records some of his successes in the diary. *^ Hard fight on Com- 
mittee; dine at Froude^s^ (December 4); ^^Did grand piece of work 
on Committee ^^ (December 1). In letters to Mrs. Norton,' he gives a 
lively account of his difficulties and his devices. *^ Everybody sends me 
their opinions privately; I pick out what I want and prepare it as 
Mr. So-and-so^s, patting it hard on the back.^ He saw the truth of 
Jowett^s saying, that the way to get things done is not to mind who 
gets the credit of doing them. 

Professor Norton, who with his wife and family was at this time 
staying at Keston in Kent, has described how ^^ Ruskin did every- 
thing to make our stay in the country pleasant, coming over to see 
us, often writing and sending books or water-colour drawings by 
Turner, himself, and others, to light up the somewhat dull rooms of 
the little old Rectory in which we were living; sending also gifts to 
my little children. ... To give pleasure was his delight.**^^ Keston 
is close to Downe, and on one occasion Professor Norton arranged a 
meeting between Ruskin and Darwin. ^^RuskinV gracious courtesy,*^ 
he says, ^^was matched by Darwin^s charming and genial simplicity. 

^ Letters qf John Buskin, vol. i. pp. 178, 179. 
3 See Vol. XVII. pp. 540-546. 

^ Reprinted in a later volume of this edition from Lexers qf John Rudein to 
Charles Mot Norton, vol. i. pp. 187-193. 

* Lettere qf John Buekin, voL i. pp. 176, 196. 


Koflldn was full of questions which interested the elder naturalist by 
the keenness of observation and the variety of scientific attainment 
which they indicated, and their animated talk afforded striking illus- 
traticm of the many sympathies that underlay the divergence of their 
points of view and of their methods of thought. The next morning 
Darwin rode over on horseback to say a pleasant word about Ruskin, 
and two days afterward Ruskin wrote, ^Mr. Darwin was delightful.^ ^^ 
At a later date Darwin came over to see Ruskin at Denmark Hill, 
and Ruskin visited him at Downe. Darwin^s biographer gives an amus- 
ing account of his father^s courteous but feigned appreciation of the 
treasures of Denmark Hill : — 

way of looking at himself as an ignoramus in all matters of art 
was strengthened by the absence of pretence, which was part of his char- 
acter. With regard to questions of taste, as well as to more serious things, 
he always had the courage of his opinions. I remember, however, an in- 
stance that sounds like a contradiction to this: when he was looking at 
the Turners in Mr. Ruskin's bedroom, he did not confess, as he did after- 
wards, that he could make out absolutely nothing of what Mr. Raskin saw 
in them. But this little pretence was not for his own sake, but for the 
sake of courtesy to his host. He was pleased and amused when subse- 
quently Mr. Ruskin brought him some photographs of pictures (I think 
Vandyke portraits), and courteously seemed to value my £sther's opinion 
about them.^ 

There is a reference in this volume to Darwin^s ^* unwearied cind un- 
erring investigations^;' and it could be wished that Ruskin had always 
observed the same amenity of tone in his published criticisms of the 
great naturalist. 

The other preoccupation which Ruskin notes as holding him during 
the weeks following his return from Abbeville is characteristic: **This 
last fortnight entirely taken up with Committees, and considering 
what to do in the winter among my old stores.^ He turned now 
to *• history of the 16th century'' and then to "mosses."* Botany 
seemed for a time to be winning in the race for Ruskin's immediate 
attention, but in the end he set himself down to Greek mythology, 
and wrote a lecture on " Greek Myths of Storm "" ; though, to be sure, 

^ LeUen of John Ruskin, vol. i. p. 195. 

* Life and LeUen qf Charkt Darwin, edited by his son, Francis Darwin, vol. i. 
pp. 126-126. 

' Queen of the Air, § 62 ». (p. 358). 

* See the account of a conversation with Miss Roberts given in Vol XYIII. 
p. 1. It may be noted also that the first chapter of Proserpina is dated November 3, 


when he printed the lecture in a book — The Queen qf the Air^-vi 
good deal of botany managed to find a place.^ Fint, however, he had 
another task on hand — the preparation of his lecture for the Royal 
Institution on Flamboyant Architecture. *^Much teased,^ he writes in 
the diary (January 12), ^ with too much to get into Abbeville lecture.^ 
This was a form of teasing to which Buskin always found himself 
subjected ; his mind was so full, his thought so active and wide-'ranging 
that he ever saw the universal in the particular, and, at each turn of 
the road, found his subject branching ofi^ into innumerable directions. 
In the end, however, the Abbeville lecture got itself into oonsistcnt 
shape and manageable compass ; though, indeed, he afterwards detached 
some thoughts on the relations of art and morality as more appropriate 
elsewhere than ^^in incidental connection with the porches of Abbe- 
ville,*"' and though, too, his material overflowed into an^ illustrative 

The Abbeville lecture was delivered on January 29, 1869. The 
next three months were devoted to 7%« Queen of the Air^ the lectures 
on which the book is founded having been delivered on March 9 and 
15. When he set himself to gather up his materials into a book, the 
work, as usual, grew under his hands ; ' he was beginning to feel the 
stress of close application; and having finished the last page, he left 
home for rest and change in Switzerland and Italy, entrusting to his 
friend Professor Norton, who was then in England, the task of seeing 
the book finally through the press. He wrote the Preface at Vevay. 
Some notes upon the volume, which was published in June, are given 
at a later place in this Introduction (p. Ixv.). Before he left Eng- 
land he also prepared the catalogue for fifty of his less treasured 
drawings and pictures, mostly by Turner, whidi were sold at Christie^s 
(Vol. XIII. pp. 669-672). 

Ruskin was away on this occasion for four months, spending most 
of the time at Verona,^ but sometimes going over to Venice for a few 

^ §§ 74-87 : see below, pp. 307-377. 

» See qtwen of the Air, § 101 (below, p. 389). 

> See in LeUen to Norton, voL i. p. 200, the letter of April 12, 1869 (reprinted 
in a later volume of this edition). 

* His itinerary was as follows : Paris (April 27)> D^on (April 29), Neuchatel 
(April 30), Vevay (May 1), Martignv (May 3), Domo d'Ossola (May 6), Baveno 
(IVfay 6), Verona (May 9), Venice (May 11), Verona (May 14), Venice (July 1), 
Verona (July 2), Venice (July 16), Verona (July 18), Padua (July 19), Verona 
rJuly 21), Venice (July 29), Verona (Aunst 10), Brescia (Augrust 11), Milan 
(Auipitt 12), Como and Lncano (August 1^, Faido and Hoapenthal (August 15), 
Bekenried (August 16), Giessbach (August 18), Than (August 24), Giessbach 
(August 26), Neuchatel (August 28). 


days. As in the previous year he had gone to Abbeville to revise his 
impressions of the French architecture which he had studied for The 
Seven LampSy so now he revisited another of his &vourite haunts — 
Verona, the town which, he says, ^^ represented the faith and the beauty 
of Italy ,^ ^ and there, and at Venice, he reconsidered the conclusions he 
had formed in The Stones of Venice. In the main he found nothing 
to retract. ^^I am very glad to find,^ he wrote to his mother from 
Venice (August 7), ^ that after seventeen years I can certify the truth 
of every word of T%e Stones of Venice as far as regards art.*" One new 
diaoovery, however, he made among the Venetian pictures. ^^This 
Carpaccio,^ he wrote to Bume- Jones (May 18), ^*is a new world to 
me.'"* In the sphere of architecture and histoi'y he found that his 
main conclusions had been right, but the studies of the interveniag 
years now suggested many qualifications, connexions, and reserves which 
occurred to him : — 

''The work still goes on well," he writes from Verona (June l6)^ 
*' except in one respect, that the questions I have to consider respect- 
ing architectural styles have become difficult and interminable to 
me in proportion to my knowledge. I am like a physician who has 
begun practice as an apothecary's boy, and gone on serenely and 
not unsuccessfully treating his patients under rough notions, generally 
applicable enough — as, that cold is caught sitting in a draught, and 
stomach-ache by eating too many plums, and the like — but who has 
read, at last, and thought, so much about the mucous membrane 
and the liver, that he dares not give anybody a dose of salts without 
a day's reflection on the circumstances of the case. However, there 
is great and true difficulty in tracing the sources of the power of 
different schools of art, and I don't get on with my thinking work 
at all just now." 

But the more he sketched and studied, the more he saw his way; 
and as in France he had planned a Stones of AlbevUUy so now he 
seems to have intended a Stones qf Verona? ^^I think my work on 
Verona,"^ he writes to his mother (June 21), *^ though much shorter, 
will be a far better one than on Venice.*" Ultimately the work took 
no moce elaborate form than the lecture on Verona which comes last 
in the present volume. It is packed full of subjects which are glanced 

1 PraterUa, ii. § 140. 

* The letter, with other references to Raskin's '^ discovery " of Carpaccio, is 
printed in VoL IV. p. 366 n. See also Fwrs Olawgera^ Letter 20. 
' He uses the phrase in § 10 of the lecture (below, p. 434). 


at rather than fully discussed, and it was illustrated by an exhibition 
of drawings, several of which are here reproduced. In letters to his 
mother we may trace the impressions and the thoughts which crowded 
Ruskin^s mind during these months of study at Verona, and which 
coloured his lecture: — 

''DoMo d'Obsola^ May 5. — I never yet had so beautiful a day 
for the Simplon as this has been, though the skin of my face is 
burning now all over — to keep me well in mind of its sunshine. 
I left Brieg at six exactly — light clouds breaking away into perfect 
calm of blue. Heavy snow on the Col — about a league, with the 
wreaths in many places higher than the carriage. Then, white crocus 
all over the fields, with Soldanella and Primula farinosa. I walked 
about three miles up, and seven down, with great contentment— the 
waterfalls being all in rainbows, and one beyond anything I ever 
yet saw, for it fell in a pillar of spray against shadow behind, and 
became rainbow altogether. I was just near enough to get the belt 
broad, and the down part of the arch; and the whole fall became 
orange and violet against deep shade. To-morrow I hope to get 
news of you all, at Baveno. 

''Ever, my dearest Mother, 

''Your most affectionate Son, 

"J. RUSKIN.*'! 

"Bavkno, Mcttf 6. — It is wet this morning and very dismal, for 
we are in a ghastly new Inn, the old one being shut up, and there 
is always a reaction after a strong excitement like the beauty of 
the Simplon yesterday, which leaves one very dull. But it is of no 
use growling or mewing. I hope to be at Milan to-morrow — at 
Verona for Sunday. I have been reading Dean Swift's Life and 
GuUwers Travels again. Putting the delight in dirt, which is a mere 
disease, aside. Swift is veiy like me, in most things — in opinions 
exactly the same."' 

"Verona, May 10. — My father's birthday generally brings me 
some good. . . . To-day . . . soft air and light, among the tombs of 
noble people, and rest, with those who can love, and be betrayed, 
no more." 

"Venice, May 11. — I am much surprised to find how great 
pleasure I can take in this place still. It is much less injured than 

1 This letter is given in W, G. Collingwood's Life qf John Euikitu p. 269 
(1900 edition). ^ 

< Also in Collingwood, p. 259. For the last sentenee, see Vol. XVIII. p. Ixi. 


I expected^ and it seems aa if the seTenteen yean had passed like • 
dream, and left me here again, my old self, only wiser and capable 
of better judgment and work, though with failing strength." 

'' Verona, Mm^ l6. — I am now completely in my element^-or 
rather, in my two elements — ^for every piece of sculpture here is as 
interesting in mineralogy as in art. I never saw such wonderful 
marbles in my Hfe, and they are all from the mountains close by; 
also, now that I know more and feel more about Italian history, 
every comer of the churches becomes interesting to me, and I hope 
to put some things together in a way that will interest others." 

''Verona, May 21. — I had a sunset last night which convinced 
me that, after all, there is nothing so picture-like as the colour of 
Italian landscape. There were some blue mountains beyond the 
Lago di Garda seen against the light, and they were of a blue 
exactly like the blue of paint, at of the bloom of a plum, a lovely 
plain, covered with vines and cypresses, being all round, to the 
south and west, and soft lower slopes of Alp on the north. I never 
saw an3rthing more heavenly." 

^May 25. — It is very strange that I have just been in time — 
after seventeen years' delay — ^to get the remainder of what I wanted 
from the red tomb of which my old drawing hangs in the passage. 
To-morrow they put up scaffolding to retouch, and, I doubt not, 
spoil it fbr evermore. But I have always my great plan of fighting 
the Rhone to fall back upon."^ 

"May 26. — I am getting on quite beautifully with my drawing. 
• . . But hitherto I have had to draw against time. I got a delay 
of ten days in putting up a scaffolding, and I have had to do all I 
could in the time; it has hurried and confused me much/' 

Notes on the drawings of the Castelbarco Tomb here referred to will be 
found in Ruskin's " Verona '" Catalogue (below, pp. 461-468). When the 
work of restoration, or destruction, was accomplished, he bought '* one 
of the stones of the roof of my dear old red tomb"; it has "part of 
its new white cap on,"^ he writes (July 23), " and looks like a Venetian 
gentleman in a Pantaloon^s mask." Two days later he "got at the 
stone-mason who long ago restored the broken pieces of the tomb of 
Can Signorio, and got from him one of the original little shafts of 
the niches. It is in a splendid, largely crystalline white marble (I 
think Greek, not Italian), and is a perfect example of the chiselling 
at Verona in the fourteenth century. It is only about a yard high, 
and I shall carry it home myself like a barometer, wrapt in paper." 

1 This extract is given in Collingwood's lAfe (^ Rwkin, p. 263. 
▼!▼ d 


In preserving records of the falling Stones of Verona, Ruskin had the 
assistance of J. W. Bunney : * — 

" Verona, Jvne S, — I am getting on well with all my own work, 
and much pleased with some that Mr. Bunney is doing for me, so 
that really I expect to carry off a great deal of Verona — especially 
if this cool weather lasts. . . . The only mischief of the place is 
its being too rich. Stones, flowers, mountains, all equally asking one 
to look at them — a history to every foot of ground, and a picture 
on every foot of wall, frescoes fading away in the neglected streets — 
like the colours of the dolphin.* And I can only do — so much — so 
little ! — every day." 

'* Verona, June 7. — I enjoy my mornings here immensely. I get up 
at quarter to five and dress quietly, looking out at the morning light 
on the tomb of the Count Castelbarco (my £Etvourite old red one); 
then at quarter to six I go to the caf6 at the corner of the square 
and sip my cup of coffee, looking at the lovely old porch of St. 
Anastasia; then by six o'clock I am at my work, as I used to be in 
1845, which it is great pleasure to me to find still possible. Then I 
come in to breakfast at half-past eight and read a little — ^then dmw 
again till eleven, when I come in to write my letters — ^then I rest 
till three — then get a couple of hours more work — and then my 
walk before dinner. I dine at eight, just now — for else I should 
lose the sunset (but seven is better) — and get to bed at ten. But 
there's so much to do!" 

''Verona, June 8. — This place would be too beautiful and delight- 
ful — if only it were utterly desolate. But the human creatures of 
it are horrible. They live in a perpetual anger with their neigh- 
bours, their cattle, and themselves, for they have all a discontented 
and downcast look, which means scorn of self, and they cannot 
speak but in loud fury if the question be but of a cabbage stalk. 
I was thinking of Frederick the Great's final scorn of mankind, to- 
day — the end of all his labour.* I believe if one tries energetically 
to do good, one will always see little but evil in men; and if one 
tries to do evil, one develops the good, so contradictory are the 
fates. However, mind, I don't give in to the ''corruption of human 

* For previous references to Banney, see Vol. III. p. 210 ; Vol. V. p. xli. ; Vol. X. 

8 p. Ixiii.-lxiv. ; and Vol. XIV. p. xix. Several of the drawings which he made for 
Luskin are in the Ruskin Art Collection at Oxford : see Oaialoffue qf ike Reference 
Series, No. 83, in Vol. XX., where a note is now added upon the artist and his work. 

* This extract (down to this point) is in Collingwood's lAfe qf Ruskin, p. 264. 
s See Carlyle's Friedrieh, book xxi. ch. ix. : "He well knew himself to be dying. 

From of old. Life has been infinitely contemptible to him. . . . That the unfiithom- 
able Demiurgus should concern himself with such a set of paltry ill-given animal- 
4iule8 as oneself and mankind are, this also, as we have often notiosd, is in the 
main incredible to him." 


nature/' 1 any more than^ if I had to live in the Pontine marshes, 
I would allow a theory of the general corruption of water." 

"Verona, /tme 10. — If I remember rightly, you used to take some 
interest in Mr. Bunney. You may like to know he is doing most 
lovely work for me ^ — coloured drawings of the buildings, large — ^while 
I myself draw the detail, requiring (though I say it) my advanced 
judgment to render accurately. Alas ! the judgment is still far before 
the manual power. I was quarter of an hour yesterday vainly try- 
ing to dmw a fold of Can Grande's mantle.* But I do better than 
any one else would. For no one else would even try. 

** I had a wonderful drive yesterday afternoon among the loveliest 
wfi mountains I ever saw, undulating themselves like folds of the 
£urest purple drapery, with Verona on the other side in the plain, 
her many towers looking almost like a fleet of ships on far-off sea. 

''There is such a lovely nnnfside flower here, literally a wayside 
rose ; it is a white, or pale yellow, potentilla, looking just like a small 
white rose growing as a buttercup does." 

"Verona, June 15. — I framed last night, to keep it safe, a really 
very lovely pencil drawing of the tomb of Can Grande,^ and this 
morning before breakfast got two arches of the most precious of the 
old bridges, and in &ct am for once losing no time ; all the dmwings 
coming more or less well. 

'* The perpetual irritation caused by the misery and folly of the 
people (an inbred folly of many generations which, if one could even 
grind the whole race of them in the valley of Chamouni for a mortar, 
with Mont Blanc, upside down, for a pestle, one couldn't grind out 
of them in one grain or tittle) are perhaps very good for me in fixing 
the resolutions I have been making for resistance to the evil of the 

" I have a lovely letter from Mrs. Cowper, so much interested in 
all my plans." 

''Verona, Jtme 22. — I am 'getting quite round' my favourite 
Griffin. I am painting him on the other side from that I engraved 
in Modem PahUen, and the marble of him comes all into beautiful 
orange and grey, and I'm continually finding out new feathers and 
sinews in him that I did not know of.^ 

"The before-break£sst hours are very delightful, just now. The 
fresh snow on the hills; sky cleared by rain, luxuriant vines, almost 

> See Queen qf the Air, § 71 (p. 365). 

s See, for mstance. No. 11 in the " Abbeville " Catalogue, and Nos. 8, 9, 10, 16 
in the "Verona" Catalogue ; below, pp. 271, 461, 463. 

* See Plate A in Vol. XI. (p. 88). 

^ Perhaps one of the drawings from which Plate XXIII. here (p. 441) is 

» See Na 4 in the "Verona" Catalogue (p. 44d). 


at evcrf houfle oorner as well as eovering the hilli» and the towers 
and biidges of the city huge in morning mist. 

''But the unhappj people with no hope^ nor understanding, nor 
revevence, nor delight, and yet so capable of all — ^if they were cared 
for« It is liring in a city of the dead — disquieted and troublous. 

''The old dead are so much more really living, by tfaieir work. 
At St. Zeno this morning I was at work on two lines of fresco- 
one of fourteenth century — modem, which^ where btoken away, 
showed large spaces of twelfth^centuiy fresco beneath it, and both 
first-rate of their lund." 

"VERONA, JifM 25. — I've just come in from my morning walk — 
the worst of it is, there's too much everywhere, Uke having illu- 
minated missals laid open before one in a long row. To-day at 
St. F«rmo Maggiore I found out two or three beautiful things in 
one comer of the porch ^ in ten minutes, any one of which would 
take a day to draw, or to explain ; then just as I was going away, 
I saw a shoot of new vine running up over the most perfect tvy, 
both of them holding to a k>vely w^l of red brick and white marble 
of the tlurteenth century. Now, fancy that! the lorely colour of 
brick and marble six hundred years old, and over it perfect ivy and 
young vine in luxuriant shoots — ^it waa enough to drive one wild, and 
this kind of thing is at every comer. 

"Drawings go on very beautifully — but «o slowly. 

" I had the loveliest view last night of all yet. The weather is 
settling, and I had a ealm sunset over the Lago di Gaxda, its purple 
mountains relieved against its silver shield^-aU seen from the sweetest 
bank of balmy thyme and grass — in a garden of vines. There is one 
good in the noise and evil of the town, it makes the peace of the 
fields so precious." 

"Verona, June 28. — It is curious how exactly this place unites 
all the things I have chiefly studied — so as to enable me to bring 
myself all out, in what I shall have to say of it. 

"The rock on which its walls are built was the first in which 
fossil remains were ever studied; here, first, it was suggested that 
they were remains of real shells and not mere illusions of chance.' 
And, as I have said before, the flowers are supremely beautiful and 
wonderful also, and the mountain views mmvalled, and all this with 
four early churches of twelfth and thirteenth century — any one of 
which would be enough to occupy me for a year — besides the 
Scaliger tombs, and the street palaces. 

" I hope to do a very interesting piece of work upon it, but I am 
but just in time." 

^ See Nos. 8-10 in the "Verona" Catalogue (p. 4^1). 
' See below, " Veromi and its Rivers," § 2 (p. 430 n.). 


" Vkrona^ Jum 99. — I never did so ttiuch work in a given time as 
I have in this last month, and all of it is more or less good, and 
satisfactoty. And at least (which is my principal reason for doing it) 
such as it is, no one but I could do it. I have been all this morning 
drawing a bit of the old Scala ironworii:, with aD its jags and breaks 
«nd bends; everybody else would take the pattern and do it all 
neat, and the beauty of ages^-if any one cares for iXr-^-oan only be 
got in my way/'^ 

'' Verona, Jtme SO, — I was looking over all my work last night, and 
it really is very good, and there's a great deal of it. 

** The history is becoming immensely interesting to me as I read 
more of the old books about it. The great difficulty is not to over- 
excite myself tir do too much, all the more difficult because my 
tltoaghts both of life and death are not cheerful, so that rest is always 
a sort of ' Now hete are two hours which I have to spend only in 
walking towards the End — two hours lost, out of short life.* 

''I do not know how much you cared to hear about my Alpine 
plans. I hope that I shall get times of more refreshing work and 
thought in them." 

''Vbrona, July 5. — ^I dined eariy yesterday and drove a good 
way towards the head of the Lago di Garda to see the rodm of 
marble on the road. They are full of interest, and make the most 
bcastiful landscapes, with the cypresses and vines that belong to 
them* I ought to do some wonderful wwk, joining my gaology and 
art and politica] economy all together in this essay on Verona. I 
was at work rather hard this morning at six o'clock drawing a sea- 
horse on a palace gate, and now Tm so sleepy (twelve) that I can't 
write legibly; so I won't write any more, but will rest a little." 

** VxRONA, July 6.-^1 went yesterday for a little run up the valley 
which ascends to the Tyrol, and had a mountain walk which did 
tte good. But I never felt more distinctly that I was more in my 
place at Verona than on the hills, and that while many people could 
draw mountains, no one could draw statues or frescoes as well as I 
oottld ; that is to say, perceiving as exactly where their beauty lay." 

*' Vbnicb, August S.--^You will never believe it, but I have actually 
been all the morning trying to draw — a b*by.* The baby which the 
priest is holding in the little copy of Tintoret by Edward Jones 
which my father liked so much, over the basin-stand in his bedroom. 

i Kuskin's drawing of the ironwork may be seen in Plate B in VoL XL (p. 90). 
See tlao the piece of '^ iron-lace'' engraved in Fors Clavigera, Letter 2. 

* This is a water-coloar copy of the child in Tintoret's ''Presentation in the 
Temple,** or ** Circumcision *' : the picture is in the Scuola di San Rocco (see Vol. 
XL p. 409). Raskin's study of the child is now No. 96 in the Reference Series 
at Oxford (VoL XX.). The copy by Borue^ones is also now at Oxford (No. 226 
in the Educational Series). 


All the knowledge I have gained in these seventeen years^ only 
makes me more full of awe and wonder at Ttntoret. But it w so 
sad— so sad: — no one to care for him but me, and all going so 
fast to ruin. 

"He has done that inftoit Christ in about five minutes, and I 
worked for two hours in vain, and could not tell wAy in vain — ^the 
rmf^ery of his touch is so great."' 

''Venice, August 8 {Sunday), — I have done my work — at Venice — 
for this time; but it has been very serious work, bearing much on 
the question of the principal employment of what remains to me of 
life, and bringing before me, in the sternest way, the laws of life for 
others. For here in one city may be seen the effects of extreme 
aristocracy and extreme democracy — of the highest virtues and 
worst sins — of the greatest arts and the most rude simplicities of 
humanity. It is the history of all men, not ' iu a nutshell,' but in 
a nautilus shell — my white nautilus* that I painted so carefully is a 
lovely type of Venice." 

An inspection of the drawings in the Ruskin Art Collection at 
Oxford is necessary in order to give an idea of the large amount of work 
which Ruskin did with the pencil and the brush during his summer at 
Verona in 1869. He worked hard» and allowed himself few dbtractions. 
But he much enjoyed occasional days spent with his old and dearly loved 
friend, Rawdon Brown, at Venice. A chance meeting in Verona with 
Longfellow, whom Ruskin had seen in Paris the year before,^ also gave 
him much pleasure, as also a subsequent meeting with Holman Hunt 
in Venice: — 

'^ Verona.^ — ^As I was drawing in the square this morning in a 
lovely, quiet, Italian light, there came up the poet Longfellow with 
his little daughter, a girl of twelve or thirteen, with jprv^y-curled 
flaxen hair — curls, or waves, that wouldn't come out in damp^ I mean. 
They stayed talking beside me some time. I don't think it was a 
very vain thought that came over me, that if a photograph could 
have been taken of the beautiful square of Verona, in that soft light, 
with Longfellow and his daughter talking to me at my work, some 
people both in England and America would have liked copies of it'* 

^ That is, since 1851-1862, when Ruskin was writing the last two volumes of 
StoneM <2f Venice, containing, in the Venetian Index, the account of Untoret's works 
in the Scuola di San Rocco. 

« This letter is reprinted from W. G. Collingwood's W^ qf Ruskin, p. 266. 

* A study by Ruskin of the Paper Nautilus is No. 106 in the Educational 
Series at Oxford (VoL XX.). 

^ Above, p. xliiL 

' The letter is dated May 4, a slip of the pen for June. It is in W, G. Colling- 
wood's Life qf Ruskin, p. 264. 


" Vbnicb^ Jubf 1. — The painter, Holman Hunt^ is here, and yester- 
day I showed him the Scuola di San Rocco, and I thought again 
if there could hare been got two photographs— one of the piazsa at 
Verona, with Longfellow and me^ and another of Tintoret's Annun- 
ciation, with Holman Hunt and me examining it — both of them 
would find some sale with the British public." 

The reader will have noticed allusions in some foregoing letters 

to '^Alpine plans,^ and many notes upon the contrast between the 

beauties of nature and of art and the misery of the human beings 

in the midst of them. This is a refrain, perpetually recurring, in all 

Ruakin^s later books and letters. He dare not be happy, with so much 

pain around him; he cannot be miserable, with so much beauty to 

enjoy and to interpret: — 

'^ Verona, Jwm nth, 1869. 

''My dearest Mother, — The weather is quite cool and pleasant, 
and the after-dinner drives are entirely delightful. Yesterday I was 
np the hills far above the town, looking down on Verona on one 
side, and over the great plain aa far as Padua on the other, with 
the Alps to the north ; and the hill all over sweet wild grass at the 
top, with the skylarks singing, as if there were really no harm in the 
world at all. 

''All these things do not make me happy — ^nothing will ever do 
that ; and I should be ashamed if anything could, while the earth is 
so full of misery. But they are very good and comforting to me, 
and help me to do my work better. 

"I am painting the Roman bridge over the Ad5:re very success- 


"Ever, my dearest Mother, 

"Your most affectionate Son, 


The Alpine plans of which he speaks had often been in his mind 
befoire,* and he reverted to them as he passed through Switzerland in 
this year on his way to Verona, where, too, he found the same problem 
awaiting solution as in the valley of the Rhone: — 

"Brieo, May 4. — I have been forming some plans as I came up 
the valley from Martigny. I never saw it so miserable, and all 
might be cured if they would only make reservoirs for the snow 
waters and use them for agriculture, instead of letting them run 
down into the Rhone, and I think it is in my power to show this. 

•_ »• 

1 This is the Ponte della Pietra. The drawing is No. 296 in the Educational 
Series at Oxford. 

> See, for instance. Modem Painters, voL iv. (VoL VL p. 391, and Munera PiUo9ri$f 
I 147 (VoL XVIL p. 270). 


At Verona he had heatd from some of his peasant friends at Chamouni, 
and he still hoped to cany oat experiments there in curbing the 

mountain torrents: — 


''Verona (May SS). — I know that the thing canl>e done, and all 
these great monstrous dragons of rivers harnessed, and made fruit- 
ful and serviceable in all their wavea" 

''Verona, June 2. — I had yesterday your lovely letter of 29th May, 
as nicely written as could be, in spite of bad pens, and saying that 
you would have pleasure in the thought of my having that land at 
Chamouni, which it gives me great delight to know. 'J think it very 
likely I shall get it. I see more and more clearly every day my 
power of showing how the Alpine torrents may be — ^not subdued — 
but 'educated.' ^ A torrent is just like a human creature — ^left to gain 
full strength in wantonness and rage, no power can any more re- 
deem it; but watch the channels of every early impulse and fence 
them, and your torrent becomes the gentlest and most blessiiig of 

"!Faido, August 14. — ^This is the village just below Turner's great 
torrent scene, where I stayed — ages ago — to draw it I could not 
get farther this evening, for the St Grothard road was last year 
carried away for miles by the inundations, and one has now to work 
one's way through cart-loads of sand ; but there is no more difficulty 
now between me and the top. 

" Is it not strange that Turner should at once have fixed on this 
torrent, as his exponent and example of the fury of Alpine stream ; 
and that eighteen years after his deaths I should -^nd the most 
tremendous desolation I ever saw in the Alps, caused by this same 

" No other, in the whole range of Alpine river, has yet given me 
the idea of its being unopposable ; but I do not see how to deal with 
this Tidno. 

" All its tributaries descend from beds of clear hard rock. Every 
drop comes down as clean as by a pipe from a house roof, and nearly 
as steep down^ and you have forty miles of Alps on each side drained 
clean and clear into the Ticino in four hoars after the storm begins ! 

" The plagbe of it, too, this time, is that every chief burst of it 

- was over a village. Of the village of Giornico, once the prettiest in 
the valley, only half the houses are yet standing, in the mid«t of 

- heaps of rocks, rolled stones, and sand. 

1 Gonipare F&n Olavigeniy "Letter 10, €d fin. 

' For another reference to the inundationB of the Ticino in 1808, see "Verona 
and its Rivers/' $ dO; below, p. 446. 


^I shall enjoy the St Gothard drawing^^ hbwever, when I get 
heme^ more tiian ever^ which is verj heartless and wicked ; but I 
, ahall/' 


He had, too, in hia mind those larger schemes of social reform to 
, which reference has already been made in this Introduction. He speaks 
of one of them in a letter to his mother: — 

- "Verona, June 18. — Yesterday, it being quite cool, I went for a 
walk, and as I came down from a rather (|uiet hillside a mile or. two 
out of town, I passed a house where the women were at work spinning 
the silk off the cocoons. There was a sort of whirring sound as in 
.an English mill ; but at intervals they sang a long sweet chant, all 
together, lasting about two minutes, then pausing a minute and then 
beginning again. It was good and tender music, and the multitude 
of Toices prevented any sense of failure, b9 that it was all very lovely 
and sweet, and like the things that I mean to try to bring to pass." * 

Boskin^s letters to Professqr Norton of this date show how full his 
mind was of the question of inimdations. He was bent on ^^ redeeming 
that valley of the Rhone.^ He would try and interest the Alpine Club 
in the scheme,' and if they would not take it up, he would ^'do one 
hillside himself.^ On one of his flying visits from Verona to Venice 
he met an engineer who was interested in a scheme for constructing an 
aqueduct. He had conversations, too, with Signor Carlo Blumenthal, 
the Venetian banker, who was connected with the management of the 
lagoons. To both of them he preached his gospel of educating the 
streams. If men would only catch the waste water where it fell, and 
keep it till they wanted it, instead of letting it run down into the 
valleys, the arid Alps would be ''one garden,^ and the inundations of 
the Tidno and the Adige need never recur. ''Every field its pdnd, 
every ravine its reservoir^ was his principle;^ and he was determined 
to show, if only on one hillside, how the thing could be done. When 
he returned home he laid his (various scHemes before Carlyle, who re* 
oeived report of them with sympathy, if with some criticism :— 

"Ruskin/' says Froude, ''was becoming more and more interesting to 
him. Ruskin seemed to be catching the fiery cross from his hand, as his 

^ Turner's " Pass of Faido," so often engraved and discussed by Ruskin : see 
VoL VL pp. XXV., xxvi. ^ 

' Reprinted from W. G. Collingwood's Life of Butkin, p. 266. The incident 
is referred to in Fi>rs CBaviffera, Letter 32. For ^tbe things I mean to try to 
hmg to pass/' see the account in a later volume of the Langdale linen Industry. 

s See alsa Vol. XVIII. p. lii. 

* See Letter* to Ohariee Eliot Norton^ vol. L pp.- 207-237, reprinted in a later 
Toliune of this edition. 


own strength was fidling. Writing this autnain [1869] to myself^ he 
'One day, by express desire on both sides, I had Ruskin for some hours, 
really interesting and entertaining. He is full of projects, of generous pro- 
spective activities^ some of which I opined to him would prove chimerical. 
There is, in singular environment, a ray of real Heaven in R. Passages of 
that last book Queen of the Air went into my heart like arrows.' " ^ 

''Don't neglect," Carlyle wrote to Ruskin himself (October 1), "to 
call on me the first time you are in town — the sight of your face will be 
a comfort, and I long for a little further talk on the problems you are 
occupied with. . . . Come, and let us settle some weekly evening again ; 
why not?" 

Ruskin^s projects as expounded to Carlyle, and many other plans, 
were, however, to be interrupted by a call to fresh work which he 
received towards the close of his sojourn in Italy in 1869. He was 
never to carry out in practice, on any considerable scale, the schemes 
of aquatic engineering to which he had given so much thought. But 
he touched upon them in his lecture on ^^Verona,^^ to which he added 
in the title ^^and its Bivers^; in his (^letters on Roman Inundations 
(Vol. XVII.); and often, incidentally, in Fore Clavigera. The news 
of his call to new duties at Oxford was sent home in two letters to 
his mother: — 

" LuQANO, Saturday, 14th AuguH 1869. 

"My dearest Mother, — Yesterday — exactly three months from 
the day on which I entered Verona to begin work — I made a con- 
cluding sketch of the old Broletto of Como, which I drew first for 
the Seven Lamps ^ — I know not how many years ago — and left Italy 
for this time, having been entirely well and strong every day of my 
quarter of a year's sojourn there. 

" This morning, before ^breakfast, I was seeing for the first time 
Luini's Crucifixion,^ for all religious art qualities the greatest picture 
south of the Alps— or rather in Europe. 

"And just after breakfast |I get a telegram from my cousin 
George * announcing) that I amf Professor of Art — the first — at the 
University of Oxford. 

''Which will give me as much power as I can well use, and 
would have given pleasure^to my poor father, and therefore to me — 

^ Carljfle'e Life in London, vol. iL p. 383 (8vo edition). 

' A sHp for Stones qf Venice: see Vol. IX., PUte V. (p. 174). 

s On the wall of the screen in the Church of Sta. Maria degli Angioli, "The 
Passion of Christ" — a picture containing several hundred figures, arranged in two 

* George Richardson. 


once — and perhaps may yet gire lome pleasure to — some one who 

has given me my worst patn.^ 

''It will make no diSerence in my general plans about trarel, 

etc. I shall think quietly of it as I driye up towards St. Gothard 


''Ever, my dearest Mother, 

''Ever your loving Son, 

"J. RU8KIN."« 

"HosPBNTHAL, St. Gothard, 16th August 1869. 

" My dearest Mother, — Here, in the old Inn you know so well, 
under the grassy hill you used to be so happy climbing in the mom« 
ing, I get a letter from my cousin George telling me I am the first 
professor of art appointed at the English Universities. 

"I hope — quietly and patiently, to be of very wide use in this 
position. I am but juH ripe for it. I should have committed my- 
self — ^in some way — had I got it sooner. But now it will enable 
me to obtain attention, and attention is all that I want to enable 
me to say what is entirely useful instead of what is merely pretty 
or entertaining. 

" But I shall be home soon now, and will tell you all about it — 
far too much to write. 

"Ever, my dearest Mother, 

"Your most affectionate Son, 


Tlie creation of the Slade Professorship of Fine Art at Oxford, 
Ruskin'^s election to it, and the work to which he set himself, are 
dealt with in the Introduction to the next volume. He was already on 
his way home when he heard of the appointment. He would ajjadlv 
have stayed longer in Italy, but his mother was yearning for his re- 
turn. At Milan he stayed for a day in order to visit Count Giberto 
Borromeo, whom he had met at Venice and whom he greatly liked. 
Then, after crossing the St. Gothard, he spent a day at Thun with 
Professor Norton, and went to see ** Marie of the Giessbach,^' who 
was dying of consumption.^ But the beauty of the place charmed him 
as much as ever: — 

"Marie," he writes to his mother (August 26), "has just brought 
me a nice little basket to gather some wild strawberries in, for my 

^ See, again, Praterita, iii. ch. iii. 

* This letter is reprinted from W, G. CoUingwood's Life qf JRiuAtn, pp. 266-207. 
» See Vol. XVIIL p. xliii. 

* Letters to Chariee sHat Norton, vol. i. p. 226. 


dessert. Pbor Marie will never gather any more, unless they grow 
in heaven, which I very much hope they do if I am to live there. 
Cfma da ConegUano always puts them in the grass near his Saints." ^ 

*' GiasBBAOH, 2M 4«ytMl 1809. 

''My dearest Motheh, — I do not know when I have enjoyed 
myself so much as I do in my quiet walks here. After the noise, 
vice, and undeanness of Italy, the pure moss and rocks, now in 
their perfect glow of summer beauty and repose, are intensely sooth- 
ing to me; and I am so interested in everything by the last three 
years' work in botany and geology, and especially by my present 
plans for managing the rainfall. I have been resting in perfect 
quiet on a sofa of moss, with the great curtain of soft pines, 
2000 feet high, drawn behind, between me and the sun (and the 
Giessbach glittering through it), examining intently for an hour to- 
gether the rim of the ravines above Brientz, on the opposite side 
of the lake, and planning where the dykes were to be thrown across, 
and where the stream was to be led, out of each, and how the 
drainage of the rain in the fields above was to be stopped. 

'' I have a little too many irons in the fire, as you say, for in the 
midst of this engineering I was so quiet (thinking), that a large 
grey grasshopper came to look at me; and then widked on to my 
coat, and examined that with the greatest attention; and then on 
to my hand, and examined that, not, since that was impossible, with 
greater, but with more prolonged care ; meantime I was also examin- 
ing Mm, and his wonderful eyes, and little active legs at his mouth ; 
and grand thighs, striped black, which are his musical instrumfsnts, 
and his little brown ruff falling over the back of his neck. He 
stayed so long that I got tired and put him down, whereupon he 
either sang a song or uttered a remonstrance, I don't know which, 
with both his legs, and jumped away with a whirr — kdtf flying. 

"I leave on Thursday, but come by NeuchAtel and Dijon as it 
is shorter. Here is a pretty envelope for you, for the Hdtel de la 
Goche, and Acland's lovely letter, and I am, my dearest Mother, 
ever your most affectionate Son, 


''GiasBBAOH, Sunday , 22nd AuguH 1809. 

*' My dearest Mother, — I think t never had so exquisite a walk 
yet in Switzerland as I have had this morning to the country abwe 
the Giessbach. The path goes up in the shade all the way, through 
beech woods (very noble trees if there were nothing else to see), 

1 See Modem HMen, voi i. (VoL III. p. 176). 


and then into a perfeet PanKlise of soft knoll and banlu of gnm^ 
which being all mown now, and yet kepit freth and living by the 
cootiniial q)ringt (and late zain)> i» in the rery perfectneas of graM 
ezistenee for nfolkmg on; so smooth, united, mossy^ and perfumed, 
that m the early moming sunshine it was aU a green light below, as 
the aky was a blue light above; and the Giessbach stream comes 
eat of a magnificent ravine beneath these meadows, in one white 
fall after another, far above those seen in the known fall, and to-day 
the insects were all so hungry for honey, after the wet days, it was 
a pleasure to see them feed — ^there were two great bees, one butter- 
fly, and a little red-backed beastie, neither fly nor beetle, but between 
the two, all on one purple ball of scabious at once. I was surprised 
to watch the perfect serenity with which the little butterfly (not 
quUe butterfly — more of a golden moth, with a blue light here and 
there) sucked his fill between ^tt great brown bees, fidgeting about 
round the ball and pushing the finigile creature out of their way, not 
angrily, but just as if it had been a leaf of the flower (not that a 
scabious has leaves like that, but they treated it as if it were a 
pease-blossom hanging over). 

"Then I found some snch interesting rocks-^just what I wanted 
lor my cleavage question — and, on the whole, though you may say in 
the lovely little letter I got last night about Chamouni and Mrs. 
Kisenkiaemer — though, as I said, you think now I might as well 
be at home, I am sure you will be glad I stayed. 

''Ever, my dearest Mother, 

''Your most affectionate Son, 

"J. RUSUN." 


I have a little too many irons in the fire.^ That had been 
Rnskin^s case for many years past, and was to be so, in increasing 
measure, for many years to come. He saw already how g^reat would 
be the demands of his Oxford duties, as he chose to interpret them, 
and was anxious to save some work from his old accumulations from 
the impending maelstrom. ^I shall give a good two months to my 
botany,*" he wrote to his mother (August 19), ^^when I come home,—* 
first, for fear it gets *off the boil.^^ Then he purposed writing a 
companion essay to 7%^ Queen of the Mr on the Myths of Apollo. 
But time did not suffice, llie botany went " off the boil "^ until 1875, 
when the first part of Proeerpina appeared, and the essay on Apollo 
never got itself written, though his Oxford lectures contained occasional 
references to Apolline myths.^ If the reader will look on to the 

1 See, isr insUace, Leotmw an Ari, g§ 151-167 (Vol. XX.). 


account in the next volume of the immenae pains which Ruskin took 
in preparing his Oxford work, no surprise will be felt at the abandon- 
ment of these other plans. The wonder is that Ruskin managed to 
do everything that he did in the time. He did not return from the 
Continent till the end of August, 1869; his Inaugural Lectures at 
Oxford began on February 8, 1870. The five intervening months 
were spent at Denmark Hill in unceasing work, with occasional visits 
to Oxford. But in December and January he published papers in the 
Geological Magazine (reserved for a later volume) ; in December he gave 
at Woolwich the lecture on '^The Future of England,^ which was in- 
cluded in the later editions of 7%^ Crown of Wild Olive; and on 
February 4 he gave at the Royal Institution the lecture on Verona, 
which stands last in the present volume. He packed dose into it the 
thoughts and observations made during the summer of 1869, and even 
so the material overflowed, as in the case of Abbeville, into an ex- 
hibition, with a printed catalogue. 

The minor pieces collected in this volume have been sufficiently 
discussed in foregoing pages; it remains to give some further notes 
upon the longer writings, The Ceshu of Jgkna and 7^ Queen of 
the Air, 


The papers entitled Tlie Cestus of A^aia are here, for the first 
time, published together in their entirety. A sub-title — "Nine Papers 
on the Laws of Art^ — would indicate their general drift, and the 
titles supplied to the chapters give an outline of their contents. The 
author^s object was, as he says, to define "some of the simplest laws 
which are binding on Art practice and judgment^ (§ 6, p. 67) — laws, 
"for present practice of Art in our schools, which may be admitted, 
if not with absolute, at least with a sufficient consent, by leading 
artists'' (§ 87, p. 186). The Frefsitory chapter and part of chapter i. 
illustrate the desirability of finding and keeping such laws; and he 
then discusses in turn the relation of pure outline to suggestion of 
shade (ch. i.); the functions of Modesty, Patience, and speed in art 
(chs. ii.-iv.) ; the besetting dangers of the practice of etching (ch. v.) ; 
the vice of Liberty, and contrary virtue. Continence, in art (ch. vi.); 
the limits of material (ch. vii.); the relation between public and 
private art (ch. viii.); and the powers and scope of various kinds 
of engraving (ch. ix.). He had intended, in a further paper, to 


oontmue the sabject by discussiDg the technical laws of that branch 
of art (see p. 169); but the series was not continued, and the subject 
was afterwards treated elsewh ere i n his Oxford course of lectures 
published under the title Ariadne Fhrentina, 

To this earlier, as to that later, discussion Ruskin gave a title 
with classical associations. He called these essays on the Laws of Art 
""The Cestus of Aglaia""; that is, ''The Girdle of the Grace "" (§ 68, 
p. 107). Aglaia, as he has explained (Vol. XVII. pp. 9StA n., 2^26), 
was the personification of Grace, ''always gladdening, and true wife 
of Vulcan, or Labour.^ He chose the title from the fourteenth book 
of the lUady where Aphrodite (into whom the conception of Aglaia 
merges^) presents to Hera her cestus, "in which all things are 
wrought*' (see below, p. 49 n.). And, in so choosing his title, he had, 
as he says (p. 66), a double thought. It was "partly in memory of 
these outcast fieuicies of the great masters ^^ — ^those fancies, that is, in 
which men of old time had connected their own powers and activities 
with spiritual forces; and thus Ruskin^s first thought was to express 
in his titie his abiding, and ever strengthening, conviction of the 
spiritual power of art. But, secondly, he intended by the title to 
indicate that the virtues which the Greeks personified, or included, 
in their conception of Grace were themselves the virtues of fine art. 
The arts, he meant in the first place, only reach their highest power 
when the girdle of Grace confines their activities and directs their 
choice. And then, further — ^with thoughts of Chaucer and of Spenser 
here mingling in his mind — ^he drew out his Laws of Art from the 
specific virtues which might be conceived as giving to the Cestus of 
Aglaia its power and charm. Thus of Modesty, he says (p. 72), that 
"her fingers are among the deftest in laying the ground*threads of 
ia^s Cestus^ — that Modestia who is 

"as polisht jTVory 
Which cunning craftesman hand hath overlayd 
With fayre vermilion on pare castory."' 

Sometimes he discusses the links in the Cestus itself; at others, he 
makes his point by examining opponent points— as when he contrasts 
the inclination of art towards what is dark or foul (p. 107) with the 
power of Aglaia who is always bright and gladdening; and so, too, 
in discussing " Uiat evil ^liberty ^ which is the opposite of Continence, 
the golden clasp of Aglaia^s Cestus (p. 119). 

1 See Munera PuiverU, § 101 (Vol. XVIL p. 226). 
• See Stonei qf Venice, vol. ii. (VoL X. p. 393). 


Thi Ce9tu8 qf Aglaia has thus a conaktent thiead; but it is written 
desultorilj, as the author says (p. 1S5X ^^^ ^ large part the thought 
is not so ckar that he who runs may read it. In the matter oi style, 
there is a marked transition between the first six chapters, which were 
written at one time, and the last three, which were written at another 
time and in a more obvious manner. It is to the earlier chapters that 
the description of their style given in The Queen of tke Air (§ 1S4, 
p. 408) applies. In writing them, Ruskin ^^said all that came into his 
head for his own pleasure.^ A great deal came into his head. ^^ I am 
almost sick and giddy (though perfectly well),^ he said himself, '^with 
the qu€uitity of things in my head — trains of thought beginning and 
branching to infinity, crossing each other, aad all tempting and want- 
ing to be worked out.^'^ It is not always easy to follow the oriss- 
cross of Rnskin^s thoughts when he writes with running pen whatever 
comes into his head, and the editors have therefore thought that eluci- 
datory notes would not be out of pkce {e.g^ on ppw 64, 87). These 
same diapters contain not only passages which are thus very character- 
istic of the working of Ruskin^s mind, but others also which ace among 
the most eloquent and felicitous to be found in his writings. The 
praise of the railway engine (p. 61) is a case in point, though it is 
little known. The descripticm of the fly as a type of liberty (pc 123) 
is another. The papers on The Ceetua of A^aia were, as we have seen, 
not completed. Ruskin had to break them off in order to take a much, 
needed holiday;^ and the small response which the papers had met 
with did not encourage him to resume them. His idea had been to^ 
draw up Laws of Art in co-operation with other teachers and artista 
(pp. S8, 70); but no answer came to his invitation (p. 134). This is, 
perhaps, not altogether to be wondered at. Just as it is possible to 
understand the bewilderment of business men when invited to govern 
their commercial transactions by reference to Archytas and the Gran 
Nemico,' so it is not difficult to believe that artists or students, into 
whose hands the Art Jovmal may have fallen, may have been put off 
from taking up the author^s more practical points by some puzzlement 
over Homer^s Aglaia and Chaucer^s hill of sand and the Grison Grey* 
The author confessed that he himself was entangled in ^^ the web of 
these old enigmas ^^ (p. 87). 

However this may have been, The Cestw (^ Aglaia was not com- 
pleted, nor did Ruskin republish the papers in their original form, 

^ This is the concluding sentence of the letter to his mother of August 8, 1869, 
given above (p. liy.). 

» See Vol. XVIIL p. xxxvi. 
« See Vol. XVII. p. Ixxxii. 


though he detached passages from them for use elsewhere. It is only 
in this complete edition of his works that an opportunity has arrived 
for reprinting the original papers fully. The treatment of the iexi is 
explained in the Bibliographical Note (below, p. 45). The manuscript 
of portions of the papers has been collated for this edition. That of 
chapter ii., written on twelve sheets of ruled white quarto paper and 
(at the end) on one sheet of ruled blue foolscap (this latter showing 
hardly any corrections, and perhaps representing a second, fair, copy), 
is in the possession of Mr. William Ward. It bears out what the 
author says of the style, being written currenie calamo^ and with many 
alterations made as he went along. A page is here given in facnmUe 
(p. 72X A^d <^ interesting passage is added in a footnote (p. 75). The 
manuscript of chapters vii., viii., and ix. is in tl^ MS. book which con- 
tains also The Ethics qf the Diut and the lecture on *^ War^ (used in 
The Crown qf WHd OSve). This book is in Mr. Allen^s possession. 
The MS. of these later chapters for the Cestus shows very few erasures 
or variations firom the printed text. 


In TTie Queen of the Air Ruskin took up the studies in Greek 
mythology which had already begun to fieiscinate him when he was 
writing the fifth volume of Modem Painters} The fascination had 
grown gradually upon him, as he saw ever deeper meanings in the 
myths, and recognised more and more fully a religious sincerity behind 
them. It is interesting to contrast the subtle analysis in this volume, 
in the case of the myths of .^!olus,' of what, some years before (1864), 
he had half dismissed as ^* paltry fables^; and, so in re-reading at a 
later date the second volume of Modem Painters (1845), where he had 
said that ^^no spirit power was in the vision^ of the Greek god of 
battle, he noted the correction in The Queen qf the Air of that ^* false 
bias.'"' The present study of the Greek myths of Athena is among 
the most characteristic of Ruskin^s books, and contains some of his 
most poignant passages — passages which, as Carlyle said,^ go into the 
heart like arrows. Also it abounds in flashes of insight. The book, 

1 See Vol. VII. p. Izii. 

* See §§ 19-30^ pp. 310-327 ; witii wiiieh eontnet Leeturee en Architeeture and 
PahUing, §^78 (^ol. XIL p. 103). 

» Vol. IV. p. 330 end ». 

* See aboroi p. Iviii. 

XIX. e 



aayft a friend of Ruskiny who in another art haa sometimei 80i]^ht 
in these late daya to touch the beautiful mythology c^ 6reeoe» '^is 
one of the most delightfully poetic treatises upon Greek myth as 
connected with cloud and storm ever penned. No one else could 
have touched the subject with so delicate a hand. In this little book 
Ruskin has set forth his pantheism^ and displayed his consummate 
understanding of that side of the Greek temperament which was in 
sympathy with mountains, clouds, and streams. It would seem to have 
been inspired by Helios and Artemis, by Eore and Demeter; the pen 
with which he wrote it diffuses the many tints of Irts^ bow into far- 
reaching words, turning sensitive visions into realities, and burning 
thoughts into visible flames.^ ^ But the book is discursive and di$* 
cult, and as Ruskin supplied no detailed list of contents, a short 
summary is added in this edition (see below, p. 4S1). This may be 
acceptable to some readers, while it will help to the better under- 
standing of the book in relation to the moods and circumstances in 
which it was written. It is divided into Lectures, and includes a 
good many pages which were so delivered, but for the rest the division 
into lectures is only a literary form. A glance at the abstract of 
contents will at once show one characteristic of The Queen qf the 
Air — ^namely, its discursiveness. It is only the first lecture which 
keeps with any closeness to the title of the book. The link with the 
Greek myths of Athena is slight in the second lecture^ and in the 
third it hardly exists at all. Such connexion as there is comes not 
so much from any indications in Greek mythology or art as from a 
personification in Ruskin^s mind. At this time he formed an ideal 
conception of Athena, and attributed to her guidance or inspiration 
whatever interests, thoughts, schemes, and hopes were occupying his 
mind, just as presently he did with "St Ursula ** or "St. George." 
We see, then, in the discursive contents of this book a reflection of 
the course of his thoughts and doings, as they have been traced in 
this Introduction. He had planned a ^* concentration on antiquities" 
(p. xliv.), and at the beginning, and at the end, of the book his 
studies in Greek art and mythology are embodied. But the concen- 
tration did not take place. He had materials for a treatise on the 
myths of Apollo (§ 44^); he proposed to collect and complete the 
studies, which he had begun in the last volume of Modem Pamiere^ 
of the Pegasean and Gorgonian legends (§ 80); he meant "to work 

I "Ruskin as I knew Him," by Sir W. B. RichmoQd, K.C.B., R.A., in St. Oeorae^ 
October 1902, vol. v. p. 292. 
* And see above, p. Ixi. 


out thoroughly by itself^ the myth of Sisyphus (§ 89) ; and he wished 
to prepare an essay on the etlidcal nature of the Homeric poems in 
relation to mythology (§ 17). But, so far as the study of Greek myth- 
ology went, the book remained a firagment ; a collection, he calls it, of 
^desultory memoranda on a most noble subject^ (Preface, p. 291). 
He diverged firom Homer and Hesiod to his studies in botany, his 
principles of Political Economy, his suggestions for dealing with the 
unemployed. The actual contents of the book were, as will be seen 
fiom the Bibliographical Note (p. S88), brought together firom yarious 
sources. It should be remembered, further, that the book was not 
dosely revised, in its final stages, by Ruskin. He entrusted the work 
to Professor Norton, but the suggestions of his fiiend were not en- 
couragingly received, and in the end, we are told, '^the volume ap- 
peared wi^out any proper revision.**"^ 

In considering TTu Queen of the Air as a contribution to the study 
of Greek mythology, the reader should remember the date at which 
it was written. The views of the philological school, headed by Max 
Miiller, were then in the ascendant. ^Comparative Mythology,^ as 
the {diilological school understood the term, consisted of a comparison 
of the roots of words ; mythology was ** a disease of language,^ and the 
common origin of all the myths was to be found in natural, and espe- 
cially in solar, phenomena. This is the doctrine to which, by impli- 
cation, Ruskin assented; indeed he expressly refers, in his Preface 
(p. 892), to ^^the splendid investigation of recent philologists,** and ^*it 
is the task of the Philologists,^ he says (§ 1, p. 296), *^to account 
for the errors of antiquity.^ Another school has, since Ruskin wrote, 
won much acceptance, and in this country has been widely popularised 
by the writings of Mr. Andrew Lang. This school pursues the 
methods of Comparative Anthropology, studies the beliefr and legends 
of contemporary or recent savagedom, and finds the origin of Greek 
(as of other) myths in the corresponding fancies of savage ancestors, 
from whom the Greeks of the civilised age inherited ideas no 
worthier, or in any essential respect other, than those of Bushmen 
and Red Indians. 

In leading Ruskin^s book it is necessary to bear this later view 
in mind; for, if we accept it, many corrections and reservations, and 
some refutaticms, would become necessary. Ruskin says, for instance, 
in one of his mythological essays, that the legend of Arachne **at 

1 Professor C. £. Norton's Prefsce to the ^^Brantwood" (American) edition of 
The Queen of ike Air, p. x. ; and we the Letten to Norton, vol. i. p. 213, 



first sight, like many other stories of the kind, seems not only degrad- 
ing, but meaningless; the old mythologists, however, always made 
their best fables rough on the outside^; ^ and he goes on to suggest 
an intention therein on their part. But according to the anthropo- 
logical school, the d^rading element in Greek mythology was a 
survival from savagery, and later poets or philosophers sought to ration- 
alise it away. For instance, in another essay, Buskin finds a moral 
significance in the ant-born myrmidons;^ the anthropological school 
explains such myths as survivals from animal-worship and from the 
claim of some savage tribe to be descended from the object of the 
worship. If these theories be correct, much of Buskin^s interpretation 
must be dismissed as unscientific But there are important distinctions 
to be made. Buskin did not profess to be discussing the origins of 
myths. It is a study of the greatest importance, and in some measure 
its results must colour all other studies in mythology. In some 
measure, but not altogether. To discover the origin of any phase of 
life is not the same thing as to explain that phase. It makes very 
little contribution to the study of Shakespeare to announce that the 
Elizabethan drama was developed fit)m morality and miracle plays ; the 
beating of the savage tom-tom throws little light on the symphonies 
of Beethoven; nor can Baphael be interpreted by the scratched lines 
of a reindeer on the rock. What Buskin is occupied with in this book 
is the meaning of myths, as they had been refined by the poets and 
the philosophers, or as they were believed, not by the savage ancestors 
of the Greeks, but by the Greeks for whom Homer and Pindar wrote. 
He did not concern himself, except incidentally (§ 72), with the lower 
phases of mythology. *^ The great question in reading a story is always,*^ 
he says, ^^not what wild hunter dreamed, or what childish race first 
dreaded it; but what wise man first perfectly told, and what strong 
people first perfectly lived by it** (§ 7, p. 801). And so, in **The 
Tortoise of iEgina,^ § 17, he says, ^^ What you have to discern, in any 
of the myths that have long dwelt in human thought, is not, what fact 
they represented, but what colour they were intended to give to it.^ 
It is true, however, that Buskin accepted, as we have seen, a theory of 
the origin of myths which, according to the anthropological school, is 
erroneous, and which in any case is probably pushed too far. But here 
it should be remembered that there is a certain amount of common 
ground. No one disputes that many myths arose frx>m the personi- 
fication of natural phenomena, or that the poets and philosophers of 

» ''The Story of Arachne," § 20, in Vol. XX. 

s See ''The Tortoise of Mgrnm," § 17, iu Vol XX. 


Gieece refined upon the earlier imaginations of the people. There 
must, therefore, remain, on any theory, a wide field for ingenuity and 
sympathetic imagination to work upon in the interpretation of the 
myths of an educated people. Ruskin claimed, and not without 
reason, that his long study of the clouds and fields and rocks gave 
him an opportunity of entering sympathetically into the interpretation 
of nature-myths and nature-poets.^ Mythology is like romance; it 
is an expression of wonder. In some ways no one was better able 
than Ruskin, in whom the eyes of wonder were never closed, to enter 
into the visions and thoughts of the early children of men. On 
the other hand, the ingenuity of his mind, which so often worked 
(to use a phrase of his own) ^Mike a Virgilian simile, many thoughts 
in one,^^ may not always have been a sound interpreter of less fanci- 
ful writers, or have served to keep him from pushing a favourite idea 
too far. A typical instance of his ingenuity, which readers are likely 
to consider illuminative or far-fetched according to their conceptions 
of the Homeric spirit, will be found in § 19 (see the note thereon, 
p. 811). After all, there must inevitably be much that is arbitrary 
in the interpretation of myths. There was no fixed code of mythology, 
and no theories of the origin of myths can ever solve the later de- 
velopments of them. 

''Vain mortals imagine that gods like themselves are begotten^ 
With human sensations and voice and corporeal members."' 

So also each poet made his myth largely in accordance with his 
own fancy; and each interpreter of the poetical mjrthology is apt to 
read his own thoughts into it. No one, says Ruskin, can in such 
matters be absolutely right (Preface, p. S91); and again, there are 
pieces of enigmatical teaching which **may evidently mean just what 
we like^ {Cestus of Aglaia^ p. 84). What Ruskin liked the myths 
of Athena to mean may not always be supportable by evidence, and 
in some cases the evidence he cites is of doubtful value. He was 
given to pressing into his service all words that suited (as, for in- 
stance, when he finds a mythical significance in the application of 
the common epithet, cold, to a particular mountain top, § 86); and 
he was particularly arbitrary in collecting his illustrative passages 
from authors of all dates, even dovetailing in with a passage, it 

1 Compare Vol. VII. p. Ixiiu 

s Lav/s MeMe, § 44. 

' Xenopfaanes of Colophon (translated in Supernatural Bekgian, vol. i. p. 76). 



may be, firom Homer another from tome obecore grammarian or &bu- 
list of a thousand years later (§ SS); but the thoughts, guesses, or 
fancies of so acute and ingenious a mind can seldom fail to be sugges- 
tive. Ruskin speaks elsewhere (below, p. 174) of the visions of the 
poets expressing themselves *^ tremulously, as far-off lights of heaven 
through terrestrial air ^; he himself had peculiarly the gift of catching 
such lights, and making them flash forth their many-coloured message. 
Often, no doubt, the message may be his, rather than theirs; but it 
is the privilege of any noble art or literature to have many meanings 
for many minds, and Ruskin's Queen of the Air will, to s}rmpathetic 
readers, often make a passage in the old poems, or some type in the 
old art, yet more *^ beautiful with haunting thought ^ (§ 108). And so 
the reader is not unlikely to be of the same opinion with Carlyle, 
whose letter to Ruskin about the book was as follows: — 

''CnuBA^ AfiguH VI, 1800. 

** Dear Russm, — ^Your excellent, kind, and loving little note from Vevey 
reached me, but nothing since, not even precise news at second-hand, which 
I have much desired. The blame of my not answering and inciting was 
not mine, but that of my poor rebellious right hand, which oftenest refuses 
altogether to do any writing for me that can be read ; having already done 
too much, it probably thinks! I did practically want a little thing of 
you at BaireiM, if you should pause there: Photographs — two portraits of 
Wilhelmina which I had heard of — but the right hattd mumbled always, 
'You can do without them, you know!' and at length I lazily assented. 

'' What I wish now is to know if you are at home, and to see you in* 
stantly, if so. Inetantly / For I am not unlikely to be off in a few days (by 
Steamer tome whither) and again miss you. Come, I beg, quam primumJ 

'' Last week I got your Queen of the Air and read it Euge I £uge ! No 
such Book have I met with for long years past. The one soul pow in the 
world who seems to feel as I do on the highest matters, and speiaks ndr aus 
dem Herzen exactly what I wanted to hear! As to the natural history of 
those old Myths, I remained here and there a little uncertain, but as to the 
meanings you put into them, never anjrwhere. All these things I not only 
' agree ' with, but would use Thor's Hammer, if I had it, to enforce and put 
in action on this rotten world. Well done, well done ! and pluck up a heart, 
and continue again and again. And don't say 'most great thoughts are 
dressed in ehrouds : ' ^ many, many are the Phosbus Apollo celestial arrows you 
still have to shoot into the foul Pythons and poisonous abominable Mega- 
theriums and Plesiosaurians that go staggering about, large as cathedrals, in 
our sunk Epoch again. 

1 A reiereoee to § 17 : see below, p. 300. 


''I limv« had a groat deal to do with uuamma, etc., eta, Miaoe that last 
Wedn e aday evening; come back, I tell you, while it is still time. With 
kind regaids to the dear old Mother, 

"Youm cTer, 

''T. Carlyle." 

The pages on Greek art which conclude TA^ Queen of the Air — 
drawing out from the study of a single coin, the Hercules of Camarina, 
the characteristics of Greek art — are a most characteristic discourse: 
so suggestive and penetrating that one cannot but regret the aban- 
donment by Ruskin of other half-completed studies in the same sort. 
Some of these are printed as an appendix to Volume XX. The 
present lecture should be read in connexion with the further analysis 
of the same subject in Araira Penteliciy contained also in the next 
volume. TT^e Queen of the Air was a favourite book with its author. 
" It is the best I ever wrote,*" he said to Miss Beever — ** the last which 
I took thorough loving pains with, and the first which I did with full 
knowledge of sorrow.*^ And so again, to the same correspondent, ^* It 
pleases me especially that you have read 7^ Queen qf the Air. As 
Sbu: as I know, myself, of my books, it is the most useful and careful 
piece I have done.*"^ It passed through several editions (being now 
in its S6th thousand), but it was never revised by Ruskin, though 
Mr. Faunthorpe (of Whitelands College) who passed the sheets of a 
new edition through the press in 1883, incorporated a few notes from 
the author*s copy and made some trivial alterations in the text. There 
are, therefore, comparatively few variations in the text to notice (see 
Bibliographical Note, p. S86). No manuscript of the book is known 
to the editors, except the author^s first draft of several pages of 
Lecture L, which is at Brantwood, in a note-book containing also por- 
tions of a catalogue of Ruskin^s collection of minerals. A page of 
this MS. is given in facsimile (p. 297). 

With regard to the teast and manuscript of the other writings in- 
cluded in tlus volume, the paper on **Sir Joshua and Holbein^ is re- 
printed from the ComhtU Magassmej and there are no variations of 
text to record. It was, as already explained, a chapter crowded out 
from Modem Painters. The MS. (on fourteen pages of blue foolscap) — 
as also the proof sheets and the revise of the paper — ^is in Mr. Allen^s 
possession. On the back of one sheet of the MS. is an early draft of 
a passage upon the bud, in the fifth volume of Modem Pairikrs. The 

' HwtUM hu!huu$f pp. 1, 122 (ed. 1902) ; reprinted in a later volume of this 


MS. was collated for this edition, and a few passages are here added 
firom it (pp. 9, IS). A facumSSe of a page of the MS. is also given 
(between pp. 16, 17^ 

Of The Study of Architecture (reprinted from the Proceedinge of the 
Institute), no MS. is known to the editors. 

The treatment of the text of The CeHue qf Aglaia has been already 
explained, and particulars of the manuscript have been given. 

The manuscripts of the lectures on ^^ National Art and National 
Ethics** and on ** Modem Art^ (here printed for the first time) are 
at Brantwood. They are in the hand of Ruskin^s servant, Crawley, 
with corrections and additions in Ruskin^s own. 

The manuscript of the lecture on ^^The Flamboyant Architecture 
of the Valley of the Somme^ is in the possession of Mr. Wedderbum, 
to whom Ruskin gave it. Some of it is in the hand of Crawley, and 
a small portion of it is in that of Mrs. Severn; but the greater part 
is in Ruskin^s own hand. Here and there the MS. is imperfect; in 
such places the passages are supplied from a verbatim note of the lecture 
as delivered, copies of which are in possession of the editors. 

The manuscript of ^^ Verona and its Rivers^ is at Brantwood. It 
is largely Crawley^s copy, corrected by the author. 

The lUuetrationSy like the literary contents of this volume, are 
diversified in character. 

The frontispiece — a reproduction of Ruskin^s copy of a St Catherine 
by Luini — is chosen from a painter whose pre-eminence he often pro* 
claims in this volume and elsewhere in his books. ^ Of Luini,^ he asks 
in Tlie Ceetus of Aglaia (§ 64), ** what do the English public yet so 
much as care to knowp^ Hie revelation of Luini to the English 
public was one of the works on which Ruskin prided himself.^ Luini, 
he says, again in 7%^ Ceetus^^ ^4s, perhaps, the best central type of 
the highly trained Italian painter . . . every touch he lays is eternal, 
every thought he conceives is beautiful and pure: his hand moves 
always in radiance of blessing.'" So, in the lecture on *^ Flamboyant 
Architecture,^ Luini is taken as an example of *Hhe central Italian 
school,"' and this copy from his St. Catherine was shown as likely to 
convey ^^a better impression than an ordinary engraving could of a 
work in itself so beautiful that I do not fear but that you will find 

> Epilogae of 1883 to the second volame of Modem Painteri, § 13 (Vol. IV. 
p. 866) ; and compare Sagie't NeH, § 46. 

s § 83 (below, pp. 130-131). 

s Compare also Ueturet an Art, §§ 73» d2; Ariadne PhrenHna, §§ 71, 72; and 
mble tf Amiens, eh. iii. § 46. 


some reflex of its true duuracter, eyen in this its shadow^ (p. t48). 
And so, again, in the lecture on Verona, Luini is included among the 
artists representative of ^the Age of the Masters^ (p. 448). 

The appreciation of Luini was one of the main tasks which Ruskin 
had set himself in the summer of 1862. He had, as already stated,^ 
undertaken to report to the Arundel Society on the artistes frescoes at 
Milan and in neighbouring places, and in subsequent years the Society 
published chromo-Iithographs of several of them.' Ruskin's own work 
was concentrated on the frescoes in San Maurizio (or, Monastero 
Maggiore); the copy here reproduced is of the figure of St. Catherine, 
which is on the right of the altar in the third chapel (to the right of 
the hi^ altar). Ruskin reported the progress of his work in letters 
to his father: — 

''MiLAN^ June IS. — I never saw anjrtbing so beautiful in sacred 
art as Luini's Christs in St. Maurizio here, or the remnants of them 
at least; for after the battle of Magenta the church was made a 
militaxy hospital, and you can fancy what became of the frescoes." 

''/mk 16.— I am better, and settled to Luini's firescoes. It is 
not oppressively warm snywhere, and in the church where I woric 
all is exactly right — ^no draughts — ^no heat — no damp — snd no flies. 
The freseoes as grand as can be, snd rapidly perishing from the 
grossest ill-usage. Nails have been driven into the finest frees, to 
fasten up bed-curtains for the wounded after Magenta. Two rooms, 
the sise of our drawing-room, would have done as well, but the 
Italians couldn't, it seems, provide so much." 

'^June 29. — I think I see my way now with some little distinct* 
ness. St Catherine promises well, snd seems likely to be painted 
and dressed in less than three weeks." 

*'July 25. — I have been examining St. Catherine from head to 
foot, and she's coming so nice that I'm in no mind to spoil her or 
leave her unfinished for a day more or less. There's a comer of one 
of her lips which will take a day yet, and two or three curls of hair 
which will take another; then there's a little finger and bit of 
back of hand ; and some of her gold brocsde wants retouching." 

'^MoRNKz, September 14. — I am truly glad you like St Catherine. 
I was entirely certain you woM have liked her, had I got her 
finished; but the head is so infinitely inferior to what I meant it 
to be, the hot weather rendering it impossible to work delicately 
enough, that I feared it would seem coarse and valueless. The bit 

» VoL XVII. p. liii. 

' The drawing!, from which the chromo*lithographs were exscntsd, are in the 
Natkkoal Gallery. 


of wheel and drapery at the bottom is tolerably good (note how the 
weight of wheel pulls her dress straight from her knee) — ^that is, 
tolerably like ; the right hand is carefully drawn in contour^ and the 
little finger in it pretty well painted and like; the crown, and the 
chain over her left shoulder, are well painted (laid in at once and 
never touched afterwards), and there is a great deal of good work^ 
all but lost and hidden, in the hair ; a feeling of it coming through, 
so also in the mouth. Great part of the time and labour were spent 
in measuring and placing the curls of the hair ; the place of every 
touch is of importance in the expression. There is some decisive 
painting in the red drapery with golden lyres on it. The rest is 
all mess and makeshift" 

Ruskip, it will be remembered,^ had Bume-Jones with him at Milan 
in 1862, and the young painter was also pressed into the service of 
copying Luini^s frescoes in San Maurizio: — 

"I am drawing from a fresco," wrote BumeJones, ''that has never 
been seen since the day it was painted, in jet darkness, in a chapel where 
candlesticks, paper flowers, and wooden dolls abound fireely. Ruskin, by 
treacherous smiles and vrinning courtesies and delicate tips, has wheedled 
the very candlesticks off the altar for my use, and the saint's table and 
his everything that was his, and I draw eveiy day now by the light of 
eight altar candles; also a fat man stands at the door and says the church 
is shut if anybody eomes, and when the priest himself put his head in, 
the fat man said, ' Hush — sh — sh — sh ! ' and fr^^htened poor priest away." 

Bume-Jones soon caught Ruskin^s enthusiasm for Luini, and some 
years later advised a friend who was travelling in Italy to ^^hunt him 
out everywhere. Never were any faces so perfect ; for they are perfect 
like Greek ones, and have fourteen hundred years of tenderness and 
pity added.'' « 

Seven years later, in the tour of 1869 which has been described in 
this Introduction, Ruskin again saw the fresco, as he relates in a letter 
to his mother: — 

''Milan, May 7. — I went to see my St Catherine directly, and 
found her half destroyed in the seven years that have passed since. 
They have had masons at work, making a new door, and let them 

i See Vol. XVII. p. IxiiL 

* MemariaU <^ Edward Bume^onei, vol. i. p. 248 ; vol. ii, p. 66. 


put their hdden or anjrthing else against the fresco — as if it were 
an outside wall — and there is nearly an end of St. Catherine and of 
the beautifol Christ that was opposite her. So much for young 
Italy. . , . 

'' I was better satisfied tlian I expected to be, very much with my 
own copy, when I saw the original again. But I am overpowered 
with the sense of the intolerable mbery and bestiality of the people 
round me, haying capacity of all good, and destroyed by their base 

The copy is in water-colour,^ life»size, and is painted on several 
piecea of paper, of different shapes and sizes, which Ruskin afterwards 
joined together. There are some differences also of tone; the plate 
here haa been slightly touched in order to bring the work better to- 
gether. The copy was presented by Ruskin to his drawing school at 
Oxford, where it hangs in the centre of the principal alcove. 

The plates introduced into the paper on ** Sir Joshua and Holbein ^ 
are photogravures from works described in the text. Plate I. is from 
the engraving by William Sharp (1749-1824) of Reynolds's <<Holy 
Family.^ The picture itself is unfortunately a wreck, and is no longer 
exhibited at the National Gallery. Plate II. is a photogravure from 
the portrait of George Gyzen by Holbein in the Berlin Gallery (see 
p. 10). Plate III. is from the ^^ Meyer ^ Madonna in the Dresden 
Gallery; the original picture by Holbein is at Darmstadt, but it is 
the D^resden picture which Ruskin describes (p. 18). The figures of 
St. Barbara and St. Elizabeth, reproduced in Plate IV., are in the 
Munich Gallery, where they are ascribed to the elder Holbein, but 
Raskin believed them to be the work of the younger (p. 14). 

In The CeHus of Jglaia a plate (V.) of Diirer's «' Cannon "* is in- 
daded, as this is a work to which Ruskin frequently refers to illustrate 
various points in the art of engraving (see p. 118 n.). 

In the lecture on Modem Art Ruskin describes two designs by 
Bume-Jones— '' Love and Alcestis** (Plate VI.) and "The Two Wives 
of Jaaon^ (Plate VII.). The drawings are in the Ruskin Drawing 
School at Oxford, which is rich also in possessing other drawings by 
Borne-Jones — "quite the most precious gift,^ said Ruskin, "not ex- 
cepting even the Loire series of Turners, in the ratified acceptance of 
which my University has honoured with some fixed memorial the aims 

1 For a note on tho ooloar of the mantlo, see Eagh't Nest, § 226. 


of her first Art-Teacher.^ ^ The designs here reproduced are beginnings 
in colour. 

The illustrations given in the lecture on Abbeville are six in 
number. Five of them are from Ruskin^s drawings. Plate VIII. is of 
the Place de PAmiral Courbet at Abbeville — ^the Mailcet Place, Ruskin 
calls it, of Abbeville, with St. Vulfran seen over the houses at the end. 
The drawing, which is in pencil (20x14), is No. 61 in the Reference 
Series at Oxford, and is noticed in Ruskin^s Catalogue of that collec- 
tion (Vol. XX.); it was also No. 48 in the exhibition shown in con- 
nexion with the Abbeville lecture (see below, p. S76). It is perhaps 
the most beautiful of all his drawings in this sort; our reproduc- 
tion, being necessarily reduced in scale, gives only a partial idea of the 
wealth of detail which the artist put into the work, but which neverthe- 
less does not interfere with the unity of the composition. It appears 
from his diary that this drawing was begun on September 10, and not 
finished on October IS. 

The next plate (IX.) is a steel-engraving by J. C. Armytage, 
which Ruskin had prepared, perhaps for his intended Stones of AbbemUcy 
but did not publish. The drawing from which the engraving was 
done was No. 41 in the *^ Abbeville^ Catalogue (p. S76). The subject 
is St. Vulfran from the east, showing also the old houses of the 
Pont d^Amour; a more finished drawing from the same point of view 
is reproduced by photogravure in an earlier volume (Vol. II. p. 398). 

Plate XI. shows details from the west front of St. Vulfian. The 
drawing, which is in wash (10x8), is at Heme Hill. 

Plate XII. shows the southern door of the west porch of St. 
Vulfran. The drawing was apparently No. 48 in the *^ Abbeville ^ Cata- 
logue. It is now No. 95 in the Reference Series at Oxford (Vol. XX.). 
It is in pencil and wash (18x12). 

Plate XIIL shows a portion of the west front of Rouen Cathedral. 
It is from a photograph taken for Ruskin by Arthur Burgess; an 
enlargement from the photograph was No. 49 in the *^ Abbeville ^ Cata^ 
logue (see p. 877). 

The other plate (X.), illustrating the Abbeville lecture, is from 
a photograph (by Miss Cordelia Marshall, of Skelwith Fold) of a 
portrait by Titian of the Doge Andrea Gritti. Ruskin bought the 
picture from the Rev. Gilbert Elliot (Dean of Bristol) for ^1000, and 
it is at Brantwood. He showed it on the occasion of the Abbeville 
lecture (No. 1 in the Catalogue), and referred to it in the text 

i The Thrm Colours ff Prd-RaphaeHtiim (1878). 


(pp. M8, 269). The portxait shows the Doge in a mood less stern, 
and with less length of nose, than appear in the portrait of the same 
sitter in the Czemin Gallery at Vienna.^ A description of the picture 
by Ruskin^s friend, Mr. Tyrwhitt, is here subjoined: — 

''The great portrait of the Doge Andrea Gritti, in Professor Ruskin's 
possession^ is as good and as accessible an instance of perfect work in detail, 
perfectly carried out, as can be wished for. Perfectly it is worked out, in 
this sense: because the lyoge, or rather Andrea Gritti the Doge, strikes 
one at the first glance; there is nothing in the magnificent dress to which 
the Doge is not superior, — he dignifies his fine clothes, and not they him, 
although they are finished to absolute completeness and rightness. . . . 
No person with education, feeling, or soul above buttons can help seeing 
how great is the art-power which is shown in that accurate finish of the 
splendid dress, which never for a moment diverts any attention from the 
stout Lord of the Adriatic. There is no mistaking his fine-cut Cceur-de-Lion 
type of &ce, his wide-opened blue eye of good nature and command, his 
sharply chiselled mouth of action, thick bull-neck of strength, and soft beard 
and hair of high blood. All this is written down in colour and subtle form 
for all men to see; but Titian's work was not done when it was written. 
On the contrary, every line of woven gold in the embroidered cloak plays 
and reflects light in exactly the right place, as the cunning pattern un« 
dulates over its folds. The yellow paint looks exactly like actual gold, so 
artfully is its tint changed from darker to lighter in each fold of the stuff. 
It is all separate stripes; and the tint has been changed with methodical 
exactness in every one, so that the folds of the dress are pointed out by the 
waving of its pattern. In short, Titian puts the gold work on the Doge's 
coat of state for exactly the same reason as the Doge put that coat on his 
body— «s a proper accessory, befitting him, and worthy of his office, and 
requiring proper treatment and care in its subordinate place."' 

The first of the illustrations to The Quern of the Air (Plate XIV.) 
shows Athena as she appears on a statue found at Herculaneum. The 
photogravure is reduced from a large drawing of the statue. It is at 
Brantwood among other diagrams and enlargements, and was probably 
prepared by one of Ruskin^s assistants for exhibition at the lecture 
on Athena. 

The Delphic Apollo (Plate XV.) is reproduced in a woodcut by 
Mr. Heinrich Uhlrich, an engraver commended by Ruskin, from a 
drawing on a hydria in the Vatican. It is described by Ruskin in the 
text (see § 89, and the note there given). 

1 Reproduced at p. 73 of Georg Gronau's Titian (1904). 

* A Handbook qf Pidorial AH, by ths Rev. R. St John TyrwhiU, pp. 2(Mt-206 
(1875 edition). 


The subject of the next plate (XVI.) it described in the same 
part of the text (§ 89). The designs of ttie Chariot of Apollo (sun- 
rise) and of Athena with Hermes (morning breeze and cloud) are 
from an amphora in the Louvre. The woodcuts here given (also bj 
Mr. Uhlrich) are reduced from large drawings at Brantwood ; doubtless, 
they also were shown at Ruskin^s lecture. 

Plate XVII. illustrates the botanical portion of Tlte Queen of the 
Air, It is a photogravure from a drawing by Ruskin of the Erba 
della Madonna (see § 87, p. 877). The drawing — ^in pencil (7x4|) 
— ^is No. 19 in the Educational Series at Oxford (Vol. XX.). 

In the plate of coins (XVIII.) the centre-piece is the Hercules of 
Camarina (II. C 17), discussed by Ruskin in the text (§§ 161 seq.). 
The other coins are (above) the two sides of a coin of Tarentum;^ 
on the obverse, is a Tarentine horseman; on the reverse, Taras (the 
mythical founder of the city) on a dolphin. Ruskin refers to **the 
dolphin of Taientum"* in The Siudgf of ArchUeckut (below, p. SS); 
and describes the two sides of the coin in The Ceshu qf Agitria 
(p. 68). Tlie coin was the subject also of an intended lecture, some 
notes for which are printed in Vol. XX. Below, on the same plate, 
is (right) a head of Hera on a coin of Argos (III. B. 86 in the exhibi- 
tion of electrotypes at the British Museum). The head is said to have 
been copied frt>m the fiunous statue of Hera at Argos by Polycleitus. 
Another head of Hera from an Argive coin is shown on Plate XVIII. 
in AfxUra PenieUci; but the **Juno of Argos *" referred to in this 
volume {Queen qf the Atr^ § 167) appears rather to be head here given. 
The remaining head on Plate XVIII. is of Nike, from a coin of the 
Lucanian Heraclea (III. C. 11 in the British Museum). The coin is 
referred to in some of Ruskin^s notes as characteristic of Greek types; 
the background is formed by the segis, with a border of snakes. All 
the coins on this plate are enlarged to twice their diameter. 

The illustrations to ^* Verona and its Rivers^ are all from drawings 
by Ruskin, made for the most part on the spot in 1869. 

Plate XIX. shows a niche on the tomb of Can Signorio. The 
drawing, here reproduced by chromo-lithography, is in pencil and colour 
(16 X 6), and is at Brantwood. 

Plate XX. shows the market-place (Piazza d^Erbe). This is from 
a drawing of 1841 in Ruskin's earlier manner. It is No. 43 in the 
"Verona'' Catalogue (p. 467), and now No. 6S in the Reference Series 
at Oxford (Vol. XX.). The drawing is in pencil and wash (19 X 13). 

^ It may be ssen in the exhibition of electrotypes at ths British Museum (III. 
C. 10). '^ 


Plate XXI. is a study of a capital at Verona. The drawing, which 
is in pencil and wash on buff paper, is in the collection of Mr. T. F. 

Plate XXII. shows the upper part of the Tomb of Can Signorio. 
The drawing, which is in body-colour (S0xl4), is at Brantwood. It 
was made in 1869, and was No. 82 in the ^ Verona ^ Catalogue (p. 455). 

Plate XXIII. shows the Tomb of Can Grande, and is from a 
photograph combining two of Ruskin^s drawings at Oxford — ^No. 57 
in the Reference Series, with details of the sarcophagus added from 
No. 77 in the Educational Series. The former drawing was probably 
No. S2 in the *^ Verona ^ Catalogue (p. 454), and Ruskin mentions that 
the sarcophagus was unfinished; it is in pencil (20x18). 

Plate XXrV. includes two studies of detail from the same sarco- 
phagus, which Ruskin in the *^ Verona*^ Catalogue (No. 24, p. 454) called 
<<The Two Dogs.^ One is the heraldic dog beside the Madonna of 
the Annunciation; the other. Can Grande himself, at the battle of 
Vicenza. The first, in water-colour (7^x8^), is in the possession of 
Mr. T. F. Taylor, the latter (in pencil) is at Brantwood. 

Plate XXV. is frt>m Ruskin^s pencil drawing of 1885 of the Castel- 
baroo Tomb; it is at Brantwood. Its inclusion here serves to remind 
us of Ruskin^s early admiration of a moniunent — ^** chief among all 
sepulchral marbles of a land of mourning ^^ — to which he returned 
with unabated enthusiasm in 1869 (see pp. xlix., 451-453). A draw- 
ing of the monument, made in that year, has been given in an earlier 
volume of this edition.' 

Plate XXVI. is from a drawing of 1869, showing the Piazza de^ 
Signori. It is No. 48 in the ^ Verona^ Catalogue (p. 457), and is now 
No^ 80 in the Reference Series at Oxford (VoL XX.). It is in pencil 

E. T. C. 

» Vol. IX. p. 177. 
> Plate D in VoL 

IX. (p. 176). 





[BibHographieal Note. — ^This paper fint appeared in the ChmhUl Magasrine for 
March 18^, vol L pp. 322-328. It was nntigned ; but a review in the OnHe, 
March 3, 1860^ remarked, ''There is no need of signature to the charming little 
article to inform us of the secret of its authorship. None but the pen of John 
Ruskin could have produced this sketch of the two masters." 

The paper was reprinted m On the Oid R^ad, 1886, ro\. i. pp. 221-296 
<§§ 149-166) ; and again in the second edition of that work (1899), toL i. 
pp. 226-240 (§§ 149-166).] 


1. Long ago discarded from our National Gallery, with 
the contempt logically due to national or English pictures, 
—lost to sight and memory for many a year in the 
Ogygian seclusions of Marlborough House — ^there have re- 
appeared at last, in more honourable exile at Kensington, 
two great pictures by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Two, with 
others ; but these alone worth many an entanglement among 
the cross-roads of the West, to see for half-an-hour by 
spring sunshine: — ^the Holy Family ^ and the Graces^ side 
by side now in the principal room. Great, as ever was 
work wrought by man. In placid strength, and subtlest 
science, unsurpassed; — ^in sweet felicity, incomparable.^ 

2. If you truly want to know what good work of 
painter's hand is, study those two pictures from side to 
side, and miss no inch of them (you will hardly, eventu- 
ally, be inclined to miss one): in some respects there is 
no execution like it; none so open in the magic. For the 
work of other great men is hidden in its wonderfulness — 
you cannot see how it was done. But in Sir Joshua's 
there is no mystery: it is all amazement. No question 
but that the touch was so laid; only that it could have 
been so laid, is a marvel for ever. So also there is no 
painting so majestic in sweetness. He is lily-sceptred: 
his power blossoms, but burdens not. All other men of 
equid dignity paint more slowly; all others of equal force 

^ [For another reference to the ''Holy Family" ^o. 78), no longer publicly 
exhibited (owing to its bad state of preeervation), lee VoL III. p. 30. The picture 
is here illustrated from an engraving (Plate I.)* ''The Grraces decorating a Statue 
of Hymen " is No. 79 in the National Gallery ; the picture is a fancy portrait of 
the three daughters of Sir William Montgomery. For another reference to it. see 
VoL XIV. p. 472.] 



paint less lightly. Tintoret lays his line like a king mark- 
ing the boundaries of conquered lands; but Sir Joshua 
leaves it as a summer wind its trace on a lake; he could 
have painted on a silken veil» where it fell free, and not 
bent it. 

8. Such at least is his touch when it is life that he 
paints: for things lifeless he has a severer hand. If you 
examine that picture of the Graces you will find it reverses 
all the ordinary ideas of expedient treatment. By other 
men flesh is firmly painted, but accessories lightly. Sir 
Joshua paints accessories firmly,* flesh lightly; — nay, flesh 
not at fJl, but spirit. The wreath of flowers he feels to 
be material; and gleam by gleam strikes fearlessly the 
silver and violet leaves out of the darkness. But the three 
maidens are less substantial than rose petals. No flushed 
nor frosted tissue that ever faded in night wind is so 
tender as they; no hue may reach, no line measure, what 
is in them so gracious and so fair. Let the hand move 
softly— itself as a spirit ; for this is Life, of which it touches 
the imagery. 

4. "And yet " 

Yes: you do well to pause. There is a "yet" to be 
thought of. I did not bring you to these pictures to see 
wonderful work merely, or womanly beauty merely. I 
brought you chiefly to look at that Madonna, beUeving 
that you might remember other Madonnas, unlike her; 
and might think it desirable to consider wherein the differ- 
ence lay: — other Madonnas not by Sir Joshua, who painted 
Madonnas but seldom. Who perhaps, if truth must be 
told, painted them never: for surely this dearest pet of an 
English girl, with the little curl of lovely hair under her 
ear, is not one. 

5. Why did not Sir Joshua — or could not— or would not 

* As showing gigantic power of hand, joined with utmost accuracy and 
rapidity, the folds of drapery under the breast of the Virgin are, perhaps, 
as marvellous a piece of work as could be found in any picture, of whatever 
time or master. 







Sir Joshua — paint Madonnas ? neither he, nor his great rival- 
friend Gainsborough?^ Both of them painters of women, 
such as since Giorgione and Correggio had not been; both 
painters of men, such as had not been since Titian, How 
is it that these English friends can so brightly paint 
that particular order of humanity which we call "gentle- 
men and ladies," but neither heroes, nor saints, nor angels? 
Can it be because they were both country-bred boys, and 
for ever after strangely sensitive to courtliness? Why, 
Giotto also was a country-bred boy. Allegri's native Cor- 
reggio, Titian's Cadore, were but hill villages; yet these 
men painted not the court, nor the drawing-room, but the 
Earth : and not a little of Heaven besides : while our good 
Sir Joshua never trusts himself outside the park palings. 
He could not even have drawn the strawberry girl,* unless 
she had got through a gap in them — or rather, I think, 
she must have been let in at the porter's lodge, for her 
strawberries are in a pottle, ready for the ladies at the 
HalL Giorgione would have set them, wild and fragrant, 
among their leaves, in her hand. Between his feimess, 
and Sir Joshua's May-fairness, thei*e is a strange, impassable 
limit — as of the white reef that in Pacific isles encircles 
their inner lakelets, and shuts them from the surf and 
sound of sea. Clear and calm they rest, reflecting fringed 
shadows of the palm-trees, and the passing of fretted 
clouds across their own sweet circle of blue sky. But 
beyond, and round and round their coral bar, lies the blue 
of sea and heaven together — blue of eternal deep. 

6. You will find it a pregnant question, if you follow 
it forth, and leading to many others, not trivial, Why it 
is, that in Sir Joshua's girl, or Gainsborough's, we always 
think first of the Ladyhood; but in Giotto's, of the 
Womanhood? Why, in Sir Joshua's hero, or Vandyck's, 

^ [Compare Modem Piainters, vol. r. (VoL VII. p. 378), and Academy Ncie$, 1869 
(Vol. XIV. p. 223).] 

> [''The Strawberry Girl" (exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1773) it No. 40 
in the Wallace Collection, Hertford House.] 


it is always the Prince or the Sir whom we see first; 
but in Titian's, the man. 

Not that Titian's gentlemen are less finished than Sir 
Joshua's; but their gentlemanliness ^ is not the principal 
thing about them; their manhood abswbs, conquers, wears 
it as a despised thing. Nor — ^and this is another stem 
ground of separation — ^will Titian make a gentleman of 
every one he paints. He will make him so if he is so, 
not otherwise; and this not merely in general servitude to 
truth, but because, in his sympathy with deeper humanity, 
the courtier is not more interesting to him than any one 
else. ''You have learned to dance and fence; you can 
speak with clearness, and think with precision; your hands 
are small, your senses acute, and your features well-shaped. 
Yes: I see all this in you, and will do it justice. You 
shall stand as none but a well*bred man could stand; and 
your fingers shall fall on the sword-hilt as no fingers could 
but those that knew the grasp of it. But for the rest, 
this grisly fishermnn, with rusty cheek and rope-frayed 
hand, is a man as well as you, and might possibly make 
several of you, if souls were divisible. His iHronze colour is 
quite as interesting to me, Titian, as your paleness, and his 
hoary spray of stormy hair takes the light as well as your 
waving curls. Him also I will paint, with such pictur- 
esqueness as he may have; yet not putting the pictur- 
esqueness first in him, as in you I have not put the 
gentlemanliness first. In him I see a strong human crea- 
ture, contending with all hardship: in you also a human 
creature, uncontending, and possibly not strong. Contention 

* The reader must observe that I use the word here in a limited 
sense, as meaning only the effect of careful education, good society, and 
refined habits of life, on average temper and character. Of deep and true 

Entlemanliness— based as it is on intense sensibility and sincerity, per- 
sted by courage, and other qualities of race ; as well as of that union of 
insensibility witb cunning, which is the essence of vulgarity, I shall have 
to speak at length in another place.^ 

^ [A reference to the chapter on Vulgarity in the fifth volume of Modem Painters, 
which was published three months after tlie present paper appeared.] 


or starenfjrth, weakness or picturesqueness, and all other such 
accideats in either, shall have due plaoe. But the immor- 
tality and mirade of you — ^this day that bums, this colour 
that changes — are in trath the awfiil things in both: these 
shall be first painted — and last'' 

7. With which question respecting treatment of char- 
acter we have to connect also this further one: How is 
it that the attempts of so great painters as Reynolds and 
Gainsborough are, beyond portraiture, limited almost like 
children's? No domestic drama — no history — no noble 
natural scenes, far less any religious subject: — only maiket 
carts; girls with pigs; woodmen going home to supper; 
watering-pkoes ; grey cart-horses in fields, and such like. 
ReyndLds, indeed, once or twice touched higher themes, — 
''among the chords his fingers laid,"^ and recoiled: wisdy; 
for, strange to say, his very sensibility deserts him when 
be leaves his coiurtly quiet The horror of the subjects he 
chose (Cardinal Beaufort and Ugolino)' showed inherent 
apathy: had he fdt deeply, he would not have sought for 
this strongest possible excitement of feeling, — ^woiUd not 
willingly have dwelt on the worst conditions of despair — 
the despair of the ignoble. His religious subjects are con- 
ceived even with less care than these. Beautiful as it is, 
this Holy Family by which we stand has neither dignity 
nor saciedness, other than those which attach to every 
group of gentle mother and ruddy babe; while his Faiths, 
Charities, or other well-ordered and emblem-fitted virtues, 
are even less lovdy than his ordinary portraits of womai.' 

It was a faultfiil temper, which, having so mighty a 
power of realiscaticm at command, never became so much 

^ [Compan Scott's ''amid tbe itrinipi his finger itray'd" {Lay <fihe Last Min- 
Mtrel, Intiodiiction) and ''among the ttruigfl hia fingen range" (Rokeby, canto y. 
stanza 19).] 

< ["llie Death of Cardinal Beaufort ** (illustrating Benry VL, part ii. Act iii.), 
Minted for Bovdell's Shakespeare GaUery in 1790, is at Petworfch ; the sketch ibr 
the picture is in the Dulwich Gallerj (No. 254). The iMctnre of '' Uj^oliuo and his 
Sens/' eshibited at the Academy in 1773, is at Knots ; a study for the head of 
Ugelino la in the National Gallery (So. 106).] 

' [Bayaolds's designs for the "Seven Virtues" were executed in tJie window of 
the ante^^chanel at New College, Oxford; for another reference to the window,, 
see VoL XVI. p. 417.] 


interested in any fact of human history as to spend one 
touch of heartfelt skill upon it; — ^which, yielding momen- 
tarily to indolent imagination, ended, at best, in a Fuck, 
or a Thais; a Mercury as Thief, or a Cupid as Linkboy.^ 
How wide the interval between this gently trivial humour, 
guided by the wave of a feather, or arrested by the en- 
chantment of a smile, — and the habitual dwelling of the 
thoughts of the great Greeks and Florentines among the 
beings and the interests of the eternal world ! 

8. In some degree it may indeed be true that the 
modesty and sense of the English painters are the causes 
of their simple practice. All that tiiey did, they did well, 
and attempted nothing over which conquest was doubtful 
They knew they could paint men and women: it did not 
follow that they could paint angels. Their own gifts never 
appeared to them so great as to call for serious question as 
to the use to be made of them. '' They could mix colotDrs 
and catch likeness — ^yes; but were they therefore able to 
teach religion, or reform the world ? To support themselves 
honourably, pass the hours of life happily, please their 
friends, and leave no enemies, was not this all that duty 
could require, or prudence recommend? Their own art 
was, it seemed, difficult enough to employ all their genius: 
was it reasonable to hope also to be poets or theologians? 
Such men had, indeed, existed; but the age of miracles 
and prophets was long past; nor, because they could seize 
the trick of an expression, or the turn of a head, had they 
any right to think themselves able to conceive heroes with 
Homer, or gods with Michael Angelo.** 

9. Such was, in the main, their feeling: wise, modest, 
unemious, and unambitious. Meaner men, their contem- 
poraries or successors, raved of high art with incoherent 
passion; arrogated to themselves an equality with the 

^ [Of the pictures het« referred to, ''Puck" and ''Thaii/' as also ''Mrs. Pelham 
feeding Chickens." were shown at the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition in 1867. 
''Puck" is in the coUecUon of Mr. G. W. FitswiUiam. "Thais" (a portrait of 
Miss Emily Pott in that character, painted 1781} Is at Waddesdon. "Mercury as 
Thief" and "Cupid as Linkboy" are in the eoUeetion of Mr. A. Henderson.] 


masters of elder time, and declaimed against the degenerate 
tastes of a public which acknowledged not the return of 
the Heraclidse.^ But the two great — ^the two only painters 
of their age — Chappy in a reputation founded as deeply in 
the heart as in ihe judgment of mankind, demanded no 
higher function than that of soothing the domestic affec- 
tions; and achieved for themselves at last an immortality 
not the less noble, because in their lifetime they had con- 
cerned themselves less to claim it than to bestow. 

10. Yet, while we acknowledge the discretion and simple- 
heartedness of these men, honouring them for both : and 
the more when we compare their tranquil powers with the 
hot egotism and hollow ambition of their inferiors : we have 
to remember, on the other hand, that the measure they 
thus set to their auns was, if a just, yet a narrow one ; that 
amiable discretion is not the highest virtue, nor to please 
the frivolous, the best success. There is probably some 
strange weakness in the painter, and some fatal error in the 
age» when in thinking over the examples of their greatest 
work, for some type of culminating loveliness or veracity, 
we remember no expression either of religion or hwoism,' 
and instead of reverently naming a Madonna di San 
Sisto, can onl^ whisper, modestly, *'Mrs. Pelham feeding 
chickens." ' 

11. The nature of the fault, so far as it exists in 
the painters themselves, may perhaps best be discerned by 

^ FA paoage in the first draft shows the particular painters of whom Rasldn 
thinkii " " 

king as arrogating to themselyes the role of the descendants of Hercules : — 

''Barry foamed over his frescoes in classic rage; West compared 
religions subjects with exact decorum and Raphaelestjue propriety; Opie 
and Fuseli adorned the loftiest phases of the orama with subUme incoher- 
ence ; and Havdon beliered himself Phidias in the morning, and retired as 
Michael Angelo at night." 
For similar allusions to Barry, see Vol. III. p. 649, VoL VII. p. 231, and Eagle's 
Nett, § 83 ; for West, VoL IV. p. 382, Vol. V. p. 125, Vol. X. p. 125 ; for Opie, 
Vol. XIV. p. 330 ; for Fuseli, VoL V. p. 108, VoL VIL p. 419 ; and for Haydon, 
Oettw iif Asflaia, § 85 (below, p. 133).] 

* [In the MS.: ''we remember neither saint nor hero, neither Madonna by the 
cradle, nor angel by the mve."] 

' [This picture, painted 1770-1774, is in the Earl of Yarborough's collection ; 
for another reference to it, see Art qf Englandf § 66.] 


compariAg them with a man who went not far beyond 
them in his general range of effort, but who did all his 
work in a wholly different temper — Hans Holbein. 

The £rst great difference between them is of course in 
comfdeteness of execution. Sir Joshua's and Gainsborough's 
work, at its best, is only magnificent sketching; giving 
indeed, in places, a perfection of result unattainable by 
other methods,^ and possessing always a charm of grace and 
power exclusively its own; yet, in its slightness address- 
ing itself, purposefully, to the casual glance, and common 
thought— eager to arrest the passer-by, but eareless to de- 
tain him; or detaining him, rf at all, by an unexplained 
enchantment, not by continuance of teaching, or develop- 
ment of idea. But the work oi Holbein is true and 
thorough; accomplished, in the highest as the most litend 
sense, with a calm entireness of unaffected resolution, which 
sacrifices nothing, forgets nothing, and fears nothing. 

12. In the portrait of the Hausmann George Gyzen,* 
evoy accessory is perfect with a fine perfection: the cama- 
tions in the glass vase by his side — the ball of gold, chased 
with blue enamel, suspended on the wall — the books — ^the 
steelyard — ^the papers on the table, the seal-ring, with its 
quartered bearings, — all intensely there, and there in beauty 
of which no one could have dreamed that even flowers or 
gold were capable, far less parchment or steeL But every 
change of shade is felt, every rich and rubied line of petal 
followed; every subdued gleam in the soft blue of the 
enamel and bending of the gold touched with a hand whose 
patience of regard creates rather than paints. The jewel 
itself was not so precious as the rays of enduring light 
which form it, and flash from it, baieath that errorless 
hand. The man himself, what he was — ^not more; but to 

* Museum of Bexiin.^ 

^ [Compare, on tlie tubioet of aketchinen in this connexion. Vol. III. p. 120. 
VoL V. p. 186, and Vol. VII. p. 237.] 

* [For Ruekin's note of 1859 on this picture (here reproduced), see Vd. VII. 
p. 490. It was painted in 1682, and is a portrait of Geonr Gisse, a merchant of 
the steelyard (Plate IL).] 

Portrait of Georg Gis^e 


all conceivable proof of sight — ^in aU aspect of life or 
thought — not less. He sits alone in his accustomed room, 
his common work laid out before him; he is conscious of 
no presence, assumes no dignity, bears no sudden or super- 
ficiid look of care or interest, lives only as he lived--^but 
for ever. 

18. The time occupied in painting this portrait was pro- 
bably twenty times greater than Sir Joshua ever spent on 
a single picture, however large. The result is, to the 
general spectator, less attractive. In some qualities of 
force and grace it is absolutely inferior. But it is inex- 
haustible. Every detail of it wins, retains, rewards the 
attention with a continually increasing sense of wonder- 
fiilness. It is also wholly true. So far as it reaches, it 
ccmtains the absolute facts of colour, form, and character, 
rendered with an unaccusable fiuthfiilness. There is no 
question respecting things which it is best worth while to 
Imow, or things which it is imnecessary to state, or which 
might be overlooked with advantage. What of this man 
and his house were visible to Holbein, are visible to us: 
we may despise if we wiU; deny or doubt, we shall not; 
if we Le to know anything ^noeming them, great or 
small, so much as may by the eye be known is for ever 
knowable, reliable, indisputable. 

14. Respecting the advantage, or the contrary, of so 
great earnestness in drawing a portrait of an uncelebrated 
person, we raise at present no debate: I only wish the 
reader to note this quality of earnestness, as entirely 
sepanting Holbein from Sir Joshua, — ^raising him into 
another sphere of intellect. For here is no question of 
mere difference in style or in power, none of minuteness 
or largeness. It is a question of Entireness. Holbein is 
complete in intdlect: what he sees, he sees with his whole 
soul: what he paints, he paints with his whole might. 
Sir Joshua sees partially, slightly, tenderly— catches the 
flying lights of thmgs, the momi^itary glooms: paints also 
partially, tenderly, never with half his strength; content 


with uncertain visions, insecure delights ; the truth not 
precious nor significant to him, only pleasing; falsehood 
also pleasurable, even useftil on occasion — must, however, 
be discreetly touched, just enough to make all men noble, 
aU women lovely: "we do not need this flattery often, 
most of those we know being such ; and it is a pleasant 
world, and with diligence — ^for nothing can be done with- 
out diligence — every day till four" (says Sir Joshua) — "a 
painter's is a happy life."^ 

Yes: and the Isis, with her swans, and shadows of 
Windsor Forest, is a sweet stream, touching her shores 
softly. The Rhine at Basle is of another temper, stem and 
deep, as strong, however bright its face: winding far 
through the solemn plain, beneath the slopes of Jura, 
tufted and steep: sweeping away into its regardless calm 
of current the waves of that little brook of St. Jakob, that 
bathe the Swiss ThermopylaB ; * the low village nestling 
beneath a little bank of sloping fields — its spire seen white 
against the deep blue shadows of the Jura pines. 

15. Gazing on that scene day by day, Holbein went 
his own way, with the earnestness and silent swell of the 
strong river — ^not unconscious of the awe, nor of the sanc- 
tities of his life. The snows of the eternal Alps giving 
forth their strength to it; the blood of the St. Jakob 
brook poured into it as it passes by — not in vain. He 
also could feel his strength coming from white snows far 
off in heaven.^ He also bore upon him the purple stain 

* Of 1,200 Swiss^ who fought by that brookside, ten only returned. 
The battle checked the attack of the French, led by Louis XI. (then 
Dauphin^ in 1444; and was the first of the great series of efforts and vic- 
tories wnich were closed at Nancy by the death of Charles of Burgundy. 

I M ■ ^ii^— ■ ■[■■■IB ■ ^i^M^^ ^ ■ ■— M I ■ ■ ^m^^m-^l I ^^-^^MW ■■-■■■■■■ ^ I MM — ^p^ ,,,■■■■■ I ■ ■ - I ■■^^—1 — ■ ■ M 

^ [For references to Reynolds's inculcation of diUgenoe, see Leeturei <m Ari^ 
§§ 48. 126, 146.] 

' [As an illustration of Raskin's care in revising, the first draft of this passage 
is subjoined: — 

''He also could recognise his strength coming from white sanctity fiir 
off in heaven. He also bore with him the purple stain of the earth 
sorrow. A Sp^yt man, knowing the motions thst keep truest time to 
the music of Death. Gravely befriended also, drawing the meditative 


of the earth sorrow. A grave man, knowing what steps 
of men keep truest time to the chanting of Death. Hav- 
ing grave friends also; — ^the same singing heard far off, 
it seems to me, or, perhaps, even low in the room, by that 
famfly of Sir Thomas More;^ or mingling with the hum 
of bees in the meadows outside the towered wall of Basle; 
or making the words of the book more tuneable, which 
meditative Erasmus looks upon.' Nay, that same soft 
Death-music is on the lips even of Holbein's Madonna, 
who, among many, is the Virgin you had best compare 
with the one before whose image we have stood so long. 

Holbein's is at Dresden, companioned by the Madonna 
di San Sisto; but both are visible enough to you here, for, 
by a strange coincidence, they are (at least so far as I 
Imow) the only two great pictures in the world which have 
been faultlessly engraved. 

16. The received tradition respecting the Holbein Ma- 
donna is beautiful;' and I believe the interpretation to be 
true. A father and mother have prayed to her for the life 
of their sick child. She appears to them, her own Christ 

Erasmus profile often enough; — the same music being heard far off, it 

seems to me ; murmur of it eren, perhaps, low in the room by that fiiimily 

of Sir Thomas More : or mingling with the hum of bees in the orchards 

there outside the wall of Basle ; making the words more tuneable in this 

book for Erasmus."] 

^ [A pen-and-ink sketch, in which we see More surrounded by all the members 

of his family, is now in the gallery of Basle (No. Ill); it was given by the 

artist to Erasmus in 1528; the original picture, made nrom the sketch, is not 


* [Ruskiu may refer to the portrait in the Basle Museum, or to the similar one in 
the Louvre : for other references to it, see Ariadne Fiarentinoy § 177, and Praterita, i. 

* [It is now generally believed that the Dresden picture is a later Dutch copy 
of the original by Holbein at Darmstadt. Doubt was first thrown on the authenticity 
of the Dresden picture a few years after Ruskin wrote this paper (see R. N. 
Womum's Epochs qf Painting, 1864, p. 493 ».). The official catalogue of the 
Dresden Gallery published in 1833 stated that ''the Madonna holds in her arms an 
apparently deceased child of the family." The interpretation given by Ruskin was 
also in part given by Mrs. Jameson : see her Legends <f the Madonna, 1852^ p. 111. 
The meaninj^ of the picture and the question which version is the authentic one 
are fully discussed in a monograph written by R. N. Womum for the Arundel 
Society in 1871 (Hans Holbein and the Meier Madonna), where also particulan are 
nven of Jacob Meier^ Burgomaster of Basle, for whom the picture was painted. 
Our Plate (III.) is from the Dresden picture, as that is the one described by Ruskin : 
for another reference to it, see Lectures on AH, § 56.] 


in her arms. She puts down her Christ beside them — stakes 
their child into her arms instead. It lies down upon her 
bosom, and stretches its hand to its father and mother, 
saying farewell. 

This interpretation of the picture has been doubted, as 
nearly all the most precious truths of pictures have been 
doubted, and forgotten. But, even supposing it erroneous, 
the design is not less characteristic of Holbein. For that 
there are signs of suffering on the features of the child in 
the arms of the Virgin, is beyond question; and if this 
child be intended for the Christ,^ it would not be doubt- 
ful to my mind, that, of the two — Raphael and Holbein 
— ^the latter had given the truest aspect and deepest read- 
ing of the early life of the Redeemer. Raphael sought 
to express His power only; but Holbein His labour and 

17. There are two other pictures which you should re- 
member together with this (attributed, indeed, but with no 
semUance of probability, to the elder Holbein, none of 
whose work, preserved at Basle, or elsewhere, approaches 
in the slightest degree to their power), the St Barbara 
and St. Elizabeth."*^ I do not know among the pictures of 
the great sacred schools any at once so powerful, so simple, 
so pathetically expressive of the need of the heart that con- 
ceived them. Not ascetic, nor quaint, nor feverishly or 
fondly passionate, nor wrapt in withdrawn solemnities of 

* Pinaoothek of Muoich.' 

^ [The theory in that case being that the child on the ground is the sick child^ 
whose sickness the infeut Christ has taken on himself, with ulusion to Isttiah liiL 6 — 
'^The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all/'] 

> rPlate IV. The ''St. Barbara" (No. 210 in the Munich Galle]7) is the lea wing, 
and the ''St. Eliabeth of Hungary^' (No. 211) the right wing of a central picture 
of "St. Sebastian" (No. 209). The date of the picture is 1515, and Ruskin^s con- 
jecture that it is the work of the younger Holbein, is now partly accepted in the 
official catalogue of the Gallery, where it is suggested that, though the work was 
undoubtedly ordered from the fkther, the son may have been responsible for much 
of the execution (see Catalogue of the Paintinae in the Old Pinakcih^, Munich, with 
Hietarical Introduction by Franx V. Belter, Illustrated Edition, p. 45). The "St. 
Elizabeth" is discussed by Ruskm in Ariadne Iforentina, §§ 164, 167, 256.] 


thought. Only entirely true — entirely pure. No depth 
of glowing heaven beyond them — but the clear sharp 
sweetness of the northern air : no splendour of rich colour, 
striving to adorn them with better brightness than of the 
day: a grey glory, as of moonUght without mist, dwelling 
on face and fold of dress ; — all fstultless-fair. Creatures 
they are, humble by nature, not by self-condemnation; 
merciful by habit, not by tearful impulse; lofty without 
consciousness; gentle without weakness; wholly in this 
present world, doing its work calmly; beautiful with aU 
that hoUest life can reach — yet already freed from aU that 
holiest death can cast away. 




XIX. 17 

[BihliograFliioal Note. — ^Thia paper was read by Ruskiii at the ordinary meet- 
ing of the Royal Institute of Britiah Architects on May 15^ 1865, and was 
afterwards published in the SetHwial Papers of the Institute, 1864-1865. 
Part ill.. No. 2, pp. 139-147. Its full title (as there appears) was '^An 
Inquiry into some of the Conditions at present affecting the Study of 
Architecture in our Schools." 

The paper was reprinted in On the Old Road, 1885, voL L pp. 871-400 
(§§ 274-291) ; and again in the second edition of that work, 1899, voL L 
pp. 376-403 (§§ 274^291). 

In this edition a misprint of '^ Thurii " for " Thnrium " has been cor- 
rected in § 3, and two misprints have been corrected in the quotation from 
Dante (§ 8), ''pittura" for ^'pintura" and '^et" for ''ed."] 



1. I SUPPOSE there is no man who, pennitted to address, 
for the first time, the Institute of British Architects, would 
not feel himself abashed and restrained, doubtful of his 
claim to be heard by them, even if he attempted only to 
describe what had come under his. personal observation; 
much more if on the occasion he thought it would be 
expected of him to touch upon any of the general prin* 
dples of the art of architecture before its principal English 

But if any more than another should feel thus abashed, 
it is certainly one who has first to ask their pardon for 
the petulance of boyish expressions of partial thought; for 
ungraceful advocacy of principles which needed no support 
firom him, and discourteous blame of work of which he 
had never felt the difficulty. 

2. Yet, when I ask this pardon, gentlemen — and I do 
it sincerely and in shame — ^it is not as desiring to retract 
anything in the general tenor and scope of what I have 
hitiierto tried to say. Permit me the pain, and the ap- 
parent impertinence, of speaking for a moment of my own 
past work; for it is necessary that what I am about to 
submit to you to-night should be spoken in no disad- 
vantageous connection with that; and yet understood as 
spoken, in no discordance of purpose with that. Indeed 
there is much in old work of mine which I could wish 
to put out of mind. Reasonings, perhaps not in them- 
selves false, but founded on insufficient data and imperfect 
experience— eager preferences, and dislikes, dependent on 
chance circumstances of association, and limitations of sphere 



of labour : but, while I would fain now, if I could, modify 
the applications, and chasten the extravagance of my writ- 
ings, let me also say of them that they were the expres- 
sion of a delight in the art of architecture which was too 
intense to be vitally deceived, and oi an inquiry too honest 
and eager to be without some useful result; and I only 
wish I had now time, and strength and power of mind, 
to carry on, .more worthily, the main endeavour of my 
early work. That main endeavour has been throughout to 
Kt forth the life of the individual human spirit as modify^ 
mg the apfilication of the formal Uvws of architecture, no 
less 'than of all other arts;^ and to show that the powier 
and advante oi this art, even in conditions of formal noble-* 
ness, were dependent on its just association with sculpture 
as a means of expressing the beauty of natural forms : ' and 
I the move boldly ask your permission to insist somewhat 
on this main meaning of my past work, because there are 
many buildings now rising in the streets of London, as in 
other cities ol England, which appear to be designed in 
accordance with this principle, and which are, I believe, 
more offensive to all who thoughtfully xx>ncur with me in 
aocei^ting the principle of Naturalism than they are to thfc 
classical architect to whose modes of design they are visibly 
abtagonistic. These building, in which tiie mere cast of a 
flower, or the realization of a vulgar face, carved without 
pleasure by a Workman who is only endeavouring to attract 
attention by novelty, and then fastened on, or appearing to 
be fastened, as chance may dictate, to an arch, or a pillar, 
or a wall, hold such relation to nobly naturalistic architec* 
tture as common sign-painters' furniture landscapes do to 
painting, or commonest wax-woric to Gredc sculpture ; and 
the feelings with which true naturalists regard such build- 
iligs of this class are, as nearly as might be, what a painter 
would experience, if, having contended earnestly against 

1 rOa diis point, aee SUmst qf Vtniee, vol, iii. (Vol XI. pp. zriL, 201).] 
' [Here see Seven Lampe qf Architecture, VoL VIII. pp. 170, 174 ; Aeadenw Notee^ 
1867 <Vol. XIV. p. 118); and Tuk) Faihe, §§ 110, l£d (Vol XVI. pp. 3«7, 961).] 


convaiti<»el schools, and having asserted that Greek vase« 
paintmg and Egyptian wall-painting, and Mediaeval glass- 
painting, thoi^ beautiful, all, in their place and way> 
were yet subwdinate arts, and culminated only in perfectly 
naturalistic work such as. Raphael's in fresco, and Titian's 
out canyas; — ^if, I say, a painter, fixed in such faith in an 
entire, intellectual and manly truths and maintaining that 
an Egyptian profile of a head, however decofatively appli* 
caUe, was only noble for sudi human truth as it contaiiM^^ 
and waa imperfect and ignoble beside a work of Titian'si 
were shown^ by his antagonist, the coloured daguerreotype 
ct a human body in its nakedness, and told that it was art 
such aa that which he really advocated, and to such art 
that his principles, if carried out, would finally lead. 

8. And because thia question lies at the very root of 
the organization of the system of instruction for our youth, 
I venture boldly to express the surprise and regret witii 
which I see our schools still agitated by assertions of the 
opposition of Naturalism to Invention, and to the higher 
conditi(His of art. Even in this very room I believe there 
has lately been question^ whether a sculptor should look 
at a real living creature of which he had to carve the 
image. I would answer in one sense, — ^no; that is to say, 
be ought to carve no living creature while he still needs to 
look at it. If we do not know what a human body is Iflce^ 
we certainly had better look, and look often, at it, before 
we carve it; but if we already know the human likeness 
so well that we can carve it by light of memory, we 
shall not need to ask whether we ought now to look at 
it or not; and what is true of man is true of all other 
creatures and oiganisms — of bird, and- beast, and leaf* 
No assertion 19 more at variance with the laws of classical 
as weD as of subsequent art than the common one that 
species should not be distinguished in great desi^.' We 
mi^t as well say that we ought to carve a man so as 

* rrbe diseossioa ii not reported in the Susional Proeeedings.] 

* [For a difcnssion of this asiartion in tlie ease of painting, see VqI. III. p. X60J] 


not to know him from an ape, as that we should carve a 
lily so as not to know it from a thistle. It is difficult 
for me to conceive how this can be asserted in the pre- 
sence of any remains either of great Greek or Italian art. 
A Greek looked at a cockle-shell or a cuttlefish as carefully 
as he looked at an Olympic conqueror. The eagle of Elis, 
the lion of Velia, the horse of Syracuse, the bull of Thu- 
rium, the dolphin of Tarentum, the crab of Agrigentum, and 
the crawfish of Catana, are studied as closely, every one 
of them, as the Juno of Argos, or Apollo of ClazomenBe.^ 
Idealism, so far from being contrary to special truth, is the 
very abstraction of speciality from everything else. It is 
the earnest statement of the characters which make man 
man, and cockle cockle, and flesh flesh, and fish fish. 
Feeble thinkers, indeed, always suppose that distinction 
of kind involves meanness of style ; but the meanness is in 
the treatment, not in the distinction. There is a noble 
way of carving a man, and a mean one; and there is a 
noble way of carving a beetle, and a mean one; and a 
great sculptor carves his scarabaeus grandly, as he carves 
his king, while a mean sculptor makes vermin of both. 
And it is a sorrowful truth, yet a sublime one, that this 
greatness of treatment cannot be taught by talking about 
it. No, nor even by enforced imitative practice of it. 
Men treat their subjects nobly only when they themselves 
become noble ; not till then.' And that elevation of their 
own nature is assuredly not to be effected by a course 

^ [For the eagle of Elis, see III. B. 83 iu the exhibition of electrotypes at 
the British Muaeum (Plate 23 in the Guide to the Principal Ooiru of the An^ 
dents). For the lion of Velia, IV. C. 24 (Plate 34). Examples of the horse of 
Syracuse are given on Plate XXIII. in Aratra Penteliei (Vol. AX.). For the buU 
of Thurium, see Plate XXII. in the same. The dolphin of Tarentum may ha 
seen on III. C. 7-10 in the British Museum (Plate 24), and see Plate XVlII. 
here (below, p. 410). For another reference to the coins of Tarentum, see Oeetue 
qf Aqlaia^ § 18 (below, p. 68, and Vai <fAmOy § 171). For tiie crab of Agrigentum^ 
see II. C. 14 in the British Museum (Plate 16). For the crawfish of Catana, behind 
a head of Apollo, see the coin illustrated in Plate VI. (Fig. 16) of Percy Gardner^a 
lypee ^ Greek Ooine (1883). A head of Juno of Araos is shown on Plate XVIII. 
here ; and another, on Plate XV. in Aratra Penteliei, For the Apollo of ClazomensB, 
see ibid., Plate X. For other references to these coins, see £tkiee ^ the Dutt, 
§ 107 (Vol. XVIII. p. 343 ».), and Queen qf the Air, § 167 (below, p. 413).] 

« [Compare Two Pathe, § 66 (Vol. XVI. p. 310).] 


of drawing from models, however well chosen, or of listen- 
ing to lectures, however well intended. 

Art, national or individual, is the restdt of a long 
course of previous life and training; a necessary result, if 
that life has been loyal, and an impossible one, if it has 
been base. Let a nation be healthfril, happy, pure in its 
enjoyments, brave in its acts, and broad in its affections, 
aad its art will spring round and within it as freely as the 
foam from a fountain; but let the springs of its life be 
impure, and its course polluted, and you will not get the 
bright spray by treatises on the mathematical structure of 

4. And I am to-night the more restrained in addressing 
you, because, gentlemen — ^I tell you honestly — I am weary 
of all writing and speaking about art,^ and most of my 
own. No good is to be reached that way. The last fifty 
years have, in every civilized country of Europe, produced 
more brilliant thought, and more subtle reasoning about 
art than the five thousand before them, and what has it 
all come to? Do not let it be thought that I am insen- 
sible to the high merits of much of our modem work. It 
cannot be for a moment supposed that in speaking of the 
inefficient expression of the doctrines which writers on art 
have tried to enforce, I was thinking of such Gothic as 
has been designed and built by Mr. Scott, Mr. Butterfield, 
Mr. Street, Mr. Waterhouse, Mr. Godwin, or my dead 
friend, Mr. Woodward.' Their work has been original and 
independent. So far as it is good, it has been founded 
on principles learned not from books, but by study of the 
monuments of the great schools, developed by national 
grandeur, not by philosophical speculation. But I am en- 
tirely assured that those who have done best among us 

1 rCompare Raskin's Bubsequeot remarks ; below, pp. 38, 215.] 
* [FoT other (and sometimes less complimentary) references to the work of Sir 
Gilbert Scott, see SUme$ qf Vemce, vol. ii. (Vol. X. p. 79 n.) ; Academy Notes, 1857 
rVoL XIV. p. 118) ; Fngterita, ii. § 153 ; Fore Clavigera, Letter 11 ; and General 
Index. For references to G. £. Street, see Vol. XVI. op. 127 n., 461. For a high 
appreciation of a building by Mr* Waterhouse, see Vol. XVIII. p. Ixzv. ; and for 
Woodward^ Vol. XVI. pp. xliii, jeg., and Vol XVIII. p. 150.] 


are the least satisfied with what th^ hare done» and will 
admit a sorrowful eoncuireiice in mjr belkf that the spirit^ 
or rather, I should say, the dispirit^ of the age^ is heavily 
against them; that all the ingenious writing or thinking 
which is so rife amongst us has failed to educate a public 
capable of taking true pleasure in any kind of art, and 
that the best designers never satisfy their own requirements 
of themselves, unless by vainly addressing another tempec 
of mind,, and providing for another manner of life, than 
ours. Ail lovely architecture was designed for ciiks^ in 
cloudless air ; for cities in which piasEssas imd gardens op»ed 
in bright populousness and peace ;^ cities built that men 
might Uve happily in them, and take dehght daily in each 
otiber's presence and powers. But our cities, built in blacdc 
air which, by its accumulated foulness, first renders all omar* 
ment invisible in distance, and then chokes its interstbea 
with) soot ; cities which are mere crowded masses of storey 
and wardiouse, and counter, and are therefore to the rest 
of the world what the larder and eeUar are to a private 
house; cities in which the object of men is not lifs^ but 
labour; and in which all chid^ magnitude of edifice is to 
Aldose machinery ; cities in which the streets are not the 
avenues for the passing and procession of a happy people, 
but the drains for the discharge of a tormented mob, is 
which the only object in reaching any spot is to be trans^ 
ferred to another; in which existence becomes mere transit 
tion, and every creature is /only one atom in a. drift of 
human dust, and current of interchanging partides, circu-* 
lating here by tunnels underground, and there by tubes i» 
the air ;/ for a city, or cities, such as this no architecture is 
possible — ^nay, no desire of it is possible to their inhal»tant& 
ff« One of the most singular proofs of the vanity of all 
hope that conditions of art may be combined with the 
occupations of such a eity, has been given lately in the 

* fSee in thifl connexion tbo deicriptions of Verona in Lectum on ArcMteetur^ 
and Ptiinting (Vol. XII. pp. 14-15) and A Joy fir Eter (Vol. XVI. pp^ eff-67).] 

* [The refS^rence is pretumablv to tlie tubular bridge orer tbe Aienai Straits^ 
mentioned in Stonoi <^renioe, roi. i. (Vol. IX. p. 4/96).J 


design of the new iron bridge over the Thames at BIack-> 
friars.^ Pistinct attempt has been there made to obtain 
architectural effect on a grand scale. Nor was there any- 
thing in the nature of the work to prevent sudi an effbrt 
bdng sucoessfol. It is not edifices, being of iron, or of 
glass, or thrown into new forms, demanded by new pur- 
poses, which need hinder its being beautiful.' But it is 
the absence of all desire of beauty^ of all joy in fancy, 
and of aU freedom in thought. If a Greek, or Egyptian, 
or Gothic architect had be^i required to design such, a 
bridge, he would have lodged in^antly at the main con* 
ditions of its structure^ and dwelt on them with the delight 
of imaginatioa. He would have seen that the main thing 
to be done was to hold a horizontal group of iron rods 
steadily and straight ov« stone piers. Then he would 
have said to himself (<x felt without sajring), '^It is this 
holding, — this grasp, — ^this securing tenor of a thiz^ which 
mi^t be shaken, so that it cannot be shaken, on which 
I have to. insist." And he would have put smne life 
into those icon tenons. As a Greek put human life into 
his pillars and produced the caryatid; and an Egyptian^ 
lotus life mix> his pillars and produced the Ijly capital: so 
here, either of them would have put some gigantic or scmie 
angelic life into those colossal sockets. He would perhaps 
have put vast winged statues of bronze, folding their wings, 
and graspdng the ir<m radls with their hands; or monstroua 
ei^ks, or serpents holding with clarw or coil, or strong 
four-footed animals couchant, holding with the paw, or in 
fierce actiosi,. heading with teeth. Thousands of grotesque 
or of lovely thoughts would have men before him, and 
the bronze iomis,. animat or human, would have signified, 
ttther in symbol or in legend, whatever might be gixce-i 
fully told respecting the purposes of the woric and the 

^ [Riwkin'0 dMcriptioa in the ibllowing pa«nige is of the original railway bridge to 
liiidgiite Hill Station. In later yeani. a second iron bridge (of diffeveiM^ and wonm^ 
design) was constmcted, almost touching the first bridge, to carry additional traffic. 
The two laUwar bridgea are rendered less oonspienons by the road bridge at 
Blackfriars^ to the west of them, opened in 1869. J 

' [Compare the diseassios of ^s subject in Stonet- qf Venice^ vol. i. (VoL IX. 
pp. 455-466).] 


districts to which it conducted. Whereas, now, the entire 
invention of the designer seems to have exhausted [itself 
in exaggerating to an enormous size a weak form of iron 
nut, and in conveying the information upon it, in large 
letters, that it belongs to the London, Chatham, and Dover 
Railway Company. I believe then, gentlemen, that if there 
were any life in the national mind in such respects, it 
would be shown in these its most energetic and costly 
works. But that there is no such life, nothing but a 
galvanic restlessness and covetousness, with which it is for 
the present vain to strive; and in the midst of which, 
tormented at once by its activities and its apathies, having 
their work continually thrust aside and dishonoured, always 
seen to disadvantage, and overtopped by huge masses, dis- 
cordant and destructive, even the best architects must be 
unable to do justice to their own powers. 

6. But, gentlemen, while thus the mechanisms of the 
age prevent even the wisest and best of its artists from 
producing entirely good work, may we not reflect with 
consternation what a marvellous ability the luxury of the 
age, and the very advantages of education, confer on the 
unwise and ignoble for the production of attractively and 
infectiously bad work? I do not think that this adverse 
influence, necessarily affecting all conditions of so-called 
civilization, has been ever enough considered. It is im- 
possible to calculate the power of the false workman in 
an advanced period of national life, nor the temptation to 
all workmen, to become false. 

7. First, there is the irresistible appeal to vanity. There 
is hardly any temptation of the kind (there cannot be) 
while the arts are in progress. The best men must then 
always be ashamed of themselves; they never can be 
satisfied with their work absolutely, but only as it is 
progressive. Take, for instance, any archaic head intended 
to be beautiful ; say, the Attic Athena, or the early 
Arethusa of Syracuse.^ In that, and in all archaic work 

^ [For the archaic Athena on an Athenian coin^ see Fig. 4 in Aratra PenteUci 
(§ 80) ; and for the early Arethusa of Syracuse, ilrid., Plate H] 


of promise, there is much that is inefficient, much that to 
us appears ridiculous — but nothing sensual, nothing vain, 
nothiiig spurious or imitative. It is a child's work, a 
childish nation's work, but not a fool's work. You find 
in children the same tolerance of ugliness, the same eager 
and innocent delight in their own work for the moment, 
however feeble; but next day it is thrown aside, and some- 
thing better is done. Now, in this careless play, a child 
or a childish nation differs inherently from a foolish edu- 
cated person, or a nation advanced in pseudo-civilization. 
The educated person has seen all kinds of beautifrd things, 
of which he would fain do the like — ^not to add to their 
number — ^but for his own vanity, that he also may be 
called an artist. Here is at once a singular and fatal 
difference. The childish nation sees nothing in its own 
past work to satisfy itself. It is pleased at having done 
this, but wants something better; it is struggling forward 
always to reach this better, this ideal conception. It wants 
more beauty to look at, it wants more subject to feel. 
It calls out to all its artists — ^stretching its hands to them 
as a little child does — ^'Oh, if you would but tell me 
another story," — "Oh, if I might but have a doll with 
bluer eyes." That's the right temper to work in, and to 
get work done for you in. But the vain, aged, highly- 
educated nation is satiated with beautiful things — it has 
myriads more than it can look at; it has fallen into a 
habit of inattention; it passes weary and jaded through 
galleries which contain the best fruit of a thousand years 
of human travail; it gapes and shrugs over them, and 
pushes its way past them to the door. 

8. But there is one feeling that is always distinct ; how- 
ever jaded and languid we may be in all other pleasures, 
we are never languid in vanity, and we would still paint 
and carve for fame. What other motive have the nations 
of Europe to-day? If they wanted art for art's sake they 
would take care of what they have akeady got But at 
this instant the two noblest pictiu-es in Venice are lying 


rolled up ia outhouses/ and the noblest portrait of Titiffli 
in existicnce is hung forty teei from the ground. We haire 
absolutely no motive but vanity and the love of money*^ 
no others, as nations, than these, whatever we may have 
as iodividuab. And as the thirst ci vanity thus increases, 
so. the temptation to it. There was no fame of artists in 
these archaic days. Every year, every hour, saw some one 
rise to surpass what had been done before. And th«e 
was always better work to be done, but never any credit 
to be got by it. The artist livedi in an atmosphere of per- 
petual, wholesome, inevitable eclipse. Do as well as you 
^oose to-day, — make the whole Borgo dance with deUght,' 
they wouldi dance to a better man's p^ to-morrow. 
Credette Cimabue ndla pintura tener lo campo^ ed ora ha 
Giotto il grido^ This was the fate, the necessary fate, even 
of the strcmgest They could only hope to be remembered 
as links in an aidless chain. For the weaker men it was 
no vfie even to put their name on their works. They did 
not. If they could not work for joy and for love, and 
take their part simply in the choir of human toil, they 
might throw up their tools. But now it is far otherwise — > 
now^ the best having been done — and for a cou{d:e of 
hundred years, the best of us being confessed to have come 
short of it, everybody thinks that he may be the great 
man once again, and this is certain, that whatever in art 
is d<»ie £6i display, is invariably wrong. 

9^. But, secondly, consider the attractive power of Mm 
art, completed, as compared with imperfect art advancing 
to completion. Archaic work, so far as fiaultful, is repulr 
sive, but advanced work is, in all its &uits* attractive. 

' [Ruekin eoQiidere4 l^e noblest i^icture in Venice to be the ^'Paradise" of 
Tintoret 14 tbe Dueal Palace; bat be sefera bere to some of the moturee bj 
Tintoret in tbe Scuola di San Rooco (see The Crown qf Wild Olive, § 87, voL XVI 1 1. 
». 400). See also Oeeiue ofAglaia, § 100; below, p. 145. ''The noblest portrait of 
Titian; is probably the ** Charles V. " at Manioh ; Ruskin notices its being hnnc 
too high in Vol. Vll. p. 495^ and again In The Ceetue qfAglaia, § 4 (below, p. 5B)^ 

* [For the aUusion to the. Boigo Atteno, so oalled in consequence of tbe pro-^ 
cession with Cimabue's picture, see VoL III. p^ 644, aqd Vol. XII. p. 96 ; and for th^ 
subsequent eclipse of Cfmabue's fame by (^otto, see Vol. IV. p. 202 n. Ruskin anin 
quotes tbe paasace from Dante (Aify» xi. My 06) — "Cinmbiie thoagbt to lora ii 
over painting's fields and now the cry is Giotto's " — in Mominffe in Florence, § 37.] 


The mometit that art has mached the point at whidi it 
beeomes iMBsitively and delicatbly imitative, it appeals to a 
new audience. >Froin that instant it addresses the senmalitt 
and the idler. Its deceptions, its successes, its subtleties, 
become interesting to every condition of folly, of frivolity, 
and Of vice. And this new audience brings to bear upon 
the art in which its foolish and ^wicked interest has been 
unhappily awakened, the fnll power of its riches: the 
largest bribes of gold as well as of ^praise are offered to the 
artist who will betnty his art, until at last, from the sculp- 
ture of Phidias and fresco of Luini, it sinks into the 
Gabinet ivoiy and the picture kept under lock and key» 
Between these highest and lowest types, there is a vast 
nuiss of merely imitative and delicately sensual sculpture ; 
-^--veiled nymphs-^diained slaves — soft goddesses seen 1^ 
roselight through suspended curtains -^— drawing-^room por- 
traits and domesticities, and sudi hke, in which the interest 
is either merely personal and selfish, or dramatic and sen* 
sational; in either case, destractive of the power of the 
public to sympathize with the aimis of great architects. 

10. Gentlemen, — I am no Puritan, and have never praised 
or advocated Puritanical art. The two pictures which I 
wouki last part with out of our National Gallery, -if there 
were question of parting with any, would be Titian's 
Bacchus and Correggio's Venus.^ But the noble natural- 
ism of these was the fruit of ages of previous courage, con- 
tinence, and religion — ^it was the fulness of passion in the 
life of a Britomart* But the mid-age aixi old age of 
nations is not like the mid-age or old age of noble women. 
National decrepitude must be criminal. National death can 
only be by disease, and yet it is almost impossible, out of 
the history of the art of nations, to dicit the true conditions 

1 [For other references to Titian's ^'Baccbua and Ariadne^" No. 06, see Vol. III. 
pp. », 33, 268; Vol. V. p. 167; Voi VII. p. 117; and VoL XII. p. 400. For 
^ACorreggio's Venua " (" The Edvcation of Cupid/' No. 10), lee queen qf the Air, 
§ 163 (telow^ p. 411); Setfen Lampe (Vol. VIII. pp. 181-182); The ReiaHon qf 
Michael Angeh and TM&ret; and Fare datjigera, Letter 94.] 

> [Compare Seeame and IMiee, § 62, and Crfmik qf WM (Hive, § 119 (VoL XVIII. 
pp. 118, 482).] 


relating to its decline in any demonstrable manner. The 
history of Italian art is that of a struggle between super- 
stition and naturalism on one side, between continence 
and sensuality on another. So far as naturalism prevailed 
over supostition, there is always progress; so far as sensu- 
ality over chastity, death. And the two contests are simul- 
taneous. It is impossible to distinguish one victory from 
the other. Observe, however, I say victory over super- 
stition, not over religion. Let me carefidly define the dif- 
ference. Superstition, in all times and among all nations, 
is the fear of a spirit whose passions are those of a man, 
whose acts are the acts of a man; who is present in some 
places, not in others; who makes some places holy and 
not others; who is kind to one person, unkind to another; 
who is pleased or angry according to the degree of attention 
you pay to him, or praise you refuse to him ; who is hostile 
generally to human pleasure, but may be bribed by sacrifice 
of a part of that pleasure into permitting the rest. This, 
whatever form of faith it colours, is the essence of super- 
stition. And religion is the belief in a Spirit whose mercies 
are over all His works — who is kind even to the unthankfid 
and the evil;^ who is everywhere present, and therefore is 
in no place to be sought, and in no place to be evaded ; to 
whom all creatures, times, and things are everlastingly holy, 
and who claims — ^not tithes of wealth, nor sevenths of days 
— ^but all the wealth that we have, and all the days that 
we live, and all the beings that we are, but who claims 
that totality because He delights only in the delight of His 
creatures; and because, therefore, the one duty that they 
owe to Him, and the only service they can render Him, is 
to be happy. A Spirit, therefore, whose eternal benevolence 
cannot be angered, cannot be a{^>eased ; whose laws are ever- 
lasting and inexorable, so that heaven and earth must indeed 
pass away if one jot of them failed : * laws which attach to 
every wrong and error a measured, inevitable penalty; to 

1 [Psalms cxlv. 9; Luke yi. 35.] 
■ [Matthew v. 18.] 


every rightness and prudence, an assured reward; penalty, 
of which the remittance cannot be purchased; and reward, 
of which the promise cannot be broken. 

11. And thus, in the history of art, we ought continu- 
ally to endeavour to distinguish (while, except in broadest 
lights, it is impossible to distinguish) the work of reUgion 
firom that of superstition, and the woi^ of reason from 
that of infidelity. Religion devotes the artist, hand and 
mind, to the service of the gods ; superstition makes him the 
slave of ecclesiastical pride, or forbids his work altogether, 
in terror or disdain. Religion perfects the form of the 
divine statue, superstition distorts it into ghastly grotesque. 
Religion contemplates the gods as the lords of healing 
and life, surrounds them with glory of affectionate service, 
and festivity of pure human beauty. Superstition contem- 
plates its idols as lords of death, appeases them with blood, 
and vows itself to them in torture and soUtude. Religion 
proselytes by love, superstition by war ; reUgion teaches by 
example, superstition by persecution. Religion gave granite 
shrine to the Egyptian, golden temple to the Jew, sculp- 
tured corridor to the Greek, pillared aisle and frescoed wfdl 
to the Christian. Superstition made idols of the splendours 
by which Religion had spoken: reverenced pictures and 
stones, instead of truths; letters and laws, instead of acts, 
and for ever, in various madness of fantastic desolation, 
kneels in the temple while it crucifies the Christ 

12. On the other hand, to reason resisting superstition, 
we owe the entire compass of modem energies and sciences ; 
the healthy laws of life, and the possibilities of future pro- 
gress. But to infideUty resisting religion (or which is often 
enough the case, taking the mask of it), we owe sensuality, 
cruelty, and war, insolence and avarice, modem political 
economy, life by conservation of forces, and salvation by 
every man's looking after his own interests ; and, generally, 
whatsoever of guilt, and folly, and death, there is abroad 
among us. And of the two, a thousand-fold rather let us 
retain some colour of superstition, so that we may keep 


also some strength of religion, than comfort ourselves ynth 
colour of Feasdu for the desolation of godlessness. I irotdd 
say to every youth who entered our schools — Be a Maho- 
metan, a Diana-worshipper, a Fire^worshipper, Root-wor- 
shipper^ if you will; but at least be so much a man as 
to know what wordiip means. I had rather, a milIion«ft>ld 
rather, see you one of those '^quibus hec nasountur in 
hortis numina,"^ than one of those ^^quibus luec non nas* 
cuntur in covdibus lumina"; and who are, by everlasting 
orphanage, divided from the Father of Sj^ts, who is also 
the Father of lights, from whom cometh every good and 
perfect gift.' 

18. *'So much of man,'' I say, feeling profoundly that 
all right exercise of any human gift, so descended from 
the Giver of good, depends on the primary formation of 
the character of true manliness in the youth--*that is to 
say, of a majestic, grave, and deliberate strength. How 
strange the words sound ; how little does it seem possible 
to conceive of majesty, and gravity, and deliberation in 
the daily track of modem life. Yet, gentlemen, we need 
not hope that our woik will be majestic if there is no 
majesty in ourselves. The word ^' manly*' has come to 
tnean practically, among us, a schoolboy^s character, not 
a man's. We are, at our best, thoughtlessly iimpetuous, 
fond of adventure and excitement; curious in knowledge 
for its novelty, not for its system and results; fiiithful and 
affectionate to those among whom we are by chance cast, 
but gently and calmly insolent to strangers : we are stupidly 
conscientious, and instinctively brave, and always ready to 
cast away the lives we take no pains to make valuable^ 
in causes of which we have never ascertained the justice. 
Thiis is our highest type — ^notable peculiarly among nations 
for its gentleness, together with its courage; but in lower 
conditions it is eq>edally liable to degradation by dts love 
of jest and of vulgar sensation. It is against Uiis £atai 

^ rSee JnTenal^ it. 10 (ipedcinff of ^gypt, when th« leek and oidam were 
Mcred): '^O MacUis Mutes ouibnt. etc] 
* [James i. 17.] 


tendency to vile play that we have chiefly to contend. It 
is the spirit of Milton's Comus ; bestial itself, but having 
power to arrest and paralyze all who come within its influ- 
ence, even pure creatures sitting helpless, mocked by it 
on their marble thrones. It is incompatible, not only with 
all greatness of character, but with aU true gladness of 
heart, and it develops itself in nations in proportion to 
their degradation, connected with a peculiar gloom and a 
singular tendency to play with death, which is a morbid 
reaction from the morbid excess. 

14. A book has lately been published on the Mjrthology 
of the Rhine, with illustrations by Gustave Dor^.^ The 
Rhine god is represented in the vignette title-page with a 
pipe in one hand and a pot of beer in the other. You 
cannot have a more complete type of the tendency which 
is chiefly to be dreaded in this age than in this conception, 
as opposed to aiiy possibility of representation of a river- 
god, however plaj^Ful, in the mind of a Greek painter. The 
example is the more notable because Gustave Dor^s is not 
a common mind, and, if bom in any other epoch, he would 
probably have done valuable (though never first-rate) work ; 
but by glancing (it will be impossible for you to do more 
than glimce) at his illustrations of Balzac's Contes DrS- 
laUqtLes^ you will see further how this " drdlatique,** or 
semi-comic mask is, in the truth of it, the mask of a skull, 
and how the tendency to burlesque jest is both in France 
and England only an effervescence fit>m the cloaca fnamma 
of the putrid instincts which fasten themselves on national 
sin, and are in the midst of the luxury of European capi- 
tals, what Dante meant when he wrote ^^quel mi sveglio 
col puzzo," of the body of the Wealth-Siren ; ' the mocking 
levity and mocking gloom being equally signs of the death 
of the soul; just as, contrariwise, a passionate seriousness 

^ [Saintine, X. B. : Xa Mpthahgie du Rkin, lihiHr^e par Omtave Ihri, 1862.] 
* [See^ for a farther discaflnon of these illustrations^ Time and Tide, § 90 

(Vol. XVII. pp. 344-345).] 

' [Purgatario, xix. 33. On the Wealth-Siren, see Munera PuherU, § 90 

(VoL XVII. pp. 211-212).] 


and passionate joyfulness are signs of its full life in works 
such as those of Angelico, Luini, Ghiberti, or Lia Robbia. 

It is to recover this stem seriousness, this pure and thrill- 
ing joy, together with perpetual sense of spiritual presence, 
that all true education of youth must now be directed. 
This seriousness, this passion, this universal human religion, 
are the first principles, the true roots of all art, as they are 
of aU doing, of all being. Get this vis viva^ first and all 
great work will follow. Lose it, and your schools of art 
will stand among other living schools as the fixxeen corpses 
stand by the winding stair of the St. Michael*s Convent of 
Mont Cenis,' holding their hands stretched out under their 
shrouds, as if beseeching the passer-by to lock upon the 
wasting of their death. 

15. And all the higher branches of technical teaching 
are vain without this ; nay, are in some sort vain altogether, 
for they are superseded by this. You may teach imitation, 
because the meanest man can imitate; but you can neither 
teach idealism nor composition, because only a great man 
can choose, conceive, or compose; and he does all these 
necessarily, and because of his nature.' His greatness is in 
his choice of things, in his analysis of them, and his com- 
bining powers involve the totality of his knowledge in life. 
His methods of observation and abstraction are essential 
habits of his thought, conditions of his being. If he looks 
at a human form he recognizes the signs of nobility in it, 
and loves them. — Abates whatever is diseased, frightful, sinful, 
or designant of decay. All ugliness, and abortion, and 
&ding away; all signs of vice and foulness, he turns away 
from, as iidierently diabolic and horrible; all signs of un- 
conquered emotion he regrets, as weaknesses. He looks 
only for the calm purity of the human creature, in living 
conquests of its passions and of fate. That is idealism ; but 

^ [Compare the lue of the term in Munera PukerU, § 134 (Vol XVII. 
p. 259).] 

* [For another description of the desiccated corpses on the staircase of the 
Sagra di San Michele, see Ruskin's letter of 1868 in Vol VII. p. xlW.1 

» [Compare Vol V. p. 189, and Vol VIL p. 210.] 


you cannot teach any one else that preference. Take a 
man who likes to see and paint the gambler's rage; the 
hedge-rulBSan's enjo3rment; the debauched soldier's strife; 
the vicious woman's degradation ; — ^take a man fed on the 
dusty picturesque of rags and guilt; talk to him of prin* 
ciples of beau^I make him draw what you will, how you 
W1U9 he will leave the stain of himself on whatever he 
touches. You had better go lecture to a snail, and tell it 
to leave no slime behind it. Try to make a mean man 
compose; you will find nothing in his thoughts consecutive 
or proportioned — ^nothing consistent in his sight — ^nothing in 
his fSoncy. He cannot comprehend two things in relation 
at once — ^how much less twenty 1 How much less all! 
Everything is uppermost with hhn in its turn, and each as 
huge as the rest; but Titian or Veronese compose as tran- 
quilly as they would speak — ^inevitably. The thing comes 
to them so — ^they see it so — ^rightly, and in harmony: they 
will not talk to you of composition, hardly even understand- 
ing how lower people see things otherwise, but knowing that 
if they do see otherwise, there is for them the end there, 
talk as you will. 

16. I had intended, in conclusion, gentlemen, to incur 
such blame of presumption as might be involved in offering 
some hints for present practical methods in architectural 
schools, but here again I am checked, as I have been 
throuj^out, by a sense of the uselessness of all minor 
meansy and helps, without the establishment of a true and 
broad educational system. My wish would be to see the 
profession of the architect united, not with that of the 
engineer, but of the sculptor. I think there should be a 
separate school and university course for engiaeers, in which 
the principal branches of study connected with that of 
practical building should be the physical and exact sciences, 
and honours should be taken in mathematics; but I think 
there should be another school and university course for the 
sculptor and architect, in which literature and philosophy 
should be the associated branches of study, and honours 


should be taken in Uteris hurnmdoribiis ; and I think a 
young architect's examination for his degree (for mere pass), 
should be much stricter than that of youths intending to 
enter other professions. The quantity of scholarship neces- 
sary for the efficiency of a country dergyman is not great* 
So that he be modest and kindly, the main truths he has 
to teach, may be learned better in his heart than in books, 
and taught in very simple English. The best physicians I 
have known spent very little time in their libraries; and 
though my lawyer sometimes chats with me over a Greek 
coin, I think he regards the time so spent in the light 
rather of concession to my idleness than as helpful to his 
professional labours. 

But there is no task undertaken by a true architect of 
which the honourable fulfilment will not require a range 
of knowledge and habitual feeling only attainable by ad* 
vanced scholarship. 

17. Since, however, such expansion of system is, at 
present, beyond hope, the best we can do is to render the 
studies undertaken in our schools thoughtful, reverent, and 
refined, according to our power. Especially, it should be 
our aim to prevent the minds of the students from being 
distracted by models of an unworthy or mixed character. 
A museum is one thing — a school another; and I am per- 
suaded that as the efficiency of a school of literature de* 
pends on the mastering a few good books,^ so the efficiency 
of a school of art will depend on the understanding a few 
good models. And so strongly do I feel this that I would, 
for my own part, at once consent to sacrifice my personal 
predilections in art, and to vote for the exclusion of all 
Gothic or Mediaeval models whatsoever, if by this sacrifice 
I could obtain also the exclusion of Byzantine, Indian, 
Renaissance-French, and other more or less attractive but 
barbarous work; and thus concentrate the mind of the 
student wholly upon the study of natural form, and upon 

^ [Sea below, p. 146.] 


its treatment by the sculptors and metal workers of Greece, 
Ionia, Sicily, and Magna Grsecia, between 500 and 850 b.c. 
But I should hope that exclusiveness' need not be car* 
ried quite so far. I think Donatello, Mino of Fiesole, the 
Robbias, Ghiberti, Verrocchio, and Michael Angelo, should 
be adequately represented in our schools — together with 
the Greeks — and that a few carefully chosen examples of 
the jfloral sculpture of the North in the thirteenth century 
should be added/ with especial view to display the treat* 
ment of naturalistic ornament in subtle connection with con- 
structive requirements; and in the course of study pursued 
with reference to these models, as of admitted perfection, I 
should endeavour first to make the student thoroughly 
acquainted with the natural forms and characters of the 
objects he had to treat, and then to exercise him in the 
abstraction of these forms, and the suggestion of these 
characters, under due sculptural limitation. He should 
first be taught to draw largely and simply; then he should 
make quick and firm sketches of flowers, animals, dra- 
pery, and figures, from nature, in the simplest terms of Une, 
and light and shade; always being taught to look at the 
organic, actions and masses, not at the textures or acci- 
dental effects of shade; meantime his sentiment respecting 
all these things should be cultivated by dose and con- 
stant inquiry into their mythological significance and asso- 
ciated traditions ; then, knowing the things and creatures 
thoroughly, and regarding them through an atmosphere of 
endhanted memory, he idiould be shown how the facts he 
has taken so long to learn are summed by a great sculptor 
in a few touches; how those touches are invariably ar- 
ranged in nmsical and decorative relations; how every 
detdl unnecessary for his purpose is refused ; how those 
necessary for his purpose are insisted upon, or even exag- 
gerated, or r^nresented by singular artifice, when literal 

1 rTbmB an achemeB for Collections of Ezamplos and for art-teaching which 
Rukin alterwardi carried out at Oxfbrd: tee VoL XX.] 


representation is impossible; and how all this is done under 
the instinct and passion of an inner commanding spirit 
which it is indeed impossible to imitate, but possible, per- 
haps, to share. 

18. Perhaps! Pardon me that I speak despondingly. 
For my own part, I feel the force of mechanism and the 
fury of avaricious commerce to be at present so irresistible, 
that I have seceded from the study not only of archi- 
tecture, but nearly of all art ; and have given myself, as 1 
would in a besieged city, to seek the best modes of getting 
bread and water for its multitudes, there remaining no 
question, it seems, to me, of other than such grave business 
for the time.^ But there is, at least, this ground for 
courage, if not for hope : As the evil spirits of avarice and 
luxury are directly contrary to art, so, also, art is directly 
contrary to them; and according to its force, expulsive of 
them and medicinal against them; so that the establish- 
ment of such schools as I have ventured to describe — 
whatever their inmiediate success or iU success in the 
teaching of art — ^would yet be the directest method of re- 
sistance to those conditions of evil among which our youth 
are cast at the most critical period of their lives. We 
may not be able to produce architecture, but, at the least, 
we shall resist vice. I do not know if it has be^i observed 
that while Dante rightly connects architecture, as the most 
permanent expression of the pride of humanity, whether 
just or unjust, with the first cornice of Purgatory, he in- 
dicates its noble function by engraving upon it, in perfect 
sculpture, the stories which rebuke the errors and purify 
the purposes of noblest souls.' In the fulfilment of such 
fimction, literally and practically, here among men, is the 
only real use of pride of noble architecture, and on its ac- 
ceptance or surrender of that function it depoids whether, 
in future, the cities of England melt into a ruin more 
confused and ghastly than ever storm wasted or wolf 

^ [See tbe Introduction, above, pp. zxiL-xziii« ; and compare Thne and Ittkf 
§ e9 (Vol. XVIL p. 376}.] 
s [See Purgaiario, xiL] 


inhabited, or puige and exalt themselves into true habita- 
tions of men, whose walls shall be Safety, and whose gates 
shall be Praise.^ 

NoTB,^ — ^In the course of the discussion which followed this paper the 
meeting was addressed by Professor Donaldson, who alluded to the archi- 
tectuiml improvements in France under the third Napoleon, by Mr. George 
Edmund Street, by Professor Kerr, Mr. Digby Wyatt, and others. The 
President then proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. Ruskin, who, in acknow- 
ledging the high compliment paid him, said he would detain the meeting 
bat a few minutes, but he felt he ought to make some attempt to explain 
what he had inefficiently stated in his paper; and there was hardly any- 
thing said in the discussion in which he did not concur: the supposeid 
differences of opinion were either because he had ill-expressed himself, or 
because of things left unsaid. In the first place he was surprised to hear 
dissent from Professor Donaldson while he expressed his admimtion of some 
of the changes which had been developed in modem architecture.' There 
were two conditions of architecture adapted for different climates ; one with 
narrow streets, calculated for shade; another for broad avenues beneath 
blight skies; but both conditions had their beautiful effects. He sym- 
pathised with the admirers of Italy, and he was delighted with Genoa. 
He had been delighted also by the view of the long vistas from the 
Tttileries. Mr. Street had showed * that he had not sufficiently dwelt on the 
distinction between near and distant carving — between carving and sculp- 
ture. He (Mr. Ruskin) could aUow of no distinction. Sculpture which was 
to be viewed at a height of 500 feet above the eye might be executed 
with a few touches of the chisel; opposed to that there was the exquirite 
finish which was the perfection of sculpture, as displayed in the Greek 
statues, after a full knowledge of the whole nature of the object portrayed ; 
both styles were admirable in their true application — ^bothwere '^ sculpture" 
— ^lerfect according to their places and requirements. The attack of Pro- 
fessor Kerr he regarded as in play,^ and in that spirit he would reply to 
him that he was afraid a practical association with bricks and mortar 
would hardly produce the effects upon him which had been suggested, 

1 rimiab Iz. 18.] 

* [Thus printed in On the Old Road, which summarises the other proceedings 
and quotes Raskin's speech from the Semonal P rooee di nj^,] 

' IProfessor Domdoson had admired the noble avenues which the Emperor of 
the French was making in Paris, and this remark was greeted with cries of "No. 
No " ; Mr. Street sahsequently protested against this praise of modem Paris, and 
said that his &vottrite city, from an architectural point of view, was Genoa, ** where 
there was only one street more than half the wiath of this room."] 

* (The criticism retored to — that ^'they should draw the line between carving 
and sculpture" — was, however, made in fact by Professor Donaldson.] 

^ [Prolessor Kerr had argued that talk about the poetir of architecture was all 
very well in a writer, but that it would not do in business : ''he could not help think- 
ing that if they were to set Mr. Ruskin up as an architect in an oflioe in Whitehall, 
and give him plenty of work to do, he would change his opinion." Professor Kerr 
aflked what was the good of theorising? "Mr. Raskin said that during the last 
fifty yean there had been more philosophy expended upon art than in all the 


for having of late in his residence^ experienced the transition of large 
extents of ground into bricks and mortar^ it had had no effect in changing 
his views ; and when he said he was tired of writing upon art,' it was not 
that he was ashamed of what he had written, but that he was tired of 
writing in vain, and of knocking his head, thick as it might be, against a 
wall. There was another point which he would answer very gravely. It 
was referred to by Mr. Digby Wyatt, and was the one point he had mainly 
at heart all through — viz., that religion and high morality were at the root 
of all great art in all great times. The instances referred to by Mr. Digby 
Wyatt did not counteract that proposition.^ Modem and ancient forms of 
life might be different, nor could all men be judged by formal canons^ 
but a true human heart was in the breast of every really great artist He 
had the greatest detestation of anything approaching to cant in respect of 
art; but, after long investigation of the historical evidence, as well as of 
the metaphysical laws bearing on this question, he was absolutely certain 
that a high moral and religious training was the only way to get good 
fruits from our youth ; make them good men first, and only so, if at all, 
they would become good artists. With regard to the points mooted re- 
specting the practical and poetical uses of architecture, he thought they 
did not sufficiently define their terms; they spoke of poetry as rh3rme. 
He thanked the President for his definition to-night,^ and he was sure he 
would concur with him that poetry meant as its derivation implied — 
"the doing." ^ What was rightly done was done for ever, and that which 
was only a crude work for the time was not poetry; poetry was only that 
which would recreate or remake the human soul. In that sense poetical 
architecture was separated from all utilitarian work. He had said long 
ago ^ men could not decorate their shops and counters ; they could decorate 
only where they lived in peace and rest — where they existed to be happy. 
There ornament would find use, and there their "doing" would be per- 
manent. In other cases they wasted their money if they attempted to 
make utilitarian work ornamental. He might be wrong in that principle, 
but he had always asserted it, and had seen no reason in recent works for 
any modification of it. He thanked the meeting sincerely for the honour 
they had conferred upon him by their invitation to address them that 
evening, and for the indulgence with which they had heard him. 

centuries before. (Mr. Raskin : In writings upon art). Yes ; but writing and 
speaking ran in the same channeL He averrea, also, that it produced no effect 
upon the public, and this they would all admit But what were the consequences 
of that gentleman's own artistic philosophy upon himself— the philosopher ? That 
he was sick and tired of such poetic art, and had turned in despaur to prosaic 
political ecoDomy."] 
' [Denmark Hill] 




See above, | 4, p. 2d.J 

i,Mr. Wyatt had said, " His own fiuth in Mr. Ruskin's theory that good men 
could do good work in any department of art, was greatly shaken by his 

recollection of the nature of the lives o£ the artists Titian and Correggio, whose 
works had been held forth as models."] 

* (The President (the RL Hon. A. J. Beresford-Hope) had said '^ prose is 
thought expressed in the best words, while poetry is thought expressed in the 
best words, and each word in the best place."] 

ft [Compare Modem IWntert, vol. iii. (Vol. V. p. 29}.] 

• [See Seven Lampe, Vol. VUI. pp. 166hl5a] 



(1865, i866) 





JVato.-— The papen entitled The Oethu of Agtaia first ap- 
peared in the Art Journal in 1865 and 18C6 :— 

'^Pre&tory" in the number for Januarjr 1866^ New Series^ vol. iv. 
pp. 5-^. 

'^Chapter I." in the nnmber for February 1866^ vol. iv. pp. 33-36. 
'^Chapter IL" in the number for March 1866, voL iv. pp. 73-74. 
Chapter III." in the number for April 1865, vol iv. pp. 101-102. 
Chapter IV." in the number for May 1865, vol. iv. pp. 129^ 130. 
'^ Chapter V." in the number for June 1865, vol. iv. pp. 177, 178. 
'^Chapter VI." in the number for July 1865, vol. iv. pp. 197-199. 
'' Chapter VII." in the number for January 1866, New Series, vol. v. 
pp. 9^ 10. 

'' Chapter VIII." in the number for February 1866, vol. v. pp. 33, 34. 
— ^ '' Chapter IX." in the number for April 1866, vol. v. pp. 97, 9a 

Papera I., II., VI., VII., VIIL, and IX. were signed ''John Rusldn"; 
III. and rV. , '' J. Ruskin " ; V. was (by inadvertence, no doubt) not signed. 

Portions of the papers were reprinted (with slight alterations) in 1869 
in The Queen qf the Atr, as follow : — 

Chapter ii. (§§ 22-29, part) as §§ 135-142 of that work. 

Chapter v. (§ 68) and Chapter vL (§§ 69-85) as §§ 143-159. 

A small portion of the papers (§§ 40 and 41) was also printed in Ariadne 
FhrmUina (§§ 115 and 116). 

The Ceetue of Aglaia, with the omission of the passages which had thus 
been used in The Queen of the Air, was reprinteid in On the Old Road, 
1885, vol i. pp. 439-546 (§§ 316-404) ; and again in the second edition of 
that work, 1899, vol. ii. pp. 41-150 (§§ 25-113). 

In this edition the essays are for the first time reprinted in their com- 
plete original form ; the paragraphs being numbered consecutively. A 
title-page and a list of contents are here added by the editors. The titles 
follow the author's words in the text, wherever possible. 

VaruB Lectiones. — ^There are few variations in the text to record, except in 
the case of the portions of the essays which were used in The Queen qf the 
Air and Ariadne Fhrentina. On the principle, observed throughout this 
edition, of printing the text as last revised by the author, the corrections 
made by Ruskin, when using portions of the Ceetu* for those books, are 
here embodied in the text ; but where such corrections were made only 
because of refisrences to earlier passages of the Geetus, or for purposes 
of curtailment in the new context, the original text (and not that of The 
Qiie0fi of the Air) has been adopted. The more interesting of the varia- 
tions thus resulting are noted under the text, and to them only a refer- 
enee is here given. The reprint of the other papers in On ike OU Road 

was not corrected by Ruskin himself. A few typographical errors crept in, 


9 • 


and the original text is here given. A few minor diifereneet of spelling 
and punctnation are not included in the following list: — 

Okipter !».-.§ 22, line 2, Qumii 4^ the Air reads ''insist ... on this '^ 
for ''retam ... ^ for a little while to" ; line 12^ see p. 72 n. 

§ 2dy line 8, Cuhu reads " window jewels' for ''jewels in the 
line 13, Outui reads " metamorphosiBin. 

§ 25, line 9, Oettui reads "all those peculiar" for "peculiarly"; Une 10, 
QifMA qf the Air omits " of which I spolce in the prefotoiy chapter." 

§ 28, line 15, see p. 79 n.; lines 22, 23, Outtu reads "according to 
their modesty ... all other modes of mnsieal art"; last lines, "concent" 
was printed "consent" in the Art Joumai and Quem qf the Air. 

Chapter fit.— § 33, line 11, "ante-chamber" for "ante-chambeis" in On 
the Old Road. 

§ 40, line 4, see p. 90 n. ; line 8, Ceetujt reads " perhaps they think " 
for "that" (ii^ Ariadne) \ line 11, see p. 91 n. ; fourth line horn end, 
the italics are introduced from Ariadne, 

OhapUr m— § 49, line 10, "note" was misprinted "not" in the AH 
Jowmai wsiA On the Oid Bead; line 15, "undignified" was misprinted "un- 
dignd" in the Art JeumaL 

§ 50, line 9, " Creole " was misprinted " Gieeks " in the Art Jiwmal 
and On the Oid Road. 

Chapter o.— § 06, line 49, "Jerome" here corrected to ''G^rome." 

Chapter «».— § 70, lines 3, 4, see p. 120 n. 

§ 73, lines S-13, see p. 122 n.; lines 19-^, see p. 122 n.; lines 3^-38, 
see p. 122 n. 

§ 74, line 4, Outue reads "raise" for "exalt"; line 25, Oeetue reads 
"and digesHng" after "digging." 

§ 75, lines 10, 16, see p. 124 n. 

§ 79, line 33» see p. 126 n. 

g 80, line 6, see p. 127 n. ; line 37, Ceetue reads "gneissose" for 
"gneiss and slate." 

§ 81, line 2, see p. 128 n. ; line 4, "it" (in Ceetue and eds. 1-3 of Queen 
pf the Air) has been accidentally omitted in all later issues of that book ; 
line 8, the words "(Pope's 'blue transparent Wandle')" were inserted in 
the 1883 edition of QuMft qf the Air. 

§ 82, line 8, OeeHte reads "bullets" for "shot"; line 16, Oeeiue adds 
"the fact is, that" after "for"; lines 22, 25, 30, see p. 129 n. 

§ 83, lines 3, 4, Ceetue does not give "though unhappUy," and in 
the next line begins a new sentence after "progress"; Une 17, Ceetue 
reads "unites" for "united" ; lines 23-25, Ceetue reads "... does not see 
his strength because of the chastened . . . does not recognise his . . ."; 
line 38, see p. 130 n. ; seventh line from end, see p. 131 n. ; last line, 
Oeetue reads "yet" after "renuuniug." 

§ 84, line 10, C^ue reads " and shapes " after " educates " ; line 19, 
Oeetue reads "heels" for "will"; lines 25, 26, see p. 132 n. 

§ 85, footnote, see p. 132 n. ; line 15, see p. 133 n. 

Chapter to.--§ 111, line 10, On the Old Road misprints "state" Ibr 
"stage" (see line 15).] 



I. Thb Black Outlinb 

II. MoDnrrv 
III. Patibncg 

IV. Haste 

V. ''Rkmbbandt, and Strong Waters" 
VI. Liberty 

VII. The Limits of Materul 


IX. The Three Kinds of Enorayino 














^^UoikCXov, f €vi vdvra rcrcvxarai* ov8c are ^lu 

(HoM. //. xiv. 880-221.^) 


1. Not many months ago, a friend, whose familiarity with 
hoth living and past schools of Art rendered his opinion of 
great authority, said casually to me in the course of talk, 
*' I believe we have now as able painters as ever lived ; but 
they never paint as good pictures as were once painted/* 
That was the substance of his saying; I foiget ihe exact 
words, but their tenor surprised me, and I have thought 
much of them since. Without pressing the statement too 
fiBtr, or examining it with an unintended strictness, this I 
believe to be at all events true, that we have men among 
us, now in Europe, who might have been noble painters, 
and are not ; men whose doings are altogether as wonderful 
in skill, as inexhaustible in fancy, as the work of the really 
great painters ; and yet these doings of theirs are not great* 
Shall I write the commonplace that rings in sequence in 
my ear, and draws on my hand — "are not Great, for they 
are not (in the broad human and ethical sense) Good"? I 
write it, and ask foigiveness for the truism, with its im- 
plied imcharitableness of blame; for this trite thing is ill 

^ [From the passage in which Aphrodite preeents her ceitm or girdle to Hera : 
'^Take now this hroidered girdle, in which are all things wrought; and I tell yon 
that you shall not return with aught that is in your mind unaccomplished." The 
words here italicised seem to hare special reference to Ruskin's title: see above. 
Introduction^ p. Ixiii*] 

' [Art Journal, N.9., vol. iv. pp. 6-6, January 1856.] 

49 D 


understood and little thought upon by any of us, and the 
implied blame is divided among us all ; only let me at once 
partly modify it, and partly define. 

2. In one sense, modem Art has more goodness in it 
than ever Art had before. Its kindly spirit, its quick sym- 
pathy with pure domestic and social feeling, the occasional 
seriousness of its instructive purpose, and its honest effort 
to grasp the reality of conceived scenes, are all eminently 
''good," as compared with the insane picturesqueness and 
conventional piety of many among the old masters. Such 
domestic painting, for instance, as Richter's in Germany, 
Edward Fr^re's in France, and Hook's in England,^ to- 
gether with such historical and ideal work as perhaps 

the reader would be offended with me were I to set down 
the several names that occur to me here, so I will set down 
one only, and say — as that of Paul de la Roche; such 
work, I repeat, as these men have done, or are doing, 
is entirely good in its influence on the public mind; and 
may, in thankful exultation, be compared with the rendeiv 
ings of besotted, vicious, and vulgar human life perpetrated 
by Dutch painters, or with the deathful formalism and 
fallacy of what was once called "Historical Art."* Also, 
this gentleness and veracity of theirs, being in part com- 
municable, are gradually learned, though in a somewhat 
servile manner, yet not without a sincere sympathy, by 
many inferior painters, so that our exhibitions and curreatly 
popular Ikk^s are full of very lovely and pathetic ideas» 
expressed with a care, and appealing to an interest, quite 
unknown in past times. I will take two instances of 
merely average power, as more illustrative of what I mean 
than any more singular and distinguished work could be. 
Last year, in the British Institution, there were two pictures 

1 [For Richter, see Vol. III. p. 264, Vol. IV. p. 366, Vol. XIV. p. 361, and 
Vol. XV. pp. 204, 224; for Frtre, Vol. XIV, pp. 142, 174, 347, and compare 
'' Flamboyant Arcnitectare/' below, pp. 249, 270 ; for Hook, the passages indexed at 
VoL XIV. p. 317 ; and for Paul Delaroche, below, p. 20fi, Vol. 111. p. 19», VoL XIV. 
p. 488, and Fon Clavigera, Letter 35.] 

* [For the vulgarity of the Dutch school, see Vol. VII. pp. 363 mo. ; and for 
^'Historical Art," VoL XU. pp. 151-lfi2.] 


by the same painter, one of a dcmiestic, the other of a 
sacred subject/ I will say nothing of the way in which 
they were painted ; it may have been bad, or good, or 
ndther: it is not to my point. I wish to direct attention 
only to the conception of them. One, ^^ Cradled in his 
Calling/' was of a fisherman and his ¥nfe, and helpful 
grown-up son, and helpless new-bom little one; the two 
men carrying the young, child up from the shore, rocking 
it between them in the wet net for a hammock, the mother 
looking on joyously, and the baby laughing. The thought 
was pretty and good, and one might go on dreaming over 
it long — ^not unprofitably. But the second picture was more 
interesting. I describe it only in the circumstances of the 
invented scene — sunset after the crucifixion. The bodies 
have been taken away, and the crosses are left lying on 
the broken earth; a group of children have strayed up the 
hill, and stopped beside them in such shadowy awe as is 
possible to childhood, and they have picked up one or two 
of the drawn nails to feel how sharp they are. Meantime 
a girl with her little brother — ^goat-herds both — have been 
watering their flock at Kidron, and are driving it home. 
The girl, strong in grace and honour of youth, carr]ang 
her pitcher of water on her erect head, has gone on past 
the place steadily, minding her flock; but her little curly- 
headed brother, with cheeks of burning Eastern brown, has 
lingered behind to look, and is feeling the point of one of 
the nails, held in another child's hand. A lovely little kid 
of the goats has stayed bdiind to keep him company, and 
is amusing itself by jumping backwards and forwards over 
an arm of the cross. The sister looks back, and, wondering 
what he can have stopped in that dreadful place fw, waves 
her hand for the little boy to come away. 

I have no hesitation in saying that, as compared with 

1 [By PhUip Richard Morris, A.RA. (1833-1902). A woodcut of " Cradled 
in his Udling' appeared in the Art Journal for June 1872, N.S., toL zi. p. 162; 
of the other picture, entitled "Where they Crucified Him.** a tteel enmvinff (by 
J. C. Armytage) appeared in the same journal for October 1868, N.B., voLvii, 
p. 200.] 


the ancient and stereotyped conceptions of the '^Taking 
down from the Cross," tihere is a living feeling in that 
picture which is of great price. It may perhaps be weak, 
nay, even superficial, or untenable — ^that will depend on 
the other conditions of character out of which it springs — 
but, so far as it reaches, it is pure and good ; and we may 
gain more by looking thoughtftiUy at such a picture than 
at any even of the least formal types of the work of older 
schools. It would be imfair to compare it with first-rate, 
or even approximately first-rate designs ; but even accepting 
such unjust terms, put it beside Rembrandt's ghastly white 
sheet, laid over the two poles at the Cross-foot,^ and see 
which has most good in it for you of any communicable 

8. I trust, then, that I fully admit whatever may, on 
due deliberation, be alleged in favour of modem Art. Nay, 
I have heretofore asserted more for some modem Art than 
others were disposed to admit, nor do I withdraw one word 
from such assertion. But when all has been said and 
granted that may be, there remains this painful fact to be 
dealt with, — ^the consciousness, namely, both in living artists 
themselves and in us their admirers, that something, and 
that not a little, is wrong with us ; that they, relentlessly 
examined, could not say they thoroughly knew how to 
paint, and that we, relentlessly examined, could not say we 
thoroughly know to judge. The best of our painters will 
look a little to us, the beholders, for confirmation of his 
having done welL We, appealed to, look to each other to 
see what we ought to say. If we venture to find fault, 
however submissively, the artist will probably feel a little 
uncomfortable: he will by no means venture to meet us 
with a serenely crushing "Sir, it cannot be better done,'* 
in the manner of Albert Diirer.* And yet, if it could not 

1 [The reference ie to Rembrandt's etching of " The Descent from the Croas/' 
in which the poles with the white sheet occapy the foreground (see No. 90 in 
Dutoit's L'QSuvre Camplet de Bembrandt,'] 

> [For other passages where Ruskxn cites this saying, see Vol. V. p. 331 ; 
VoL VI. p. 169; Vol. XL p. 14; Vol. XIII. p. 423 ; Vol. XIV. p. 393; and 
compare § 22, below, p. 72.] 



be better done, he, of all men, should know that best, nor 
fear to say so; it is good for himself, and for us, that he 
should assert that, if he knows that. The last time my 
dear old Mend William Hunt came to see me, I took 
down one of his early drawings for him to see (three blue 
plums and one amber one, and two nuts). So he looked 
at it, happily, for a minute or two and then said, ** Well, 
it's very nice, isn't it? I did not think I could have done 
so well." ^ The saying was entirely right, exquisitely modest 
and true; only I fear he would not have had the courage 
to maintain that his drawing was good, if anybody had been 
there to §ay otherwise. Still, having done well, he knew 
it; and what is more no man ever does do well without 
knowing it: he may not know how well, nor be conscious 
of the best of his own qualities; nor measure, or care to 
measure, the relation of his power to that of other men, 
but he will know that what he has done is, in an intended, 
accomplished, and ascertainable degree, good. Every able 
and honest workman, as he wins a right to rest, so he wins 
a right to approval, — ^his own if no one's beside; nay, his 
only true rest is in the calm consciousness that the thing 
has been honourably done — avvelStia-if Sri icoXov, I do not 
use the Greek words in pedantry, I want them for future 
service and interpretation;' no English words, nor any of 
any other language, would do as well. For I mean to try 
to show, and believe I can show, that a simple and sure 
conviction of our having done rightly is not only an attain- 
able, but a necessary seal and sign of our having so done; 
and that the doing well or rightly, and ill or wrongly, are 
both conditions of the whole being of each person, coming 
of a nature in him which affects all things that he may do, 
from the least to the greatest, according to the noble old 
phrase for the conquering rightness, of " integrity," " whole- 
ness/' or " wholesomeness." So that when we do external 
things (that are our business) ill, it is a sign that internal, 

^ [For anothar account of this oonvenatioii, tea Vol. XIV. p. 445.] 
s [See below, § 27, p. 78 ; and also § 24 »., p. 75 : a pawage from the MS. which 
Riukm afterwards omitted.] 


and, in fact, that all things, are ill with us ; and when] we 
do external things well, it is a sign that internal and all 
things are well with us. And I believe there are two 
principal adversities to this wholesomeness of work, and to 
all else that issues out of wholeness of inner character, 
with which we have in these days specially to contend. 
The first is the variety of Art round us, tempting us to 
thoughtless imitation ; the second our own want of belief 
in the existence of a rule of right. 

4. (I.) I say the first is the variety of Art around us* 
No man can pursue his own track in peace, nor obtain con* 
sistent guidance, if doubtful of his track. All places are 
full of inconsistent example, all mouths of contradictory 
advice, all prospects of opposite temptations. The young 
artist sees myriads of things he would like to do, but can- 
not learn fix>m their authors how they were done, nor choose 
decisively any method which he may follow with the accu- 
racy and confidence necessary to success. He is not even 
sure if his thoughts are his own; for the whole atmosphere 
round him is full of floating suggestion : those which are 
his own he cannot keep pure, for he breathes a dust of 
decayed ideas, wreck of the souls of dead nations, driven 
by contrary winds. He may stiffen himself (and all the 
worse for him) into an iron self-will, but if the iron has 
any magnetism in it, he cannot pass a day without find-* 
ing himself, at the end of it, instead of sharpened or tem* 
pered, covered with a ragged fringe of iron filings. If 
there be an5rthing better than iron — ^living wood fibre — ^in 
him, he cannot be allowed any natural growth, but gets 
hacked in every extremity, and bossed over with lumps 
of frozen clay; — grafts of incongruous blossom that will 
never set; while some even recognise no need of knife or 
clay (though both are good in a gardener's hand), but dedc 
themselves out with incongruous glittering, like a Christmas 
tree. Even were the style chosen true to his own nature, - 
and persisted in, there is harm in the very eminence of 
the models set before him at the beginning of his career. 


If he feels their power, they make hhn restless and un«- 
patient, it may be despondent, it may be madly and fruits 
lessly ambitious. If he does not feel it, he is sure to be 
struek by what is weakest or slightest of their peculiar 
qualities; feutieies that this is what th^ are praised for; 
tries to catch the trick of it; and whatever easy vice or 
mechanical habit the master may have been betrayed or 
warped into, the unhappy pupil watches and adopts, trium- 
phant in its ease: — ^has not sense to steal the peacock's 
feather, but imitates its voice. Better for him, far better, 
never to have seen what had been accomplished by others, 
but to have gained gradually his own quiet way, or at 
least with his guide only a step in advance of him, and the 
lantern low on the difficult path. Better even, it has lately 
seemed, to be guideless and lightless; fortunate those who, 
by desolate effort, trying hither and thither, have groped 
their way to some independent power. So, from Cornish 
rocdc, from St. Giles's Lane, from Thames mudshore, you 
get your Front, your Hunt, your Turner ; ^ not, indeed, any 
of them well able to spell English, nor taught so much 
of their own business as to lay a colour safely; but yet 
at last, or first, doing somehow something, wholly ineffec- 
tive on the national mind, yet real, and valued at last 
after they are dead, in motucy; — ^valued otherwise not even 
at so much as the space of dead brick wall it would cover ; 
their work being left for years packed in parcels at the 
National Gallery, or hung conclusively out of sight under 
the shadowy iron vaults of Kensington.' The men them* 
selves, quite inarticulate, determine nothing of their Art, in* 
terpret nothing of their own minds ; teach perhaps a trick or 
two of their stage business in early life — as, for instance, that 

( [Pnifot was bom in Plrmoutb (Vol XII. p. 306), but taken oacly «o ComwaH 
(UfUL, p. 306). William Hunt was born in Belton Straet (now £n4cll Streot)|, 
Loaf Aero, as avpaan from tlie regittar of hit baptism at at Gilaa'a^in-tlie-Fieldt^ 
and na lived in London (YoL XIV. p. 374). For the early sanoundinga of Tumar 
(bom In Maiden Lane^ almost within a stone's-throw of the river), see VoL VIL 
pp. 37e-377.1 

> [For this aagleet of the Tomer drawiM, see Vol. XUL pji xlL s«f.; and 
compare Seiome and LUisi, § 101 (VoL XVIIL p. 149).] 


it is good where there is much black to break it with white, 
and where there is much white to break it with black, etc., 
etc. ; in later life remain silent altogether, or speak only 
in despair (fretful or patient according to their character); 
one who might have been among the best of them,^ the last 
we heard of, finding refuge for an entirely honest heart 
from a world wliich declares honesty to be impossible, 
only in a madness nearly as sorrowed as its own; — ^the 
religious madness which makes a beautiful soul ludicrous 
and ineffectual; and so passes away, bequeathing for our 
inheritance from its true and strong life, a pretty song 
about a tiger, another about a bird-cage, two or three 
golden couplets, which no one will ever take the trouble 
to understand, — ^the spiritual portrait of the ghost of a flea, 
— and the critical opinion that '*the unorganized blots of 
Rubens and Titian are not Art."' Which opinion the 
public mind perhaps not boldly indorsing, is yet incapable 
of pronouncing adversely to it, that the said blots of Titian 
and Rubens are Art, perceiving for itself little good in 
them, and hanging them also well out of its way, at tops 
of walls (Titian's portrait of Charles V. at Munich, for ex- 
ample; Tintoret's Susannah, and Veronese's Magdalen, in 
the Louvre*), that it may have room and readiness for what 
may be generally termed '^ railroad work," bearing on matters 
more hnmediately in hand ; said pubUc looking to the 
present pleasure of its fancy, and the portraiture of itself 
in official and otherwise imposing or entertaining circum- 
stances, as the only ^' Right" cognizable by it. 

1 [For a further mention of William Blake, see below, §§ 67, 85 (pp. 117, 133). 
Raskin here refers to the song in Song9 of Experience (^^ Tiger, tiger, burning bright ) 
and to Auguriee pf Innocence {"A Robin Redbreast in a cage"). For '^ golden 
eouplets/' quoted from Blake, see Eagles Neet, § 21 (from the Book qf Thei), 
and Fore davigera, Letter 74 (from Auguries qf Innocence), For other references 
to the poet-painter, see Vol. V. pp. 138, 323 ; Vol. VIII. p. 256 n. ; Vol. XIV. 
pp. 354-356 ; and Vol. XV. p. 223.] 

' [For a reproduction of the Ghost of a Flea, see Alexander Gilchrist's Lffb ^ 
WiUiam BlakOj 1863, vol. i. p. 255 ; and for the opinion on Rubens and Titian, ibid.. 
▼oL ii. p. 149.] 

* [On the ^skying" of Titian's ''Charles V.," see above, p. 28 n. ; for similar 
criticisms on the Louvre, see VoL XII. pp. 411, 472. The Tlntoret is now hung 
on the line.] 



5. (II.) And this is a deeper source of evil, by far, than 
the former one, for though it is ill for us to strain towards 
a right for which we have never ripened it is worse for us 
to believe in no right at all. ** Anything," we say, "that a 
clever man can do to amuse us is good; what does not 
amuse us we do not want. Taste is assuredly a firivolous, 
apparently a dangerous gift ; vicious persons and vicious 
nations have it ; we are a practical people, content to know 
what we like, wise in not liking it too much, and when 
tired of it, wise in getting something we like better. 
Painting is of course an agreeable ornamental Art, main- 
taining a number of persons respectably, deserving therefore 
encouragement, and getting it pecuniarily, to a hitherto 
unheard-of extent. What would you have more?" This 
is, I believe, very nearly our Art-creed. The fact being 
(very ascertainably by any one who will take the trouble 
to examine the matter), that there is a cultivated Art 
among all great nations, inevitably necessary to them as 
the fulfilment of one part of their human nature. None 
but savage nations are without Art, and civilized nations 
who do their Art ill, do it because there is something deeply 
wrong at their hearts. They paint badly as a paralysed 
man stammers, because his life is touched somewhere 
within ; when the deeper life is full in a people, they speak 
clearly and rightly; paint clearly and rightly; think clearly 
and rightly. There is some reverse eflTect, but very little. 
Good pictures do not teach a nation; they are the signs 
of its having been taught. Grood thoughts do not form a 
nation; it must be formed before it can think them. Let 
it once decay at the heart, and its good work and good 
thoughts will become subtle luxury and aimless sophism; 
and it and they will perish together. 

6. It is my purpose, therefore, in some subsequent papers, 
with such help as I may anywise receive,* to try if there 
may not be determined some of the simplest laws which are 

1 [RiiskiD, M will be leen, hoped that his papen would provoke correspondenee : 
lee below, pp. 70, 134.] 


indeed binding on Art practice and judgment. Beginning 
with dementaiy principle, and proceeding upwards as far as 
guiding laws are discenuble, I hope to show, that if we do 
not yet know them, there are at least sudi laws to be 
known, and that it is of a deep and intimate importance 
to any people, especially to the English at this time, that 
their children should be sincerely taught whatever arts they 
learn, and in riper age become capable of a just choice and 
wise pleasure in the accomplished works of the artist. But 
I earnestly ask for help in this task. It is one which can 
only come to good issue by the consent and aid of many 
thinkers ; and I would, with the permission of the Editor 
of this Journal, invite debate on the subject of each paper, 
together with brief and dear statements of consent or ob- 
jection, with name of consentor or objector; so that after 
courteous discussion had, and due correction of the original 
statement, we may get something at last set down, as har- 
moniously believed by such and such known artists. If 
nothing can thus be determined, at least the manner and 
variety of dissent will show ^Hbether it is owing to the 
nature of the subject, or to the impossibility, under present 
circumstances, that different persons .should approach it 
fix>m similar points of view; and the inquiry, whatever its 
immediate issue, cannot be ultimately fruitless. 



7. Our knowledge of human labour, if intimate enough^ 
will, I think, mass it for the most part into two kinds—* 
mining and moulding ; the labour that seeks for things, and 
the labour that shapes them. Of these the last should be 
always orderly, for we ought to have some conception of 
the whide of what we have to make before we try to make 
any part of it ; but the labour of seeking must be often 
methodless, following the veins of the mine as they branch, 
or trying for them where they are broken. And the mine, 
which we would now open into the souls of men, as they 
govern the mysteries of their handicrafts, being rent into 
many dark and divided wa3rs, it is not possible to map our 
work beforehand, or resolve on its directions. We will not 
attempt to bind ourselves to any methodical treatment of 
our subject, but will get at the truths of it here and 
there, as they seem extricable ; only, though we cannot 
know to what depth we may have to dig, let us know 
dearly what we are digging for. We desire to find by 
what rule some Art is called good, and other Art bad; 
we desire to find the conditions of character in the artist 
which are essentially connected with the goodness of his 
^work : we desire to find what are the methods of practice 
which form this character or corrupt it; and finally, how 
the formation or corruption of this character is connected 
with the general prosperity of nations. 

1 [Art Journal N.S., vol. !▼., pp. 33-35, February 1865. The fint word beindp 
printed in plain eapitals instead of with an ornamental initial letter generally uaed 
bF the Afi Journal, the following note was added by the author: ''I beg the 
Editor's and reade/s pardon for an informality in the type ; but I shrink from 
emamentaJ letters, and hare begged for a legible capital instead."] 



8. And all this we want to learn practically: not for 
mere pleasant speculation on things that have been; but 
for instant direction of those that are yet to be. My first 
object is to get at some fixed principles for the teaching 
of Art to our youth; and I am about to ask, of all who 
may be able to give me a serviceable answer, and with 
and for all who are anxious for such answer, what arts 
should be generally taught to the English boy and girl, — 
by what methods, — ^and to what ends? How well, or how 
imperfectly, our youth of the higher classes should be dis- 
ciplined in the practice of music and painting? — how far, 
among the lower classes, exercise in certain mechanical arts 
might become a part of their school life ? ^ — ^how far, in the 
adult life of this nation, the Fine Arts may advisably 
supersede or regulate the mechanical Arts? Plain ques- 
tions these, enough; clearly also important ones; and, as 
clearly, boundless ones — ^mountainous — ^infinite in contents 
— only to be mined into in a scrambling manner by poor 
inquirers, as their present tools and sight may serve. 

9. I have often been accused of dogmatism,' and confess 
to the holding strong opinions on some matters; but I tell 
the reader in sincerity, and entreat him in sincerity to be- 
lieve, that I do not think myself able to dictate anything 
positive respecting questions of this magnitude. The one 
thing I am sure of is, the need of some form of dictation ; 
or, where that is as yet impossible, at least of consistent 
experiment, for the just solution of doubts which present 
themsdves every day in more significant and more im- 
patient temper of interrogation. 

Here is one, for instance, lying at the base of all the 
rest — ^namel^what may be the real dignity of mechanical 
Art itself? /I cannot express the amazed awe, the crushed 
humility, with which I sometimes watch a locomotive take 

1 [For the place of muric in education, see Time and Tide, § 61 (VoL XVII. 
p. 368) ; and for drawing, VoL XVI. p. xxix.] 
J « [See Preface to Modem Painiere, voL iil (Vol V. p. 5) ; and compare For^ 
CtawgerOj Letter 85.] 


its breath at a railway station, and think what work there 
is in its bars and wheels, and what manner of men they 
must be who dig brown iron-stone out of the ground, and 
forge it into ThatI .What assemblage of accurate and 
mighty faculties in them; more than fleshly power over 
melting crag and coiling fire, fettered, and finessed at last 
into the precision of watchmaking ; Titanian hammer-strokes 
beating, out of kvn, these glitteringj cyliHTers and timely- 
respondent valves, and fine ribbSd'^Tods, which touch each 
other as a serpent writhes, in noiseless gliding, and onmi- 
potence of grasp; infinitely complex anatomy of active 
steel, compared with which the skeleton of a living crea- 
ture would seem, to a careless observer, clumsy and vile — 
a mere morbid seeretion and phosphatous prop of flesh l/ 
What would the men who thought out this — ^who beat it 
out, i/idio touched it into its polished calm of power, who 
set it to its appointed task, and triumphantly saw it fulfil 
this task to the utmost of their will — ^feel or think about 
this weak hand of mine, timidly leading a little stain of 
water-colour, which I cannot manage, into an imperfect 
shadow^ of something else — mere faUure in every motion, 
and endless disappointment; what, I repeat, would these 
Iron-dominant Genii think of me? and what ought I to 
think of them?* 

10. But as I reach this point of reverence, the imreason- 
able thing is sure to give a shriek as of a thousand imani- 
mous vultures, which leaves me shuddering in real physical 
pain for some half minute following; and assures me, 
during slow recovery, that a people which can endure such 
fluting and piping among them is not likely soon to have 

^ rCom|Nire Ruskin's frequent application of Shakespeare's line^ ''The hest in 
this kind are but shadows ''; Aratra Pentdici^ § 142; Eagie'i NeH, §§ 39^ 148; 
Ariadne UarmHna, § 266.1 

' I "It will not be easy/ says Professor P. Greddes, F.R.S.; in quoting this passage, 
"to find any panegyric of machines and their makers, though the age is rich in 
Bach literature; to match this^ combining, as it does, the scientific appreciation of 
Babbage's classic Economy of Machine* and Mantifaeturee, with the artistic apprecia- 
tion which we find in the Surfaceman's [Alex. Anderson] Songe of the Bail {John 
Ruskin, Economiet, p. 21).] 


its modest ear pleased by aught of oaten stop, or pastoral 
song.^ Feiliaps I am then led on mto meditation respect- 
ing the spuitual nature of the Tentii Muse, who invented 
this gracious instrument, and guides its modulation by 
stokers' fingers ; meditation, also, as to the influence of her 
invention amidst the other parts of the Parnassian melody 
of English education. Then it cannot but occur to me to 
inquire how fer this modem <<pneuma," Steam, may be 
connected with other pneumatic powers talked of in that 
old religious literature, of which we fight so fiercely to 
keep the letters bright, and the working valves, so to 
speak, in good order (while we let the steam of it all care^ 
fiilly off into the cold condenser), what connection, I say, 
this modem '^ spiritus,'' in its valve-directed inspiration, has 
with that more ancient spiritus, or warm breath, which 
people used to think they might be ''bom of"* Whether, 
in fine, there be any such thing as an entirely human Art, 
with spiritual motive power, and signal as of human voice, 
distinct inherently from this mechanical Art, with its media* 
nical motive force, and signal of vulture voice. For after 
all, this shrieking thing, whatever the fine make of it may 
be, can but pull, or push, and do oxen's work in an im- 
petuous manner. That proud king of Assyria, who lost his 
reason, and ate oxen's food,* would he have much more 
cause for pride, if he had been allowed to spend his reason 
in domg oxen's work ? 

11. These things, then, I woukl fain consult about, and 
plead with the reader for his patience in council, even 
while we begin with the simplest practical matters ; for 
ravelled briars of thought entangle our feet, even at our 
first step. We would teach a boy to draw. Well, what 
shall he draw ?— Gods, or men, or beasts, or clouds, or leaves, 
or iron cylinders ? Are there any gods to be drawn ? any 

1 rCoUmt, Ode to Evenitig; quoted also in Queen qf the Air, § 43 (below, p. 346).] 

* [John liL 8, etc. For the memaing of the word '' spirit," tee Seeame and 
LiMee, § 23 (Vol. XVIII. p. 73), and Queen i^ the Air, ^ 62 (below, pp. 361-352).] 

* [I^iel iv.] 


men or women wcnrth drawing, or only worth caricaturing? 
What are the aesthetic laws respecting iron cylinders ; and 
would Titian have liked them rusty, or fresh cleaned with 
oil and rag, to fill the place once lightened by St. George's 
armour ? How can we begin the smallest practical business, 
unless we get first some whisper of answer to such ques* 
tions ? We may tell a boy to draw a straight line straight, 
and a crooked one crooked; but what else? 

And it renders the dilemma, or multUemma, more em- 
barrassing, that whatever teaching is to be had from the 
founders and masters of art is quite unpractical. The first 
source from which we should naturally seek for guidance 
would, of course, be the sayings of great workmen ; but a 
sorrowful perception presently dawns on us that the great 
workmen have nothing to say. They are silent, absolutely 
in proportion to their creative power.^ The contributions to 
our practical knowledge of the principles of Art, furnished 
by the true captains of its hosts, may, I think, be arith- 
metically simuned by the o of Giotto : ^ the inferior teachers 
become didactic in the degree of their inferiority ; and those 
who can do nothing have always much to advise. 

12. This however, observe, is only true of advice direct 
You never, I grieve to say, get from the great men a 
plain answer to a plain question;^ still less can you en- 
tangle them in any agreeable gossip, out of which some- 
thing might unawares be picked up. But of enigmatical 
teaching, broken signs and sullen mutterings, of which 
you can understand nothing, and may make anything;— of 
confused discourse in the work itself, about the work, as 
in Diirer*s " Melencolia *' ; * — ^and of discourse not merely 

* fAfl, for inflrtaxuse, Turner ''nlent as a granite crest" : see Vol. VL p. 275, and 
Vol. VII. p. 249.] 

' [For the round o of Giotto, see Vol. XV. p. 39 ; and compare below, § 70, 
p. 120J 

' [On this subject compare Munera Puiverii, § 87 (Vol. XVII. p. 208), and Queat 
(f the Air, § 17 (below, p. 309).] 

^ [See Vol. VII. p. 312, where the plate is given, and other references to it are 


confused, but apparently unreasonable and ridiculous, about 
all manner of things except the work, — the great Egyptian 
and Greek artists give us much: from which, however, all 
that by utmost industry may be gathered, comes briefly to 
this, — ^that they have no conception of what modem men 
of science call the '^ Conservation of forces," ^ but deduce all 
the force they feel in themselves, and hope for in others, 
from certain fountains or ceqtres of perpetually supplied 
strength, to which they give various names : as, for instance, 
these seven following, more specially: — 

1. The Spirit of Light, moral and physical, by name 

the '' Physician-Destroyer," beanng arrows in his 
hand, and a lyre; pre-eminently the destroyer of 
human pride, and the guide of human harmony. 
Physically, Lord of the Sun; and a mountam 
Spirit, because the sun seems first to rise and set 
upon hills.^ 

2. The Spirit of helpfril Darkness— of shade and rest. 

Night the Restorer.* 

8. The Spirit of Wisdom in Conducty bearing, in sign 
of conquest over troublous and disturbing evil, 
the skin of the wild goat, and the head of the 
slain Spirit of physical storm. In her hand, a 
weaver's shuttle, or a spear.* 

4. The Spirit of Wisdom in Arrangement; called the 

i rCompare Vol. XVIII. p. 341.] 

' [For the charmcterisation here of Apollo, Athena^ and HephottuSi see Suame and 
lAUei, § 45, and Crown ^ Wild Olive, % 89 (Vol. XVIII. pp. 102, 461). For ApoUo, tee 
also Qif00fi (^ the Air, §§ 8, 13 (below, pp. 302^ 306) ; and for his titlee^ '* Phyneian- 
Destroyer/' Modem Paintere, rol. y. (Vol. VII. p. 420 n.). For numerous other refer- 
ences to ApoUo. see the General Index.] 

' [Here Ruskin is apparently thinking of the personification of Sleep ; of which 
there is so beautiful a representation in the winged head of Hjrpnos^ in bronze^ 
in the British Museum (see £. T. Cook's Handbook to the QreOt and Roman AnH- 
fuiHee, p. 433).] 

^ [Athena, or (in Egypt) Neith. For other meanings in the aagis (or goat- 
skin coat) of 'Athena^ see Queen of the Air, § 94, p. 382 ; for M^usa as the 
spirit of storm^ Modem Paintere, vol. ▼. (VoL vll. p. 186). The sign of a shuttle 
is often set upon the head of Neith (see E. A. Wallis Budge : The Oode ^ the 
Sff^ptiane, vol. i. p. 451).] 


X4»r4 or Father p^ TmJli: tJiraqjod ob h fourr 
j^uaw OKihit, with ^ m9«^i»npgHRQ4 jfi }»& h«94» Pr 
a |X)tter's wheel/ 

S. The Spirit of Wiadocn in AdaptaUmi or pf ^arvicer 
able labour; th^^ Master of human dQEbrt w its 
l^ow; aad Loiid of psiefUl fii^, xaQ»4 an^ physM^al.' 

(6^ The Spirit, first of yoiu;^ or J^ascent ^a^e, aii4 
theia of fulfilled heauty : the wif« pf the I^rd of 
LabouTp' J have take» the t^o IJuoies in wluch 
Homer defsorihes her girdle^ for the motto of these 
assays: partly in jGoenaory of thes^ outpa^ fancies 
of thp ff^e^ jKiasteci;: and partly for ithe $ake of 
a meaning whl^ wis shall fi.Qd as we fp pn.^ 

J. The Spirit of pure hi^nviin life and gjb^dne^^. Af^st^ 
^ wbolesom^ Tital passion ^ a4Ml j^y^ally^ X^o^xl 

of the Vin*.* 

13- From these ludijcrous notions of motive foi^ce, xnoo^pi- 
sistent as they are with moden^ physiology and prganip 
dnenustry, wp mayt nevertheless, hereafter gatibter^ in the 
details of their various expressions, something useful to us. 
But J gprieve to say that when ow provoking teacheps dp- 
sccK^d £x>m dr^eams aboijit the doings of Gods to assertions 
respecting the deeds of Men, Jtittle beyond the bhtnkest 
discouragement is to be had firom thena. Thus, they jx^jpi^'' 
sent the ingenuity^ and deceptive or imitative Arts of men, 
under the type of a Master who builds labyrinths, <^d 
makes images of living creatures, for evil pnrpose;^ or for 

1 [Here the reference is to the Egyptian Phtah ; called '^ Lord of Truth" 
{mkus9 qfthe Ihut, Vol. XVUiI. pp. 226, 862) ; ''the pedestal on which hje«Un(JU is ^f 
the shape of an Egyptian cubit, metaphorically used as the hieroglyphic for truth " ; 
be holda " the emblem of stability, commonly called the kilometer ' ; and is some- 
times represented with a potter's wheel (Arundale's Qallery qf Antiquitiefy p. 13).] 

> [For Hephnstus (Vulcan}, see Queen qf the Air, § 13 (below, p. 305), and 
Amhu PenUkei, § 73.] 

' [For votes on Greek ideas of Aphjpodijte (Venus), see Aratra BenteUd^ §§ 185 
Mf., and <3rown qfWild OHve^ § 69 «. (VoL XVIII. p. 446) ; an^ for Aglaw pmu>g 
into Aphrodite, Mmera Fuherie, § 101 (Vol. XVII. p. 226).] 

^ [On this passage, tee the Introduotioo, abov^e^ p. Jlfsiii.] 

^{Eor Dionysus (Baochus) io these functions, we Ui^ tfijifi Uast^ § 68^ and 
UuMra Pulverie, % 102 n. (YcO. XVIL pp. SZ^ 227).] 


none ; and pleases himself and the people with idle jointing 
of toys, and filling of them with quicksilver motion; and 
brings his child to foolish, remediless catastrophe, in fancy- 
ing his father's work as good, and strong, and fit to b^ 
sunlight, as if it had been Gk>d's work.^ So, again, they 
represent the foresight and kindly zeal of men by a most 
rueful figure, of one chained down to a rock by the brute 
force and bias and methodical hammer-stroke of the merely 
practical Arts, and by the merciless Necessities or Fates of 
present time; and so having his very heart torn piece by 
piece out of him by a vulturous hunger and sorrow, re- 
specting things he cannot reach, nor prevent, nor achieve.' 
So, again, they describe the sentiment and pure soul-power 
of Man, as moving the very rocks and trees, and giving 
them life, by its sympathy with them; but losing its own 
best-beloved thing by mere venomous accident: and after- 
wards going down to hell for it, in vain; bdng impatient 
and imwise, though full of gentleness; and, in the issue, 
after as vainly tryvag to teach this gentleness to others, 
and to guide them out of their lower passions to sunlight 
of true healing Life, it drives the sensual heart of them, 
and the gods that govern it, into mere and pure frenzy of 
resolved rage, and gets torn to pieces by them, and ended; 
only the nightingaJe stapng by its grave to sing/ All 
which appearing to be anything rather than helpful or en- 
couraging instruction for beginners, we shall, for the pre- 
sent, I think, do well to desire these enigmatical teachers 
to put up their pipes and be gone ; and betakmg ourselves 
in the humblest manner to intelligible business, at least set 
down some definite matter for decision, to be made a first 
stepping-stone at the shore of this brook of despond and 

^ [For the legend of Dasdalus. as typical of '* the oower of mechanical as opposed 

to imaginative art," and for the labyrinth that he built, see Fort Ctavigera, Letter 28 ; 

and for details of the legend^ see Aratra PenteUci, § 206^ and the note there given. 

For Icarus, see also a passing reference in MotTiingt in Florence, § 126.] 

> [For other references to Prometheus, see Aratra PerUeHci, §§ 149, 202, 206.] 
* [For other allusions to the myths of Orpheus^ see below, p. 178; '' Tortoise 

of iEgina/' § 21 (VoL XX.) ; and Mamingi in Fhreneey § 146.] 


14. Most masters agree (and I believe they are right) 
that the first thing to be taught to any pupil, is how to 
draw an outline of such things as can be outlined.^ 

Now, there are two kinds of outline — ^the soft and hard. 
One must be executed with a soft instrument, as a piece 
of chalk or lead ; and the other with some instrument pro- 
ducing for ultimate result a firm line of equal darkness ; as 
a pen with ink, or the engraving tool on wood or metaL 

And these two kinds of outline have both of them their 
particular objects and uses, as well as their proper scale of 
size in work. Thus Raphael will sketch a miniature head 
with his pen, but always takes chalk if he draws of the 
size of life. So also Holbein, and generally the other 
strong masters. 

But the black outline seems to be peculiarly that which 
we ought to begin to reason upon, because it is simple and 
open-hearted, and does not endeavour to escape into mist. 
A pencil line may be obscurely and imdemonsb^ably wrong ; 
fiilse in a cowardly manner, and without confession: but 
the ink line, if it goes wrong at all, goes wrong with a 
will, and may be convicted at our leisure, and put to such 
shame as its black complexion is capable of. May we, 
therefore, begin with the hard line? It will lead us far, 
if we can come to conclusions about it. 

15. Presuming, then, that our schoolboys are such as 
Coleridge would have them — s.^., that they are 

''Innocent, steady, and wise. 
And delight in the things of earth, water, and skies," ^ 

and, above all, in a moral state in which they may be 
trusted with ink — ^we put a pen into their hands (shall it 
be steel?) and a piece of smooth white paper, and some- 
thing before them to draw. But what ? " Nay,** the reader 
answers, "you had surely better give them pencil first, for 
that may be rubbed out." Perhaps so; but I am not sure 

^ [On some change in Rnskin's views on this subject, see Vol. XV. p. xzvi.] 
> [''Metrical Feet Lesson for a boy"— to his son, I)erwent (1807). J 


tiMt the power of rubbing out is an adv.aixtage ; $X all 
events, we shall best discover what the peneil outlkie 
ought to be, by investigating the power of tiie hlaek one, 
flnd the kind of things w« can draw with iL 

16. Suppose, for instance, my first sch<dar has a turn 
for enctomoiogy, aa^l asks me to draw for him a wasp's 
fog, or its sting; having &^ humandy provided me with 
a model by pulling one off, or out. My p^i musit clearly 
be fine «t the point, and my execution none of the boldest, 
if I comply with Ms request. If I declines, and be there* 
upon chaUenges me at least to draw the wasp's body, with 
its pretty bands of black crinoline — behold us involved in* 
stantly in the porofoimd question of local colour! Am I 
to teU him he is not to draw outlines of bands or spots? 
How, then, shall he know a wain's body from a bee's f I 
esoape, for the present, hy telling him the story of Deedalus 
and the lioneyeomb ; ^ set him to draw a pattern ai hexa- 
gons, and lay the question of black bands up in my mind 

17. The next boy, we may suppose, is a conchologist^ 
and afiks me to dmw a white snail-shell for him ! Veiling 
my oonsbecnation at the idea of having to give a lesson 
on the perspective of geometrical spimls,^ with ^n *' austere 
regard cxf ^sontrol"' I pass on to the next student: — Who» 
bringing after him, with acdanatation, all the rest of the 
form, requires of me contemptuously, to '^draw a lK>rsa" 

And I retreat in final discomfiture; for not only I 
cannot myself execute, but I have never seen, an outline, 
quite simply and rightly done, either of a shell or a pony ; 
nay, not so much as of a pony's nose. At a girls' school 
wie might perhaps take refuge in rosebuds; but these boys, 
with thek impatient battle-cry, " my kingdom for a horse," * 
what is to be done for them ? 

18. WefU^ this is what I should like to be able to do 

^ rSee, again, Aratra Penteliei, § 206 n.] 

' [A ImsoD, 4iowevar, whioh Ruridn gai^e in hii Rudimentary Serim at Oxford 
(see Vol. XX.).] 

* '[ Malrolio in Twifm i%i^ Aot <ii. ac ^ 78.] 
« [Biehard III, dM ▼. se. 4.] 


for them. To show them an enlarged black outMne^ noUy 
done, of the two sides of a eoin of Tarentum/ with that 
fiery rider kneeling, careless, cm his horse's neck, and re- 
clined on his surging dolf^in, with the curled sea lajppii^ 
round them; and then to convince my boys that iio one 
(unless it were Taras's father himself, with the middle 
prong of his trident) eould draw a horse like that, without 
learning; — that for po<H: mortals like us there must be 
sorrowfiil jpreparatory stages; and, having convinced them 
of this, set them to draw (if I had a good copy to give 
them) a horse's hoof, or his rib, or a vertebra of his thunder- 
clothed neck, or any other constructive piece of him. 

19. Meanwhile, all this being far out of present reach, 
I am fain to shrink back into my snail-shell,^ both for 
sheltei^ and calm of peace; and ask of artists in general 
how the said sheU, or any other simple object hivolving 
varied eontour, should be outlined in ink? — bow thiek the 
lines should be, and how varied ? My own idea of n^ 
elementary outline is that it diould be unvaried; distinetiy 
visible ; not thickened towards the shaded sides of the 
object; not express any exaggerations of aerial perspective, 
nor fade at the further side of a eup as if it were the 
further side of a crater of a volcano; aDd therefore, in 
objects of ordinary size, show no gradation at all, unless 
where the real outline disappears, as in soft contours and 
t(Ms. Nay, I think it may even be a question whedier 
we ought not to resolve that the line should nevear grUdate 
itself at all, but terminate quite bluntly 1 Albert IHiarer's 
'^ Cannon"* furnishes a very peculiar and curious example 

^ [For another refereiMe to "the heautiful coins of Taventom," sea Qusen ^ 
the Air, § 39 (below, p. 838) ; one of the coins is reproduced on Plate XVm., 
and ccMnpare '^The Study of Architecture" (ahoYOj p. 22). Specimens of them 
may be seen in the British Museum. For the legend of Taras (son of Neptune), 
the mythical founder of the city, see the notes for a lecture on ** The Ridem of 
Tarentnm" in Vol. XX.] 

> [See Ruskin's drawings of shells in his Ozted Drawing fkhook (Edncafcieaftl 
Series Noa. 191-197).} 

' [See below, p. lid, where the plate is given. Compare Vol. VII. p. 305, and 
see JBlemenU qf Drawing, % 98 (Vol. XV. p. 86, and Fig. 13) ; Catalogue qf the Edu- 
caHowU Beriee, No. 121 (VoL XX.); and Ariadne FhrenHna, § 11.] 


of this entirely equal line, even to the extreme distance; 
being in that respect opposed to nearly all his other work, 
^Hbich is wrought mostly by tapering lines; and his work 
in general, and Holbein's, which appear to me entirely 
typical of rightness in use of the graver and pen, are to 
be considered carefully in their relation to Rembrandt's 
loose etching, as in the ** Spotted Shell." ^ 

20. But I do not want to press my own opinions now, 
even when I have been able to form them distinctly. I 
want to get at some imanimous expression of opinion and 
method; and would propose, therefore, in all modesty, this 
question for discussion, by such artists as will favour me 
with answer,* giving their names: — How ou^ the pen to 
be tised to outline a form oj varied contour; and ought 
outline to be entirely pure^ or, even in its most elementary 
typeSt to pa^s into some suggestion of shade in the inner 
masses ? For there are no examples whatever of pure out- 
lines by the great masters. They are always touched or 
modified by inner lines, more or less suggestive of solid 
form, and they are lost, or accentuated, in certain places, 
not so much in conformity with any explicable law, as in 
expression of the master's future purpose, or of what he 
wishes immediately to note in the character of the object. 
Most of them are irregular memoranda, not systematic 
elementary work: of those which are systematized, the 
greater part are carried far beyond the initiative stage ; and 
Holbein's are nearly all washed with colour: the exact 
degree in which he depends upon the softening and ex- 
tending his touch of ink by subsequent solution of it^ 
being indeterminable, though exquisitely successful. His 
stupendous drawings in the British Museum (I can justly 

* I need not say that this inquiry can only be pursued by the help of 
those who will take it up good-humouredly and graciously : such help I 
will receive in the spirit in which it is given; entering into no contro- 
versy, but questioning further where there is doubt: gathering all I can 
into focus, and passing silently by what seems at last irreconcilable. 

1 [See Vol. IV. p. 308.] 


use no other term than '^ stupendous," of their consum- 
mately decisive power) furnish finer instances of this treat- 
ment than any at Basle; but it would be very difficult 
to reduce them to a definable law. Venetian outlines are 
rare, except preparations on canvas, often shaded before 
colouring; — ^while Raphael's, if not shaded, are quite loose, 
and useless as examples to a beginner: so that we are 
left wholly without guide as to the preparatory steps on 
which we should decisively insist ; and I am myself 
haunted by the notion that the students were forced to 
shade firmly from the very beginning, in all the greatest 
schools; only we never can get hold of any beginnings, or 
any weak work of those schools: whatever is bad in them 
comes of decadence, not infancy. 

21. I purpose in the next essay to enter upon quite 
another pfurt of the inquiry, so as to leave time for the 
reception of conmiunications bearing upon the present 
paper : and, according to their importimce, I shall ask leave 
still to defer our return to the subject imtil I have had 
time to reflect upon them, and to collect for public service 
the concurrent opinions they may contain. 



22. ''Sua, i% Mnnot be better done." 

We wiU r^um,' with the i^eader's pamission, for a little 
while, to this comfortM saykig of Albert Diirer'sy in ordes 
to find otity if we may, what Modesty is; which it will 
be weU for painters, readers, and especially critics, to know, 
bdfore gomg farther^ What it is ; or, tathar, who she is ; 
her fingers being tfmong the d<^test in laying the gronnGt* 
thffead» of Aglaia's Cestus. 

For thi$ sAme opinion of Albert's is entartained by many 
dihtr pe6p)e iMpectkig their own doings — ^a vay preva^ 
]mA opmion, indeed, I fijid it ; ai^d the answer itself 
though, as aforesaid, not made with any crashing deetrion,^' 
is nevertheless often enough imitated, with delicacy, by 
artists of all countries in their various dialects. Neither 
can it always be held an entirely modest one, as it assuredly 
was in the man who would sometimes estimate a piece of 
his imconquerable work at only the worth of a plate of 
fruit, or a flask of wine — ^would have taken even one " fig 
for it," kindly offered;* or given it royally for nothing, to 
show his hand^ to a fellow-king of his own, or any other 
craft — as Gainsborough gave the "Boy at the Stile'' for a 
solo on the violin.^ An entirely modest saying, I repeat, in 

1 [AH Journal, March 1865. Afterwards used in Queen qf the Air^ §§ 135-142 
in that book being here §§ 22-29.] 

* rSee above, § Q, p. 52.] 

' [jQueen qf the Air reads : '' though rarely made with the Nnrembeiger^s 
crushing . . •"] 

4 [See Modem Paintere, vol. v. (Vol. VIL p. 449).] 

' [The phrase is Durer's, used in his inscription on the drawings sent him by 
Raphael : see Lecture* on Art, § 74.] 

I" Unon our arrival at Mr. Gainsborough's, the artist was listening to a violin. 

Colonel Hamilton was playing to him in so exquisite a style, that Gainsborough 


kMkAn*^ VWk "Z.. . 

0<4^ I 

• I 

^ /sJl^'-Aa 

A .^ArvJ 





II. Modesty n 

him — ^not always hi us. For Modesfty is "the measuring 
virtue," the virtue of modes or limits. She is, indeed, said 
to be only the, third or youngest of the children of the 
cardinal rirtue. Temperance; and apt to be despised, being 
more given to arithmetic, and other vulgar studies (Cin- 
derella-like) than her elder sisters : ^ but she is useful in the 
household, and arrives at great results with her yard- 
measure and slate-peneil — a pretty little Marchande des 
Modes, cutting her dress always according to the silk (if 
this be the proper feminine reading of '^coat according to 
the cloth"), so that, consulting with her carefully of a 
morning, men get to know not only their income, but 
their inbeing^— to know themselves^ that is, in a gauger'9 
mamier, round, and up and down — surface and contents; 
what is in them, and what may be got out of them ; and, 
in fine, their entire canon of weight and capacity.^ Hiat 
yard-measure of Modesty's, lent to those who will use it, 
is a cfurious musical reed, and will go round and wttbd 
waists that are slender enough, with latent melody in every 
joint of it, the dark root only being soundless, moist front 
the wave wherein 

*' Nuir altra pi&nta che facesse fronda 
O mdurasse, pDote aver vita."* 

But when the little sister herself takes it in hand, to 
measure things outside of us with^ the joints shoot out in 
m amazing manner: the four-square walls even of celestial 

« PurgMimio, i. 10S.< 

exclaimed^ 'Now^ my dear Colonel, If yoa will but go on, I will give « you that 
pietttVB •£ the hoy at the stile, which yoa have so often ^iihed to parehase of me.' 
As Gainsborough 8 versatile fancy was at this time devoted to music, his attention 
was so rireted to tibe tones of the tialin, that for nearly half-an-hoor he watf 
«otionlefl»; after which^ the Colonel requested that a hackney-coach might be 
•eat for, wherein he carried off the picture " {Notiekens and his Times, by J. T. Smith, 
1828, Toi. i. p, IM). Hie ineideflt is also mentioned in Fukher's L^ qf Oaha* 
honmah, 1866, p. 149.] 

^ [llie MS. reads : '^ . . . than her two siatera, Continenlia and dementia, who 
•re given to talking about themsi^ea; but she is highly vseful ..." Foi 
the svstems of the virtues in various writers, see VoL X. pp. 371 nqJ] 

' [For modesty as giving a man a just estimate of hfs capacity, see Vol. XVI. 
p. 166 n.] 

* [Compare Modem Painten^ vol. iii. (VoL V. pp^ 290-291), where Ruskin 
tnnslatea the passage.] 


cities being measurable enough by that reed;^ and the 
way pointed to them, though only to be followed, or even 
seen, in the dim starlight shed down from worlds amidst 
which there is no name of Measure any more, though the 
reality of it always. For, indeed, to aU true modesty the 
necessary business is not inlook, but outlook, and especially 
t^^look : it is only her sister, Shamefacedness, who is known 
by the drooping lashes — Modesty, quite otherwise, by her 
liu-ge eyes full of wonder ; for she never contemns herself, 
nor is ashamed of herself, but forgets herself — at least until 
she has done something worth memory. It is easy to peep 
and potter about one's own deficiencies in a quiet immodest 
discontent; but Modesty is so pleased with other people*s 
doings, that she has no leisure to lament her own: and 
thus, knowing the fresh feeling of contentment, unstained 
with thought of self, she does not fear being pleased, when 
there is cause, with her own rightness, as with anothei:'s, 
saying calmly, '' Be it mine, or yours, or whose else's it 
may, it is no matter; — this also is well." But the right 
to say such a thing depends on continual reverence, and 
manifold sense of failure. If you have known yourself to 
have failed, you may trust, when it comes, the strange 
consciousness of success; if you have faithfully loved the 
noble work of others, you need not fear to speak with 
respect of things duly done, of your own. 

28. But the principal good that comes of art's being 
followed in this reverent feeling is vitally manifest in the 
associative conditions of it. Men who know their place 
can take it and keep it, be it low or high, contentedly and 
firmly, neither yielding nor grasping ; and the harmony of 
hand and thought follows, rendering all great deeds of art 
possible — deeds in which the souls of men meet like the 
jewels in the windows of Aladdin's palace,' the little gems 
and the large all equally pure, needing no cement but the 
fitting of facets; while the associative work of immodest 
men is all jointless, and astir with wormy ambition ; putridly 

See Revelation zxi. 15.] 
See Vol. IX. pp. 307, 456.] 


dissolute, and for ever on the crawl: so that if it come 
together for a time, it can only be by metamorphosis 
through flash of volcanic fire out of the vale of Siddim,^ 
vitrifying the clay of it, and fastening the slime, only to 
end in wilder scattering; according to the fate of tiiose 
oldest, mightiest, immodestest of builders, of whom it is 
told in scorn, ''They had brick for stone, and slime had 
they for mortar." 

24. The first function of Modesty, then, being this re- 
cognition of place, her second is the recognition of law, 
and delight in it, for the sake of law itseU", whether her 
part be to assert it, or obey. For as it belongs to all im- 
modesty to defy or deny law, and assert privilege and 
licence according to its own pleasure (it being therefore 
ri^tly called *' insolent/* that is, ** custom-breaking," vio- 
lating some usual and appointed order to attain for itself 
greater forwardness or power), so it is the habit of all 
modesty to love the constancy and "wfemnity,"* or, liter; 
aUy, '* accustomedness," of law, seeking first what are the 
solemn, appointed, inviolable customs and general orders 
of nature, and of the Master of nature, touching the matter 
in hand; and striving to put itself, as habitually and in- 
violably, in compliance witii them. Out of which habit,' 
once established, arises what is rightly called ''conscience,'' 
not "science" merely, but " with-science," a science "with 

I ^ [Genwb xir. ; and xi. 3.1 

* [On the derivation of this word, tee Sesame and LiUee, Preface of 187l| § 8 
(VoL XVIII. p. 37 «.).] 
i ' [The MS. reads :— 

'^Oat of which hahit, once estahlished, there comes what is rightly 
I called the Law in the heart, or 'Conscience/ not 'Science' merely, 

hut 'Withy or Con-science,' a science with us, and with all creation 
too, which only modest creatures can have, all the memhers of it, little 
or mighty, witnessing together with us in their work and their happy 
ffw€Uhi<rt$ dri jraX6r — 'consciousness that it is good': the hee heing also 
profoundly of that opinion, assenting with her low murmur in its ancient 
unison ; and the [larlc] who^ 

"'hlest ahove all kinds — supremely skilled 
Restless with fixed to halance, high with low^ 
May leave the halcyon free her hopes to huild 
On such forbearance as the deep may show ; ' 

and the swallow, in the chattering hut modestly upside-down Babel of herSi 
under the roof, with its unvolcanic slime for mortar ; and the two ants who 


us/' such as only modes;t creatures can have — with or 
within them — ^and within all creation besides, every member 
of it, strong or weak, witnessing together, and joining in 
the happy consciousness that each one's work is good: the 
bee also being profoundly of that opinion; and the lark; 
and the swallow, in that noisy, but miodestly upside-down 
Babel of hers, under the eaves, with its unvolcanic sUme 
for mortar; and the two ants who are asking of each other 
at the turn of that little ant's-foot-wom path through the 
moss, '4or via e lor fortuna";^ and the builders also, who 
built yonder pile of cloud-marble in the west, and the 
gilder who gilded it, and is gone down behind it. 

25. But I think we shall better understand what we 
ought of the nature of Modesty, and of her opposite, by 
taking a simple instance of both, in the practice of that 
art of music which the wisest have agreed in thinking the 
first element of education;' only I must ask the reader's 
patience with me through a parenthesis. 

Among the foremost men whose power has had to 
assert itself, though with conquest, yet with' countless loss, 
through peculiarly English disadvantages g£ circumstance, 
of which I spoke in the prefetory dbapter," are assuredly 
to be ranked together, both for honour and for moiun- 
ing, Thomas Bewick and George Cruikshank/ There is. 

are inaoirinff of each other on that little path of theirs through the moss, 
' lor via e lor fortuna ' ; and the hoilders also who hnilt yonder pile of 
clond-marMe in the west^ and the Gilder who gilded it, and is gone." 
Por the Greek phrase, see above, p. 53. The lines on the lark are adapted from 
Wordsworth's A Morning Exerdn (''Hail, blest above all kinds . . . TiMn leav'st 
. . .'^. For the Gilder, the Son who rejoiceth to ran his coarse, see Psalms xix. 6. 
For the bees, compare For$ Claffigera^ Letter 51, where Rushin cites Shakespeare's 
description of '' the singing masons building roofs of gold."] 
' [Putyatorio, xxvi. 36 :— 

''E'en so the emmets, 'mid their dusky troops. 
Peer closely one at other, to spy out 
Their mutual road perchance, and how they thrive. '^ 

* [See above, § 8, p. 60. And for Plato on music, see Munera PuhetU^ § 102 n. 
<VoL XVII. p. 227), and Fw$ Oavigera, Letters 73, 82, and 8a] 

' [See above, pp. 64-67.] 

« [The MS. has : "the rustic faithfulness of Bewick and— I will undertake fully 
to justify these following words, if the reader starts at them — the grave and terrible 
earnestness of George Cruikshank."] 


hoverer, kss oause for r^^ret on the instance of Bewiek.^ 
We may understand that it was wdU for u$« once, to seo 
ivhat an entbeiy powerful painter's getuus, and an entirely 
keen and true man's temper^ could achieve together, un- 
helped, but also unharmed, among the blad: banks and wokb 
of Tyne. But the genius of Cruikfihaink has bew cast away 
in an utterly ghastly and lamcffiitabfe manner: his sup^ 
fine-work, worthy of any class of suhjeet, and his fow^rs 
of oonoeption and eompoffltion, of which I cannot vetEvbuw 
to estimate the range in their <legraded appUeation, haviiaig 
beeia eoodemnedt by his fate^ to be spent either Ux rude 
jegtmg, 4»r in vain war with conditions at vice too Iqw alike 
fcnr ceeoid or J?ebuke» auiiong the drcgs of the British 
popuJUce.* Yet perhaps I am wrong in r^jgretting even 
this: it may be an appointed lesson £qt fifKtuijtyi that the 
art of the best JSnglish etcher in the nineteenth (century, 
spest on illustrations of the Mves of buiglars and drunkards* 
should one day be seen in museums beneath Oreek vases 
fretted with dmwiiigs of th^ wacs oi Troy, or fide by side 
with Dniser's '' Knight and Death." ' 

2€L Be that as it may, [ iim at present glad to be able 
to refer to one of these perpetuatk>na» by his strong hand, 
of auch hwsnan character as our faultless British constitu* 
tion occasioniJJLy produces, in out-of-the-way corners. It is 

1 [For earlier references to Bewick, see Vol. XIIL p. 435 ; Vol. XIV. pp. 361, 
392, 401-402, 4D4 ; and Vol XV. pp. 228, 374, 410. For later comments on his 
life and wock, aae Ariadns Fhrentina, gg 200, 226^ 227. See also below, p. 156.] 

' {Ruskin refers to the turning-point in the life and work of Croikshank (1702- 
187B), when «t the age of fift^-^tz lie .published hie eiglfat plsttes of ^ The BoMile,'' 
and in the foUowipf year the eight of ^The Drunkard's Children." Henceforth 
** he devoted himself with all the energy of his nature to the duty of advocatinjg 

SkiB {lendl and bis ipraebios the canaa of total abstinence," follawing up his 
itea with a huoe oartoon in 1862 of ^'The Worship of Bacchus." (Oompare 
Wow, p. 199, n. 20 The artist's new departure inspired a sonnet by Matthew Arnold 
C^ Artasfc, whose hand, with honor wH]^4'"). Auskin, who was a very ^reat admirer 
of Cruikshank's earlier work (see, e.g,, the Preface to '^ German Popular Stories,*' 
below, p. 23&), deplores .elsewhere also the artist's self-devotion to social propagmdism : 

Time an4 Tide, g 63 (Vol. XVU. p. 370). For other «nd earlier references to 
Cruikshank, see Vol. H. p. xxot. ; Vol. V. ©. jxiiL; Vol. VI. p. 471 i Vol. VU. 
p. 350 ; VcJ. XIJL p. 50^1 ; VtO. XIV. pu 36JI ; Vd. XV. pp. 204, 222^223 ; Vol. XVL 

pp. XX., 437. For Ruskin^s personal interest in the ^rtiat and kindntis .to Jnnii see 
VW. XVIII. jp. xlix.] 

» [See PUte D in Vol. VII. p. 310.] 


among his iUustrations of the Irish RebeUion,* and repre- 
sents the pillage and destruction of a gentleman's house by 
the mob. They have made a heap in the drawing-room of 
the furniture and books, to set first fire to ; and are tearing 
up the floor for its more easily kindled planks: the less 
busily-disposed meanwhile hacking round in rage, with axes, 
and smashing what they can with butt-ends of guns. I do 
not care to follow with words the ghastly truth of the 
picture into its detail; but the most expressive incident of 
the whole, and the one immediately to my purpose, is this, 
that one fellow has sat himself at the piano, on which, 
hitting down fiercely with his clenched fists, he plays, grin- 
ning, such tune as may be so producible, to which melody 
two of his companions, flourishing knotted sticks, dance, 
after their maimer, on the top of the instrument. 

27. I think we have in this conception as perfect an 
instance as we require of the lowest supposable phase of 
immodest or licentious art in music; the *' inner conscious- 
ness of good '' ' being dim, even in the musician and his audi- 
ence ; and wholly unsympathized with, and unacknowledged, 
by the Delphian, Vestal, and all other prophetic and cos- 
mic powers. This represented scene came into my mind 
suddenly, one evening a few weeks ago, in contra^ with 
another which I was watching in its reality;' namely, a 
group of gentle school-girls, leaning over Mr. Charles Hall^ 
as he was playing a variation on ''Home, sweet Home." 
They had sustained with unwonted courage the glance of 
subdued indignation with which, having just closed a rip- 
pling melody of Sebastian Bach's, (much like what one 
might fancy the singing of nightingales would be if they 
fed on honey instead of flies,) he turned to the slight, 
popular air. But they had their own associations with it, 

^ [EiHory qf the Iriih RsbeOian in 2798; wUh Memmrt nfthe Unim, and Emmetfe 
iMurrecHm in 1803. By W. H. Maxwell. Sixth Edition. With numerous IUus- 
trations drawn and engraved by George Cruikshank^ 1864. The illustration 
described above is at p. dSi, entitled '' Rebels destroying a house and furniture."] 

" [For ^vr««1^rt» (h-i MiX6r, see above, p. 53.] 

' [At Winnington in 1803 ; see the letter, describing the scene, in Vol. XVIII. 
p. Ixx.] 


and besought for, and obtained it; and pressed close, at 
first, in vain, to see what no glance could foUow, the travers- 
ing of the fingers. They soon thought no more of seeing. 
The wet eyes, round-open, and the little scarlet upper lips, 
lifted, and drawn slightly together, in passionate glow of utter 
wonder, became picture-like, — ^porcelain-like, — in motionless 
joy, as the sweet multitude of low notes fell in their timely 
infinities, like summer rain. Only La Robbia himself (nor 
even he, unless with tenderer use of colour than is usual in 
his work) could have rendered some image of that listening.^ 
28. But if the reader can give due vitality in his &xxcy 
to these two scenes, he will have in them representative 
types, clear enough for all future purpose, of the several 
agencies of debas^ and perfect art. And the interval may 
easily and continuously be filled by mediate gradations. 
Between the entirely immodest, unmeasured, and (in evil 
sense) unmannered, execution with the fist; and the en- 
tirely modest, measured, and (in the noblest sense) man- 
nered, or moral'd execution with the finger; — ^between the 
impatient and unpractised doing, containing in itself the 
witness of lasting impatience and idleness through all pre- 
vious life, and the patient and practised doing, containing 
in itself the witness of self-restraint and unwearied toil 
through all previous life; — ^between the expressed subject 
and sentiment of home violation, and the expressed subject ' 
and sentiment of home love; — ^between the sympathy of 
audience given in irreverent and contemptuous rage, joyless 
as the rabidness of a dog, and the sympathy of audience 
given in an ahnost appalled humility of intense, rapturous, 
and yet entirely reasoning and reasonable pleasure; — ^be- 
tween these two limits of octave, the reader will find he 
can class, according to its modesty, usefulness, and grace, 
or becomingness, all other musical art. For although purity 

' [Rnskiii is thinking no doabt of such work as Luca della Robbia's friezes of 
chUdim lor the Cantorie (now in the Opera del Duomo) at Florence. For criti- 
cisins on his coloar, see Vol. IV. pp. 300-001 ».] 

* [The words ''and sentiment of nome yioktion, and the expressed sabjeet" (which 
anpear in the Art Journal and in the first edition of Queen 4^ the Air) were, to the loss 
ot the sense of the passage, accidentally omitted in aU later editions of that book.] 


of purpose and fijo^aess of exeeution by no meacis go to- 
getbex, d^pree to de^ee, (since Sxxe^ and iodeed ail bat tim 
^ipi^st, work is often sp&at in the most wimton purpose^- 
;i« in all our modesm opera — and the rudest e;(eGution is 
again o£ben joined with purest purpose, as in a mother's 
acmg to her child,) still the ^itire accomplishmeot of mfusie 
is only in the union of botli. For Hke difierenoe betWieen 
that **«11 but" finest and ^'finest" is an infinite one; and 
besidfs this, however the power of the performer, ouc^ at* 
taioed, may be afterwaids misdirected, in slavery to popular 
paas&on or childishness, and spend itself, at its sweetest, in 
idle melodies, cold and ephemeral (like Michael Angelo's 
BD0W statue in the other art,^) or else in vicious difficulty 
9ad miserable noise--<:rackling of thorns under the pot' of 
public sensuality — still, the attainment oi fjm power, aiid 
tlie maintenance of it, involve always in the executant some 
virtue or courage of high kind ; the understaadJiE^ of whieb, 
axkd of the difference between the disdpline which develops 
it and the disoidnly efforts of the amateur, it will be one 
of our first businesses to estimate rigbtly. And though 
not indeed by degree to degree, yet in essential relation (as 
of winds to waves, the one being always the true cause of 
the other, though they are not necessarily of equal force at 
the same time), we shaU find vice in its varieties, with art* 
failurer-and virtue in its varieties, with art-success, — ^faU 
and rise together : the peasant-girl's song at her spinnii^ 
wheel, the peasant-labouiier^s ''to the oaks and rills,"' — 
domestie music, feebly yet sensitively skil&JL--<pmusic for 
the noultitude, of beneficent, or of traitorous power, — dance* 
melodies, pure and orderly, or foul and frantic, — march- 
music, Uatant in mere fever of animal pugnacity, or 
majestic with force of national duty and memory,^ — ^song 
music;, leddess, sensual, sickly, slovenly, forgetful enren of the 
foolish words it effaces with foolish noise, — or thoughtful, 
saored, healthful, artful, for ever sanctifying noble thought 

» rSee A Jo^/hr Ev», § SS (VoJ. XVL p. 39).3 
* fEodeMMtos vii. «.] 
' [Milton : Lyoidm, 18a] 


with separately distinguished loveliness of belonging sound, 
— all these feunilies and gradations of good or evil, how- 
ever mingled, follow, in so far as they are good, one 
constant law of virtue (or "life-strength," which is the 
literal meaning of the word,^ and its intended one, in wise 
men's mouths), and in so far as they are evil, are evil by 
outlawry and unvirtue, or death-weakness. Then, passing 
wholly beyond the domain of death, we may still imagine 
the ascendant nobleness of the art, through all the con- 
cordant life of incorrupt creatures, and a continually deeper 
harmony of *' puissant words and murmurs made to bless,"' 
until we reach 

'' The undisturbM song of pure concentj 
Aye sung before the sapphire-coloured throne."' 

29. And so far as the sister arts can be conceived to 
have place or office, their virtues are subject to a law 
absolutely the same as that of music, only extending its 
authority into more various conditions, owing to the intro- 
duction of a distinctly representative and historical power, 
which acts under logical as well as mathematical restric- 
tions, and IS capable of endlessly changeful fault, fallacy 
and defeat, as well as of endlessly manifold victory.^ To 
the discernment of this law we will now address ourselves 
slowly, beginning with the consideration of little things 
and of easily definable virtues. And since Patience is the 
pioneer of all the others, I shall endeavour in the next 
paper to show how that modest virtue has been either held 
of no account, or else set to vilest work in our modem 
Aji>-schools ; and what harm has resulted from such disdain,, 
or such employment of her. 

i [See ]^Aie9 ^ the Dwft, § 80 (VoL XVIII. p. 301).] 

s [Milton : Arcades, 60.] 

' [Milton : At a Solemn Music, With what Roskin nys here about the ethical 
qualities of miiaie, compare the Rede Lecture, below, pp. 176-180.] 

* [At this point the reprint of this pasiage in Queen qf the Air (below, p. 409)r 



''Dame PadencS sitting there I fonde, 
With &c€ pale, upon an hill of sonde." * 

80. As I try to summon this vision of Chaucer's into de- 
finiteness, and as it fades before me, and reappears, like the 
image of Piccarda in the moon/ there mingles with it 
another; — the image of an Italian child, Ijring, she also, 
upon a hill of sand, by Eridanus' side; a vision which has 
never quite left me since I saw it. A girl of ten or twelve, 
it might be; one of the children to whom there has never 
been any other lesson taught than that of patience : — ^patience >v 
of famine and thirst ; patience of heat and cold; patience of 
fierce word and sullen blow; patience of changeless fate 
and giftless time. She was lying with her arms thrown 
back over her head, all languid and lax» on an earth-heap by 
the river side (the softness of the dust being the only soft- 
ness she had ever known), in the southern suburb of Turin, 
one golden afternoon in August, years aga^ She had been 
at play, after her fashion, with other patient children, and 
had thrown herself down to rest, full in the sun, like a 
lizard. The sand was mixed with the draggled locks o£ 
her black hair, and some of it sprinkled over bar face and 
body, in an ''ashes to ashes" kind of way; a few black 

1 [Art Journal, N.S., vol. iv. pp. 101, 102, April 1866. A small portion of this 
chapter was read by Ruskin, at tmord, in November 1884, as a by-Ieeture, during 
tbe delivery of the coarse on ''The Pleasures of England" : the lectare on Pktience 
was reported in £. T. Cook's Studiei in Butkin, pp. 264-271 ; and see a later volome 
of this edition.] 

' [Chaucer : The Asttmbh of Fouiw, stanza 35 ; quoted also in Btkies qf th$ 
Ihut, § 36 (Vol. XVIII. p. 247).] 

' iParadiio, iii. 7 ^s^.J 

« [August 185a] 


iftgs ihou/t bcv kans, but ber Umbs nearly bare, and her 
little breasts, seafce dimpled yet,— white^-^marble-like — but^ 
as wasted maible, thin with the scorching and the nina 
of Time. So she lay, motionless ; black and white by the 
sbate in the sim; the ]^llow light flickering back upon her 
from the passing eddies of the river, and burning down 
on her from the west* So she lay, like a dead Niobid : it 
seemed as if the Siu»-6od, as he sank towards grey Viso 
(who stood pale in the south-west, and pjrramidal as a 
tomb), had been wroth with Italy for numbwing her 
children too carefully, and slain this little one. Black and 
white she lay, all breathless, in a sufficiently pict(»ial 
manner: the gardens of the Villa Regina gleamed beyond, 
graceful with laurel-grove and labyrinthine terrace;^ tmd 
folds of purple mountain were drawn afar, for curtains 
round her little dusty bed. 

81. Pictorial enough, I repeat ; and yet I might not now 
have remembered her, so as to find her figure mingling, 
agsinst my will, with other images, but for her manner 
of '^revival." For one of her plajntnates coming near, cast 
some vrcad at her which angered her; and she rose — ^'en 
ego, victa situ '' ' — she rose with a single spring, like a snake ; 
one hardly saw the motion; and with a shriek so shrill 
that I put my hands up<m my ears; and so uttered her- 
self, indignant and vengeful, with words of justice, — ^Alecto 
standing by, satisfied, teaching her acute, articulate syllables, 
and adding ber own voice to carry them thrilling through 
the blue laurel shadows. And having spoken, she went her 
way, wearily: and I passed by on the other side,' medi- 
tating, with such Levitical propriety as a respectable person 
should, on the asp-like Passion, following the sorrowful 
Patience; and on the way in which the saying, '^Dust 

1 \FoT Rnskin's deecriptioii of these gardens^ see Vol. XVI. po. 192-190. 

' [Vi^ : JSneid^ Tii. 452— from the scene between the Fury Alecto and Tumus. 

She had appeared to the prince first in the guise of an old woman, and he had 

mocked at her as a mouldering eld. Whereupon she darts up and shows herself in 
her true guise : ^'Lo, I am she, worn out with mouldy" etc J 

[Luke X. 31.} 


shalt thou eat all thy days"^ has been confusedly fulfilled^ 
first by much provision of human dust for the meat of 
what Keats calls ''human serpentry ** ; ^ and last, by gather- 
ing the Consumed and Consumer into dust together, for 
the meat of the death spirit, or serpent Apap/ Neither 
could I, for long, get rid of the thought of this strange 
dust - manufacture under the mill -stones, as it were, of 
Death; and of the two colours of the grain, discriminate 
beneath, though indiscriminately cast into the hopper. For 
indeed some of it seems only to be made whiter for its 
patience, and becomes kneadable into spiced bread, where 
they sell in Babylonian shops ''slaves, and souls of men'*;^ 
but other some runs dark from under the mill -stones; 
a little sulphurous and nitrous foam being mingled in the 
conception of it; and is ominously stored up in maga- 
zines near river - embankments ; patient enough — for the 

82. But it is provoking to me that the image of this 
child mingles itself now with Chaucer's; for I s£iould like 
truly to know what Chaucer means by his sand-hilL Not 
but that this is just one of those enigmatical pieces of 
teaching which we have made up our minds not to be 
troubled with,^ since it may evidently mean just what we 
like. Sometimes I would fain have it to mean the ghostly 
sand of the horologe of the world: and I think that the 
pale figure is seated on the recording heap, which rises 
slowly, and ebbs in giddiness, and fiows again, and vises, 
tottering; and still she sees, falling beside her, the never- 
ending stream of phantom sand. Sometimes I like to think 

^ [Genens iii. 14.] 
' Endymwn, i. 821.} 

* |See ^ii«m qf the Air, § 72 ; below, jp. 366.] 

* [ReTMation xviii. 3. 11, 13 (the chapter deicribiiig the £dl of Babylon) : 
''For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. . . . 
And the merchants of the earth ehall weep and mourn over her; for no num 
buyeth their merchandise any more. . . . And cinnamoui and odours, and oint- 
ments . . . and slaves, and souls of men."] 

* [The reference is to the Penitentiary then standing at MiUbank (see below, 
p. 227).] 

* [See above, § 12, p. 63.] 


that she is seated on the sand because she is herself the 
Spirit of Sta3ring, and victor over all things that pass and 
change; — quicksand of the desert in moving pillar; quick- 
sand of the sea in moving floor ; roofless all, and unabiding, 
but she abiding; — to herself, her home. And sometimes 
I think, though I do not like to think (neither did Chaucer 
mean this, for he always meant the lovely thing first, 
not the low one), that she is seated on her sand-heap as 
the only treasure to be gained by human toil;^ and that 
the little ant-hill, where the best of us creep to and fro, 
bears to angelic eyes, in the patientest gathering of its 
galleries, only the aspect of a little heap of dust ; while for 
die worst of us, the heap, stiU lower by the levelling of 
those winged surveyors, is high enough, nevertheless, to 
overiiang, and at lairt; to close in judgment, on the seventh 
day, over the joumeyers to the fortunate Islands ; while to 
their dying eyes, through the mirage, ''the city sparkles 
like a grain of salt."' 

88. But of course it does not in the least matter what 
it means. All that matters specially to us in Chaucer's 
vision, is that, next to Patience (as the reader will find by 
looking at the context in the Assembly oj F(mles\ were 
**Beheste" and "Art*'; — Promise, that is, and Art: and 
that, although these visionary powers are here waiting only 
in one of the outer courts of Love, and the intended 
patience is here only the long-suffering of love; and the 
intended beheste, its promise; and the intended art, its 
cunning, — ^the same powers companion each other neces- 
sarily in the courts and ante-chambers of every triumphal 
home of man. I say triumphal home, for, indeed, trium- 
phal arches which you pass under, are but foolish things, 
and may be nailed together any day, out of pasteboard 
and filched laurel; but triumphal doors^ which you can 
enter in at, with living laurel crowning the Lares, are not 

^ [Com|Mre the title Muntra Pidveris: see VoL XVII. p. IxvL] 
* rremijnKm : the last line of '' WilL" For Raskin's admiraUon of the line, 
sse VoL II. p. zzriii. n.] 


so easy of access: and outside of them waits always this 
sad portress, Patience; that is to say» the submissioii to 
the eternal laws of Pain and Time, and aceeptance o£ them 
as inevitable, smiling at the grief.^ So much pains you 
shall take — so much time you shall wait: that is the Law. 
Understand it, honour it; with peace of heart accept the 
pain, and attend the hours; and as the husbandman in his 
waiting, you shall see, first the blade, and th^i the ear, 
and then the laughing of the valleys.' But refuse the Law, 
and seek to do your work in your own time, or by any 
serpentine way to evade the pain, and you shall have no 
harvest — ^nothing but apples of Sodom:' dust shall be your 
meat, and dust in your throat — ^there is no singing in such 
harvest time. 

84. And this is true for all things, little and great. 
There is a time and a way in which they can be done: 
none shorter — ^none smoother. For all nobie things, the 
time is long and the way rude. You may fret and fume 
as you will; for every start and struggle of impatience 
there shall be so mudi attendant failure; if impatience 
become a habit, nothing but failure: until on the path you 
have chosen for your better swiftness, rather than the 
honest flinty one, there shall follow you, fast at hand, in- 
stead of Beheste and Art for companions, those two wicked 

^ With hoaiy locks all loose, and visage grim ; 
Their feet unshod, their bodies wrapt in rags. 
And both as swift on foot as chased stags ; 
And yet the one her other legge had lame. 
Which with a staff all full of little snags 
She did support, and Impotence her name: 
But th' other was Impatience, armed with raging flame/' ^ 

1 [Tfpelfth Night, u, 4, line 116 :-^ 

'^liko Patience on a monument, 
Smiling at grief" — 

quoted also in mkhs qf the Dwt, § 36 (Vol. XVIIl. p. 247), and earlier, in Vol. I. 
p. 434. It is interesting to see how the young man there quotes it, laughing at the 
Imaffei and how differently he used the passage in later years.] 
» [Mark iv. 28; Psalms Ixv. 14 (Prayer-hook Version).] 

• [Compare Unto this LaH, « 81 (Vol. XVII. p. 110).j[ 

* [Spenser : JFVwrw QuMite, ii. 11, 23. Compare Vol. "X. p. 391.] 


^ Baging fkme," note ; unservioeafole ; — aflame c£ the Mack 
mram.^ Bat the fire which Patience canies in her hand is 
tiiact truly stolen from Heaven/ in the pith of the rod — ^fire 
of the slow match; persistent Fire like it also in her own 
body, — ^fire in the marrow; unquenefaaUe incense of life: 
though it may seem to the bjrstanders that there is no 
breath in h», and she holds herself like a statue, as Her- 
mione, "the statue lady," or Griselda, "the stone lady";' 
imless indeed one looks close for the glance forward^ in the 
^es, wfaidi distiu^poishes such pillars from the piUars, not 
of flesh, but of salt, whose eyes are set backwards/ 

85. I cannot get to my work in this paper, somehow; 
the web of these old enigmas entangles me again and again/ 

^ fSee aboTB, § 31^ far the Amic gram of crime.] 

' [The nCsrence ie to the fire wkteh Prometheus stole from Heaven at the end 
of a rod.! 

> [For Hermione, '< pillar-like/' see Mwura Pukferii, § 134 n. (Vol. XVII. p. 267) ; 
£ur Griseida« see next page.] 

* [Genestt ziz, 26.1 

* [This Bection (§ 85} is a particalarly eharaoteristie example of the allosive^ and 
lomewhat esoteric, style iu waich much of The Cestus qf Aglaia is written ; see the 
author's description of this style^ in which ^'all that comes into my head is said 
i»r my own pleasave" (QiMsn qf the Air, § 134; heiow, p. 408). 6^^1da bringa 
into his head memories of the Tosa (or Toccia) falls beneath the Gries glacier (he 
may have visited the &lls from Dome d'Ossola in 1846) ; then he passes to think 
ef the long oppression of Raetia under netty tyrants (of which a reoord remains in 
the many mined feudal castles which stua that part of Switzerland). Their rule was 
at last shaken off by the formation of the Urison Coniederation, in which one 
of the Gonstitnents was the Grey League (Graue Bund) : hence the name of the 
present canton, Graubunden {Fr, Grisons). The name (though possibly referring to 
the fleveral counts^ Grafen, whom the League comprised) is popularly derived from 
the grev homespun ooats of those by whom it was formed : see the passage 
quoted by Ruskin in Vol. XIII. p. 616. The thought of the Grison country brings 
to bis mind its central defile, the Via Mala, the grandeur of whieh had impressed 

him so many mis ago (see PngterUa, L § 136; iL § 131), and he doubts in- 
cidentally whetner the men of Graubunden have hewn their way in the world so 
damlTely as the foaming river, llien the oolonr of Grison Gray recalls to hnn 
at one moment Tennvson's Enid ('^JBarl, entreat her hj my love. Albeit I give 
no reason but mv wish. That she ride with me in her nded silk" — The Maniage 
qf €lerahU); and, at the next. Turner's briUiaot water-eolonr sketches on grey 

Kper (see Vol. XIII. p. 386), which allusion, lastly, leads him to a lament at the 
tie interest taken in the sketches (see below, § 104 n., p. 148), tiien shown at the 
8outh Kensington Museum (see Vol. XIII. p. zzxvi.)^ 

Then in the next section Ruskin carries a little further his allusion to Tennyson : — 

" And seeing her so sweet and serviceable, 
Gcoaint hM longing in him evermore 
To stoop and kiss the tender little thumb, 
That crost the trencher as she laid it down." 

He compares the arts to princesses thus set to menial service, and so gets '' dis- 
entangled," and returns to his main subject.] 


That rough syllable which begins the name of Griselda, 
"Gries," "the stone'*; the roar of the long fall of the 
Toccia seems to mix with the sound of it» bringing thoughts 
of the great Alpine patience ; mute snow wreathed by grey 
rock, till avalanche time comes — ^patience of mute tormented 
races till the time of the Grey league came; at last im- 
patient. (Not that, hitherto, it has hewn its way to much : 
the Rhine-foam of the Via Mala seeming to have done its 
work better.) But it is a noble colom* that Grison Grey; 
-—dawn colour — ^graceful for a faded silk to ride in, and 
wonderful, in paper, for getting a glow upon, if you begin 
wisely, as you may some day perhaps see by those Turner 
sketches at Kensington, if ever anybody can see them. 

86. But we will get to work now; the work being to 
understand, if we may, what tender creatures are indeed 
riding with us, the British public, in faded silk, and hand- 
ing our plates for us with tender little thumbs,^ and never 
wearing, or doing, anything else (not always having much 
to put on their own plates). The loveliest arts, the arts of 
noblest descent, have been long doing this for us, and are 
still, and we have no idea of their being Princesses, but 
keep them ill-entreated and enslaved: vociferous as we are 
against Black slavery, while we are gladly acceptant of 
Grey ; and fain to keep Aglaia and her sisters — Urania and 
hers, — serving us in faded silk, and taken for kitchen- 
wenches. We are mad Sanchos, not mad Quixotes: oiu: 
eyes enchant Downvf^xAs. 

87. For one instance only : has the reader ever reflected 
on the patience, and deliberate subtlety, and unostentatious 
will, involved in the ordinary process of steel engraving; 
that process of which engravers themselves now with dole- 
ful voices deplore the decline, and with sorrowful hearts 
expect the extinction, after their own days? 

By the way — my friends of the field of steel, — ^you need 
fear nothing of the kind. What there is of mechanical in 
your work ; of habitual and thoughtless, of vulgar or servile 

^ [Quoted alto in VoL XVIL p. 52a] 


— ^for that, indeed, the time has come ; the sun will bum it 
up for you, very ruthlessly; but what there is of human 
liberty, and of sanguine life, in finger and fancy, is kindred 
of the sun, and quite inextinguishable by him. He is the 
very last of divinities who would wish to extinguish it. 
With his red right hand, though full of lightning corusca- 
tion, he will faithfully and tenderly clasp yours, warm 
blooded; you will see the vermilion in the flesh-shadows 
all the dearer ; but your hand will not be withered. I tell 
you — (dogmatically, if you like to call it so, knowing it 
well^) — a square inch of man's engraving is worth all the 
photographs that ever were dipped in acid (or left half- 
washed afterwards, which is saying much')— only it must 
be man's engraving; not machine's engraving. You have 
founded a school on patience and labour — only. That 
school must soon be extinct. You will have to found one 
on thought, which is Phoenician in immortality and fears 
no fire. Believe me, photography can do against line en- 
graving just what Madame Tussaud's wax-work can do 
against sculpture. That, and no more.' You are too timid 
in this matter; you are like Isaac in that picture of Mr. 
Schnorr s in the last number of this Journal, and with 
Teutonically metaphysical precaution, shade your eyes from 
the sun with your back to it.^ Take courage ; turn your 
eyes to it in an aquiline manner; put more sunshine on 
your steel, and less burr; and leave the photographers to 
their Phoebus of Magnesium wire.^ 

1 [See above, § 9, p. 60. So in For* Okwiffera, Letter 6, RuBkin cleims that his to- 
called " arrogance " only consisU in sayinff plainly what he hat atcertained certainly.] 

' [Photo^raphert will note in this aUorion to imperfect wathing the touch of 
practical acqaaintanoe with the pursuit; at waa the cate. For Rutkin's early 
interest in photography, see Vol. III. p. 210.1 

' [For Rusldn's views on the uses and limitations of photography, and its 
ralatiML to engraving, see the passages noted at Vol. III. pp. 1&, 210 n. ; and 
eommure Vol. XIV. pp. 36S-369 ; VoL XV. p. 36S ; VoL VII. pp. 4, 13 ; VoL IX. 
p. zukJ 

* [Tne Art Journal for March contained a notice of "German Painters of the 
Modem School : Scbadow, Vert, and Schnorr." On p. 71 was an engraving of ''The 
Meeting of Rebecca and Isaac " by Schnorr ; Isaac is seen shading ms eyes from the 
sun. which is setting behind him. Julius Schnorr von Caroltfeld, 1764-1841.] 

^ [For another reference to magneiium light, at thit time beginning to attract 
attention, see Setame and UHu (Vol. XVIII. p. 106 n.^] 


88. Not that I mean to speak disrespectfully of magne- 
sium. I honour it to its utmost fiety particle^ (though I 
think the soul a fierier one); and I wish the said magne* 
sium ail comfort and triumph; nightly-lodging in light- 
houses, and ntter victory over coal gas. Could Titian but 
have known what the gnomes who built his dolomite crags 
above Cadore had mixed in the make of them, — and that 
<me day — one night, I mean— his blue distances would still 
be seen pure blue, by light got out of his own mountains 1 

Light out of limestone — colour out of coal — and white 
wings out of hot water 1 ' It is a great age this of ours, 
for traction and extraction, if it only knew what to extract 
from itself, or where to drag itself tol 

89. But in the meantime I want the public to admire 
this patience of yours, while they have it, and to understand 
what it has cost to give them even this, which has to pass 
away. We will not take instance in figure engraving, of 
which the complex skill and textural gradation by dot and 
chequer must be wholly incomprehensible to amateurs ; but 
we will take a piece of average landscape engraving, such 
as is sent out of any good workshop — ^the master who puts 
his name at the bottom of the plate being of course re- 
spcmsible only for the general method, for the sufficient skill 
of subordinate hands, and for the few finishing touches if 
necessary. We will take, for example, the plate of Turner's 
"Mercury and Argus," engraved in this JoumaL' 

40. I suppose most people, looking at such a plate, 
fancy it is produced by some simple mechanical artifice, 
which is to drawing only what printing is to writing. 
They conclude, at all events,^ that there is something 

> [Byroa : Dm Juan^ xL 69 : ''tke mind, liiat very fierjr putiole."] 

* {|The me of aniline dyes (produced from the dietillation of ooel tor) mn omn- 
permtively new when Ruekin wrote, the iint patent having been taken out in 
1858. The next reference appears to be to the substitution of steam navigation 
for the white wings of sails.] 

' [At p. 16 of vol. it: (1866> Engmved by J. T. WiUmore. A photogravnre 
of thepicture is Plate 14 in Vol. III. of this edition.] 

* [Tne rest of this and the whole of the sacoeeding paragraph were imprinted in 
Ariadne JF^renHna, § 115 (beginning ** You cannot really think that there is some- 
thing . . . "), and the first paragraph of § 116.] 


complacent, syinpatihetic, and helpful in the nature of steel ; 
so that whfle a p^i-and-ink sketch may always be con- 
sidered an achievement proving cleverness in the sketcher, 
a sketch on steel comes out by mere favour oi the in- 
dulgent metal: or that the plate is woven like a piece 
of pattern silk, and the pattern is developed by pasteboard 
cards punched full of holes. Not so. Look close at^ that 
engraving — ^imagine it to be a drawing in pen and ink, and 
yourself required similarly to produce its parallel 1 True, 
the steel point has the one advantage of not Uotting, but 
it has tenfold or tw^ityfold disadvantage, in that you can- 
not slur, nor efface, except in a very resolute and laborious 
way, nor play with it, nor even see what you are doing 
with it at the moment, far less the efibct that is to be. 
You must fed what you are doing with it, and know pre- 
cisely vdiat you have got to do; how deep — how broad — 
how far apart — ^your lines must be, etc. and etc. (a couple 
of lines of etc's would not be enough to imply all you 
must know). But suppose the plate xvere only a pen 
drawing: take your pen — ^yotff finei^ — ^and just try to copy 
the leaves that entangle the nearest cow's head and the 
head itself; remembering always that the kind of work re- 
quired here is mere child's play compared to that of fine 
figure engraving. Nevertheless, take a strong magnifying 
glass to this — count tJie dots and lines that gradate the 
nostrils and tiie edges of the fSacial bone; notice how the 
Cght is left on the top of the head by the stopping at its 
outline of the coarse touches which form the shadows under 
the leaves; examine it well, and then — ^I humbly ask of 
you — ^try to do a piece of it yourself! You clever sketdier 
— you young lady or gentleman of genius — ^you eye-glassed 
dilettante-you current writer of criticism royaUy plund,— I 
beseech you — do it yourself; do the merdy etched outline 
yourself, if no more. Look you, — ^you hold your etching 

^ [In Ariadne JPfarenHnaf § 11&. this pMsagtt reads : ''Look dose at this engrar- 
ing" — 1.0., Miller's engraving of Tamers ''Grand Canal" — "or take a simpler one, 
Tarner^s 'Mereiuy and Argus/ — and imagine . . ."] 


needle this way, as you would a pencil, nearly; and then, 
— ^you scratch with it I it is as easy as lying.^ Or if you 
think that too difficult, take an easier piece; — ^take either 
of the light sprays of foliage that rise against the for- 
tress on the right, put your glass over them — look how 
their fine outline is first drawn, leaf by leaf; then how the 
distant rock is put in between, with broken lines, mostly 
stopping before they touch the leaf outline, and — again, I 
pray you, do it yourself; if not on that scale, on a larger. 
Go on into the hollows of the distant rock — ^traverse its 
thickets — ^number its towers* — count how many lines there 
are in a laurel bush — ^in an arch — ^in a casement: some 
hundred and fifty, or two hundred, deliberately drawn lines, 
you will find, in every square quarter of an inch; — say 
three thousand to the tncA,— each with skilful intent put 
in its place! and then consider what the ordinary sketcher's 
work must appear to the men who have been trained to 

41. ''But might not more have been done by three 
thousand lines to a square inch?" you will perhaps ask. 
Well, possibly. It may be with lines as with soldiers: 
three hundred, knowing their work thoroughly, may be 
stronger than three thousand less sure of their game. We 
shall have to press close home this question about numbers 
and purpose presently;' — ^it is not the question now. Sup- 
posing certain results required, — ^atmospheric efibcts, surface 
textures, transparencies of shade, confosions of light, — ^more 
could not be done with less. There are engravings of this 
modem school, of which, with respect to their particular 
aim, it may be said, most truly, they *^ cannot be better 
done." * 

42. Whether an engraving should aim at effects of 
atmosphere, may be disputable (just as also whether a 



Hamlet, iii. 2.] 
Pnlms xlviii. 11.] 
See the next ehapter.] 
'See above, pp. 62, 72?] 


sculptor should aim at effects of perspective); but I do 
not raise these points to-day. Admit the aim — let us note 
the patience; nor this in engraving only. I have taken an 
engraving for my instance, but I might have taken any 
form of Art. I call upon all good artists, painters, sculp- 
tors, metal-workers, to bear witness with me in what I 
now tell the public in their name, — ^that the same Forti- 
tude, the same deliberation, the same perseverance in re- 
solute act — ^is needed to do anything in Art that is worthy. 
And why is it, you workmen, that you are silent always 
concerning your toil; and mock at us in your hearts, 
within that shrine at Eleusis, to the gate of which you 
have hewn your way through so deadly thickets of thorn; 
and leave us, foolish children, outside, in our conceited 
thinking either that we can enter it in play, or that we 
are grander for not entering? Far more earnestly is it to 
be asked, why do you stoop to us as you mock us? If 
your secrecy were a noble one, — ^if, in that incommuni- 
cant contempt, you wrought your own work with majesty, 
whether we would receive it or not, it were kindly, though 
ungraciously, done ; but now you make yourselves our toys, 
and do our childish will in servile silence. If engraving 
were to come to an end this day, and no guided point 
should press metal more, do you think it would be in a 
blaze of glory that your art would expire? — ^that those 
plates in the annuals, and black proofs in broad shop win- 
dows, are of a nobly monumental character, — "chalybe 
perennius ? '' ^ I am afraid your patience has been too 
much like yonder poor Italian child's; and over that genius 
of yours, low laid by the Matin shore, if it expired so, 
the lament for Archytas would have to be sung again; — 
**pulveris exigui — ^munera.*'* Suppose you were to shake 
off the dust again! cleanse your wings, like the morning 

^ [Ruskin here combinee Horace (Ode$f iiL dO, 1 : " Exegi monumentom »re 
peremUut**) with PropertiuB (i. 16, 30: "ferro durior et cAo/yS;").] 

* [Horace : Oefet, L 28 : for a note on this peaaage (whence comes the title Munera 
Pttlveris\ see Introduction to VoL XVII. p. Ixv.] 


A -^iri-. 

bees oa that Matin promontory;^ rise, in noUe im] 

for there is snch a thing: the Imfiatience of the Fourth 


^Cai buoB v^let, e giusto anwr OKvaleib"' 

Shall we try, togethw, to think over the meaning of 
that Haste, when the May mornings come? 

1 [Apin a refeienoe to Horaoe ; Ma Oiei, It. i, 27, whin Um poet dwtrilei 
his work: ''Ego apit Matins more . . . operoea panms Cannina fio|po/' The 
paaiage is quoted alio in Qosm iff the Air, § 48 (below, p. d49), and Vol ^Am»^ 
§ 221.1 

* [PurgaUmOf zviii. 06. On the fourth cornice the sin of indiference is puniBhed ; 
but '^hearty zeal to serve reanimates celertial grace/' and the poet sees an eager 
multitude who now ''by good will and righteous love are ridden,"] 



48* It is a wild March day, — ^the 20th; and very pro- 
bably due course of English Spring will bring as wild a 
May-day by the time this writing meets any one's eyes; 
but at all events, as yet the days are rough, and as I look 
out of my fitfiiUy lighted window into the garden,* every- 
thing seems in a singular hurry. The dead leaves; and 
yonder two living ones» on the same stalk, tumbling over 
and over each other on the lawn, like a quaint mechanical 
toy; and the fallen sticks from the rooks' nests, and the 
twisted straws out of the stable-yard — ^all going one way, 
in the hastiest manner 1 The puffs of steam, moreover, 
which pass under the wooded hiUs where what used to be 
my sweetest field-walk ends now, prematurely, in an abyss 
of blue clay; and which signify, in their sUvery expiring 
between the successive trunks of wintry trees, that some 
human beings, thereabouts, are in a hurry as well as the 
sticks and straws, and, having fastened themselves to the 
tail of a nuuu^eable breeze, are being blown down to 

44. In the general effect of these various passages and 
passengers, as seen from my quiet room, they look all very 
much alike. One begins seriously to question with one- 
self whether those passengers by the Folkestone train are 
in truth one whit more in a hurry than the dead leaves. 
The difference consists, of course^ in the said passengers 
knowing where they are going to, and why; and having 
resolved to go there — ^which, indeed, as far as Folkestone, 


AH Journal, N.S., voL iv. ppw 129-130. May 1865.] 
At Denmark HULl 



may, perhaps, properly distinguish them from the leaves: 
but will it distinguish them any farther? Do many of 
them know what they are going to Folkestone for? — ^what 
they are going anjrwhere for? and where, at last, by 
sum of all the days' journeys, of which this glittering 
transit is one, they are going for peace ? For if they know 
not this, certainly they are no more making haste than the 
straws are. Perhaps swiftly going the wrong way; more 
likely going no way — any way, as the winds and tiieir own 
wills, wilder than the winds, dictate; to find themselves at 
last at the end which would have come to them quickly 
enough without their seeking. 

45. And, indeed, this is a very preliminary question to 
all measurement of the rate of going, this ** where to ? " or, 
even before that, " are we going on at all ? ** * — " getting on " 
(as the world says) on any road whatever? Most men's 
eyes are so fixed on the mere swirl of the wheel of their 
fortunes, and their souls so vexed at the reversed cadences 
of it when they come, that they forget to ask if the curve 
they have been carried through on its circumference was 
circular or cycloidal; whether they have been bound to the 
ups and downs of a mill-wheel or of a chariot-wheel. 

That phrase, of " getting on," so perpetually on our lips * 
(as indeed it should be), do any of us take it to our hearts, 
and seriously ask where we can get on to? That instinct 
of hurry has surely good grounds. It is aU very well for 
lazy and nervous people (like myself for instance) to retreat 
into tubs, and holes, and corners, anywhere out of the dust, 
and wonder within ourselves, ''what all the fuss can be 
about ?** The fussy people might have the best of it, if 
they know their end. Suppose they were to answer this 
March or May morning thus: — "Not bestir ourselves, in- 
deed 1 and the spring sun up these four hours! — and this 
first of May, 1865, never to come back again; and of Firsts 
of May in perspective, supposing ourselves to be ' nel mezzo 

i [Compare Vol. XI. p. 268.] 

> [See Vol. XVm. pp. 448, 462-45a] 


del cammin/^ perhaps some twenty or twenty-five to be, 
not without presumption, hoped for, and by no means cal- 
culated upon. Say, twenty of them, with their following 
groups of summer days; and though they may be long, 
one cannot make much more than sixteen hours a-piece 
out of them, poor sleepy wretches that we are ; for even if 
we get up at four, we must go to bed while the red yet 
stays from the sunset: and half the time we are awake, 
we must be lying among haycocks, or playing at something, 
if we are wise ; not to speak of eating, and previously earn- 
ing whereof to eat, which takes time : and then, how much 
of us and of our day will be left for getting on? Shall 
we have a seventh, or even a tithe, of our twenty-four 
hours ? — ^two hours and twenty-four minutes clear, a day, or, 
roughly, a thousand hours a year, and (violently presum-^ 
ing on fortune, as we said) twenty years of working life: 
twenty thousand hours to get on in, altogether?' Many 
men would think it hard to be limited to an utmost twenty 
thousand pounds for their fortunes, but here is a sterner 
limitation; the Pactolus of time, sand, and gold together, 
would, with such a fortune, count us a pound an hour, 
through our real and serviceable life. If this time capital 
would reproduce itself 1 and for our twenty thousand hours 
we could get some rate of interest, if well spent ? At all 
events, we will do something with them; not lie moping 
out of the way of the dust, as you do." 

46. A sufficient answer, indeed; yet, friends, if you 
would make a little less dust, perhaps we should all see 
our way better. But I am ready to take the road with 
you, if you mean it so seriously — only let us at least con- 
sider where we are now, at starting. 

Here, on a little spinning, askew-axised thing we call 
a planet — (impertinently enough, since we are far more 
planetary ourselves). A round, rusty, rough little metaUie 

^ iLtfemo, L 1 : compare VoL X. p. 400.] 

* [Ruakiii himtelf wm lued to number his days in this way; see the note oa 
hit dury in Vol. VII. p. zziiL] 



ball — ^very hard to live upon; most oi it much too not or 
too cold : a couple of narrow haUtaUe belts about i1^ which, 
to wandering spirits, must look like the places where it 
has got damp, and greaa*mouldy, with accompanying small 
activities of animal life in the midst of the lichen. Ex- 
plosive gases, seemingly, inside it, and possibilities of very 
sudden dispersion. 

47 • This is where we are; and round about us, there 
seem to be more of such balls, variously heated and chilled, 
ringed and mooned, moved and comforted; the whole giddy 
group of us fcMming an atom in a milky mist, itself another 
atom in a shcn'eless phosphorescent sea of such Yolvoces and 

Whereupon, I presume, one would first ask, have we 
any chance of gettrog off this ball of ours, «nd getting on 
to one of those finer ones? Wise people say we have, 
and that it is very wicked to think otharwise. So we will 
think no otherwise; but, with their permission, think no- 
thing about the matter now, since it is certain that the 
more we make of our little rusty world, sudi as it is» the 
more chance we have of being one day promoted into a 
merrier one. ^ 

48. And even on this rusty and mouldy Earth, there 
appear to be things which may be seen with pleasure, and 
things which might be done with advantage. The stones 
of it have strange shapes ; the plants and the beasts of it 
strange ways. Its air is ooinable into wonderful sounds; 
its li^t into manifold colours: the trees of it bring forth 
pippins, and the fields cheese (though both of these ' may be, 
in a finer soise, *^to come"). Thare are bri^t eyts upon it 
which reflect the light of other eyes quite singularly; and 
foolish feelings to be cherished upon it; and gladdenings 

^ l^uakin is thinking here of the passage from MicheletTs L'ltuecte, which he 
^notcSi in Modem i\iMerr, toL t. (Vd. Vll. p. 232): The BAvigator^ wfa* aJt 
night sees the ocean shimmering with lustre ana wreathing garlands of fire^ is at 
first diverted hy the spectacle ... yet all this is but a dance of imperceptible 


s rrbaft ie, the trees and tiia fields; whmi ''the redeemed shall walk there 
(Isaiah xxxt. 9).] 



of du$t by iidgkbour dust, not easily explained, but plea>- 
sant, and which take time to win. One would like to 
know aomething of all this, I suppose ? — to divide oiie'a 
score of thousand hours as shrewdly as might be. Tea 
minutes to every herb of the field is not much; yet we 
shall not know them all, so, befcnre the time comes to be 
made grass of ourselves I Half-an-hour for every crystal- 
line form of clay and flint, and we shall be near the need 
of shaping the grey flint stone that is to weigh upon our 
feet. And we would fain dance a measure or two befare 
that cumber is laid upon them: there having been hitherto 
much pifHng to which we have not danced.^ And we must 
leave time for loving, if we are to take Marmontel's wise 
peasant's word for it, **II n*y a de bon que faf'* And if 
there should bje fighting to do also? and weeping? and 
much burying? truly, we had better make haste, 

49. Whic^ means, simply, that we must lose neither 
strength nor moment. Hurry is not haste; but economy 
is, and rightness is. Whatever is rightly done stays with 
us, to support another right beyond, or higher up; what- 
ever is wrongly done, vanishes; and by the blank, betrays 
what we would have built above. Wastiqg no word, no 
thought, no doing, we shall have speed enough; but then 
there is that farther question, what shall we do ? — ^what we 
axe fittest (worthiest, that is) to do, and what is best worth 
doing? Note that word ^'worthy," both of the man and 
the thing, for the two dignities go together. Is it worth 
the pains? Are we worth the task? The dignity of a 
man depends wholly upon this harmony. If his task is 
above him, he will be undignified in fEulure ; if he is above 
it, he will be undignified in success. His own composure 
and nobleness must be according to the composure of his 
thought to his toil. 

50. As I was dreaming over this, my eyes fell by diance 

1 [MatUiew zi. 17.] 

* [Sea #brt Clavijifmi, Latter 17, where Riuldin giret a traoebtion of the paMage 
in the OanUt Maratuf, where these worda ooeur.] 



on a page of my favourite thirteenth-^^entury psalter/ just 
where two dragons, one with red legs, and another with 
green,— -one with a blue tail on a purple ground, and the 
other with a rosy tail on a golden ground, follow the verse 
Quis ascendet in montem DomiUi' and begin the solemn 
Qui non accepit in vano animam suam^^ Who hath not 
lift up his soul unto vanity, we have it; and «Xa/8ev «ri 
fAoraiw^ the Greek (not that I know what that means ac- 
curately): broadly, they all mean, "who has not received 
nor given his soul in vain " : this is the man who can make 
haste, even uphill, the only haste worth makmg; and it 
must be up the right hill, too: not that Corinthian Acro- 
polis, of which, I suppose, the white spectre stood eighteen 
hundred feet high, in Hades, for Sisyphus to roll his fan- 
tastic stone up — image, himself, for ever of the greater part 
of our wise mortal work/ 

51. Now all this time, whatever the reader may think, 
I have never for a moment lost sight of that original black 
line with which is our own special business/ The patience, 
the speed, the dignity, we can give to that, the choice to 
be made of subject for it, are the matters I want to get at. 
You think, perhaps, that an engraver's function is one of 
no very high dignity; — does not involve a serious choice 
of work. Consider a little of it. Here is a steel point, 
and 'tis like Job's "iron pen"* — and you are going to cut 
into steel with it, in a most deliberate way, as into the 
rock for ever. And this scratch or inscription of yours 

^ nrhe Psalter of St LouiB.] 

' [Psalmi xxiv. 3^ 4 : compare Lecture* on Art, § 95, where Rnikin quotes not 
the Septuagint but the Vulgate.] 

' [Here, again, Ruskin^s thought is very allusive. He is thinking of the ex- 
planation which he had formed in his mind (and which he afterwards gave in Queen 
of the Air, § 29 ; below, p. 326) of the legend of Sisyphus, the crtSty prince of 
Corinth, in connexion with the Corinthian Acropolis. He took Corinth as the centre, 
at once of the crossing currents of the winds, and of the commerce, of Greece ; and 
thus contrasts ''the right hill" (in montem Domini) with the hill which was to him a 
type of ''transit, transfer, or trade, and of the apparent gain from it," which yet is 
in reality but empty clouds.] 

* [See above, p. 70.] 

* [Job xix. 23, 24 : " Oh that my words . . . were graven with an iron pen 
and lead in the rock for ever." See below, § ^] 

IV. HASTE 101 

will be seen of a multitude of eyes. It is not like a single 
picture or a single wall painting; this multipliable work 
will pass through thousand thousand hands, strengthen and 
inform innumerable souls, if it be worthy ; vivify the folly 
of thousands if unworthy. Remember, also, it will mix 
in the very closest manner in domestic life. This engrav- 
ing will not be gossiped over and fluttered past at private 
views of academies ; listlessly sauntered by in comers of 
great galleries. Ah, no! This will hang over parlour 
chinmey-pieces — shed down its hourly influence on chil- 
dren's forenoon work. This will hang in little luminous 
comers by sick beds; mix with flickering dreams by candle- 
light, and catch the first rays from the window's ** glimmer- 
ing square." ^ You had better put something good into it I 
I do not know a more solemn field of labour than that 
champ dHader?^ From a pulpit, perhaps a man can only 
reach one or two people, for that time,— even your book, 
once carelessly read, probably goes into a book-case cata- 
comb, and is thought of no more. But this ; taking the 
eye unawares again and again, and always again: persisting 
and inevitable! where will you look for a chance of saying 
something nobly, if it is not here ? 

52. And the choice is peculiarly free; to you of all 
men most free. An artist, at first invention, cannot always 
choose what shall come into his mind, nor know what it 
will eventually turn into. But you, professed copyists, im- 
less you have mistaken your profession, have the power of 
governing your own thoughts, and of following and inter- 
preting the thoughts of others. Also, you see the work 
to be done put plainly before you; you can deliberately 
choose what seems to you best, out of myriads of ex- 
amples of perfect Art You can count the cost accurately ; 
saying, ** It will take me a year — ^two years — five — a foiuth 

^ [TeimyBon : Th% Prineui, it : — 

'^ Unto dying eyes 
The CMement slowly grows a glimmering square." 

The line is quoted in Modem PanUen, vol. y. (Vol. VII. p. 459).] 

* [So in Ariadne FlerenHna, § 12, Raskin speaks of the old enffrarers as '^ masters 
of the bright Md/' the steel plate being their field of battle.] 


or fifth, probably, of my remaining life, to do this.** Is the 
thing worth it? There is no excuse for choosing wrongly; 
no other men whatever have data so full, and position so 
firm, for forecast of their labour. 

58. I put my psalter aside (not, observe, vouching for 
its red and green dragons:— men lifted up their souls to 
vanity^ sometimes in the thirteenth as in the nineteenth 
century), and I take up, instead, a book of En^sh verses» 
published — ^there is no occasion to say when. It is foQ. of 
costliest engravings — ^large, skilful, appallingly laborious ; 
dotted into textures like the dust on a lily leaf, — smoothed 
through gradations like clouds, — ^graved to surfaces like 
mother-of-pearl; and by all this toil there is set forth 
for the delight of English women, a series of the basest 
dreams that ungovemed feminine imagination can coin in 
sickliest indolence, — ball-room amours, combats of curled 
knights, pilgrimages of disguised giri-*pages, romantic pieties, 
charities in costume, — a mass of disguised sensualism and 
feverish vanity — ^impotent, pestilent, prurient, scented with 
a venomous dixir, and rouged with a deadly dust of out- 
ward good; and all this done, as such things only can be 
done, in a boundless ignorance of all natural veracity; the 
faces falsely drawn — ^the lights falsely cast — the forms effiu^ed 
or distort^, and all common human wit and sense extin- 
guished in the vicious scum of lying sensation. 

And this, I grieve to say, is cmly a characteristic type 
of a large mass of popular English work. This is -vdkBt 
we spend our Teutonic lives in, engraving with an iron pen 
in the rock for ever; this, the passion ci the Teutmic 
woman (as opposed to Virgilia), just as fox-hunting is the 
passion of the Teutonic man, as opposed to Valerius.' 

54. And while we deliberately spend all our strength, 
and all our tenderness, all our skill, and all our mcmey, in 

1 [See above, § 60. On the grotesques in the Ptelter ef St. Louis^ see Queen 
qf the Air, § 71 (Wow, p. 305); and eompare p. isa] 

* [For Virgilia, as the '' loveliest" of Siakespeare's types ef lieroic women, see 
Seeame and lAHee, § 6Q (Vol XVIII. p. 112). On fox-h«atii«, see Vol. VU. 

rd40; and for V«leii«s, as an heroie Jtoraan type, see Unle tkii LaeL Pr^ce. 
6 (Vol. XVIL p. 28); and eompww AH ^ B»iland, § leo.] 

IV. HASTE 108 

doing, refishing, buying> this absolate Wroi^ess, of which 
nothii^ can erct oome but disease in hrait and bnin, 
lemember that all the mighty works of the great painters 
of the world, fiill of life, truth, and blessing, remain to 
this present hour of the year 1865 unengravedl There 
literally exists no earnestly studied and fully accomplished 
ei^iravii^ of any very great work, except Leonardo's Cena. 
No large Venetian picture has ever been thoroughly en- 
graved. Of Titian's Peter Martyr, there is even no wortliy 
memorial transcript but Lef^bre's. The Cartoons have 
been multiplied in false readings; never in faithful ones till 
lately by photography. Of the Disputa and tilie Parnassus, 
what can the English public know? of the thoughtful 
Floroitines and Milanese, of Ghirlandajo, and Luini, and 
their accompanying hosts — ^what do they yet so much as 
care to know?^ 

''The English public will not pay," you reply, *'for 
engravings from the great masters. The Engli^ puUic 
will only pay for pictures of itself; of its races, its rifle^ 
meetings, its rail stations, its parlour-passions, and kitchen 
interests; 3nou must make your bread as you nuiy, by 
holding the mirror to it."' 

5& Friends, there have been hard fighting and heavy 
sleeping, this many a day, on the other side of the Atlantic, 
in the cause, as you suppose, of Freedom against slavery; 
and you are all, open-mouthed, expecting the glories of 
Biadc Emancipation. Perhaps a little White Emancipation 
on this side of the water might be still more desirable^ and 
more easily and guiltlessly won.^ 

^ [For Ruskin's opinion of the '^Last Supper** of Leonardo, tee Vol. IV. p. 317, 
iDd VoL VII. p. 828. For Titian's "Peter Martyr/' eee Vol III. p. 28; and for 
references to Lefebre's engraving, VoL VII. pp. 95, 224. For Raphael's Cartoons, 
see Vol. in. p. 29; for the '^Dispute," taken hy Rnskin as the "'type of the 
Italian Sohoo!;' see VoL XTV. p. 2681» and the other pMsaees there noiied; and 
for the '*PamasBU8y" '^the greatest of the Vatican Riwhael frescoes." VoL XI. 
p. 190. Of the ''FamasBos," and of many works hy Ghirlandajo and Luini, the 
Anmdel Society sfterwards published chiomo-lithographs.] 

< [HanUet, iH. 2, 26.] 

* [See MuMra Pulverii, § 180, and the note (VoL XVIL p. 2M) ; and on the 
war, Time and Tide, § 141 (iMd., pp. 481-488). For the slayery of engraWng, 
compare Ariadns FhrenHna, § 97.] 


Do you know what slavery means ? Supposing a gentle- 
man taken by a Barbary corsair — set to field-work; chained 
and flogged to it from dawn to eve. Need he be a slave 
therefore? By no means; he is but a hardly-treated pri- 
soner. There is some work which the Barbary corsair will 
not be able to make him do; such work as a Christian 
gentleman may not do, that he will not, though he die for 
it. Bound and scourged he may be, but he has heard of 
a Person's being bound and scourged before now, who was 
not therefore a slave. He is not a whit more slave for 
that. But suppose he take the pirate's pay, and stretch 
his back at piratical oars, for due salary, how then? Sup- 
pose for fitting price he betray his fellow prisoners, and 
take up the scourge instead of enduring it — ^become the 
smiter instead of the smitten, at the African's bidding — 
how then? Of all the sheepish notions in our English 
public **mind," I think the simplest is that slavery is 
neutralised when you are well paid for it I Whereas it is 
precisely that fact of its being paid for which makes it 
complete. A man who has been sold by another, nuiy be 
but half a slave or none; but the man who has sold him- 
self 1 He is the accurately Finished Bondsman. 

56. And gravely I say that I know no captivity so 
sorrowftil as that of an artist doing, consciously, bad work 
for pay.^ It is the serfdom of the finest gifts — of all that 
should lead and master men, offering itself to be spit upon, 
and that for a bribe. There is much serfdom, in Europe, 
of speakers and writers, but they only sell words; and 
their talk, even honestly uttered, might not have been 
worth much; it will not be thought of ten years hence; 
still less a himdred years hence. No one will buy our 
parliamentary speeches to keep in portfolios this time next 
century; and if people are weak enough now to pay for 
any special and flattering cadence of syllable, it is little 
matter. But you^ with your painfully acquired power, your 

> [On the ethics of artisf • work and pey, tee Ooim of WUd ORve, §§ 32. 33 
(VoL XVIII. pp. 412-415).] 

IV. HASTE 105 

unwearied patience, your admirable and manifold gifts, your 
eloquence in black and white, which people will buy, if 
it is good (and has a broad margin), for fifty guineas a 
copy — ^in the year 2000; to sell it all, as Ananias his land, 
'*yea, for so much,"^ and hold yourselves at every fool's 
beck, with your ready points, polished and sharp, hasting 
to scratch what he wills I To bite permanent mischief in 
with acid; to spread an inked infection of evil all your 
days, and pass away at last from a life of the skilfullest 
industry — ^having done whatsoever your hand found (re- 
mimeratively) to do, with your might, and a great might, 
but with cause to thank God only for this — ^that the end 
of it all has at last come, and that *' there is no device 
nor work in the Grave.'*' One would get quit of this 
servitude, I think, though we reached the place of Rest 
a little sooner, and reached it fasting. 

57. My English fellow- workmen, you have the name of 
liberty often on your lips; get the fact of it oftener into 
your business I talk of it less, and try to understand it 
better. You have given students many copy-books of free- 
hand outlines — ^give them a few of free heart outlines. 

It appears, however, that you do not intend to help 
me' with any utterance respecting these same outlines.'*^ 
Be it so: I must make out what I can by myself. And 
under the influence of the Solstitial sign of June^ I will 
go backwards, or askance, to the practical part of the 
business, where I left it three months ago, and take up 
that question first, touching Liberty, and the relation of 

* I have received some interesting private letters, but cannot make use 
of them at present^ because they enter into general discussion instead of 
answering the specific question I asked^ respecting the power of the black 
line ; and I must observe to correspondents that in future their letters should 
be addressed to the Editor of this Journal^ not to me ; as I do not wish to 
incur the responsibility of selection. 

^ [Acto V. 8.] 

' [Ecdenastcs be 10 : often quoted by Ruskin {eg., Vol. VII. p. 813, Vol XVIII. 

p. 176).] 

* [Bee Raskin's inviUtion above, § 20, p. 70.] 
le crab; see Art ^ Bngkmd^ § 106 (''the great zodiacal crustacean").] 


the loose swift line to the resohite slow one and of the 
etched line to the engraved one. It is a worthy questioii, 
for the open field afforded by illustrated works is tempting 
even to our best painters, and many an earnest hour and 
active ftncy spend and speak themsdves in the black line, 
vigorously enough, and dramatically, at all events : if wisdy, 
may be considered. The French also are throwing great 
passion into their eaux fories^^y^ockijag with a vivid haste 
and dark, brilliant freedom, which looked as if they etched 
with very energetic waters indeed— -quite waters of life (it 
does not look so well, written in French). So we will 
take, with the reader's permission, for text next month, 
''Rembrandt, and strong waters." 



58. The work I have to do in this paper ought, rightly, 
to have been thrown into the {ana of an appendix to the 
last chapter ; for it is no link of the cestus of Aglaia we 
have to examine, but one of the crests of canine passion 
in the cestus of Scylla.' Nevertheless, the girdle of the 
Grace cannot be discerned in the full br^htness of it, but 
by comparing it with the dark torment of that other; and 
(in what place or form matters little) the work has to be 

** Rembrandt Van Rhyn" — it is said, in the last edition 
of a very valuable work"^ (for which, nevertheless^ I could 
wish that greater lightness in the hand should be obtained 
by tlie publication of its information in one volume, and 
its criticism in another) — was ^*the most attractive and 
original of painters/' It may be so; but there are attrac- 
tions, and attractions. The sun attracts the planets — and 
a candle, night-moths; the one with perhaps somewhat of 
benefit to the planets ;^*-but with what benefit the other 

* Womum's Epochs of Pointing,^ I have continual occasion to quarrel 
^ith my friend on these matters of critical question ; but I have deep re- 
%pcct fot his eBinest and patient tosearch^ and we remain friends — on Uie 
condition that I an to learn much from him, and he (though it may be 
questionable whose fault that is) nothing from me. 

^ [Art Journal, N.S., vol. iv. pp. 177-178. June 1865.1 

* [For ^'the devouring hound at the waist of Scylla, see Quern qf the Air, 
I 89; and for references to '^ canine passion" in Greek mTths of the dog, ibid., 
I 23 (below, pp. 339, 316).] 

* [Edition of 1864, 8vo, p. 583. The characterisation of Rembrandt is at 
p 416. For other references to R. N. Womum, see Vol. XIII. pp. zviii., xxxiu, 
zxxvii., 87, 95, 140, 319.1 



to the moths, one would be glad to learn from those desert 
flies» of whom, one company having extinguished Mr. 
Kinglake's candle with their bodies, the remainder, '^who 
had failed in obtaining this martyrdom, became suddenly 
serious, and clung despondingly to the canvas."^ 

59. Also, there are originalities, and originalities. To 
invent a new thing, which is also a precious thing; to be 
struck by a divinely-guided Rod, and become a sudden 
fountain of life to thirsty multitudes* — ^this is enviable. 
But to be distinct of men in an original Sin; elect for the 
initial letter of a Lie; the first apparent spot of an un- 
known plague; a Root of bitterness,^ and the first-bom 
worm of a company, stud3dng an original De-Composition, 
— ^this is perhaps not so enviable. And if we think of it, 
most human originality is apt to be of that kind. Good- 
ness is one, and immortal ; it may be received and 
communicated — ^not originated: but Evil is various and re- 
current, and may be misbegotten in endlessly surprising 

60. But, that we may know better in what this origi- 
nality consists, we find that our author, after expatiating 
on the vast area of the Pantheon, ''illuminated solely by 
the small circular opening in the dome above," and on 
other similar conditions of luminous contraction, tells us 
that ''to Rembrandt belongs the glory of having first em- 
bodied in Art, and peipetuated, these rare and beauti- 
ful efiects of nature."* Such eflEects are indeed rare in 
nature; but they are not rare, absolutely. The sky, with 
the sun in it, does not usually give the impression of being 
dimly lighted through a circular hole; but you may ob- 
serve a very similar effect any day in your coal-cellar. The 
light is not Rembrandtesque on the current, or banks, 
of a river; but it is on those of a drain. Colour is not 






Eothen, du zrii. C'The DeMrt").] 

Exodus xviL 6.] 

Hebrews zii. 15^ 

,<Com]>are VoL III. p. 14 n.. and the references there given.] 

Epocha qf Painting , p. 421. J 


Rembrandtesque, usually, in a clean house ; but is presently 
obtainable of that quality in a dirty one. And without 
denying the pleasantness of the mode of progression which 
Mr. Hazlitt, perhaps too enthusiastically, describes as at- 
tainable in a background of Rembrandt's — '^You stagger 
from one abyss of obscurity to another"^ — I cannot feel 
it an entirely glorious speciality to be distinguished, as 
Rembrandt was, from other great painters, chiefly by the 
liveliness of his darkness, and the dulness of his light. 
Glorious, or inglorious, the speciality itself is easily and 
accurately definable. It is the aim of the best painters to 
paint the noblest things they can see by sunlight. It was 
the aim of Rembrandt to paint the foulest things he could 
see — by rushlight. 

61. By rushlight, observe: material and spiritual. As 
the sun for the outer world ; so in the inner world of man, 
that which **€peup^ rajjuita jcoiX/ay"* — "the candle of Grod, 
searching the inmost parts.''* If that light within become 
but a more active kind of darkness; — ^if, abdicating the 
measuring reed of modesty' for sceptre, and ceasing to 
measure with it, we dip it in such imctuous and inflam- 
mable refuse as we can find, and make our soul's light into 
a tallow candle, and thenceforward take our guttering, 
sputtering, ill-smelling illumination about with us, holding 
J oat in* fetid «ngi-«c»«bered with ita lurid wmtS 
of fimgous wick, and drip of stalactitic grease — that we 
may see, when another man would have seen, or dreamed 
he saw, the flight of a divine Virgin — only the lamp-light 
upon the hair of a costermonger's ass; — that, having to 
paint the good Samaritan, we may see only in distance the 
back of the good Samaritan, and in nearness the back of 

* Prov. XX. 27. 

^ [ChiHeUnu en Art, by William Haslitt, 1843, p. 16. The pasnge occurs in a 
notice of Rembrandt's ''Woman taken in Adultery" in the National Gallery 
(No. 45). For another reference to Haalitt's criticianu, see Vol. III. p. 360.] 

* [Septoacint. The Authorised Version has, ''The spirit of man is the candle 
of God searching all the inward parts of the belly."] 

< [See above, § 22, p. 73.] 


the good Samaritaa's dog; — ^that having to paint the An« 
nuDGiation to the Shephods, we may turn the annoimoe^ 
ment of peace to moi, into an announcement of mere panio 
to beasts; and, in an unsightly firework of uns^htlier 
angels» see, as we see always, the feet instead of the head» 
and the shame instead of the honour ; ^— and finally ooncen-' 
trate and rest the sum of our fame, as Titian on the 
Assumption of a spirit, so we on the dissection of a car- 
case,' — ^perhaps by such fatuous fire, the less we walk, and 
by such phosphoric glow, the less we shine, the bettear it 
may be for us, and for all who would follow u& 

62. Do not think I deny the greatness of Rembrandt* 
In mere technical power (none of his eulogists know that 
power better than I, nor declare it m more distinct terms) ' 
he might, if he had been educated in a true school, have 
taken rank with the Venetians themselves. But that type 
of distinction between Titian's Assumption, and lUaax^ 
brandt's Dissection, will represent for jrou with sufficient 
significance the manner of choice in all their work; only 
it should be associated with another characteristic examfdn 
of the same opposition (which I have dwelt upon ebe^ 
where ^) between Veronese and Rembrandt, in their concept 
tion of domestic life. Ranbrandt's picture, at Dresden* ol 
himself, with his wife sitting on his knee, a roasted peaooek 
on the table, and a glass of chanqMgne in his hand, is the 
best work I know of all he has left; and it marks his 
speciality with entire decision. It is, of eourse, a dim 
candlelight; and the choice of the sensual passions as the 

^ [The references here are to the plate of the "Flight into Egypt,'* lOffl 
(No. 58 in Engine Datuit^s L*(Btwre Ompkt d§ StmknauU^ 1S8S); the fibite of 
<'The Good Samaritan" (see also § 62)^ 1638 (No. 75 in Dutuit); and the plate 
of "The Angel appearing to the Shepherds/^ 1034 (No. 48 in Datuit) : fbr 
another note on this last plate^ see Notet on the EdueaHcnal Seriei, No. 236 
(Vol. XX.).] 

* [For other refei«nces to Titian's " Aasnmption^'' see Vol VIL pp. 289, 288, 
and Vol. XI. p. 980. Rerabrandfe "DisMetion" la the eelebmted picfcui* of 1632 
in the Hagne Musesm, ^ The Lessen in Anatomj- : " see below, p. 212.] 

s [For iniUnoe, in A Jc9 M Boer, g 164 (Vol XVL p. 161X and see G«nMa 

* [Modem Paintere, toI. t. pt ix. ehs. ilL and tL (Vol. VII. pp. 288 sef., 
328 eeg.) ; and for the picture at Dresden, see ibid,, p. 331.] 


things specially and tot ever to be described and immor^ 
talized out of his own private life and love, is exactly that 
*' painting the foulest thing by nishligfat'* which I have 
stated to be the enduring purpose of his mind. And you 
win find this hold in all minor treatment; and that to the 
uttermost: for as by your broken rushlight you see little, 
and only comers and points of things, and those very 
comers and points ill and distortedly; so, although Rem- 
Inimdt knows the human &ce and hand, and never fails 
in these, when they are ugly, and he chooses to take pains 
with th«n, he knows nothing else: the more pains he 
takes with even familiar animals, the worse they are (wit* 
ness the horse in that plate of the Good Samaritan), and 
any attempts to finish the first smbbled eneigy of his 
imaginary lions and tigers, end always only in the loss of 
the fiendish power and rage which were aJl he could con* 
eeive in an animal^ 

68. His landscape, and foreground vc^tation, I mean 
afterwards to examine in ccntnparison with Dilrer's;' but 
the real calibre and nature of the man are best to be under^ 
stood by comparing the puny, ill-drawn^ terrorless, help- 
less, beggarly skeletcm in his <' Youth Surprised by Death/' ' 
with the figure behind the tree in Durer's plate (though 
it is quite one of Diirer's feeblest) of the same subject 
Absolutdy ignorant of aU natural phenomena and law; 
absolutely careless of all lovely living form, or growth, or 
structure; able only to render with some approach to 
veracity, what alone he had looked at with sxHne approach 
to atteiition,^«^the pawnbroker's festering heaps of old 
clothes, and caps, and shoes — Rembrandt's execution is one 
grand evasion, and his temper the grim contempt of a 
strong and sullen animal in its defiled den, for the humanity 

1 {Sevenl Imiituig icenaB, with liona, etclMd in » ilight ftud rough manner^ by 
lUinhnuidt, may be teea in the Britiah Museum ; m uao maay similar drawings 
In MB, bieire^ ao4 bistre wash.] 

' TA le^Nrence to the intendedi but unwritten, sequel.] 

> [RenJlMrandfft plate of tihJs subject is rare; a oepy may be seen in the British 
Museum. It is Na 110 ia Dutuhfs IMBwore Compkt (U Brnnbrondt. Purer's phite 
is that entitled '' The Promenade."] 


with which it is at war, for the flowers which it tramples, 
and the light which it fears. 

64. Again, do not let it be thought tiliat when I call 
his execution evasive, I ignore the difference between his 
touch, on brow or lip, and a common workman's ; but the 
whole school of etching which he founded (and of painting, 
so far as it differs from Venetian work) is inherently loose 
and experimental. Etching is the very refuge and mask 
of sentimental uncertainty, and of vigorous ignorance.^ If 
you know anything clearly, and have a firm hand, depend 
upon it, you will draw it clearly ; you will not care to hide 
it among scratches and burrs. And herein is the first 
grand distinction between etching and engraving — ^that in 
the etching needle you have an almost irresistible temp- 
tation to a wanton speed. There is, however, no real 
necessity for such a distinction; an etched line may have 
been just as steadily drawn, and seriously meant, as an 
engraved one; and for the moment, waiving consideration 
of this distinction, and opposing Rembrandt's work, con- 
sidered merely as work of the black line, to Holbein's and 
Diirer's, as work of the black line, I assert Rembrandt's 
to be inherently evasive. You cannot unite his manner 
with theirs; choice between them is sternly put to you, 
when first you touch the steeL Suppose, for instance, you 
have to engrave, or etch, or draw with pen and ink, a 
single head, and that the head is to be approximately half 
an inch in height more or less (there is a reason for assign- 
ing this condition respecting size, which we will examine 
in due time)': you have it in your power to do it in one 

^ [This mach-questioned dictum is repeated and enforced in Ariadne Uoreniina, 
§ 180 (^'etchii^ is an indolent and blundering method at the best"). To the 
'^coarseness and rudeness" of his own early essays in the art, he rerers in the 
Preface te Seven Lampe (Vol. VIII. p. 4). In the Bhmente of Drawing he recom- 
mends the copjing of Rembrandfs etchinffs, for the ''steady purpose" even in 
''the most rapid Ones" of that master (Vol. XV. p. 78, and compare the remarks 
on Turner's etchings, ibid,, p. 121). In The AH of England, § 130. he says that 
in etching, " though a great quantity of the shade is mere bnrr ana scrabble and 
blotch, a certain quantity of real care and skill muet be spent in coyering the 
surface at first" Fx>r other remarks on the virtues, &ultB, and limitations of etdiing^ 
see the paper on Mr. Ernest George in Vol. XIV. pp. 835-^388.] 

* [Afpdn a reference to the intended, but unwritten, sequel.] 


of two ways. You may lay down some twenty or thirty 
entiidiy fii^ and visibk liLs, of which eveiy one shall 
be absolutely right, and do the utmost a line can do. 
By their curvature they shall render contour; by their 
thidaiess, shade; by their place and form, every truth of 
expression, and every condition of design. The head of 
the soldier drawing his sword, in Diirer's '^ Cannon,"^ is 
about half an inch high, supposing the brow to be seen. 
The chin is drawn with three lines, the lower lip with two, 
the upper, including the shadow from the nose, with five« 
Three separate the dieek from the chin, giving the prin- 
cipal points of character. Six lines draw the cheek, and its 
incised traces of care ; four are given to each of the eyes ; 
one, ^th the outline, to the nose; three to the frown of 
the forehead. None of these touches could anywhere be 
altered-^-none removed, without ini^tantly visible harm ; and 
their result is a head as perfect in character as a portrait 
by Reynolds. 

65. You may either do this — ^which, if you can, it will 
generally be very advisable to da-*«or, on the other hand, 
you may cover the tajee with innumerable scratches, and let 
your hand play with wanton freedom, until the graceful 
scrabble concentrates itself into shade. You may soften — 
efiace^^retouclv-^irebite^^ot, and hatdi. Mid redefine. If 
you are a great master, you will soon get your character, 
and probably keep it (Rembrandt often gets it at first, 
nearly as securely as Diirer) ; but the design of it will be 
necessarily seen tiiroitgh loose work, and modified by acd-- 
dent (as you think) fortunate. The accidents which occur 
to a practised hand are always at first pleasing — ^the details 
which can be hint^, however fidsely, through the gather- 
ing mystery, are always seducing. You will find yoursdf 
gradually dwelling more and more on little meannesses of 
form and texture, and lustres of surface : on cracks of drin,. 
and films of fur and plume. You will lose your way, and 

^ [For other references to thif plate (here reproduced), see above, § 19. p. 69 ; 
VoL VU. p. 906 <whe»e a portioB b givw), and VoL XV. p. 85.] 


then see two ways, and then many ways, and try to walk 
a little distance on all of them in turn, and so, back again* 
You will find . yourself thinking of colours, and vexed 
because you cannot imitate them ; next, struggling to render 
distances by indecision, which you cannot by tone. Pre- 
sently you will be contending with finished pictures ; labour- 
ing at the etching, as if it were a painting. You will leave 
ofip, after a whole dajr's work (after many days' work if you 
choose to give them), still unsatisfied. For final result — ^if [ 
you are as great as Rembrandt — ^you will have most likely 
a heavy, black, cloudy stain, with less character in it than 
the first ten lines had. If you are not as great as Rem* 
brandt, you will have a stain by no means cloudy; but 
sandy and broken, — ^instead of a face, a speckled phantom 
of a face, patched, blotched, discomfited in every texture 
and form — ^ugly, assiu'edly ; dull, probably ; an unmanageable 
and manifold failure ill concealed by momentary, accidental, 
undeUghtful, ignoble success. 

Undelightfiil ; note this especially, for it is the peculiar 
character of etching that it cannot render beauty. You 
may hatch and scratch your way to picturesqueness or to 
deformity — ^never to beauty. You can etch an old woman, 
or an ill-conditioned fellow. But you cannot etch a girl — 
nor, unless in his old age, or with very partial rendering of 
him, a gentleman. 

66. And thus, as farther belonging to, and partly causa- 
tive of, their choice of means, there is always a tendency 
in etchers to fasten on unlovely objects; and the whole 
scheme of modem rapid work of this kind is connected 
with a peculiar gloom which results firom the confinement 
of men, partially informed, and wholly untrained, in the 
midst of foul and vicious cities. A sensitive and imagina^ 
tive youth, early driven to get his living by his art, has to 
lodge, we will say, somewhere in the by-streets of Paris, 
and is left there, tutorless, to his own devices. Suppose 
him also vicious or reckless, and there need be no talk 
of his work farther; he will certainly do nothing in a 


Diiieresque manner. But suppose him self-denjdng, virtuous, 
full of gift and power — ^what are the elements of living 
study within his reach? All supreme beauty is confined to 
the higher salons. There are pretty faces in the streets, but 
no stateliness nor splendour of humanity; all pathos and 
grandeur is in suffering; no purity of nature is accessible, 
but only a terrible picturesqueness, mixed with ghastly, 
with ludicrous, with base concomitants. Huge widls and 
roofs, dark on the sunset sky, but plastered with advertise- 
ment bills, monstrous-figured, seen farther than ever Par- 
thenon shaft, or spire of Sainte Chapelle. Interminable 
lines of massy streets, wearisome with repetition of com- 
monest design, and degraded by their gilded shops, wide- 
Auning, flaunting, glittering, with apparatus of eating or of 
dress. Splendour of palace-flank and goodly quay, insulted 
by floating cumber of barge and bath, trivial, grotesque, 
indecent, as cleansing vessels in a royal reception room. 
Solenm avenues of blossomed trees, shading puppet-show 
and baby-play ; glades of wild-wood, long withdrawn, purple 
with faded shadows of blood; sweet windings and reaches 
of river fSor among the brown vines and white orchards, 
checked here by the He Ndtre Dame, to receive their 
nightly sacrifice, and after playing with it among their 
eddies, to give it up again, in those quiet shapes that lie 
on the sloped slate tables of the square-built Temple of the 
Death -Sibyl, who presides here over spray of Seine, as 
yonder at Tiber over spray of Anio.^ Sibylline, indeed, 
in her secrecy, and her sealing of destinies, by the baptism 
of the quick water-drops which fall on each fading face, 
unrecognized, nameless in this Baptism for ever. Wreathed 
thus throughout, that Paris town, with beauty, and with 
unseemly sin, unseemlier death, as a fiend-city with fair 
eyes; for ever letting fall her silken raiment so fax as that 
one may *' behold her bosom and half her side.**' Under 

^ [For another alludon to the Morgae at Paris, we Fic^on, Fitir and Fouig 
2 15 ; and to the Temple of the Sihvl at TiFoli, Vol. IX. p. 12.] 
> [Coleridge : Chrittabel, line 262.] 


whose whispered teaching, and substitution of Ctmtes JDrd^ 
latiquea^ for the tales of the wood £ury, her children of 
Imaginati(Hi will do, what G^rome' and Gustave Dor^ are 
doing, and her whole world of lesser Art will sink into 
diadows of the street and of the boudoir^urtain, wherein 
the etching point may disport itself with freedom enough.* 

* A$ I was prepiiriiig these sheets for press^ I chanced on a passage 
in a novel of Champfleurj'si in which one young student is encouraging 
another in his contest witii these and other such evils; — the evils are in 
this passage accepted as necessities; the inevitable deadliness of the ele- 
ment is not seen, as it can hardlj be except bj those who live out of it. 
The encouragement, on such view, is good and right ; the connection of the 
young etcher's power with his poverty is curiously illustrative of the state- 
ments in the text, and the whole passage, though long, is well worth sudi 
space as it will adc here, in our small print 

'' Cependant," dit Thomas, ''on a vu des peintres de talent qui 
Maient partis de Paris apr^ avoir expos^ de bons tableaux et qui s'en re- 
venaient classlquement ennnyeux, C'est done ]a &ate de I'enseignement 
de rAcaddmie," 

"Bah!" dit Gerard, ''rien n'arr^te le ddveloppement d'un homme de 
talent : ni la mis^re, ni la maladie, ni les faax oonseils, ni les mauvais en- 
seignements. Nous sommes environnds d'ennayeux, d'imbdcUes, de trattres» 
de lAches ; si nous sommes forts, nous devons nous ddbarrasser de tous ces 
ennemis. Si nous n'avons pas le courage, c'est-i^ire une conviction pro- 
fonde de I'art, nous succumbons, tant pis, 11 n'y a rien k dire. Nous ne 
sommes pas des victimes, nous nations pas d^paes de faire de I'art, et 
nous sommes entr^ pas erreur dans ce beau et rude chemin qui m6ne k 
la popularity. On est dou6, ou on ne Test pas/' 

"Pourtant j'ai connu plus d'un peintre que la mis^e a paralyse com- 
pUtement, et qui, avec un pen d'aide, ett produit de belles choses. An 
lien de cela, il est tombd dans les mains das morchands, et il s'est livr^ k 
de bonteuses lithographies." 

''Cest qu'il dtait n6 pour faire de pareilles lithographies." 

''Mais," dit Thomas, ^il pleure d'etre oblig6 de fidre dn commerce." 

** II &it semblant de pleurer/' 

'' Non, noA," dit Thomas. 

^ Alors il se trompe sur lui-m£me : puisqu'il comprend Tart, pourquoi 
me fait*il pasd'art?" 

** Parce qu'il gagne 4 peu prte sa vie en ftdsaat dn conmeroe,** 

''On dirait que tu ne veux pas me comprendre, toi qui as justement 

1 [See for a oritiGisni «f Doit's illustrations to Balao, Time tmd 7W«, § 30 
(VoL XVII. p. 344}.] 

* [For other rererences to G^rome, see VoL XV. p. 497 m] 


67. Nor are we slack in our companionship in these 
courses^ Our imagination is slower and clumsier than the 
French-^rarer also, by far, in the average Englii^ mind 
The only man of power equal to Dora's whom we have 
had latdy among us, was William Blake,^ whose temper 
fortunately took another tum« But in the calamity and 

ftmA par UL Comment AdBAft-ta quatid tu ^X$1b compodtettr d'une im- 
primerie ? " 

"Jjc soir/* dit Thomas^ ''et le matin en hiver^ k partir de quatre 
heinnes, je fiusais det ^ndes k la lampe pendant deax heured, jasqu'aa 
moment o^ j'allais k I'atelier/' 

"Et tu ne vivais pas de la peinture?" 

"Je ne gagnais pas un sou." 

** Ban ! " dit 06rard ; ^ tu yois bien que tu fidsais du commerce en 
dehors de I'art et que cependant tu ^tudiaia. Quand tu es sort! de 
rimprimerie, comment as-tu v6cu ? " 

^' Je fidsais cinq ou six petites aquarelles par jour, que je vendais, sous 
leA arcades de I'lnstitut, six sous pi^ce." 

''£t tu en vivais; c'est encore du commerce. Tu vols done que ni 
rimprimerie, ni les petits dessins, k cinq sous, ni la privation, ni la mis^re 
ne font emp^h6 d'arriver." 

^Je ne suis pas arrlT^." 

"N'importe, tu arriveras certainement. . * . Si tu veux d'autres ex- 
emples qui prouvent que la mis^re et les ^utres pidges tendus sous nos 
pas ne doivent rien arr^ter, tu te rappelles bien ce pauvre gar9on dont 
▼ous admiriez les eaux-fortes, que vous mettles aussi haut que Rembrandt, 
et qui aundt 6t6 loin, disies-vous, s'il n'avait tant souffert de la faim. 
Qu'a-t-il Cut le jour oh il lui est tombd un petit heritage du del?" 

''II est vrai/' dit Thomas, onbarrass^; ''qu'il a perdu tout son senti* 

"Ce n'6tait pas cependant une de ces grosses fortunes qui tuent un 
homme, qui le rendent lourd, fier et insolent: il avait juste de quoi vivre, 
six cents francs de rentes, une fortune pour lui, qui vivait avec dnq 
Inmcs par mois. II a continue k travailler; mala ses eanx-lbrtes n'^taient 
plus supportables ; tandis qu'avant, il vivait avec un morceau de pain et 
dea legumes; alors il avait du talent Cela, Thomas, doit te prouver que 
ni lee mauvais enaeignements, ni les Influences, ni la mis^re, ni la fi(hn, 
ni ]a maladie, ne peuvent corrompre une nature bien dou^. Elle souffirei 
mais trouve moi un grand artiste qui n'ait pas souffert. II n'j a pas un 
seul homme de g6nie heureux depuis que Thumanit^ existe." 

" J'ai envie," dit Thomas, " de te faire cadeau d'une jolie cravate/' 

** Ponrquoi ? " dit Gerard. 

''Parce que tu as bien parl6.' 


> [See aboTe» § 4, p. 56.] 


vulgarity of daily circumstance, in the horror of our streets, 
in the discordance of our thoughts, in the laborious loose- 
ness and ostentatious cleverness of our work, we are alike. 
And to French faults we add a stupidity of our own; for 
which, so far as I may in modesty take blame for anything, 
as resulting from my own teaching, I am more answerable 
than most men. Having spoken earnestly against painting 
without thinking, I now find our exhibitions decorated with 
works of students who think without painting;^ and our 
books illustrated by scratched woodcuts, representing very 
ordinary people, who are presumed to be interesting in the 
picture, because the text tells a story about them. Of this 
least lively form of modem sensational work, however, I 
shall have to speak on other grounds ; meantime, I am con- 
cerned only with its manner; its incontinence of line and 
method, associated with the slightness of its real thought, 
and morbid acuteness of irregular sensation ; ungovemed all, 
and one of the external and slight phases of that beautiful 
Liberty which we are proclaiming as essence of gospel to 
all the earth, and shall presently, I suppose, when we have 
had enough of it here, proclaim also to the stars, with in- 
vitation to them out of their courses.' 

68. ^'But you asked us for * free-heart' outlines, and 
told us not to be slaves, only thirty days ago."* 

Inconsistent that I am 1 ^ so I did. But as there are 
attractions, and attractions; originalities, and originalities, 
there are liberties, and liberties.^ Yonder torrent, crystal- 
dear, and arrow-swift, with its spray leaping into the air 
like white troops of fawns, is free, I thiidc. Lost, yonder, 
amidst bankless, boundless marsh — soaking in slow siiallow- 
ness, as it will, hither and thither, listless, among the 

1 [See Vol. IIL p. 88 fi., and compere VoL XIV. p. 65.] 

* TSee Judgei r. 20.1 

' [In the paper in tne preceding number of the AH Jaumdl: lee abore, § 57« 
p. 105.] 

* rCompare VoL V. p. lir. n. ; Vol. VII. p. 356 ; VoL XVI. p. 187.] 

* iThB paaaage from ^' there are liberties and liberties" to the end of the 
chapter was used again hj Rualdnj with idterationsi in Queen iff the Air, § 143 : see 
below, p. 409.] 


poisonous reeds and unresisting slime — ^it is free also. You 
may choose which liberty you will, and restraint of voiceful 
rock, or the dumb and edgeless shore of darkened sand. Of 
that evil liberty, which men are now glorifying, — and of its 
opposite continence — ^which is the clasp and xp^^ xe^'i^^ 
of Aglaia's cestus — ^we will try to find out something in 
next chapter. 

1 [mad, y. 426.] 



69. No quality of Art has been more powerful in its in- 
fluence on public mind; none is more frequently the sub- 
ject of popular praise, or the end of vulgar ^ort, than 
what we call "Freedom." It is necessary to determine the 
justice or injustice of this popular praise. 

70. I said, a little while ago, that the practical teach- 
ing of the masters of Art was summed by the o of Giotto.* 
Yet that cipher may become, if rightly read, an expression 
of infinity, at least in one direction of teaching.* "You 
may judge my masterhood of craft," Giotto tells us, "by 
seeing that I can draw a circle unerringly." And we may 
safely believe him, understanding him to mean, that — 
though more may be necessary to an artist than such a 
power — ^at least this power is necessary. The qualities of 
hand and eye needful to do this are the first conditions of 
artistic craft. 

71. Try to draw a circle yourself with the "free" hand, 
and with a single line. You cannot do it if your hand 
trembles, nor if it hesitates, nor if it is unmanageable, nor 
if it is in the common sense of the word "free." So £eu* 
from being free, it must be under a control as absolute 
and accurate as if it were fastened to an inflexible bar of 
steeL And yet it must move, under this necessary con- 
trol, with perfect, untormented serenity of ease. 

72. That is the condition of all good work whatsoever. 

§ 60-^ here were 

ik$ Air.] 


> All freedom is error. Every line you ky down b either 
right or wrong: it may be timidly and awkwardly wrong, 
or fearlessly and impudently wr<Mig: the aspect of the im^ 
pudent wrongness is pleasurable to vulgar persons; and is 
what they commonly call *'free" execution: the timid, 
tottering, hei^tatiti^ wrongness is rarely so attractive; yet 
sometimes^ if accompanied with good qualities, and right 
aims in other directions, it becomes in a manner charming, 
like the inarticulat^iess of a child: but, whatever the 
diarm or manner of the error there is but one question 
ultimately to be asked respecting every line you draw. Is 
it right or wrong? If right, it most assuredly is not a 
''free" line, but an intensdiy continent, restrained, and 
considered line; and the action of the hand in laying it fe 
just as decisive, and just as ^'free'' as the hand of a first* 
rate surgeon in a critical incision. A great operator told 
me that his hand could check itself within about the two*- 
hundredth of an inch, in penetrating a membrane; and 
this, of course, without the help of sight, by sensation only. 
With help of sight, and in action on a substance which 
does not quiver ncnr yield, a fine artist's line is measur* 
able in its purposed ditection to considerably less than the 
thousandth of an indi.y 

A wide freedom, truly! 

78* The conditions of popular art which most foster the 
conomon ideas about freedom, are merely results of irregu^ 
larly energetic effort by men imperfectly educated; these 
conditions being variously mingled with cruder mannerisms 
resulting from timidity, or actual imperfection of body. 
Northern hands and eyes are, of course, never so subtle as 
Southern; and in very cold Countries, artistic execution is 
palsied. The effort to break through this timidity, or to 
refine the bluntness, may lead to a licentious impetuosity, 
or an ostentatious minuteness. Every man's manner has 
tius kind of relation to some defect in his physical powers 
(ft modes of tih)Ught; so that in the greatest work there 

1 [On thii point, see Vol XIII. pp. 334-3%] 


is no manner visible.^ It is at first uninteresting from its 
quietness; the majesty of restrained power only dawns 
gradually upon us, as we walk towards its horizon. 

There is, indeed, often great delightfulness in the inno- 
cent manners of artists who have real power and honesty, 
and draw, in this way or that, as best they can, under such 
and such untoward circumstances of life.' Thus the exe- 
cution of Front was that of a master with great and true 
sentiment for the pathos of ruin, with great and ready 
power of the arrangement of masses, and fine sense of 
light and shade; but uneducated,' and near-sighted. Make 
a scholar of such an one, and give him good eyes, and it 
is impossible for him ever to draw in that way again; 
how he would have drawn, one cannot say; but it would 
have been wholly and exaltedly otherwise. The execution 
of Cox is merely a condition of Northern palsy, through 
which, in a blundering way, a true sense of certain modes 
of colour, and of the sweetness of certain natural scenes, 
finds innocent expression. 

So even with great old William Hunt: whatever was 
peculiar in his execution, broken, spotty, or clumsy, is the 
character of a rustic, partly of a physically feeble hand ; the 
exquisite truth which is seen by tiie subtle mind,, gives a 
charm to the expression, as to a country dialect.^ (^ut the 
greater part of the looseness, flimsiness, or audacity of modem 
work is the expression of an inner spirit of licence ' in 

^ [In the origiiud paper this panage reads : — 

''Hie effort , . . the bluntaeaa^ leads, in some of the greatest Northern 
masters^ to a lioentioos sweep and stormy impetnosity of hand, or, in the 
meanest^ to an ostentatious and microscopic minnteness. Every man's 
manner has relation to his physical powers and modes of thonght, bat in 
the greatest work there is no manner visible."] 

* fCompare Two Patht, Vol XVI. p. 300 and n.l 

* [Compare VoL XII. pp. 306 jeg.. and Vol. XIV. p. 375 ; and lor Proat's short- 
sightedness, Vol XII. p. 362. For Cox, see Vol. III. p. 46 n.] 

* [In the Queen qf the Air^ the above passage "Thus the execution of Front . • . 
dialect" was omitted.] 

' [In the original paper this passage reads : — 

"But the looseness and flimsiness of modem etching and wood engrav- 
ing are very difierent from these manners, and far less pardmiable; being 
more or less affected, and in great part the expression of an inner spirit 
of licence . . ."] 


and heart, connected, as I said, with the peculiar folly of 
this age, its hope of, and trust in, *<libertyy Of which we 
must reason a little in more general terms. 

74.C1 believe we can nowhere find a better type of a 
perfectly free creature than in the common house fly/ Nor 
free only, but brave; and irreverent to a degree which I 
think no human republican could by any philosophy exalt 
himself to« There is no courtesy in him ; he does not care 
whether it is king or clown whom he teases ; and in every 
step of his swift mechanical march, and in every pause of 
his resolute observation, there is one and the same expres- 
sion of perfect egotism, perfect independence and self-con- 
fidence, and conviction of the world's havmg been made for 
flies)) Strike at him with your hand; and to him, the 
mecnanical fact and external aspect of the matter is, what 
to you it would be, if an acre of red clay, ten feet thick, 
tore itself up from the ground in one massive field, hovered 
over you in the air for a second, and came crashing down 
with an aim. That is the external aspect of it; the inner 
aspect, to his fly's mind, is of a quite natural and unimpor- 
tant occurrence — out of the momentary conditions of his 
active life. He steps out of the way of your hand, and 
alights on the back of it. ^Vou cannot terrify him, nor govern 
him, nor persuade him, nor convince him. He has his own 
positive opinion on all matters; not an unwise one, usually, 
for his own ends ; and will ask no advice of yours. He has 
no work to do— no tyrannical instinct to obey.'" The earth- 
worm has his digging; the bee her gathering and building; 
the spider her cunning network; the ant her treasury and 
accounts. All these are comparatively slaves, or people of 
vulgar business. But yotir fly, free in the air, free in the 
chamber — a black incamati<m of caprice — ^wandering, investi- 
gating, flitting, flirting, feasting at his will, with ridi variety 

> [See Qumn pf the Air, § 35 (below, p. 332), for a reference to tbie paasaoe. 
Compare Two Ftitke, § 191 (Vol. XVI. p. 407), wbere Ruskin simiUrly takee 
tbe fish as a type of a ''free'' bein§^. See also Grown <f Wild OHw, § 137 
(Vol. XVIII. p. 487). And for another paisege on the fly, tee Xooe't 
§§ 4S&-43.] 


of choice in feast, from the heaped sweets in the grocer's 
window to those of the butcher's back-yard, and from the 
galled place on your cab-horse's back, to tiie brown spot in 
the road, from which, as the hoof disturbs him, he rises with 
angry republican buzs^^what freedom is like his?^ 

76.QF0T captivity, again, perhaps your poor watch-dog 
is as sorrowful a type as you will easily find. Mine certainly 
is. The day is lovely, but I must write this, and cannot go 
out with him. He is chained in the yard, because I do not 
like dogs in rooms, and the gardener does not like dogs in 
gardens. He has no books, — ^nothing but his own weary 
thoughts for company, and a group of those free flies whom 
he snaps at, with sudden ill success. Such dim hope as he 
may have that I may yet take him out with me, will be, 
hour by hour, wearily ^ disappointed ; or, worse, darkened at 
once into a leaden despair by an authoritative '^No^-^^too 
well understood. His fidelity only seals his fate ; if he would 
not watch for me, he would be sent away, and go hunting 
with some happier master : but he watches, and is wise, and 
faithful, and miserable : and his high animal intellect only 
gives him the wistftd powers of wonder, and sorrow, and 
desire, and affection, which embitter his captivity. Yet of 
the twp, would we rather be watch-dog, or fly?; 

76.(jndeed, the first point we have all to determine is 
not how free we are, but what kind of creatures we are. It 
I is of small importance to any of us whether we get liberty ; 
[ but of the greatest that we deserve it. Whether we can 
win it, fate must determine; but that we will be worthy 
of it, we may ourselves determine; and the sorrowfullest 
fate, of all that we can suffer, is to have it, without deserv- 
ing it. 

77« I have hardly patience to hold my pen and go on 
writing, as I remember (I would that it were possible for 
a few consecutive instants to forget) the infinite follies of 

1 ['' Wearily '^ was inaerted in the feprint in Qi»een qf th$ Air; and a Hfinr linea 
lower, ''power" in the original article waa there oorrected to ''powera."] 



modem thought m tliis matter, centred in the notion that 
liberty is good for a man, urrespectively of the use he is 
likely to make of itJ Folly unfathomable! unspeakable! 
unendural^le to look m the full face of, as the laugh of a 
cretin, (jifou will send your child, will you, into a room 
where a table is loaded with sweet wine and fruit — some 
poisoned, some not ? will say to him, *^ Choose freely, 
my little child 1 It is so good for you to have freedom of 
choice ; it forms your character-— your individuality ! If you 
take the wrong cup, or the wrong berry, you will die before 
the day is over, but you will have acquired the dignity of 
a Free child"? 

78. You think that puts the case too sharply? I tell 
you, lover of hberty, there is no choice offered to you, but 
it is similarly between life and death. There is no act, nor 
optical of act, possible, but the wrong deed, or option, has 
poison in it, which wiU stay in your veins thereafter for 
ever. Never more to all eternity can you be as you might 
have been, had you not done that — chosen that. You have 
** formed your character," forsooth 1 No 1 if you have chosen 
ill, you have Defcnmed it, and that for ever! In some 
choices, it had been better for you that a red-hot iron bar 
had struck you aside, scarred and helpless, than that you 
had so chosen. '^You will know better next timet" No. 
Next time wiU never eome. Next time the choice wiU be 
in quite another aspeet-«-^between quite different things,--^ 
you, weaker than you were by the evil into which you have 
fallen; it, more doubtful than it was, by the increased dim- 
ness of your sight. y^No one ever gets wiser by doing wrong, 
nor stronger. You will ge^ wiser and stronger only by doing 
ri^t, whether forced or not; the prime, the one ne^ is to 
do Mo/, under whatever compulsion, till you can do it 
without compulsion. And then you are a Man JT 

79. '* What 1 " a wayward youth might porbaps answer, 
incredulously; ^'no one ever gets wiser by doing wrong? 
Shall I not know the world best by trying the wrong of 
it, and repentiiig ? Have I not, even as it is, learned much 


by many of my errors?'* (indeed, the effort by which 
partially you recovered yourself was precious ; that part of 
your thought by which you discerned the error was pre- 
cious. What wisdom and strength you kept, and rightly 
used, are rewarded; and in the pain and the repent- 
ance, and in the acquaintance with the aspects of folly and 
sin, you have learned something; how much less than you 
would have learned in right paths, can never be told, 
but that it is less is certain. Your liberty of choice has 
simply destroyed for you so much life and strength, never 
regainable J It is true you now know the habits of swine, 
and the taste of husks :^ do you think your father could 
not have taught you to know better habits and pleasanter 
tastes, if you had stayed in his house; and that tiie know- 
ledge you have lost would not have been more, as well as 
sweeter, thau that you have gain^? But '*it so forms 
my individuality to be freel" [Xour individuality was 
given you by God, and in yoiu* race; and if you have any 
to speak of, you will want no liberty. You will want a 
den to work in, and peace, and light — ^no more, — in abso- 
lute need ; if more, in anywise, it will still not be Uberty, 
but direction, instruction, reproof, and sympathy. But if 
you have no individuality, if there is no true character nor # 
true desire in you, then you will indeed want to be &ee^ 
You will begin early; and, as a boy, desire to be a man; 
and, as a man, think yourself as good as every other. You 
will choose freely to eat, freely to drink, freely to stagger 
and fall, freely, at last, to curse yourself and die^ Death is , 
the only real freedom* possible to us: and that is consum- 
I mate fr^eedom, — ^permission for every particle in the rotting 
body to leave its neighbour particle, and shift; for itself. 
You call it ^'corruption" in the flesh; but before it comes 
to that, all liberty is an equal corruption in mind, ^ou 
ask for freedom of thought ; but if you have not sufficient 

^ [Lake zv. 16 : compare the notes on the penble of the Prodigal Son in Tim$ 
and Tide (VoL XVIl. pp. 458 mo.).] 

* [In the original paper: ''That ia the only and final freedom/'] 


grounds for thought, you have no business to think; and 
if you have sufficient grounds, you have no business to 
think wrong. Only one thought is possible to you, if you 
are wise — your liberty is geometrically proportionate to 
your folly. 

80. ^^But all this glory and activity of our age; what 
are they owing to, but to our freedom of thought ? " In 
a measure, they are owing — ^what good is in them — ^to the 
discovery of many lies, and the escape from the power 
of eviL Not to liberty, but to the deliverance from evil 
or cruel masters.^ Brave men have dared to examine 
lies which had long been taught, not because they were 
^^^-thinkers, but because they were such stem and dose 
thinkers that the lie could no longer escape them. /Of 
courseAhe restriction of thought, or of its expression, by 
persecution, is merely a form of violence, justifiable or not, 
as other violence is, according to the character of the 
persons against whom it is exercised, and the divine and 
eternal laws which it vindicates or violates^ We must 
not bum a man alive for saying that the Atnanasian creed 
is ungrammatical, nor stop a bishop's salary because we 
are getting the worst of an argument with him ; neither 
must we let drunken men howl in the public streets at 
night, ^here is much that is true in the part of Mr. 
Mill's essay on Liberty which treats of freedom of thought ; ' 
some important truths are there beautifrdly expressed, but 
many, quite vital, are omitted; and the balance, therefore, 
is wrongly struck. The liberty of expression, with a great 
nation, would become like that in a well-educated com- 
pany, in which there is indeed freedom of speech, but not 
of clamour; or like that in an ordinary senate, in which 
men who deserve to be heard, are heard in due time, and 
under determined restrictions. The degree of liberty you 
can rightly grant to a number of men is commonly in the 
inverse ratio of their desire for it; and a general hush, or 


1 [In the original paper: ''deliverance from an evil or cruel matter/'] 
See Modem PuhUert, vol. v. (Vol VII. p. 229 n.).] 


call to order, would be often r&cy desirable in this England 
of oursy For the rest, of any good or evil extant, it is 
impossible to say what measure is owing to restraint, and 
what to licence, where the right is balaneed betwe^Ei them. 
(l was not a little provoked one day, a summer oir two 
since in Scotland,^ because the Duke of Athol hindered me 
from examining the gneiss and slate junctions in Glen Tilt, 
at the hour ccHivenient to me: but I saw them at last, 
and in quietness; and to the very restriction that annoyed 
me, owed, probably, the fact of their being in existaice, 
instead of being blasted away by a mol>-oompany; while 
the ''free" paths and inlets of Loch E[atiine and the Lake 
of Geneva are for ever trampled down and destroyed, not 
by one duke, but by tens of thousands of ignorant tyrants?) 

81. So, a Dean and Chapter may, perhaps, imjustifiably 
charge me twopence for seeing a cathedral ; '— ^but your frtie 
mob pulls spire and all down about my ears, and I can see 
it no more for ever. /And even if I eannot get up to the 
granite junctions in the glen, the stream comes down from 
them pure to the Garry :/ but in Beddington Park I am 
stopped by the newly erected fence of a building specu^ 
lator; and the bright Wandel (Pope's ''blue transparent 
Wandle***), of ydivine waters ba Castaly, is filled by the 
free public with old shoes, obsoene erockery, and ashes. '^^ 

82. In fine» the alignments for libarty may in general be 
sununed in a few very simple forms, as follows :^^^ 

Misguiding is mischievous: therefore guiding is. 

If the blhid lead the blinds both Mi, into the ditch :^ 
therefore, nobody should lead anybody. 

Lambs and fawns should be left free in the fielda ; muefa 
more bears and wolves. 

» rio Augutt 1857,] 

' [In the original paper: "onjuatifiAbly hinder me from seeing a cathedral with- 
•at paying twopence. ] 

s [Windsor Forest, di5. For other referencaa to the Waadel, aee Chmm (f 
Wild OHve, § 1 (Vol. XVIII. p. 385) ; Lectures on Art, § 119 ; Bible qf Amiens, u 
§ 1 : Fors Ckmgera, Letter 48; and Praterita, i. § 1 (''The Springs of Wandel").] 

« [Matthew xv. 14.] 


If a man's gun and shot are his own, he may fire in 
any direction he pleases. 

A fence across a road is inconvenient; much more one 
at the side of it. 

Babes should not be swaddled with their hands bound 
down to their sides: therefore they should be thrown out 
to roll in the kennels naked. 

^None of these arguments are good, and the practical 
issues of them are worse. I Wot there are certain eternal 
laws for human conduct which are quite clearly discernible 
by human reason. So far as these are discovered and 
obeyed, by whatever machinery or authority the obedience 
is procured, there follow life and strength. So far as they 
are disobeyed, by whatever good intention the disobedience 
is brought about, there follow ruin and sorrow.y And the 
first duty of every man in the world is to find his true 
master,' and, for his own good, submit to him; and to find 
his true inferior, and, for that inferior's good, conquer him^ 
The punishment is sure, if we either refuse the reverence, 
or are too cowardly and indolent to enforce the compulsion. 
A base nation crucifies or poisons its wise men, and lets its 
fools rave and rot in its streets. A wise nation obeys the 
one, restrains the other, and cherishes all^ 

88. The best examples of the results of wise normal 
discipline in Art wiQ be found in whatever evidence re- 
mains respecting the lives of great Italian painters ; though^ 
unhappily, in eras of progress, but just in proportion to 
the admirableness and efficiency of the life, will be usually 
the scantiness of its history. The individualities and liber- 
ties which are causes of destruction may be recorded; but 
the loyal conditions of daily breath are never told. Because 
Leoniudo made models of machines, dug canals, built forti- 
fications, and dissipated half his art-power in capricious in* 
genuities, we have many anecdotes of him ; — but no picture 

1 [The original paper reads '^ impotence and dissolution " for '' min and sorrow " ;; 
three lines lower^ omits ''for that inferior's good" ; and in the last line of § 82^ 
reads ''disciplines'' for ''cherishes."] 

* [Compare Senme and LUUi, Preface of 1882, and Onnon qf Wild Olive, % IST 
(Vol. XVllI. pp. fil, 497).] 



of importance on canvas, and only a few withi^red stains of 
one upon a wall/ But because his pupil, or reputed pupil, 
Luini, laboured in constant and successful simplicity, we 
have no anecdotes of him; — only hundreds of nohle works. 
Luini is, perhaps, the best central type of the highly trained 
Italian painter.' He is the only man who ^xtirely united 
the religious temper which was the spirit-life of art, with 
the physical power which was its bodily life. He joins the 
puri^ and passion of Angelico to the strength of Veronese : 
the two elements, poised in perfect balance, are so calmed 
and restraiaed, each by the other, that most of us lose the 
sense of both. The artist does not see the strength, by 
reason of the chast^ied spirit in which it is used; and 
the rdyigious visionary does not recognize the passion, by 
reason of the fracJc human truth with which it is rendered. 
He is a man ten times greater than Leonardo; — a mighty 
oalourist, whUe Leonardo was only a fine draught^ i^ 
black, staining the chiaroscuro drawing, like a coloured 
print: he perceived and rendered the delicatest types of 
human beauty that have been painted since the days of 
the Greeks, while Leonardo depraved his finer instincts by 
caricature, and remained to the end of his days the slave 
of an archaic smile: and he is a designer as frank, instinc- 
tive, and exhaustless as Tintoret, while Leonardo's design 
is only an agony of science, admired chiefly because it is 
painful, and capable of analysis in its best accomplishment. 
Luini has left nothing behind him that is not lovely;' but 
of kis life I believe hardly anything is known beyond 
remnants of tradition which murmur about Lugano and 
Saronno, and which remain ungleaned. This only is cer- 
tain, that he was bom in the loveliest district of North 
Italy, where hills, and streams, and air, meet in softest har- 
monies.* I Child of the Alps, and of their divinest lake,/ he 

^ [For tfUmr referenees to tke Cenacolo at Mikn, tee aboTie, § 64, p. 103; 
jind on Leonardo's diinpation of his enei^ies, c ompa re Stcnei of Venice^ voL iii. 
Vol. XI. p. 71}, and A Jay Jw- Ever, § 21 (Vol. XVl. p. 30).] 

^ l^^ Kuskin's references to Luini, see above. Introduction, p. Izkii.] 
' ]The original paper adds ^', or that is accnsable in any dennlte ettor."] 
' * [For Lttini's birthplace, see Lectum en AH, § 7d.J 

ifi taught, vitboiit doulyt or dii$max» it lofty i^lig^pus ffr^^, 
and a ^syfficient law q£ life, aad of its mec|ianical arts. 
^iVlxether iessQoed \xy Ijponsffdo himself, or inerely one of 
mapy, disciplixii^ in ,the .system of the ^Milanese school, l^e 
learns unerringly to draw, unerringly and end^ringly to 
paint. Jlis tosks ^re set him without quejstion day by day, 
by men who are justly satisfied with his work, and vfhp 
accept it withojut any harpiful praise or senseless blame. 
Place, .scale, ai;id subject are deterjoained for him on tl^fi 
cloister wall or the church dome ; as he is required, ^d for 
sufficient daily bread, and little more,^ he paints what he 
has been taught to design wisely, and has passion to realize 
gloriously: every touch he , lays is eternal, every thought 
he conceives is beautiful and pure: his hand moves always 
in radiance of blessing ; from day to day his life enlarges in 
poii^er and peace ; it pa$u$es away cloudlessly, the starry 
twilight remaining arched far against the night. 

84. Oppose tp such a life as this th^t of a great painter 
amidst the element^, of modem English liberty.' Take the 
life of Turner, in whom the artistic energy and inherent 
love of beauty ,were at lea^t as strong as in Luim: bi;it, 
amidst the disorder and ghastliness of the lower streets of 
London, his instincts in early ixifaijicy were warped into 
toleration of evil, or even into delight in it. He gathers 
what he . can of instruction by questioning and prying amQug 
half-informed masters; spells out some knowledge of classi- 
cal fable; educates himself, by an admirable force, to the 
production of wildly roaj^tic or pathetically tender and 
pure pictures, by which he cannot live. Th»e is no one 
to judge them, or to command him: only some of the 
English upper classes hire him to paint their houses and 
parks, and destroy the drawings afterwards by the most 
wanton neglect. Tired of labouring carefully, without either 
reward or praise, be dashes out into various experimental 

^ [Tlieor%iiial p*p«r reftdi :''... u rtquired for hii tuflictent daily bread, he 
painto . . /^ 

* {Com]Nure the oontrast between Tamer and Gioi^one in Modem FainterSf 
roL V. pt ix. ch. ix., "The Two Boyhooda" (VoL VII. p. 374).] 


and popular works — makes himself the servant of the lower 
public, and is dragged hither and thither at their will ; while 
yet, helpless and guideless, he indulges his idiosjmcrasies till 
they change into insanities ; the strength of his soul increas- 
ing its sufferings, and giving force to its errors ; all the pur- 
pose of life degenerating into instinct ; and the web of his 
work wrought, at last, of beauties too subtle to be under- 
stood, with vices too singular to be forgiven; all useless, 
because his^ magnificent idios3aicrasy had become solitude, 
or contention, in the midst of a reckless populace, instead 
of submitting itself in loyal harmony to the Art-laws of an 
understanding nation. And the life passed away in dark- 
ness; and its final work, in all the best beauty of it, has 
already perished, only enough remaining to teach us what 
we have lost, 

85. These are the opposite effects of Law and of Liberty 
on men of the highest powers, /in the case of inferiors the 
contrast is still more fatal; under strict law, they become 
the subordinate workers in great schools, healthily aiding, 
echoing, or supplying, with multitudinous force of hand, 
the mind of the leading masters: they are the nameless 
carvers of great architectiu^ — stainers of glass — hammerers 
of iron — helpful scholars, whose work ranks roimd, if not 
with, their master's, and never disgraces it.^ But the infe- 
riors under a system of licence for the most part perish in 
miserable effort;* a few struggle into pernicious eminence 

* As I correct this sheet for press, mj Pall Mall Gazette of last Satur- 
day, April 17th^' is lying on the table by me. I print a few lines out 
of it :— 

'^An Artist's Death.— A sad story was told at an inquest held in 

1 [The oriffinal paper reads: ^' ... to be understood, mixed with vices . . . 
useless, just because the magniiiceut idiosyncracy had become one of solitude." 
The reprint in Queen qf the Air: '' ... to be understood, his liberty, with vices 
. . . because magniiiceut idiosyncracy had become solitude.*' Hie text given above 
is in accordance with Ruskin'a marking for revision in his copy of that work.] 

' [1809. The note was added in that year, when Ruskin reprinted portions of 
tbe Geetue of Aglaia in Qumu (^ the Air, The blanks at this interval of time may 
be filled up: ''Isidore Magnes," ''Charlotte Street, Fitaroy Square," "M. Antonio 
van Bever."] 

'•^■■.a.. t. 


— ^harmful alike to themselves and to all who admire them ; 
many die of starvation; many insane, either in weakness 
of insolent egotism, like Haydon»^ or in a conscientious 
agony of beautiful purpose and warped power, like Blake. 
There is no probability of the persistence of a licentious 
school in any good accidentally discovered by them; there 
is an approximate certainty of their gathering, with acclaim, 
round any shadow of evil, and following it to whatever 
quarter of destruction it may lead.' 

86. It was in the full persuasion of these facts, and of 
the consequent necessity of some statement of law for our 
schools, that I began these papers, hoping they might fall 
chiefly into the form of discussion. That in such a journal 
as this I should obtain no answer to so simple a question 

St Pancnu last night bj Dr. Lankester on the body of * * *, aged fiftj- 
nine, a French artist, who was found dead in his bed at his rooms in 
* * * Street. M. * * *, also an artist, said he had known the deceased 
for fifteen years. He once held a high position, and being anxious to 
make a name in the world, he five years ago commenced a large picture, 
which he hoped, when completed, to have in the gallery at Versailles; 
and with that view he sent a photograph of it to the French Emperor/ 
He also had an idea of sending it to the English Royal Academy. He 
laboured on this picture, neglecting other work which would have paid 
him well, and gradually sank lower and lower into poverty. His friends 
assisted him, but being absorbed in his great work, he did not heed their 
advice, and they left him. He was, however, assisted by the French 
Ambassador, and last Saturday he (the witness) saw deceased, who was 
much depressed in spirits, as he expected the brokers to be. put in pos- 
session for rent. He said his troubles were so great that he feared his 
brain would give way. The witness gave him a shilling, for which he 
appeared very thankAil. On Monday the witness called upon him, but 
received no answer to his knock. He went again on Tuesday, and 
entered the deceased's bedroom, and found him dead. Dr. George Ross 
said that when called in to the deceased he had been dead at least two 
days. The room was in a filthy, dirty condition, and the picture referred 
to— certainly a vtry fine one — ^was in that room. The post-mortem ex- 
amination showed that the cause of death was fatty degeneration of the 
heart, the latter probably having ceased its action through the mental 
excitement of the deceased." 

1 rOn Haydon, see Vol VII. p. 231 n. ; Vol XII. pp. 124, 129, 130, 307 ; and 
Vol. aIV. p. 100. For Blake, see above, § 4, p. 66, The original paper reads 
" ignorant '^ for *' beautifuL"] 

' [Here the passages reprinted in Qtiem qf the Air end.] 


as the i^st I asked, respecting the proper use of the black 
outline, is itself a fact of some significance. For the pre- 
sent I am tired of writing without help ; and having stated, 
as far as I know them, the higher laws which bear on 
this elementary question, I leave it to such issue as my 
good editor and his artist readers care to bring it to, until 
January, when, if nothing hinder, I will again take i^ up 
where they leave it for me,^ 

^ [See above, p. 70 and n.] 



87. In recommencing this series of papers, I may per- 
haps take permission briefly to remind the reader of the 
special purpose which my desultory way of writing, (of so 
vast a subject I find it impossible to write otherwise than 
desultorily,) may cause him sometimes to lose sight of; the 
ascertainment, namely, of some laws for present practice of 
Art in our schools, which may be admitted, if not with 
absolute, at least with a sufficient consent, by leading 

There are indeed many principles on which different 
men must ever be at variance; others, respecting which it 
may be impossible to obtain any practical consent in cer^ 
tain phases of particular schools. But there are a few, 
which, I think, in all times of meritorious Art, the leading 
painters would admit; and others which, by discussion^ 
might be arrived at, as,, at all events, the best discoverable 
for the time. 

88. One of those which I suppose great workmen would 
always admit, is, that, whatever material we use, the virtues 
of that material are to be exhibited, and its defects frankly 
admitted; no effort being made to conquer those defects 
by such skill as may make the material resemble another.' 
For instance, in the dispute so frequently revived by the 
public, touching the relative merits of oil colour and water 
cdlour; I do not think a great painter would ever consider 
it a merit in a water colour to have the ^^ force of oiL" 

*• fArt JautTioT, N.S., vol. v, pp. 9, 10. JsavMry 18^.] 
' [Compare § 6; above^ p. 67* j 

< [On tliiB subject compare Setfen Lamp9 (VoL VIII. pp. 72-76), and l&miei qf 
Vemee. yoL ii. (Vol. X. p. 465, with the other pasiiages there noted).] 



He would like it to have the peculiar delicacy, paleness, 
and transparency belonging specially to its own material. 
On the other hand, I think he would not like an oil paint- 
ing to have the deadness or paleness of a water colour. 
He would like it to have the deep shadows, and the rich 
glow, and crumbling and bossy touches which are alone 
attainable in oil colour. And if he painted in fresco, he 
would neither aim at the transparency of water colour, nor 
the richness of oil; but at luminous bloom of surface, and 
dignity of clearly visible form. I do not think that this 
principle would be disputed by artists of great power at 
any time, or in any country ; though, if by mischance they 
had been compelled to work in one material, while desiring 
the qualities only attainable in another, they might strive, 
and meritoriously strive, for those better results, with what 
they had under their hand. The change of manner in 
William Hunt's work, in the later part of his life, was an 
example of this. As his art became more developed, he 
perceived in his subjects qualities which it was impossible 
to express in a transparent medium ; and employed opaque 
white to draw with, when the finer forms of rdieved light 
could not be otherwise followed. It was out of his power 
to do more than this, since in later life any attempt to learn 
the manipulation of oil colour would have been unadvisable ; 
and he obtained results of singular beauty; though their 
preciousness and completion would never, in a well-founded 
school of Art, have been trusted to the frail substance of 
water colour.^ 

89. But although I do not suppose that the abstract 
principle of doing with each material what it is best fitted 
to do, would be, in terms, anjrwhere denied; the practical 
question is always, not what should be done with this, or 
that, if everything were in our power; but what can be, 
or ought to be, accomplished with the means at our dis- 
posal, and in the circumstances under which we must 

1 [For notes on another chango of manner in Hun^B later work, tee VoL XIV. 
p. 383.] 


necessarily work. Thus, in the question immediately be- 
fore us, of the proper use of the black line — it is easy to 
establish the proper virtue of Line work, as essentially '' Dcr 
Lineation/' the expressing by outline the true limits of 
forms, which distinguish and part them from other forms'; 
just as the virtue of brush work is essentially breadth, soft- 
ness, . and blending of forms. And, in the abstract, the 
point ought not to be used where the aim is not that of 
definition, nor the brush to be used where the aim is not 
that of breadth. Every painting in which the aim is pri- 
marily that of drawing, and every drawing in which the 
aim is primarily that of painting, must alike be in a measure 
erroneous. But it is one thing to determine what should 
be done with the black line, in a period of highly disciplined 
and widely practised art, and quite another thing to say 
what should be done with it, at this present time, in Eng- 
land. Especially, the increasing interest and usefulness of 
our illustrated books render this an inquiry of very great 
social and educational importance. On the one side, the 
skill and felicity of the work spent upon them, and the 
advantage which young readers, if not those of all ages, 
ndght derive from having examples of good drawing put 
familiarly before their eyes, cannot be overrated; yet, on 
the other side, neither the admirable skill nor free felicity 
of the work can ultimately be held a counterpoise for the 
want— if there be a want— of sterling exceUence: whUe, 
£Eurther, this increased power of obtaining examples of art 
for private possession, at an almost nominal price, has two 
accompanying evils: it prevents the proper use of what we 
have, by dividing the attention, and continually leading us 
restlessly to demand new subjects of interest, while the old 
are as yet not half exhausted; and it prevents us — satisfied 
with the multiplication of minor art in our own possession — 
from looking for a better satisfaction in great public works. 

90. Observe, first, it prevents the proper use of what 
we have. I often endeavour, though with little success, to 
conceive what would * have been the efibct on my mind, 


when I was a boy, of having such a* book given me as 
Watson's "Illustrated Robinson Crusoe."* TTie edition I 
had was a small octavo one, in two volumes, priifbed at the 
Chiswick Press in 1812. It has, in each volume, eight or 
ten very rude vignettes, about a couple of inches \Vide; cut 
in the simple, but legitimate, manner of Bewick, and, though 
whoUy commonplace and devoid of beauty, yet, as far as 
they go, rightly done; and here and there suffici^itly sug^ 
gestive of plain facts. I am quite unable to say how fSar 
I wasted, — how far I spent to advantage, — the unaccount- 
able hours during which I pored over these woodcuts; 
receiving more real sensation of sympathetic terror from 
the drifting hair and fear-stricken face of Crusoe dashed 
i^ainst the rock, in the rude attempt at the representation 
of his escape from the wreck, than I can now from the 
highest art; though the rocks and water are alike cut Cfoly 
with a few twisted or curved lines, and there is not the 
slightest attempt at light sSad shade, or imitative resem- 
blance. For one thing, I am quite sure that being forced 
to make all I could out of very little things, and to wmain 
long contented with them, not only in great part fonned 
the power of close analysis in my mind, and the habit of 
steady contemplation; but rendered the power of greater 
art over me, when I first saw it, as intense as that of 
magic ; so that it appealed to me like a vision out of another 

91. On the other hand this lot^ contentment with infe^ 
rior work, and the consequent acute enjoyment of what- 
ever was the least suggestive of truth in a higher degree, 

"^ Routledge^ 1864. The engraving is all by Dalziel.^ I do not ask the 
reader's pardon for speaking of myself, with reference to the point at 
issue. It is periiaps quite as modest to relate personal experience as to 
offer personal opinion; and the accurate statement of saeh experience ia^ 
in questions of this sort, the only contribution at present possible towards 
their solution. 

^ [For Ruskin's early reading of Robinson Crusoe^ see Pneterita, i. § 1, and for 
his ''monastie poverty" in the matter of elaborate toys, ibid,, § 1^] 

> [IllaBtrated by J. D. Watton (of the Royid Watar-Coloor Society). For 
Ruskin's appreciation of the work of the brothers Dalziel, see below, p. 149.] 


rendered me loiig cwd^s of the highei^ virtues of execu- 
tion, and retarded fay many years the maturing and balancing 
of the ^neral power of judgment. And I am now, as I 
said, quite' unable to imagine what would have been the 
i^ult upon me, of being enabled to study, instead of these 
oOarse vignettds, such lovely and expressive work as that 
of Watson; suppose, A)r instance, the vignette at p. 87, 
which would have been sure to have caught my fancyj 
because of the dog, with its head on Crusoe's knee, looking 
tip and trying to understand what is the matter with his 
maista'. It remains to be seen, and can only be known by 
e?tperience, what will actually be the effect of these treasures 
on the minds of children that possess them. The result 
must be in some sort different fiom anjrthing yet known; 
no such art was ever yet attainable by the youth of any 
Aation. Yet of this there can, as I have just said, be no 
reiEisonable doubt ;-^that it is not well to make the imagina* 
tii^n indolent, or take itis work out of its hands by supply- 
ingf continual pictures of what might be sufficiently conceived 
without pictures. 

92. Take, for instance; the preceding vignette, in the 
same book, "Crusoe looking at the first shoots of barley.** 
Nothing can be more nutural or success^ as a representa- 
tion ; but, after all, whatever the importance of the moment 
in Crusoe's history, the picture can show us nothing more 
than a man in a white shirt and dark pantaloons, in aii 
attitude of surprise ; and the imagination ought to be able 
to compass so much as this without help. And if so 
lliborious aid be given, much more ought to be given. 
The virtue of Art, as of life, is that no line shaU: be in 
tain. Now the number of lines in this vignette, applied 
With ftdl intention of thought in every touch, as they 
would have been by Holbdn or Durer, are quite enough 
to have produced, — not a merely deceptive dash of local 
colour, with evanescent background, — ^but an entii^ly per- 
fect piece of chiaroscuro, with its lights all truly limited and 
gradated, and with every form of leaf and rode in the 


background entirely right, complete, — and fiiU not of mere 
sugg^ion, but of accurate information, exactly such as the 
&ncy by itself cannot furnish. A work so treated by any 
man of power and sentiment such as the designer of this 
vignette possesses, would be an eternal thing; ten in the 
volume, for real enduring and educational power, were 
worth two hundred in imperfect development, and would 
have been a perpetual possession to the reader; whereas 
one certain re^t of the multiplication of these lovely but 
imperfect drawings, is to increase the feverish thirst for 
excitement, and to weaken the power of attention by end- 
less diversion and division. This volume, beautiful as it is, 
will be forgotten; the strength in it is, in final outcome, 
spent for nought; and others, and still others, following 
i^ will ** come like shadows, so depart'' ^ 

98* There is, however, a quite different disadvantage, but 
no less grave, to be apprehended from this rich multiplica- 
tion of private possession.' The more we have of books, and 
cabinet pictures, and cabinet ornaments, and other such 
domestic objects of art, the less capable we shall become 
of understanding or enjoying the lofty character of work 
noble in scale, and intended for public service. The most 
practical and immediate distinction between the orders of 
'"mean" and '"high" Art, is that the first is private, — ^the 
second public; the first for the individual, the second for 
alL It may be that domestic Art is the only kind which 
is likely to flourish in a country of cold climate, and in the 
hands of a nation tempered as the English are; but it is 
necessary that we should at least understand the disadvan- 
tage under which we thus labour; and the duty of not 
allowing the untowardness of our circumstances, or the 
selfishness of our dispositions, to have unresisted and un- 
checked influence over the adopted style of our art But 
this part of the subject requires to be examined at length, 
and I must therefore reserve it for the following paper. 

» [Mad^eth, Iv, 1, 111.1 

* Compare A Jog for iver, §§ 62 Mq. (VoL XVL ppu 57-61).] 



94. In pursuing the question put at the close of the last 
paper, it must be observed that there are essentially two 
conditions under which we have to examine the difference 
between the effects of public and private Art on national 
prosperity.' The first in immediate influence is their Eco- 
nomical function, the second their Ethical We have first 
to consider what class of persons they in each case support ; 
and, secondly, what classes they teach or please. 

Looking over the list of the gift-books of this year, per- 
haps the first circumstance which would naturally strike us 
would be the number of persons living by this industry; 
and, in any consideration of the probable effects of a trans- 
ference of the public attention to other kinds of work, we 
ought first to contemplate the result on the interests of the 
workman. The guinea spent on one of our ordinary illus- 
trated gift-books is divided among — 

1. A number of second-rate or third-rate artists, produc- 

ing designs as fast as they can, and realizing them 
up to the standard required by the public of that 
year. Men of consummate power may sometimes 
put their hands to the business; but exceptionally. 

2. Engravers, trained to mechanical imitation of tibos 

second or third-rate work; of these engravers the 
inferior classes are usually much over-worked. 

& [Art Journal, N.S., yoL y. pp. 93-34. Febraaiy 1866.] 

' [On this snbject compare Leciurei on Architecture and Painting, § 46 eeq. 
(Vol. XII. pp. 68 eeq,) ; A Joy /or Ever (Vol. XVI.) ; and Vol (fAmo, § 65. On 
the ethics of art patronage, see also Lecturee on Art, §§ 7, ll, 12; Ariadne 
Iforentina, § 140, and Art ^ England, § ld6.1 



8. Printers, paper-makers, ornamental binders, and other 

4. Publishers and booksellers. 

95. Let us suppose the book can be remuneratively pro- 
duced if there is a sale of five thousand copies. Then 
£5,000, contributed for it by the public, are divided among 
the different workers; it does not matter what actual rate 
of division we assume, for the mere object of comparison 
with other modes of employing the money; but let us 
say these £5,000 are divided among five hundred persons, 
giving on an average £lO to each. And let us supppse 
these £10 to be a fortnight's maintenance to each. Then, 
to maintain them through the year, twenty-^five sudi books 
must be published; or to keep certainly within the marie 
of the probable cost of our autumnal gift^books, suppose 
£100,000 are spent by the public, with resultant supply of 
100,000 households with one illustrated book, of second or 
third-rate quality each (there being twenty different books 
thus supplied), and resultant maintenance of five hundred 
persons for the year, at severe work of a second or thixd- 
rate order, mostly mechanical. 

96. 'Now, if the mind of the nation, instead of private, 
be set on public work, there is of course no expense in- 
curred for multiplication, or mechanical copying of any 
kind, or for retail dealing. The £5,000, instead of being 
given for five thousand copies of the worit:, and divided 
among five hundred persons, are giveti for one original 
work, and given to one person. This one person will of 
course employ assistants ; but these will be chosaoi by him- 
self, and will form a superior class of men, out of whom 
the future leading artists of the time will rise in succession. 
The broad difference will therefore be, that, in the one 
case, £5,000 are divided among five hundred persons of 
different classes, doing second-rate or wholly mechanical 
work; and in the other case, the same sui;n is diyided 
among a few chosen persons of the best material of mind 
producible by the state at the given epoch. It may seem 


an unfiur assumption that work for the public wiU be more 
honestly aiul earnestly done than that for private posses- 
sUm. But every motive that can touch either conscience 
or ambition is brought to bear upon the artist who is 
employed on a public service, and only a few such motives 
in other modes of occupation. The greater permanence, 
scale, dignity of office, and fuller display of Art in a 
National buUdiog, combine to call fortli the energies of 
the artist ; and if a man will not do his best under such 
circumstances, there is no ''best" in him. 

97. It might also at first seem an unwarrantable as- 
sumption that fewer jpecsons would be employed in the 
private than in the national work, since, at least in archi- 
tecture, quite as many ^subordinate craftsmen are employed 
as in the production of a book. It is, however, necessary, 
for the purpose of clearly seeing the effect of the two 
forms of occupation, that we should oppose them where 
their contrast is most complete ; and that \ye should : com- 
pare, not merely bookbinding with bricklaying, but the 
premutation of Art in books, necessarily involving much 
sujbprdin^te employment, with its presentation in i^tqes or 
wall-pictures, involving only the labour of the artist and . of 
his immediate assistants. In the one case, th^i, I repeat, 
the sum set aside by the public for Art-purposes is divided 
among many persons, very indiscriminately chosen ; in the 
other among few, carefully chosen. But it does not, for that 
reason, support fewer persons. The few artists live on their 
larger incomes,"^ by expenditure among various .tradesmen, 
who in no wise produce Art, but the means of pleasant 
life ; so that the real economical question is, not how many 
men shall we maintain, but at what work shall they be 
kept? — shiall they every one be i^t to produee Art for us, 
in which case they must all live poorly, and produce bad 
Art ; or out of the whole number shall ten be chosen who 

* It may be, they would not ask larger incomes in a time of highest 
national life; and that then the noUe art would be far cheaper to the 
nation than the ignoble. But I speak of existing cireumatanecs. 


can and will produce noble Art; and shall the others be 
employed in providing the means of pleasant life for these 
chosen ten? Will you have, that is to say, four hundred 
and ninety tradesmen, butchers, carpet-weavers, carpenters, 
and the Uke, and ten fine artists, or will you, under the 
vain hope of finding, for each of them within your realm, 
"five hundred good as he,"* have your full complement of 
bad draughtsmen, and retail distributors of their bad work ? 

98. It will be seen in a moment that this is no question 
of economy merely; but, as all economical questions be- 
come, when set on their true foundation, a dilemma re- 
lating to modes of discipline and education. It is only one 
instance of the perpetually recurring ofier to our choice — 
shall we have one man educated perfectly, and others 
trained only to serve him, or shall we have all educated 
equally ill? — ^Which, when the outcries of mere tjrranny 
and pride-defiant on one side, and of mere envy and pride- 
concupiscent on the other, excited by the peril and promise 
of a changeful time, shall be a little abated, will be found 
to be, in brief terms, the one social question of the day. 

Without attempting an answer which would lead us far 
from the business in hand, I pass to the Ethical part of 
the inquiry ; to examine, namely, the efiect of this cheaply 
difiused Art on the public mind. 

99. The first great principle we have to hold by in 
dealing with the matter is, that the end of Art is not to 
amuse; and that all Art which proposes amusement as its 
end, or which is sought for that end, must be of an in- 
ferior, and is probably of a harmful, class.^ 

The end of Art is as serious as that of all other 
beautiful things — of the blue sky and the green grass, 
and the clouds and the dew. They are either useless, or 
they are of much deeper function than giving amusement. 

1 \Ckny Chate, Une 240 (Percy's BeHquM).] 

' [Among the verv numerous passages in which Ruskin enforces this point, 
reference may particularly be made to Modem Painten, rol. iL (Vol. IV. p. 26X 
and Leetur9$ an Art, § 9. J 


Whatever delight we take in them, be it less or more, is 
not the delight we take in play, or receive from momen- 
tary surprise. It might be a matter of some metaphysical 
difficulty to define the two kinds of pleasure, but it is 
perfectly easy for any of us to feel that there is generic 
difference between the delight we have in seeing a comedy 
and in watching a sunrise. Not but that there is a kind 
of Divina Commedia, — a dramatic change and power, — ^in all 
beautiful things: the joy of surprise and incident mingles 
in music, painting, architecture, and natural beauty itself, 
in an ennobled and enduring manner, with the perfectness 
of eternal hue and form. But whenever the desire of change 
becomes principal; whenever we care only for new tunes, 
and new pictures, and new scenes, all power of enjoying 
Nature or Art is so far perished from us : and a child's love 
of toys has taken its place. The continual advertisement 
of new music (as if novelty were its virtue) signifies, in the 
inner fact of it, that no one now cares for music. The 
continual desire for new exhibitions means that we do not 
care for pictures ; the continual demand for new books means 
that nobody cares to read. 

100. Not that it would necessarily, and at all times, 
mean this; for in a living school of Art there will always 
be an exceeding thirst for, and eager watching of, freshly- 
developed thought. But it specially and sternly means this, 
when the interest is merely in the novelty ; and great work 
in our possession is forgotten, while mean work, because 
strange and of some personal interest, is annually made 
the subject of eager observation and discussion. As long 
as (for one of many instances of such neglect) two great 
pictures of Tintoret's lie rolled up in an outhouse at 
Venice,^ all the exhibitions and schools in Europe mean 
nothing but promotion of costly commerce. Through that, 
we might indeed arrive at better things; but there is no 
proof, in the eager talk of the public about Art, that we 

1 [Sea above, ''The Study of Architectnre/' § 8, p. 28.] 


are amving at them. Fortraiture of the said public's many 
faces, and tickling of its twice as many eyes, by changeful 
phantasm, are all that the patron-multitudes of the present 
day in reality seek; and this may be supplied to them in 
multiplying excess for ever, yet no steps made to the for- 
mation of a school of Art now, or to tiie understanding of 
any that have hitherto existed. 

101. It is the carrying of this annual Exhibition into 
the recesses of home which is especially to be dreaded in 
the multiplication of inferior Art for private possession. 
Fublic amusement or excitement may often be quite whole- 
somely sought, in gay spectacles or enthusiastic festivals; 
but we must be careful to the uttermost how we allow 
the desire for any kind of excitement to mingle among the 
peaceful continuities of home happiness. The one stem con- 
dition of that happiness is that our possessions should be 
no more than we can thoroughly use ; ^ and that to this use 
they should be practically and continually put. Calculate 
the hours ^ which, during the possible duration of life, can, 
under the most favourable circumstances, be employed in 
reading, and the number of books which it is possible to 
read in that utmost space of time; — it wiU be soon seen 
what a limited library is all that we need, and how careful 
we ought to be in choosing its volumes.' Similarly, the 
time which most people have at their command for any 
observation of Art is not more than would be required for 
the just understanding of the works of (me great master. 
How are we to estimate the futility of wasting this frag- 
ment of time on works from which nothing can be learned ? 
For the only real pleasure, and the richest of all amuse- 
ments, to be derived from either reading or looking, are in 
the steady progress of the mind and heart, which day by 
day are more deeply satisfied, and yet more divinely athirst. 

1 [Compare VrUo thif Latt, § 62, and Mvnera Puherii, § 37 (Vol. XVU. 
pp. 86, 168).] 

* [Compare aboye, pp. 96-99.] 

■ [Compare p. 36, above ; A Joy/i 

i LUiM, Preface of 1871, § 4 (Vol. 

Joy/(9r Ever. § 65 (VoL XVL p. 59); and Seiome 
and LUies, Prefiiee of 1871, § 4 (Vol. XVIIL p. 56).] 


102. As far as I know the homes of England of the 
present day, they show a grievous tendency to fall, in 
these important respects, into the two great classes of over- 
furnished and unfurnished: — of those in which the Greek 
marble in its niche, and the precious shelf-loads of the 
luxurious library, leave the inmates nevertheless dependent 
for all their true pastime on horse, gun, and croquet- 
ground; — and those in which Art, honoured only by the 
presence of a couple of engravings from Landseer, and 
literature, represented by a few magazines and annuals 
arranged in a star on the drawing-room table, are felt to 
be entirely foreign to the daily business of life, and entirely 
unnecessary to its domestic pleasures. 

108. The introduction of furniture of Art into house- 
holds of this latter class is now taking place rapidly; and, 
of course, by the usual system of the ingenious English 
practical mind, will take place under the general law of 
supply and demand ; that is to say, that whatever a class 
of consumers, entirely unacquainted with the different quali- 
ties of the article they are buying, choose to ask for, will 
be duly supplied to them by the trade. I observe that 
this beautiful system is gradually extending lower and lower 
in education; and that children, like grown-up persons, are 
more and more able to obtain their toys without any refer- 
ence to what is useful or useless, or right or wrong; but 
on the great horse-leech*s law^ of "demand and supply." 
And, indeed, I write these papers, knowing well how 
effectless all speculations on abstract proprieties or possi- 
bilities must be in the present ravening state of national 
desire for excitement; but the tracing of moral or of 
mathematical law brings its own quiet reward; though it 
maj be, for the time, impossible to apply either to use. 

The power of the new influences which have been 
brought to bear on the middle-class mind, with respect 
to Art, may be sufficiently seen in the great rise in the 

^ [ProyerlM xzz. 15.] 


price of pictures ^ which has taken place (principally during 
the last twenty years) owing to the interest occasioned 
by national exhibitions, coupled with facilities of carriage, 
stimulating the activity of dealers, and the collateral dis- 
covery by mercantile men that pictures are not a bad in- 

104. The following copy of a document in my own 
possession will give us a sufficiently accurate standard of 
Art-price at the date of it: — 

''London^ Jtms Uih, 1814. 

"RecdTed of Mr. Cooke the sum of twenty-two pounds ten shiUings 
for three drawings, vie., Lyme, Land's End, and Poole. 

''£22, lOs. "J. M. W. Turner." « 

It would be a very pleasant surprise to me if any one of 
these three (Southern Coast) drawings, for which tibe artist 
received seven guineas each (the odd nine shillings being, I 
suppose, for the great resource of tale-tellers about Turner 
— " coach-hire ") • were now offered to me by any dealer for 
a hundred. The rise is somewhat greater in the instance of 
Turner than of any other unpopular* artist; but it is at 
least three hundred per cent, on all work by artists of esta- 
blished reputation, whether the public can themselves see 

* I have never found more than two people (students excepted) in 
the room occupied by Turner's drawings at Kensington, and one of the 
two, if there are two, always looks as if he had got in by mistake.^ 

1 [On this subject compare NOet an PrmU and Hunt (Vol. XIV. p. 403), and 
A Joy far Ever, S§ 97-103 (VoL XVI. pp. 82-88).] 

' [For other docaments referring to the same series of drawings see DUecta, 
§§ 25, 26.] 

' [On one occanon the purchaser of a picture is said to have handed Turner 
a cheque which did not satisfy the artist "I have made it guineas, 1 believe?" 
said the purchaser; ''it was to be guineas, was it not?" ''Yes; the guineas are 
right euough," was the gruff return, " but I paid six shillings for the coach ; 
and that's not down." So Thombury relates (p. 297, 1877 edition). "Many 
stories/' lays the artist's old friend, 6. Jones, R.A., "are told of Turner's parsi- 
mony and covetousness, but they are ffenerally untrue; he was careful, and 
desired to accumulate; he acknowledged it, often added to the jokes against 
himself, and would say, with an arch expression of countenance, when congratu* 
lated on the successful sale of a picture, 'Yes, but there is the frame,' or 'the 
carriage ' " (Robert ChignelFs Turner, p. 42).] 

* pee above, § 35, p. 88.] 


mMf klM * 


anjrthing in it, or not. A certain quantity of intelligent 
interest mixes, of course, with the mere fever of desire for 
novelty; and the excellent book illustrations, which are the 
special subjects of our inquiry, are peculiarly adapted to 
meet this; for there are at least twenty people who know 
a good engraving or woodcut, for one who knows a good 
picture. The best book illustrations fall into three main 
classes : fine line engravings (always grave in purpose), 
typically represented by Goodall's illustrations to Rogers^s 
Poems ; ^ — ^fine woodcuts, or etchings, grave in purpose, such 
as those by Dalziel, from Thomson and Gilbert; — ^and fine 
woodcuts, or etchings, for purpose of caricature, such as 
Leech's and Tenniel's, in Punch. Each of these have a 
possibly instructive power special to them, which we will 
endeavour severally to examine in the next chapter. 

1 [That is^ the engravingB by £. Goodall (1795-1870) of Turner's vignettes ; for 
other references to this engraver, see Vol. II. pp. xlii.-zliii. n. ; Vol. III. p. 300 n. ; 
VoL VL p. 100. Amonff o&er boolra illustrated oy Sir John Gilbert, R,A. (enmred 
by the brothers Dalziel)^ were Longfellow's Jft/iM Standish, Shakespeare's Works^ 
and The Book of Job, By engravings ''by Dalziel ^m Thomson/' Ruskin pre- 
sumably refers to the illustrated edition of Thomson's Seasons published in 1859. 
For Leech, see Vol. XIV. pp. 332-334, the other passages there noted, and Ariadne 
FhrenHna, § 179. For Tenniel, see Ariadne, §§ 93, 179, and AH ^ England, §§ 136, 
16(V-153. In 1862 the brothers Dalziel enmved a series of Birket Foster's drawings 
entitled Pictures of English Landscape. Thev sent a copv of the engravings to 
Ruskin, and received the following acknowleagment from him: — 

''Geneva, August 12, '62. 

"Gentlemen, — I am much obliged by your having sent me those 
beautiful Proo&. They are superb specimens of the kind of Landscape 
which you have rendered deservedly popular, and very charming in every 
respect. I wish, however, you woula devote some of your wondenul powers 
of execution to engravinff Landscape which should be better than ' charm- 
ing' and which would educate tiie public taste as well as meet it These 
pieces, however, are peculiarl^r good of their class — ^rich, gracefully <^m- 
posed, exquisite book illustrations, and Yctj precious as examples of wood 

"Believe me, sincerely yours, 


"Mbbbbs. Daudbl." 

This letter is reprinted from p. 154 of !n^ Brothers DahM: a Beeord of Fift^ Tears 
Work, 1901.] 



105. I PURPOSE in this chapter, as intimated in the last, to 
sketch briefly what I bdieve to be the real uses and 
powers of the three kinds of engraving, by black line; 
either for book illustration, or general public instruction by 
distribution of multiplied copies. After thus stating what 
seems to me the proper purpose of each kind of work, I 
may, perhaps, be able to trace some advisable limitations 
of its technical methods. 

(I.) And first, of pure line engraving. 

This is the only means by which entire refinement of in- 
tellectual representation can be given to the public. Photo- 
graphs have an mimitable mechanical refinement,* and their 
legal evidence is of great use if you know how to cross- 
examine them. They are popularly supposed to be "true/* 
and, at the worst, they are so, in the sense in which an 
echo is true to a conversation of which it omits the most 
important syllables and reduplicates the rest. But this 
truth of mere transcript has nothing to do with Art pro- 
perly so called; and wiU never supersede it. Delicate art 
of design, or of selected truth, can only be presented to 
the general public by true line engraving. It will be 
enough for my purpose to instance three books in which 
its power has been sincerely used. I am more in fields 
than libraries, and have never cared to look much into 
book illustrations; there are, therefore, of course, numbers 
of well-illustrated works of which I know nothing: but the 
three I should myself name as typical of good use of the 


1 [Art Journal, N.S., yol. y. pp. 97-9a April 1868.] 
See above, § 37, p. 89, on photography.J 


method, are (i.) Rogers's Poems, (ii.) the Leipsic edition of 
Heyne's Virgil (1800), and (iii.) the great Description de 

106. The vignettes in the first named volumes (consider- 
ing the Italy and Poems as one book) I believe to be as 
skilful and tender as any hand work, of the kind, ever 
done; they are also wholly free from affectation of over- 
wrought fineness, on the one side, and from hasty or cheap 
expediencies on the other; and they were produced under 
the direction and influence of a gentleman and a scholar. 
Multitudes of works, imitative of these, and far more at- 
tractive, have been produced since; but none of any ster- 
ling quality: the good books were (I was told) a loss to 
their publisher, and the money spent since in the same 
manner has been wholly thrown away. Yet these volumes 
are enough to show what lovely service line engraving 
might be put upon, if the general taste were advanced 
enough to desire it. Their vignettes from Stothard, how- 
ever conventional, show in the grace and tenderness of 
their living subjects how tjrpes of innocent beauty, as pure 
as Angelico's,^ and far lovelier, might indeed be given from 
modem English life, to exalt the conception of youthful 
dignity and sweetness in every household. I know nothing 
among the phenomena of the present age more sorrowful 
than that the beauty of our youth should remain wholly 
unrepresented in Fine Art, because unfelt by ourselves; 
and that the only vestiges of a likeness to it should be in 
some of the more subtle passages of caricatures, popular 
(and justly popular) as much because they were the only 
attainable reflection of the prettiness, as because they were 
the only sjrmpathising records of the humours, of English 
girls and boys. Of our oil portraits of them, in which 
their beauty is always conceived as consisting in a fixed 
simper — ^feet not more than two inches long, and acces- 
sory grounds, pony, and groom— our sentence need not be 

1 [For Stothard, as the English Fra Angelico, mo Vol. V. p. 105, and Vol. X. 

p. m.] 


^^guarda e passa^'^ but ^^passa^ only. Yet one oil picture 
has been painted, and so £Etr as I know, one only, repre- 
senting the deeper loveliness of English youth — ^the portraits 
of the three children of the Dean of Christ Church,* by the 
son of the great portrait painter, who has recorded what- 
ever is tender and beautiful in the faces of the aged men 
of England, bequeathing, as it seems, the beauty of their 
children to the genius of his child.' 

107. The second book which I named, Heyne's VirgU^^ 
shows, though unequally and insufficiently, what might be 
done by line engraving to give vital image of classical 
design, and symbol of classical thought. It is profoundly 
to be regretted that none of these old and well-illustrated 
classics can be put frankly into the hands of youth; while 
all books lately published for general service, pretending to 
classical illustration, are, in point of Art, absolutely dead 

> [Memo, iiL 51 ; auoted also in Vol. XII. p. 12a] 

' rrhe portrait of the three daughters of the late Dean Liddell was painted by 
Sir William Blake Richmond, R.A., then twenty-one years old, in 1864, and ex- 
hibited under the title of ''The Sisters." A reproduction of it is giyen in The Life 
and Work qfSir W. B, Richmond (The ChrUtmas AH Annual, 1902, p^ 9). The artist 
has printed some reminiscences of Ruskin's reception of the picture: ''In 1864 
Mr. Ruskin became keenly interested in the work which I was then doing. I 
had painted two sons of Sir Henry Acland, my life-long friend. The picture 
greatly pleased the Master. In the same year I painted a portrait group of the 
uiree daughters of Dr. Liddell, Dean of Christ Church. The picture was exhibited, 
and I received from Mr. Ruskin what appeared to me an exaggerated eulogium 
on my performance, but in the letter a critical anachronism occurred which startled 
me and amused me at the same time. Here were three modern young ladies seated 
in a landscape accurately painted from nature, prettily dressed in a modem costume, 
and upon the details I had expended as much pains as I knew how, particularly I 
was careful to delineate the very pretty little shoes, with buckles, that the centre 
young lady wore upon her daintv feet In the eulogistic letter to which I have 
referred, Mr. Ruskin wrote: 'JVly dear Willy, you have made one great mistake. 
The rest of your picture being so supremely Mautiful, why in the name of the 
devil didn't you paint the damsel's feet instead of her shoes .^ Perugino would never 
have committed such a blunder'" ('' Ruskin as I knew Him," in SL George, vol. v. 
p. 299). The artist goes on to quarrel with this criticism as perverse. He does 
not, however, say why it would be more out of date to be without shoes than with* 
out hats ; nor can it be asserted that Ruskin was wrong in thinking that the feet 
would have been even prettier than the shoes.] 

' [For Rnskin's friendship with George Richmond, R.A., and appreciation of his 
talent see PngterUa, ii. ch. ii., and VoL XIV. pp. 18, 217.] 

^ [P. VtrgiHue Maro Varietate Lectione et Pei^tua AdnoiaHone Ilhuiraitu a Chr. 
Ootti. Heyne: lipeisB, mdooo. The vignette of the fountain of Arethusa is at 
vol. ii. p. 611. Ruskin again refers, in Ariadne FforenHna^ § 124 n., to the vignettes 
in this book.] 


and harmful rubbish. I cannot but think that the pro- 
duction of well-illustrated classics would at least leave free 
of moneynscathe, and in great honour, any publisher who 
undertxx>k it; and although schoolboys in general might 
not care for any such help, to one, here and tiiere, it would 
make all the difference between loving his work and hating 
it. For myself, I am quite certain that a single vignette, 
like that of the fountain of Arethusa in Heyne, would have 
set me on an eager quest, which would have saved me years 
of sluggish and fruitless labour. 

108. It is the more strange, and the more to be re- 
gretted, that no such worthy applications of line engrav- 
ing are now made, because, merely to gratify a fantastic 
pride, works are often undertaken in which, for want of 
well-educated draughtsmen, the mechanical skill of the en- 
graver has been wholly wasted, and nothing produced useful, 
except for common reference. In the great work published 
by the Dilettanti Society,^ for instance, the engravers have 
been set to imitate, at endless cost of sickly fineness in 
dotted and hatched execution, drawings in which the light 
and shade is always forced and vulgar, if not utterly false. 
Constantly (as in the 87th plate of the first volume), 
waving hair casts a straight shadow, not only on the fore- 
head, but even on the ripples of other curls emerging 
beneath it: while the publication of plate 41, as a repre- 
sentation of the most beautiful statue in the British 
Museum, may well arouse any artist's wonder what kind 
of "diletto" in antiquity it might be, from which the 
Society assumed its name. 

109. The third book above named as a typical example 
of right work in line, the Description de VEgypte^ is one of 
the greatest monuments of calm human industry, honestly 
and delicately applied, which exist in the world.' The front 

^ \9pecimeM <^ AtUierU Sculpture^ JEgjfptUm, Etnucan, Oreek^ and Roman : Selected 
J¥om DifmwU CoUeetUme in Great Britain, by the 8oci^ qf DiUettanH, voL i., 1809. 
Plate 87 ia of a head of Niobe in Lord Yarborongh's coUection, Plate 41 a very poor 
reoderinff of the Townley Venna in the Britiah Museum.] 

* [This is a very elaborate publication by the Government of France : Deecr^iiien 


of Rouen Cathedral, or the most richly-wrought illuminated 
missal, as pieces of resolute industry, are mere child's play 
compared to any group of the plates of natural history 
in this book. Of unemotional, but devotedly earnest and 
rigidly faithful labour, I know no other such example. The 
lithographs to Agassiz's '* poissons fossiles " ^ are good in their 
kind, but it is a far lower and easier kind, and the popularly 
visible result is in larger proportion to the skill; whereas 
none but workmen can know the magnificent devotion of 
unpretending and observant toil, involved in even a single 
figure of an insect or a starfish on these unapproachable 
plates. Apply such skill to the simple presentation of the 
natural history of every English county, and make the books 
portable in size, and I cannot conceive any other book*gift 
to our youth so precious. 

110. (II.) Wood-cutting' and etching for serious purpose. 

The tendency of wood-cutting in England has been to 
imitate the fineness and manner of engraving. This is a 
false tendency ; and so far as the productions obtained under 
its influence have been successful, they are to be considered 
only as an inferior kind of engraving, under the last head. 
But the real power of wood-cutting is, with little labour, 
to express in clear delineation the most impressive essential 
qualities of form and light and shade, in objects which owe 
their interest not to grace, but to power and character. It 
can never express beauty of the subtlest kind, and is not 
in any way available on a large scale; but used rightly, on 
its own ground, it is the most purely intellectual of all Art ; 
sculpture, even of the highest order, being slightly sensual 
and imitative; while fine wood-cutting is entirely abstract, 

de tSgifpU: ou recueil dea obiervatUnu et dee reeherehei mti ant eU faUe$ en ^gypte, 
pendant tBxp^Uion de tAmUe Franfaiee, nin# folio Tolumes^ 180i5l-18dO; two of 
AnHquUSe-DeectipHone ; two of AntiquU^e-MAn&irei ; two, in tluree, of jSltat Modeme; 
and two of HieUrire Naturette. The engravings amount to 894 separate Plates (ex- 
clusive of 36 delivered with the text), usually bound in nine or ten separata rolames, 
the collection being divided into the same classes as the text] 

1 [Louis Agassiz: Beeherehee eur lee Pirieeane FoeeUee, five volames, Nenoh&tel, 
183»-184d. For Ruskin's early study of the book, sea PnBterita, ii. § 62.] 

' [For Ruskin's later discussion of methods and limitatiODS in wood-enttiiig, 
see Ariadne FtorenHna^ §§ 77> 96 eeq."] 


thoughtful, and passionate. The best woodcuts that I know 
in the whole range of Art are those of Diirer's "Life of 
the Virgin";* after these come the other works of Diirer, 
slightly inferior from a more complex and wiry treatment 
of line. I have never seen any other work in wood de- 
serving to be named with his; but the best vignettes of 
Bewick approach Diirer in execution of plumage, as nearly 
as a clown's work can approach a gentleman's.' 

111. Some very brilliant execution on an inferior system 
— less false, however, than the modern English one — has 
been exhibited by the French; and if we accept its false 
conditions, nothing can surpass the cleverness of our own 
school of Dalziel, or even of the average wood-cutting in 
our daily journals, which, however, as aforesaid, is only to 
be reckoned an inferior method of engraving. These meet 
the demand of the imperfectly-educated public in every 
kind; and it would be absurd to urge any change in the 
method, as long as the pubHc remain in the same stage of 
knowledge or temper. But, allowing for the time during 
which these illuslrated papers have now been bringing 
whatever information and example of Art they could to 
the million, it seems likely that the said million will remain 
in the same stage of knowledge yet for some time. Per- 
haps the horse is an animal as antagonistic to Art in 
England, as he was in harmony with it in Greece; still, 
allowing for the general intelligence of the London bred 
lower classes, I was surprised by a paragraph in the PaU 
Mali Gazette^ quoting the Star^ of November 6th of last 
year, in its report upon the use made of illustrated papers 
by the omnibus stablemen, — ^to the following effect: — 

''They are frequently employed in the omnibus-yards from five o'clock 
in the morning till twelve at night, so that a fair day's work for a 'horse- 
keeper' is about eighteen hours. For this enormous labour they receive 

- - 

1 rCompare Vol XV. p. 380.] 

' [For fiewick^B rendering of plumage, see VoL XV. p. 410, and Art i^ En^and^ 
§ 135; and for Bewick generally, see above, p. 77 »•] 
> [The MinrUng Star (1856-1870).] 


A guinea per week^ which for them means seven, not six, days ; though 
they do contrive to make Sunday an 'off-day' now and then. The 
Ignorance of aught in the world save ''orses and 'buses' which prevails 
amongst these stablemen is almost incredible. A veteran horse-keeper, 
who had passed his days in an omnibus-yard> was once overheard praising 
the 'Lui4rated London News with much enthusiasm, as the best periodical 
in London, 'leastways at the coffee-shop.' When pressed for the reason 
of his partiality, he confessed it was the 'pickshers' which delighted him. 
He amused himself during his meal-times by 'counting the images'!" 

112. But for the classes among whom there is a real 
demand for educational art, it is highly singular that no 
systematic use has yet been made of wood-cutting on its 
own terms ; and only here and there, even in the best 
books, is there an example of what might be done by it. 
The frontispieces to the two volumes of Air, Birch's 
Ancient Pottery and Porcelain^ and such simpler cuts as 
that at p. 278 of the first volume, show what might be 
cheaply done for illustration of archaic classical work; two 
or three volumes of such cuts chosen from the best vases 
of European collections and illustrated by a short and 
trustworthy commentary, would be to any earnest school- 
boy worth a whole library of common books. But his 
father can give him nothing of the kind — and if the father 
himself wish to study Greek Art, he must spend some- 
thing like a hundred pounds to put himself in possession 
of any sufficiently illustrative books of reference. As to 
any use of such means for representing objects in the 
round, the plate of the head of Pallas facing p. 168 in the 
same volume sufficiently shows the hopelessness of setting 
the modem engraver to such service. Again, in a book 
like Smith's Dictionary of Geography^ the woodcuts of 
corns are at present useful only for comparison and re- 
ference. They are absolutely valueless as representations of 
the art of the coin. 

1 [HUtory t^ Ancient Pottery, by Samuel Birch, F.S.A., 2 vols., 1858. The frontis- 
pieees are coloured plates from yases. Tlie cut at p. 273 is a woodcut of a '^ Scene 
of wateiHlrawing from a hydria in the British Museum."! 

' [A Dictionary qf Greek and Beman Geography , edited by William Smith, LL.D., 
1854-1857. The woodcuts of coins are rough outlines.] 


118. Now, supposing that an educated scholar and 
draughtsman had drawn each of these blocks, and that 
they had been cut with as much average skill as that em- 
ployed in the woodcuts of Punchy each of these vignettes 
of coins might have been an exquisite lesson, both of high 
Art treatment in the coin, and of beautiful black and 
white drawing in the representation; and this just as 
cheaply — ^nay, more cheaply — ^than the present conunon and 
useless drawing. The things necessary are indeed not 
small, — ^nothing less than well-educated intellect and feel- 
ing in the draughtsmen; but intellect and feeling, as I 
have often said befcnre now,^ are always to be had cheap 
if you go the right way about it — ^and they cannot other- 
wise be had for any price. There are quite brains enough, 
and there is quite sentiment enough, among the gentlemen 
of England to answer all the purposes of England: but if 
you so train your youths of the richer classes that they 
shall think it more gentlemanly to scrawl a figure on a 
bit of note-paper, to be presently rolled up to light a cigar 
with, than to draw one nobly and rightly for the seeing of 
all men ; — and if you practically show your youths, of all 
classes, that they will be held gentlemen, for babbling with 
a simper in Simday pulpits; or grinning through, not a 
horse's, but a hound's, collar, in Saturday journals : ' or 
dirtily living on the public money in government non-offices : 
— ^but that they shall be held less than gentlemen for doing 
a man's work honestly with a man's right hand' — ^you will 
of course find that intellect and feeling cannot be had when 
you want them. But if you like to train some of your 
best youth into scholarly artists, — men of the temper of 
Leonardo, of Holbein, of Diirer, or of Velasquez, instead 

i rSee^ for isBtonce, A Joy fi^ Ever, §§ 20, 21 (VoL XVI. p. 90).] 
' f"The grinning match it performed by two or more penoni, each of them 
having his head thrust through a horse's collur" (StrutVs Sports and Palmes, vol. iv. 
ch. iii. § 31). Ruskin substitutes a hound's collar, in reference presumably to the 
cyniciam of some Saturday reviewers. In '^ government non-offices" he is thinking^ 
perhaps of Dicketis's Circumlocution Office, and its art of ''How not to do it"] 
s [Compare VoL XIL p. 343, and Vol. XVI. p. 98.] 


of decomposing them into the early efflorescences and putres- 
cences of idle clerks, sharp lawyers, soft curates, and rotten 
journalists, — ^you will find that you can always get a good 
line drawn when you need it, without paying large sub- 
scriptions to schools of Art. 

114. (III.) This relation of social character to the pos- 
sible supply of good Art is still more direct when we in- 
clude in our survey the mass of illustration coming under 
the general head of dramatic caricature^ — caricature, that is 
to say, involving right understanding of the true grotesque 
in human life ; caricature of which the worth or harmfiilness 
cannot be estimated, unless we can first somewhat answer 
the wide question. What is the meaning and worth of 
English laughter? I say, '*of English laughter,** because 
if you can well determine the value of that, you determine 
the value of the true laughter of all men — ^the English 
laugh being the purest and truest in the metal that can 
be minted. And indeed only Heaven can know what the 
country owes to it, on the lips of such men as Sydney 
Smith and Thomas Hood.^ For indeed the true wit of all 
countries, but especially English wit (because the openest), 
must always be essentially on the side of truth — for the 
nature of wit is one with truth. Sentiment may be false 
— ^reasoning false — reverence false — ^love false,— everjrthing 
false except wit; that must be true — and even if it is ever 
harmful, it is as divided against itself— -a small truth under- 
mining a mightier. 

On the other hand, the spirit of levity, and habit of 
mockery, are among the chief instruments of final ruin both 
to individual and nations. I believe no business will ever 
be rightly done by a laughing Parliament: and that the 
public perception of vice or of folly which only finds ex- 
pression in caricature, neither reforms the one, nor instructs 

^ [For other passages in which caricature is dlscttssed. see VoL VI. pp. 46^ 
474 ; and Vol. XIV. pp. 490-491.] 

* [For Ruakin's appreciation of Sjdney Smithy see VoL VII. jp. 357 n. ; for 
Hood, VoL VI. p. 47lj and the other passages there noted : see also VoL XVIII, 
p. 79 n.] 


the other. No man is fit for much, we know, ''who has 
not a good laugh in him"^ — ^but a sad wise valour is the 
only complexion for a leader ; and if there was ever a time 
for laughing in this dark and hollow world, I do not think 
it is now. This is a wide subject, and I must follow it in 
another place ; ' for our present purpose, all that needs to be 
noted is that, for the expression of true humour, few and 
imperfect lines are often sufficient, and that in this direc- 
tion lies the only opening for the serviceable presentation of 
amateur work to public notice. 

115. I have said nothing of lithography, because, with 
the exception of Samuel Front's sketches, no work of stan- 
dard Art- value has ever been produced by it, nor can be: 
its opaque and gritty texture being wholly offensive to the 
eye of any well-trained artist. Its use in connection with 
colour is, of course, foreign to our present subject. Nor do 
I take any note of the various current patents for cheap 
modes of drawing, though they are sometimes to be thanked 
for rendering possible the publication of sketches like those 
of the pretty little Voyage en Zigzag (''how we spent the 
sunmier"') published by Longmans — which are full of 
charming humour, character, and freshness of expression ; 
and might have lost more by the reduction to the severe 
tains of wood-cutting than they do by the ragged inter- 
ruptions of line which are an inevitable defect in nearly all 
these cheap processes. It will be enough, therefore, for all 
serious purpose, that we confine ourselves to the study of 
the black line, as produced in steel and wood; and I will 
endeavour in the next paper ^ to set down some of the 
technical laws belonging to each mode of its employment. 

1 [See Carlyle : Sfurtor Reiarhu, book i. ch. iv.] 


* [The present paper wu, noweTer, the last: see thelntrodactioa to Vol. XVIII. 
(p. zxxvL).] 




[Bibliograplttcai JVoto.~-This lecture was reported briefly in the Oambrid^ 
OhrmMe, May 25, 1867. 

Tlie greater part of § 1 waa printed from the author^s MS.^ with 
pasaagea from the uewapaper^ in W. 6. Collingwood'a Lif9 and Work iff 
John Ruskinf 1893^ vol. ii. pp. 75-77i and again in the one-volame edition 
of that book^ 1900, pp. 240-241. 

The lecture is now for the first time printed from the author's manu- 
script. Some passages in the MS. are struck through, probably as being 
marked for omission, on account of time, in delivery. The lecture is here 
given in its entirety, as written. Two passages, however, are missing : 
see § 24, p. 182 ; and § 32, p. 188.] 





{Delivertd ai tie Senate Bauie^ Cambridge^ FHday^ May 24, 1867.) 

1. On entering on the duty to-day entrusted to me, I should 
hold it little respectful to my audience if I disturbed them 
by expressions of the diffidence which they know that I 
must feel in first speaking in this Senate House ^ — diffidence 
which might well have prevented me from accepting such 
duty, but ought not to interfere with my endeavour simply 
to fulfil it. Nevertheless, lest the direction which I have 
been led to give to my discourse, and the narrow limits 
within which I am compelled to confine the treatment of 
its subject may seem in any wise inconsistent with the 
purpose of the Founder of this Lecture * — or with the expec- 
tations of those by whose authority I am appointed to de- 
liver it — ^let me at once say that I obeyed their conunand, 
not thinking myself able to teach any dogma in the philo- 
sophy of the arts which could be of new interest to the 
members of this University, but only that I might obtain 
the sanction of their audience for the enforcement upon 
other minds of the truth which, after thirty years spent in 
the study of art — ^not dishonestly, however feebly — ^is mani- 
fest to me as the clearest of all that I have learned, and 

^ [Raskin's earlier lecture at Cambridge (1858) was giren in the town, at the 
School of Art For hia visits to Cambridge, see VoL IX. p. xlvii. ; Vol. XIIL 
p. 430; Vol. XVL pp. xz., zxzvi.-*-zxxviiJ 

> [Sir Robert Rede (died 1519), Chief-Jostioe of the Common Pleas. He founded 
three public lectureships at Cambridge, the endowment being reomnised in 1858, 
when it was directed that one lecture should be deUyered annuaUy by a man of 
eminence in science or literature.] 



urged upon me as the most vital of all I have to declare — 
namely, that the faculty for art is not one which we can 
separately cultivate, still less, in the exercise of it, a gift 
which can be learned by imitation or direction, but that 
in this faculty we are to hail a visible sign of national 
virtue; it springs fieom such virtue without fail or stint, 
and no artificial stimulus can produce anything but a sem- 
blance and mockeiy. 

2. And it seems, to me especially necess^uy to insist 
upon this truth at present, because, though there never was 
a time when more ^oxts were used to make known the 
principles of art, or to exhibit and communicate its inven- 
tion, there never also was a time when so much was done 
for vanity, and so little for love — so much in petulant thirst 
for pleasure, or malignant greed of gain ; so little with any 
true joy in the treasures of the past or any true sense of 
our debt to the future — that debt and pledge, under which 
we are bound to those who come after us, that, for the 
sake of their prosperity and their lineal pride, every work 
as well as every deed of our hands shall be in their 
memory honourable, and for their service enduring, I too 
sorrowfiilly repeat that 1 see little work don6 in this spirit, 
or in the faith that its own power must be^ in the purg- 
ing of the heart, out of whose abundance^ lips speak and 
hands labour* 

8. On such simple thesis, therefore, 1 will ask your 
leave to dwell to-day. It is only as having always en- 
deavoured to give assurance of this that I was able to 
hear in. happy pride the gracious words with which you 
yesterday admitted me to the mighty trust of fellowship in 
your ancient University,* and it is only as endeavouring to 
teach this that I hope in foture to be of service among 
men, or desire to be remembered by them. 

The proposition, then, which it will be my object to 

1 FRfBttlhew xii 34 : oomiiBre htHow, § 89, pfK 18S-18&; and f, Ma] 
< [The hoii#rai7 dagree •# LL.IX had Ima eoniBrred on Ktotkia. : ••• Ia*nK 
ductiott^ aboTe, p. xxvii.] 


demonstimte in the present lecture, is that, all Art being the 
FonnsitiTe or directing Action of a Spirit, whatever char- 
acter the spirit itself has must be manifested in the Eneigy 
or Deed of it, and makes the deed itself Bad or Good. 

A thing may be, in the abstract, well or ill done mecha* 
nically, but well or ili done artistically, only as the subject 
of character in energy. 

4 But no brief definition will embrace the whole truth 
in this matter. In the most general English termfs we 
must say. Good art is the Formative eneigy of a good spmt. 
Then, whatever special or subordinate meanings we agree 
to attach to the term good, in all meamngs of it the same 
proposition is true that the character of tiie Being is also 
that of its act and energy. By vicious art is properly sig- 
nified that which is ^xxluoed by a vicious soul; a just and 
strong person cannot produce it ; every deed and force pro* 
ceeding firom him must be noble, effective, and strong. 
Similariy, pure and right art is that which is produced 1^ 
a just and intelligent person; a fabe or foolish person 
cannot produce it, he can only produce a semblanoe and 
effigy of it. But inasmuch as the being of man is mixed 
bf good and evil inextricably, the art which it produces is 
inextricably mixed also; and the better port being not only 
oUiged to work in companionship with, but in some sort 
to work down through, the evil, using it as its instrument, 
or being oiyscured by it as by a dark glass, a convincing 
demonstration of the real roots and causes of action becomes 
possible only to closest analysis. To show the machioery 
and involution of power against power for good and evil, 
all colossal, in the mind of one great artist, Correggio w 
Manteg^a, or Leonanlo, would alone take the time you 
ean grant me for speaking. 

6. You will be disposed at this point, however, to answer 
me and say^ It is of course easy for you to define good art 
as the woik of a good nan. But we do not grant you the 
right to assume such a definition. You have to show what 
absolute Goodness is in the art, and then what absolute 



Goodness is in the spirit; and then, if what you would 
say be true, you should be able to prove by example that 
one is the product of the other. Indeed this is the way I 
would deal with the matter if I had time, but for the prac- 
tical end in view I must be content with briefest assertion, 
for your own after trial. There is, indeed, an absolute right 
and wrong in art (the doubt of these has been the chief 
cause of our failures and errors). There is right painting, 
and wrong painting; right music, and wrong music; right 
gesture, and wrong gesture. Keeping, for example, to the 
art most generally known, there is a land of music which 
is balanced, resenred, ccmstructive, inventive, complete, pure, 
and lovely. There is, on the other hand, a kiad of music 
which is uns3rmmetrical, intemperate, unconstructive, im- 
imaginative, incomplete, sensual, undelightful. Every one 
of the words by which I express these absolute merits and 
demerits attaches itself justly also to the quality of soul 
by which they are produced, and by which they are will- 
ingly received. To the order of mind from which they 
spring they are also acceptable, and the temper by which 
they have been produced they have also a tendency to re* 
produce. And this is the great practical truth which I 
desire to bring before you to-day. We cannot teach art 
as an abstract skill or power. It is the result of a certain 
ethical state in the nation, and at full period of the national 
growth that efflorescence of its ethicid state will infallibly 
be produced : be it bad or good, we can no more teach nor 
shape it than we can streak our orchard blossom with 
strange colours or infuse into its fruit a juice it has not 
drawn out of the sap. And, farther, such seed of art as 
we sow, such also must we reap ; ^ that which is bom of las- 
civiousness begets lasciviousness, that which is shed from 
folly will spring up into folly, and that which is sown of 
truth bear fruit of truth, according to the ground it is cast 
on, some thirty-fold, some sixty, some an hundred.' 

1 [Galatuins vi. 7.1 
s [Matdiew xiii. &] 


6. It is therefore no matter of debate whether art shall 
be taught or what manner of it shall be enforced. If we 
can teach the palm to bear no clusters or graft the grape 
on the thorn, we may forbid to a fully developed spirit its 
creative labour, or artificially instruct a fabe one to make 
the products of its labour beautiful. Wherever the in^ 
tellect of a people is perfectly roused, art must exist; and, 
when it exists, every failure in the beauty of it is the sure 
and proportioned sign of an ethical depravity. Nor is itf 
either a question whether art be an important part of the 
human energy or not ; small or great, it is a necessary part. 
Foigive me if I press to tediousness the similitude of vege- 
taticMx. I do it not in the least by way of* ornamenting 
what I am trying to say, but only because it is quite the 
dearest method of saying what I mean. Consider how 
fiitile it would be to dispute whether the petals of a plant 
or its leaves were less vital to it than its root. All these 
are necessary, the health of any one of these is to be 
reached only through the ethical health of the whole, and 
it is a sign of that health. You may judge by pith, by 
bark, by leaf, by root, by fruit. And you may exaggerate 
the pre-eminence of any or sacrifice any. You may have 
more foliage than there should be, or less; you may sacri- 
fice flower to seed, or seed to blossom. So, in the man, 
it is futile to ask which is the most important of his ener-^ 
gies — ^the active, the reflective, or the poetic ; none of these 
can exist rightly without the rest ; any of them may be 
sacrificed to the rest, but the true health of any one is a 
sign of the health of all, and can only be achieved from the 
root upwards. By the sacrifice of aU for one, an intensity 
of achievement is obtainable; but absolute rightness, even 
in lower accomplishments, only by balance with the higher 
faculties, as the riding of Coeur de Lion or the Cid^ would 
difier from that of a circus rider. 

On the other hand, though the apparentiy greatest 

1 [For theM typw of chivaliy, aeo Vol. V. p. 196: Vol. XI. p. ?9 ; Eagle'* Nut, 
I 240, for CoBur do lion ; and Munera Puherie, § 36 (Vol. XVII. p. 166), for the Cid. J 





achievtunents in philosophy have not been accomplished by 
athletes, the errors of all philosophy are traceable to its 
Mdusion, and would have been {oevented or purged by the 
mining of practical energy* 

Your true education is not tx> be in guiding brandwa^ 
or protecting firuits, though that must be done diligently ; 
but for all barrenness and diseue there is but one medi- 
eine — ^Let it alone this year also till I shall dig about it, 
and dung it."^ 

And thus it is true of all the arts from the kast to the 
greatest that they spring firom the whole humanity, and 
that their object is the whole humanity. You do not teadi 
a man to run, that he may be a swift locomotive machine 
with two limbs, but that ht may be a strong creature able 
to move swiftly or slowiy as he ou^t. You do not teaeh 
him to talk that he may be an instrument of articulate 
noise : but that he may be a perfect being, capable of neces^ 
aary speech to his feilow. Neither do you rightly teach a 
man to paint, that he may become a Unoeular camera fcff 
the transference of coloured spectra, but that he may be a 
perfect human creature capabfe of such command over forad 
and colour as shall communicate truly his human know- 
ledge and his human thoughts. Therefore whatever art» 
vrtiaterer thing we have to teach, we can only teach hope- 
fully by having finst a right conception ci the whole 
humanity, compacted by that which every joint supplieth/ 
so that the special thing we desire of it or instil into it 
may minister truly in subordination to its gtowing up into 
the measure of the stature of the fiilness of Christ ; ' that ia 
to say, inta the humanity which belongs to men as Sons of 
God, and with respect to which it is oommttnded to them 
— ^^Be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect*** 

7* Nor let it be thought that I use these words as 





[Luk« ia&. a.] 
Ephesians iv. 16.] 
Epheshuis hr. le^ l&J 
Mstthaw y. 48.] 


inTohring reference to any particular aspect of religiotts faith. 
These, or words ecmtahiiiig the same bieaning, would, as 
joa koow, be received as true by the masters of philosophy 
of every nation under the whole heaven/ whidi ever ap* 
proach^ the possible dignity of the human being. That 
possible worthiness never has been nor can be neared but 
by the attainment of this sense of likeness in us to God 
as a Father, and love and help given from God to us as 
His children ; and practically and spiritually, if not in words, 
tbere is no true prayer of mortal lips, nor any such true 
act of mcHial hands as in the ess^ice and purpose of it 
means prayer, which does not begin itself with the cry, 
** Our Father which art in Heaven." 

Now, thcr^ore, I shall endeavour first to delineate what 
I believe the masters oi ethics do without dispute accept 
for the type of a true humanity, and then we may pertiaps 
ascertain what part in the system of it its formative and 
incentive powers occupy, and so finally deduce some prac*^ 
tieal sQggesticms as to the methods of instant dealing with 

B. Now it is of course easy to throw together in a few 
words the group of attributes which moralists recognise as 
indisputably virtues — ^Purity and Courage, Industry and 
Medmess, Kindness and Sincerity, we all know to be beau- 
tifid and desirable, and to bring with them correlative 
peace and power. But we are apt to forget that the per- 
fectness of all these is in the balance of them and scope. 
Courage is not a virtue when it ib blind or phdrenzied, but 
when it is provident and ddiberate; kindness, not a virtue 
when it is unjilst and reckless, but when it is measured and 
apportioned; justice, not a virtue when it is without pur- 
pose of pity, or when it is hardened by pride, but idien it 
is humble and mercifiiL The human soul must have all 
these elements so Ment that, as the notes in a hurmony, 
each shall have respect to all the rest» and be altered from 
its common self by the operation of the restt end it must 


possess these all fiera \ayov aXijdcihf^ not as an animal 
possesses them naturally, and only comprehending in the 
range of its virtues the narrow circle of its own progeny 
or its own recognized protectors and friends, but in ail 
the power and consciousness of human Reason steadfastly 
honoured, faithfully consulted, and, as a directress or re- 
strainer of action, having respect to whatever man can see, 
or foresee or remember, from his point of space in the Uni« 
verse of God. 

9. You must let me pause for a moment on those fSuni* 
liar words of the Aristotelian definition of art — fura \6yw 
oKfiBofh. I suppose that the words as written meant little 
more than the reasoning power shown in adaptation of 
means to ends in special work. But we cannot better the 
words, only we ought to take them in their widest and 
highest meaning, and reflect what would be the character 
of a human spirit governed by true reason, or, if you like 

to say instead of fura \6yau aX^ovr, ei' Xoy^ oX^^W, and 

translate '' by the word of truth," ' in the practical employ* 
ment of its virtues — governed, I say, by such reason or 
wisdom — ^its own communicated portion of the Logos, which 
was in the beginning, and without which nothing was made 
that was made ; ' the wisdom which in her work has respect 
to all the Laws, and in her aim to all the creatures of 
God, which in her perfect humility and her unselfish provi- 
dence comprehends at once the feebleness of her hands and 
the infinitude of her sway; the omnipotence transmitted 
throu^ her weakness which is aUied to the whole heaven, 
and merciful to the whole earth.^ 

1 [Arifltotle : EthicM, vi. 4.1 

« "2 Corinthians vi. 7.] 

» John i. 2, a] 

^ [Hie MS. as fint written showi an additional paaaage here : — 

''It !• this comprehension of the exact place in which we are, and of 
the relation to God which means also the fiuthful knowledge of ouraelTes ; 
and let any man once get that wholesomely, and it will be shown to him 
that in all the fire and earthquake of his former seal the Lord was not in 
the fire, and that his Tociferous proclamation of readiness for duty must 
sink into a still, small yoice." 
For the Bible reforences, see 1 Kings jIx, 11, 12.] 


10. This, then, I take for an ideal of an Ethical perfect- 
ness — ^a harmony, namely, of the virtues on which I need 
not severally dwell, being by all men recognized — ^this 
balanced harmony being enei^ed mider a true and reason- 
able acknowledgment of the place in which we stand, of 
the circumstances over which we may have control, of the 
relation of our powers to these and to other beings than 
ourselves, and of the divine laws which directly govern 
both us and them. 

That is what I would delSne [as] the fulfilled ?dov of a 
man. And then I say that every action proceeding from 
this iOo^ is good; that every material object framed by it 
will be good, and that the end of education is to get this 
9^09,^ primarily knowing that out of it all art, all science^ 
and all political action will spring pure, and that whatever 
is at present good in any of them, springs only from what 
portion of such ^09 there may exist mixed in our evil. 

11. And now let me range briefly, as I must, tl^ugh 
the circle of the arts, that we may see how this supposed 
inherent ^609, or such portion of it as may exist in us, does 
verily make all its deeds and expressions good, from the 
highest to the lowest. Take first the art of language. 
Words proceeding from perfect 9dof wiU be accurate and 
true, because such a spirit will only seek to find, or to 
speak the truth. They will be clear, because spoken 
patiently and compassionately; they will be powerfril, be- 
cause the deliberation and sympathy are habitual to the 
speaker; they will be made sweet in sound, and beautifrilly 
placed by his sense of melody and order. 

12. There is no other virtue or art of language pro- 
ducible by art than these; but let me mark more deeply 
for an instant the significance of one of them. Language, 
I said, is only clear when it is sympathetic. You can in 
truth understand a man's word only by understanding him ; 
your own word is also as of an unknown tongue to him 

1 [For edvcation ai an ethiod proemt, iee Vol. VII. p. 420 ; VoL XVII. p. 232 ; 
and bolow, § 38, p. 103.] 


unless he understands you. And it is this which makes the 
art of language, if any one is to be chosen separately from 
the rest, that which is fittest for the instrum^it of a 
gentleman's education. To teach the meaning of a wwd 
thoroughly is to teach the nature of the spirit that coined 
it, and the secret of language is the secret of Sympathy.^ 
So that while every other art is in some form of it practi^ 
cable by the insensitive, the art of language is possible only 
to the gentle. Observe, I always use the word gentle in 
its full Latin sense of Gentilis.' 

18. I have said this will be so; but can it be shown 
that it is and has heeia so? Yes; doubtlessly. The prm^ 
ciples of beautiful speech have all been fixed by sincere and 
kindly speech. On the laws which have been determined 
by sincerity, false speech, apparently beautiful, may aftem 
Wards be constructed; but all such utterance, whether 
oration or' poetry, is not only without peimanent power, 
but it is destructive of the principles it has usurped, and 
wholly injurious alike to speaker and hearer. So long as 
no words are uttered but in faithfulness, so long the art of 
language goes on exalting itself; as soon as it is shaped and 
chiselled on external principles, it falls into frivolity and 
perishes. This truth would have been long ago manifest, 
had it not been that in periods of very advanced academical 
science there is always a tendency to deny the sincerity 
of the first masters of language, (tece learn to write 
gracdfully in the manner of an ancient author^ and we are 
apt to think that he also wrote in the manner of some one 
else ; that his thoughts are borrowed, as ours, for the occar 
sion, and that he led tiie way in art as we follow in play. 
But no noble nor right style was ever yet fou&ded but out 
I of ^ sincere heart, nor can any beauty arise in language 
which was not first in thought. The grace of Virgil is 
wholly sincere, it arises out of the temper which dwells «o 

1 [Compare Setame and IAUm^ % 19 (Vol. XVIII. p. 68).] 

' [ie^ ^* belongi^ff to the aame £uq»il]r or ^^tmf* ^ that wJimt Rusku^ meaua 
is that like can only oe known of like.] 


tenderty on the storks of Lausus and Pallas ; ^ the precisioik 
and restraint cf Hcraoe are sincere/ they are the natiiral 
language of a man of the woAA Uviag a sknple and whole- 
some life; the mjrstery of Pindar is sincere^ it is eaosed 
bf the crowding of vagae oonoqotion into a mind ooeupied 
tvilii Tiakma of spiixikual agents; the natvetd oi Dante is 
SDieere, it is the instinct of a mind sanctified by Lore into 
eternal youth. There is nothing I have to siqr today which 
I am more anxious that ray hearers^ especially my young» 
hearas^ should belieYe and remember always than this: no 
man ia worth reading to form yofor style who does not 
mean what he says^ nor ww any great styk originated but 
by some man who did mean n^iat he said* Find out the 
founder of a great manna of speaking, and you have fomnd 
the declarer of some sure facts, or sincere passions; and 
your whole methdd of readia^g will be thus sharpened, for 
being sure that your author really meant what he said, 
you will be much more careful to aseefftain what it is that 
he neansL 

14. Keep this in your mind, especially rejecting what 
wiU dbiefly bear the aspeet of fallacy to you in ancient 
writers — ^their graeefiil or imaginative rdferenoes to their 
Goda. Don't think that the sweet song of the Nones of 
December,' ^'Fanne» Nympharum," was written by Horace 
as a modem English gentleman would amuse himself with 
chime of a Latin vase in a walk through hia plantation&. 
It was a solemn expresi^on of thankfulness and prayer for 
fjBrtber protection to a trusted silvan Deity. 

Don't think that that promise of a kid to the fountain 
of Bandusia went unfulfilled,^ or that the wcMrship which 
kept Clitumnus^ pure was no truer a feeling than our weak 

1 [JBaeid, book &] 

^ [See what Ruskin flays of the sincerity and piety of Horace in Vol d'Amo, 

§§ 21S seq, ; and compare Queen qf the Air, § 4ff (Mlow^ p. 348).] 

s [Odee, uK 18, 1 ; f^r aaotibM leferaiee ta the e^e, m^ Vol. XVIL p. xlviii.] 
* ipdee, iii. 13; for another reference to the ode, see Aratra Pentelici, § 88.] 
^ [The soovoe of tl^ dttamovs reeeiTed divine homage as Jupiter ClftiiiBBus ; 

for it» purity, ses^ Vi^« Oeorgiee, ii 146.] 


sentiment which would build an Mnamental temple by a 
stream in our pleasure grounds, and presently pollute its 
waters into blackness that we might rent them for another 
hundred a year. Above aU do not think that because yoa 
find in more elaborate song or realistic art a distinctly 
decorative and formative use of the mythic element, and 
the principal figures and spectra of the Gkxls change as it 
seems under the touch of the hands of an ^ichanter, or 
obey the plastic syllables of his lips, that therefore the 
magician has no faith in or reverence for the visions he 
has summoned. He could not have smnmoned them but 
by his faith; nor is it he that wilfully changes them, 
but they that express themselves tremulously through his 
human change, as far-off lights of heaven through terres- 
trial air. 

15. And of yet greater importance is it deeply to know 
that every beauty possessed by the language of a nation is 
significant of the innermost laws of its being. Keep the 
temper of the people stem and manly ; make their associa- 
tion grave, courteous, and for worthy objects; occupy them 
in just deeds ; and their tongue must needs be a grand one. 
Nor is it possible, therefore — observe the necessary reflec- 
tive action — ^that any tongue should be a noble one, of 
which the words are not so many trumpet calls to noble 
action. All great languages invariably utter great things 
and conunand them. They cannot be mimicked but by 
obedience, the breath of them is only inspiration when it 
is not vocal but vital, and you can only leam to speak as 
these men spoke by becoming what these men became. 

16. I pass to the next greatest art, that of Music, And 
as in this the relative science is of the highest complexity 
and interest, I must at once clear the inquiry from such 
confusion as the introduction of questions relating to science 
instead of art would otherwise cause. To every art there 
is, of course, an attached positive science — ^to language, that 
of grammar ; to music, that of sound ; to painting, that of 
colour; and to architecture, that of dynamics. A right 


ethical state is necessary to the following out of any of 
these sciences completely, but the connection between mor- 
ality of temper and the power of ascertaining an abstract 
truth — ^such, for instance, as the relation of the pitch of notes 
to the length of the string — ^is not direct and constant, 
whereas the connection between morality of temper and 
ri^ht expression or creation in any of the arts is direct, the 
one being a function of the other. It is therefore quite 
possible for a bad man to be a good grammarian, but never 
a good writer; he may be a good scientific musician, never 
a good composer; he may be a dexterous disposer of 
colours, never a good painter; and an ingenious builder, 
but never a good architect. 

17. The want of a right ethical state in the investiga^ 
tion of what I may perhaps be allowed to call the Art 
sciences, is, therefore, shown rather by a disturbance of the 
due relation between the art and its science, than by errors 
in the technical knowledge itselfi The vanity and insen- 
sitiveness which make knowledge too prominent, or the 
indolence and want of self-command which shrink from the 
labour necessary to acquire it, are both forms of one and 
the same egotism, and continually disgrace an art which 
otherwise might have been admirable, by the insolent dis- 
play, or the equally insolent defect, of disciplined skill. 
But I shall not conAise the inunediate subject of our in- 
quiry with any investigation of these modes of technical 
vice. I suppose in every case the artist to be well trained 
and duly informed ; and so perfect a master of his science 
as not to be moved to the display of it by his vanity ; and 
I confine myself wholly to the examination of the effect 
of his ethical state on the forms of production to which he 
will determine that such science is to be applied. 

18. Now, Music rightly so called is the expression of 
the joy or grief of noble minds for noble causes. The last 
clause of the definition is almost redundant, for a noble 
mind does not truly rejoice or grieve but for a noble cause. 
Nevertheless, in its encoimter with accidents of base evil 


it is oftpable of m acute and morkifyti^ pain wbukb oannot 
be cKporessed by music ; and in its attaiiWMHit of the various 
lower forms of material ffood it may feel tot a time sreat 
gUdness or co«pl«=encr,W^properiy «i«»bk l^ bSS^ 
SO that I leave the second clause of the dcfimtion as m 
some sort necessary to its eemid:eteness» I say then that 
true music is the natural and necessary expression ef a 
kingly^ holy passion for a lofty cause ; that, in proportion to 
the royalty luid force of our personality, the nature and ex«* 
pression of its joy ^ or suffering becomes measured, chastened, 
calm, and capable of interpretation only l^ the mn^esty 
of ordered, beautiful, and worded sound. Exactly in pro- 
portion to the degree in which we become nairow in the 
cause and conception of our passions, incontinent in the 
utterance of them, feeble of perseverance in them, sullied 
or shameful in the indulgence of them, their expression by 
musical sound becomes broken, mean, fatuitous, and at last 
impossible; the measured waves of the air of heaven will 
not lend themselves to expression of ultimate vice, it must 
be for ever sunk into discordance or silence. And sinoe^ 
as beficH:^ stated, every work of ri^t art has a tendency to 
reproduce the ethical state which first developed it, this, 
which of all the arts is most directly ethical in origin, is 
also the most direct in power of discipline; the firsts the 
simplest, the most effective of all instruments of moral in- 
struction ; while in the &ilure and betrayal of its functions, 
it becomes the subtlest aid of moral degradation. 

19. I say failure rather than disease of fonetion. For, 
strictly spei^king, the distinction is not between good music 
and bad music, but between that which is and is not 
music. And so in all the other arts, strictly speaking, there 

1 [At tkifl point a page of tbe MS. is mitBhaig, tho MS. Fefumingvk (§ 19) ''I aay 
fiiilure^ . . ." Kuskin aaviag detached the page for use in Queen of the Air, § 42 
(see below, p. 343). Compare also such passages in Fore Cfiavigera as those in 
teittevs 9 and 83, where he eays that ^'the gi>Bat purpose of music is to saj a 
thing that you mean deeply in the strongest and clearest possible way ; " and that 
when it ministers to mockery, obscenity, or '^ artificial and luzurioiis sorrow^** vime 
ftiJa of ita function.] 


is no such thing as bad sculpture or bad painting. There 
is only no sculpture and no painting. The distinction in 
the power of the spirit is indeed between iperh and Kwcia, 
but the distinction in the result is only between rexvii 
and arexyla. The distinction therefore between the natures 
of exalting and of corrupting music, which the Greeks 
mythically expressed by the contest between Apollo and 
Marsyas, and between the Muses and the Sirens/ does not 
depJd so much on an actual difference in essence as on 
a different ethical subordination. In good music the plea- 
sure received by the ear is wholly subordinate to the pur- 
pose of expression. In the triumphant psalm of Miriam, 
or in the lament of David over Saul,' the delight of the 
bodily sense in song, though at its highest pitch, must be 
conceived as whoUy subordinate to the stiU higher ruling 
emotion ; but when the emotion is lower, or more common, 
the bodily sense, though that is always degraded together 
with it, yet maintains a higher relative position, and the 
moment this bodily sense of pleasure leads, the music is 
base and corrupting. So long, therefore, as Pindar's expres- 
sion, ava^i(f>6pfjLiyy€9 vfivoi,^ is true — as long as the hymn 
leads and the chord obeys — the music so far forth is exalt- 
ing, and the meaning of the strife of Apollo with the satyr 
lies principally in that you cannot say ava^i(f>6pfjuyy€9 v/mvoi; 
and that in the change from stringed to wind instrument 
lies essentially the abdication of its authority by the word 
and the assumption of it by the note. And the worst cor- 
ruption of music in modem dajrs is not in, as it might at 
first be supposed, the exaltation of a dangerous sentiment 
by faithful sound, as in the hymn of the Marseillaise,^ but 
it is the idle and sensual seeking for pleasure in the sound 

^ [For Rtiskin's interpretation in this sense of the mvth of Marsyas, see Queen 
qf the Air, § 41 (below^ p. 348). For the legend of tne Sirens challenging the 
Muses to a contest in sin^ng^ see the note on Munera Puheris, § 90 (Vol. XVII. 

p. 212).] 

* [Exodus XT. ; 2 Samuel i.] 

* pFhe first line of the second Ol3nnpic Ode : ** Lords of the lute, my songs." 
Compare Queen of the Air, S 41 (below, p. 348).] 

^ [For references to the Marseillaise, see Queen qf the Air, § 42 (helow, p. 844) ; 
F&re Cktvigera, Letter 43 ; Fiction, Fair and Fiml, §§ 48-49 ; and Praterita, ill. § 79.] 



only, without any true purpose of sentiment at all, and 
often without the slightest eSbrt to discern the composer's 
intention, or understand the relation in a master's work be* 
tween the syllable and the note. There is no harm but a 
real discipline in the purposeful expression of any senti- 
ment which can be set to noble sound. But there is in- 
finite harm in an idle and wanton catching of pleasant 
cadences with only foolish meaning in them, or none. 

20. There is, however, a more subtle form of error in 
musical indulgence, which is that mythically expressed by 
the Greeks in the contest of the Sirens with Uie Muses, 
and with Orpheus,^ and which is also in the mind of Plato 
through all the discussion respecting the two modes of har- 
mony in the Laws.^ And the same truth is also variously 
though obscurely delineated in the great myth of the neck-- 
lace of Harmonia' — Spfio^. Note the connection of the 
word with opfiaw, as weU as with eJ/w, — ^indicating, I say, 
the error of indulgence when not merely the sound, but 
the emotion of music itself is sought for the sake of plea- 
sure, and therefore wantonly and unnaturally excited, by 
the Sirens, who are Goddesses of Desire,^ instead of by the 
Muses, who are Goddesses of Instruction. Thus many 
people imagine that when they are drawn by their delight 
in the higher forms of musical composition to withdraw 
themselves for a time from common life and solemnize their 
hearts by hearing sacred words beautifully sung, there is, 
at least in the degree in which their true sympathies may 
be excited, a gain to their moral character. Nay, many of 

^ [For the legend of Orpheus, see ahove^ Cestus qf Aglaia, § 13, p. 66.] 

' [See the passage from Latot, ii. 700, translated in For§ damgera^ Letter 73.] 

* rCadmus, having been raised to the ilirone of Thebes, was presented hj Zeus 
with Harmonia^ the oeautiful daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, for wife ; and the 
king gave to her the famous neckLu^ made hj Hephaastus — which proved fatal to 
all who wore it. Ruskin interprets this by tracing the degradation of the severe 
harmony which joins men and builds states (compare the reference to the legend 
in ''The Story of Arachne," § 32: ''the first queen of the city was Harmony") 
to the licentious harmony which is a dissolute force. He finds support for this 
idea even in the word for necklace (Spfios), which is connected with tfya (to fasten), 
but also in another meaning (according to some lexicologists) with 6p/um (to be 
eagerly desirous).] 

* [See, again, Munera Pulveris, § 90 (VoL XVII. p. 211).] 


them would probably assure us, and with perfect truth, that 
they distinctly felt themselves morally stronger and purer 
after such pleasure. But that greater strength of the sou\» 
though actual and undeniable for the time, is a dearly pur- 
chased gain; it is just what the increase of strength by 
over-exciting stimulant is to the body, and the morbid and 
momentary increase of moral sentiment is necessarily fol- 
lowed by general dulness of the moral nerve. So far only, 
however, is this the case as we have compelled the religious 
emotion that it may be a servant to our pleasure. There 
are doubtless persons so lovely and constant of soul that 
their profane life is artificial to them, and the sacred one 
natural; whose thoughts are always at home when at their 
Father's feet, and whose pure lips are then purest when 
they utter His name. These, through their inmost being, 
are incapable of any false delight; to them every pulse of 
accidental passion joins with and deepens the steady current 
of their life. But between these and the common hunter 
after pleasure in pathetic sensation, for whom the strain of 
the cathedral organ is made an interlude to the music of 
the ballet that he may excite his palled sensation by the 
alternate taste of sacred and profSuie, there is an infinite 
range of gradually lowered faculty and sincerity, receiving 
in proportion to the abasement of its temper injury from 
what, to the highest, brings only good. 

21. It is not a good thing for a weak and wicked person 
to be momentarily touched or charmed by sacred art. It 
is a deadly thing for them to indulge in the habitual enjoy- 
ment of it. The Miserere of the Sistine^ sends every one 
home in a degree hardened, who did not come there to ask 
for mercy; and the daily chanted praise of the cathedral 
choir leaves every one who comes not to adore daily less 

^ [The singing of the Miserere in the Papal Chapel was in the times hefore 1870 
a great attraction of Holy Week in Rome. '' There is terrible fighting at the door 
of the Sistine Chapel, to hear the Mieerere" says W. W. Story in his Boba di 
Roma, 1863, vol. i. p. 103; and see ^'H. M/s" Handbook to CfkrUHan and Eodeti^ 
otHcal Rome, 1897, p. 292. For Raskin's own impressions of Church musie at Rome, 
see Vol. I. p. 385.] 


capable of adoration. And as it is with the religious feel-^ 
ings» so in all others capable of being expressed by sound. 
If you have them, and desire truly to utter them, music 
becomes the most perfect utterance; for it is only noble 
life which can be so expressed. Envy, avarice, malice, can^ 
not be written in music, but loyalty can, and love; and 
righteous anger and faith, courage and compassion, pure 
childish cheerfulness, and childish peace; only in these deli- 
cate passions and in the earnest disciplines of life can we 
learn to enter into the chastened sweetness and the ordered 
perfectness of sound. What remnant of the faculty of pity, 
of justice, of spiritual joy or grief, there may be left in us, 
we may by such sounds exalt, if we desire truly to exalt 
them; but if we seek only the pleasure of the sense, then 
the music searches for the dregs of good in our spiritual 
being, and wrings them forth, and drinks them; and thus 
the modem opera, with its painted smiles and feverous 
tears, is only the modulated libation of the last drops of 
our debased blood into the dust. 

22. I pass next to the formative arts of sculpture and 
painting, in both of which two great faculties are con- 
cerned, which, though quite as essential in music, are here 
more visible in function, so that I have delayed until now 
the indication of their place in the Ethical system : I mean 
Imagination and the love of Beauty. I have done my 
best to define the Imaginative Faculty in my written work,* 
and will not attempt farther to define it at present, except 
in the negative, but nevertheless quite accurate way, that 
it is the part of a designer s gift which no teaching can 
communicate.^ Whatever you can teach, or show any other 
person how to do, or lay down any kind of scientific rule 
for, is not imagination. And being thus incommunicable, 
it is the most precious of all art gifts ; it is the essential 
one which alone gives work intrinsic value, and the value 
of this literally is infinite. There is no price for it. And 

^ rSee Modem Painterly vol. il (Vol. IV. p. 219).] 

' [See above^ p. 34^ and compare VoL XVI. pp. 158, d34.] 


fespecting this imagination there is a widely spread popular 
opinion, which, like many other popular opinions, is not 
only at variance with fact, but is at polar reverse with fact. 
It is thought that imagination is an inventor of pleasant 
falsehoods, whereas it is, on the contrary, the intensest dis- 
criminator of virtue and truth. It is the principal part of 
that <ro(l)ia which is truly the aperij rexwyy, and its Amction is 
distinctively 'jrepl rag ap'^a^ aXrjOeveiv; its powcr depends on 
the vastness of its archie knowledge, and that knowledge 

is always hrurnijuL^i Twv Tifmnrrarav} 

28. And hence it follows — ^and this is one of the massive 
And foundational truths to which every faithful investi- 
gator of art principle will at last plough his way — that all 
imagination is moral, more purely and loftily moral in | 
proportion to its strength, so that no imaginative work can | 
be unvirtuous or unbeautiful; and high imaginative work is I 
Always in every other way helpful and divine. And al- 
though, like every other human faculty, this cardinal one 
is subject to certain conditions of disease, yet its own 
nature is so pure that any grossness of disease is soon 
mortal to it ; and if by any mischance of fate it is origi- 
nally given to a man who wilfully uses it unworthily, it 
soon perishes. When oppressed by adverse, external cir- 
cumstances, and forced against its will to contemplate 
vicious and base things, it always passes into a form of in- 
sanity — only some lower conditions of it, chiefly grotesque. 
Are possible to savage nations or uneducated persons, among 
whom there are no honourable things for it to know, nor 
principia of things for it to reach — ^and various abortive and 
cretinous states of it arise out of the conftised influences of 
vice and luxiuy on men in whom it has not strength 
ienough to develop itself and shake them off; these morbid 
states of it are to healthy imagination what the visions of 
typhoid fever are to healthy memory, and may be instantly 
recognized by the haunting presence of frightful images, 

^ [Aristotle: J^MIcf, vi. 7. Compare Aratra Penieliei, § 112, and Eagle'* Nett^ 
Si 1», 23.] 


and especially by a ghastly delight in the contemplation 
of death. 

24. Respecting the other faculty chiefly concerned in 
the formative arts, the love of beauty, T can also state only 
the simplest elements of its definition. 

[Here three pages are missing from the MS. In reporting the 
lecture the Cambridge Chronicle (May S5, 1867) sums up the passage 
thus : — 

'' As to the other faculty essential to sculpture and painting, love 
of beauty, this is not exclusive like the faculty of imagination, but 
is more or less the possession of all whose nature has a healthy tone, 
whilst it is the direct adversary of everything that is associated with 
cruelty, injustice, worldly greed, etc., and so varies in different men. 
In proportion to man's human love will be his love of beauty, and 
it will correspond to his previous ethical condition." Ruskin pro- 
bably used the pages in Lectures on Art, ^ 91, 92.] 

These two following laws only^ — ^which are indeed con- 
stant and sure, and which I doubt not you will wfllingly 
admit to be so — I will state, for such narrow completion of 
the subject as may be at present within my reach. 

25. First, that the extent of possible conception of Deity 
by any man depends on his own pre-existent ethical state. 
You cannot teach the unloving that God is Love, nor the 
unjust that He is Righteous, nor the fool that He is Wise, 
nor the impure that He is Holy. All these names of His 
attributes have only meaning to us, if our own natures are 
capable of the quality they signify; it is only by magni- 
fying what we have felt in ourselves that we attain imagi- 
nation of a spiritual Being greater than ourselves; to the 
savage fierce from feasts of blood his Deity can only appear 
as a convulsed monster yawning for prey; to the tenderly 
nurtured and loving child he appears as a Loving Father. 
According to the degree in which He grants to His crea- 
tures to become like Him is the clearness with which He 
permits them to see Him as He is, and it is only to the 
highest and most disciplined states of human intellect and 
feeling that He at last reveals Himself; and even of that 
Appearance, what can we deem but that it is as a Shadow 
to us who are shadows, as a Personal Power shaping and 


animating all things? Glorious in Holiness, as conquaring 
Death, and putting strength into dust. Fearful in praises — 
as so exhaustless, so exquisite, and so inexorable in working 
— ^that all Praise of Him must, or understanding must, also 
be a form of Terror; and Doing Wonders — ^that is to say, 
so infinite in range of purpose, ever to us visible ; so infinite 
in the fantasy and fitness of means for their accomplish- 
ment ; so consummate in the expression of tranquillity over 
all abiding for ever, that His name must be to us always, 
Wonderful, Counsellor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, 
of the increase of whose government and peace shall be 
no end.^ 

26. Of whose Government and Peace. I must rest upon 
the word. For the second Great Law which we must re- 
cognize as inexorable, is that whatever imperfect state of 
knowledge of God may be granted to the imperfectly con- 
stituted soul — ^a narrow truth, stamped upon narrow being 
— ^it can only grow up into a higher truth so long as it is 
held and acted upon in the peace of a simple, unselfish, 
and laborious life. There is not any so my^erious or dread- 
ful a part of the history of men as the corruption of religious 
faiths sincerely held by the vain agonies and vain pleasures 
of selfish purpose. We do wrong for the most part in 
accusing men of hypocrisy; they are nearly always deceived 
themselves more than they deceive others; and then the 
very strength of their faith communicates itself in some 
dr^ulful way to their vices, gives consistency to their am- 
bition, cloak to their covetousness, and liberty even to their 
lust ; for, dark and mysterious as the history of the Diony- 
siac element is in the pre-Christian ages, it is yet more 
terrible to see it maintain itself in openness side by side 
with the imaginations of baptised faith, colouring the page 
of the psalter with a border of demoniacal and indecent 
phrenzy^^ lurking beneath the foliage and flowers of the 

1 risaiah ix, 6, 7.] 

* [See above, pp. 100 and 102, and below^ p. 365.] 


temple gate, and at last prevailing over accomplished art 
till the Madonna and the Magdal^i are blended together 
in the midisguised seeking for sensual beauty;^ and thence- 
forward the enchantment of Christian art sinks into a foul 
sorcery, and is struck blind at last with the blindness of 
El]n[nas,' and goes about seeking some one to lead it by 
the hand, because it had not understood nor obeyed the 
word of the great promise of vision: /Mucapioi 6i KaOapdi ri 

27. In briefest recapitulation, then, the elements of char- 
acter necessary for the production of true formative art 
will be, first, brightness of physical life, and the manly 
virtues belonging to it; then the broad scope of reflection 
and purpose ; then the distinctive gift of imagination ; the 
innocent perception of beauty; to crown all, the perfect 
peace of an honest and living faith. All this is needed in 
the nature of the artist himself; and yet it is not enough. 
Endowed with all these attributes, or at least capable of 
them, he may still be made helpless by the lower condition 
of persons and things around him. For it is necessary to 
his healthy energy that his subject should always be greater 
than himself. He must not stoop to it, but be exalted by 
it, and paint it with full strain of his force looking upward. 
It is fatal to his strength, to his honour, if he is always 
raising mean things and gilding defiled. He has always 
the privilege, is often under the necessity, of modifying, or 
choosing, or contracting his subject, within assigned limita- 
tions of manners ; but he must always feel that the whole, 
out of which he has chosen, could he have rendered it, was 
greater and more beautiful than the part he chose, and that 
the free fact was greater than his formalism. And there- 
fore it is necessary that the living men round him should 
be in an ethical state harmonious with his own, and that 
there should be no continual discord nor dishonour standing 

1 [See Vol. IV. p. 366.1 
* [Acts xiii. 8.] 
3 [Matthew v. 8.] 


between him and the external world. And thus a lovely 
and ordered unity of civil life is necessary to fulfil the 
power of the men who are raised above its level ; such unity 
of life as expresses itself palpably and always in the states 
capable of formative design by their consenting adaptation 
of a conmiOQ style of architecture for their buildings, and 
of more or less fixed standards of form in domestic fiimi* 
ture and in dress. 

28. The art of dress itself must not be omitted from 
our review, for being that of the whole people, it is of all 
the most closely expressive of its ethical state.^ Imagine a. 
society of persons healthy in body, reserved and gentle in 
temper, habitually dignified and graceful in gesture, desir- 
ing no conspicuousness which they may not deserve more 
honourably than by splendours of dress nor any conceal* 
ment of their position in life, if a humble one, yet having, 
whatever their position, such self-respect as shall enable 
them to wear any dress, even the most splendid, without 
feeling shamed by it. Suppose, farther, that they are sens!** 
tive to the subtlest gradations of line and arrangements of 
hue, and that they are in the habit of living much in the 
open air and associating affectionately with each other, 
none desiring to outvie the rest nor refusing the care and 
time necessary to make their own dress as beautiful as the 
rest desire. Suppose, farther, that a general sense of pro- 
priety and of wise economy governs and restrains the love 
of splendour, that lives habitually industrious and brave 
necessitate simplicity of ordinary dress, and dictate such 
laws as may best preserve the accepted conditions of it 
from useless innovation. From these ethical states of the 
national temper a beautiful art of dress will infallibly 
develop itself; and whatever beauty there is in the dress 
of any nation at a given period, arises from the partial 
operation of such virtues in the mind of the persons who 
set its fashion. 

1 [Compare Vol. VII. p. i28 ; Vol XVI. p. 4B n. ; and Vol. XVIII. p. 40 n.] 


29. We have now passed in brief review the certain 
compass of the mental conditions required in a people be- 
fore it can become capable of noble formative eikergy. It 
is an employment of deep speculative interest, tp which I 
must leave you at your pleasure, to trace the evidence of 
such ethical character, however disturbed or interrupted, in 
the nature of every race which has produced any immortal 
art. But it is not matter of speculative interest, but of 
inmiinent need and duty, if we wish to direct the labour 
of our own hands to be serviceable wisely, that we should 
compare the mental states under which alone it can become 
of value, with those which we find dominant in ourselves 
and in neighbouring nations. 

80. Unhappily it needs little penetration to detect by 
certain conclusive signs what the general ^dog is of every 
separate body into which the force of European national 
life is now divided. The ?do9 of the aristocracy of Europe 
is such that, in every senate, the measures brought under 
discussion are examined primarily not on their own merits, 
but with respect to the acquisition or retention of political 
power in the abstract, and without any, even the most 
distant, reference to any good to be accomplished by it. 
And it would be held strange in the most honourable of 
our assemblies that a man should vote for a measure dis- 
tinctly and sweepingly adverse to his own interests, or to 
those of his party, on conscientious grounds. 

The ^0o9 of the commercial body of European gentle- 
men is such that they have laid down a code of economical 
science, founded on the theory that every man will act ex- 
clusively for his own interest.^ The ?doy of the tradesmen 
of Europe is such that they fiilly and heartily believe it im- 
possible for any entirely honest person to live by his busi- 
ness. And the 96o9 of the populace of Europe is such that 
they will supply soldiers, or submit to taxes, for any war 
of wliich the object is distinctly acquisitive,* so that, in fact, 

1 [See Unto thU La»t, VoL XVIL pp. 25, 104 n.l 
* [See drawn of Wild Olive, Vol. XVIII. p. 480. J 


being nothing else than large troops of adverse banditti, 
they are compelled to live in a state of costly armament of 
reciprocal defiance. 

81. I do not know, gentlemen, what moral rank the 
masters of philosophy in our own Universities would pro- 
nounce persons in these various mental conditions to have 
attained. But this in my own province I know too well, 
that men thus minded are capable of no production or ac- 
ceptance of art deserving the name. That which we possess 
is either an entirely dead and unintelligent reproduction of 
past forms of it; or it is a base application of mechanical 
ingenuities to sensual indulgences; or it is the blighted 
and unnourishing fruit of a fragmentary and isolated virtue 
parched by the pestilence — ^vain fruit, whereof the Mower 
fiUeth not his hand,^ nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom. 
I know that you cannot but at first feel or suspect this to 
be a bitter and exaggerated condemnation of the art which 
surrounds you with so much bright activity and daily plea- 
santness, nor can I justify my statement now, though I 
hope, or rather I fear, to be able to do so wholly in the 
lecture supplemental to this which I have soon to give in 
London.* But if you will consider how much of what we 
do is directly borrowed or imitated; how much of what 
we change is caricatured or debased ; how much of what 
we believe to be our own we confess to be inferior to the 
work of the men of the past ages, though produced under 
scientific advantages which are to theirs as the noon to the 
dawn — ^you cannot but feel how much ground there is for 
humiliation, and how little clue for the direction of hopeful 

82. And even that slight clue we have quitted. There 
is an impression on the public mind that in order to re- 
cover national power in art, some knowledge of its practice 
should be diffused through the mass of the people. 

Now what is really wanted is very nearly the reverse 

^ rPsalms czzix. 7.] 

' [See the next lecture in this volame.] 


of this. It is not to teach the body of the nation to know 
something of art, but to teach the artists of the nation to 
know much of other things. It is not to give a pointer'^ 
education to the populace, but to give a gentlenum^s edu- 
cation to the painter.^ We have seen that by ^ artist or 
punter I mei . person who h« the specW^ f- «^ 
tive work rooted in afiectionateness, in love of justice, and 
in power of imagination. We must no longer permit the 
kindest, truest, and most inventive minds in the nation to 
be the worst educated ; and while by their peculiar constitu- 
tion they are impelled to devote themselves to the finer kinds 
of manual labour, we must endeavour by the strictest train- 
ing to inform and influence them with the thoughts which 
that labour may most usefully express. To understand 
that the artist is one of the principed officers of public in- 
struction, and to prepare our youth reverently for entrance 
into the church of painters, as we now prepare them for 
entrance [into the church of priests], is the first step to 
the making of art itself [a means of popular education. 
Then there should be National Museums of Art giving] 
authoritative presentation to the people of examples of 
good work and authoritative instruction in the indisputable 
methods of it. . . .* 

88. But of these temporary and external remedies I 
shall speak at length in another place ; let me say only here, 
I hope in the deepest reverence, a few closing words, first 
to the pupil and then to the master, respecting that which 
is indeed the only worthy object of the effort of both, the 
kindling of the inner virtue, of which all true art is the 
emanation and all true science the instinct; and the purg- 
ing, with refiner's fire,' the heart, out of whose abundance 

1 [See the opening of the lecture on " The School of Florence " in Vol. XX. ; 
and compare A Joy fwr Ever, § 28 (Vol. XVI. p. 35) ; Cettw nf Agiaia, § 4 (above, 
p. 54} ; and Ariadne Fhrenttnoj §§ 1, 226.] 

' [Two sheets of the MS. are missincr at this point, and the last few lines of 
^ 32 are here conjecturaUy altered and fiUed up. Ijie missing sheets were obviously 
incorporated in the next lecture (see pp. 219 eeq. and p. 229 n.] 

^ [Malachi iii. 2 ; and for the foUowing Bibliosl reference, see above, § 2, 
p. 164.] 


lips must speak and hands labour hereafter for ever. To 
my younger hearers I would desh*e to mark two forms of 
trial to which at this time they are in an unprecedented 
manner exposed. The first and deadliest of these, peculiar 
to your youth, is the contention of opinions round you, 
and collateral uprising of questions within your own hearts, 
respecting the nature of your relations to God, and ques- 
tions which some of ycta may waste life in endeavouring to 
solve, and which others of you — ^perhaps too many — evade 
by carelessness of temper. Earnestly against the waste, and 
yet more earnestly against the carelessness, let me warn you. 
84. All such questions are resolvable in the outset into 
decision between two alternatives, neither of which may be 
met with lightness of heart.^ Either you are entering into 
a life which, however confused and shadowy now, must in- 
crease as day follows day into the light of an immortal and 
irrevocable fate, towards which every tread of your foot is 
an approach, and for which every act of your hands is a 
preparation; or else you are bom but for a moment into 
this miracle of an universe, and allowed for a moment the 
breatliing of its air and the sense of its splendour. For a 
brief astonished pause you may look up to the planets and 
see them roll, and to the clouds and see them float. You 
may hear the sound of the sea, and touch the garments of 
the Earth. The spirit of you expands out of the darkness, 
like the sheet-lightning of the summer twilight. And all 
this is with you. It closes, and all this was and is not. 
One of these alternatives must, I repeat, be true, and if 
you are men you cannot encounter either of them with a 
smile, nor steel yourselves by mockery against the hour 
which must bring you either face to face with Death, or 
face to face with God. But this you know, that whether 
you have to prepare for inexorable judgment or for end- 
less darkness, and for one you must, the deeds and methods 
of life which you will be able joyfully to look back upon 

1 [Compare the author's Introduction to Grown of WUd OUve, Vol. XVIII. 
p. dd4.] 


must be the same, and -that of these glittering days of yours, 
numbered or numberless, no ray should fade that has not 
seen some straui to scatter the evil and confirm the good 
and grace in your souls; that so the light of them may at 
last endure either in the sight of angels, or memory-assisted 
strength of men. Therefore, finally, whatever your fete is 
to be, don't jest with it. 

85. I reserved for this place, separated from all others, 
the statement of the fatallest sign among the evidences of 
our present state of declining virtue, our increasing habit 
of jesting with circumstances of horror and death. When 
a nation is pure the aspects of futurity and judgment are 
always beheld by it with an almost childlike gentleness 
and earnestness — childlike, inasmuch as in the strong sense 
of present joy the fear of death seems taken away, while 
yet the truths of it, and of all that it may involve, are con- 
tinually made matter of contemplation in solemn painting 
and solemn song. But when a nation is frivolous and base, 
it dares not raise its eyes simply to the shade of the horizon, 
but denies Death, and makes light of Him and of His in- 
vitation, going one to his farm, another to his merchandise ; 
and then Death follows us fiercely to the highways and 
hedges, and compels men to come in^ to feast with him 
while they are yet living, with shrouds for their wedding 

86. Then the second trial which you have beyond all 
former extremity to bear, is the temptation to dispeace and 
tormenting strain of ambition, provoked by the manifold 
opportunity and approved by the, in this only not inco- 
herent, clamour of an unhappy age, whose hope is only in 
change, whose satisfaction is for ever removed to what 
it has not, and whose pride is to be promoted to what it 
hitherto is not. You can hardly contend with this fatal 
impulse and possess your own souls in patience, unless you 
be deeply impressed with this primal truth, that it is not for 

» [Luke xiv. 2ai 

^ [Comfmre the following lecture on "Modem Art/' §§ 18-20, pp. 212-213.] 


you to determine what you are or what you shall be. No 
effort of yours can add one cubit to your stature,^ mental 
or bodily. From the womb, your Maker knew and sealed 
you, separated you to your place, and gave you your 
measured power. What you are bom and bound to do, 
and what only you can in truth do, is, knowing both and 
using them, to take that place and develop within its proper 
limits that given quantity of special power. 

87. If you try to exceed the limits of that appointed 
strength, you may indeed appear to have prevailed against 
them all yom* life long, both to yourself and others, but 
you are in truth only a puffed-up and bloated creature, for 
the most part venomously, at the best painfully and peril- 
ously, for yourselves and all who trust you. You may in- 
deed by mortgage of the futurity of life give sudden force 
to its presence, and purchase the crown of instant victory 
with the despised silver of the crown of your grey hairs, 
but, mark you, to overpass your Umits that way, you must 
lose eventually more than you gain; you pay compound 
interest for the advanced wealth, and are in the end, in the 
casting up and sum of you, found wanting.' But this is still 
the least important part of the question for you. By sharp 
eflfort, by vanity, or by cultivating unduly qualities of which 
others can quickly judge, at the cost of those of which they 
cannot judge, you may obtain outward position and estimate 
throughout life entirely above your deserving. Nay, most 
men would think themselves fortunate in any artifice which 
procured them such estimate, and in any fortime which gave 
them, as we say, an opportunity of distinguishing themselves. 
But, young students, remember, no distinction can be really 
fortunate to you, except that of being known to others, as 
to yourselves, precisely for what you are. Greater honoiur 
than that is either disquietude, or labour and sorrow, or 
some form of death. It is a fatal light, which falls on you 
more than you deserve, as the light on a feeble picture, 

^ [Matthew vi. 2?.] 
« [Daniel v. 27.] 


beneath which the colours perish; nay, there is much noble 
light within you which is as the colours of a photograph, 
and would wither in the immodesty that displayed it. Ajid 
all these considerations are yet only the selfish ones* Do I 
need to warn you against the shame of the consciousness 
that your petulant and unblessed success must have over- 
shadowed the deserving, and repressed the useAilness of 
better men than yourselves, and added treachery to im- 
posture? How much happier, how much greater, to keep 
your place and rank in reverent cahn of mind, and to be 
able to in all time echo the words of the great Soldier,^ say- 
ing fearlessly to others, and proudly in your own hearts. 
Not tossed up by the spume of fortune, not drifted at the 
will of the multitude, not by the mischance of competitors, 
not by the IHsgra.ce of others or by my own, but by the 
Grace of God, I am that I am. 

88. And now, last of all, in the most earnest respect let 
me pray you, the masters of this ancient, majestic, and over 
the earth hitherto pre-eminent school of human science and 
thought, to bear with me in patience while I speak a few 
words which are forced from me by utter sorrow of spirit. 
For seven past years* I have spent what poor life and 
strength was in me in the effort to declare to whosoever 
would hear me that all productive prosperity in this Christian 
nation depended on literal obedience to the command of 
the Founder of its Faith : " Seek ye first the Kingdom of 
God and His Justice, and all these things shall be added 
imto you." • And every assertion of this truth, whether by 
my lips or those of any other man, has been invariably met 
with hissing and derision; so that it cannot but appear to 
me as if every class of the English nation was at present 
left by their teachers in ignorance of the nature of the 

^ [St. Paul: ''a food soldier of Jeaus Christ" (2 Timothy u. 3) ; ''by the giaoe 
of God I am what I am" (1 Corinthians xv. 10).] 

* [That is^ from I860, when Unto this Last was written, to the date of the 
present lecture, 1867.] 

s [Matthew vi. 33 ; compare Unto thU LaH, § 44 n. (Vol. XVII. p. 69), and 
Vol iPAmo, § 272.] 


Kingdom for which they are yet taught mechanically to 
pray from their cradles to their graves, and of the nature 
of that Justice of which it is promised that the Famine shall 
be filled, and the thirst quenched with blessing/ While the 
whole strength of the thoughts of the heathen age after 
age was bent on the interpretation of the sacred name of 
Justice, we do not so much as recognise it while we read ; 
and while the childlike astronomy of five hundred years 
ago' read faithfrilly in the flames of heaven this golden 
Legend, '^Diligite Justitiam qui judicatis terram,'' we, with 
the accomplished science of our manhood, do but trace the 
paths of lessonless or unintelligible stars, nor is any tele- 
scope ever raised to resolve the nebula that encompasses the 

word SiKcuoavmi. 

89. Nor indeed is any such interpretation possible unless 
all our knowledge as well as all our possessions be held in 
subordination first to the law of holy life, and unless we 
make it the question of ordeal in our schools of youth not 
what they know, but what they Become.® Nor let it be 
believed, as it has been believed too easily, that it is in our 
power to impart the knowledge but not to enforce the 
habit. Partly in a manly modesty which hates all formal 
profession of conduct — ^partly in a manly pride, which early 
asks to be put upon its trial — it has become the instinct of 
the English people to look to their universities, not for the 
education, but ^e probation of their sons; to dread inter- 
ference with freedom more than error, and formation of 
imposed virtue more than sin. But both these fears, just 
in their origin, become most unwise in their exaggeration; 
most unwise when they lead us to doubt the possibility of 
an ethical discipline both in our schools and colleges which 
shall temper and strengthen the heart of youth before there 
is yet need to prove it, and in the proof itself have respect 

1 [See Matthew r. 6.] 

* [The reierenoe is to the words which the aonls trace in heaven in Dante's 
ParadUo (xviii.) : see Unto thii LaH. § 46 (Vol. XVII. p. 62).] 
' [Compare § 10; above, p. 171. J 



to moral, as the root of intellectual, strength. Nay, better 
that no proof should be made, no signet set, than that 
the years which might be fruitful in reverence and purity 
should be lost in prurient self-assertion, or in the experi- 
mental and timid touch of the fringe of the Tempter's 
garment, from which it is not virtue that wUl issue, but 
Death. Who is the greatest, or who the least among our 
children, may it not perhaps be vain to discern, or to de- 
dare; but not in vain would be the assurance that none, 
here trusted to your shepherding in innocence, went forth 
from your fold torn or betrayed, and that all who came 
approved from your tribimal had lived a knightly life, and 
mixed with no stain of dishonour the dew of their youth. 
What other record can you sinlessly render of them than 
this, holding as you do your authority at once from the 
hope of their dead ancestors, and by the trust of their sires 
on earth, and by delegation from their Father in Heaven 
— authority thrice paternal and divine ;— called therefore to 
hear and to answer in your mortal power and measure 
their prayer and that of all who love them, that you Lead 
them not into Temptation, but deliver them from Evil? 



[BibHographical NUe, — ^Thit lecture was in jMurt delivered at the Royal 
Institution^ Albemarle Street, on Friday^ June 7> 1867; the President, 
Sir Henry Holland, Bart, F.R.S., in the Chair. A mention of the lecture, 
with the full title as given opposite but without any abstnct, appears in 
the Institution's Notices qf Proceedings, voL v. p. 187- 

The lecture was briefly reported in the Daify Teiegraph, June 11, 1867 ; 
the report was reprinted in IffdrasU, December 1891, voL iiL pp. 184-185, 
and thence in the privately issued JStwActniana, part iL, 1892, p. 206. 

The report says, '' The speaker concluded by a few g^eral suggestions 
as to what features are desirable in a National Gallery, most of which he 
did not read, but left for publication in the Proceedings of the Institution." 
No abstract of the lecture, however, appeared there. It is clear from a 
passage in Time and Tide (Vol. XVU. p. 469) that Ruskin intended to 
include the lecture in one of his books. This, however, he never did ; 
and it is now for the first time printed from the author's manuscript. 
Some passages in the MS. were struck through, in order to shorten the 
lecture in delivery, but it is here given as originally written.] 



(A Lecture delivered at the British Institution^ 1867) 

1. Ladies and Gentlemen, — I never began an address 
under a more painful sense of its needing a long and very 
sinc^i^ly apologetic preface, nor with less time to speak one, 
for, as it is, I have had the greatest difficulty in bringing 
what I desired to lay before you into any manageable com- 
pass, and I have been forced to set down many things in 
apparently broken connection, to which I must in the out- 
set try to give tenable clue. The whole body of the public 
is now interested and agitated by many questions respecting 
academies, galleries, and exhibitions of art; our preparatory 
art schools are becoming important national institutions, 
and their productions a valuable item of national wealth. 
But in all these efforts one fact seems to me much over- 
looked, and just the fact which, after thirty years of study 
of this subject, is of all that I perceived the most clearly 
manifest to me, namely, that the teaching of art from with- 
out is quite unimportant compared to the instinct of it 
from within; that we cannot by formal instruction obtain 
anything but a delusive imitation of it, and that all of 
it which is genuine springs necessarily from the national 
temper and life.^ 

2. The art of a nation much resembles the corolla of 
a flower; its brightness of colour is dependent on the 

^ [Compare the preceding lecture and Qiieeii (^ the Air, §§ 102 §eq, (pp. 389 eeq,) ; 
see also Sesame and lAHee, g 34 (Vol. XVIU. p. 88).] 



general health of the plant, and you can only command 
the hue, or modify the form of the blossom, by medicine 
or nourishment applied patiently to the root, not by mani- 
pulation of the petals. I am going to endeavoiur, therefore, 
this evening, first to sketch in such brief way as may be in 
the time possible, some of the main characteristics of our 
modem European art, in their connection with the phases 
of temper and moral habit to which they owe their origin, 
as far as I can understand them; then, in the second place, 
I shall endeavour to state some of the practical means by 
which instruction may be given in harmony with [what] is 
best, and correction of what is dangerous, in these popular 
dispositions. And I will enter at once on my task with 
this plea for your indulgence, that if the little I can touch 
upon in so complex a subject seems to you rightly traced, 
you must not withhold your consent to it because much 
must always remain to be explained, nor blame me if, 
endeavouring in the space of half-an-hour to sketch the 
scheme of machinery [for] a most important branch of 
public education, I cannot enter into the detailed question 
of the ways and means for its immediate establishment. 

8. Addressing ourselves, therefore, to discern the inner 
impulse and temper of our modern art, I would say that 
its first characteristic is its Compassionateness — its various 
human sympathy even warping it away fix)m its own proper 
sources of power, and turning the muse of painting into 
a sister of Charity. And this is especially shown in the im- 
portance which subjects exhibiting the Ufe of the humbler 
classes have assumed, and by the delicate treatment of 
these. For in older art poverty was only studied for its 
picturesqueness — ^now it is tenderly watched for its mental 
character; of old we painted only the rags of the poor — 
but now, their distress. For indeed, though there never 
was a period in which that distress was more wantonly and 
widely inflicted by carelessness, there also never was a 
period in which it was so faithfully and brotherly pitied 
and helped, when it is truly discerned. The sentence which 


Eug&ne Sue takes for his text in the Mysteries of Paris ^ — 
*^ Si les Riches savaient " — ^is indeed the key to aU our error 
and cruelty — " If the Rich only knew.** 

4. I need only give you one instance — ^you will remember 
multitudes — ^but I name' a French painter whose name — 
like that of Michael Angelo, and of Raphael, and of Titian, 
and of Rubens — ^is so curiously expressive of his appointed 
task^ — ^Edward Fr^re (Edward the Brother). I name him, 
for though his own work is not now what it was once, he 
has educated a large school of followers in France, many 
of them worthy ones, and he has done this because — forgive 
me if I read you words written of him long ago, for they 
contain just what I want to say, and it is needless to alter 
them — ^because he has ^* approached the simplest subject with 
perfect feeling of its great humanity, conscious of all the 
most solemn pathos which there is in the crowned sorrows 
of poverty, and calm submissions of toil; interpreting to 
the fiill, and for the first time in the history of sacred 
paintings, the great words of the first Beatitude. For the 

1 [For other references to the MytUres de Paris, see Vol. V. p. 372 n. ; VoL VI. 
p. dd8 ; and VoL XIV. p. 92.] 

' [The MS. as first written reads: — 

'^I name the work of £dward Frere (and note for an instant coin- 
eidenoe of names — Michael, Raphael, Tiziano, Rubens, Fr^re), and I will read 
this note on the picture of the Prayer. [Academy Notet, 1867 Qfo^ XIV. 
p. 143).] But recollect^ also, as a net especially memorable, indicative of 
this svmpathy, [one of] the ffreatest masters now living in England learned 
the dialect of tiie lowest and guiltiest classes of the poor in London, and 
disguised himself and lived among them until he knew them thoroughly, 
and then devoted all the remaining energy of his life to redeem them 
from the habits of drunkenness which he supposed to be the origin of their 
misery. That is the primal ..." 
For the allusions to Cruikshank, see Centos qf Aglaia, § 25 (above, pp. 76-77).] 

' [Ruskin was fond of finding this kind of significance in names. Thus in one 
of his note-books he says : — 

^'Rubens, of the moon, in Horace, Odee, ii. 11, 10. Singular! The 
names Titian and Rubens' warm moonlight'^ 
And in a letter to his father he wrote (Momez, March 22, 1863) :— 

"The great old wrathful legislator's name, Draco, the Dragon, fits ex- 
actly as I want — legislation or law of the warm and of death — ^the worm 
that dies not. lliere is a curious providence in the names of many great 
men. 'Titian' is colour and touch, in sound. Shakespeare — what could 
have been mnderP Dante, Spenser, Milton — what sweetness in mere 
syllable ! Shellev— just what he was, sweet, distorted, wild on sea shore, 
and so on. Michael Angelo — ^the whole soul of the man in his name." 
For the reference here to '^ Draconian," see Munera PulwrU, § 120 (VoL XVII. 
p. 120); the passage in Horace is ''neque uno Luna rubens nitet voltn."] 


poverty which was honoured by the great painters and 
thinkers of the Middle Ages was an ostentatious, ahnost a 
presumptuous poverty; if not this, at least it was chosen 
and accepted — the poverty of men who had ... a proud 
understanding of their own self-denial, and a confident hope 
of future reward. But it has been reserved for this age to 
perceive and tell the blessedness of another kind of poverty 
than this — not volimtary nor proud, but accepted and sub- 
missive; not clear-sighted nor triumphant, but subdued and 
patient ; • • • too laborious to be thoughtful, too innocent to 
be conscious, too long experienced in sorrow to be hopefiil, 
waiting in its peaceful darkness for the unconceived dawn; 
yet not without its own sweet, complete, untainted happi- 
ness, like intermittent notes of birds before the daybreak, 
or the first gleams of heaven's amber on the eastern grey. 
Such poverty as this is has been reserved for the age to 
come to honour it, and to spare. "^ 

5. (I.) That is the primal characteristic then of modem 
art — ^its compassionateness. It draws the poor instead of 
the noble. It draws by choice Peasants instead of Kings, 
Feasants instead of Gods. Or is it indeed in their stead 
that it draws them ? May we not ask at a pause whether it 
could find elsewhere Gods and Kings to draw? Whether 
what of kingly and Divine it can find be not mostly among 
the lowly, and whether what seems a preference of the 
wretched before the noble, be not a kind of witness that 
in these days the wretched are the most noble? 

6. (II.) Then the second characteristic is Domesticity. 
All previous art contemplated men in their public aspect, 
and expressed only their public Thought. But our art 
paints their home aspect, and reveals their home thoughts. 
Old art waited reverently in the Forum. Ours plays 
happily in the Nursery ; we may caU it briefly — condusivcdy 
— ^Art of the Nest. It does not in the least appeal for 
appreciation to the proud civic multitude, rejoicing in pro- 
cession and assembly. It appeals only to Fapa and Mama 

1 [Aeadmg Nate$, 1868 (VoL XIV. pp. 174-175). Rut kio omits two pasMgM from 
this oztract.] 


and Nurse. And these not being in general severe judges, 
painters must be content if a great deal of the work pro- 
duced for their approbation should be ratified by their's only. 

7. (III.) Connected with this Domestic character is the 
third, I am sorry to say now no more quite laudable, attri- 
bute of modem work — ^its shallowness. A great part of the 
virtue of Home is actually dependent on Narrowness of 
thought. To be quite comfortable in your nest, you must 
not care too much about what is going on outside. You 
must be deeply interested in little things, and greatly enjoy 
moderate thkigs; that is all very bright and right on one 
side of it, but the morals of home, like its prettiest tapestry, 
have a wrong side as well as a right, and when we simply 
transfer that phrase of home morality to art morality, and 
say that this art of the nest ''is deeply interested in little 
things and greatly enjoys moderate things," we seem to 
have turned our wrong side outwards. And thus while the 
pictures of the Middle Ages are full of intellectual matter and 
meaning — schools of philosophy and theology, and solemn 
exponents of the faitiis and fears of earnest religion — we 
may pass furlongs of exhibition wall without receiving any 
idea or sentiment, other than that home-made ginger is 
hot in the mouth, and that it is pleasant to be out on the 
lawn in fine weather. 

8. (IV.) But farther — ^and worse. As there is in the 
spirit of domesticity always a sanctified littleness, there may 
be also a sanctified selfishness, and a very fearful one. A 
man will openly do an injustice for his family's sake which 
he would never have done for his own ; and the womanly 
tenderness, meant by Heaven to comfort the stranger and 
cherish the desolate,^ may, in totally unconscious selfish- 
ness, passionately exhaust itself in the sweet servilities and 
delicious anxieties of home. To every great error there is 
as great an opposite error, and the fault of modesty and 
simplicity which is blind to every duty but that of the 
£unily, and to every need but that of the native land, has 

1 [Compare Seiame and IAMe9, §§ 86 seq. (Vol. XVIII. pp. 136 m?.)] 


been fatally reversed by the ascetic or missionary enthusiasm 
which fills the convent quiet with useless virtue, and slakes 
the desert sands with noble blood. 

But between these there is a state of disciplined citizoi- 
ship, in which the household, beloved in solemn secrecy of 
faithfulness, is nevertheless subjected alwa]^ in thought and 
act to the deeper duty rendered to the larger home of the 
State. This ideal of citizenship has been always approached 
in states capable either of great art or wise legislation. 
From this ideal we have grievously fallen; we have re- 
tracted our consciences and affections wholly under the 
shadow of the roof, and losing the tenure and edified 
strength of national fellowship, have rounded our interests 
into petty spheres that clash together like the dissolute 
pebbles of the beach. To such a nation no policy is pos- 
sible but one determined by chance, and no art possible 
but that of petty purposes and broken designs. 

9. (V.) Then tiie next characteristic of modem art, 
sequent partly upon this privacy and partly on the extent 
of recent discovery, is its eccentricity. As we Uve much 
by ourselves, so we form strong personal characters and pre- 
judices, and these are farther modified by the variety of 
circumstance induced by modem adventure and invention, 
while the difiiculty of consistent teaching multiplies with 
our multitudes, and the sense of every word we utter is 
lost in the hubbub of voices. Hence we have of late 
learned the little we could, each of us by our own weary 
gleaning or collision with contingent teachers, none of whom 
we recognize as wise, or listen to with any honest rever- 
ence. If we like what they say, we adopt it and over-act 
it; if we dislike, we refuse and contradict it. And there- 
fore our art is a chaos of smaU personal powers and pre- 
ferences, of originality corrupted by isolation or of borrowed 
merit appropriated by autograph of private folly. It is full 
of impertinent insistence upon contrary aims and competitive 
display of diverse dexterities, most of them ignorant, all of 
them partial, pitifully excellent, and deplorably admirable. 


10* (VI.) And the last of which I would speak, and 
most fatal, in some of its consequences, of all habits of 
modem art, is its desire of dramatic excitement. And here 
I must pause for a moment to explain clearly the difference 
between constant and dramatic art. Constant art repre- 
sents beautiful things, or creatures, for the sake of their 
own worthiness only; they are in perfect repose, and are 
there only to be looked at. They are doing nothing. It is 
what they are, not what they are doing, which is to in- 
terest you.^ Perugino's St. Michael in our National Gallery, 
for instance, or Donatello's St. George (at Kensington), or 
the Theseus of the Parthenon, or the Venus of Melos, are 
instances.^ They are simply standing to be looked at — ^you 
have not the least notion what they are going to do or 
what they are thinking. All the greatest work of the 
Greeks and all good portraiture of every age is of this 
kind. Dramatic art, on the other hand, represents an 
action in some way; the personages of it may be as noble 
or beautifiil as those of the classic school, but they must 
be doing or suffering something, and the spectator is in- 
terested in what is happening, as well as by the beauty of 
the actors or sufferers. Leonardo's Cena, Michael Angelo's 
Last Judgment, and Raphael's Cartoons are received ex- 
amples of dramatic art. Now, of course, you may unite 
both of these characters. Retaining the perfectness of form 
which is essential in the dassic school, you may add gradu- 
ally more and more of interest to the action until, as in 
Titian's Assumption or Tintoret's Christ before Pilate, it 
becomes, to the ordinary spectator, of dominant attraction.' 

^ [Compare what Roskiii mys in a similar tense in ** Verona and its Riyers," §§ 26- 
28 (below^ pp. 444-445, where he again instances the Pemgino as a case in point), 
and The RdatUm ^ Michael Angeio to Tintcret (where he instances Donatello).! 

' [For other references to the Perugino (No. 288 in the National Gallerr), see 
Vol. AV. p. 170 n. Donatello's ''St. George" at the South Kensington Museum 
is an ancient cast, in a canred wooden frame of the sixteenth century, from the 
marhle has-relief at the Church of Or San Michele in Florence ; for another refer- 
ence to it, see Mominge in Florence^ § 16. For the numerous references to the 
'^ Theseus" in the British Museum, see the General Index; and for the Venus of 
Melos in the Louvre, (tuBen ^ the Air, § 167 (below, p. 413) ; Aratra Pentekci, 
§ 194 ; and again The BelatUm </ Michael Angeio to TVfitoret.] 

s [For the dramatic, ** bustling" quality of Titian's ''Assumption/' see the Quide to 
tke Venstian Academy; for "Christ before Pikte," Vol. IV. p. 274, and VoL XI. p. 427.] 


The best masters introduce it usually with great re- 
serve. In the statue of the Apollo Sauroctonos^ tiie char- 
acter of the Power which cleanses the Earth and Heaven 
from all impurity is expressed by the very slight drama of 
killing a Lizard. In Raphael's Parnassus' the interest is 
Uttle more than that of conversation among majestic com- 
pany. In the Heliodonis the drama equally divides the 
claim of the whole work, but the great masters never allow 
more than that divided claim. The abstract majesty of the 
figures is secured first, whether their act be interesting or 
not. In vulgar art, on the contrary, the drama or story 
become principal; the spectator does not care whether the 
figures are beautiful or rightly executed, he only cares about 
what is going on. 

11. Now this dramatic art is vulgar for two reasons — ^the 
first, that vulgar people can enjoy a story though they can- 
not judge of perfect form or character ; and the second, that 
the nobler a person is as a subject of art, the more interest- 
ing it becomes to see rather what he is than what he is 
doing. The nature and essence of him is eternal and of 
infinite moment — that is what you want to see. Nothing 
that he can momentarily do or sustain is of any import- 
ance compared with that. Now the entire tendency of 
modem art is to become dramatic. The lower people of 
course like it, and inferior painters can produce it. For 
one man who can paint a beautiful form ten can tell a 
pleasant story, and ten times ten can tell an unpleasant 
story. Nevertheless, a great deal of very lovely result has 
been obtained, on both sides, in humour and in pathos — 
Wilkie and Leslie,' and the schools they have founded (there 
is an exquisite little piece of quiet drama by Leslie's son 
in the Academy of this year: "Ten minutes to decide'**), 

^ [There are itataes of this sahject, founded on the work of Praxiteles, in the 
Louvre and the Vatican respectirely.] 

' [For the Parnassus, see ahove, p. 103 ; for an allunon to the '^ Expulsion of 
Heliodoms/' in another of the Stanze of the Vatican, For9 davigaroy Letter 20.1 

* [For Ruskin's views on Wilkie, see Vol. XVI. p. 415 and n. ; and for Leslie, 
Vol. XIV. p. 37.1 

* [No. 131 in the Royal Academy of 1867 : hy 6. D. Leslie, now R.A. The 
picture (painted for Sir Edwin Landseer, and now in the possession of Lady Wantage) 


Paul de la Roche ^ and his school — and many excellent Grer- 
man and Flemish painters^' among whom I cannot venture 
to particularize, have contributed greatly to the instruction 
and comfort of innumerable households ; and as the peculiar 
instinct of a century always has some culminating expres- 
sion — the landscape interest, which begins in liking to play 
on the lawn, culminated in Turner — so the dramatic inte- 
rest, which begins in merely domestic incident, rose into 
the splendid and passionate effort lately made by the best 
of our younger painters in religious art, of which I must 
ask your leave to explain, at the risk of some tediousness, 
the actual nature. 

12. Observe, first, one of the chief ways in which the 
great masters kept their Dramatic subordinate to their 
Constant art was by suggesting the action in a quaint and 
unliteral manner; not as it ever could have actually hap- 
pened, but as the sign of its having happened, or rather 
of something greater having happened. Take this sketch 
of Holbein's, for instance.' I cannot show you a grander 
piece of ideal art It is not meant here that the angel is 
striking, or the demon struggling, or the little soul pulling 
at the scales in any physical manner. All three actions 
are in some degree purposefully impossible and false to 
show that they are ideal and symbolical actions, meaning 
a very different thing from common striking and common 
weighing. Now there is nothing more beautiful than this 
kind of reserve as practised by the great men ; but an evil 
consequence followed from it — ^that people got out of the 
habit of thinking at all how things did take place or could 

repreaents the troubles of a girl whose &ther withes her to marry some one against 
her inclinations. He stands, a short distance off, on a little bridge with his watch 
in his hand^ having given her '^ten minutes to decide." A girl friend is giving 
her comfort or advice ; a servant^ with a horse^ is at a gate, in the background, 
waiting to carry the lady's answer. The scene takes place in a garden with a brook 
mnning through it] 

1 [For Paul Delaroehe, see above, p. 60.] 

> [As, for instance, in the painters of the DQsseldorf school, mentioned in 
VoL VIL p. 338.] 

* [Ruskin here showed a photograph of Holbein's drawing (No. 133 in the 
Museum of BAle) of the Archangel Michael ; with the scales in his left hand, he 
holds a sword above his head as if to strike Satan, who is trying to weigh down a 
Redeemed Soul in the opposite scale.] 


really have taken place, and, by accepting symbols of drama 
for true drama, gradually came to regard the truths of 
human history and religion as if they were all symbolisms.^ 
And besides that, a quantity of utterly vile and vapid art 
followed in imitation of the great school in which the drama 
was false from real want of understanding or invention and 
not from reserve. And against this false and decayed school 
rose up the modem English school of true and literal 
drama. Turner's picture of Apollo killing the Pjiihon,* 
as opposed to the treatment of the same subject on Greek 
vases, is the first great example of it that I know ; but the 
founder and leader of the school, in its more important re- 
lations to Christian art, was Dante Gabriel Rossetti.* He 
was the first who set the example of a living dramatic 
truth in conceptions of events in sacred history. We will 
not any more, said he and his followers, think of Christ 
and the Madonna as they never could have been seen by 
human eyes. We will not make the figures of them mere 
illuminated letters for the better glorifying of our own 
sentiments. We will think of them to the utmost of our 
power as they were truly seen on the earth — as they lived 
and moved and suffered. We may think erroneously, but 
at least we will think honestly and earnestly, and paint 
what seems to us likeliest to have been the fact.^ 

18. Together with Rossetti, and at first working wholly 
under his guidance, but differing from him entirely in cer- 
tain conditions of temperament, and especially in having 
purer sympathy for the repose of the Constant schools, rose 
up another, I do not fear to say, great dramatic master — 
Edward Bume-Jones. He did not begin art early enough 

^ [Rutkin traces this prooeta more at length in the fourth chapter of the third 
volnme of Modem Pamten (VoL V.).] 

> [No. 488 in the National Gallerv : aee VoL XIII. p. 122, and the other panagee 
there noted. Ruskin aftenrarda took a typical Greek representation of ApoUo and 
the Python (on a coin, however, not a vase) for comparison with the dramatic 
methods of modem art : see Aratra PtwMd, § 192, and the plate there.] 

' [Compare The Three Ookmre qf Pre-BaphaeUtiemy and Leetare i. (*' Realistic 
Schools of Painting") in The Art ^ Engtand.] 

^ [Here the MS. has *' Then explain picture." Raskin showed perhaps his draw- 
ing by Rossetti of ''The Passover'^ ; or a photograph of the picture " Eooe Andlla 
Domini/' which he analyses in The Three Co/cure ^ Fre^RaphaeiiHem, § a] 











in boyhood;^ and therefore, in spite of all his power and 
genius, his pictures were at first full of very visible faults, 
which he is gradually conquering. In spite of what still 
remain of these, his designs bid fair to be quite dominant 
in the English dramatic school;' and already, in those 
qualities which are most desirable and inimitable, may chal- 
lenge comparison with the best dramatic design of the great 
periods, and in its purity and seeking for good and virtue 
as the life of all things and creatures, his designs stand, I 
think, unrivalled and alone. 

14. I did not mean this to be an illustrated lecture, and 
I only sent in to-day what I could lay hand on. This 
first cartoon is a sketch for tapestry, fix>m Chaucer, of Love 
bringing in Alcestis.' Alcestis, as you know, is the Greek 
womanly type of the faithfulness and eternity of Love. 
She gives up her life for her husband's, and is then restored 
to him from the grave. In Chaucer the Spirit of Love 
which leads her is only that of perfect human passion : — 

^* Ydothed was this mighty God of Love 
In silk^ embroudered full of red rose leaves — 
The freshest since the world was first begun — 
And his gilt hair was crowned with a sun 
Instead of gold ; 

And in his hand methought I saw him hold 
Two fiery darts, as the coals red; 
And angel-like his wings I saw him spread."^ 

1 [Bume-Jones had been intended for the Church. The ''first step in his 
artistic life" (a series of pen and ink designs) was not taken till he was twenty-one, 
and it was not till 1866 that, under Rossetti's influence, he finally selected the 
artistic career. ''He was now close upon twenty-three years of age, a time when 
painters should have mastered the mecnanical part of their craft, and he was only 
at its beginning" (MemoriaU qf Edward Bume-Jonet, vol. L pp. 100, 136).] S^r'**! 

> [Ten years later Ruskin proclaimed the realisation of such predictions. "The 
work of Bume^ones, he said, "is simply the only art-work at present produced 
in England which will be received by the future as 'classic' in its kina" (Fort 
(Uamgera^ Letter 79) ; and compare, again. The Art pjf England, Lecture ii., and 
The Three Coloure qf Pre-BaphaeiitUm,'] 

' fPlate VI. ; the sketch is now in the Ruskin Drawing School.] 

^ [From the Prologue to the Legende qf Ooode Women. Chaucer wrote, after 
the first line : — 

" In silke embrouded, ful of grene greves, 
In which a fret of rede rose leves." 

The fifth line continues^ "for hevynesse and wyghte," and then Ruskin omits two 
lines. The last line but one is in the original, "Twoo firy dartes, as the gledes rede " 
(gledes Inhuming coals).] 


But in this design the painter has gone fSeuiiier into the 
meanmg of the old Greek myth, and he has given the 
Spirit of the Love that lives beyond the grave — ^pilgrim love» 
which goes forth into another country and to a far distant 
shrine, and thinks to find no resting-place but in heaven — 

"Love that gioweth into faith; 
Love that seeth over death ; 
Love that, with his loving eyes. 
Looks on into Paradise." 

I do not know yet in art the expression of any so beauti- 
ful thought as this, respecting the purest source of human 
valour and virtue. 

15. Then this second cartoon/ also from the Legend of 
Good Women,* is of the two wives of Jason — Hypsipyle and 
Medea; and I want you to note in it again the special 
gift of the painter in seizing the good, and disdaining 
evU. For in the legend of Medea — as we usually read it 
and think of it — a common painter would have discerned 
only a cruel and enraged sorceress. But Medea is more 
than a Sorceress.' Her name means Counsellor, Designer 
— as the name of Jason means the healer; she is, in fact, 
the Pallas or Minerva of the lower phases of human art, 
and her terror is that of Wisdom forsaken or despised, 
corresponding to the snake-fringed segis of Pallas hersel£ 
Again Hypsipyle is the type of the patience and protective 
gentleness of the affections — she having saved her father 
from the rage of the Lemnian women ^ — and the painter has 
therefore endeavoured to express together these two ideals 
of gentleness and wisdom, but the last, in the power of it 
and the authority, dark and inexorable. 

16. There is another picture I must name, by Bume- 
Jones — the Dorothea in the water-colour exhibition; but 




^te VII. ; also in the Ruskin Drawing SchooL] 
The ''Legenda Ypsiphile et Medee, Martiris."] 
[Compare Ethia of the DuH, § 78 (Vol. XVIIL p. 206).] 

* At rekted bj Ovid in the Heroidei, £p. vi. When 
put aU their men to death, Hypsipyle spaied the life of her 

When the other Lemnian women 
£ither^ the king, Thoaa.] 


before coming to it I have a word or two to say respect* 
ing the entire influence of dramatic painting on our modem 
thirst for occasional display in these great Paris and London 
exhibitions. This fury for the sight of new things, with 
which we are now infected and afiiicted, though partly the 
result of everything being made a matter of trade, is yet 
more the consequence of our thirst for dramatic instead of 
classic work. For when we are interested by the beauty 
of a thing, the oftener we can see it the better; but when 
we are interested only by the story of a thing, we get tired 
of hearing the same tide told over and over again, and 
stopping always at the same point — ^we want a new story 
presently, a new and better one — and the picture of the day, 
and novel of the day, become as ephemeral as the coifiure 
or the bonnet of the day. Now this spirit is wholly ad- 
verse to the existence of any lovely art. If you mean to 
throw it aside to-morrow, you never can have it to-day. 
If any one had really understood the motto from Keats, 
which was blazoned at the extremity of the first Manchester 
exhibition building,^ they would have known that it was 
the bitterest satire they could have written there, against 
that building itself and all its meanings — '* A thing of beauty 
is a joy for ever.*' It is not a joy for three days, limited 
by date of return ticket, nor is it ever produced by a man 
who works for exhibition; I do not say that the best men 
rvill never work for exhibition, but I do say that so far as 
they allow any such motive to affect them, their work 
becomes bad. The best art that at any given time may be 
produced, is produced by the best men working in peace, 
not for large bribe of money, not for wide clash of popular 
acclaim, but for moderate pay and for sober spectators, and 
out of the abundance of their own hearts;^ and when a 
thing is so done, it is an inheritance for ever — ^nothing can 
afterwards take its place. 

17. For at every national epoch there is a certain virtue 

1 [See A Joy for Ever, Preface of 1880 (Vol. XVL p. 11).] 
' [Matthew xii. 34 : compare pp. 164^ 188.] 



peculiar to it which, when once rightly embodied, under 
whatever limitation of knowledge, gives an eternal value to 
the thing so honourably done. And every year of a nation's 
life ought to add steadily to this accumulated mass of true 
ancestral treasure, in which its history should be inscribed — 
in which, if it really have a history, it is sure to be in- 
scribed — ^more deeply and brightly than in any books; and 
thus its houses, its streets, its churches, its places of public 
resort and public occupation should be gradually increasing 
in riches of harmonious and intelligent art by every law of 
intellect demonstrably worthy, and to every healthy instinct 
of life delightful. From such result, and all possibility of 
it, we are every day farther receding — art is the monster of 
a caravan; our exhibitions are neither more nor less than 
bazaars of ruinously expensive toys, or of pictures degraded 
to the function of toys;^ and our real wealth and progress 
in creative power are indicated only by Babylonian wilder- 
nesses of brickfield, white with slime, by a continually 
festering cancer of waste ground among skeletons of build- 
ings, rotten before they are inhabited, and by the extend- 
ing procession, wherever there was once cleanliness or 
dignity and peace, of the unclean paling, frescoed only by 
the bill-sticker with pictures of talking heads fallen from 
the guillotine, and advertisements of dbeap clothes at the 
sign of the Bon Diable. Now I assure you solemnly that 
these squalid spaces of filth and disorder, and these frescoes 
of the bill-sticker — one more monstrous than the other — and 
these shops in your main public thoroughfares filled with 
base photographs and the woodcuts of murder and burglary, 
which render your penny literature chiefly saleable, these 
are your true elements of popular education — ^these, as op- 
posed to the frescoed cloister of the Campo Santo of Pisa 
and frescoed streets of Padua and Verona — and against this 
popular education your art schools cannot stand. If you 

^ [Compare wh»t Ruskin saya of the aeriousnees of true art, iu Modem PaMenf 
vol. ii. (Vol. IV. p. 26).] 


teach broad-cast evil in the highway, you shall teach no 
good in the school. 

18. And now from that magnificent popular fresco of the 
talking head, let me go back to Bume-Jones's Dorothea.^ 
I do so that it may illustrate for you this great principle 
respecting the usefulness or mischief of Dramatic work. So 
long as the incidents you are required to take pleasure in 
are pleasurable and honourable, the character of the art is 
safe; but the moment the incidents are painful or ignoble, 
you are on steep steps of ruin. Now in that Dorothea, 
which is nearly a perfect dramatic work, the entire in- 
terest is concentrated on the beautiful circumstance of the 
angel bringing the flowers from heaven. The burial of St. 
Dorothy is far in the background. Had this same subject 
been treated by one of the Caracci or by Domenichino ' the 
dead body would have been in the foreground with the 
visible gash through the neck, and the angel with the roses 
in an imperceptible comer. Now it would be perfectly 
possible, by no other test than this mode of regarding 
painful and beautiful incident, to separate for you the schools 
of all time into great families. More simply, I may say, 
by their modes of regarding Life and Death, Beauty and 
Corruption. By no more crucial test could you examine 

^ [No. 12 in the summer exhibition (18G7) of the Royal Society of Painters in 
Water-Colonrs : ^'Theophilos and the Angel : a Legend of the Martyrdom of St. 
Dorothea." llie drawmg was again exhibited at 91 Jade's, Whitechapel^ 1883^ 
when the following explanatory note was given in the Catalogue : ''The story teUs 
that when Dorothea, a Christian martyr, was being led out to execution, Theophilos, 
a young lawyer, had called out mockingly, ' Send me, I pray thee, of the fruit and 
flowers of that same garden of Paradise, of which thou hast spoken.' Dorothea had 
promised to grant his request, and had gone cheerfully to death. The picture shows 
us on the nght her sorrowing friends bearing her body to burial, whilst in the 
centre we see the Roman consul leaving the marketrplace, where a platform has 
heen erected close to the block for the Roman ladies to see the execution. On the 
left is TheophiluB, no longer mocking, but already with ' a new perception bom of 
grieving love ' ; and, as he turns, he will see the angel holding a basket of roses 
and apples, who will say to him, ' Dorothea has sent these to thee, and awaits thee 
whence thev came.' Ineophilus, so the story runs, straightway resolved to become 
a soldier of Christ, and following Dorothea's example, ol&ined like her the Crown 
of Martyrdom." The drawing was again shown, by Mr. A. £. Street, at the Bume- 
Jones Exhibition at the New Gallery in 1896-1809 (No. 72).] 

' [For the '^ coarseness" of the Caracci, see Modem Painters^ voL ii. (VoL IV. 
p. 254) ; for the baseness of Domenichino, Urid., vol. L (Vol. III. p. 184).] 


the schook of literature and art than simply by their mode 
of regarding Death itself — ^from the battles of Homer and 
the gloom of Greek tragedy, through the Trionfo della 
Morte of Orcagna ^ down to Shakespearian tragedy and Hfoh- 
bein's Dance of Death, and all that is connected with 
these; and, in evil modernism, through the dissection scene 
of Rembrandt down to the raft of the Medusa' and other 
typical examples of modem sensational drama.* 

19. I think it is the strangest form of curse and cor*- 
ruption which attends humanity, but it is a quite inevitable 
one, that whenever there is a ruthless pursuit of sensational 
pleasure it always ends in an insane and wolf-like gloating 
over the garbage of Death.^ As I have shown you hare an 
instance of the highest reach of modem art, on the sacred 
side of it, so I have here in my hand some leaves exem- 
plifying this its worst corruption. 

I could have brought far worse ones, if I had chosen, 
out of the work of the man whom the British public has 
called, almost by acclamation, to illustrate its Bible for it, 
and Tennyson's Elaine^ Look at these leaves a little after 
the lecture, and turn from them to these, and meditate for 
yourselves upon this most significant fact, that here in re- 
ligious England this man's work has been mocked and de- 
spised, and this man's, Gustave Dora's, received with a 
^out of devotional enthusiasm. 

20. But as you cannot see the leaves at this distance, 
that you may understand clearly what I mean, I will 

1 [For other references to this fresco, see Vol. V. p. 86^ Vol. XII. pp. 112, 146, 
224 ; and for Holbein's '' Dance of Death/ Vol. V. p. 131, Vol. XV. p. 380.] 

* [For Rembrandt's ''Anatomy Lesson/' see above, p. 110. The ''Raft of 
the Medusa," by J. L. A. T. G^ricault (1791-1824), was exhibited in London in 1820, 
and attracted great notice then. It is now in the Louvre (No. 338^ For another 
reference to the picture (there referred to as "The Starving Crew ), see Lecturer 
on Landscape, § 43.] 

> [Here Raskin continued : " But the sum of all is this, that when a nation is 
ethically pure and noble ..." (repeating § 35 in the preceding lecture ; see above, 
p. 190).] 

* [For other passages in which Ruskin notes the modem gloating over death, 
see pp. 190, 260.] 

* [For Dore's illustrations to the Bible, see Time and Tide, §§ 31, 40, 47 ; and 
for his Elaine, ibid., § 102 (Vol. XVIIL pp. 346, 352, 357> 401).] 


instance scmiething of the same kind, which you may, most 
of you, rememher. In the old manner of perfonning Robert 
le Diable^ in the great cloister scene, the mms after they 
rose out of their tombs, disappeared, and the ballet dancers 
were substituted for them ; you did not see the dead bodies 
and ballet dancers at the same time* But when this opera 
was last given in England, so mad had the thirst for excite- 
ment of this horrible kind become, that it was thought the 
audience would not be sufficiently entertained by seeing 
first the corpses and afterwards the dancing, but you had 
the entire dance given with a row of corpses holding the 
torches for it.^ 

21, Now the feeling which rendered it possible for an 
English high-caste audience to sit and see this, has, of 
course, penetrated more or less into the whole body of 
society, showing itself most fatally among the neglected 
children of the lower orders* May I ask you to get and 
read carefully this article on " Poor Playgrounds " in AU the 
Year Bound for May 4th [1867], and note this passage re- 
specting the first visit of four London-bred girls to Hamp^ 
stead Heath:— 

'' For some time I could talk to them and interest them ; at last, weariedi 
I left them to talk among themselves. Of the foulness of their talk it 
would be impossible to write ; of the death of all senaitivenessj and substitu- 
tion of the love of horror for the love of beauty, The least awful part of it 
was a description of all the bodies that had been taken out of the Paddington 
Canal when last cleaned, gross descriptions of their appearance, and gross 
speculations as to their histories. The long curved line of trees, in the first 
glory of gold-green foliage, showed between their as yet thinly covered 
branches a mist of blue distance, at which I sat and gased ; and somehow 
the natural beauty made me feel with a deeper awe the pollution of these 
young human spirits. So I have often retumedj after some hours in the 
court, with so vivid a sense of the savagery of the people there, that the 
OQiamonest civilities among educated people have seemed to me lovely/'^ 

"With so vivid a sense of the savagery of the people 
there "-^note the words, written by a woman whose whole 

1 [Compare VoL XVIII. pp. 96, 543.1 

' [The airtiele, which is unsigned. Is by Miss Octavia Hill, and records the pur- 
chase of a piece of ground in a very wretched court in Marylebone for a pla^ 
ground for poor children. ''It is not the place here to speak of our tenants and 


life has been spent, and nearly spent to the death, not in 
preaching vain words, but in doing brave and tender acts 
of continual help. Some assertions of mine of the same 
kind have been lately denied, of which I will only say 
that there may be other reasons than this inaccuracy of 
them for my not at present choosing publicly to defend 
them.^ But of the visible squalor and misery you can 
yourselves judge, if you care to judge, when you choose: 
— *'On Tuesday persons were knocked down and robbed 
of their watches in open daylight, and that even in the 
best thoroughfares of the most respectable and fashionable 
parts of London."** 

22. For the primal and final fact of which to-night I 
desire to convince you is that the compassionateness, which 
has been hitherto so much ideal, must be made first wholly 
practical; that is the true Instinct, the true heavenly pas- 
sion of this epoch; so far as you obey that by fidthfiil 
working, so far also all decorative and pleasurable work 
will become true and lovely in your hands. Disobey that 
instinct, play with it, seek only dramatic pleasure from it, 
and you will find that your delight changes into a guilty 
dream, and that your idle fingers are playing with the 
fringes of the shroud. 

28. The beginning of all ideal art must be for us in the 
realistic art of bestowing health and happiness. The first 
schools of beauty must be the streets of your cities, and 

the altentiont in the cottagee, for which, m well m for the entire sum required 
for the purchase of the playg^und, we are indebted to Mr. Ruskin. We want 
fellow-workers greatly. The work requires to be done by constant personal teach- 
ing and direction." For particulars of Miss Hill's work, see above, Introduction^ 
p. jodr,, and compare Fort davigera, Letter 10 J 

^ [Here Ruskin refers to his record in Time and Tide of a oonTersation 
in which Carlyle had spoken of the savagery of the London populace, and to 
Carlyle's public repudiation of the words. Ine repudiation had been made iust 
before the present lecture was delivered : see Vol. XVII. pp. 480-482. Ruskin, 
as wiU there be seen, maintained the accuracy of his report, but he did not 

fursue the controversy in public — not caring ''to lay nanus on his fether, 
' rrhis is a quotation ftom a leading article in the li^mUng P9ti of June 6^ 


llie chief of our fair designs must be to keep the living 
creatures round us clean, and in human comfort — ^primarily 
dean.^ Any Christian nation allowing its poor to remain 
filthy and sickly, is by that one fact proved to be in so 
fiftlse and hollow a state of mind that it can perceive no 
moral truth nor technical law relating to higher fimctions. 
I have felt and spoken as much as most people about 
the symbolism of things, and I am bold to say I enjoy 
and understand as well as other people the pleasantness of 
church spires, and church music, and church windows, and 
church clothes, and the like. I will go as far as any of 
you — there's not a girl here, in the purest glow of her 
sweet fanciful faith, whom I would not sympathize with 
and help in due time and order, in her embroidery and her 
garlanding, and iUuminating and text-flourishing, and all the 
rest of it. But before you come to any of this, there is 
the first of the Church Sacraments, which you must see 
to the due acceptance and understanding of; there is the 
Entrance Sacrament of Baptism, and that — ^though it means 
ultimately and virtually much more than the putting away 
of the filth of the flesh — ^most assuredly, in the first place, 
does mean the putting away of the filth of the flesh, and 
I say boldly that any Baptized creature left to rot in filth, 
signifies that it has got un-Baptized Creatures to deal with 
it, who have left it, with Cain's speech on their lips — "Am 
I my brother's Keeper?"* 

That, I assure you again — and in these, perhaps for many 
a day, the last words I shall utter about art* — that is the 
b^rinning of Art as of Religion. Get your lower orders 
washed and comfortable. Whatever difiiculties are in the 
way of your doing that, are the main difficulties ahead of 
you in everything. Conquer those, and you will need 
neither Parliamentary debates, nor Art lectures ; leave them 

> [Compare Sesame and LOiei, S ^^ (^ol* XVIII. p. 184) ; Leeiwe$ on AH, 
§§ 116, 187 ; Aratra PMteHei, % 13S ; and Art qf Englond, § 123.] 

> [Genens iv. 9.] 

> [Compare above, pp. 23, 38.] 


unconquered, and every thought* and every voice, will alike 
be in vain.^ 

24. Now for a population, in a healthy state, there are 
four kinds of Institutions rightly neeessaryi partly for their 
rest, partly for their teaching. 

First, in winter there should be warm places — in summer, 
shady places — ^where hard-worked people may rest for a little 
time when they need; and these should be under the con- 
tinual care of a police superintendent, so that they should 
be indeed places of rest, orderly and home-like, and undis- 
turbed by the merely curious and idle. I should put some * 
enduring form of mural decoration on the walls and ceil- 
ings of these resting-places, and have some flowers about 
them, and keep them always fresh and cheerfiiL 

25. Then, secondly, there should be public places of 
amusement for true hohday-makers, and these should be 
quite distinct from schools, and much more from museiuns. 
The British lower public has no very dear notion of the 
way to amuse itself — does so at present in a very dismal 
and panic-struck manner; it has a notion of improving its 
manners and getting useful information at the same time, 
and so makes its way to the Crystal Palace, and, with 
its own instincts principally tending towards ginger-beer, 
hopes also to have its mind enlarged by the assistance of 
Greek sculpture, always supposing the enlargement of its 
mind is to tend somehow to the enlargement of pockets, 
wages, and other substantialities. It relaxes, indeed, to- 
wards Christmas-time in these economical views, but be- 
comes in outer aspect even more dismally pensive than 
at any other period. I went up to the Crystal Palace 
this last year on Boxing Day to contemplate the recrea- 
tions, and perhaps some of my audience may remembor 
the strenuous efforts made to obtain at least recreative 
effect in the interior. In my old studies of architecture I 
always used to have great regard to the apse of a cathedral, 

^ [Ruskin fint wrote '' . • . unconquered, and for any good you will get from 
either^ yon had better liiten to the street hurdy-gurdies."] 


and whatever else failed, looked always to the dose of the 
great aisled vista as the principal joy of one's heart. And 
you know this Crystal Palace of ours is always held up to 
us — superannuated disciples of the old school of work in 
brick or in marble — as an entirely glorious and exalted 
novelty superseding everything done yet.^ So one has a 
natural tendency to look also to the apse of this cathedral 
of modem faith to see the symbol of it, as one used to 
look to the concha of the Cathedral of Pisa for the face 
of Christ, or to the apse of Torcello for the figure of the 
Madonna.^ Well, do you recollect what occupied the place 
of these — ^in the apse of the CryTstal Palace? The head of 
a Pantomime clown, some twelve feet broad, with a mouth 
opening from ear to ear, opening and shutting by machinery, 
its eyes squinting alternately, and collapsing by machinery, 
its humour in general provided for by machinery, with the 
recognised utterance of English Wisdom inscribed above~* 
''Here we are again." ^ But the striking thing of all was 
that, though as I said the humour of the thing could not 
but have been perfect-— being provided for by machinery-- 
nobody laughed at it Few even had consistency of com* 
parative observation enough to find out that it moved. 
When they did, they touched their neighbour's elbow, 
looked up with a frightened expression for a minute, and 
passed on, with an appearance of discomfort, knowing that 
it was their duty to laugh, and failing signally when they 
tried. And in all the Palace, with its flowers, casts, pictures, 
shop-stands, and spinning-jennies, I saw, except among the 
children, not one amused face. There was a good deal of 
scufiling and noise sometimes, a rude burst of laughter, but 
no expression of pleasure, far less of attention or admiration. 
26. It is not, however, my business to-night to consider 
how the average holiday-maker might be better amused; 

» [See Vol. XII. p. 418 n. ; and Vol, XVIII. p. 243 n.] 

' [For the Christ at Pisa, see the letter citea in a note upon Aratra FenMci^ 
§ 65. For the Madonna of Torcello, see Seven Lanqu, VoL Vlll. p. 184^ and Stanee 
^f VeiUeey voL ii. (Vol. X. p. 21).] 

' [Raskin referred again to this inscription idio in Araira PmUeliei, § 65.] 


I only want to insist on the distinction between a \ 
of amusement and an art school, and to state very pi 
tively that in the degree in which you try to unite the 
you destroy the efficiency of both. If I go to the Crys 
Palace to make a note on the cast of a statue, it v 
considerable nuisance to me to have a party of child 
chasing each other round it; while to the children them- 
selves, and to their parents much more, the presence of 
this brittle white spectre — ^which they ought to admire, 
and are only afraid of knocking over — ^is a damping and 
solemnizing feature of the Palace, fatally destructive of 
merriment. But I may just say in passing that so far as 
I have any clear notion of improving such places of re^ 
creation, I would, in the first place, make them thoroughly 
pretty buildings, pleasantly and gracefully decorated, and 
without any cracks in the floor, making one terrified to pull 
out a sixpence for fear of dropping it. Then I should give 
plenty of room for running about, plenty of flowers always 
carefully named, and with good popular and useful informa- 
tion about them given in a cheap alphabetical catalogue; 
I should have some elementary branches of natural history, 
such as anybody could cheaply follow up, tlioroughly illus- 
trated; I should have good prints and pictures, permanent 
always, and well catalogued and explained; and I should 
use the now exploded panorama and diorama^ with an at- 
tention to truth and a splendour and care in the execution 
which should — ^for in this any general rule admits of ex- 
ception — be very truly a school both in physical geography 
and in art. 

Farther, I am prepared to use the theatre, and that 
largely, but a very different kind of theatre £rom any we 
frequent now; and of course the more good music you 
can get listened to the better, provided always that it be 
listened to as music, not as noise. 

^ [Ru8kiii if thinking of tike Panonnui in Lticetter Square (on the site of the 

Sreient Alhambn)^ and of the Diorama in RegenVs Pterlc—popular in the earlier 
ecadee of the nineteenth century.] 


27. I pass next to the chief subject of our inquiry — the 
proper arrangement of public educational collections. Such 
institutions as they should be distinct from places of public 
amusement on the one hand, so they should be distinct 
from national museums on the other. I will read on this 
point a piece of a letter written to the I^mes last year:^ — 

''There is a confused notion in the existing public mind 
that the British Museum is partly a parish school, partly 
a circulating library, and partly a place for Christmas en- 

"It is none of the three, and I hope will never be 
made any of the three. But especially and most distinctly 
it is not a 'preparatory school,' nor even an 'academy for 
young gentlemen,' nor even a 'working men's college.' A 
national museum is one thing, a national place of education 
another; and the more sternly and unequivocally they are 
separated the better will each perform its office — the one of 
treasuring, and the other of teaching. I heartily wish that 
there were already, as one day there must be, large educa- 
tional museums in every district of London freely open 
every day, and well lighted and warmed at night, with all 
furniture of comfort, and full aids for the use of their con- 
tents by all classes. But you might just as rationally send 
the British public to the Tower to study mineralogy upon 
the Crown jewels as make the unique pieces of a worthy 
national collection (such as, owing mainly to the exertions 
of its maligned officers, that of our British Museum has 
recently become) the means of elementary public instruc- 
tion. After men have learnt their science or their art, at 
least so far as to know a common and a rare example in 
either, a national museum is useful, and ought to be easily 
accessible to them; but until then unique or selected speci- 
mens in natural history are without interest to them, and 
the best art is useless as a blank wall." 

1 [A letter from Riukin himBelf in the Timef of January 27, 1866. The rest of 
the letter is printed below, as an appendix to this lecture : see p. 229.] 


28. This being so, there are three kinds of national 
coUectiom which it is desirable should be arranged especially 
for educational purposes ;^'^ 

1. Libraries. 

2. Educational Museums of Natural History. 
8. Educational Museums of Art 

Firsts of Libraries. The British Museum ought to con- 
tain no books except those of which copies are unique 
or rarCt All others should be arranged in smaller public 
libraries for familiar use with excellent attached reading- 
rooms, and access to the Museum reading-room should be 
a matter of higher privilege. 

One of the worst sources of [the corruption ^ of the 
national temper and intellect is in the irrigation of it by 
foolish and evil writing overflowing. The Greek Parnassus 
was of living rock and its Helicon of living waters; but 
our Parnassus is like the Rossberg,' of rolled pebbles and 
worn fragments, and by the weight of it squeezing out 
streams of slime. And the thing needing to be done is 
the selection by our Universities of a series of virtuous, 
vigorous, helpful, and beautiful examples of literature, not 
many,' but clearly enough for any man's life, and the pub- 
lication of them in a perfect form ; ^ and the founding of a 
public library in every important town,* which should con- 
tain this series at least, and copies enough of these to 
supply all the readers, with reading-brooms attached, into 
which the entrance should be matter of some difficulty and 
honourable privilege, yet free on certain conditions to alL 

29. Similarly, we require the selection by our Univer^ 
sities, and the purchase by Government, of a limited series 
of engravings and casts representing works of art of 

^ [The words " of corruption " are here coxyectarally inserted ; there b a blank 
in the MS.] 

s [For other references to the hU of the Jtoesbeiig^ see Vol VI. pp. 195 n., 

^ [ComDare Sesame and Lilies, Preface of 1871, § 4 (Vol XVIII. p. 33).] 

* [A scheme which Kuskin designed to carry out in his BibHoiheQat Pastarum: 
compare Vol. XVIII. p. 104 n.] 

ft [Compare Vol. XVIII. pp. xxl., 104.] 


exclusive and high mmts^ such as m every Kspect might 
fonn and guide the mind of the student contemplating 
them; and these» so limited in numbers as to permit atten- 
tion to be given to every one, and all to be well remem'^ 
bered as parts of a relatively collected whole, should form a 
small museum in connection with every such public library, 
and an explanatory catalogue be prepared for them stating 
whatever facts respecting each it was desirable for the 
student to know. Farther, every one of our principal cities 
ought to have a permanent gallery of art ^ of which the 
function should be wholly educational, as distinguished from 
the historical and general purposes of the collections in the 
British Museum and National Gallery. And this should 
be done under the dear understanding that the utility of 
an educational collection depends not on its extent, but, 
first, on the absolute exclusion of all works of secondary 
merit or of trivial character (so that the full strength of 
trusting and fidthfiil admiration might be given to what- 
ever was exhibited); and, secondly, on the easy visibility 
and pleasantly decorous presentation of the works of art 
contained in them, and on the general comfort and habit- 
ableness of the rooms. 

80. (2.) Secondly, Educational Museums of Natural His- 
tory. The Natural History Collection in the British Museum 
should be as complete as it can by any cost or research 
be made» but it should contain no inferior or duplicate speci- 
mens, and its arrangements should be calculated for scien- 
tific reference, not for exhibition. It should only be for 
the use of advanced students in every science. But the 
Educational collections of Natural History should be ar- 
ranged so as to attract and reward inquiry; they should 
be disposed for exhibition with the utmost convenience 
and elegance, and elaborately catalogued, with references 
to the best farther description of each class of objects ex- 
hibited. Small libraries containing such books only, should 

^ [See the Introduction ; above, p. xxi.] 


be attached to the collections, with suites of reading-rooms ; 
and while a certain part of the series of exhibited objects 
was permanent and not permitted to be handled, a sufficient 
number of inferior specimens replaceable from time to time 
should be kept in cabinets connected with the reading- 
rooms, and of these inferior specimens the curator should 
have the power of permitting quite free experimental use 
to such students as he might judge deserving of the trust 
81. (8.) Lastly, I come to Schools of Art And here a 
quite new consideration introduces itself, In natural history 
your specimens can only be more or less instructive, they 
can never be the reverse of instructive. But specimens of 
art either lead or mislead; there is in these a positive good 
and a positive bad, and the first condition of your being 
able to establish a School of Art at all is that you should 
clearly know one from the other. There is this farther dif- 
ference also, and a very essential one. While in natural 
history, if you exclude useless duplicates, you cannot for 
representation of varieties have too many specimens; in art, 
you can hardly have too few. The good a student gets 
from the examination of any work is most strictly propor- 
tioned to the strength of feeling and closeness of attention 
he gives to it, and the feeling will not come at first, nor 
perhaps for a long time. Your great object should be to 
fasten this, the student's attention, on the examples required 
for his help, and then not to distract it He will get three 
times as much good from one piece looked at for half-an- 
hour, as frt)m three looked at for ten minutes each. And, 
lastly, here is a third and no less vital distinction. In 
natural history, though good specimens of characteristic 
average quality are on the whole most usefril, it is well 
occasionally to see the finest tjrpes of every species. But 
in art it is often injurious to see the highest kind until you 
are ready for them. Not indeed if, as in times of energetic 
art life, the highest be everywhere a conunon food: men 
then take of it, naturally, just as much or little as they 
like — that is to say, as much or little as they should; but 


when it is presented to them rarely, and they try to com- 
pel themselves into liking it or learning from it — ^being all 
the while wholly incapable of entering into its true qualities 
— ^it fSalsifies their whole nature and is mere poison* I could 
give you some curious personal experiences on this matter^ 
but I must keep to the business in hand. 

Our object, then, in the Educational Art Schools should 
be to arrange a series of specimens, aU first-rate of their 
kind, but for the most part of a description intelligible 
to the ordinary student— drawings before engravings, for 
instance, and engraving before painting, and bold dramatic 
sculpture before refined ideal sculpture — ^keeping all the 
highest works of art without any exception in the National 
Gallery, and only allowing them to be copied or studied 
from as matter of high privilege. 

82. Now to bring these conditions into practice. The 
first is that you should have no bad art visible anywhere. 

This is the great mischief in the Kensington Collection. 
It is full of precious and instructive things, but they are 
surrounded by the vilest, and the very aspect of these, even 
if not chosen for imitation, prevents the qualities of the 
good ones from being felt. Who is to judge of relative 
merit, you will ask. Well, the point is simply this : if you 
cannot find among the upper and educated classes of Eng- 
land a small body of men so far informed on the subject 
of art as to agree what are its mainly desirable and what 
its undesirable qualities, you can have no art schools. You 
can only have a confused museum of objects acquired by 
chance, out of which the student must learn what he can 
discover by chance.^ 

88. I do not think, however, that there would be any 
real difficulty in this. Once fix your principle, that no bad 
or even gravely deficient art is to be admitted into the 
educational collections, and you will easily by vote of 
committee be able to cleanse and purify them to a most 

^ [ComiMure Ruskin's description of the South Kensington Museum^ as '' a Cretan 
labjrnnth/* in his Letters of 1880 on '' A Museum or Picture Gallery " {On the Old 
Roadf 1886, roL i p. 627> reprinted in a later volume of this edition).] 


wholesome and vivifying extent And the thing I should 
like to see done is mainly this. Let a certain not exten*- 
sive but carefully chosen series of casts fix>m sculpture and 
coins, of photographs from architecture, drawings and natural 
objects, and of engravings of standard value, be fixed upon 
as the basis of the educational collection. Let this estab* 
lished series be carefully catalogued, described, and arranged 
in illustrative order, and let every town possessing an art 
school do what it can to obtain the nucleus of this ap* 
pointed series of which each piece should be ever3rwhere 
known by its unalterable number, so that in discussion and 
writing about art Number so-and-so of the school collec- 
tion should be as recognised a piece as the numbered Sonata 
of a great composer.^ Farther, as in the natural history 
collections inferior specimens, so in these art collections 
duplicate copies of the prints, casts, and photographs should 
be kept for close examination and free use: many private 
persons would gladly contribute from their stores for such 
purpose when once they knew what was wanted; while 
reflectively the importance attached to the authoritative ex- 
amples chosen for the main school collection, would make 
private persons interested and eager in the possession of the 
same, and woidd act strictly as a teacher in every household. 
84. Then for crown to this established series, whatever 
was obtainable of good painting, sculpture, and decorative 
art ought to be exhibited in a beautiftil and attractive 
way ; but only what was good and beautiful. I would insist 
much on this principle of severe selection — one good piece 
of art is a school in itself; smTound it by a dozen of bad 
ones, and it becomes useless. There's a Turner drawing of 
the Yorkshire Series in the Kensington Collection — Hornby 
Castle.' Put that in a small room by itself, and draw the 

> [So Raskin preaches also in a footnote to one of his Oxford Cytelognet (Oata- 
logue qf Exumplei, 1870, Educational Series. No. 23); but he did^liot practise the 
yirtae — as the reader of the Bibliographical Notes to those Catalogu^- will per- 
ceive (Vol. XX.).l ^ . X 

' [No. 88 (included in the Sheepshanks Gift); for another referenco'xo it^ see 
Vol. Xm. p. 590.] 


student's attention to it as a wholly precious thing, and it 
will teach all water-colour drawing from beginning to end; 
and in subject — all tree drawing, all mountain drawing, all 
principles of light, shade, and colour — ^you want nothing 
more than that one work. But it hangs now in a comer 
surrounded by a mass of rubbish, and I never saw a human 
creature look at it yet, unless I dragged them up to it, nor 
do I believe it possible for a student to enter l^e room at 
aU but at risk of getting harm done to his eye and taste. 
I cannot forbear, with respect to the purification and vivi- 
fying of our school museums, here mentioning with entire 
thankfidness and congratulation— the first to the doers of 
the work, and the second to the students of Oxford — ^what 
has just been done in this kind by the Curators of the Taylor 
Buildings — ^the Dean of Christ Church, Professor Rawlinson, 
Dr. Acland. The collection there, though including some 
of the most important first-class drawings in Europe, was, 
until lately, rendered practically useless, because they were 
encumbered with inferior work and exhibited in an unsightly 
manner. All the bad drawings have now been removed 
into other parts of the Museum, and the precious ones have 
been in a sightly and graceful way arranged in three rooms 
— one devoted to Michael Angelo, one to Raphael, one to 
Turner — and I know that thus the drawings, of which at 
present the collection exists, will have most vital influence 
on education in the University; nor do I doubt that the 
unselfish possessors of valuable pictures, little seen in their 
private gidleries, and who may be desirous of making them 
more publicly serviceable, wiU henceforward feel that they 
could not appoint for them any more honourable or more 
conspicuously useful position than they would occupy in the 
Gallery of Oxfoid.' 

^ [The Univenity GaUeries in the Taylor Building have heen again somewhat 
rearranged since Rualdn wrote this lecture. Hie prediction of private benefiustions 
hat been partly fulfilled by the notable bequest of Pre-Raphaelite pictures formerly 
in the coUection of Mr. T. Combe. A few months later than this lecture^ Ruskin 
was sounded on his willingness to become a Curator of the Galleries : see above. 
Introduction^ p. xzxiv.] 


85. And now, lastly, we come to the National Gallery 
or Museum of Art — ^the Treasury and Storehouse, not the 
school ; respecting which the great law should be that while 
ever3rthing was perfectly accessible to the persons who 
really needed sight and use of it, nothing should be ex- 
hibited to the public confusedly and vainly merely for the 
sake of showing it was there, but that all the most precious 
possessions should be exhibited with every beautiful accom- 
paniment and accessory that could either do them honour 
or prepare the temper of the spectator for their meaning. 
Your National Gallery must be a stately place — a true Palace 
of Art, pure in the style of it indeed, and, as £Bff as thought 
can reach, removed from grossness or excess of ornament, 
but not unsumptuous, especially precious in material and 
exquisite in workmanship, and having the places of all its 
chief possessions unalterably decided upon, so that they can 
be at once treated with right harmony of effect. Classifi- 
cation, in a National Gallery, should be boldly kept sub- 
ordinate to the convenience of finding a thing where you 
expect it to be, and in a place which becomes it. I don't 
care what the connection of things is, so only that they be 
not kept for years in dark corridors or plank outhouses.. 
Build beautiful rooms for what you have got, let the things 
take up their abode therein, and when you get anything 
else like them, build another room for that, and don't dis- 
turb what you have already. 

86. Therefore, while a National Gallery should always be 
stately and lovely, it should not be limited by symmetries 
of plan.^ It should look, in a word, what it is — a gallery, 
capable of being extended without limit in any convenient 
direction ; and as in any great metropolis it may be assumed 
that ground is valuable, a National Gallery may always ad- 
visably consist of three stories — ^the lowest for sculpture, the 
second for the libraries and prints, the third, lighted from 
above, and, where needful, laterally also, for the paintings, 

^ [Coin|>are Ruskin's own sefaeme for ii 'Mabyriuthine" Turner Gallery: YoL 
XIII. p. xxviii.] 


vases, gems, and coins. And these three stories might, in 
the external design, bear to each other somewhat the rela- 
tions of the nave arches, triforium, and cloister of a cathe- 
dral; or, if the design were Italian, might be beautifully 
proportioned in any convenient dimensions. Design the walls 
or arches of such an elevation gracefully for two compart- 
ments, and you may prolong the same design for miles, if 
you need it, and find it more beautiful and impressive as it 
is extended. I should myself desire to see it built or inlaid 
with some beautifully coloured and fine stone — Cornish or 
Genoa serpentine, or any kind of grey or green marble, 
with string-courses of white marble and bearing shafts of 
porphyry — or else carved niches of white marble, contain- 
ing statues; but it is of no use saying what would be de- 
sirable — ^for I know that it will never be done — ^nor saying 
where it should be built neither, for there it assuredly never 
will be built. 

87. It may easily be seen where it should be built The 
reach of the river from Westminster to Vauxhall is a dis- 
grace to the metropolis; it might be, and should be, its 
chief beauty. Subscribe only once for all as much money 
as you spend annually in gunpowder and cannon cast only 
to burst. Think what an absurd thing it is that you 
cannot do this. Think what you would say of the wits 
of a private gentleman who could not once for all spend 
as much in building his picture gallery as he spent every 
year in experimenting on the fastenings of his shutters.^ 
That's the real state of our national wits. Take the cost 
of a year's fireworks — ^take fifteen millions boldly out of 
your pocket, knock down the penitentiary at Pimlico,' and 
send your beloved criminals to be penitent out of sight 
somewhere, clear away the gasometers on that side, and 
the bone-boilers on the other, lay out a line of gardens 

» [Compare Vol. XVIII. p. 438.] 

* [Thirty years after Ruskin wrote thig was done; and the "National Oallerv 
of British Art^" huilt by Sir Henry Tate, now stands on the site of the Millbank 
Penitentiary at Pimlico.J 


from Lambeth Palace to Vauxhall Bridge on the south 
side of the river, and on this, build a National Gallery of 
Porphyry and white marble, reaching that mile long from 
Westminster to Vauxhall Bridge, and I only wish it may 
be pretty enough and rich enough for the French to want 
to come and steal it. 

88. Of course this will not be done, nor can anything 
be proposed that ought to be done, but with an air of 
mockery. For indeed — and this was one of the principal 
things I went down to say at Cambridge — the limits of 
aU technical education and, secondly, the mode and limits 
of this general art instruction must be physically deter- 
mined by the conditions of national life of which we may 
anticipate the general and final adoption.^ 

It will be soon now perceived that the competition of 
nations with each other's trade, and their admiring emula- 
tion of each other's skill, is no logical, nor in the end 
admissible, consequence of our enlarged ideas respecting 
freedom of commerce. It will be found that the division 
of labour among different races is just as wise and necessary 
as the division of it among individuals, and that a time 
comes in the life of a people, as in that of a youth, when 
it is imperatively necessary for it to choose its profession. 
And if the final determination of the English people* be 
that it wUl Uve by mixed trading and by digging of iron,* 
no one need ask any farther questions respectmg its art- 
education. Even supposing that it could be raised into 
unanimity of such heroic resolution as that instead of dig- 
ging iron for the rest of the world, some inferior race in 
that world should dig iron for it, and that for its own 
part as a people it would live, whether a small or great 
multitude, in pure air, on clean earth, and by labour of 

^ rSee t]i6 preceding lectare.] 

* [For simitar pagtages on the Future of England, tee VoL VIL p. 425; Vol. 
XVir. p. 326 ; and Vol. XVIII. p. 134.1 

* [Here Ruskin first wrote ". , . that it will consist mainly of a oompanv of 
pedlars and ironmongers purchasing occasional emancipation into the higher char- 
acter of sportsmen or gamesters^ no one need . . ."] 


its intellect, no less than of its hands; supposing this pos- 
sible — ^which at present it is not^the political and physical 
questions needing painful decision in the struggle for imme- 
diate life would for a long period render this business of its 
art instruction a quite inferior and inconsiderable one.^/ 



[The following is the letter to the Editor of the Tmet referred to 
above, § 27, p. 219:—] 

Sir,— As I see in your impression of yesterday that my name was intro- 
duced in support of some remarks made, at the meeting of the Society of 
Arts, on the management of the British Museum,^ and as the tendency 6f 
the remarks I refer to was depreciatory of the efforts and aims of several 
officers of the Museum — ^more especially of the work done on the collection 
of minerals by my friend Mr. Nevil S. Maskelyne * — ^you will, I hope, permit 
me, not having been present at the meeting, to express my feeling on the 
subject briefly in your columns. 

1 [The MS. continues:— 

''There are indeed some measures instantly in oar power and in all 
cases desirable, and of which the effect could not but be in the meanwhile 
for good. These I will briefly name, consisting mainly all of" — 
and there the MS. breaks off. The last page of it is headed '' Cambridge," show- 
ing that this was a passage in some earlier draft of the Rede lecture ^ee above, 
p. 188 nX It will be observed that the present lecture thus comes to an end 
without tne customary peroration. It app^rs, however, from the report of the 
lecture in the Daily Tel^raph that ''the speaker concluded by a few general sug- 
gestions as to what features are desirable in a National Gallery, most of which he 
did not read, but left for publication in the Proceedinff9 of tne Institution." No 
report of the lecture ultimately appeared in the Proeeediruf9, and Ruskin never 
revised the lecture for publioation.J 

' [From the Timei, January 27, 1866. Reprinted in Arrow of the Okaoe, 1880, 
vol. i. pp. 78-^1.] 

' [At the meeting of the Society, in the Hall, Adelphi, Lord Henry Lennox 
read a paper on " Ine Uses of National Museums to Local Institutions,'' in which 
he spoke of Ruskin's suggestions "adopted and recommended to Parliament in 
annual reports, and in o^^ience to distinct Commissions," as having been unwar- 
rantably disregarded since 1858. See Ruskin's oflicial report on the Turner Bequest, 
printed in V^. XIII. p. 319J 

^ [ProfesMr Nevil Story-Maskelyne (afterwards M.P. for the Cricklade Division) 
was then Keeper of Mineralogy at the Museum. The Natural History collections 
had not yet been removed to the separate Museum at South Kensington. He was 
also Professor of Mineralogy at Oxford : see Eagles NeH^ § 160.] 


There is a confiued notion in the existing public mind that the British 
Museum is partly a parish school . . .^ 

For all those who can use the existing national collection to any pur- 
pose, the Catalogue ^ as it now stands is amply sufficient : it would be diffi- 
cult to conceive a more serviceable one. But the rapidly progressive state 
of (especially mineralogical) science, renders it impossible for the Curators 
to make their arrangements in all points satisfiictoiy, or for long periods 
permanent It is just because Mr. Maskelyne is doing more active, con- 
tinual, and careful work than, as fiur as I know, is at present done in any 
national museum in Europe — because he is completing gaps in the present 
series by the intercalation of carefully sought specimens, and accurately 
reforming its classification by recently corrected analyses — ^that the collection 
cannot yet &11 into the formal and placid order in which an indolent Curator 
would speedily arrange and willingly leave it. 

I am glad that I^rd H. Lennox referred to the passage in my report 
on the Turner Collection in which I recommended that certain portions of 
that great series should be distributed, for permanence, among our leading 
provincial towns.' But I had rather see the whole Turner collection buried, 
not merely in the cellars of the National Gallery, but with Prospero'g staff 
fathoms in the earth,^ than that it should be the means of inaugurating the 
fatal custom of carrying great works of art about the roads for a show. If 
you mutl make them educational to the public, hang Titian's Bacchus up 
for a vintner's sign, and give Henry VI.'s Psalter^ for a spelliog-book to 
the Bluecoat School; but, at least, hang the one from a permanent post, 
and chain the other to the boys' desks, and do not send them about in 
caravans to every annual Bartholomew Fair. 

I am. Sir, your obedient servant, 

J. RusuN. 
Dbnmark Hnx, Jan. 26. 

^ [As above, n, 219.1 

' [Mr. Nevil Story-Maskelyne's description of the minerals occupied pp. 89-^1 
of the Oftide to the ExhibUUm Bootm qf the DepartmenU qf Natural Hilary and 
AnHquUU$, 1866.1 

' [See Vol. AlII. p. 324; and compare the similar recommendation with 
regard to the ''Outlines of John Leech/' m the letter on that subject (VoL XIV. 
p. 882).] 

* [Temputy Act v. sc. 1, 66.] 

* [For Ruskiu's many other references to Titian's ''Bacchus and Ariadne" (So. 85 
in the National Gallery)^ see General Index. Henry VI.'s Psalter is in the British 
Museum ("Domitian A. 17/' in the Cottonian Catalogue). It is of early fifteenth- 
century work, and was executed in England by a French artist for the then youthful 
king, from whom it takes its name. For another reference to it, see Lekurti an 
Landieape, § 77.] 







[BibHografMaU iVote.— This eany was fint printed in a work witli the follow- 
ing title: — 

German | Popular | Stories. | With HloBtrationB | after the original de- 
signs of George Cruikshank. | Edited by Edgar Taylor. | A New Edition, 
I With Introduetion by John Raskin^ M.A. | London : | John Camden 
Hotten, PiocadUly. | 1869. 

Octavo^ pp. zxviii.+d35. Issued in cloth boards, prioe Os. 6d. Also some 
large-paper copies, with the pUtes printed in brown ink, at Sis. ; and a fow 
with India proofs, at ds. 6d. 

The Tolume was a reprint of two series of ''German Popular Stories" 
(translated from the brothers Grimm), issued, with Cruikshank^s illustra- 
tions, in 1823 and 1826. The reprint, with Ruskin's Introduction, has been 
frequently re-issued. The publisher in an '' Advertisement " said : ''I had 
at first thought of reproducing it in two Tolumes the same size as the 
originals ; but it was Mr. Ruskin^s wish that the new edition should appeal 
to young readers rather than to adults, and the present convenient form 
was decided upon." Ruskin's Introduction ooeupies pp. v.-xIt. 

The Introduction was reprinted in 1886 in On the Old Road, under the 
heading '' Fairy Stories," vol. ii. pp. 167-176 (§§ 124-180), and again in the 
second edition of that work, 1889, vol. iii. pp. 170-179 (§§ 124-180). The 
paragraphs are here re-numbered. The spaces between sentences or para- 
graphs follow the original setting.] 



1. Long since, longer ago perhaps than the opening of some 
fairy tales, I was asked by the publisher ^ who has been rash 
enough, at my request, to reprint these my favourite old 
stories' in their earliest English form, to set down for him 
my reasons for preferring them to the more polished legends, 
moral and satiric, which are now, with rich adornment of 
every page by very admirable art, presented to the accept- 
ance of the Nursery. 

But it seemed to me to matter so little to the majestic 
independence of the child -public, who, beside themselves, 
liked, or who disliked, what they pronounced entertaining, 
that it is only on strict claims of a promise unwarily given 
that I venture on the impertinence of eulogy; and my re- 
luctance is the greater, because there is in fact nothing 
very notable in these tales, unless it be their freedom from 
faults which for some time have been held to be quite the 
reverse of faults, by the majority of readers. 

2. In the best stories recently written for the young, 
there is a taint which it is not easy to define, but which 
inevitably follows on the author's addressing himself to 
children bred in school-rooms and drawing-rooms, instead 
of fields and woods— children whose favourite amusements 
are premature imitations of the vanities of elder people, 
and whose conceptions of beauty are dependent partly on 

^ FMr. J. C. Hotten : see Biblioffraphical Note.] 

* [For Rnskin's early reading of Grimm and his copying of Cniikshank's illus- 
trations (first pablished in 1823 and 1826)^ see PreOerUa, L § 82.] 



costliness of dress. The fairies who interfere in the fortunes 
of these little ones are apt to be resplendent chiefly in mil- 
linery and satin slippers, and appalling more by their airs 
than their enchantments. 

The fine satire which, gleaming through eveiy playfiil 
word, renders some of these recent stories as attractive to 
the old as to the young, seems to me no less to unfit 
them for their proper function. Children should laugh, but 
not mock; and when they laugh, it should not be at the 
weaknesses or faults of others. They should be taught, as 
far as they are permitted to concern themselves with the 
characters of those around them, to seek faithfully for good, 
not to lie in wait maliciously to make themselves meny 
with evil: they should be too painfully sensitive to wrong, 
to smile at it; and too modest to constitute themselves its 

8. With these minor errors a far graver one is involved. 
As the simplicity of the sense of beauty has been lost in 
recent tales for children, so also the simplicity of their con- 
ception of love. That word which, in the heart of a child, 
should represent the most constant and vital part of its 
being; which ought to be the sign of the most solemn 
thoughts that inform its awakening soul and, in one wide 
mystery of pure sunrise, should flood the zenith of its 
heaven, and gleam on the dew at its feet ; this word, which 
should be consecrated on its lips, together with the Name 
which it may not take in vain, and whose meaning should 
soften and animate every emotion through which the in- 
ferior things and the feeble creatures, set beneath it in its 
narrow world, are revealed to its curiosity or companion- 
ship; — ^this word, in modem child-story, is too often re- 
strained and darkened into the hieroglyph of an evil 
mystery, troubling the sweet peace of youth with prema- 
ture gleams of imcomprehended passion, and flitting shadows 
of unrecognized sin. 


4. These grave faults in the spirit of recent child-fiction 
are connected with a parallel folly of purpose. Parents 
who are too indolent and self-indulgent to form their 
children's characters by wholesome discipline, or in their 
own habits and principles of life are conscious of setting 
before them no faultless example, vainly endeavour to sub- 
stitute the persuasive influence of moral precept, intruded 
in the guise of amusement, for the strength of moral habit 
compelled by righteous authority: — vainly think to inform 
the heart of infancy with deliberative wisdom, while they 
abdicate the guardianship of its unquestioning innocence; 
and warp into the agonies of an immature philosophy of 
conscience the once fearless strength of its unsullied and 
unhesitating virtue. 

A child should not need to choose between right and 
wrong. It should not be capable of wrong; it should not 
conceive of wrong. Obedient, as bark to helm, not by 
sudden strain or effort, but in the freedom of its bright 
course of constant Ufe; true, with an undistinguished, pain- 
less, unboastful truth, in a crystalline household world of 
truth; gentle, through daily entreatings of gentleness, and 
honourable trusts, and pretty prides of child-fellowship in 
ofiices of good; strong, not in bitter and doubtful contest 
with temptation, but in peace of heart, and armour of 
habitual right, from which temptation falls like thawing 
hail; self-commanding, not in sick restraint of mean appe- 
tites and covetous thoughts, but in vital joy of unluxu- 
rious life, and contentment in narrow possession, wisely 

Children so trained have no need of moral fairy tales; 
but they wiU find in the apparently vain and fitful courses 
of any tradition of old time, honestly delivered to them, a 
teaching for which no other can be substituted, and of 
which the power cannot be measured; animating for them 
the material world with inextinguishable life, fortifying them 


against the glacial cold of selfish science, and preparing 
them submissively, and with no bitterness of astonishment, 
to behold, in later years, the mystery — divinely appointed 
to remain such to all human thought^-of the fates that 
happen alike to the evil and the good. 

5. And the effect of the endeavour to make stories moral 
upon the literary merit of the work itself, is as harmful as 
the motive of the effort is false. For every fairy tale 
worth recording at all is the remnant of a tradition posses- 
sing true historical value ;^ — ^historical, at least, in so far as 
it has naturally arisen out of the mind of a people under 
special circumstances, and risen not without meaning, nor 
removed altogether from their sphere of religious faith. It 
sustains afterwards natural changes from the sincere action 
of the fear or fancy of successive generations ; it takes new 
colour from their manner of life, and new form from their 
changing moral tempers. As long as these changes are 
natural and effortless, accidental and inevitable, the story 
remains essentially true, altering its form, indeed, like a 
fljring cloud, but remaining a sign of the sky; a shadowy 
image, as truly a part of the great firmament of the human 
mind as the light of reason which it seems to interrupt. 
But the fair deceit and iimocent error of it cannot be in- 
terpreted nor restrained by a wilful purpose, and all addi- 
tions to it by art do but defile, as the shepherd disturbs 
the flakes of morning mist with smoke from his fire of 
dead leaves. 

6. There is also a deeper collateral mischief in this in- 
dulgence of licentious change and retouching of stories to 
suit particular tastes, or inculcate favourite doctrines. It 
directiy destroys the child's power of rendering any such 
belief as it would otherwise have been in his nature to 
give to an imaginative vision. How far it is expedient to 

^ [Compare the opening pages of the Queen qf the AirJ] 


occupy his mind with ideal forms at all may be question- 
able to many, though not to me; but it is quite beyond 
question that if we do allow of the fictitious representation, 
that representation should be calm and complete, possessed 
to the full, and read down its utmost depth. The little 
reader's attention should never be confused or disturbed, 
whether he is possessing himself of fahy tale or history. 
Let him know his fahy tale accurately, and have perfect 
joy or awe in the conception of it as if it were real; thus 
he will always be exercising his power of grasping realities : 
but a confused, careless, and discrediting tenure of the 
fiction will lead to as confused and careless reading of fact. 
Let the circumstances of both be strictly perceived, and 
long dwelt upon, and let the child's own mind develop 
fruit of thought from both. It is of the greatest import- 
ance early to secure this habit of contemplation, and there- 
fore it is a grave error, either to multiply unnecessarily, or 
to illustrate with extravagant richness, the incidents pre- 
sented to the imagination. It should multiply and illustrate 
them for itself; and, if the intellect is of any real value, 
there will be a mystery and wonderfulness in its own 
dreams which would only be thwarted by external illustra- 
tion. Yet I do not bring forward the text or the etchings 
in this volume as examples of what either ought to be in 
works of the kind: they are in many respects common, 
imperfect, vulgar; but their vulgarity is of a wholesome 
and harmless kind. It is not, for instance, graceful English, 
to say that a thought '' popped into Catherine's head " ; but 
it nevertheless is far better, as an initiation into literary 
style, that a child should be told this than that ** a sub- 
ject attracted Catherine's attention." And in genuine forms 
of minor tradition, a rude and more or less illiterate tone 
will always be discernible; for all the best fairy tales have 
owed their birth, and the greater part of their power, to 
narrowness of social circumstances ; they belong properly to 
districts in which waUed cities are surrounded by bright 
and unblemished country, and in which a healthy and 


bustling town life, not highly refined, is relieved by, and 
contrasted with, the calm enchantment of pastoral and wood- 
land scenery, either under humble cultivation by peasant 
masters, or left in its natural solitude. Under conditions 
of this kind the imagination is enough excited to invent 
instinctively, (and rejoice in the invention of) spiritual forms 
of wildness and beauty, while yet it is restrained and made 
cheerful by the familiar accidents and relations of town 
life, mingling always in its fancy humorous and vulgar 
circumstances with pathetic ones, and never so much im- 
pressed with its supernatural phantasies as to be in danger 
of retaining them as any part of its religious faith. The 
good spirit descends gradually from an angel into a fairy, 
and the demon shrinks into a pla3rful grotesque of diminu- 
tive malevolence, while yet both keep an accredited and 
vital influence upon the character and mind. But the 
language in which such ideas will be usually clothed must 
necessarily partake of their narrowness ; and art is syste- 
matically incognizant of them, having only strength under 
the conditions which awake them to express itself in an 
irregular and gross grotesque, fit only for external archi- 
tectural decoration. 

7. The illustrations of this volume are almost the only 
exceptions I know to the general rule. They are of quite 
sterling and admirable art, in a class precisely parallel in 
elevation to the character of the tales which they illus- 
trate; and the original etchings, as I have before said in 
the Appendix to my Elements of Drawing^ were un- 
rivalled in masterfulness of touch since Rembrandt; (in 
some qualities of delineation unrivalled even by him). 
These copies have been so carefully executed that at first 
I was deceived by them, and supposed them to be late im- 
pressions from the plates (and what is more, I believe the 
master himself was deceived by them, and supposed them 

1 [Vol. XV. p. 222.] 


to be his own) ; and although, on careful comparison with 
the first proofs, they wiU be found no exception to the 
terrible law that literal repetition of entirely fine work 
shall be, even to the hand that produced it, — much more 
to any other, — ^for ever impossible, they still represent, with 
sufficient fidelity to be in the highest degree instructive, 
the harmonious light and shade, the manly simplicity of 
execution, and the easy, unencumbered fancy, of designs 
which belonged to the best period of Cruikshank's genius.^ 
To make somewhat enlarged copies of them, looking at 
them through a magnifying-glass, and never putting two 
lines where Cruikshank has put only one, would be an 
exercise in decision and severe drawing which would leave 
afterwards little to be learnt in schools. I would gladly 
also say much in their praise as imaginative designs; but 
the power of genuine imaginative work, and its difference 
from that which is compounded and patched together from 
borrowed sources, is of all qualities of art the most difficult 
to explain; and I must be content with the simple asser- 
tion of it. 

And so I trust the good old book, and the honest 
work that adorns it, to such favour as they may find with 
children of open hearts and lowly lives. 

Denmark Hill, Easter, 1868. 

^ [For Ruikiii's regret at the later direction of the artisf s powers^ see above, 
p. 77^ 






[BibHograpMcal NUB.—The lectnre on ''The Flmmboyant Arehitecture of 
the Valley of the Somme" has not hitherto heen puhlithed (see above. 
Introduction, p. zxL). A few extracts from a MS. report of it (§ 1, and a 
passage in § 24) were, however, given in the PiaO Mail Gazette of Angost 10, 
1886 ; in an article entitled '' On the Way to Switzerland." 

The Catalogue, here appended to the leotore (pp. 20&-277)i has appeared 
in two editions:^ — 

FirH Ediium (1869). — An octavo pamphlet of 12 pages (issued sewn and 
without wrappers), with the following title on p. 1 : — 

B^ereneee to the Seriee qf PamUnge and \ Shetekee^ Jram Mr. BuMn'e 
Chliectian^ | Shawn in lUuetratien <if the Relatione (tf \ Hamboifant Arehi- 
teeture to Contemporary \ and Subeepient Art, \ at the | Evening Meet- 
ing of the Royal Institution, | Friday, January 29th, 1869. | London : 
Queen Street Printing Office. | 1869. 

Page 2 is blank ; pp. ^11 contain the notes ; p. 12 is blank. In this edition 
Nos. 34 and 36 were omitted. 

Second EdiHon (1869).— In this edition the title on p. 1 was diifereut 
The words ''at the Evening . . . 1869" were omitted, and the words 
''References . . . Subsequent Art" were placed lower on the page. Pages 
3-8 were the same. On p. 9 Nos. 34 and 36 were added, and this caused 
pp. 9-11 to be overrun. Otherwise the two editions are identical In this 
edition, in No. 9, "Can" before "Mastino" has been omitted.] 

1 Only ed. 2 is noted in the BibUogrv^y by Wise and Smart. 




(A Lecture at the Royal Institution^ January 291 1869) 

1. You stopped at the brow of the hill to put the drag 
on, and looked up to see where you were: — and there lay 
beneath you, far as eye could reach on either side, this 
wonderful valley of the Somme, — with line on line of tufted 
aspen and tall poplar, making the blue distances more ex- 
quisite in bloom by the gleam of their leaves; and in the 
midst of it, by the glittering of the divided streams of its 
river, lay the clustered mossy roofs of Abbeville,^ like a 
purple flake of cloud, with the precipitous mass of the 
Catiiedral towers rising moimtainous through them, and 
here and there, in the midst of them, spaces of garden close 
set with pure green trees, bossy and perfect So you 
trotted down the hill between bright chalk banks, with a 
cottage or two nestled into their recesses, and little round 
children rolling about like apples before the doors, and at 
the bottom you came into a space of open park ground, 
divided by stately avenues of chestnut and acacia, — with 
long banks of outwork and massive walls of bastion seen 
beyond — ^then came the hollow thunder of the drawbridge 
and shadow of the gate — and in an instant, you were in 
the gay street of a populous yet peaceful city — a fellowship 
of ancient houses set beside each other, with all the active 
companionship of business and sociableness of old friends, 

^ [For v>t]ier deseriptioiit of AbboTille, see PomM^ describing a visit in 1835 
(VoL II. p. 398) ; and PrmterUa, I eh. iz. §§ 177 eeq,] 



and yet each with the staid and self-possessed look of 
eountey houses surrounded by hereditary fields — or country 
cottages nested in forgotten glens, — each with its own 
character and fearlessly independent ways — ^its own steep 
gable, narrow or wide — ^its special little peaked windows set 
this way and that as the fancy took them, — ^its most par- 
ticular odd comers, and outs and ins of wall to make the 
most of the ground and simshine, — ^its own turret staircase, 
in the inner angle of the courtyard, — ^its own designs and 
fancies in carving of bracket and beam — its own only bridge 
over the clear branchlet of the Somme that rippl^ at its 
garden gate.^ 

2. All that's gone, — and most of Abbeville is like most 

^ [Among the MSS. of this lecture are tome paanra which show that Ruskin 
at first intended to take his hearers more leisurely to AhbeviUe. He begins at the 
ford of Blanche Taehe over the estuary of the Somme (where Edward 111. crossed 
the river on his way to Cr^cy, and near St Valery-sur-Somme, whence William 
the Conaueror set sail), and tells a legend connected with Hugh Capet, whose right 
to the throne 

". , . was most impressively manifested according to all tradition in the 
recovery of the boay of St Valery from its place of concealment at 
Montreuil. Hugo in person conducts the army which compelled its resti- 
tution from the Flemings, and either he himself or, [according] to other 
reports, the Count Bernard as his representative bearing the urn contain- 
ing the relics, marched at the head of an immense multitude singing hymns 
from Montreuil to the ford of Somme. And as they reached the edge of 
the water — so ran for ages afterwards the popular tale — behold instantly 
the tide of the sea rose so high that it ovenlowed everv channel and for- 
bade the passage of the ford. Whereupon tlie Count Bernard making all 
the people kneel on the shore and praying for help, the water divided 
in the midst, and left free a wide path from one to the other shore, 
which all the people having traversed in great joy and wonder, the sea 
returned again to its place. 

''Well, from Blanche Tache the train will carry you for ten minutes 
through a piece of fiat country entirely uninteresting, unless you care to 
look on your right for the aspen poplars which border the canals of the 
Somme between Abbeville and the sea. I suppose in Holland there may 
be something to match tiiat canal and its avenue, but I have never seen 
their like yet ; two perfectly healthy and unbroken ranks of lovely trees, on 
each side of a fiowing stream, broad and straight as an arrow for five miles. 
Fancy the aisle of a cathedral Ave miles long, with a river for the pave- 
ment of it It goes away into a point of blue light, like a little firefly. 
Of course you can't see anything of it from the nilroad except here and 
there a fow of its taller trees with their sides to you, but it would be worth 
while stopping at the next station to see [them], if there were nothing else 
to see. Something else there is, however ; when you foel the train begin 
to go more slowly, look out forward on the left hand and you will see 
two massy square towers — which are still, and may be for a few months 
more— dark with the grand grey of age."] 


of London — ^rows of houses, all alike, with an heap of 
brickbats at the end of it. But St. Vulfran is still left, 
and it and the other churches have this special interest — 
they are the last of their race. The last — ^that is a bold 
word, and one which I would not press too far in the 
implied absoluteness of its negation. I don't mean that 
you may not by close search find here and there a frag- 
ment of good Gothic later than St. Vulfran of Abbeville, 
but I do mean that there is no other important building, 
nor even an unimportant one of beauty, belonging to the 
true Gothic school, and of later date tiian this. Roughly, 
it belongs to the last quarter of the fifteenth century, — 1475 
to 1500 — and the Gothic of Flanders was hopelessly corrupt 
fifty years before that, the Gothic of Italy had given way 
to classicalism a himdred years before, and the Gothic 
spirit of England, though not yet dead, was fastened down 
and helpless under stem geometrical construction,^ and frigid 
law of vertical line, so that it is walled up like a con- 
demned nun, and you cannot see it die. But here, in 
France, it passes away in your sight; driven from all other 
scenes of its ancient power, it came to this narrow valley 
of the Somme, and passied away. 

8. I have no doubt that if any architects are present, 
they are shocked at my calling this pure. Not ten build- 
ings in the world, pure: Verona tombs grand, but not 
pure; Giotto's Gothic, not pure; our Early English is thin 
and cut to pieces in its mouldings. Gothic is developed, 
in one form young, and in another old. This is not 
central Gothic, but it is still altogether Gothic, — ^florid, but 
still essentia], coherent. While, as I said, the Flemish is 
corrupt, and the English both corrupt and dead, here 
[it is] living and in all essential character incorrupt, while 
the Spire of Antwerp is only a Renaissance buildii^ in the 
shape of a Gothic one. 

4. Now are you not inclined to ask, in the presence of 

1 [For Ruskin'B dislike of Englith Perpendicular, see Vol. VIII. p. 108; and 
VoL IX. p. 227.] 


this last fragment of a series of beautiful human work that 
had lasted through five hundred years, — ^how it came to 
pass that in this [place] it perished? — ^what was the mean- 
ing of its fate? — ^by what power it had risen? — ^by what 
fault it feU? 

Now, observe: — this is a most strangely complex ques- 
tion. Gothic architecture perished before two great in- 
fluences, — ^the Reformation, and the revival of literature. 
We usually think of those influences as allied, — ^but they 
were not allied at alL 

5. The Reformation was an illiterate movement — it was 
the rising of ignorant persons, who had been deceived, 
against the arts that had deceived them; its inunediate 
tendency was to destroy Gothic as an art, with all the fine 
arts. But revived literature rose against it as not fine 
enough art. It destroyed Grothic, because it thought it 
had found something better than Gothic. These two ad- 
versaries were directly opposed, — ^they attacked from oppo- 
site flanks, and were as hostile to each other as to what 
they destroyed. Now, — ^you see — ^here is one most interest- 
ing question. Suppose these enemies had not attacked 
together. Suppose Luther had attacked it alone, on one 
flank, and Raphael alone, on the other. Suppose you had 
had reformation over Europe, — confiscation of priests' re- 
venues in Rome as well as in England, — an Elizabeth on 
the throne of Madrid and a Cromwell at the gates of the 
Vatican. What form would the arts then have taken, as 
the Gothic expired? Or on the other hand, — suppose you 
had had Classic literature revived without religious refor- 
mation, and that a still imperious and fervid Catholicism 
had built its temples to the Madonna, — its shrines to the 
Saints, — at Whitby and Tynemouth — at Bolton and Melrose 
—on the dust of their despised aisles, — in the form of the 
temples of the Lacinian Juno^ and the Ephesian Diana, — 

^ [The Lacinian promontory had a eelebrated temple of Jono (oee jBneidy uL 
552), some remains of which are still standing and give the spot its modem name. 
Capo deUa Colonne.] 



what would have been the course of art, and human 
thought then? You see how interesting this double ques- 
tion would be, — and how carefully we must distinguish the 
effect of a popular emotion which broke down images 
because it hated images, from one which removed them 
only to make them fairer and more like heathen gods. 
And again, — ^how careful to distinguish a movement which 
destroyed legendary art because it detested legend, from a 
movement which no longer needed legendary art because 
its legends could now be in books instead of pictures. 

6. But both these questions, interesting as they are, are 
subordinate to a greater one. Suppose either, or both, of 
those adversaries had risen against Gothic two centuries 
earlier, and that printing had been discovered, and classic 
literature revived, in the reign of Saint Louis. Quite easily 
that might have chanced. There was nothing to hinder it 
in the nature of things, — and in that case, the two adver- 
saries would have attacked the Gothic in youth, and met 
the main rush of its power. What would have happened 
then? Well, I can tell you what would have happened. 
That would have taken place universally, which did take 
place partially in the leading minds of the thirteenth century. 
The strong Gothic would have received the classical ele- 
ment ever3rwhere, as it did at Florence. That architecture 
of Florence did receive classical forms, as the mind of 
Dante received classical legends, incorporating them with 
its own life, and making that life more varied and more 
vivid. But in the sixteenth century the Gothic itself was 
dying ^ — ^the stock of the tree was rotten to its root, no 
grafting was any more possible on any branch of it. It 
sank at the first touch of the axe; and a new thing was 
planted instead of it, foreign to the soil, and which will 
never flourish there. Therefore, what I have to show you 
to-night is the form of this Christian architecture in its last 
time — not yet dead — but with its hours numbered, and 

^ [Compare Seven Lampe^ Vol. VIII. p. 98.] 


numbered not by an enemy's will, but by its own weak- 
ness, — ^not by external calamity, but by native corruption. 

7. And, first, I have just used the expression — ^by what 
faults it fell 

• •••••• 

8. Now I know you partly recognize the truth of this 
as I speak it. But you may do away with all doubt, by 
putting the question home to yourselves, before any work 
of art— 4iay, before even the feeblest copy or shadow of a 
work— of any Central Greek or Italian School This even- 
ing, I have put in the next room two pictures,* one by 
Titian, the other a study from Luini, which, however 
feeble^ being patiently wrought on the spot, as far as pos- 
sible in facsimile, conveys to you a better impression than 
an ordinary engraving could, of a work in itself so beautiful 
that I do not fear but that you will find some reflex of 
its true character, even in this its shadow. Stand for a 
few moments to-night before those pictures, and ask of 
yourselves whether men and women such as they represent 
were trained in a vicious or degraded element, and whether 
the painters who could understand them and rejoice in 
making their nobleness eternal, saw them with eyes warped 
by evil, or painted them with hands enfeebled by guilt. 
The Venetian picture should be especially interesting to us 
English, for it is the portrait of a Merchant King. Sis- 
mondi' says of him: ^^Gritti, one of the merchants whom 
the Turks had arrested at Constantinople in the beginning 
of their quarrel with Venice, conducted fix>m his prison the 
negotiations in the name of his country; fortune having 
destined this man, no less distinguished for the beauty of 

^ [The paa8age> which here followed in the lectare, was detached by Ruakiii 
for nae in Th$ (^wen ^ th$ Air, §§ 101^-105 : see below^ pp. 38D-^2, where he says 
the paaeaffe ''will be better read than in its incidental connection n^th the porchea 
of Aobevule." It shows that ''the faults of a work are the faults of its workmen/' 
great art being " the expression in form of the mind of a great man."] 

> [Nos. 1 and 2 in the Catalogue following the lecture (below, p. 269). The 
Titian is Plate X. here; for the Luini, see the Frontispiece and Introduction, 
pp. lj:xii.-lzziy.] 

* [Histaire du BSpubUqun ItaRennei du Mojfen Age, ed. 1826, voL ziii. p. 238. 
Orittf was Doge, 1523-1638.] 

The Doge Andrea Grltti 


his face, and the straigth of his person, than for his mili- 
tary and political genius, to conclude from the midst of his 
captivity two of the most important treaties ever signed 
by the state ; and afterwards signalizing himself in the war 
of the league of Cambrai, and reconciling his country to 
France, he mounted the Ducal throne and held it through 
fifteen years ; " — ^reigned, — ^the historian ought to have added 
— ^in brightness of honour, and strengthened by the affec- 
tion and the trust of every heart in Venice. 

9. There are three more pictures in the other room 
which will mark for you in a distinct manner the connec- 
tion of national character with modes of work. The Meis- 
sonier^ especially deserves your attention, as one of the 
most laboured pieces that have yet come from his hand, — 
and its execution is as surely indicative of the accomplished, 
subtle, and worldly force of the French Schools, as the 
country boys of Hunt* testify to the simple and cheerful 
energy of a rustic English mind. In all first-rate work 
character is thus legible at a glance, but in the plurality 
of instances, and of schools, a thousand varied modes of 
failure or merit mark the mingUng of broken moral powers. 
So that it is no more possible to pronounce in a word the 
praise or blame of an art than of a nation. Mixed of evil 
and good, — nor even these themselves always as such defin- 
able, but the evil atoned for, till it seems worthy of love, 
and the good thoughtless or thwarted till it is all in vain 
— ^the inventions, like the arts of men, shine but with an 
interrupted lustre, and, like the fair colours of birds' plum- 
age, changing as we change our place, in one light glow 
and in another fade. 

10. The common sense of it all is, that no man is 
perfect: commonly the best kind of man is liable to bad 
flaws and failures, — all the more notable for the rest of the 
good in him. Especially the men of a delicate make; — 

1 PNo. 3 in the Cataloffae (p. 269).] 

' [No. 4, p. 269. The last of the ^^ three other pictures" mentioned in the text 
was the *' Cottage Interior" hy Frere: No. 6, p. 270.] 


Raphael, Vandyke, Mozart, and all the men of their order. 
Then the people who think character has nothing to do 
with art, say: ^^Look, here's a great painter, and he did so 
and so," Well — ^whatever he did of wrong shortened his 
powers, and whatever he resisted of wrong strengthened 
them. All the good in him came of the good at the root, 
and all the bad, of the bad at the root. Ask of a man 
always whether there's any good in him, and take what 
you find fearlessly, knowing that the grape never came of 
the thorn, nor the fig of the thistle. By their fruits ye 
shall know them.^ 

11. Therefore in reading this architecture, you will read 
infallibly the faults of its builders. And yet you must 
observe carefully that the higher arts, which involve the 
action of the whole intellect, tell the story of the entire 
national character; but the constructive and mechanical 
arts tell only part. From a nation's painting, you know 
everything concerning it; from a nation's architecture, only 
half. That portrait of Andrea Gritti by Titian tells you 
everything essential to be known about the power of 
Venice in his day — ^the breed of her race, their self-com- 
mand, their subtlety, their courage, their refinement of 
sensitive faculty, and their noble methods of work. So, — 
if you go to the Kensington Museum, — everything that 
needs to be known, nay, the deepest things that can ever 
be known, of England a hundred years ago, are written in 
two pictures of Reynolds': the Age of Innocence, and the 
young Colonel mounting his horse.^ Carlyle and Froude 
and Macaulay all together cannot tell you as much as 
those two bits of canvas will when you have once learned 
to read them. 

12. So we proceed to read this bit of work' as well 

^ [Matthew vii. 16. On the subject of art and character^ see above, p. 166.] 

' [Both now in the National Gallery. For other references to the ''Age of 

Innocence" (No. 307), see Ariadne Fhrentina^ §i 125, and Art qf England, § 66. The 

'< young Colonel mounting his horse" is the "Portrait of Captain Orme*' (No. 681).] 

' [t.s., St Vulfran at Abbeville, of which there were orawings shown in the 

lecture room : see Catalogue^ pp. 276j 277.] 


as we can. Well — ^first there are its more physical and 
material qualities. What is it made of — built of? That's 
the first tiling to ask of all building. Egjrptian building is 
essentially of porphyry, — Greek of marble, — St. Mark's at 
Venice of glass and alabaster, — ^and this is — built of chalk, 
common chalk — chalk with the flints in it left in, and 
sticking out here and there. Well, that's the first point 
to think about. All flamboyant architecture is essentially 
chalk architecture, — it is buUt of some light, soft, greasy 
stone, which you can cut like cheese, which you can drive 
a furrow into with your chisel an inch deep, as a plough- 
man furrows his field. Well, of course, with this sort of 
stufi^ the workman goes instinctively in for deep cutting; 
he can cut deep, — and he does cut deep; — and he can cut 
fast, and he does cut fast; — and he can cut fantastically, — 
and he goes in for fancy. What is more, the white surface 
itself has no preciousness in it, but it becomes piquant 
when opposed with black shadow, and this flamboyant 
chiselling is therefore exactly, compared to a fine sculpture, 
what a Prout sketch is to a painting: — ^black and white, — 
against gentle and true colour. 

18. Now what this Abbeville work is typically, all late 
northern work is broadly: — black and white sketching: 
against perfect form; and what there is of good and bad 
in that method is all mingled in it. On the one hand 
there is not a greater distinction between vital sculpture 
for building, and dead sculpture, than that a true workman 
pamts with his chisel,— does not carve the form of a thing, 
but cuts the efiect of its form. In the great statue of 
Voltaire at the French Academy,^ — a miracle of such work 
— ^the light in the eye is obtained by a projecting piece of 
marble. All Donatello's work — all Mino of Fiesole's — all 

^ [This u a slip of the pen for the The&tre FraD9ai8y in the foyer of which etands 
the celebrated statue of Voltaire by Hoadon (1741-1828). Raskin noted it in his 
diary of 1868 :— 

"October 7. — Tarti^ffs and Beaumarchais in evening. Note statue of 
Voltaire (Houdon) ; the light left in eyes by projecting point of marble ; 
inimitable as realization in all points. Drapenes perfect; as portraiture^ 
impossible to go further."] 


the loveliest Italian cinque-cento — is literally chisel-painting ; ^ 
and it is continually apt to run into too much trick and 
under-cutting. I can't go into that, now — ^it begins with 
the use of tiie drill in B3rzantium capitals. But the issue 
of it is that you have at last too much superficial effect, 
— ^too much trickery, — ^not enough knowledge of real form. 
But then you have a knowledge of effect which is quite 
consummate, and I know nothing in the whole range of 
art in which the touch is so exquisitely measured to its 
distance as in this flamboyant. Not one accent is ever 
lost, — ^it looks equally fine all over; but at forty feet above 
the eye you find it is actually so coarse that you cannot 
believe it is the work you saw from below. 

But broadly; — ^here is the final corruption: — ^that it be- 
comes a design of lace in white, on a bhick ground ; not 
a true or intelligent rendering of organic form.^ 

14s. And now we come to another physical condition. 
Flamboyant architecture is of stone in churches, — ^but con- 
temporaneously of wood in houses.' 

So you see — ^the workman's life practice is all in chalk, 
—or all in oak, — either in a soft effaceable thing, or a 
tough fibrous thing. His design becomes sketchy, for one 
cause ; — and fibrous, nervous, and edgy for the other. For 
observe; — ^in carving wooden beams, you can always get an 
effect cheaply by bringing out your edges, but it is diffi- 
cult to get a sharp edge out of marble without breaking 
it; — and impossible to cut a thin edge out of granite, — ^but 
in wood, up come the edges whether you like them or 
not, at every blow. That's the reason why dead game is 
so often carved in wood. You have only to jag at the 

1 rCom]>are Aratra PenteRci, § 178.] 

' [Here the MS. notes, '^Before leaying the use of chalk, show Ward's gable" ; 
that IS, No. 44 in the Catalogue (see below^ p. 276).] 

s [The MS. here has a note, ^'Show Lisieuz 37, Francois Ist 38'* ; that is, Front's 
'' Houses at lisieuz," No. 37 in the Catalogue^ " showing the general arrangement 
of the ornamentation of timber houses in North France in the flamboyant Period" 
(below, p. 275); and the nhotograph of the Maison de Francois I.^ in the Rue de 
la Tannerie at Abbeville, No. & in the Catalogue (below, p. 276). For other re- 
marks on wooden and stone architecture, see Nate9 an Frwt and Hunt, VoL XIV. 
pp. 414 9eq,] 

Details from the West Front of St. Vulfran, Abbeville 



















feathers, and there they are. So, again, the grain of wood 
is tormenting if one has to cut forms across it, but it 
lends itself at once to a current curve with the grain. So 
that this sort of line becomes necessarily characteristic, and 
goes into the stone-work, till at last you have it insisted 
on, as in the 'prentice pillar at Roslin.^ But more than 
this: working in wood, and living among woods, the 
carver was continually dealing with branches of trees, and 
he saw the beauty of leaves as connected with branches, 
more than any one ever did before; and he saw especially 
quantities of dead leaves, and got to like the way they 
twisted, from being used to it. Now I luckily happen 
once to have made a careful study of a cluster of dead oak 
leaves, and more luckily still, I kept the cluster I drew it 
from. There's a Flamboyant crocket for youl* 

15. Now for the moral part of it. So far as the work* 
man knew what dead leaves were and loved them, the 
work is beautiful. But so far as he liked dead leaves 
better than living ones, and twigs of oak better than living 
creatures, it is a degraded one. Now see. Here at Abbe- 
ville, the leaves are either shrivelled and dead, or wrinkled 
as cabbage is wrinkled; but here at Bourges* is strong 
Gothic, — ^the leaves are all alive, smooth, glossy, elastic, 
and tender with youth. Here is the glow and the bloom 
of an unstinted vitality. Here literally is the frost, — ^here 
literally the wrinkles — of age. 

16. Now the next character of this architecture is curi- 
ously mingled in physical and moral causes. Physically, 
it is architecture for a damp climate, in soft stone, which 
needed to be protected in the most delicate and important 
parts of the carving, as far as possible from rain, that it 
might not moulder, and that the faces might not be de- 
formed by stains. So each statue, instead of being freely 

» rSee Vol. XVI. p. 373 n.] 

s [No. 20 in the Catalogrue (p. 272). The sketch is at Oxford, and the actual 
cluster is also preserved in the Raskin Drawing School. With this passage com- 
pare Catalogue of the Rudimentary Seriee, 1878, No. 286 (Vol. XX.).] 

« [The reference is to No. 14 in the Catalogue (p. 271).] 


exposed to sun and storm, as in Greece, — ^has its little 
canopy well projecting over it, and the niche becomes as 
important as the statue.^ But note the moral part of this 
change. As people began to gain more civilized domestic 
habits, each man's house became of greater importance to 
him: each statue has a house of its own. And further, — 
as the world became more luxurious people began to think 
solitude more sacred ; each saint, instaeul of joining in choir 
or procession, must have his own little den and cave, all 
to himself. So each holy statue has its own oratory, and 
every saint has his special tabernacle ; and at last the saint- 
ship disappears in the seclusion; and all over England and 
France you have tabernacle work instead of sculpture. 
Shrines instead of Saints, and Canopies instead of Kings. 

And I cannot — and I suppose I need not — ^follow out 
the relative moral change which that means, — of which 
before the last French Revolution we had seen enough.* 

17. Now the next point of decline is not physical at 
all; it is wholly a mental matter — excess, namely, of in- 
genuity in construction. There is always a steady increase 
in this particular kind of skill in every school of building, 
from its birth to its falL It builds more and more inge- 
niously every day, and at last expires in small mathematical 

The first idea of construction is the simplest possible; 
two stones set on end, and another set on tiie top. That 
is Stonehenge construction, — it is Egyptian construction, — ^it 
is Greek construction. Not ingenious, — ^but very secure, if 
your stone is good. And with that simplest of construc- 
tions are connected, without any exception, all the best 
schools of sculpture; for there is no great sculpturesque 
school even of advanced Gothic, after the horizontal lintel 

^ [On this subject compare StmiM (f Venice, vol i. (Vol IX. p. ddO).] 
s [Ruskin, it will be remembered, was an admirer of the Third Napoleon and 
his r&ime, which at the date of tiiis lecture had not yet been oyerthrown. By 
''the hat French Revolution" he thus means the eoup ^Stat which placed Napoleon 
on the throne. For his description of liie state of France before that event, see 
Vol. VIII. p. xxxii.] 

The Southern I'oichi Alibevill 


has quite vanished into the vault.^ Well, next to this 
horizontal stone, come two stones, giving a gable; — ^then 
the arch, and then endless systems of narrower shafts and 
higher arches, until the mind of the builder is mainly occu- 
pied in finding new ways of making his work stand, and 
look as if it couldn't stand. Now there is nothing more 
delightful in their own way than these subtle contrivances 
of Later Gothic, through which Strassburg tower stands up 
five hundred feet transparent as a cloud, — ^and Salisbury 
spire springs like the foam jet over a hollow wave, — ^foun- 

18. But, exactly in proportion as the builder's mind is 
occupied with these mechanical conditions, it is necessarily 
unoccupied by thoughts connected with human passion or 
historical event. 

Mathematics are delightfiil and absorbing, but they are 
not pathetic; good mason's work, or good engineer's, is 
intensely satisfactory to the person doing it, and leaves him 
no time for sentiment, or for what it is now the some- 
what vulgar fashion to call sentimentality.* And in exactly 
measured and inevitable degree, as architecture is more in- 
genious, it is less passionate. Only the other day I w&s 
speaking to one of our quite leading Gothic architects 
about the relative value of southern work and northern — 
equally good of their period, — and especially of the early 
school of Pisa as compared with that of France. My 
friend (we owe so much to him that he will pardon me 
for naming him, — Mr. Street^) alleged against the Pisan 
work that there was no construction in it, which is liter- 
ally true — so true that I could make no defence at the 
time. It is rather pinned together than built; — ^but there 

^ [Oompare the chapter on ''The Arch line" in SUmei qf Venice^ yoL i. (VoL IX. 
pp. 163 9eq.),'\ 

s [For another reference to the tower of Strassburg, see Vol. VIII. p. 105. For 
other references to Salisbury spire, see Vol. VIII. pp. 167, 203 ; Vol. IX. p. 332 ; 
and Aratra PenUlici, § 18.] 

s [See below, § 27', p. 262.1 

*[r ■ 

For other references to Street, see ''The Study of Architecture"; above^ 
p. 23 n.] 


are two reasons for this. Architecture which is built with 
little bits of precious stone» must always be more like 
mosaic than that which is built of big bits of coarse 
stone; — ^but also, the builder's mind is far too busy iq 
other and higher directions to care about construction. It 
is fidl of theology, of philosophy, of thoughts about fate, 
about love, about death, — about heaven and helL It is 
not at all an interesting question with him how to make 
stones balance each other; but it is, how to reconcile doc- 
trines ; — ^the centre of gravity of vaults is of little moment 
with him, — ^but the centre of Fortitude in spirits is much ; 
— ^not but that his arches and stones, however rudely bal- 
anced, did stick together somehow;^ there is no defiance 
of construction in them, only no attention is paid to it; 
if the thing stands, that is aU that is wanted. But I think 
you must see at once what a vital difference it must make 
at last in schools of building, whether their designer has his 
head full of mathematical puzzles, or of eager passions; — 
whether he is only a dextrous joiner, manufacturing hollow 
stone boxes, — or a poet, writing his book on pages of 
marble, and not much caring about the binding of them. 

19. And herein, I am therefore able to give you an 
inj&Uible test of the relative dignity of schools in all time. 
Some may be more learned than others, — scHne more grace- 
ful, — ^some more ingenious, — and others more severe; but 
the infallible test is, — ^the prevalence of the human element 
in their sculpture. Where the sculpture leads, and its pas- 
sions, the school is great and living; where the masonry 
leads, and its problems, — there the school is mean and 

I have made a rough sketch for you here of the tomb 
of Can Grande, at Verona, which -wHl at once show you 
what I mean.' It is an architecture entirely powerfiil and 

^ [Here Ruskin added in hii first draft : — 

''. . . somehow; and if in five hondred yean Time gives as good an 
account of our houses in Belgravia as of Giotto's Campanile^— well, ^e worse 
for those that come after us."] 

* [See No. 8 in the Catalogue (helow, p. 270), and compare Plate XXIIL here.] 


progressive, because wholly subordinate to figure sculpture. 
Tl]^:^ is no lace work, no crocketing, no tracery, no con- 
struction to speak of; the one thing you look at is the 
image of the knight in his repose; and the one thing you 
think of is the Ufe from which he reposes. But here^ is 
a piece of architecture which is as assuredly dying as the 
other is progressive, in which the statue is nothing, and the 
canopy is everything, in which you are delighted by the 
loveliness of line, or the precision of balance, — but in which 
you are touched by no regret, and bear away with you no 

20. Now with this great moral change in the temper 
from passionate to mechanical, there is associated a most 
curious change in method of construction. When humanity 
and history were the main things in the architect's mind, 
his broad surfaces were everything to him, and his limiting 
lines unimportant. But when construction became princi- 
pal with him, and story subordinate, — ^the shaft and the 
arch rib became everything, and the wall nothing, — until it 
was found that, in fact, a building might be constructed 
by nothing but ribs, a mere osseous thorax of a building, 
instead of a living body. And the critical moment, — the 
turn of fate, — the fastening of a disease that might be 
conquered, into disease that was mortal to Gothic archi-* 
tecture, — was what I long ago defined in the Stones of 
Venice^ as the substitution of the line for the mass as the 
element of decoration.^ Fpr early work had walls covered 
with sculpture, and windows divided by pillars. Late work 
has its walls covered with lace, and its windows spun 
across with cobwebs. And this is not a mere increase in 
subtlety, or excess in quantity. It is total and fatal change 
in principle. Look here, — here's a picture, — and here's a 
frame. Early architecture decorated with this; — ^late archi- 
tecture decorates with that. Literally, — and to the friUest 

1 [Probably No. 33 in the Catalogue (p. 276}.] 

* [Not in the 8tone$ of Venice, but in the Seven Lampe qf Architecture (cb. ii^ 
§ 23) : see Vol. VIU. p. 90.] 



extent, — ^this is true. In early work, you have a tablet 
covered with sculpture, and a decorated moulding round 
it ; — that is all right ; but in late work, you have no sculp- 
ture, — ^but are to enjoy the moulding. 

21. But now observe, secondly: it is interwoven Archi- 
tecture.^ Not merely linear, — ^but flexibly linear, twisted 
and wreathed so as to make the stone look ductile. Here- 
in is its great distinction from the English perpendicular; 
and it is an entirely essential distinction. And to an archi- 
tect it would necessarily appear that in this it was inferior 
to the English school, — and that pretending to make stone 
look not like stone, and defying many of the laws of 
mechanical structure, it had forfeited all title to be ranked 
with the rigid legitimacy of buildings. And that is in the 
main, true; this system of interweaving is an abandonment 
of the principle, which is, that every material should have 
its qualities insisted on, not disguised; and that all orna- 
ment is wrong which contradicts or conceals the laws of 
stable masonry. But it is necessary that the true root and 
cause of this character should be understood, before we 
can judge it justly. 

22. You are doubtless all aware that from the earliest 
times, a system of interwoven ornament has been peculi- 
arly characteristic of northern design, reaching greatest in- 
tensity of fancy in the Irish manuscripts represented by the 
Book of Kells,' — and universal in Scandinavia and among 
the Norman race. But you may not have considered, — ^that, 
disguised by other and more subtle qualities, the same 
instinct is manifest in the living art of the whole world. 
This delight in the embroidery, intricacy of involution, — 
the labyrinthine wanderings of a clue, continually lost, con- 
tinually recovered, belongs — though in a more chastised 
and delicate phase — as much to Indian, to Arabian, to 
Egyptian, and to Byzantine work, as to that of Norway 
and Ireland ; — ^nay, it existed just as strongly in the Greek 


See again Seveti LampSf Vol. VIII. pp. 91-02.1 

At Trinity College, Dublin ; of the second half of the seventh oentury.] 


mind in its best times; only as all other powers and 
instincts of art were theirs besides, the Greeks never nar- 
rowed their ingenuity into mere looping and knotting of 
lines, and they brought out their delight in involution, 
only in subordination to truth of human and animal form. 
What is with a Bjrzantine nothing but basket work, is 
with the Greek a confusion of limbs of the horses as they 
turn in a chariot race; and what with a Norman would 
have been only a running troop of hunted beasts, or creep- 
ing thicket of twisted branches, is with the Greek a pro- 
cession of youths and maidens. But in all living art this 
love of involved and recurrent line exists, — and exists 
essentially — ^it exists just as much in music as in sculpture, 
and the continually lost and recovered threads and streams 
of melody in a perfect fugue, correspond precisely in their 
sweet science of bewildering succession, to the loveliest 
traceries over the gold of an early missal, or to the fan- 
tasies of the stone work, in which you would have thought 
some fairy's hand 

''Twixt poplars straight the osier wand 
In many a freakish wreath had twined ; 
Then framed a spell, when the work was done, 
And changed the willow wreaths to stone." ^ 

28. But I must pass on quickly to the essential char- 
acter of it, — ^this interweaving, — ^that from which it has its 
name — ^Flamboyant. 

I was showing you a few minutes ago the difference 
between the elastic lines of early sculpture, and the crisped, 
contracted lines of late sculpture. But there is a worse 
character of lines than crispness. There is the character of 
relaxation. You may lose the spring of youth in two 
ways. By stifiening of age, or by languor, — and the languor 
is the worse of the two. And that is the way in which 
the lines of ornamental design corrupted themselves at this 
period everywhere, not in Gothic only, — ^nay, not so much 

^ [The Lay qf the Loit Mimtrel, canto ii. staDza 11 : quoted also in VoL XIV. 
p. 415.] 


in Gothic as in the Renaissance that was superseding it. 
Everywhere loose lines of fillets, ribands, and weakly or 
wildly undulatory drapery, were beginning to be chosen in 
preference to the elastic lines of organic form ; and thus, to 
the smallest particular, the forms of art echoed the temper 
of their age; the fluttered line announced the feeble wUl, 
and the unbound robe, the licentious temper. 

24. But in the Northem Gothic, and especially in this 
flamboyant school, tl^re was another and a quite nobler 
influence at work; there was this licentiousness; but with 
it there was a strange fear and melancholy, which had 
descended unbroken from the gloom of Scandinavian re- 
ligion, — ^which was associated always with the labour, the 
darkness, and the hardships of the North, and which in its 
resistance to the increasing luxury of the time, took now 
a feverish and frantic tendency towards the contemplation 
of death,^ — clinging to this as its only rebuke and safety, 
tempted by luxury on one side, and tormented by rem<»se 
upon the other, — and most of all by the great baseness of 
illiterate Christianity in the fear of a physical hell ^ — ^mingled 
with indignation against the vices of the priests, — ^which 
brought a bitter mockery and low grotesque into the art 
that had once breathed in affectionate faith and childish 
obedience. So that you have the pensiveness of Albert 
Durer's Melencholia, and the majesty of his Knight walk- 
ing with Death, — and the fantasy and fever of his Apoca- 
Ijrpse, — and the luxury of his wanton and floating Fortune,' 
— and the insatiable intensity of redundant minuteness, and 
as it were an avarice of nothing in his pebbles and leaves ; 
and you have the mixed mockery and despair of Holbein's 
Dance of Death, — and a thousand such others, — and all the 

^ [See N08. 26-31 in the Catalogue (below^ p. 274)j which were shown to illus- 
trate this part of the lecture. The ''Melencholia" and ''Knight** are reproduced 
in Vol VII. pp. 310, 312.] 

« [Compare Vol. XVII. p. 360, and Vol. XVIU. p. 302.] 

s [For other references to the "Apocalypse/' see Vol. VI. p. 266; Vol XI. 
p. 172 ; Ariadne Fhrentina, § 260, and AH qf England, § 101. For the " Fortune," 
see Vol. XV. p. 411, and Ariadne FhrmUina, §§ 169, 252. For DQrer's "gloomily 
minute" detail, see Vol. III. p. 186.] 


powers and instincts of which these were the sign, thrilling 
and contending in the breasts of men, and forcing them- 
selves into every line of the last forms of the shrines of 
their expiring religion. So that the very threads of the 
now thin and nervous stone work catch the ague of mixed 
wantonness and terror, and — ^weak with unwholesome and 
ominous fire — ^flamboyant with a fatal glow — ^tremble in 
their ascent as if they were seen through troubled and 
heated air, over a desert horizon; — and lose themselves at 
last in the likeness, — ^no more as the ancient marbles, of 
the snows of Olympus, — ^but of the fires of condemnation. 

25. Now you have just heard how in that faultless and 
intensely perceptive description of Melrose, which was built 
just at this period, — Scott fastened at once on the char- 
acteristic structural feature — ^interweaving. Much more did 
he feel and fasten upon this spiritual character, and, as in 
few words he has made memorable to you the art of this 
masonry, — so in a few sweet verses, which tell the legend 
of another, the fairest building of this time in Scotland, — 
he will make memorable to you the sadness, the forebod- 
ing of death, and the feverish and unconsoling superstition 
which haunted, as they vanished, the last of the Gothic 

26. I have hitherto traced for you only the weaknesses 

^ [Here no doubt Raskin read some lines from the baUad of Rosabelle (Lay qf 
the Loit Mimtrel, canto vi. stanza 23) : — 

'* O'er Roslin all that dreary night, 

A wondrous blaze was seen to ffleam; 
Twas broader than the watch-fires light. 
And redder than the bright moon-beam . . . 

Seem'd all on fire that chapel proud, 

Where Roslin's chiefs uncoffin'd lie. 
Each Baron, for a sable shroud. 

Sheathed in his iron panoply . . . 

Blazed battlement and pinnet high, 

Blazed everv rose-carved buttress fiiir — 
So still they blsze, when fiste is nigh 

The lordly line of high St. Clair." 

Roslin Chapel was founded in 1446, but was not finished till the end of the century. 
St. Vulfran's at Abberille (commenced 1488) was thus of about the same date.] 


and errors of this architecture, or its vain beauty. I have 
not yet told you the great one fault by which it fell. 
Commonly it is said of all Gothic, that it rose in simpli- 
city, that it declined by becoming too florid and too rich. 

Put that error at once out of your minds. All beauti- 
ful and perfect art, literature or nature, is rich. Titian 
is rich, Beethoven is rich, Shakespeare is rich, and the 
forests, and the fields, and the clouds are richest of all. 
And the two most beautiful Gothic pieces of work in the 
world, — ^the South door of the Cathedral of Florence, and 
the North transept door of the Cathedral of Rouen,^ — ^were 
both in the thirteenth century covered with sculpture as 
closely as a fretted morning sky with sands of cloud.' 

But the Gothic fell, because its wealth was empty and 
its profusion heartless; it fell, because men had become 
meanly fanciful and vainly sad, or viciously gay, — because 
it had ceased to be earnest, and ceased to be sincere. 

27. I observe that lately among our artists there has 
been a singular crusade against the word ''Sentiment." In 
the very meeting of the Architects' Institute, to which I 
have already referred,^ another of its members declared that 
he never could see anything but absurdity in the idea that 
Gothic architecture owed any of its merits to the Senti- 
mentality of the People at large.^ That the idea appeared 
absurd to him, I do not wonder; but the fact, — singular 
as it may be, — was actually so, that in these days the 

^ [For another reference to the rich finish on the South door of the Cathedral 
of Florence, see Seven Lamps, Vol. VIII. p. 174 ; and for the North transept door 
of Rouen^ ibid,, pp. 89^ 165| and Plate X.J 

* [Compare the description of clouds ''waved like sand'* aboyoi p. xlii. n.] 

> [See above^ § 18; the reference, however , is to the first draft in the AlS., 
where Ruskin particularised his reference to ''the somewhat vulgar fiuhion to caU 
sentiment" by allusion to Professor Kerr.] 

* [The reference is to a discussion which took place at a meeting of the Institute 
on June 8, 1868, upon a paper read at a previous meeting by Mr. Digby Wyatt 
on "The Foreign Artists employed in Enffland during the Sixteenth Century." In 
the course of the discussion Ruskin had been quoted, and Professor Kerr said : 
" What we have had so often laid before us we have had repeated once more to- 
night — that in the Middle Ages architecture flourished in consequence of the 
enthusiastic sentimentality in the people at large. I, for one, never could see any- 
thing but the greatest absurdity in such an idea" (Seuhnal Papers^ 1867-1868, 
p. 262).] 


people at large had sentiments, and acted upon them, — and 
that their architecture owed to these, not only its merits, 
but even its existence; for, to take one central and char- 
acteristic instance: ^^One saw at the re-erection of the 
front of Chartres in 1146" — ^these are the words of an eye- 
witness: "One saw people of wealth and power, accus- 
tomed to a life of ease, harness themselves in crowds to 
the carts that carried the stones; and though sometimes a 
thousand persons, men and women, — so vast were the 
weights that had to be drawn — were harnessed to one 
chariot, there reigned so great a silence that no murmur 
was heard; only when they stopped to rest, they spoke: 
making confession of their sins with prayers and tears." ^ 
Very absurd, doubtless — ^but an entirely practical business; 
— and perhaps, in another seven hundred years, we may 
also seem absurd to those who shall come after us, — 
though our sentiments, such as they are, and the burdens 
we have laid on ourselves, and the chariots we have 
dragged, may leave behind them no monument of imbe- 
cility like the towers of Chartres Cathedral. 

But be that as it may, this was the reason that the 
Gothic fell, — ^that it had lost to the core its faith, its truth, 
and its sensibility, and was incapable alike of being grafted 
with the grace of a Pagan religion, or communicating, even 
to one generation more, the humility — or the glory — of its 

28. Finally. Architecture can only be built by a 
Thoughtful Nation, and a Pure Nation, living up to its 
conscience, — ^who have a Common Pride, and a Common- 

By a Thoughtful Nation. It cannot be built by clowns, 
or by people who are generally low in sphere of thought 
and power of intellect. It does not matter how good they 

* [Translated from a letter of Haimon^ Abbe of Saint Pierre-Bur-Dives^ which is 
preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. It is cited^ with other contemporary 
documents to like effect, in the Abb^ Bulteau's Monograpkh d4 la CkUhidrale de 
Chartret, vol. i. p. 01.] 

' [Here, again, compare iS!0M» Lamps, Vol. VIII. pp. d8, 99.] 


are, if they are foolish or simple, or busied chiefly and 
earnestly in vulgar business. It is ri^t in Cheshire to 
care for cheese, — r^ht in Newcastle to be occupied in 
coals, — aright in the Highlands to be interested in grouse ; — 
but a nation interested only in cheese or coal or grouse 
cannot be architects. You can only have great buildings 
when the rulers or guides of the people are eagerly occu- 
pied — unselfishly — ^in the higheist spheres of intellect open 
to them in their age. 

29. Then, secondly, I said, by a Pure people. That is 
to say, the arts being intensely the work of Human crea- 
tures, can only be attained by them in the measure of 
their humanity, in the d^^ree of their separation from 
brutes, both in thought and character. Cathedrals can't be 
built by lambs, and they can't be built by serpents or 
swine. However loving you are, you must have brains— 
or you can't build; and however clever you are, you 
must be affectionate and self-commandant, — or you can't 
build. I don't say how far we are, or are not this, — but 
only, — that just so far, we can have art, and no farther. 
So much as there is in us of serpent or of swine, of malice 
or of greed, — ^so much less there is of art capacity; and 
so far as we are affectionate and temperate, or sdf-com- 
mandant, — ^so much more we have of art-capacity. 

80. Thirdly: Architecture is possible only to a people 
who have a Common Pride, and a Common- Wealth, — 
whose Pride is Civic, — and is the Pride of AIL 

Good architecture can't be built by Modest people; you 
must be very saucy, and think yourselves very fine people 
before you can build, — but your pride must be in what 
you all do, and all are. Among us, I notice that it is 
always individual. We want to do a thing by ourselves, 
to say a thing that other peoj^e have not said, — to get it 
allowed by them that we did it or we said it. Now when 
people have real faculty for art, they never care much 
about putting their names to what they have done. You 
hardly ever get at a Greek workman's name; hardly ever 


at a Gothic workman's; but there is always the strongest 
and brightest National or Civic pride, — the determination 
that they will have the noblest temple or the highest tower 
for a thousand miles round.^ 

Fourthly. No architecture can be built but by a nation 
which has a common wealth, — a common well-being. And 
this first in a most literal way. There must be perfect free- 
masonry and unity among all the workmen, from highest to 
lowest; and the salaries of the highest must not be high, 
and of the lowest not mean or miserable. There must be 
gradations of authority, according to faculty, — ^and that will 
always be naturally and necessarily given to the man who 
can design most brilliantly; all the others will look for 
government and for working drawing^; — he will be the 
master mason, — but he must be nothing more: difference 
of authority — yes; difference of pay, — ^no — or at least in 
very small degree. It is the greatest glory of a King, 
or Greneral, or a Master of Craft, — ^to be poor. Not only 
their greatest glory, but their greatest power. No rich 
king — ^no rich captain — no rich craftsmanr--ever has his arm 
free. You will find that a notable lantern to take with 
you in reading history. Look — if you want to know where 
nations are in power — ^Look if their kings are poor — ^there, 
their kings are strong. Look where masters have low wages 
— ^thare, they are masters indeed. 

81. And for the practical application of this, I will give 
you a direct and sharp one. And there is nothing, of all 
I have had to teU you, more certain, — nothing for us at 
present so immediately needing to be told. 

No architecture will ever be possible where the nmstei* 
workman has a commission on the cost} Pay him a salary — 
a high one if you choose — though you had better not, 
— ^but always salary, not commission. Pay your masters 
only as working men; but masters and men together as 

^ [Compare what Ruskin says of the rivalry between Beauvais and Amiens : 
Zeetures on Architecture and PahUing, § 19 (Vol. XII. pp. 38-^).] 
* [Compare Far9 Clavigera^ Letter 5.] 


gentlemen, — ^and you may yet see a chisel handled again 
by an English hand, as in the days of old. 

82. But, further — and last of lastest. There must be 
commonwealth, as regards those for whom you build, as 
well as by whom you build. We shall never make our 
houses for the rich beautiful, till we have begun by making 
our houses for the poor beautiful. As it is a common and 
difiused pride, so it is a common and diffused delight on 
which alone our future arts can be founded. 

Delight — observe. We have seen that Gothic architec- 
ture fell, not by its luxiuy, but its despondency. You 
may have as much luxury as you like, when everybody is 
at ease, — and as much mirth as you can win, so that 
everybody be cheerful. I don't ask you to drag carts full 
of stones, nor to think all day long of Death. Nay, you 
must think less of Death — ^in play— and not have so much 
cause to think of it in earnest. You must not build for 
pleasure in the front of the house, while there is despair at 
the back of it. 

Do you recollect in Mr. Helps' beautiful story of Real- 
mah, what Ellesmere's final maxim about architecture is? 
'^ Never mind the outside."^ I suppose Ellesmere himself 
knew, but I doubt if all his hearers knew, how deep it 

Never mind the outside. Never mind the houses that 
look to the Park. Mind the houses that look into Seven 
Dials. You have just heard authentically from Dr. Hawks- 
ley,' that you are paying seven millions a year for your 
London poor, and that Pauperism is on the increase. You 
fancy perhaps that by giving so much, you show how much 
you care for them. Ah, no; that is tiie fine you pay for 
not caring for them. Give the half of that, in love; you 

1 [Bealmah, by the atUkor qf " Friends in CknmcU;' 1868, vol. ii. pp. 294, 288.1 
' [The reiereaoe is to a paper read at a meeting of the Association for the 
Prevention of Pauperism and Crime in the Metropolis on December 17> 1868, bj 
Thomas Hawksley, M.D., and afterwards published as a pamphlet {The Charities of 
London, 1860). Hie figures referred to by Ruskin will be found at pp. 7> 8 ; those 
of expenditure on the poor include London public charities, estimate of private 
alms, etc] 

1 of Koueii Cathedral 







need not give the other half in money. Register them — 
look after them — let the air and sun in among them; — 
instead of thinking it pious to light candles by daylight,^ 
think it pious to light windows where there's only candle- 
light; and you will find you soon will have the best half 
of your seven millions to spare, that you may spend in 
magnificence what you wasted in misery, — and bringing 
back the true Saints to their shrines, and building a taber- 
nacle work that shall keep out the wind and the rain from 
shivering bodies, — carve a victorious St. George and a 
prostrate Flamboyant Dragon over every poor man's door. 

^ [An allusion to the Ritualistic movement, prompted bj Ruskin's talks with 
the tallow-chandler at Abbeville : see above. Introduction, pp. xli., zlii.] 

References to the Series of Paintings and Sketches^ from 
Mr. Ruskin's Collection^ shown in Illustration of the 
RelcUions of Flamboyant Architecture to contemporary 
and subsequent Art. 

1. Portrait of the Doge AndrjIia Gritti. By Titian. 

Showing the relation of Venetian Art to Venetian Character, and 
the subordination of rich and minute decorative design to 
faultless breadth of treatment. 

Naturalist art of the highest school.^ 

2. Study from the Bemains of the Fresco of St. Catherine, by Luini. 

In the Monasterio Maggiore at Milan. (R»)* 

The original work is a perfect type of the rare unison of ideal 
purity of conception, with consummate decorative and pictorial 

Purist art of the highest school.^ 

S. PoRTRArr OF Napoleon 1st. By Meusonier. 

Realistic art of the lower school; but consummate of its kind. 

Look at it with the lens. 
Showing the relation of the disturbed and dramatic manner of 

modem art, to the disquietude of National Character.^ 

4. Boys. By JVilUam Hunt. 

Happy and rustic art, employed on happy and rustic subject. To 
be compared with the Napoleon, in order farther to show the 
relations of art and character.^ 

'*' The studies marked (R.) are by mj own hand. This one was made for the 
Arundel Society, to show, as far as possible, in fiicsimile, the state of the existing 

1 [See above, §§ 8, 11, pp. 248, 250, for notices of this portrait ; and for other 
particulars, see the Introduction, p. IxzvL] 

* [See above, §^ 8, p. 2^, for a notice of this coot ; and for Ruskin's letters 
when he was making it, Introdaction, pp. IxziL-lzxivT] 

' [See above, § 9, p. 249 ; and for further notices of this picture, which Raskin 
showed again in 1879-1880 at the Proat and Hunt Exhibition, see Vol. XIV. 
pp. 381, 438 and n.] 

* [See above, § 9, p. 249. The drawing is now No. 143 in the Rudimentify 
Series at Oxford.] 


5. A French Cottage Interior. By Edward Frere. 

Showing the perfect phase of simple domestic art in France. It 
is more pensive than in England, and trained in a severe 
school of subdued chiaroscuro. 

This work of Fr^re's is quite exquisite in this respect.^ 

6. Griffin on North Side of Porch of Duomo of Verona. 

Gothic sculpture of finest style. (Circa 1200?) (/?.) 
The curves all springy and strong, or disciplined into expression 
(as in the writhe of the serpent). Nothing loose, nothing 
fillet or riband-like. Sketched at Verona, 1852.^ 

7. Griffin on South Side of Porch of Duomo, Verona. {R) 

Showing the same general characters. Sketched at Verona, 1845.* 

8. Pencil Study of the Tomb of Can Grande, at Verona. (R) 

(From daguerreotype, and detail drawings taken in 1852.) Showing 
the noble manner of regarding death on which the greatest 
art was founded. 

Circa 1340. Gothic sculpture and architecture of the consum- 
mately highest class> 

9. Pencil Sketch (unfinished) of Tomb of Mastino, Verona. (A) 

Showing the same peace in manner of contemplating death, and 
co-relative perfectness in Gothic style.^ 

10. Sketch of one of the Gables op the Canopy of the same Tomb. 
'* The Death of Abel." (22.) 

Showing right relations of sculpture to surfaces and mouldings, 
and right use of inlaid marbles. 

^ [For another reference to this picture (which used to hang in Ruskin's rooms 
at Corpus) of a girl peeling carrots by a cottage fire, see AnUra PgnUHei, § 111. 
Compare the notices of Fr^re in Vol. XIV. pp. 143^ 174, 347. At p. 142 of that 
volume another of Frere's interiors — "The Child's Prayer " — ^is reproduced. See 
also above, p. 199.] 

' [This SKetch was engraved in Modem Painten, vol. iii. (Vol. V. p. 140). A 
later sketch of the same griffin was No. 4 in the '* Verona " Catalogue : see below, 
p. 449J 

' [This may have been the drawinir which is reproduced as Plate XIV. in 
Vol. XII. p. 193.] 

^ [This sketch was also No. 21 in the *^ Verona " Catalogue (see below, p. 464). 
There are three drawings of the subject by Raskin at Oxford (Reference Series, 
No. 57, and Educationfd Series, Nos. 76 and 77). No. 8 here was either the first 
or th e second of them. Plate XXIII. here is from Reference Series, Na 67, with 
df tails added from Educational Series, No. 77.] 

^ [Probably No. 58 in the Reference Series at Oxford.] 


11. Study of the Sculpture of Adam and Eve, on another' Gable of 

the same tomb.^ 

Entirely perfect as an example of architectural treatment of foliage 

and figrure. 
Eve's foot rests on a lamb — a lovely expression of her trast, as 

the ''mother of all living." « 
Admirably drawn for me^ at Verona, by Mr. J. Bunney.' 

12. Study of Tomb over Cemetery Gate, St. Anastasia, Verona. (R.) 

Chiefly for its mass and coloar. 

Showing right subordination of minor ornament. 

Gothic of the highest class. 

Sketched at Verona, 1852.^ 

13. Front of Chartres Cathedral. 

Finest early French style. Figure sculpture principal, as the 
element of decoration. 

14. Central French Gothic. 

Two arches (about the real size) from left flank of main entrance 

at Bourges. 
Naturalist decorative sculpture of the highest class. 
Enlarged from Photograph by Mr. A. Burgess.^ 

15. The Flamboyant Element in Greek Art, associated with Metal 


The fountain Arethusa. (R,) 

Study of coin of Syracuse. The hair representing typically the 
currents of the fountain mingling with the sea. Grca 400 b.c.^ 

16. The Flamboyant Element in Greek Art. 

Rough study of head of Lacinian Juno^ on coin of Crotona. Hair 
typically representing drifts of storm. (R^Y 

1 [This study is now No. 92 in the Rudimentary Series at Oxford.] 
' ^Genesis iii. 20.] 

' 'See above, Introduction, pp. 1., H.l 

* [This drawing of the Castelbarco Tomb is reproduced as Plate D, opposite 
p. 176 in Vol. IX. ; see also ibid., p. li.] 

For Burgess, see Vol. XIV. pp. xxxii.-zxxiii., 340-366.] 

Tor other notices of this coin, see Aratra Pentelici, § 21 and Plate II.] 

Ruskin showed this study in one of his Oxford lectures : see Ariadne Fhrm' 

Una, % 145.] 


17. The Flamboyant Element in Central Italian Art. 

Study of head. Leonardo da Vind. (Photograph.^) 

Feverish delight in wild curvature in hair; enhanced by dwelling 
much, and with intense minuteness of study, on the lines of 
clouds and currents of water. (See drawings at Windsor.) 

Very beautiful of its class. 

The original is in the Louvre, and much more beautiful; the 
photograph darkens it. 

18. The Flamboyant Element in Central Itauan Art. '' Judith." By 

Andrea Mantegna.^ 

Feverish delight in fillets and curled hair. 
Note especially the head of Holofemes. 

19. The Flamboyant Element in Central Italian Art. 

Oak leaves slightly too flowing, soft, and ondulatory. 

Study in chalk, made for me by a French draughtsman, to show 

the exact touches of Correggio's brush in the central group 

of leaves in the Antiope.^ 
First-rate of its kind. 

20. The Flamboyant Element in Natural Form. 

Frostp-bitten oak leaves. (R.) 

Compare with finial and crodtet deoorati<ms of Abbeville. 

Exquisitely engraved from my sketch, by Mr. J. Armytage.^ 

21. Three Madonnas. By Albert Diirer. 

Showing the principal conditions of Flamboyant design in figures ; 
angular and much divided drapery, violently-curled hair ; inter- 
laced ornamentation (note the sceptre, crowns, and wattled 
fence), and feverish intensity of detail everywhere.^ 

^ [Perhaps ^' a little red chalk drawing which every one remembers who has seen 
the drawings at the Louvre ... a fiEtce set in the shadow of its own hair " (Pater's 
Renai$$ance, 1873, p. 108). The large collection of drawings by Leonardo in the 
Library of Windsor Castle contains a large number of studies of ''waves, whirl- 
winds, hurricsnes, and cyclones" (see E. Muntz, Leonardo da Vinei, vol. ii. p. 275, 
of the English edition) ; compare " Verona, and its Rivers," § 81 (below, p. 447).] 

> [This was no doubt a photograph of the drawing in the Uffizi.] 

' [For other references to this picture in the Louvre, see Vol. VII. pp. 63. 
117, 416.] 

* [See above, § 14, p. 263. The engraving by J. C. Armytage is Pkte 5S (''The 
Dryad's Crown ") in Modem Painter*, vol. v. (Vol. VII. p. 63). The original drawing 
is now in the Ruskin I>rawing School at Oxford (Educational Series, No. 264).! 

' [One of the engravings here shown vna "The Virgin crowned by two AngeU" 
Twith a wattled fence behind), which Raskin reproduced in Ariadne Florentina, 
§ 247 ; see also Catahgue of the Rudimentary Seriee, No. 66, and No. 74 in the 
Educational Series for another "Madonna Crowned." For DUrer's "feveridi in- 
tensity of detail," see above, § 24^ p. 260 n.] 


22. Thrbb SuBiscTS FROM THE Pa88Ion. Bj Albert Durtr. 

Giving additional instances of the characteristics of Flamboyant 
design. Grotesque developed, both in figures and their dress. 
Great pleasure taken in the curls of the hair, interweaving 
of the crown of thorns, and spiny helmet and weapons. Tassek^ 
wrinkled folds, and fillets or straps — Unear decoration of every 
kind — ^made too important. 

(Consummate art of its class however, never surpassed in thoughts 
fill masterhood of line engraving, or in its special phase of 
imagination.) ^ 

2S. Alheri Durert "Justice," Giotto's, and RaphaeCM. 

Diirer's literally '' Flamboyant "-—the face on fire. The oonoeptiont 

distorted and terrible. 
Giotto's entirely noble and pure in conception; but childish and 

feeble in workmanship. 
Raphael's, affected and false in conception ; perfect in workmanship.. 

Both Giotto's and Raphael's entirely peaceful, and free from 

the disturbing Northern Terror.' 

24. Costumes. By Holbein. (Photograph.) 

Flamboyant characters of curvature and fillet decoration. Showing- 
the influences in character and fashion which corrupted archi- 

Splendid in drawing. The centre one unsurpassably fine as pen 
and sepia work. The originab are at Baisle.' 

25. Dead Christ. By Holbein. (Photograph.) Original at Basle. 

Showing the dark and sad manner of contemplating death, which 
gradually corrupted both the religion and art of the northern 
nations. Very wonderful of its Idnd.^ 

^ [Some of these subjects also were afterwards placed by Ruskin in his collec- 
tion at Oxford : see Catalogue qf the Educational Series, No. 124.] 

' [Diirer's '^ Justice " is a small engraving, showing a figure seated on a lion ; 
holdii^ tiie scales in bis left baud and a sword, uplifted, in bis rigbt Giotto's (in 
the Arena Chapel) is engraved as tbe frontispiece to Fors Clavigera, Letter 11 : 
see also Stones af Venice, vol. iL (VoL X. p. 308). Raphael's figure of Justice ia 
a fresco in tbe Vatican. Ruskin placed pbotograpns of tne Giotto and the Rapbael 
in his Oxford collection: see bis note in tbe Catalogue qf the Standard Series^ 
No. 18.] 

s [Compare in the Oxford collection. Educational Series, No. 120, and Nos. 2Si, 

* [For another note on this picture in the Basle Museum, see Lectures on Art, 

§ !«).] 



26. Northern Gloom in Contemplation of Death.^ Coat of Arms. By 
Albert Durer, 

Feverish delight in flambojrant violence of curvature. The Satyr's 
head it, to my belief, the best bit of design and engraving of 
this dass, existing.* 

S7« Northern Gloom in Contemplation of Death. In its noblest phase. 
Durer* t ''Knight and Death." • 

28. Northern Gloom in Contemplation of Death. ''The Dragon of 
the Hesperides." /. M. W. Turner. 

Flamboyant curvature in flames and donda Well studied from 
the picture in the National Gallery, by Mr. J. Bnnney.^ 

129* Northern Gloom in Contemplation of Death. In its noblest phase. 
" Rispah, the daughter of Aiah/' (Liber Studiorum.) /. M. W. 

SO. Northern Gloom in Contemplation of Death. 

Beginning to be sensational. "Death the Avenger/' and "Death 
the Friend." Alfred Rethel.^ 

SI, Degraded Contemplation of Death for mere Pleasure in Sensation. 

When the mind is jaded, and has become incapable of receiving 
emotion from beauty: last stage of feverish disease in this 
direction. Japanese art (war ships exploding in a battle), 
and battie pieces by Gustave Dor^.^ 

^ [For remarks on Nos. 2e-dl, see above, § 24 (]^ 200).] 

* [This is the ''Coat of Arms with a Skall" : No. 65 m the Cataicgue qf the 
UmefUaty Serie$. See also Vol. XL p. 172, and Eaglets Nut, 

* [See Plate D in Modem Painters, vol. v. (VoL VII. p. 310 

RudimerUary Seriee. See also Vol. XL p. 172, and Eajfle*9 Neet, § 165.] 
' [See Plate D in Modem Painters, vol. v. (VoL VII. p. 310).] 
[No. 477. See Vol. VII. p. 389 (the draeon is engraved as Plate 78) ; Vol. XnL 

pp. 113 eeq. ; and Leciuree on Landeeape, §§ 89-71- A copy of the dragon was 

afterwards placed in Raskin's Art CoUection at Oxford: see Catalogue qf the Se- 

firence Series, No. 156.] 

^ [See Catalogue qf the Rudimentary Series, No. 175| and compare Modem Fiaintere, 

voL v. (VoL VII. pp. 386, 434).] 

* [For notices of these engravings, see Elements qf Drawing, VoL XV. p. 223.] 
^ [For Raskin's opinion of Japanese art, see Time and Tide, § 26; and of Dore, 

ibid., § 30 (VoL XVIL pp. 341, 344).] 


32. Flamboyant AacHiTScnxRE in Venice. (R») 

Corrupt. The richness remaining, but the &ncy gone. Tracery 

the only ornament. 
Casa Contarini-Fasan. 
Sketched in 1841.^ 

SS. French advanced Gothic, on the Edge of Decline* 

The sculpture less important. The mouldings and frame becoming 

South Transept, Rouen Cathedral. 

34. French advanced Gothic. 

Sculpture taking too much the look of Incrustation. 
Frontal of Rheims.^ 

S5» German advanced Gothic. 

Affectation and violence of curve in gesture of figures. 
Statues from porch of Strasburg.' 

36. Abbeville — ^Towers or St. Vulfran, seen over Timber Houses, 
SOME Thirty Years Ago. 

, The principal group of houses in the centre is now pulled down. 
Pencil sketch by Samuel Prout. Admirable in choice of position^ 
and seizure of essential character.^ 

37. Houses at Lisisux. Samuel Praut 

Showing the general arrangement of the ornamentation of timber 
houses in North France in the Flamboyant period; pinnacles 
flanking windows, and crocketed arch over door. Prout, being 
near-sighted, could not give the finer details of the orna- 

1 [This drawing is in this edition reproduced as Plate 2 in Modem Paintere. 
vol. i. (Vol. III. p. 212).] 

* [nobably a photograph ; afterwards No. 80 in the Rudimentary Series at 

* [Again a photography afterwards No. 82 in the Rudimentary Series.] 

* 'PUte IX. in Vol. XIV. (p. 396);] 

^ [PUte XV. in Vol. XIV. (p. 414). For a reference in the lecture to this 
example, see § 14 n. (p. 252).] 


58. Abbcvillb. — Spiral Staircasb in a House of the Fmwrt Flamboyant 

Photograph taken for me iu September last year, when the real 
yine added its own pieee of ''redundant" decoration to all 
the rest^ 

Perfect work of its class. 

S9' Abbeville. — St. Vulfran, from the North. (R,) 

Showing general effect of towers and ruined wall of transept 

40. Abbeville. — Si\ Vulfran — ^Gables of the Chapels of North Aisle. 


Sketched only for their colour, and beauty of worn age. They 
are soon to be scraped clean — it will be long before the 
cottage floors are. 

41. Abbeville. — St. Vulfran from the East. (A) 

Showing height of ruined transept waU and old houses of the 
" Pont d' Amour." * 

42. Abbeville. — St. Vulfran. (Evening.) (A.) 

45. Abbeville. — St. Vulfran and the Great Square. {R.) 

Showing gabled wooden houses of the sixteenth century (though 
all much defaced, the two in the angle are characteristic), eimI 
quoined brick and stone houses of the seventeenth centuiy.' 

44. Abbeville.— * Gabled House of Brick and Chalk, wtth Trees of 

Avenue before County Court. 

Excellently sketched for me by my assistant, Mr. W. Ward.^ 

45. Abbeville. — St. Vulfran — The Western Porch. 

Photograph taken in 1868. 

1 [Plate VII. in Vol. XIV. (p. aSB).] 

* [An engraving of this drawmg by J. C. Armytage is Plate IX. bare.] 

* [For particulars of tha drawing (Plate VIII. here), see above. Introduction, 
p. Ixxv.] 

* [For a reference in the lecture to this example, see § 13 n. (p. 252).] 


46. Abbevillc. — St. Vulfran — North Door of Western Porch. 

47. Abbeville. — St. Vulfran — Central Door of Western Porch. 

48. Abbeville. — St. Vulfran — South Door of Western Porch.^ 

49. French late Gothic. 

Gable over Central Porch, Rouen Cathedral. 
Sculpture vanishing, Frame and Moulding principal. 
As Flamboyant decoration, best of its kind. 
Enlarged from Photograph, hj Mr. G. Allen«> 

50. Abbeville. — St. Vulfran — Gable of South Door of Western Porch 

Enlarged from Photograph, by Mr. Allen. 

^ [It IS not explained whether Nos. 46-48 vrere sketehes or photographs. If the 
former. No. 48 was no doubt Plate Xn. here.] 

* [The enlargement by Mr. Allen is at Brantwood ; Plate XIII. here is re- 
produced from l£e negative which was taken by Mr. Burgsss. For a reference to 
this gable, see Qumii ^ the Air, § 103 ; below^ p. 990.] 














[TJU Hight of TranslaHcn is rtservid.] 

[BibSograpUeal Noi€.^The Qusen ^ the Air Ib made up of the following 
material : — 

(1) Lecture I. (§§ 1-M) : a lecture partly delivered at University 
College, London, on Tuesday, March 9, 1869. Of this lecture no report 
appeared at the time. One paisage in it (§ 42) was incorporated from 
the Rede Lecture at Cambridge in 1867 : lee above, p. 176. 

(2) Lecture 11. (§§ 61-100) : this lecture had not been delivered. 

(8) Of Leeture III., the following paragraphs had not previously been 
spoken or printed : §§ 101, 106-127 (in part), 132 (in part) -134 (in part), 
143 (in part), and 160. 

(4) §§ 102-105 had been delivered as part of a lecture at the Royal 
Institution on The Flamboyant ArehUeeture qf the Somme, on Friday, Janu- 
ary 29, 1869 (see above, p. 248). No report of the lecture appeared at 
the time. As Ruskin says that this portion of the lecture " will be better 
read in this place [Queisn of the Air] than in its incidental connection 
with" Abbeville, the passages are in this volume excluded from the 
lecture and given in Queen qf the Air. 

(5) §§ 127-132 (in part) and § 134 (in part) had appeared in 1868 in the 
pamphlet Notee on the General Principles qf Emphyment for the Destitute and 
Criminal Classes, For the bibliog^phical note on this, see Vol. XVII. 
p. 541 It. These paragraphs, having already been printed in this edition 
(f6uf., pp. 541-546), are not repeated in the present volume. 

(6) §§ 135-159 had appeared in 1865 in The Cestus of Aglaia. For the 
bibliographical note on this, see above, p. 45. These paragraphs are, in 
this volume, printed in The Cestus (above, pp. 72-81 and 120>133), and are 
not repeated here. 

(7) §§ 161 to end (''The Hercules of Camarina") had been delivered 
as an address to the Students of the Art School of South Lambeth on 
March 15, 1869. Of this address no report appeared at the time. 

The book made up of the above-mentioned materials has appeared in 
several editions, as follow: — 

First Edition (1869).-— The title-page is as shown here on the preceding 
leaf. Crown 8vo, pp. viii. + 199. Pre&ce (here pp. 291-294), pp. iii.-viii. ; 
Text, pp. 1-199. Imprint (in the centre of the last page) : " London : 
Printed by Smith, Elder & Co., Old Bailey, E.C." Headlines, as in this 
edition. Issued on June 22, 1869, in green cloth boards, lettered across 
the back : ''The | Queen | of the | Air. | Ruskin. | Smith, Elder & Co." 
Price 68. 

The paragraphs were numbered consecutively throughout the volume. 

This was the first of Ruskin's books in which Uiis plan was adopted : he 



■peaks of the volume (§ 101) ai the first of the series of his corrected 
works^ and adopts in it the plan of numhered paragraphs which hence- 
forth he always followed. He had intended to mark the volume as one 
of a new series on the title-page, for he said to Professor Norton, ''Write 
me a title-page to go with all the series and with 'The Queen of the 
Air' subordinate'' (Letters to Norton, vol i. p. 204). 

Seeond Edition (1869). — A verbatim reprint, and exact reproduction in 
binding, etc., of the Pint, except for the addition of the words ^8eoond 
Edition" upon the title-page. Issued on August 24, 1869. 

Third, or CoUected " Worke*" Edition (1874). ^This was Volume IX. of 
the Works, the general title-page being: — 

The I Works of John Ruskin, | Honorary Student of Christ Church, 
Oxford. I Volume IX. | The Queen of the Air. | [Bote.] \ George Allen, 
I Snnnyside, Orpington, Kent 1 1874. 

The particular title-page was as follows : — 

The I Queen of the Air : | being | A Study of the Gi«ek Myths | of 
Cloud and Storm. | By | John Ruskin, | Honorary Student of Christ 
Church, and Slade Professor of Fine Art | New Edition. | Geofge AUen, 
I Sunnyside, Orpington, Kent | 1874. [The Bight of Tranolaiion ie 

Octavo, pp. xii. + 208. Prefiice, pp. v.-x. ; Contents, p. xi. ; Text, pp. 1-206. 
Imprint (at foot of the reverse of the title-page and at foot of the last 
page): "Watson & Hazell, Printers, London and Aylesbury." 

Issued on January 14, 1875, in " Ruskin calf," lettered across the back : 
" Ruskin. | Works. | Vol | IX. | The | Queen of | the Air." Price 18s. 
In July 1882 some copies were put up in mottled-grey boards, with white 
paper label on the back, which reads : " Ruskin. | Works. | Vol. IX. | Queen 
I of the I Air." Price Ids. (1000 copies.) 

The text of this edition followed that of the original edition. (There 
were, however, a few misprints — e,g., '' possetslon " in § 71j line 10, and 
"sepaarting is" for "separating it" in § 83, line 13) 

FouHh, or Coiloetod " Worke," Bsoioed Edition (1883).--The g«neral title- 
page was the same, except for the alteration of date. The particular title- 
page was: — 

The I Queen of the Air : | bemg | A Study of the Greek Myths | of | 
Cloud and Storm. | By | John Ruskin, | Honorary Student of Christ 
Church, and Slade Professor of Fine Art, Oxford. | Revised Edition. ( 
George Allen, | Sunnyside, | Orpington, Kent | 1883. | [AU right* 

The collation follows the previous edition. The imprint reads : " Haaell, 
Watson, and Viney, Printers, London and Aylesbury." Issued in October 
1883, in mottled-grey paper boards, with white paper label on tho baek. 


(1000 eo|il6t.) Pric« u before; reduced in March 1803 to 15e. (celf) and 
91. 6d. (doth). 

The text of this edition was revised by the Rev. J. P. Faunthorpe ; 
for the variations (which are unimportant), see below. 

CoUeeUd " Works," Third Edition (1899).— In this edition the general title- 
page reads: — 

The I Works of John Ruskiu | Honorary Student of Christ Churchy and 
Honorary Fellow | of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. | Volume IX. | 
The Queen of the Air. | Geoi^ Allen, | Orpington and Loudon. | 1899. 

The particular title-page is also diffsrent, thus : — 

The I Queen of the Air : | Being | A Study of the Greek Myths | of | 
Cloud and Storm. | By | John Ruskin, LLD.j | Honorary Student of 
Christ Churchj and Honorary Fellow of | Corpus Christi College^ 
Oxford. I Third Edition. | George Allen, | Orpington and London. | 
1899. I [AU rights reservsd,] 

Octavo, pp. xiv. -H287. Imprint (at foot of the reverse of the title-page and 
at foot of p. 237) : " Printed by Balkntyne, Hanson & Ca^ Edinburgh 
and London." Contents (revised), p. vii. ; Prefiice, pp. ix.-xiii. ; Text, 
pp. 1-190; Index (as in the Small Editions in 1895 and afterwards), 
pp. 201-287. 

Issued in May 1900. (260 copies.) Price 15s. (calf) and 9s. Cd. (doth) ; 
reduced in July to 14s. 6d. (calf) and 7s. 6d. (cloth). This edition is still 
current The text follows that of the ''Revised Edition." 

Small EdUUm (1887).— Of this edition, the fifth in order of publication, 
the title-page was as follows: — 

The Queen of the Air : | being | A Study of the Greek Myths | of | 
Cloud and Storm. | By | John Ruskin, lLd., | Honorary Student of 
Christ Church, and Honorary Fellow | of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. 
I George Allen, | Sunnyside, Orpington, Kent 1 1887. | [AU rights re- 

Crown 8vo, pp. xii. + 289. Imprint (at foot of the reverse of the title-page 
and at foot of the last page) : ''Printed by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld., 
London and Aylesbury." Prefoce, pp. v.-x. ; Contents, p. xi. ; Text, 
pp. 1-239. 

Issued in June 1887 in chocolate and in dark green coloured cloth, 
lettered across the back : "Ruskin. | The | Queen | of the | Air." Price 5s. 
(2000 copies.) 

The text follows that of the Revised Edition of 1888. (There are, how- 
ever, some misprints — €,g., "national" for "natural" in § 5, line 6.) 

The small edition was r^Assued in June 1890 (2000 copies) and June 1892 
(2000); these issues wei« called "Third "and "Fifth" Editions (i«., third 
and fifth thousands of the book in the small form). 

In November 1895 it was again rs-tMveei. The book was now printed 
by Messrs. Ballantyne, and an Index (by Mr. Wedderbum) was added. 
(2000 copies.) This was called "Sixth Edition*" 


Be-Uiusd in June 1898 ('< Seventh Edition/' 1000) ; October 1890 ('' Four- 
teenth Thousand") ; October 1900 ('* Fifteenth Thoiuiind'') ; Deeember 1901 
('' Sixteenth Thousand''); and January 1903 (<* Seventeenth Thouaand"). 
This last issue i^ still current ; the price was reduced in January 1904 to 
ds. 6d. 

Pocket Edition (1904). — This edition, printed from the pUtea oaed lor 
the editions last described^ is uniform with other volumes in the same 
series (see Vol. XV. p. Q), the title-page being: — 

The (jueen of | the Air | By | John Ruskin | London : George Allen. 

Issued in April 1904 (dOOO copies). Price 2a. 6d. Reprinted in June 1904 
(2000) and March 1905 (2000). 

Unauthorised American Editions have been numerous^ in various forms 
and at various prices from 50 cents upwards. 

An Authorised American ('' Brantwood ") BdiHon was issued in 1891 by 
Charles E. Merrill & Co., New York, with an introduction by Cliarles Sliot 
Norton (pp. v.-ziii.). 

A Oerman translation has recently appeared, with the following title- 

IDie Xjniflin bet Suft. | 6tubien | fiber tie | grie<!(if(^c 6tnrm$ unb SDclfrafagc | 
Son I So(n 9tvitin. | ^ | Kill bem dngUfi^n u6€rfc(t | 9on | ®crtnib % 
SEDolff. I iOoat of arms) \ ettafinx^ \ 3. <&. <Kb. 4et( (^ unb 9tfinbel). 

Crown 8vo, pp. viii. -i- 190. The translator adds one note (see § tl), and 
supplies a few of the references. 

Reviews of the book appeared in the AthcTueum, July 17, 1809; the 
Spectator, July 17, 1809 ; the Saturday Review, August 21, 1809 ; the West- 
minster Review, October 1869, vol. 86, N.S., pp. 663-666 ; and the Ouardiant 
October 27, 1869. A critical study of The Queen qf the Air, by Mr. R. 
Warwick Bond, appeared in St. George, January 1903, vol. vi. pp. 46-74. 

Vari€B Lectiones. — ^The text of the volumoi as already stated, was only 
once revised — ^namely, in 1883. The following collation (unless otherwise 
sUted) is therefore of the earlier editions with that of 188a The more 
interesting variations are given under the text, and to these a reforence only 
ia here given. 

The variations in the passages (§§ 127-132, 134) reprinted in The Queen 
qf the Air from the Notes on Emphyment and on those (§§ 135-159) reprinted 
from The Oestus qf AgUUa are elsewhere given ; in the former case, in notes 
under the text in Vol. XVII. pp. 541-546 ; in the latter, in notes under the 
text of Cestus (above, pp. 72-81, 120-133), or in the bibliographical note 
(above, p. 46). 

With these exceptions — and with the further exception of a fow minor 
misprints (such as, § 71, '' possetsion " for ''poaseasion" ; § 83, '^sepaarting" 


for ''•epftratiiig''), different spellingB, punetuation, italicsj etc — the follow- 
ing k a complete list of the yarious readings : — 

CkmterU4.^Ed9. 1 and 2 had no list of contents. The ''Works " editions 
of 1874 and 1883^ and all the small editions^ gave a list (which followed 
the PrefiMse)j enumerating the lectures by short titles — " Athena Challnitis 
(Athena in the Hearens)/' etc. In the edition of 1890 the list preceded 
the Preface and added the particulars of the lectures, as here (p. 289). 

Lecture t. — Footnote to headings the references ''Cp. ... 97" were 
added in 1883. '' Corinthiaca" has hitherto been misprinted ''Cainthiaca/' 
and in the Greek the accents have been omitted. The Greek words^ more- 
orer, have hitherto been printed as if thej came from Pausanias (thus, 
"Cainthiaca 4, beginning ^rpw Ivretop, and Bellerophon's dream, Pind. 
OL 13, 97"); they are from Pindar. The necessary corrections have here 
been made. 

§ 2, footnote added in 1883: 

§ 11, line 11, eds, 1-3, ''and chiefly of sins," altered by the reviser in 
1883 to "and of sins, chiefly," but noted by Ruskin in his own copy to stand 
"as originally printed.'' 

§ 19, line 2, eds. 1-3, "of Milton" ; 1883, "of MUton's Lycidas"; the 
two footnotes were also added in 1883; lines 30, 31, 1883 altered "in 
leathern bags" to "in a leathern bag," and "Uke bags" into "like a bag" ; 
and so, in the next line, 1883 altered "they are so" into "it is one," and 
"them" to "it" 

§ 20, the note referring to Pindar was added in 1883. 

§ 21, the note was added in 1883. 

§ 26, in the note, "By" was changed to "Beside" in 1883; § 26, last 
lines, before 1883, the quotation from Hamkt was not set out in separate 
lines; see also p. 322 n. 

§ 29, the note was added in 1883. 

§ 36, line 13, "for" added in 1883; line 18, "are" altered to "be." 

§ 38 (p. 336X line 14, "containing" was misprinted "containly" in the 
1874 edition. 

§ 39, the note was added in 1883; line 20, "p. 6" in all previous edi- 
tions is here corrected to "pi. 6" ; lines 20 and 60, "Le Normand" cor- 
rected to "Lenormant" 

§ 42, in 1883 the note was added referring to the Art Jaumai; to which, 
in all subsequent editions, has hitherto been added "(Now included in the 
volumes of collected articles, published under the title of 'On the Old 

§ 44, line 22, see p. 346 n. 

§ 46, last line, "St" altered in 1883 to "S." 

§ 48, line 11, see p. 349 n. 

Lecture n.— § 62, line 6, "may" inserted in 1883. 

§ 53, the note was added in 188a 

§ 62, lines 18, 21, 24, "may" was substituted in 1883 for "shalL" 

§ 68, line 36 and author's footnote, see p. 363 n. 

§ 71, line 33, "St" altered to "S." (and so in § 106, line 23). 

§ 72, line 13, "the" inserted before "symbol" 


§ 76, th« first note was added in 1883. 

§ 91, last line, "around for erer" altered in 1883 to '^for ever aronnd." 

§ 96, lines 12 and 13, "only" transferred in 1883 from before '^ reaches" 
to after ^'splendour." 

§ 97, line 2, "are" altered to "be." 

§ 111, line 7j ''art" (in eds. 1-3) has been misprinted ''heart" in all 
later editions. 

Lecture m.— § 121, line 15, "was" altered to ''were" in 1883. 
§ 124, line 11, "for ever" after "destroyed" struck out in 1883. 
§ 132, line 19, "only" and "live" transposed. 
S§ 172, 174, 175, for the italics see p. 416 n.] 



Preface 291 


Athena Chalinitis (Athena in the Heavens) .... 295 

Lecture on the Greek Myths of Storm, given (partly) in Uni- 
vernty CoUege, London, March Qth, I869. 


Athena Kbramitis (Athena in the Earth) 351 

Study, iupplementary to the preceding lecture^ oj the supposed, 
and actual, relations of Athena to the vital force in material 


Athena Eroane (Athena in the Heart) 388 

Various Notes relating to the Conception of Athena as the Direc~ 
tress of the Imagination and fVilL 


My days and strength have lately been much broken; and 
I never more felt the insufficiency of both than in prepar- 
ing for the press the following desultory memoranda on a 
most noble subject. But I leave them now as they stand, 
for no time nor labour would be enough to complete them 
to my contentment; and I believe that they contain sug- 
gestions which may be followed with safety, by persons 
who are beginning to take interest in the aspects of myth- 
ology, which only recent investigation has removed from the 
region of conjecture into that of rational inquiry.^ I have 
some advantage, also, from my field work, in the interpre- 
tation of myths relating to natural phenomena: and I have 
had always near me, since we were at college together, a 
sure, and unweariedly kind, guide, in my friend Charles 
Newton, to whom we owe the finding of more treasure in 
mines of marble,' than, were it rightly estimated, all Cali- 
fornia could buy. I must not, however, permit the chance 
of his name being in any wise associated with my errors. 
Much of my work has been done obstinately in my own 
way; and he is never responsible for me, though he has 
often kept me right, or at least enabled me to advance in 
a right direction. Absolutely right no one can be in such 

1 [The date, 1869, should be remembered. Ruskin was thinking of the school 
of comDarative mythology founded on philology (see a few lines lower down), not 
of the later method of anthropoloffy : see the introduction, p. JxviL] 

' [The reference is to Newton s own excavations and discoveries in Calymnos 
(1854, IB66) ; of the Mausoleum of Halicamassus (1856) ; and at Cnidus and Bran- 
chidae (see his EUtory of DUeaverief at HaRcarruustu, etc., 1883). And, at a later 
date^ to the numerous acquisitions which he made^ and tibe excavations which he 
directed^ as Keeper of the Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum. 
Ruskin gave £1000 to aid in such researches. For Ruskin^s early friendship with 
Newton^ see Praterita^ i. § 225 ; ii. § 155.] 



matters; nor does a day pass without convinciiig every 
honest student of antiquity of some partial error, and show- 
ing him better how to think, and where to look. But I 
knew that there was no hope of my being able to enter 
with advantage on the fields of history opened by the 
splendid investigation of recent phildiogists ; though I could 
qualify myself, by attention and sympathy, to understand, 
here and there, a verse of Homer's or Hesiod's, as the 
sim^e people did for whom they sang. 

Even while I correct these sheets for press, a lecture by 
Professor Tyndall has been put into my hands, which I 
ought to have heard last 16th of January,^ but was hindered 
by mischance; and which, I now find, completes, in two 
important particulars, the evidence of an instinctive truth 
in ancient symbolism; showing, first, that the Greek con* 
ception of an ethereal element pervading space is justified 
by the closest reasoning of modem physicists ; " and, secondly, 
that the blue of the sky, hitherto thought to be caused by 
watery vapour, is, indeed, reflected from the divided air 
itself; so that the bright blue of the eyes of Athena, and 
the deep blue of her aegis, prove to be accurate mythic ex- 
pressions of natural phenomena which it is an uttermost 
triumph of recent science to have revealed. 

Indeed, it would be difiicult to imagine triumph more 
complete. To form, "within an experimental tube, a bit 
of more perfect sky than the sky itself I ** * here is magic of 
the finest sortt singularly reversed from that of old time, 
which only asserted its competency to enclose in bottles 
elementary forces that were — ^not of the ricy. 

Let me, in thanking Professor Tjmdall for the true 
wonder of this piece of work, ask his pardon^ and that of 
all masters in physical science, for any words of mine, d^tiier 

^ [A kotUM at the Royil InstitatMn mi fViday. Jmumvjt 1$, 1609, '^Oa dwoi- 
tmk Ram and the Li||:ht of th* Skj," pifatad m iba N^tim^ ff ProcmUm§f, vaL 6, 
pp. 42»-4M. Ob the Uua of tib« ak)r at Mlactad lifflit^ Ma mfmaiMy p. 440.] 

t [Compare { 10, below; pw 908.1 

• [See pp. 4ai, 440, 446, of lyndaUTi paper.] 


in the following pages or elsewhere,^ that may erer seem 
to fiiil in the rei^ct due to their great powers of thought, 
or in the admiration due to the far scope of their discovery. 
But I will be judged by tJiemselves, if I have not Intter 
reason to ask th»i to teach us more than yet they have 

This first day of May, 1869, I am writing where my 
work was begun thirty-five years ago, within sight of the 
snows of the higher Alps.* In that half of the permitted 
life of man, I have seen strange evil brought upon every 
scene that I best loved, or tried to make beloved by others.' 
The light which once flushed those pale summits with its 
rose at dawn, and purple at sunset, is now umbered and 
faint ; the air which once inlaid the clefts of all their golden 
crags with azure is now defiled with languid coils of smoke, 
belched fix)m worse than volcanic fires; their very glacier 
waves are ebbing, and their snows fading,^ as if Hell had 
breathed on them; the waters that once sank at their feet 
into crystaHLae rest are now dimmed and foul, from deep 
to deep, and shore to shore. These are no careless words 
— they are accurately — ^horribly — true. I know what the 
Swiss lakes were ; no pool of Alpine fountain at its source 
was clearer. This morning, on the Lake of Geneva, at half 
a mile from the beach, I could scarcely see my oar-blade 
a fathom deep* 

The light, the air, the waters, all defiled! How of the 
earth itself? Take this one fact for type of honour done 
by the modem Swiss to the earth of his native land. There 
used to be a little rock at the end of the avenue by the 
port of Neuch&tel; there, the last marble of the foot of 
Jura, sloping to the blue water, and (at this time of year) 

1 [See, for instance, §§ M, 57. 88^ pp. S6Qj 365^ 378. For later refiBrencei to 
Tyndall in particular^ see General Index.] 

> [See Praterita, i. § 194: ''The Col de la FaucUle, on that day of 1835, opened 
to me in distinct vision the Holy Land of mv future work and true home in this 

* [See, for instance, VoL XVIII. pp. 22 seq.] 

* [Compare Catalogue qf the Rudimentary Series, No. 169 ; and Letters to Norton, 
vol. u. p. 107 (reprinted in a later volume of this edition).] 


covered with bright pink tufts of Saponaria. I went, three 
days since, to gather a blossom at die place. The goodly 
native rock and its flowers were covered with the dust and 
refuse of the town ; but, in the middle of the avenue, was a 
newly-constructed artificial rockery, with a fountain twisted 
through a spinning spout, and an inscription on one of its 
loose-tumbled stones, — 

^'Aux Botanistes, 
Le club Jurassique." 

Ah, masters of modem science, give me back my Athena 
out of your vials, and seal, if it may be, once more, Asmo- 
deus therein.^ You have divided the dements, and united 
them; enslaved them upon the earth, and discerned them 
in the stars. Teach us, now, but this of them, which is all 
that man need know, — ^that the Air is given to him for his 
life; and the Rain to his thirst, and for his baptism; and 
the Fire for warmth ; and the Sun for sight ; and the Earth 
for his meat — and his Rest. 

Vbvay, May 1, I869. 

> [For Asmodeus, the evil spirit of destructioa, see the Book of ToUt, PorodiK 
Lott (iv. 168)^ and Le Sage's Asmodem; or. The Dwil on Two 8tidc$ (Le Diable 
BoUeiup); to which latter work reference is hero made. ''I have been for the 
last six months enclosed in one of these phials^" taja Asmodens in announcing 
himself^ while at the end he says, ''The magician who kept me prisoned in my bottle 
has discovered that I am absent without leave, and propares e'en now to call me 
back to his laboratory."] 



(Athena in the Heavens) 

Lecture on the Greek Afyths of Storm, given {parity) tn Vnioerutg College, 

London, March Qth, I869 

1. I WILL not ask your pardon for endeavouring to interest 
you in the subject of Greek Mythology; but I must ask 
your permission to approach it in a temper differing from 
that in which it is frequently treated.^ We cannot justly 
interpret the religion of any people, unless we are prepared 
to admit that we ourselves, as well as they, are liable to 
error in matters of faith ; and that the convictions of others, 
however singular, may in some points have been well founded, 
while our own, however reasonable, may in some particulars 
be mistaken. You must forgive me, therefore, for not 
always distinctively calling the creeds of the past, *' super- 
stition," and the creeds of the present day, '^ religion"; as 

* "Athena the Restrainer." The name is given to her as having 
helped Bellerophon to bridle Pegasus^ the flying doud. Cp, Pausanias, 
Connthiaca 4, and Bellerophon's dream,' beginning ^IXrpov tnrtiov. Find. 
OL J 8, 97. 

1 [See the Art of England, § 43, for ''the supercilious theory" that ''mythology 
is a temporarv form of human fbUy."] 

* [The re&rence to Pausanias, etc, was added in 1883; the exact reference is 
ii. 4, 1 : "Not fer from the tomb of Medea's children is a sanctuary of Athena 
the Bridler. For they say that Athena above all the cods helped Bellerophon," 
etc The passage in Pindar tells how Bellerophon, wnea he sought to bridle 
Pegasus, sufferM many things, until Athena visited him in a dnMim and said, 
"Come, take this charm over horses (^rpor twrtto^)," etc For Pegasus, as the 
flymg dottd, see Jfodsm PukUere, vol v. (VoL VII. p. 186).] 


well as for assuming that a faith now confessed may some- 
times be superficial, and that a faith long forgotten may 
once have been sincere. It is the task of the Divine to 
condemn the errors of antiquity, and of the Philologist to 
account for them: I will only prmy you to read, with 
patience and human sympathy, the thoughts of men who 
lived without blame in a darkness they could not dispel; 
and to remember that, whatever charge of folly may justly 
attach to the saying, — "There is no God,**^ the folly is 
prouder, deeper, and less pardonable, in sajdng, "There is 
no God but for me."* 

2. A myth, in its simplest definition, is a story with 
a meaning attached to it, other than it seems to have at 
first;' and the fact that it has sudi a meaning is generally 
marked by some of its circumstances being extraordinary, 
or, in the conmion use of the word, unnatural. Thus, if 
I tell you that Hercules killed a water-serpent in the lake 
of Lema,^ and if I mean, and you understand, nothing 
more than that fact, the story, whether true or false, is 
not a myth. But if by telling you this, I mean that Her- 
cules purified the stagnation of many streams from deadly 
miasmata, my story, however simple, is a true myth; only, 
as, if I left it in that simplicity, you would probably look 
for nothing beyond, it will be wise in me to surprise your 
attention by adding some singular circumstance; for in- 
stance, that the water- snake had several heads, which re- 
vived as fast as they were killed, and which poisoned even 
the foot that trode upon them as they slept. And in pro- 
portion to the fulness of intended meaning I shall probably 
multiply and refiine upon these improbabilities; as, suppose, 
if, insteEul of desiring only to tell you that Hercules ptu*ified 
a marsh, I wished you to understand that he ccnateiided with 
the venom and vapour of envy and evil ambition^ whether 

1 [Pwlm liii. 1.] 

< [Compsra Ruskin'ft note of 1883 in Jlbifom JMn^mv, toL ii. (Vol. IV. p. 330).] 
* [For tlw waj in whioh '' all mst mjtbs are fonwied, pertly on phfricd, pwUy 
on moral IkI,'' mo Proterpina, it eh. i. % 45.] 
« [Soe bolow, § 4.] 


r OF THE Am" (§ S) 



in other men's souls or in his own, and choked that malaria 
only' by supreme toil — I might tell you that this serpent 
was formed by the Groddess whose pride was in the trial 
of Hercules; and that its place of abode was by a palm^ 
tree; and that for every head of it tJiat was cut off, two 
rose up with renewed life; and that the hero found at last 
he could not kill the creature at all by cutting its heads 
off or crushing them; but only by burning them down; 
and that the midmost of them could not be killed even 
that way, but had to be buried alive. Only, in proportion 
as I mean more I shall certainly appear more absurd in 
my statement,^ and at last, when I get unendurably signifi- 
cant, all practical persons will agree tiiiat I was talking mere 
nonsense from the beginning, and never meant anything 
at all. 

S. It is just possible, however, also, that the story-teller 
may all along have meant nothing but what he said; and 
that, incredible as the events may appear, he himself lite- 
rally believed — and expected you also to believe — ^all this 
about Hercules, without any latent moral or history what* 
ever. And it is very necessary, in reading traditions of this 
kind, to determine, first of all, whether you are listening to 
a simple person, who is relating what, at all events, he be- 
lieves to be true (and may, therefore, possibly have been so 
to some extent), or to a reserved philosopher, who is veiling 
a theory of the universe under the grotesque of a fairy tale. 
It is, in general, more likely that the first supposition 
should be the right one : — simple and credulous persons are, 
perhaps fortunately, more common than philosophers: and 
it is of the highest importance that you should take their 
innocent testimony as it was meant, and not efface, under 
the graceful explanation which your cultivated ingenuity 

* Plane in Pausanias, vol. i. 371 — with Pisander of Camirus for author 
of legend' [1883.] 

»W^-^« I I ■ ■ ■ I . . I I I 11 . 11 II ■ I . ■ I. -I ■ . I . ■ 

1 rCompare Araira PttnteUei, § 71.] 
* [Pkiusanias^ ii. 97, 4] 


may suggest, either the evidence their story may contain 
(such as it is worth) of an extraordinary event having reaJly 
taken place, or the unquestionable light which it will cast 
upon the character of the person by whom it was frankly 
believed. And to deal with Greek religion honestly, you 
must at once understand that this literal belief was, in 
the mind of the general people, as deeply rooted as ours 
in the l^ends of our own sacred book; and that a basis 
of unmiraculous event was as little suspected, and an ex- 
planatory symbolism as rarely traced, by them, as by us. 

You must, therefore, observe that I deeply degrade the 
position which such a myth as that just referred to occu- 
pied in the Greek mind, by comparing it (for fear of offend- 
ing you) to our story of St. George and the Dragon. 
Still, the analogy is perfect in minor respects; and though 
it fails to give you any notion of the vitally religious 
earnestness of the Greek faith, it will exactly illustrate the 
manner in which fSedth laid hold of its objects. 

4. This story of Hercules and the Hydra, then, was to 
the general Greek mind, in its best days, a tale about a 
real hero and a real monster. Not one in a thousand knew 
anything of the way in which the story had arisen, any 
more than the English peasant generally is aware of the 
plebeian origin of St. George ;^ or supposes that there were 
once alive in the world, with sharp teeth and claws, real, 
and very ugly, flying dragons. On the other hand, few 
persons traced any moral or symbolical meaning in the 
story, and the average Greek was as &r from imagining 
any interpretation like that I have just given you, as an 
average Englishman is from seeing in St. George the Red 
Cross Knight of Spenser, or in the dragon the Spirit of 
Infidelity. But, for aU that, there was a certain under- 
current of consciousness in all minds, that the figures meant 

^ [Ruftkin had written in his copy here, '^Xote wanted." In Fort 
Letter 26^ he disentangles the story of George, the bacon seller^ from the tme 
saint, who, on the other hand, was bom of noble parents, though *' husbandman 
by name" : see St, Marl^9 Best, §^ 214 seq., where a rurther discussion of the legend 
of St. George is given (by Mr. James Reddie Anderson).] 


more than they at first showed; and according to each 
man's own faculties of sentiment, he judged and read them ; 
just as a Knight of the Garter reads more in the jewel on 
his collar than the George and Dragon of a public-house 
expresses to the host or to his customers. Thus, to the 
mean person the myth always meant little; to the noble 
person, much: and the greater their familiarity with it, the 
more contemptible it became to the one, and the more 
sacred to the other : until vulgar commentators explained it 
entirely away, while Viigil made it the crowning glory of 
his choral hymn to Hercules: 

''Around thee^ powerless to infect thy soul. 
Rose, in his crested crown, the Lema worm." 

''Non te rationis egentem 
Lenueus turbft capitum circiunstetit anguis."^ 

And although, in any special toil of the hero's life, the 
moral interpretation was rarely with definiteness attached 
to its event, yet in the whole course of the life, not only 
a S3mibolical meaning, but the warrant for the existence of 
a real spiritual power, was apprehended of all men. Her- 
cules was no dead hero, to be remembered only as a victor 
over monsters of the past — ^harmless now, as slain. He 
was the perpetual type and mirror of heroism, and its pre- 
sent and living aid against every ravenous form of human 
trial and pain. 

5. But, if we seek to know more than this, and to as- 
certain the manner in which the story first crystallized into 
its shape, we shall find ourselves led back generally to one 
or other of two sources — either to actual historical events, 
represented by the fancy under figures personifying them; 
or else to natural phenomena similarly endowed with life 
by the imaginative power, usually more or less under the 
influence of terror. The historical myths we must leave 
the masters of history to follow ; they, and the events they 
record, being yet involved in great, though attractive and 

^ [JBneid, viiL 900. Raskin quoted the lines on a fly-leaf, describing the drawings 
shown at his lecture on Snakes (1880), there, however, giving Dryden's translation 
(see the later volume containing DeueaHon),] 


penetrable, mystery. But the stars, and hills, and storms 
are with us now, as they w«e witJi others of old; and it 
only needs that we look at them with the earnestness of 
those childish eyes to understand the first words spoken of 
them by the children of men. And th^i, in all the most 
beautiful and enduring myths, we shall find, not only a 
hteral story of a real person, — ^not only a pandlel unageiy 
of moral principle, — but an underlying worship of natural 
phenomena, out of which both have sprung, and in which 
both for ever remain rooted. Thus, from the real sun, 
rising and setting; — ^from the real atmosphere, calm in its 
dominion of unfading blue, and fierce in its descent of 
tempest, — ^the Greek forms, first, the idea of two entirely 
personal and corporeal gods, whose limbs are clothed in 
divine flesh, and whose brows are crowned with divine 
beauty ; yet so real that the quiver rattles at their shoulder, 
and the chariot bends beneath their weight. And on the 
other hand, collaterally with these corporeal images, and 
never for one instant separated from them, he conceives 
also two omnipresent spiritual influences, of which one illu- 
minates, as the sun, with a constant fire, whatever in 
humanity is skilful and wise ; and the other, like the living 
air» breathes the calm of heavenly fortitude, and strength 
of righteous anger, into every human breast that is pure 
and brave. 

6. Now, therefore, in nearly every myth of importance, 
and certainly in every one of those of which I shall speak 
to-night, you have to discern these three structural parts ^ — 
the root and the two branches : — ^the root, in physical exist- 
ence, sun, or sky, or cloud, or sea; then the personal in- 
carnation of that; becoming a trusted and companionable 
deity, with whom you may walk hand in hand, as a child 
with its brother or its sister; and, lastly, the moral signifi- 
cance of the image, which is in all the great myths eternally 
and beneficently true* 

1 [Compare Bthia ^f the Dtut, § 111, Vol. XVIII. pp. 347-348 ; and Oaiakgue 
of the Btferenee Series, No. 184 (VoL XX.).] 


7. The grwt myths; that is to say, myths made by 
great people. For the first plain £act about myth-making 
is one which has been most straiigely lost sight oi^ — ^that 
you caimot make a myth unless you have something to 
make it of. You cannot tell a secret which you don't 
know. If the myth is about the i^y, it must have been 
made by somebody who had looked at the sky. If the 
myth is about justice and fortitude^ it must hav^ been 
made by some one who knew what it was to be just or 
patients According to the quantity of understanding in 
the person will be the quantity of significance in his fable; 
and the myth of a simple and ignorant race must neces- 
sarily mean little, because a simple and ignorant race have 
little to mean. So the great question in reading a story is 
always, not what wild hunter dreamed, or wiiat childish 
race first dreaded it; but what wise man first perfectly 
told, and what strong pec^le first perfectly lived by it. 
And the real meaning of any myth is that which it has at 
the noblest age of the nation among whom it is current.^ 
The farther back you pierce, the less significance you will 
find, until you come to the first narrow thought, which, 
indeed, contains the germ of the accomplished traditicm; 
but only as the seed contains the flower. As the intelli- 
gence and passion oi the race develop, they cling to and 
nourish thdr beloved and sacred legend; leaf by leaf, it 
expands, imder the touch of more pure affections, and 
more delicate imagination, until at last the perfect £able 
bui^^ns out into symmetry of milky stem, and honeyed 

8u But through whatever changes it may pass, remember 
that our right reading of it is wholly dependent on the 
materials we have in our own minds for an intelligent 
answering sympathy. If it first arose amoQg a people who 
dwelt undw stainless skies, and measured their journeys 
by ascending and declining stars, we certainly cannot read 

^ [Compare Fart datigera. Letter 71 : ^' a gi'eat myth can only be written in the 
«eBtnil tint* of a natieit'e p^vree."] 


their story, if we have never seen anything above us in 
the day but smoke; nor anjrthing round us in the nig^t 
but candles. If the tale goes on to change clouds or 
planets into living creatures, — to invest them with fiair 
forms — and inflame them with mighty passions, we can 
only understand the story of the human-hearted things, 
in so far as we ourselves take pleasure in the perfectness 
of visible form, or can sympathise, by an effort of imagi- 
nation, with the strange people who had other loves than 
that of wealth, and other interests than those of commerce. 
And^ lastly, if the myth complete itself to the fulMed 
thoughts of the nation, by attributing to the gods, whom 
they have carved out of their fantasy, continual presence 
with their own souls; and their every effort for good is 
finally guided by the sense of the companionship, the 
praise, and the pure will of Immortals, we shall be able 
to follow them into this last circle of their faith only in 
the degree in which the better parts of our own beings 
have been also stirred by the aspects of nature, or 
strengthened by her laws. It may be easy to prove that 
the ascent of Apollo in his chariot signifies nothing but 
the rising of the sun. But what does the sunrise itself 
signify to us ? If only languid return to frivolous amuse- 
ment, or fruitless labour, it will, indeed, not be easy for 
us to conceive the power, over a Greek, of the name of 
Apollo. But if, for us also, as for the Greek, the sunrise 
means daily restoration to the sense of passionate gladness, 
and of perfect life — if it means the thrilling of new strength 
through every nerve, — ^the shedding over us of a better 
peace than the peace of night, in the power of the dawn, 
— and the purging of evil vision and fear by the baptism 
of its dew; if the sun itself is an influence, to us also, 
of spiritual good — and becomes thus in reality, not in 
imagination, to us also, a spiritual power, — ^we may then 
soon over-pass the narrow Umit of conception which kept 
that power impersonal, and rise with the Greek to the 
thought of an angel who rejoiced as a strong man to run 


his course, whose voice, calling to life and to labour, rang 
round the earth, and whose going forth was to the ends 
of heaven.^ 

9. The time, then, at which I shall take up for you, 
as well as I can decipher it, the tradition of the Gods of 
Greece, shall be near the beginning of its central and 
formed faith, — ^about 500 b,c., — ^a faith of which the char- 
acter is perfectly represented by Pindar and iSschylus, 
who are both of them out*spokenly religious, and entirely 
sincere men; while we may always look back to find the 
less developed thought of the preceding epoch given by 
Homer, in a more occult, subtle, half-instinctive and in- 
voluntary way. 

10. Now, at that culminating period of the Greek 
religion we find, under one governing Lord of all things, 
four subordinate elemental forces, and four spiritual powers 
living in them, and commanding them. The elements are 
of course the well-known four of the ancient world — ^the 
earth, the waters, the fire, and the air; and the living 
powers of them are Demeter, the Latin Ceres; Poseidon, 
the Latin Neptune; Apollo, who has retained always his 
Greek name; and Athena, the Latin Minerva. Each of 
these is descended from, or changed from, more ancient, 
and therefore more mystic deities of the earth and heaven, 
and of a finer element of aether supposed to be beyond the 
heavens ; "^ but at this time we find the four quite definite, 
both in their kingdoms and in their personalities. They 
are the rulers of the earth that we tread upon, and the 
air that we breathe; and are with us as closely, in their 
vivid humanity, as the dust that they animate, and the 
winds that they bridle. I shall briefly define for you the 
range of their separate dominions, and then follow, as far 

* And by modem science now also asserted^ and with probability 
argued, to exist.' 

^ [PMlms xiz. 5, 6 (Prayer-book version).] 
' [See the Preface; above, p. 292.] 


as we hMre time, the most interesting of the legends whieh 
relate to the queen <^ the air. 

!!• The rule of the first spirit, Demeter, the earth 
mother, is over the earth, first, as the origin of all life — ^the 
dust firom whence we were taken : ^ seccmdly, as the receiver 
of all things back at last into silence — '^ Dust thou art, and 
unto dust shalt thou return/" And, therefore, as the most 
tender image of this appearing and fading life, in the birth 
and fall of flowers,' her daughter Proserpine plays in the 
fields of Sicily, and thence is torn away into darkness, and 
becomes the Queen of Fate — ^not m^erely of death, but of 
the gloom which closes over and ends, not beauty only, 
but sin; and chiefly of sins, the sin against the lile she 
gave: so that she is, in her highest power, Persephone, the 
avenger and purifier of blood, — ^^ The voice of thy brother's 
Uood cries to me out of the ground.'' ^ Thei, side by side 
with this queen of the earth, we find a demigod of agricul- 
ture by the plough — the lord of grain, or of the thing 
ground by the milL And it is a singular [NtK>f of the sim* 
plicity of Greek character at this noble time, that of all 
representations left to us of their deities by their art, few 
are so frequent, and none perhaps so beautiful, as the 
symbol of this spirit of agriculture.* 

12. Then the dominant q^urit of the elem^it of water 
is Neptune, but subordinate to him are myriads of other 
water spirits, of whom Nereus is the chief, with Palaemon, 
and Leucothea, the ''white lady" of the sea; and Thetis, 
and nymphs innumerable, who, like her, could ''suffer a 
sea change,"^ while the river deities had each independent 
power, according to the predousness of their streams to 
the dties fed by them, — ^the ^ fountain Arethuse, and thou. 

^ [For another reference to Demeter in this aense, see Munera 
Vol. XVII. p. 201.] 
' rOenesis iii. 19.] 

'On the myth of Proserpine, compare Vol. VII. p. 474.] 

'Genesis iv. 10.] 

For a representation of Triptolemus in his chariot, see Aratra PenieHei 





* [Tmnpeit, i. 2 (song).] 


honoured flood, smooth sliding Mincius, crowned with vocal 
reeds." ^ And» spiritually, this king of the waters is lord 
of the strength and daily flow of human life — ^he gives it 
material force and victory; which is the meaning of the 
dedication of the hair, as the sign of the strength of life, 
to the river of the native land.' 

18. Demeter, then, over the earth, and its giving and 
receiving of life. Neptune over the waters, and the flow 
and force of life, — always among the Greeks t3rpified by the 
horse, which was to them as a crested sea-wave,^ animated 
and bridled. Then the third element, fire, has set over it 
two powers: over earthly fire, the assistant of human 
labour, is set Hephsestus,^ lord of all labour in which is 
the flush and the sweat of the brow; and over heavenly 
fire, the source of day, is set Apollo, the spirit of aU kind- 
ling, purifying, and illuminating intellectufli wisdom; each 
of these gods having also their subordinate or associated 
powers — servant, or sister, or companion muse. 

14. Then, lastly, we come to the myth which is to be 
our subject of closer inquiry — ^the story of Athena and of 
the deities subordinate to her. This great goddess, the 
Neith of the Eg3rptians,^ the Athena or Athenaia of the 
Greeks, and, with broken power, half usurped by Mars, 
the Minerva of the Latins, is, physicaUy, the queen of the 
air ; having supreme power both over its blessings of calm, 
and wrath of storm; and spiritually, she is the queen of 
the breath of man, first of the bodily breathing which is 
life to his blood, and strength to his arm in battle; and 
then of the mental breathing, or inspiration, which is his 
moral health and habitual wisdom; wisdom of conduct and 
of the heart, as opposed to the wisdom of imagination and 

i [L^ddoi, S5, 86.] 

> [As by Achilles : see below, § 37> p. 333. In the Elpn Room at the British 
Museum there is a Votive Relief (No. 798) with two plaits of twisted hair dedi- 
cated to Poseidon ; for references to like customs in other races, see FVaser's 
Paummioif voL iv. p. 383.] 

' [See below, § 38, p. 334; and compare OeHus ^ AgMa, § 12 (above, p. 66).] 

« |See Semme and Uik$, § 62, and i»Mof ^f the Dutt (VoL XVm. pp. 118, 


the brain; mondt as distinct from intellectual; insured* as 
distinct from illuminated. 

15. By a singular, and fortunate, though I bdieve wholly 
accidental coincidence, the heart-virtue, of which she is the 
spirit, was separated by the ancients into four divisions, 
whidi have since obtained acceptance from all men as 
rightly discerned, and have received, as if from the quarters 
of the four winds of which Athena is the natural queen, 
the name of '^Cardinal" virtues: namely. Prudence, (the 
right seeing, and foreseeing, of events through darkness)', 
Justice, (the righteous bestowal of favour and of indigna^ 
tion); Fortitude, (patience under trial by pain); and Tem- 
perance, (patience under trial by pleasure). With respect 
to these four virtues, the attributes of Athena are all dis- 
tinct In her prudence, or sight in darkness, she is ''Glau- 
kopis,*' owl-eyed.* In her justice, which is the dominant 
virtue, she wears two robes, one of light and one of 
darkness ; the. robe of light, safiron colour, or the colour 
of the daybreak, falls to her feet, covering her wholly with 
favour and love, — ^the calm of the sky in blessing; it is 
embroidjsred along its edge with her victory over the giants,^ 
(the troublous powers of the earth,) and the likeness of it 
was woven yearly by the Athenian maidens and carried to 
the temple of their own Athena, — not to the Parthenon, 
tliat was the temple of all the world's Athena, — ^but this 
they carried to the temple of their own <Hily one,' who loved 
them, and stayed with them always. Then her robe of in- 
dignation is worn on her breast and left arm only, fringed 
with fatal serpents, and fastened with Gorgonian cold, turn- 
ing men to stone; physically, the lightning and the hail of 
chastisement by stomi. Then in her fortitude she wears 

* There are many other meanings in the epithet; see, farther on, 
S 91, p. 379. 

^ [Compare Amtra PenUlM, § 106.] 

> [That is, to the temple of Athene Polias : see below, p. 334 n.] 




the crested and unstooping helmet;* and lastly, in her 
temperanee, she is the queen of maidenhood — stainless as 
the air of heaven. 

16. But all these virtues mass themselves in the Greek 
mind into the two main ones-— of Justice, or noble passion, 
and Fortitude, or noble patience; and of these, the chief 
powers of Athena, the Greeks had divinely written for 
them, and for all men after them, two mighty songs, — one, 
of the Menis,t m^os, passion, or zeal, of Athena, breathed 
into a mortal whose name is ^^Ache of heart," and whose 
short life is only the incarnate brooding and burst of 
storm; and the other is of the foresight and fortitude of 
Athena, maintained by her in the heart of a mortal whose 
name is given to him from a longer grief, Odysseus the 
full of sorrow, the much-enduring, and the long-sufiering.^ 

17. The minor expressions by the Greeks in word, in 
symbol, and in religious service, of this faith, are so many 
and so beautiful, that I hope some day to gather at least 
a few of them into a separate body of evidence respecting 
the power of Athena, and its relations to the ethical con* 
ception of the Homeric poems, or rather, to their ethical 
nature; for they are not conceived didactically, but are 
didactic in their essence, as all good art is.' There is an 
increasing insensibility to this character, and even an open 
denial of it, among us, now, which is one of the most 
curious errors of modernism, — the peculiar and judicial 
blindness of an age which, having long practised art and 
poetry for the sake of pleasure only, has become incapable 

* I am compelled^ for clearness' sake^ to mark only one meaning at a 
time. Athena's helmet is sometimes a mask — sometimes a sign of anger — 
Bometimes of the highest light of ether: but I cannot speak of all this 
at once. 

t This first word of the Iliad, Menis, afterwards passes into the Latin 
Mens ; is the root of the Latin name for Athena, *' Minenra," and so of the 
English ''mind/' 

^ [For other remarks on the name Odysseiis, see Modem Painters, vol. t. (Vel. 
VII. p. 273), where Ruskin preferred to take it as meaning "the angry."] 
> [On this point eonpara § 108 ; below, p. 394.] 


of reading their language when they were both didactic: 
and also having been itself accustomed to a professedly 
didactic teaching, which yet, for private interests, studi- 
ously avoids collision with every prevalent vice of its day 
(and especially with avarice), has become equally dead to 
the int^isely ethical conceptions of a race which habitually 
divided all men into two broad classes of worthy or worth- 
less; — ^good and good for nothing. And even the cele- 
brated passage of Horace about the lUad^ is now misread 
or disbelieved, as if it was impossible that the ISad could 
be instructive because it is not like a sermon. Horace does 
not say that it is like a sermon, and would have been still 
less likely to say so, if he ever had had the advantage of 
hearing a sermon. "I having been reading that story 
of Troy again" (thus he writes to a noble youth of Rome 
whom he cared for), *^ quietly at Pra&neste, while you have 
been busy at Rome; and truly I think that what is base 
and what is noble, and what useful and useless, may be 
better learned from that than from all Chrysippus' and 
Crantor's* talk put together.*'* Which is profoundly true, 
not of the IKad only, but of all other great art whatso- 
ever; for all pieces of such art are didactic in the purest 
way, indirectly and occultly, so that, first, jrou shall only 
be bettered by them if you are already hard at work in 
bettering yourself; and when you are bettered by them it 
shall be partly with a general acceptance of their influence, 
so constant and subtle that you shall be no more con- 
scious of it than of the healthy digestion of food; and 
partly by a gift of unexpected truth, which you shall only 
find by slow mining for it ; — which is withheld on pur- 
pose, and dose-locked, that you may not get it till you 
have forged the key of it in a furnace of your own heating, 

* Note, once for all, that unless when there is question about some par- 
ticular expression, I never translate literally, but give the real force of what 
is said, as I best can, freely. 

— - — — - — ^. . II II 111 , ■■■■-■-■ 

1 [BpiiUeM, i. 2.1 

> [See Vol. XVIll. p 169 n., where the pssMige is dtad.] 


And this withhcdding of their meaning is continual, and 
confessed, in the great poets.^ Thus Pindar says of him- 
self: ''There is many an arrow in my quiver, full of speech 
to the wise, but, for the many, they need interpreters/'' 
And neither Pindar, nor iEschylus, nor Hesiod, nor Homer, 
nor any of the greater poets or teachers of any nation or 
time, ever spoke but with intentional reservation: nay, 
beyond this, there is often a meaning which they them- 
selves cannot interpret, — ^which it may be for ages long 
after them to interpret, — in what they said, so far as it re- 
corded true imaginative vision. For all the greatest myths 
have been seen, by the men who tell them, involuntarily 
and passively' — seen by them with as great distinctness 
(and in some respects, though not in all, imder conditions 
as fur beyond the control of their will) as a dream sent 
to any of us by night when we dream clearest; and it 
is this veracity of vision that could not be refiised, and of 
moral that could not be foreseen, which in modem histori- 
cal inquiry has been left wholly out of account: being in* 
deed the thing which no merely historical investigator can 
understand, or even believe; for it belongs exclusively to 
the creative or artistic group of men, and can only be in- 
terpreted by those of their race, who themselves in some 
measure also see visions and dream dreams.^ 

So that you may obtain a more truthful idea of the 
nature of Greek religion and Ic^pend fit>m the poems of 
Keats, and the nearly as beautiful, and, in general grasp of 
subject, far more powerful, recent work of Morris,' than 
from frigid scholarship, however extensive. Not that the 
poet's impressions or renderings of things are wholly true, 
but their truth is vital, not formal They are like sketches 

1 [Compare CMm of Agiaia, § 12 (aboFe^ p. 63) ; and see Carlyle's comment 
on this paiaage in the Introduction^ above, p. Jxx.] 
s Wi^mpia, ii. 83-86.] 
[On this involuntariness, compare Modem Painters^ toL iil. (VoL V. pp. 115 
lie n.l 

[Joel IL 28; Acto 
[WiUiam Morris h 
first portion of The SariU^ P^rmHee in 1888.] 

and 116 n.] 

« [Joel iL 28 ; Acto ii. 17.1 

* [William Morris had published The Life and Death ^ Jaeen in 1867, and the 


from life by Rejmolds or Gainsborougfa, which may be de- 
monstrably inaccurate or imaginary in many traits, and 
indistinct in others, yet will be in the deepest sense like, 
and true; while the work of historical analjrsis is too often 
weak with loss, through the very labour of its miniature 
touches, or useless in clumsy and vapid veracity of externals, 
and complacent security of having done all that is required 
for the portrait, when it has measured the breadth of the 
forehead, and the length of the nose. 

18. The first of requirements, then, for the right reading 
of mjrths, is the understanding of the nature of all true 
vision by noble persons;^ namely, that it is founded on 
constant laws common to all human nature; that it per- 
ceives, however darkly, things which are for all ages true; 
— that we can only understand it so far as we have some 
perception of the same truth; — and that its fulness is de- 
veloped and manifested more and more by the reverberation 
of it from minds of the same mirror-temper, in succeeding 
ages. You will understand Homer better by seeing his 
reflection in Dante, as you may trace new forms and softer 
colours in a hillside, redoubled by a lake. 

I shall be able partly to show you, even to-night, how 
much, in the Homeric vision of Athena, has been made 
clearer by the advance of time, being thus essentially and 
eternally true; but I must in the outset indicate the re- 
lation to that central thought of the imagery of the inferior 
deities of stwm. 

19. And first I will take the myth of iESolus (the ** sage 
Hippotades" of Miltcm's Ltfcidas^ as it is delivered pure 
by Homer frt>m the early times. 

Why do you suppose Milton calls him ^^sage**? One 
does not usually thuik of the winds as very thoughtful or 

1 rCompare P roierpina, ii. cfa. L § 46.] 
' [Aolus, son of Hippotflt. Line 96 : — 

" And auettioned every gust of ruf^^ vingt 
That blows from oiF each beakM promontory. 
Thoy knew not of hie story ; 
And Mfe Hippotades their anewer briogt.''] 


delibentte powcars. But hear Horner:^ ''Then we came to 
the iEolian island, and there dwelt iEolus Hippotades, dear 
to the deathless gods: there he dwelt in a floating island, 
and round it was a wall of brass that could not be broken ; 
and the smooth rock of it ran .up sheer. To whom twelve 
children were bom in the sacred chamber — ^six daughters 
and six strong sons; and they dwell for ever with their 
beloved father, and their mother strict in duty; and with 
them are laid up a thousand benefits ; and the misty house 
around them rings with fluting aU the day long."**^ Now, 
you are to note first, in this description, the wall of brass 
and the sheer rock. You will find, throughout the fables 
of the tempest-group, that the brazen wall and precipice 
(occurring in another myth as the brazen tower of Danae) ' 
are always connected with the idea of the towering cloud 
lighted by the sun, here truly described as a floating island. 
Secondly, you hear that all treasures were laid up in 
them ; therefore, you know this iEolus is lord of the benefi- 
cent winds C' he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries " ') ; 

♦ Conf. Eurip. Bacch., 144, 147. [1888.*] 

1 [O^WMW, X. 1-10.] 

• 'For wbidi myth, compare Modem Painters, vol. v. (Vol. Vll. pp. 184-185 n.).] 

PiBlmf cxzzv. 7-] 

* Ruflkin, in interpreting the passage from Homer as meant to be applicable 
in all details to the winds^ tranuktes differently from most other commentators, 
who take drciara to mean not "benefits" or "treasarea^" bat ''dainties." So, 
again, in the last line (kpi^Hj^ 9i re dQpia weptrrtwaxit^oi aifX^) Rnskin reads as 
josi ffiTen, and takes the last word to mean ''with the sound of ilnting" (the 
whistling of the wind), and interprets loft^viftp in a meteorological sense aa '' mislT." 
The alternative version reads «^X^ f"in Uie conrtyard"), and interprets tcpt^^^, 
in aoeordanee with the culinary renaering of ircfara, as "steaming"; thus Butcher 
and Lang translate, " And dainties innumerable lie ready to their hands. And the 
house is full of the savour of feasting, and the noise thereof rings round, yea in 
the oonrtrard, by day." See further on this passage, above; the Introduction, 
p. Lcfac. Profesaor Norton, in oorreepondence with Ruskin, eeems to have questioned 
the interpretation in the text and preferred the usual rendering. Ruskin replied 
that neat smoke is precisely what would be carried away in a house of the winds : 
"the bouse being full of the smell of dinner is precisely the Unwindieet character 
you eottld have given it . . . While the Ckthn cloud is high in heaven, the Wind 
elood rises up mm the earth, and is actually the Steam of it, under the' benefioent 
cookery of the winds, which make it good for food : 'Thy Dwelling shall be of 
the Dew of Heaven, and of the fastneee of the Earth'" (LeUere ^ Joksr Butkin to 
Okmrlee EiM Ntrkm, vol. iL p. 21, reprinted in a later v«dnme of this edition). 
The reference to £uri|^des was inserted in 1883 from Ruakin's notes, and illus* 
trales Atrdier what he had in his mind. In the lines of the Baeekm the chorus it 

\ . 

^ V - , 


and presently afterwards Homer ealls him the '* steward ** of 
the winds/ the master of the storehouse of them. And 
this idea of gifts and preciousness in the winds of heavan 
is carried out in the well-known sequel of the faUe: — 
iSolus gives them to Ulysses, all but one, bound in a 
leathern bag,' with a glittering cord of silver; and so like 
a bag of treasures that the sailors think it is one, and 
open it to see. And when Ulysses is thus driven back to 
^olus, and prays him again to help him, note the de« 
liberate words of the King's refusal, — " Did I not,'* he says» 
^^send thee on thy way heartily, that thou mightest reach 
thy country, thy home, and whatever is dear to thee? It 
is not lawftil for me again to send forth favourably on his 
joumey a man hated by the happy gods." ' ^ This idea of the 
beneficence of iSolus remains to the latest times, though 
Virgil, by adopting the vulgar change of the cloud island 
into Lipari,''^ has lost it a little ; but even wh^ot it is finally 
explained away by Diodorus, iSolus is still a kind-hearted 
monarch, who Uved on the coast of Sorrento, invented the 
use of sails, and established a system of stomi signals.^ 

20. Another beneficent storm-power, Boreas, occupies an 
important place in early legend, and a singularly principal 
one in art; ^ and I wish I could read to you a passage of 

* Conf. Mn,, viii. 4l6. [188S.] 

singiiiii^ the mystic song of the worship of the god ; and in lines 144-147 says, ''and 
the plain flows with millc, flows with wine, flows with the neetar of llees, and 
there is a smoke as of Syriaii incense." Compare Ruskin's note in the OBta%iis 
nf th€ B^fhrmM Seriei, No. 183 (Vol. XX.)^ where he says that Semele (as the 
rain-eload) is called Thyone ^which word he eonneets with the idea ef bamt- 
saerifiee, 6vm), because "she rises as burnt incense expanding in the air."] 

^ Vrofdi^^ Mputit — 0tfy9§eVf X. 21.] 

> [But it was only "the blustering winds," fiwcHMf Awiium WXfvtfa (Orfyswy, x, 
20), that .Solus had tied up. "That is indeed an important mistake about the bag/' 
wrote Ruskin to Protesor Norton. " Of course these stories are all first fixed in 
my mind by my boy's reading of Pope^then I read in the Greek rapidly to hunt 
out the points I want to work on, and am always liable to miss an immaterial point 
But it is strange that I hardly ever get anything stated without some grave mistake, 
however true in my main disooveries" (Leiterg U CImrlei EUU Nortm, vol. ii. p. 20). j 

» [Odffuey, X 65, 06. 72, 7a] 

See IHodoms Siculus, v. 1 ad finJ\ 

[A very beautiful representation ot this subiect— a fiivourite one with Greek 
artista--aiay be seen on a bronae relief in the British Museum (No. 310); it is one 
ef those discovered by Ruskin's friend, Newton (see his Tramk, voL i* p. ddO).] 


Hato^ about the l^[end of Boreas and Oreithyia,* and the 
breeze and shade of the Ilissns — ^notwithstanding its sevare 
reflection upon persons who waste their time on mytho- 
logical studies; but I must go on at once to the fable 
with which you are all geierally familiar, — ^that of the 

This is always connected with that of Boreas or the 
north wind, because the two sons of Boreas are > enemies of 
the Harpies, aiKl drive them away into frantic flight, f The 
myth in its first literal form means <uily the battle between 
the fair north wind and the foul south, one: the tw6 
Harpies, '^Storm-swift,'' and '' Swiftfbot," are the sisters of 
the rainbow' — ^that is to say, they are the broken drifts of 
the showery south wind, and the dear north wind drives 
them back; but they quickly take a deeper and more 
maUgnant significance. You Imow the short, vi^dent, spiral 
gusts that lift the dust before coming rain : the Harpies get 
identified first with these, and then with more violent whirl- 
winds, and so they are called '* Harpies," '' the . Snatehers,' ' 
and are thought of a3 entirely destructive; their manner 
of destroying being twofold — ^by snatching away, and .by 
defiling and poUutii^. This is a month' in which you may 
really see a small Harpy at her work almost whenever you 
choose. The first time that there is threatening of rain 
after two or three days of fine weather, leave your window 

* Trmnslated by Max Miiller in the opening of his essay on ^'Compa- 
rative Mythology." (Chips from a German Workshop; voL ii) 

t Zetes and Calalfe, Find. Pjfih., 4, Sft4i, hare rough pmrpU (ue., fiery) 
wings. [1888.^] 

^ [See PksBdrus, 229 B. and C] 

< [See Hesiod : Theogonv, 265-269 : '' And Thaumas wedded Electra, daughter of 
deep-flowing Ocean; she bare rapid Iris, and the iair-tressed Harpies, Aello and 
Ocypete, who aeeompany the wind-blasts and birds, with swift wings, for they fly 
high above the earth." Aeilo, '^storm-swift" (dcXX«, a stormy wind); Ocypete, 
"swift-flying." But already in Homer the ''more malignant signincance ' is 

Srssent : see Odfssey^ i. 241 — " but now the harpies (spirits of the storm) have swept 
im away inglorious" — and compare ihid,, xz. 66, 77.] 
> [The lecture was delivered on Mareh 9.1 

« ['' Willingly and with gkd heart their fiither Boreas, king of winds, harnessed 
Zetes and Calais, men both with purple wings shooting from their backs." For 
the meanhig of "purple^" see below| p. ddOb] 


but the sins of Tantalus were of a muih. ivider and more 
mysterious kind. There are four gteaft sins attributed to 
him ^ — one, stealing the food of the /Gods to give it to 
men: another, sacrificing his son to feed the Gods them- 
selves (it may remind you for a mdm^it of what I was 
telling you ^ of the earthly character of Demeter, that, while 
the other Gods all refuse, she, dreaming about her lost 
daughter, eats part of the shoulder of Pelops before she 
knows what she is doing); another sin is, telling the 
secrets of the Gods; and cmly the fourth — stealing the 
golden dog of Pandareos — is connected with gluttony. The 
special sense of this myth is marked by Pandareos receiving 
the happy {Mivilege of never being troubled with indiges* 
tion;' the dog, in general, however, mythically represents 
all utterly senseless and carnal desires, mainly that of 
gluttony; and in the mythic sense of Hades — that is to 
say, so far as it repreamts spiritual ruin in this life, and 
not a literal hell — the dog Cerberus is its gate-keeper — 
with this special marking of his diaxacter of sensual passi<m, 
that he &wns on all those who descend, but rages against 
all who would return (the Virgilian *' fiunlis descensus " ^ being 
a later recognition of this mythic character of Hades): 

^ [Of tbe legends of Tuitalug bare meutioned, the firtt ia to be found in Pindar^ 
%fiip. L 50-^ (**this hopeleai life of mieery lie eodnreth^ for eteeling firom tfa* 
immorULi end giving to his fellowi at a feast the nectar and ambroeiaj whereby 
the gods had OMde him inoormptible"}. The second legend— which is discarded 
hf Pindar (ibid., 62), ''to me it is impoesible to call one of the blsend gods can- 
nibal" — ^is that Tantalus, when entertaining tbe gods, placed before them at the 
feast the limbs of his son Pelops^ who (when restored to life by Zeus) was given 
an ivory shoulder in place of the one eaten unwittingly by Demeter. For other 
allusions to this story, and to Pindar's rejection of it, see Leoturei on Art, § 1/&1, 
and Aratra PenteHci, § 86. The third legend— of Tantalus telling r^s di^/n^i vA 
rofiik rotf AtfordrMf dw6fl^a — ^is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus (iv. 74) and Hyginue 
(82). The story of Tantalus stealing the dog is told by the scholiasts on fitomer 
(0dif9se^, XX. 66) and Pindar (0/. i. 97}. Zens had a golden dog which ffuarded his 
sanctuary in Crete. Pandareos of Miletos stole it, but fbaring to take it homo 
with him, entrusted it to the keeping of Tantalus. Zeus sent Hermes to recover it^ 
when Tantalus swore a great oata &at he know nothing about it. (For the subse- 
quent punishment of Pandareos, see p. 318 n.) For a description of the punish- 
ment of Tantalus, see (k^j/aey, x, 681 $eq.] 

• pee § 11, p. 804.] 

> \Tkd» stonr is mentioned in Smith's DicH^narv ^ Mythologif. on the authority 
of Antoninus Uberalis (11), a writer of the second century a.d.] 

« [jBneid, vi. 126.] 


the last labour of Hercules is the dragging him up to the 
li^t; and in some sort, he represents the voracity or de- 
vouring of Hades itself; and the medieval representation 
of the mouth of hell perpetuates the same thought. Then, 
also, the power of evil passion is partly associated with the 
red and scorching light of Sinus, as opposed to the pure 
light of the sun: — ^he is the dog-star of ruin; and hence 
the continual Homeric dwelling upon him, and comparison 
of the flame of anger to his swarthy light ;^ only, in his 
scorching, it is thirst, not hunger, over which he rules 
phjrsically; so that the fable of Icarius, his first master, 
corresponds, among the Greeks, to the legend of the 
drunkenness of Noah.' 

The story of Actaemi, the raging death of Hecuba, and 
the tradition of the white dog which ate part of Hercules' 
first sacrifice, and so gave name to the Cyiiosarges,* are all 
various phases of the same thought — ^the Greek notion of 
the dog being throughout confused between its serviceable 
fidelity, its watchfiihiess, its foul* voracity, shamdessness, 
and deadly madness,^ while with the curious reversal or 
recoil of the meaning which attaches itself to neariy every 
great myth — and which we shall presently see notably ex- 
emplified in the relaticMis of the serpent to Athena, — ^the 
dog becomes in philosophy a type of severity and absti- 



[See, for instance, ZRed, xxiL 25 teq.] 

For the legend of Icarius, who introduced Dionjrsus into Attica, see Apollo* 
doros^ iii. 14: he gare unmixed wine to the shepheras, who, thinking they had 
been drugged, kilm Icarius and buried him. His daughter, Erigone* searched for 
him with the help of his dog, Mssra, and when she found the hody. Killed herself. 
Hyginus (190) adds that the dog Mssra became Canicula. the dog-star.1 

* [For Cynosarges — a sanctuary and gymnasium outside the city walls of Athens 
— see the note in Frazer's Patuanias^ roL ii. a 199. The story, given in old 
dictionaries (see Frazer's references), is that one IMomus was sacrificing to Hercules 
when a white dog snatched up the victim and ran away with it Thereupon Diomus 
was bidden by the oracle to nnd the plaoe where the dog had deposited the victim^ 
and there to build an altar to Hercules ; hence the sanctuary was called Cjmosarges 
(white dog). In later dajrs the Cvuics lectured at the place, and according to some 
interpreters derived their name mm it.] 

* [With the discussion here of the mythology of the dog should be compared 
Eagi^9 Neslf § 151, where Ruslcin discusses *' a succession of animal types used in 
art either to sjrmbolise, or contrast with, dignity in human persona."] 


24. It would cany us too £Etr aside were I to tdl you 
the story of Pandareos' dqg-^or rather, of Jupiter's dog, 
for Pandareos was its guardian only;^ all that bears on 
our present purpose is that the guardian of this gdden dog 
had three daughters, one of whom was subject to the 
power of the Sirens, and is turned into the nightii^;ale ; 
and the other two were subject to the power of the 
Harpies, and this was what happened to them.* They 
wore very beautiful, and they were beloved by the gods in 
tiieir youth, and all the great goddesses were anxious to 
bring than up rightly. Ctf all types of young ladies' edu- 
cation, there is nothing so splendid as that of the younger 
daughters of Pandareos. They have literally 1^ four 
greatest goddesses for their governesses. Athena teaches 
them domestic accomplishments; how to weave, and sew, 
and the like; Artemis teaches them to hold themselves 
up straight; Hera, how to behave ptoudly and oppressively 
to company; and Aphrodite — delightful governess — feeds 
them with cakes and hcmey all day l<mg. All goes well, 
until just the time when they are going to be brought 
out; then there is a great dispute wliom they are to 
marry, and in the midst of it they are carried off by 
the Harpies, given by them to be slaves to the Furies, 
and never seen more. But of course there is nothing in 
Greek myths; and one never heard of such things as vain 
desires, and empty hopes, and clouded passions, defiling 
and snatching away the souls of maidens, in a London 

I have no time to trace for you any more harpy 
legends, though they are full of the most curious interest; 

1 [See above, p. 316.] 

> [The storx ts told by Homer (OdfyM^, zz. efhlS) mod by FkosuuM (x. 30^ 
1, 2, in desoribiiur a pieture of tiie labject hj Polrnotos). 2«eut, in piiniahment 
for the crime of Pendareos^ had killed both him and his wife. It ia a further iUua- 
tratiou of what Ruakin haa been saying about the dog that, according to one of the 
scholiaats, ''Zeus inflicted on the maidens a di s e ase, whidi ia called 'dog'" — <•&, 
nerhapa, the form of insanity which con^sts in the patient believing himself to 
be an animal and behaving accordingly (see Fraaer's PauMtnUu, vol. v. pp. 381- 


but I may confinn for you my interpreUtioii of this one^ 
wd prove its importanoe in the Greek mind^ by noting 
that Polygnotus painted these maidens* in his great re- 
ligious series of paintings at I>elphi, crowned with flowers* 
and playing at dice;^ and that Penelope remembers them 
in her last fit of despair* just before the return of Ulysses ; 
and prays bitterly that she may be snatched away at once 
into nothingness by the Harpies* like Fandareos' daughters* 
rather than be tormented longer by her deferred hope* and 
anguish of disappointed love.' 

25. I have hitherto spoken only of deities of the winds, 
We pass now to a far more important group* the Deities 
of Cloud. Both of these are subordinate to the ruling 
power of the air* as the demigods of the fountains and 
minor seas are to the great deep: but as the cloud-firmai- 
ment detaches itself more from the air* and has a wider 
range of ministry than the minor streams and sea* the 
highest cloud deity, Hermes*^ has a rank more equal with 
Athena than Nereus or Proteus with Neptune ; and there is 
greater difficulty in tracing his character* because his phy- 
sical dominion over the clouds can* of course* be asserted 
only where clouds are; and* therefore* scarcely at all in 
Egypt:* so that the changes which Hermes undergoes in 
becoming a Greek from an Egyptian and Phoenician god* 
are greater than in any other case of adopted tradition, 

* I believe that the conclunons of recent scholarship are generally 
opposed to the Herodotean ideas of any direct acceptance by the Greekis 
of Egyptian Myths : and very certainly, Greek art is developed by giving 
the veracity and simplicity of real life to Eastern savage grotesque; and 
not by softening the severity of pure Egyptian designs. But it is of no 
consequence whether one conception was, or was not, in this case* derived 
from the other; my object is only to mark the essential differences be- 
tween them. 

^ [See, again, Pausanias, x. dO, 2.1 

* [See, again, Odwwy, xx. 66 Mf.J 

' [For other references to Hermes, as the cloud deity, see Lectures en 
Art, M 153, 156 ; Aratra PetUeHei, § 160 ; and the '' Tortoise of JEgina," § 20 
(VoL XX.).] 


In Egypt Hermes is a deity of historical record,^ and a 
conductor of the dead to judgment ; the Greeks take away 
much of this historical ftinction, assigning it to the Muses ; 
but, in investing him with the ph3rsical power over clouds, 
they give him that which the Muses disdain — ^the power of 
conce^ment, and of theft« The snatching away by the 
Harpies is with brute force; but the snatching away by 
the clouds is connected with the thought of hiding, and of 
making things seem to be what they are not; so that 
Hermes is the god of lying, as he is of mist ; and yet, 
this ignoble function of making things vanish and 
appear, is connected the remnant <^ his grand Egyptian 
authority of leading away souls in the cloud of death (the 
actual <Umness of sight caused by mortal wounds physically 
suggesting the darkness and descent of clouds, and continu- 
ally being so described in the ISad);^ while the sense of 
the need of guidance on the untrodden road foUows neces- 
sarily. You cannot but remember how this thou^t of 
cloud guidance, and cloud receiving of souls at death, has 
been else^^ere ratified.' 

26. Without following that higher clue, I will pass to 
the lovely group of myths connected with the birth of 
Hermes on the Greek mountains. You know that the 
valley of Sparta is one of the noblest mountain ravines in 
the world,^ and that the western flank of it is formed by an 
unbroken chain of crags, forty miles long, rising, opposite 

of AnH<guiti«9^ p. 27).] 

' [Aj, for initonoa, in xiiL 575 and zvi. 350 ^and tiM Uack eloud of death 
veiled him").] 

3 FActf i. 9 : " and a cloud receired Him out of thmr sight"! 

* rRuBkin, who had not heen in Greece, ia here writing mm the deicriptionB of 
traveUera — perhapa from Dodwell's: ''AH the plains and all the mountains that I 
have seen are surpassed in the variety of their combinations, and in the beauty of 
their appearance, oy the plain of Lacedaemon and Mount IViygetus. . . . From the 
western side of the plain rise the jrrand and abrupt precipices of Taygetus, which 
is broken into many summits. The bases also of ue mountain are formed by 
several projections distinct from each other, which branch into the plain, and 
hence produce the rich assemblage and luxuriant multiplicity of lines^ and tints. 


Sparta, to a height of 8,000 feet, and known as the chain of 
Taygetus. Now the nymph from whom that mountain ridge 
is named, was the mother of Lacedaemon ; therefore, the 
mythic ancestress of the Spartan race. She is the nymph 
Taygeta, and one of the seven stars of spring ; one of those 
Pleiades of whom is the question to Job, — ^^ Canst thou 
hind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of 
Orion ?"^ ''The sweet influences of Pleiades," of the stars 
of spring, — ^nowhere sweeter than among the pineclad slopes 
of llie hills of Sparta and Arcadia, when the snows of their 
higher summits, beneath the sunshine of April, fell into 
fountains, and rose into clouds; and in every ravine was a 
newly-awakened voice of waters, — soft increase of whisper 
among its sacred stones : and on every crag its forming and 
fading veil of radiant cloud; temple above temple, of the 
divine marble that no tool can pollute, nor ruin undermine. 
And, therefore, beyond this central valley, this great Greek 
vase of Arcadia, on the *^ hollow *" mountain, Cyllene,* or 
"pregnant*' mountain, called also "cold," because there the 
vapours rest,* and bom of the eldest of those stars of 
spring, that Maia, from whom your own month of May has 
its name, bringing to you, in the green of her garlands and 

* On the altar of Hennes on its summit, as on that of the Lacinian 
Herai no wind ever stirred the ashes. Beside those altars, the Gods of 
Heaven were appeased: and all their storms at rest. 

and shades, which render it the finest locality in Greeca" (Tour through Qreeeo, 
▼ol. iL pp. 406-410). For Taygete^ the mother of Lacediemon^ sae Pausanlas, iiL 
1, 2 ; she was changed after her death into one of the Pleiades (Hyginusj 166, IdS ; 
and see Virgil, Georgia, iv. 282).] 

^ [Job xxxviii. 31 : compare Eagk't Ne9i, § 28. And for the Pleiades, see below, 
S 38, pp. 335-336.] 

' [Tiie name, no doubt, has to do with KoCKot, hollow (thongh Paosanias gives a 
different derivation), and Raskin goes on to suggest vet another, connecting the 
word jcvXX^in; with kv» (to be pregnant). ''Called cold** by Virgil (JBnM, viiL 
139) :— 

"Vobis Mercnrius pater est, quem Candida Maia 
CyllensB gelido conceptum vertice fudit" 

The altar of Hermes on its summit is mentioned by Pausaniaa (viil. 17» 1); for 
the story of the wind never stirring the ashes, sea the re&rences given in Smith's 
Dictionary ^ Mgthologg; with which Raskin oompares the ysssge in lAry (zziv. 3), 
of the altar of the Lacinian Hera, '' fama est aram esse m VMtibnlo templi a^jns 
einerem nullo unquam moveri vento."] 



the white of her hawthorn, the unrecognized symbols of the 
pastures and the wreathed snows of Arcadia, where long 
ago she was queen of stars : there — ^first cradled and wrapt in 
swaddling-clothes ; then raised, in a moment of surprise, into 
his wandering power — ^is bom the shepherd of the clouds,^ 
winged-footed and deceiving, — ^blinding the eyes of Argus, 
— escaping from the grasp of Apollo — ^restless messenger 
between tiie highest* sky and topmost earth — 

''the herald Mercury, 
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill/'* 

27. Now, it will be wholly impossible, at present, to 
trace for you any of the minor Greek expressions of this 
thought, except only that Mercury, as the cloud shepherd, 
is especially called Eriophoros, the wool-bearer/ You will 
recoUect the name from the common woolly rush ''erio- 
phorum,'' which has a cloud of silky seed; and note also 
that he wears distinctively the flat cap, petaaos^ named frt)m 
a word meaning to expand;' which shaded from the sun, 
and is worn on journeys. You have the epithet of moun- 
tains *' cloud-capped " as an established form with every poet,* 
and the Mont Pilate of Lucerne is named from a Latin 
word signifying specially a woollen cap; but Mercury has, 
besides, a general Homeric epithet, curiously and intensely 
concentrated in meaning, ''the profitable or serviceable by 

^ [See the opening lines of the Homeric Hymn : '^ Of Hermes singi O Muse, 
the son of Zeus and Maia, Lord of Cyllene, and Arcadia rich in sheep," etc] 

* [''Highest" in eds. 1-^; altered to ''lowest" in 1883^ and so in subee- 
qnent editions; hut in his own copy Ruskin cancelled the alteration (which was 
made hy Mr. Faunthorpe).] 

s W^mkt, iii. 4, 58.] 

^ rrhis is a puaxling statement, for no instance can be found of the application 
of ihui rare epithet to Hermes. It is conceivable that when referring to his note- 
books Ruskin (with the point he is here making in his mind) misread xpto^Spos as 
i/Ho^poi. (If he had written the word in English letters, criopharoi might easily 
have been misread eriapkorai,) The former epithet T" ram-bearing") is applied to 
Hermes in Pausanias (iz. 22, 1), and the ^pe is familiar in art as that from which 
the early Christian representations of the Uood Shepherd were copied. Ruskin naes 
the phrase "Hermes Eriophoros" again in Ariadne FiorenHna, §100.] 

* [<^., mrdMpvfu — connected with Hermes in Athen»us, 637 F.l 

« [The German translator (see aboTO, p. 286) here cites Schiller^s Wimam Teli, I : 
^'Der Mythenatein sieht seine Haube an." For the derivation of Mont Pilate 
from pikatuif see Vol VII. p. 164 and n.] 


wool/' '^ that is to say, by shepherd wealth ; hence, " pecuni* 
aiily/'^ rich, or serviceable, and so he passes at last into a 
general mercantile deity; while yet the cloud sense of the 
wool is retained by Homer always, so that he gives him this 
epithet when it would otherwise have been quite meaning- 
less, (in lUad, xxiv. 440,) when he drives Priam's chariot, 
and breathes force into his horses, precisely as we shall find 
Athena drive Diomed:' and yet the serviceable and profit- 
able sense, and something also of gentle and soothing charac- 
ter in the mere wool-softness, as used for dress, and religious 
rites, is retained also in the epithet, and thus the gentle and 
serviceable Hermes is opposed to the deceitful one. 

28, In connection with this driving of Priam's chariot, 
remember that as Autolycus' is the son of Hermes th^ De- 
ceiver, Myrtilus (the Auriga of the Stars) is the son^ of 
Hermes the Guide. The name Hermes itself means Im- 
pulse;^ and he is especially the shepherd of the flocks of 
the sky, in driving, or guiding, or steiding them ; and yet his 
great name, Argeiphontes,' not only — as in different passages 
of the olden poets — ^means ^* Shining White," which is said 

* I am convinced that the ipi in c/otovvios is not intensitive ; but retained 
from ipiov : ^ but even if I am wrong in thinking this, the mistake is of no 
consequence with respect to the general force of the term as meaning the 
prqfiUAUness of Hermes. Athena's epithet of aycXcta has a parallel signifi- 

^ [For the derivation of peeunia (wealth) from pecu» (cattle)^ see For» Clavigera^ 
Letter 53.] 




below, § 36, p. 332.1 
See Vol. XVII. p. 39.] 

'So say some autnoritieB, connecting the name with Vm4. Bat there are many 
theories (see Preller-Robert, Qriechitche Mythohsie, i. 386.] 
* rThe word occurs as epithet of Hermes some thirtytimes in Homer, but there 
is nothing to show from the context what it means. The first commentators took 
it to mean ^' Argus-Killer" — an interpretation which Aristarchus rejected because 
Homer did not appear to know the myth of Hermes slaying Argus by lulling his 
hundred eyes to sleep with tiie sound of his lyre. Hence, as an alternative, the 
interpretation ''Shining White"; another suggestion is ''Swift appearing" (see 
Leafs note to IRad, iL 103).] 

< r^piOFBWooL The common explanation of the word (in ancient as in modern 
tunes) is ifn (intensitive) +^i'<i^/m, "the helper." But, says Mr. Leaf, "in view of 
the pastoral character of Hermes, a derivation from fpcoi^, making wool to grow, is 
equally possible" (note on Siad, xx. 84).] 

^ [IHadf ii. 269 ; iv. 128, etc. Ruskin derives the epithet from ^yi^^i, making it 
mean "guardian of herds," and not "driver of spoil" (Xf/or Ayovaa),] 


of him as being himself the silver doud lifted by the sun ; 
but ^'Argus-Killer/' the killer of brightness, which is said 
of him as he veils the sky, and especially the stars, which 
are the eyes of Argus; or, literally, eyes of brightness, 
which Juno, who is, with Jupiter, part of the type of highest 
heaven, keeps in her peacock's train. We know that this 
interpretation is right, from a passage in which Euripides 
describes the shield of Hippomedon,^ which bore for its sign, 
« Argus the aU-seeing, covered with eyes ; open towards the 
rising of the stars, and closed towards their setting." 

And thus Hermes becomes the spirit of the movement 
of the sky or firmament ; not merely the &st flying of the 
transitory cloud, but the great motion of the heavens and 
stars themselves. Thus, in his highest power, he corresponds 
to the ** primo mobile " of the later Italian philosophy,* and, 
in his simplest, is the guide of all mysterious and cloudy 
movement, and of all successful subtleties. Perhaps the 
prettiest minor recognition of his character is when, on 
the night foray of Ulysses and Diomed, Ulysses wears the 
helmet stolen by Autolycus the son of Hermes.* 

29. The position in the Greek mind of Hermes as the 
Lord of cloud is, however, more mystic and ideal than that 
of any other deity, just on account of the constant and 
real presence of the cloud itself under different forms, giving 
rise to all kinds of minor fables. The play of the Greek 
imagination in this direction is so wide and complex, that 
I cannot even give you an outline of its range in my pre- 
sent limits. There is first a great series of storm-legends 
connected with the family of the historic iEolus, centralized 

1 [Pheeniwa, 116.] 

' frhe primum niobUe was in the Ptolemaic sTstem of astronomy the tenth sphere, 
supposed to rerolve from east to west in twenty-four hours^ carrying with it all 
the other spheres. Thus in Milton {ParatHta Lott, lii. 481H183) :~ 

'' They pass the planets soTen, and pass the fixed^ 
And that crystalline sphere whose halance weighs 
The trepidation talked, and that>Srt< moved'* 

See the explanation of the passage in, David Masson's edition of Milton, toL ii. 
pp. 37 wg.J 

* \IHady X. 261 mq,] 


by the story of Athamas, with his two wives *' the Cloud '' 
and the '^ White Groddess/'^ ending in that of Fhrixus and 
Helle, and of the golden fleece (which is only the doud* 
burden of Hermes Eriophoros '). With this, there is the 
fiite of Salmoneus,'^ and the destruction of Glaucus by his 
own horses;' all these minor myths of storm concentrating 
themselves darkly into the legend of Bellerophon and the 
Chimasra, in which there is an under story about the vain 
subduing of passion and treachery, and the end of life in 
fieuling melancholy/ — ^which, I hope, not many of you could 
understand even were I to show it you : (the merely 
{rfiysical meaning of the Chimaera is the cloud of volcanic 
lightning, connected wholly with earth-fire, but resembling 
the heavenly cloud in its height and its thunder). Finally, 
in the .^Bolic group, there is the legend of Sisyphus, which 
I mean to work out thoroughly by itself: its root is in th^ 
position of Corinth as ruling the isthmus and the two seas 

* epatrvfu/jStis Find., Pjftk, 4, S54. Gonf. Lueian in Tman [1883V 

1 [Athunas, ton of MoIvlb, married first Nephele; and then Ino, daughter of 
Cadmus, worshipped as a sea-goddess under the name Leucothea (Odyssey, v. 333). 
She was jealous of Pbrixns and Helle, the children of Athamas bv Nephele, and 
resolved to destroy them ; bat they escaped from her fury to Colchis, on a golden 
ram : for a passing reference to the legend, see Crown of Wild Olive (Vol. aVIII. 
p« 630), and compare Lecturee an Art^ § 152.] 

* 1^ abore, p. 322 n.] 

* [Fhe story or Glaucus, son of Sis^hus, destroyed by his own mares, is told by 
Hyginw (250), and referred to by Virgil {Oeorgiee, ii. 267). For a passing reftiw 
ence to it, see Ati qf England, § 80.] 

* [Here Rusldn rationalises the story of Bellerophon as told by the fkbulists 
and poets. (For a passing reference to it, see Lecturee an Art, § 151.) Bellerophon, 
after the murder of his orother, had fled to the court of Proetus, King of Argos ; 
and there he resisted the sdvances of Stenobcea, the king's wife. But she accused 
him to her husband, who sent him to his fether-in-law, Jobates, King of Lycia, to 
be mordersd treacherously. Jobates, not wishing to put him straight to death, 
imposed on Bellerophon many dangeroos labours; amongst others, the slayinc of 
the Chimnra. In rain did Bellerophon sormount them ; for when he tried to 
escape to hearen on Pegssus, Zeus stung the horse and Bellerophon fell to earthy 
wandering about henceforth in deep dejection.] 

* [''Rash Salmonens," King of Elis, who wishing to be called a god, used to 
dfire his chariot over a braaen bridge to imitate the thunder, and darted burning 
torches on either side, to imitate the lightning; for which impiety he was himseu 
struck with a thunderbolt and placed in the infernal regions, near his brother 
Sisyphns^-as Vinril relates (jSnaid, vi. 585). His daring in thundering against 
Zens is mentioned at the beginning of Lucian's Timcn,] 


— ^the Corinthiim Acropolis, two thousand feet high, being 
the centre of the crossing currents of the winds, and of the 
commerce of Greece.^ Therefore, Athena, and the fountain 
cloud Pegasus, are more closely connected with Corinth 
than even with Athens in their material, though not in 
their moral power; and Sisyphus founds the Isthmian 
games in connection with a melancholy story about the sea 
gods ; ' but he himself is KipSurro^ avSpAv^ the most " gaining " 
and subtle of men : ' who, having the key of the Isthmus, 
becomes the type of transit, transfer, or trade, as such ; and 
of the apparent gain from it, which is not gain ; and this 
is the real meaning of his punishment in hell — eternal toil 
and recoil (the modem idol of capital being, indeed, the 
stone of Sisyphus with a vengeance, crushing in its recoil). 
But, throughout, the old ideas of the cloud power and 
doud feebleness, — ^the deceit of its hiding, — ^and the empti- 
ness of its vanishing, — ^the Autolycus enchantment of mftlring 
black seem white, — and the disappointed fury of Ixion 
(taking shadow for power),^ mingle in the moral meaning 
of this and its collateral legends; and give an aspect, at 
last, not only of foolish cunning, but of impiety or literal 
'"idolatry," "imagination worship," to the dreams of avarice 
and injustice, until this notion of atheism and insolent 
blindness becomes principal; and the Clouds of Aristo- 
phanes, with the personified "just" and "unjust" sayings 
in the latter part of the play, foreshadow, almost feature 
by feature, in all that they were written to mock and to 
chastise, the worst elements of the impious "AV09"* and 

1 [Compare CbHus qf AgJaia, § 60 (above, p. 100).] 

' [Pausanias ii. 1^ 3 : ''they wf that the child Melioertes was landed on this 
■pot by a dolphin^ and that Sisyphus found him lyinff, buried him on the isthmus, 
and instituted the Isthmian games in his honour." Melicertes, son of Athamas and 
Ino, had been saved by his mother from the fury of his father. She in despair had 
thrown herself with her son in her arms into the sea ; but Poseidon^ pitying her^ 
changed her into a sea-goddess, Leucothea : see above, p. 325.] 

^\niad, vi. 153: compare ''The Tortoise of iEgina,^' % 14 (Vol. XX.), where 
the legend of Sisyphus is further discussed.] 

« rOn this myth, compare Unto thU Last, § 74 (Vol. XVII. p. 90).] 

* [See Gloudi, 380, where Socrates is represented as putting Aiyor (whirling, 
rotation) in place of Aiot (Zeus).] 


tumult in men's thoughts, which have followed on their 
avarice in the present day, making them alike forsake the 
laws of their ancient gods, and misapprehend or reject the 
true words of their existing teachers. 

80. All this we have from the legends of the historic 
jSjoIus only; but, besides these, there is the beautiful story 
of Semele, the mother of Bacchus.^ She is the cloud with 
the strength of the vine in its bosom, consumed by the 
light which matures the fruit; the melting away of the 
cloud into the dear air at the fringe of its edges being ex- 
quisitely rendered by Pindar's epithet for her, Semele, ** with 
^e stretched-out hair " {ravuiQeipa % Then there is the entire 
tradition of the Danaides, and of the tower of DanaS and 
golden shower ; * the birth of Perseus connecting this l^;end 
with that of the Gorgons and Graiae, who are the true 
clouds of thunderous and ruinous tempest. I must, in 
passing, mark for you that the form of the sword or sickle 
of Perseus, with which he kills Medusa, is another image 
of the whirling harpy vortex, and belongs especially to the 
sword of destruction or annihilation; whence it is given to 
the two angels who gather for destruction the evil harvest 
and evil vintage of the earth (Rev. xiv. 15). I will collect 
afterwards and complete what I have already written re- 
specting the Pegasean and Grorgonian legends,^ noting here 
only what is necessary to explain the central mjrth of 
Athena herself, who represents the ambient air, which in- 
cluded all cloud, and rain, and dew, and darkness, and 
peace, and wrath of heaven. Let me now try to give you, 
however briefly, some distinct idea of the several agencies 
of this great goddess. 

^ [Here Riiakin explains as a natwe-myth the story of Semele, who was visltedl 
by Zeus atteoded with clouds^ lightning, and thunderbolt, and, unable to endare so 
much majesty, was consumed by fire. Compare CkUalogue qf the Btferwiee Serist, 

No. isaj 

* [O/ymp., u. 46.1 
[Discussed in Modem PaitUere, vol. r. (Vol. VII. p. 185).] 
[One of sereral unfulfilled intentions in the department of Greek myth- 
ology : see above, Introduction, p. IztL The Pegasean and Gorgonian legends had 
already been discussed in Modem PiahUere, vol. ▼. (Vol. VII. pp. 181 eeq,).] 



81. I. She is the air giving life and health to all 

II. She is the air giving vq^tative power to the 

III. She is the air giving motion to the sea, and 
rendering navigation possible. 

IV. She is the air nourishing artificial light, torch or 
lamplight ; as opposed to that of the smi, on one 
hand, and of constming*^ fire on the other. 

V. She is the air conveying vibration of somid. 
I will give you instances of her agency in all these 

82. First, and chiefly, she is air as the spirit of life, 
giving vitality to the blood. Her psychic relation to the 
vital force in matter lies deeper, and we will examine it 
afterwards;^ but a great number of the most interesting 
passages in Homer regard her as flying over the earth in 
local and transitory strength, simply and merely the goddess 
of fresh air.' 

It is curious that the British city which has somewhat 
saucily styled itself the Modem Athens,' is indeed more 
under her especial tutelage and &vour in this respect than 
perhaps any other town in the island. Athena is first 
simply what in the Modem Athens you so practically find 
her, the breeze of the mountain and the sea; and wherever 
she comes, there is purification, and health, and power. 
The searbeach round this isle of ours is the frieze of our 
Parthenon, every wave that breaks on it thunders with 
Athena's voice; nay, whenever you throw your window 
wide open in the morning, you let in Athena, as wisdom 
and fresh air at the same instant; and whenever you draw 
a pure, long, full breath of right heaven, you take Athena 

* Not a scientiucy but a very practical and expressive distinctiod. 

i [Bdew, §i 61 M9., pp. 361 teq.] 

* [Raskin gives instsneas below, p. S80.1 

> [Conpara Leetur^i &n AnhUeduri ami IMKliv, § 42 (VoL XIL p. 66).] 


into your heart, through your blood; and with the blood, 
into the thoughts of your brain.^ 

Now this giving of strength by the air, observe, is 
mechanical as well as chemical. You cannot strike a good 
blow but with your chest full; and in hand to hand fight- 
ing, it is not the muscle that fails first, it is the breath; 
the longest-breathed will, on the average, be the victor, — 
not the strongest Note how Shakspeare always leans on 
this. Of Mortimer, in '* changing hardiment with great 
Glendower " : * — 

''Three times they breathed, and three tunes did they drink. 
Upon agreement^ of swift Sevem's flood." 

And again» Hotspur sending challenge to Prince Harry: — 

''That none might draw short breath to-day 
But I and Hmj Monmouth/' 

Again, of Hamlet, before he receives his wound : — 

" He's fat, and scant of breath/' 

Again, Orlando in the wrestling: — 

** Yes^ I beseech your grace : I am not yet well breathed.'* 

Now of all people that ever lived, the Greeks knew 
best what breath meant, both in exercise and in battle; and 
therefore the queen of the air becomes to them at once 
the queen of bodily strength in war ; not mere brutal mus- 
cular strength, — ^that belongs to Ares, — but the strength of 
young lives passed in pure air and swift exercise, — Camilla's 
virginal force, that *' flies o'er the unbending com, and 
skims along the main*"' 

^ [This passage is quoted by Tyndall in Ills Eaur* iif Ewrem ta the Alp&f 
p. 302 (ed. 1899).] 

* rrhe passages referred to are in I Henry IV,, i. 3, and ▼. 2 {** And tlukt no 
man^ etc. : Ruudn quotes from memory) ; Hamlet, r. 2; Ae You Like It, i. 2.1 

s [jBnM, Til a08. Compare aeeame tmd lAMee, PrefiMse 1882 ^Vol. XVIII. 
p. 60) ; and for other references to Camilla, see Stcnee of VmUoe, vol. i. (VoL IX. 
p. 255); Aeademjf Notee, 1875 (VoL XIV. p. 808); Art ^ IBngUmd, § 80; and 
Fore Olavigera, Letter 86.] 


88. Now I will rapidly give you two or three instances 
of her direct agency in this fiinction. First, when she 
wants to make Penelope bright and beautiful; and to do 
away with the signs of her waiting and her grief. *'Then 
Athena thought of another thing; she laid her into deep 
sleep, and loosed all her limbs, and made her taller, and 
made her smoother, and fatter, and whiter than sawn 
ivory; and breathed ambrosial brightness over her &ce; 
and so she IdFt her and went up to heaven."^ Fresh air 
and sound sleep at night, young ladies 1 You see you may 
have Athena for ladjr's maid whenever you choose. Next, 
hark how she gives strength to Achilles when he is broken 
with fasting and grief. Jupiter pities him and says to her, 
— *<< Daughter mine, are you forsaking your own soldier, 
and don't you care for Achilles any more ? see how hungry 
and weak he is, — ^go and feed him with ambrosia.' So 
he urged the eager Athena; and she leapt down out of 
heaven like a harpy falcon, shrill voiced; and she poured 
nectar and ambrosia, full of delight, into the breeist of 
Achilles, that his limbs might not fail with famine: then 
she returned to the solid dome of her strong fSather." * 
And then comes the great passage about Achilles arming — 
for which we have no time. But here is again Athena 
giving strength to the whole Greek army. She came as 
a falcon to Achilles, straight at him; — ^a sudden drift of 
breeze; but to the army she must come widely, — she 
sweeps round them all. *'As when Jupiter spreads the 
purple i^ainbow over heaven, portending battle or cold 
storm, so Athena, wrapping hersdf round with a purple 
cloud, stooped to the Greek soldiers, and raised up each of 
them."* Note that purple, in Homer's use of it, nearly 
always means "fiery," "full of light."* It is the light of 
the rainbow, not the colour of it, which Homer means you 
to think of. 




'0dy9M§, zTiii. 187-197 {fnAj raodered: Me above, pi 906 ».).] 

Iliad, xix. 342^361.1 

\lbid., zvii. M-Ui^ 

[See above, § 20 n., p. 313; end eompere % 91, p. 379*] 


84. But the most curious passage of all, and fullest of 
meaning, is when she gives strength to Menelaus, that he 
may stand unwearied against Hector. He prays to her: 
"And blue-eyed Atibena was glad that he prayed to her, 
first; and she gave him strength in his shoulders, and in 
his limbs, and she gave him the courage " — of what animal, 
do you suppose? Had it been Neptune or Mars, they 
would have given him the courage of a bull, or lion; but 
Athena gives him the courage of the most fearlei^s in at*- 
tack of all creatures — ^small or great — and very small it is, 
but wholly incapable of terror, — she gives him the courage 
of a fly.^ 

85. Now this simile of Homer's is one of the best 
instances I can give you of the way in which. great writars 
seize truths unconsciously which are for all time. It is 
only recent science which has completely shown the perfect- 
ness of this minute symbol of the power of Ath^ia ; prov- 
ing that the insect's flight and breath are co-ordinated ; that 
its wings are actually forcing pumps, of which the stroke 
compels the thoracic respiration; and that it thus breathes 
and flies simultaneously by the action of the same muscles, 
so that respiration is carried on most vigorously during 
flight, "while the air-vessels, supplied by many pairs of 
lungs instead of one, traverse the orgaD3 of flight in far 
greater numbers than the capillary blood-vessels of our own 
system, and give enormous and imtiring muscular power, a 
rapidity of action measured by thousands of strokes in 
the minute, and an endurance, by miles and hours of 
flight" * 

Homer could not have known this; neither that the 
buzzing of the fly was produced as in a wind instrument, 
by a constant current of air through the trachea. But 

* Onnerod. Nahtral Hiaiory of Watps.^ 

> [IHad, xvii. 566-570 : ira2 ol /tvliif $dpaos M irrffiwirv ^jcer.] 
' [Most of the phrases occur, but the passage is not an exact quotation ; it 
and the preceding sentences being put together from E. A. Ormerod's BrUUh 
Social Wasjtt: an Introduction to their . . . General Natural Sietcry, pp. 99-124.] 


he had seen, and, doubtless, meant us to remember, the 
marvellous strength and swiftness of the insect's flight 
(the glance of the swallow itself is clumsy and slow com-* 
pared to the darting of common house-flies at play); he 
probably attributed its murmur to the wings, but in this 
also there was a type of what we shall presently find re* 
cognized in the name of Pallas, — ^the vibratory power of 
the air to convey sound,-while. as a purifying creature, 
the fly holds its place beside the old symbol of Athena in 
Egypt, the vulture; and as a venomous and tormenting 
creature, has more than the strength of the serp^at in 
proportion to its size, being thus entirely representative of 
the influence of the air both in purification and pestilence ; 
and its courage is so notable that, strangely enough, for- 
getting Homer's simile, I happened to take the fly for an 
expression of the audacity of freedom in speaking of qtdte 
another subject.* Whether it should be called courage, 
or mere mechanical instinct, may be questioned, but assu* 
redly no other animal, exposed to continual danger, is so 
absolutely without sign of fear. 

86. You will, perhaps, have still patience to hear two 
instances, not of the communication of strength, but of 
the personal agency of Athena as the air. When she 
comes down to help Diomed against Ares, she does not 
come to fight instead of him, but she takes his charioteer^s 

''She snatched the reini, she lashed with all her force, 
And full on Mars impelled the foaming horse." ^ 

Ares is the first to cast his spear; then, note this:-^ 
Pope says — 


Pallas opposed her hand, and caused to glance. 
Far firom the ear, the strong immortal lance." < 

* See £srther on, § 148.* 

1 [liiad, y. 840, 841 ; ^034, 1036 in Pope's yersion. Compara '§ 27, above 
(p. 823), and Ethics qf the DuH, Vol. XVIII. p. 365.] 

s [IM., 1046, 1047 in Pope's version.] 

' [This is a passage which was reprinted in Queen qf the Air from The Ceetue 
of Aglaia: see now p. 123, above.] 


She does not oppMC her hand m the Greek, for the wind 
could not meet the hmce straight. She catches it in her 
hand, and throws it off. There is no instance in which a 
lance is so parried by a mortal hand in all the Iliad; and 
it is exactly the way the wind would parry it, catching it 
and turning it aside. If there be any good rifleshots here, 
they know something about Athena's panying — and in old 
times the English masters of featibered artillery knew more 
yet. Compare also the turning of Hector's lance frook 
Achilles: Iliads xx. 489. 

87. The last instance I will give you is as lovely as it 
is subtle. Throughout the Iliad Athena is herself the will 
or Menis of Achilles. If he is to be calmed, it is she who 
caims him ; if angered, it is she who inflames him. In the 
first quarrel with Atrides, when he stands at pause, with 
the great sword half drawn, *' Athena came from heaven, 
and stood behind him, and caught him by the yellow 
hair."^ Another god would have stayed his hand upon the 
hilt, but Athena only lifts his hair. ^'And he turned and 
knew her, and her dreadful eyes shone upon him."^ There 
is an exquisite tenderness in this laying her hand upon his 
hair, for it is the talisman of his life, vowed to his own 
Thessalian river if he ever returned to its shore, and cast 
upon Patroclus' pile, so ordaining that there should be no 

88. Secondly — ^Athena is the air giving vegetative im- 
pulse to the earth. She is the wind and the rain — and yet 
more the pure air itself, getting at the earth fresh turned 
by spade or plough — and, above all, feeding the fresh 

1 [Ikad, i. 194-197. Here, agmin, compure EUdc9 <(f th$ Dust, Vol. XVIIL 
p. 365.1 

> [IHd., 199^ 200.] 

' [Ihid., xziii. 140 9eq, (thus rendered by Pope) : — 

" But great Achilles stands apart in prayer. 
And from his head dirides the yellow hair; 
Those curling locks which from his youth be rowed. 
And sacred grew, to Sperchius' honoured flood : 
Then sirhins;, to the deep his looks he cast. 
And rolled his eyes around the watery waste." 

For an interpreUtion of the dedication of the hair as a natuTOHDVth, see above, 
§ 12, p. 306.] 


leaves; for though the Greeks knew nothing about carbonic 
acid, they did know that trees fed on the air. 

Now, note first in this, the myth of the air getting at 
ploughed ground. You know I told you the Lord of all 
labour by which man lived was Hephaestus;^ therefore 
Athena adopts a child of his, and of the earth, — ^Erich-- 
thonius, — ^Uterally, 'Hhe tearer up of the ground" — ^who is 
the head (though not in direct line) of the kings of Attica ; 
and having adopted him, she gives him to be brought up 
by the three nymphs of the dew. Of these, Aglauros, the 
dweller in the fields, is the envy or malice of the earth; 
she answers nearly to the envy of Cain, the tiller of the 
ground, against his shepherd brother, in her own envy 
against her two sisters, Herse, the cloud dew, who is the 
beloved of the shepherd Mercury; and Pandrosos, the dif- 
fused dew, or dew of heaven. Literally, you have in this 
mjrth the words of the blessing of Esau — ^''Thy dwelling 
shall be of the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of 
heaven from above."* Aglauros is for her envy turned 
into a black stone; and hers is one of the voices, — ^the 
other being that of Cain, — ^which haunts the circle of envy 
in the Purgatory: — 


lo soQO Aglauio, chi divenne sasso."* 

But to her two sisters, with Erichthonius, (or the hero 
Erectheus,) is built the most sacred temple of Athena in 
Athens; liie temple to their own dearest Athena — ^to her, 
and to the dew together: so that it was divided into two 
parts: one, the temple of Athena of the city, and the 
other that of the dew.^ And this expression of her power, 
as the air bringing the dew to the hill pastures, in the 
central temple of the central city of the heathen, dominant 



See above, § 13 (d. 305).] 

'Geneaia zzrii. 39.1 

[PurgatoriOy ziv. 139. Compare Ruikin'i Prefooe^ § 19^ to Th$ Bconomut qf 

* [The Erechtheum seems to hare iadaded three distinct shrines— the Temple 
of Athena Polias, the most revered sanctuary of Athens (compare § 15, above, 
p. 306) ; tiie shrines of Erechtheus and Poseidon ; and, thirdly, the Pandroseion.] 


over the future intellectual world, is, of all the facts con- 
nected with her worship as the spirit of life, perhaps the 
most important. I have no time now to trace for you the 
hundredth part of the different wa3rs in which it bears both 
upon natural beauty, and on the best order and happiness 
of men's lives. I hope to follow out some of these trains 
of thought in gathering together what I have to say about 
field herbage; but I must say briefly here that the great 
sign, to the Greeks, of the coming of spring in the pastures, 
was not, as with us, in the primrose, but in the various 
flowers of the asphodel tribe (of which I will give you 
some separate account presently ^) ; therefore it is that the 
earth answers with crocus flame to the doud on Ida ; ' and 
the power of Athena in eternal life is written by the light 
of the asphodel on the Elysian fields. 

But &rther, Athena is the air, not only to the lilies of 
the field, but to the leaves of the forest We saw before' 
the reason why Hermes is said to be the son of Maia, the 
eldest of the sister stars of spring. Those stars are called 
not only Pleiades, but Vergiliise, from a word mingling the 
ideas of the turning or returning of spring-time with the 
out-pouring of rain.^ The mother of Virgil bearing the name 

1 rSelow, §§ 82, 83, pp. 373, 374.] 

* [See IKotf, xiy. 347 ieq^ where in the recesses of Moant Ida, ** beneath them 
the mvine earth caused fresh gnm to spring up, and dewy lotus and crocus . . • 
and they were clothed with a doud, beauteous, golden." The passage is imitated 
by Tennyson in his description of " a vale in Ida " (OSnoney 97) :— 

'' It was the deep mid-noon : one silvery cloud 
Had lost his way between the piney sides 
Of this long glen. Then to the bower they came, 
Nalced they came to that smooth-swarded bower. 
And at their feet the crocus brake like flame.^] 

' [Above § 26, p. 321.1 

* rRuakin is here thinking of a passage in Max M&ller : '' It was the sailor 
who, before entrusting his life and goods to the winds and the waves of the ocean, 
watehed for the rising of those stars which he called the Sailing-stars or PMadeSf 
from piehiy to sail. Navigation in the Greek waters was considered safe after the 
return of the Pleiades ; and it closed when they disappeared. The Latin name for 
the Pleiadei is VergiUa^ from ffirfa, a sprout or twig. This name was fiven to 
them by the Italian husbandmen, because in Italy, where they became visible about 
Mbj, thev marked the return of summer" (Leeturet on the Science ofLangvujtge^ vol. i. 
p. 8). Ruskin was fond of finding, or forcing, the significance of names, but he 
seems here to forget that Yergilius was the name, not of an individual, but of the 
poefs gene.^ 


of Maia, Virgil himself received his name from the seven 
stars; and he, in forming, first, the mind of Dante, and 
through him that of Chaucer (besides whatever special 
minor influence came firom the PcLstof^ah and Georgics)y be^ 
came the fountain-head of all the best literary power con* 
nected with the love of vegetative nature among civilized 
races of men. Take the fiict for what it is worth; still it 
is a strange seal of coincidence, in word and in reality, 
upon the Greek dream of the power over human life, and 
its purest thoughts, in the stars of spring. But the first 
syllable of the name of Virgil has relation also to another 
group of words, of which the English ones, virtue, and 
virgin, bring down the force to modem day&^ It is a 
group containing mainly the idea of '^spring," or increase 
of life in vegetation — ^the rising of the new branch of the 
tree out of the bud, and of the new leaf out of the ground. 
It involves, secondarily, the idea of greenness and of 
strength, but primarily, that of living increase of a new 
rod from a stock, stem, or root; ('^ There shall come forth 
a rod out of the stem of Jesse ; " ') and chiefly the stem of 
certain plants — either of the rose tribe, as in the budding 
of the almond rod of Aaron; or of the olive tribe, which 
has triple significance in this symbolism, from the use of 
its oil for sacred anointing, for strength in the gjrmnasium, 
and for light. Hence, in numberless divided and reflected 
ways, it is connected with the power of Hercules and 
Athena: Hercules plants the wild olive, for its shade, on 
the course of Olympia, and it thenceforward gives the 
Olympic crown, of consummate honour and rest ; * while 
the prize at the Panathenaic games is a vase of its oil, 
(meaning encouragement to continuance of effort) ; and 
from the paintings on these Panathenaic vases we get 
the most precious due to the entire character of Athena. 
Then to express its propagation by slips, the trees ftoxa 

1 rC<MBpaM Mhie$ 9f the DuH, §§ 71, 80 (VoL XVIII. pp. 288, 801).] 

> riiaiai& zi. 1.] 

* [See Paunnias^ v. 7» 4.] 


which the oil was to be taken were called ** Moriai/' ^ trees 
of division (being all descendants of the sacred one in the 
Erechtheum). And thus, in one direction, we get to the 
*' children like olive plants round about thy table'' and the 
olive grafting of St Paul;* while the use of the oil for 
anointing gives chief name to the rod itself of the stem of 
Jesse, and to all those who were by that name signed for 
his disciples first in Antioch. Remember, £Sa.rther, since 
that name was first given, the influence of the symbol, both 
in extreme unction, and in consecration of priests and kings 
to their "divine right"; and think, if you can reach with 
any grasp of thought, what the influence on the earth has 
been, of those twisted branches whose leaves give grey 
bloom to the hillsides under every breeze that blows from 
the midland sea. But, above and beyond all, think how 
strange it is that the chief Agonia of humanity, and the 
chief giving of strength from heaven for its fulfilment, 
should have been under its night shadow in Palestine)' 

89. Thirdly — Athena is the air in its power over the 

On the earliest Panathenaic vase known — ^the "Burgon** 
vase in the British Museum^ — Athena has a dolphin on 
her shield. The dolphin has two principal meanings in 
Greek symbolism. It means, first, the sea; secondarily, the 
ascending and descending coiu*se of any of the heavenly 

1 [''The word seems to me to contain an allusion to their soppoeed origin : it is 
an historical expression of this very propagation or partition of tnese olives from the 
one stock in the Erechtheam. fwH^ ^^^ i" olea partUiva, The word itself (finom 
fulptt, iM^ot, etc.) still survives in its compound irvfufAopla, a cUtst. All the Athenian 
olives were thus conceived to he the offspring of one sacred parent : they were the 
offspring of the Will of Minerva ; the sanctity of the parent served to protect its 
offspring" (Chr. Wordsworth's Athens and Attica, 1836, p. 136 and ».)T 

> [Psalms czzviiL 3 ; Romans xi. 17. Christy the anointed ; and ''the disciples 
were called Christians first in Antioch " (AcU xi. 26).] 

s [See Matthew xxvi. 30^ 36. The traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane 
is at the foot of Mount Olivet^ where eight aged olive-trees "have always struck 
even t^e most indifferent ohservers" (see Stanle/s Sinai and Palestine, ch, xiv.).] 

* [Called the "Burgon Vase" because found (in 1813, on the site of an ancient 
cemetery outside the city walls of Athens) in the presence of Thomas Burgon (for 
whom see Vol. IX« p. 466 n.), as described in Traneactione Royal Society qf Litera- 
turey vol. li. pt i. p. 107 (for a summary^ see E. T. Cook's Popular Handbook to 
(he . , . British Museum, p. 330). The vase is numbered B. 130. J 



bodies from one sea horizon to another — ^the dolphin's ardi- 
ing rise and re-plunge (in a summer evening, out of calm 
sea, their black backs roll round with exactly the slow 
motion of a water-wheel; but I do not know how £ar 
Aristotle's exaggerated account of their leaping or their 
swiftness has any foundation,^) being taken as a type ct 
the emergence of the sun or stars from the sea in the east 
and plunging beneath in the west. Hence, ApoUo, when 
in his personal power he crosses the sea, leading his Cretan 
colonists to Pytho, takes the form of a dolphin, becomes 
Apollo Delphinius, and names the founded colony ''Del- 
phi/'* The lovely drawing of the Delphic Apollo on the 
hydria of the Vatican (Lenormant and De Witte, voL ii 
pL 6^), gives the entire conception of this myth. Again, 
the b^utiful coins of Tarentum represent Taras coming to 
found the city, riding on a dolphin,' whose leaps and 
plunges have partly the rage of the sea in them, and partly 
the spring of the horse, because the splendid riding of the 
Tarentines had made their name proverbial in Magna 
Grs&cia. The story of Arion^ is a collateral fragment of 
the same thought; and again, the plunge before their 
transformation, of the ships of iEneas." Then, this idea of 

♦ Sec Notes on Pindar, Py<A., iv.« 

^ l^HiH. An,, ix, 48, 4, where it is said that the dolphin leaps over the masts 
of ships, and darts as quick as an arrow. For another reference to the Greek 
type of dolphin, see SUme9 of VerUoe, vol. L (Vol. IX. p. 276). See also VoL II. 
p. 114 n.] 

* [&Ue de9 ManumenU OSramographiqne9 . . . expHquS9 et eommentet par Ck. 
LenarmmU et J, de Witte, 4 vols., 1937, etc. The plate is at p. 20 ; and is here 
reproduced (Plate XV.). The design is further discussed in Lecture* an Art, § Si 
(VoL XX), and Ruskin placed the plate (cut from his copy of Lenormant) in the 
Reference Series, No. 207J 

> [On these coins of Tarentum, see Cettue qf Aglaia, § 18 (ahove, p. 69), and 
for the leffend of Tarns, see ** The Riders of Tarentum " in Vol. XX. 1 
«-[See Ruskin's early poem on the suhject (1842): VoL II. p. 114.T 
» l^neid, ix. 119.] 

* [This note was added hy the reviser in 1883. The true reference is, howcfver, 
to the Homeric Hymn to Apollo: ''And whereas I first, in the misty ses, spimng 
aboard the swift snip^ in the guise of a dolphin, therefore pray to me as Apollo 
Delphinius, while mine shall ever he the Delphian altar seen from afar" (The 
Bamerie Hymne: a New Prose Traneiatien, by Andrew Lsng, 1899, p. 180).] 

The Sd^iic ApoDo 


career upon» or conquest of the sea» either by the creatures 
themselves, or by dolphm-like ships, (compare the Merlin 
prophecy, — 

''They shaU ride 
Over ocean wide 
With hempen bridle^ and horse of tree,"^) 

connects itself with the thought of undulation, and of the 
wave-power in the sea itself, which is always expressed by 
the serpentine bodies either of the sea-gods or of the sea- 
horse; and when Athena carries, as she does often in later 
work, a serpent for her shield-sign, it is not so much the 
repetition of her own aegis-snakes as the farther expression 
of her power over the sea- wave ; which, finally, Virpl gives 
in its perfect unity with her own anger, in the approach of 
the serpents against Laocoon from the sea:' and then, 
finally, when her own storm-power is ftdly put forth on the 
ocean also, and the madness of the segis-snake is given to 
the wave-snake, the sea-wave becomes the devouring hound 
at the waist of Scylla,' and Athena takes Scylla for her 
helmet-crest; while yet her beneficent and essential power 
on the ocean, in making navigation possible, is commemo- 
rated in the Panathenaic festival by her peplus being 
carried to the Erechtheum suspended from the mast of a 

^ nrhomai of Brcildoune. Quoted alao in The Harhoun qf Engkmd, VoL XIII. 
p. 49.J 

^ C^neid, ii. 205.] 

' [The do«pi at the waist of Seylk may be seen in a Pompeian wall-painting 
figured in Pute 53 (o) of Miss Jane Harrison's Mythi qf the Odyeeey: ''there is 
something of the searhorse about them ; they may have been intended as a sort of 
indication of the cruel sea waves " (p. 190). For reference to another aspect of the 
dogs^ see Ceetus of Agiaia, § 58 (above, p. 107). Scylla, as Athena's head-crest, may 
be seen on a magnificent coin of Thunum in the British Museum (III. C. 17, and 
Plate 25 in the Guide to the Prmeipal Cknne qf the AncienU, 1889) : the reverse of the 
same ootn is figured and described in AnUra Penteiici, § 203. See also Ruskiu's 
instance of the type at the end of the present §.] 

are here reproduced HPlate XVI.). Rustdn discusses them Again in Leeturee on Art, 

^153 ; and he placed the plate from Lenormant in the Reference Series. No. 188 
oL XX.).] 


In Plate ex v. of voL ii., LenormanV we given two sides 
of a vase, whieh, in rude and childish way, assembles most 
of the principal thoughts regarding Athena in this relation. 
In the first the sunrise is represented by the ascending 
chariot of Apollo, foreshortened; the light is supposed to 
blind the eyes, and no face of the god is seen. (Turner, 
in the Ulysses and Polyphemus sunrise, loses the form of 
the god in light, giving the chariot-horses only;' rendering 
in his own manner, after 2,200 years of various fall and 
revival of the arts, precisely the same thought as the old 
Greek potter.) He ascends out of the sea; but the sea 
itself has not yet caught the light. In the second design, 
Athena as the morning breeze, and Hermes as the morning 
cloud, fly over the sea before the sun. Hermes turns back 
his head; his face is unseen in the doud, as Apollo's in 
the light; the grotesque appearance of an animal's face is 
only the cloud-phantasm modifying a frequent form of the 
hair of Hermes beneath the back of his cap. Under the 
morning breeze, the dolphins leap from the rippled sea, and 
their sides catch the light. 

The coins of the Lucanian Heracleia give a fair repre- 
sentation of the helmed Athena, as imagined in later Greek 
art, with the embossed Scylla.' 

40. Fourthly — ^Athena is the air nourishing artificial 
light — unconsuming fire. Therefore, a lamp was always 
kept burning in the Erechtheum; and the torch-race be- 
longs chiefly to her festival,^ of which the meaning is to 
show the duiger of the perishing of the light even by excess 

^ [At D. 386; from a small fiaochic amphora, black-figurod, in the Cabinet 
de Medailles at the Louvre.] 

' [For this picture (No. 606 in the National Gallery), see Vol. XIII. p. 136.] 
s [See IV. C. 16 and Plate 34 in the British Museum Guide to the Prhnapal Cot 

^f the AncienU, 1889. The tyuo is seen also in the Athena of Thorium (on 
Pkte XX. of Vol. XX.).] 

* [*' Callimachus made a golden lamp for the goddess. They fiU the lamp with 
oil, and wait till the same &y next year, and the oil suffices tor the lamp during 
all the intervening time, though it is burning night and day " (Pausanias, i. 26, 7 : 
see also Strabo, iz. p. 396, and Plutarch's IAvm ofNuma, 3, and of Bulla, 13). For 
another interpretation of the ritual of the perpetual fire or lamp (which was by no 
means confined to the cult of Athena), see Fnueer's PauMmitu, voL iv. p. 441. A 

The Chariot of Apollo 
AUwna as the Morning Breeze; and Hennes oa the Morning Cloud 


of the air that nourishes it: and so that the race is not 
to the swift/ but to the wise. The household use of her 
constant light is symbolized in the lovely passage in the 
Odyssey, where Ulysses and his son move the armour while 
the servants are shut in their chambers, and there is no 
one to hold torches for them; but Athena herself, '^having 
a golden lamp/" fills all the rooms with light. Her 
presence in war-strength with her favourite heroes is always 
shown by the ** unwearied " ' fire hovering on their helmets 
and shields; and the image gradually becomes constant and 
accepted, both for the maintenance of household watchful- 
ness, as in the parable of the ten virgins, or as the symbol 
of direct inspiration, in the rushing wind and divided flames 
of Pentecost:* but, together with this thought of uncon- 
suming and constant fire, there is always mingled in the 
Greek mind the sense of the consuming by excess, as of 
the flame by the air, so also of the inspired creature by its 
own fire (thus, again, '' the zeal of thine house hath eaten 
me up" — ^'my zeal hath consumed me, because of thine 
enemies,"^ and the like); and especially Athena has this 
aspect towards the truly sensual and bodily strength; so 
that to Ares, who is himself insane and consuming, the 
opposite wisdom seems to be insane and consuming: ^'AU 
we the other gods have thee against us, O Jove I when 
we would give grace to men ; for thou hast begotten the 
maid without a mind — ^the mischievous creature, the doer 
of unseemly evil. All we obey thee, and are ruled by 
thee. Her only thou wilt not resist in anything she says 

torch-race in the Ceramicut was one of the eyents of the Panathenaie Festival; 
simihir races were held at other festiyals (for their ritual significance^ see ibid,, 
vol. ii. p. Sd2) : in the British Museum^ there is a relief (No. 814), illustrating the 
well-known passage at the beginning of Plato's Republic (see £. T. Cook's Hand- 
book to the Oreek and Roman AntiquiHei in the Britiih Museum, p. 247).] 

i^Ecclesiastes ix. 11.] 

*\Oduu^, ziz. 34.] 

> [Iliad, v. 4 (where Athena gives strength to Diomede) : 9tui ol iic K6pve6t rt ral 

^ * [Matthew xzv. ; Acts ii. 2, ZJ] 
:• < [Ptalms Izix. 9; cxix. 199.] 


or does, because thou didst bear her — consuming child as 
she is/' ^ 

41. Lastly — Athena is the air conveying vibration of 

In all the loveliest representations in central Greek art 
of the birth of Athena, Apollo stands close to the sitting 
Jupiter, singing, with a deep, quiet joyfulness, to his lyre.' 
The sun is always thought of as the master of time and 
rhythm, and as the origin of the composing and inventive 
discovery of melody ; but the air, as the actual element and 
substance of the voice, the prolonging and sustaining power 
of it, and the symbol of its moral passion. Whatever in 
music is measured and designed, belongs therefore to Apollo 
and the Muses; whatever is impulsive and passionate, to 
Athena: hence her constant strength of voice or cry (as 
when she aids the shout of Achilles') curiously opposed to 
the dumbness of Demeter.^ The Apolline lyre, therefore, 
is not so much the instrument producing sound, as its 
measurer and divider by length or tension of string into 
given notes; and I believe it is, in a double connection 
with its office as a measurer of time or motion, and its 
relation to the transit of the sun in the sky, that Hermes 
forms it from the tortoise-shell,' which is the image of the 
dappled concave of the cloudy sky. Thenceforward all the 
limiting or restraining modes of music belong to the Muses ; 
but the passionate music is wind music, as in the Doric 

^ [mad, y. 872-880.] 

* [The podtion may be seen in the early Greek vue of ''The Nativity of 
Athena/' in Aratra PenteUci, § 74.] 

' \Biad, xviii. 217-218 ; compare Ethics qf the Dtut, Vol. XYIII. p. 364 n.] 

* [Who, however, had reason for her silence in absorbing grief for her daughter. 
''In silence she waited^ casting down her lovely eyes. . . . Then sat she down 
and held the veil before her face ; long in sorrow and silence sat she so^ and spake 
to no man nor made any sign, but smileless she sat^ nor tasted meat nor drink, 
wasting with long desire for her deep- bosomed daughter" (JBinnerie Hymn to 
Demeter: l^uig's translation).] 

^ [In the British Museum there is a bronze disk (No. 856} with a relief repre- 
senting Hermes making the lyre ; thus illustrating the passage in the Homeric Hymn 
to Hermes, where the poet describes how the god found a tortoise and recognised the 
soul of music in its shell (see Andrew Lan^s translation of The Eamerie Mpmu, 
p. 136).] 


flute. Then, when this inspired music becomes degraded 
in its passion, it sinks into the pipe of Pan, and the double 
pipe of Maisyas, and is then rejected by Athena.^ The 
myth which represents her doing so is tJiat she invented 
the double pipe from hearing the hiss of the Gorgonian 
serpents; but when she played upon it, chancing to see 
her face reflected in water, she saw that it was distorted, 
whereupon she threw down the flute, which Marsyas found. 
Then, the strife of Apollo and Marsyas represents the en- 
during contest between music in which the words and 
thought lead, and the lyre measures or melodizes them^ 
(which Pindar means when he calls his hymns '* kings over 
the lyre,"') and music in which the words are lost, and the 
wind or impulse leads, — ^generally, therefore, between intel- 
lectual, and brutal, or meaningless, music' Therefore, when 
Apollo prevails, he flays Marsyas, taking the limit and ex- 
ternal bond of his shape from him, which is death, without 
touching the mere muscular strength; yet shameful and 
dreadful in dissolution. 

42. And the opposition of these two kinds of sound is 
continually dwelt upon by the Greek philosophers, the real 
fact at the root of all their teaching being this, — ^that true 
music ^ is the natural expression of a lofty passion for a right 
cause; that in proportion to the kingliness and force of 
any personality, tiie expression either of its joy or suflering 

^ [In m letter to Professor Norton alreadj mentioned (aboye^ p. 311 n.) Riitkin 
says : " I found out the Piping and Fluting from tiie Pindaric oae which describes 
Athena making the Pan's pipe out of Mouse's hair." The reference is to the 
Twelfth Pythian Ode, but the suggestion that Athena made the pipe out of Medusa's 
hair is Ruskin's own. Pindar says : ^' But the Maiden, when that she had de- 
liTered her well-beloved from these toils, contrived the manifold music of the Ante, 
that with such instrument she might repeat the shrill lament that reached her 
from Euryale's ravening laws " (Myers).] 

> [d9a(iift6pfuyy«s tiufot loiymp,, ii. 1) : compare '^The Relation of National Ethics 
to National Arts/' § 10 (above, p. 177).] 

' [With this passage should be compared Fan Okwigera, Letters 82 and 83, and 
the communication printed in the latter from Dr. A. S. Mnrrav, suggesting another 
interpretation of the myth of Marsyas. Ruskin also adds in tnat pDice some notes 
on other myths about music] 

* [The passage from ''true music is the natural expression • • ." down to 
''. . . subtlest aid of moral degradation^^ was here incorporated from Ruskin's 
Rede Lecture, § 18 : see above, p. 176.] 


becomes measured, chastened, calm, and capable of inter- 
pretation only by the majesty of ordered, beautiful, and 
worded sound. Exactly in proportion to the degree in 
which we become narrow in the cause and conception of 
our passions, incontinent in the utterance of them, feeble of 
perseverance in them, sullied or shameful in the indulgence 
of them, their expression by musical sound becomes broken, 
mean, fatuitous, and at last impossible ; the measured waves 
of the air of heaven will not lend themselves to expression 
of ultimate vice, it must be for ever sunk into discordance 
or silence. And since, as before stated, every work of right 
art has a tendency to reproduce the ethical state which first 
developed it, this, which of all the arts is most directly 
ethical in origin, is also the most direct in power of diss* 
cipline ; the first, the simplest, the most effective of all in* 
struments of moral instruction;^ while in the failure and 
betrayal of its functions, it becomes the subtlest aid of moral 
degradation. Music is thus, in her health, the teacher of 
perfect order, and is the voice of the obedience of angels, 
and the companion of the course of the spheres of heaven ; 
and in her depravity she is also the teacher of perfect dis- 
order and disobedience, and the Gloria in Excelsis becomes 
the Marseillaise. In the third section of this volume, I 
reprint two chapters from another essay of mine, {The 
Cestus of Aglaia) * on modesty or measure, and on liberty, 
containing farther reference to music in her two powers; 
and I do this now, because, among the many monstrous 
and misbegotten fantasies which are the spawn of modem 
licence, perhaps the most impishly opposite to the truth is 
the conception of music which has rendered possible the 
writing, by educated persons, and, more strangely yet, the 

* Ati JourmU, New Series, Tolt. iv. and y., 1865-1866 [1883].* 

> [On the plaee of muric in education, compare ako Time and Tide. § 42 
(Vol. XVII. p. 353).] * i~ * 8 

« [See now, above, pp. 72-81, 120-133.] 


tolerant criticism, of such words as these : — " This so per- 
suasive art is the only one that has no didactic efficacy , that 
engenders no emotions save such as are without isstie on the 
side of moral truths that expresses nothing of God^ nothing 
of reason, nothing of human UbertyJ^ I wUl not give the 
author's name; the passage is quoted in the Westminster 
Review for last January (1869), p. 158.^ 

48. I must also antiapate something of what I have to 
say respecting the relation of the power of Athena to or- 
ganic life, so far as to note that her name, Pallas^ probably 
refers to the quivering or vibration of the air ; ' and to its 
power, whether as vital force, or communicated wave, 
over every kind of matter, in giving it vibratory move- 
ment; first, and most intense, in the voice and throat of 
the bird, which is the air incarnate; and so descending 
through the various orders of animal life to the vibrating 
and semi- voluntary murmur of the insect ; and, lower still, 
to the hiss, or quiver of the tail, of the half-lunged snake 
and deaf adder ; all these, nevertheless, being wholly under 
the rule of Athena as representing either breath, or vital 
nervous power; and, therefore, also, in their simplicity, the 
''oaten pipe and pastoral song,"' which belong to her 
dominion over the asphodel meadows, and breathe on their 
banks of violets. 

Finally, is it not strange to think of the influence of 
this one power of PaUas in vibration; (we shall see a 
singular mechanical energy of it presently in the serpent's 
motion % in the voices of war and peace ? How much of 
the repose — ^how much of the Mrrath, folly, and misery of 
men, has literally depended on this one power of the air ; — 

* [In an article entitled ''Art and Morality^" being a review of Le SentimmU de 
la Nature avani le ChrUtkminM (1866), and Le SenHmetU de la Nature ehem k$ 
Modemei (1868), by Victor Richard de Laprade.] 

> [From rdiXKu, to quiver. Some say that the goddess was so called as the 
branusher of the spear; otiiers derive the word from «-dXXa{, Doric for roit, the 

* [Collins, Ode to Evening: ''If aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song"; com- 
pare Oeetue of Aglaia, § 10 (above, p. 62).] 

« [See below, pp. 361-863.] 


on the sound of the trumpet and of the bell— on the Uurk*s 
song, and the bee's murmur 1 

44. Such is the general conception in the Greek mind 
of the physical power of Athena. The spiritual power 
associated with it is of two kinds: — ^first, she is the Spirit 
of Life in material organism; not strength in the blood 
only, but formative energy in the clay: and, secondly, she 
is inspired and impulsive wisdom in human conduct and 
human art, giving the instinct of infallible decision, and of 
faultless invention. 

It is quite beyond the scope of my present purpose — 
and, indeed, will only be possible for me at all after mark- 
ing the relative intention of the ApoUine myths — ^to trace 
for you the Greek conception of Athena as the guide of 
moral passion. But I will at least endeavour, on some 
near occasion,"^ to define some of the actual truths respect* 
ing the vital force in created organism, and inventive fancy 
in the works of man, which are more or less expressed by 
the Greeks, under the personality of Athena. You would, 
perhaps, hardly bear with me if I endeavoured farther to 
show you — ^what is nevertheless perfectly true — ^the analogy 
between the spiritual power of Athena in her gentle minis- 
try, yet irresistible anger, with the ministry of another 
Spirit whom we also, believing in as^ the universal power 
of life, are forbidden, at our worst peril, to quench or to 

45. But, I think, to-night, you should not let me dose, 
without requiring of me an answer on one vital point, 
namely, how far these imaginations of Gods — ^which are 
vain to us — ^were vain to those who had no better trust? 
and what real belief the Greek had in these creations of 

* I hare tried to do this in mere outline in the two following sections 
of this volume. 

^ [''Believing in as" was substituted in 1883 for '^holding for."] 
* [1 Thessalonians ▼. 19: ''Quench not the Spirit" Bpbemans !▼. 90: "And 
ffrieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of re- 


his own spirit, practical and helpful to him in the sorrow 
of earth? I am able to answer you explicitly in this. 
The origin of his thoughts is often obscure, and we may 
err in endeavouring to account for their form of realiza- 
tion; but the effect of that realization on his life is not 
obscure at all The Greek creed was, of course, different 
in its character, as our own creed is, according to the class 
of persons who held it. The common people's was quite 
literal, simple, and happy: their idea of Athena was as 
clear as a good Roman Catholic peasant's idea of the 
Madonna. In Athens itself, the centre of thought and 
refinement, Pisistratus obtained the reins of government 
through the ready belief of the populace that a beautiful 
woman, armed like Athena, was the goddess herself.^ Even 
at the close of the last century some of this simplicity 
remained among the inhabitants of the Greek islands ; and 
when a pretty English lady' first made her way into the 
grotto of Antiparos, she was surrounded, on her return, 
by all the women of the neighbouring village, believing 
her to be divine, and praying her to heal them of their 

46. Then, secondly, the creed of the upper classes was 
more refined and spiritual, but quite as honest, and even 
more forcible in its effect on the life. You might imagine 
that the employment of the artifice just referred to implied 
utter unbelief in the persons contriving it; but it really 
meant only that the more worldly of them would play with 
a popular faith for their own purposes, as doubly-minded 
persons have often done since, all the while sincerely holding 

1 [See the note at Vol. VII. p. 277 (Modem Painters, toL t.), where Rutkin 
cites this incident at evidence of ^'the reality of Greek belief."] 

* [Ladf Craven (Margravine of Anspach,) whose portrait by Romney is in the 
National Gallery (No. 1069). See Letters from the Right Honourable Lady Oranen to 
hie Serene Bighneee the Margrave nf Anepaeh, 1814, p. 219 (a letter dated from 
Athena, May 21, 1786): '^I was now much surprisea to find myself sarroonded 
by Greek peasant women, one pointing to her head, another to her stomach, a 
third to her arm, all bewailing their ill state of health, and touching my clothes 
with devotion. I found at last, that hearing a woman had descended, they took 
her to be a Supernatural Being, and were perfectly convinced I could cure all 


the same ideas themselves in a more abstract form; while 
the good and unworldly men, the true Greek heroes, lived 
by their faith as firmly as S. Louis, or the Cid, or the 
Chevalier Bayard.^ 

47* Then, thirdly, the faith of the poets and artists was» 
necessarily, less definite, being continually modified by the 
involuntary action of their own fancies ; and by the neces- 
sity of presenting, in clear verbal or material form, things 
of which they had no authoritative knowledge. Their faith 
was, in some respects, like Dante's or MUton's: firm in 
general conception, but not able to vouch for every detail 
in the forms they gave it: but they went considerably 
farther, even in that minor sincerity, than subsequent poets ; 
and strove with all their might to be as near the truth as 
they could. Pindar says, quite simply, ''I cannot think 
so-and-so of the Grods. It must have been this way — ^it 
cannot have been that way — that the thing was done."' 
And as late among the Latins as the days of Horace, this 
sincerity remains. Horace is just as true and simple in his 
religion as Wordsworth;' but all power of understanding 
any of the honest classic poets has been taken away from 
most English gentlemen by the mechanical drill in verse- 
writing at school. Throughout the whole of their lives 
afterwards, they never can get themselves quit of the noti<ni 
that all verses were written as an exercise, and that Minerva 
was only a convenient word for the last of an hexameter, 
and Jupiter for the last but one. 

48. It is impossible that any notion can be more falla- 
cious or more misleading in its consequences. All great 
song, fix>m the first day when human lips contrived syl- 
lables, has been sincere song. With deliberate didactic 
purpose the tragedians — ^with pure and native passion the 

1 [For St Loaii as a type, see VoL XIL p. 138 ; for the Cid, Munmt PuUmrU, 
§ 35 (VoL XVII. p. 167), and Eagk'^ Nui, § 240; for Baymtd, VoL XII. p. 66, 
and Fa/ tFAmo, § 274.1 

* [See the pa wage about the legend of Tantalus, dted in the note on p. 316, 

* [Compare the Rede Leetare, § 13 (abore, p. 173)i and Vtd ttArno, §§ 218 mq.] 


lyrists — ^fitted their perfect words to their dearest faiths. 
"Operosa parvus cannina fingo."^ "I, little thing that 
I am, weave my laborious songs" as earnestly as the bee 
among the bells of thyme on the Matin mountains. Yes, 
and he dedicates his favourite pine to plana, and he chants 
his autumnal hymn to Faunus guarding* his fields, and he 
guides the noble youths and maids of Rome in their choir 
to Apollo, and he tells the fSeurmer's little girl that the 
Grods wUl love her, though she has only a handful of salt 
and meal to give them' — just as earnestly as ever English 
gentleman taught Christian faith to English youth, in Eng- 
land's truest days. 

49. Then, lastly, the creed of the philosophers or sages 
varied according to the character and knowledge of each ; — 
their relative acquaintance with the secrets of natural science 
— ^their intellectual and sectarian egotism — and their mystic 
or monastic tendencies, for there is a classic as well as a 
mediaeval monasticism. They ended in losing the life of 
Greece in play upon words; but we owe to their early 
thought some of the soundest ethics, and the foundation of 
the best practical laws, yet known to mankind. 

50. Such was the general vitality of the heathen creed 
in its strength. Of its direct influence on conduct, it is, 
as I said, impossible for me to speak now ; only, remember 
always, in endeavouring to form a judgment of it, that 
what of good or right the heathens did, they did looking 

> [Horace: Mm, It. 2, 27-32:— 

"Ego apis matinoB 

More DMraoque 
Grata carpentis thyma per laborem 
Plurimum circa nemuB uvidiqae 
Hburifl ripaa operoaa parvus 

Carmina fingo.' 

Quoted also in Vai ^Amo, % 2S1, and referred to in CeHtu qf AgkUa, § 42 (above, 
D» 94\1 

* r*^FaunuB guarding" was substituted in 1883 for ''tbe Faun tbat fuards."! 

* [The references here are to 0de9, iii. 22 — which in a list of titles for all the 
Odes Ruskin calls '' Diana's Pine"; iii. 18 C Faune, Nympharum ") ; L 21 (''Dianam 
toners. . . . Vos Tempo totidem. . . . Natalemque, mares^ Delon Apollinis"); and 
m. 23, 17-20.] 


for no reward.^ The purest forms of our own rdOigion have 
always consisted in sacrificing less things to win greater; — 
time, to win eternity, — ^the world, to win the skies. The 
order, ''sell that thou hast," is not given without the pro- 
mise, — ''thou shalt have treasure in heavai;"' and well 
for the modem Christian if he accepts the alternative as 
his Master left it — and does not practically read the com- 
mand and promise thus : " Sell that thou hast in the best 
market, and thou shalt have treasure in eternity also." But 
the poor Greeks of the great ages expected no reward from 
heaven but honour, and no reward from earth but rest; 
— though, when, on those conditions, they patiently, and 
praudly, fulfilled their task of the granted day, an unreason- 
ing instinct of an inunortal benediction broke from their 
Ups in song : and they, even they, had sometimes a prophet 
to tell them of a land "where there is sun alike by day, 
and alike by night — where they shall need no more to 
trouble the earth by strength of hands for daily bread — ^but 
the ocean breezes blow around the blessed islands, and 
golden flowers bum on their bright trees for evermore.'" 

^ [On this Mipect of Greek conduet, compete Oromn qf WM Okm, VoL XVm. 
p. 3dal 

> [Metihew zix. 21.] 

> [Rendered freely firom Pinder, Oi^p., ii. 109-190. Compere § ^i, beloir^ 

f. 376 ; end, again^ the end of the author's Introduction to Onnm ^ Wild OUoe 
i^oL XVIII. p. 309).] 



(Athena in {he Ecaih) 

Study 9 iupj^etmadary io the preceding lecture, of the euppoeed, and actual, 
relations of Athena to the vital force in material organism, 

51. It has been easy to decipher approximately the Greek 
conception of the physical power of Athena in cloud and 
sky, because we know ourselves what clouds and skies are, 
and what the force of the wind is in forming them. But it 
is not at all easy to trace the Greek thoughts about the 
power of Athena in giving life, because we do not our- 
selves know clearly what life is, or in what way the air is 
necessary to it, or what there is, besides the air, shaping 
the forms that it is put into. And it is comparatively of 
small consequence to find out what the Greeks thought or 
meant, until we have determined what we ourselves think, 
or mean, when we translate the Greek word for ^^breath- 
ing" into the Latin-English word "spirit." 

52. But it is of great consequence that you should fix 
in your minds — and hold, against the baseness of mere 
materialism on the one hand, and against the fallacies of 
controversial speculation on the other — ^the certain and prac- 
tical sense of this word " spirit** ; — ^the sense in which you 
may all know that its reality exists, as the power which 
shaped you into your shape, and by which you love, and 
hate, when you have received that shape. You need not 

* '^ Athena, fit for beinff made into pottery." I coin the eiqpfession^ 
as a counterpart of yvj rrapSivui, " Clay intact." 

1 [That IB, the application of the epithet to Athena; the word xtpa/ura itielf 
heing often uaed vim y^ for ** pottec^s earth."] 




fear, on the one hand, that either the sculpturing or the 
loving power can ever be beaten down by the philosophers 
into a metal or evolved by them into a gas: but, on the 
other hand, take care that you yourselves, in trying to 
elevate your conception of it, do not lose its truth in a 
dream, or even in a word. Beware always of contending 
for words: you will find them not easy to grasp, if you 
know them in several languages. This very word, which is 
so solemn in your mouths, is one of the most doubtfuL 
In Latin it means little more than breathing, and may 
mean merely accent; in French it is not breath, but wit, 
and our neighbours are therdfore obliged, even in their 
most solemn expressions, to say " wit " when we say 
ghost" In Greek, "pneuma,'' the word we translate 
ghost," means either wind or breath,^ and the relative 
word "psyche" has, perhaps, a more subtle power; yet St. 
Paul's words "pneumatic body" and "psychic body"' in- 
volve a difference in his mmd which no words will explain. 
But in Greek and in English, and in Saxon and in Hebrew, 
and in every articulate tongue of humanity, the "spirit of 
man" truly means his passion and virtue, and is stately 
according to the height of his conception, and stable accord- 
ing to the measure of his endurance. 

58. Endurance, or patience, that is the central sign of 
spirit ; a constancy against the cold and agony of death ; 
and as, physically, it is by the burning power of the air 
that the heat of the flesh is sustained, so this Athena, 
spiritually, is the queen of all glowing virtue, the uncon- 
suming fire and inner lamp of life. And thus, as Hephaes- 
tus "^ is lord of the fire of the hand, and Apollo of the fire 
of the brain, so Athena of the fire of the heart; and as 

* Vulcan (moldber) [1885]. 

^ Compare SeiatM and LUis9, § 23 (Vol. XVIll. p. 73). See alto Proierpina, ii. 
eh. T. § 1, where Ruskin layg that the present paragraph defines the sense in which 
the word ^'spirit" is used uiroughout nis writmgs, and refers to §§ 59^ 60, ''with 
respect to its office in plants.'^ 

^ [1 Corinthians xr. 44: ^rt a&/ia ^vxuc^, koI dm ^C^/ta 7rwwfiaruc6w» Translated 
in our yersion : ''There is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body."] 


Heretiles wears for his chief armour tibe skin of the Nemean 
lion, his chief enemy, vrfiom he slew; and Apollo has for 
his h^hest name ''the Pytliian/' from his chief enemy, the 
Python, slain ;^ so Athena bears always on her breast the 
deadly face of her chief enemy slain, the Oorgonian cold, 
and voiomous agony, that turns living men to stone. 

54. And so long as you have that fire of the heart 
within you, and know the reaUty of it, you need be under 
no alarm as to the possibility of its chemicid or mechanic 
eal analysis. The philosophers are veiy humorous in their 
eertasy of hope about it ; but the real interest of their dis* 
eoveries in this direction is very small to hiunan kind. 
It is quite true that the tympanum of the ear vibrates 
under sound, and that the surface of the water in a ditch 
vibrates too : but the ditch hears nothing for all that ; and 
Hiy hearing is still to me as blessed a mystery as ever, 
aad the interval between the ditch and me, quite as great. 
If the trembling sound in my ears was onee of tiie marriage 
bell which began my happiness, and is now of the passing 
bell which ends it, the difference between those two sounds 
to me cannot be counted by the number of concussions, 
liiere have been some curious speculations lately as to 
the • conveyance of mental consciousness by " brain-waves." * 
What does it matter how it is conveyed? The conscious- 
ness itself k not a wave. It may be accompanied here or 
there by any quantity of quivers and shakes, up or down, 
of anythmg you can iind in the universe tibat is shakeable 
---what is that to me? My fri&ad is dead, and my — ac- 
cording to modern views — vibratory sorrow is not one whit 
less, or less mysterious to me, than my old quiet one, 

55. Beyond, and entirely unaffected fay, any questionings 
of this kind, there are, therefore, two plain &cts which we 
should all know: first, that there is a power which gives 
their several shapes to things, or capacities of shape; Bud, 

1 [Compare Vol. VII. p. 420 and n.] 

' ^Speculations which assumed vihiBtioiia in ^' mentipherous ether" and which 
the rsychical Research Society afterwards took up under the head of telepathy*' 
(see Proceedinffi S. P. B,, October 1886, p. 178.] 



secondly, a power which gives them their several feelings, 
or capacities of feeling ; and that we can increase or destroy 
both of these at our wilL By care and tenderness, we can 
extend the range of lovely Ufe in plants and animals; by 
our neglect and cruelty, we can arrest it, and bring pes* 
tilence in its stead. Again, by right discipline we can 
increase our strength of noble will and passion, or destroy 
both. And whether these two forces are local conditions 
of the elements in which they appear, or are part of a 
great force in the universe, out of which they are taken, 
and to which they must be restored, is not of the slightest 
importance to us in dealing with them; neither is the 
manner of their connection with light and air. What pre^ 
eise meaning we ought to attach to expressions such as 
that of the prophecy to the four winds that the dry bones 
might be breathed upon,^ and might live, or why the 
presence of the vital power should be dependent on the 
chemical action of the air, and its awful passing away 
materially signified by the rendering up of that breath or 
ghost, we cannot at present know, and need not at any 
time dispute. What we assuredly know is that the states 
of life and death are different, and the first more desirable 
than the other, and by effort attainable, whether we under- 
stand being "bom of the spirit"' to signify having the 
breath of heaven in our flesh, or its power in our hearts. 

56. As to its power on the body, I will endeavour to 
tell you, having been myself much led into studies involv- 
ing necessary reference both to natural science and mental 
phenomena, what, at least, remains to us after science has 
done its worst; — ^what the Myth of Athena, as a Forma- 
tive and Decisive power — a Spirit of Creation and Volition, 
— must eternally mean for all of us. 

57. It is now (I believe I may use the strong word) 
^< ascertained '' that heat and motion are fixed in quantity. 

^ [BsBekiel i. 1-9.] 
s [John iii. 5.] 


and measurable in the portions that we deal with.^ We 
can measure out portions of power, as we can measure 
portions of space; while yet, as far as we know, space may 
be infinite, and force infinite. There may be heat as much 
greater than the sun's, as the sun's heat is greater than a 
candle's; and force as much greater than the force by 
which the world swings, as that is greater than the force 
by which a cobweb trembles. Now, on heat and force, life 
is inseparably dependent; and I believe, also, on a form of 
substance, which the philosophers call ''protoplasm."^ I 
wish they would use English instead of Greek words. 
When I want to know why a leaf is green, they tell me 
it is coloured by "chlorophyll,"' which at first sounds very 
instructive; but if they would only say plainly that a leaf 
is coloured green by a thing which is called ''green leaf," 
we should see more precisely how far we had got. How- 
ever, it is a curious fact that life is connected with a 
cellular structure called protoplasm, or, in English, "first 
stuck together": whence conceivably through deutoro- 
plasms, or second stickings, and tritoplasms, or third stick- 
ings,^ we reach the highest plastic phase in the human 
pottery, which dilfFers fix>m common china-ware, primarily, 
by a measurable degree of heat, developed in breathing, 

* Or, perhaps, we may be indulged with one consummating gleam of 
"glycasm" — ^visible ''Sweetness/' — according to the good old monk ''Full 
moon," or " All moonshine." I cannot get at his original Greek, but am 
content with M. Durand's clear French (Manuel d'Iconographie ChrHienne, 
Paris, 1845^): — "Lorsque vous aurez £iit le proplasme, et esquiss6 un 
visage, vous feres les chairs avec le glycasme dont nous avons donn6 la 
reoette. . . . Chea les vieillards, vous indiqueres les rides, et ches les 
jeunes gens, les angles des yeux. . . . C'est ainsi que Ton fait les chairs, 
suivant Pans61inos." 

^ nVudall's Htat a$ a Mode of Motion had been published in 1863.] 

* \The word, first used by Hugo Von Mohl in 1846, was popularized in thii 
country in 1868 by Huxley in his address on "The Physical Basis of life" (see his 
Lay Sermone, vii.).] 

* [Compare Academy Notee, 1875 (VoL XIV. p. 283).] 

* [Manuel ^Iconographie ChriHenne Qrecque et Latine avec une Introduction et dee 
Notes, par M, Didron, traduU du Manueerit ByxanHn, Le Guide de la Peinhire^ par 
Dr. Paul Durand. The quotation is at pp. 36, 36. For other references to the 
book, see Vol. X. p. 128 n., and VoL XII. p. 262.] 


which it borrows from the rest of the univene while it 
lives, and which it as certainly returns to the rest of the 
universe, when it dies. 

58. Again, with this heat certain assimilative poweis are 
connected, which the tendency of recent discovery is to 
simplify more and more into modes of one f ofce ; or finally 
into mere motion, ccnnmunicable in various states, but not 
destructible. We will assume that science has dcme its 
utmost; and that every chemical or animal force is donon- 
strably resolvable into heat or motion, reciprocally changing 
into each other. I would myself Like bd:ter, in ordar of 
thought, to consider motion as a mode of heat than heat 
as a mode of motion ; still, granting that we have got thus 
far, we have yet to ask. What is heat? or what, motion? 
What is this '^primo mobile,"^ this transitional power, in 
^ich all things live, and move, and have their being ? ' It 
is by definiticm something different from matter, and we 
may call it as we choose — "first cause," or "first light," or 
" first heat " ; but we can show no scientific proof of its not 
being personal, and coinciding with the oidinaiy conw^tion 
of a supporting spint in all things. 

59. Still, it is not advisable to apply the word "spirit" 
or " l»:eathing '* to it, while it is only enforcing chemical 
afiinities; but, when the chemical affinities are brought 
under the influence of the air, and of the sun's heat, the 
formative force enters an entirely diiferent phase. It does 
not now merely crystallize indefinite masses, but it gives 
to limited portions of matter the power of gathering, 
selectively, other dements proper to them, and binding 
these elements into their own peculiar and adopted form. 

This force, now properly called life, or breathing, or 
spirit, is continually creating its own shells of definite shape 
out of the wreck around it: and this is what I meant by 
saying, in the Ethics of the Ihist: — "you may always 

> [See above, g 28^ p. 324 n.] 
s lAeli zvii. 28.1 

> [Aeti zvii. 28.] 


stand by form against force." ^ For the mere force of 
junction is not spirit; but the power that catches out of 
chaos charcoal, water, lime, or what not, and fastens them 
down into a given form, is properly called ^< spirit"; and 
we shall not diminish, but strengthen our conception of 
this creative energy by recognizing its presence in lower 
states of matter than our own; — such recognition being 
enforced upon us by a delight we instinctively receive jfrom 
all the forms of matter which manifest it: and yet more, 
by the glorifying of those forms, in the parts of them that 
are most animated, with the colours that are pleasantest to 
our senses. The most familiar instance of this is the best, 
and alao the most wonderful : — ^the blossoming of plants. 

60. The Spirit in the plant — ^that is to say, its power 
of gathering dead matter out of the wreck round it, and 
shaping it into its own chosen shape, — ^is of course strongest 
at the mcHnent of its flowering, for it then not only gathers, 
but forms, with the greatest energy. 

And where this Life is in it at full power, its form be- 
comes invested with aspects that are chiefly delightful to 
our own human passions; namely, first, with the loveliest 
outlines of shape: and, secondly, with the most brilliant 
phases of the primary colours, blue, yellow, and red or 
white, the unison of all ; ' and, to make it all more strange, 
this time of peculiar and perfect glory is associated with 
relations of the plants or blossoms to each other, corre- 
spondent to the joy of love in human creatures, and having 
the same object in the continuance of the race. Only, 
with respect to plants, as animals, we are wrong in speak- 
ing as if the object of this strong life were only the be- 
queathing of itself. The flower is the end or proper 
object of the seed, not the seed of the flower. The reason 
for seeds is that flowers may be; not the reason of flowers 
that seeds may be. The flower itself is the creature which 

» [8 107 ; Vol. XVIII. p. 342.] 

< [Witb this pMsage compare the diseuasion of Vital Beauty in Modem Paintert, 
vol, ii. (Vol. IV. pp. 146 $eq,).] 


the spirit makes; only, in connection with its peifectness^ 
is placed the giving birth to its successor/ 

61. The main fact, then, about a flower is that it is 
the part of the plant's form developed at the moment of 
its intensest life: and this inner rapture is usually marked 
externally for us by the flush of one or more of the 
primary colours. What the character of the flower shall 
be, depends entirely upon the portion of the fdant into 
which this rapture of spirit has been put. Sometimes the 
life is put into its out» sheath, and then the outer sheath 
becomes white and pure, and full of strength and grace; 
sometimes the life is put into the coounon leaves, just 
under the blossom, and they become scarlet or purple; 
sometimes the life is put into the stalks of the flower, and 
they flush blue; sometimes in its outer enclosure or caljrx; 
mostly into its inner cup; but in all cases, the presaice of 
the strongest life is asserted by characters in which the 
human sight takes pleasure, and which seem prepared with 
distinct reference to us, or ratiier, bear, in being delightful, 
evidence of having been produced by the power of the 
same spirit as our own. 

62. And we are led to feel this still more strongly, be- 
cause all the distinctions of species,* both in plants and 
animals, appear to have similar connection with human 
character. Whatever the origin of species may be, or how- 
ever those species, once formed, may be influenced by ex- 
ternal accident, the groups into which birth or accident 
reduce them have distinct relation to the spirit of man. It 

* The facts on which I am about to dwell are in nowise antagonistic 
to the theories which Mr. Darwin's unwearied and unerring investigations 
are every day rendering more probable.^ The sesthetic relations of spedea 
are independent of their origin. Nevertheless^ it has always seemed to me, 
in what little work I have done upon organic forms, as if the species 
mocked us by their deliberate imitation of each other when they met: 
yet did not pass one into another. 

^ rCk>mpare Proierpina, i. eh. iv., and PreOerita, i. § 50.1 
' [For Ruskin's personal acquaintance with Darwin at this time, see introduo- 
tion; above, p. zlv.J 


is perfectly possible, and ultimately conceivable, that the 
crocodile and the lamb may have descended from the same 
ancestral atom of protoplasm; and that the physical laws 
of the operation of calcareous slime and of meadow grass, 
on that protoplasm, may in time have developed the oppo* 
site natures and aspects of the living frames; but the 
practically important fact for us is the existence of a power 
which creates that calcareous earth itself; — ^which creates 
that, separately, and quartz, separately, and gold, separately, 
and charcoal, separately; and then so directs the relations 
of these elements that the gold may destroy the souls of 
men by being yellow; and the charcoal destroy their souls 
by behig hard and bright; and the quartz represent to 
them an ideal purity; and the calcareous earth, soft, may 
beget crocodiles, and dry and hard, sheep; and that the 
aspects and qualities of these two products, crocodiles and 
lambs, may be, the one repellent to the spirit of man, the 
other attractive to it, in a quite inevitable way, represent- 
mg to him states of moral evU and good, and becoming 
myths to him of destruction or redemption, and, in the 
most literal sense, "Words" of God. 

68. And the force of these facts cannot be escaped 
from by the thought that there are species innumerable, 
passing into each other by regular gradations, out of which 
we choose what we most love or dread, and say they were 
indeed prepared for us. Species are not innumerable; 
neither are they now connected by consistent gradation* 
They touch at certain points only; and even then are con- 
nected, when we examine them deeply, in a kind of reticu- 
lated way, not in chains, but in chequers; also, however 
connected, it is but by a touch of the extremities, as it 
were, and the characteristic form of the species is entirely 
individual The rose nearly sinks into a grass in the san- 
guisorba;^ but the formative spirit does not the less clearly 
separate the ear of wheat from the dog-rose, and oscillate 

^ [The Common Burnet and Lady's-mantle are examples of the sanguisarba, which 
Linnnut identified with the order kosacue,] 


with tremulous constancy round the central forms of both, 
having each then* due relation to the mind of man. The 
great animal kingdoms are connected in the same way. 
The bird through the penguin drops towards the fish, and 
the fish in the cetacean reascends to the mammal, yet 
there is no confusion of thought possible between the p»« 
feet forms of an eagle, a trout, and a war-horse, in their 
relations to the elements, and to man. 

64. Now we have two orders of animals to take some 
note of in connection with Athena, and one vast order of 
plants, which will illustrate this matter very sufficiently 
for us. 

The two orders of animals are the serpent and the bird ; 
the serpent, in which the breath, or spirit, is less than in 
any other creature, and the earth-power greatest: — the bird, 
in which the breath, or spirit, is more full than in any 
other creature, and the earth-power least. 

65. We will take the bird first. It is little more than 
a drift of the air brought into form by plumes ; the air is 
in all its quUls, it breathes through its whole frame and 
flesh, and glows with air in its flying, like a blown flame : it 
rests upon the air, subdues it, surpasses it, outraces it; — is 
the air, conscious of itself, conquering itself, ruling itselfl 

Also, into the throat of the bird is given the voice of 
the air. All that in the wind itself is weak, wild, useless 
in sweetness, is knit together in its song. As we may 
imagine the wild form of the cloud closed into the perfect 
form of the bird's wings, so the wild voice of the cloud 
into its ordered and commanded voice; unwearied, rippling 
through the clear heaven in its gladness, interpreting all 
intense passion through the soft spring nights, bursting into 
acclaim and rapture of choir at daybreak, or lisping and 
twittering among the boughs and hedges through heat of 
day, like little winds that only make the cowslip bells shake, 
and ruffle the petals of the wild rose. 

66. Also, upon the plumes of the bird are put the colours 
of the air: on these the gold of the cloud, that cannot be 


gathered by any covetousness ; the niUes of the clouds, 
that are not the price of Athena, but are Athena ; the ver- 
milion of the doud-bar, and the flame of the doud-crest, 
and the snow of the cloud, and its shadow, and the melted 
blue of the deep wells of the sky — all these, seized by the 
creating spirit, and ^oven by Athena herself into films and 
threads of plume ; with wave on wave following and fading 
along breast, and throat, and opened wings, infinite as the 
dividing of the foam and the sifting of the sea-sand ; — even 
the white down of the doud seeming to flutter up between 
the stronger plumes, seen, but too soft for touch. 

And so the Spirit of the Air is put into, and upon, this 
created form; and it becomes, throu^ twenty centuries, 
the symbol of Divine help, descending, as the Fire, to 
iqpeak, but as the Dove, to bless. 

67. Next, in the serpent we approach the source of a 
ffroup of myths, world-wide, founded on ffreat and common 
ZL tostS, ^.pecting which I musfSte <»e or two 
points which bear intimately on all our subject.^ . For it 
seems to me that the scholars who are at present occupied 
in interpretation of human myths have most of them for- 
gotten that there are any such things as natural myths; 
and that the dark sayings of men may be both difiicult to 
read, and not always worth reading; but the dark sayings 
of nature will probably become clearer for the looking into, 
and will very certainly be worth reading. And, indeed, all 
guidance to the right sense of the hunvan and variable myths 
will probably depend on our first getting at the sense of 
the natural and invariable ones. The dead hieroglyph may 
have meant this or that — ^the living hierogljrph means always 
the same; but remember, it is just as much a hieroglyph 
as the other; nay, more, — a "saared or reserved sculpture,** 
a thing with an inner language. The serpent crest of the 
king's crown, or of the god's, on the pillars of Egypt, is a 
mystery ; but the serpent itself, gliding past the pillar's foot, 
is it less a mystery? Is there, indeed, no tongue, except 

^ [Compare what Riwktn M)rg of the terpent in #brr Ckn^gnn^ Loitor 26.] 


the mute forked flash from its lips, in that nmning brook 
of horror on the gromid ? 

68. Why that horror ? We all feel it, yet how imagina- 
tive it is, how disproportioned to the real strength of the 
creature 1 There is more poison in an ill-kept drain, — ^in a 
pool of dish-washings at a cottage door, — than m the deadliest 
asp of Nile. Every back-yard which you look down into 
from the railway, as it carries you out by Vauxhall or Dept- 
ford, holds its coiled serpent : ^ aU the wftils of those ghastly 
suburbs are enclosures of tank temples for iserpent worship ; 
yet you feel no horror in looking down into them, as you 
would if you saw the livid scales and lifted head. There 
is more venom, mortal, inevitable, in a single word some- 
times, or in the gliding entrance of a wordless thought, than 
ever "vanti Libia con sua rena."* But that horror is of 
the myth, not of the creature. There are myriads lower 
than this, and more loathsome, in the scale of being; the 
links between dead matter and animation drift everywhere 
unseen. But it is the strength of the base element that is 
so dreadful in the serpent; it is the very omnipotence of 
the earth. That rivulet of smooth silver — ^how does it flow, 
think you ? It literally rows on the earth, with every scale 
for an oar; it bites the dust with the ridges of its body. 
Watch it, when it moves slowly: — A wave, but without 
wind 1 a current, but with no fall 1 • all the body moving at 
the same instant, yet some of it to one side, some to another, 
or some forward, and the rest of the coil backwards; but 
all with the same calm will and equal way — ^no contraction, 
no extension; one soundless, causeless march of sequent 
rings, and spectral procession of spotted dust, with dissolu- 
tion in its fangs, (Uslocation in its coils. Startle it; — ^the 
winding stream will become a twisted arrow; — ^the wave of 

^ [For other passages in which Raskin notes the horror of the approaches to 
London, see Leeturei <m Art^ § 122 ; Vol ^AmOy § 33 ; and For9 Olavigera, Letters 
44 and 64.] 

' [Inferno, xziv. 85^ where Dante describes a crowd of terrible serpents, so 
strange and hideoas that 'Met Libya vaunt no more of her sands."} 

' [Compare the lecture on Snakes, included under the title ''Living Waves" 
in Deucalion, n. ch. L § 35, where Ruskin quotes this description.] 


poisoned life will lash through the grass like a cast lance. *" 
It scarcely breathes with its one lung (the other shrivelled 
and abortive); it is passive to the sun and shade, and is 
cold or hot like a stone; yet, ''it can outclimb the monkey, 
outswim the fish, outleap the jerboa, outwrestle the athlete, 
and crush the tiger." t It is a divine hieroglyph of the 
demoniac power of the earth, — of the entire earthly nature. 
As the bird is the clothed pow« of the air, so tins is the 
clothed power of the dust; as the bird the symbol of the 
spirit of life, so this of the grasp and sting of death. 

69. Hence the continual change in the interpretation 
put upon it in various religions. As the worm of corrup- 
tion, it is the mightiest of all adversaries of the gods — 
the special adversary of their light and creative power 
— ^PyUion against Apollo. As the power of the earth 
against the air, the giants are serpent-bodied in the Gigan- 
tomachia;^ but as the power of the earth upon the se^— 
consuming it into new life ('' that which thou sowest is not 
quickened except it die "')— serpents sustain the chariot of 
the spirit of agriciilture. 

* I cannot understand this swift forward motion of serpents. The 
seisure of prey by the constrictor, though invisibly swift, is quite simple 
in mechanism ; it is simply the return to its coil of an opened watchspring, 
and is just as instantaneous. But the steady and continuous motion^ with- 
out a visible fulcrum (for the whole body moves at the same instant, and 
I have often seen even small snakes glide as fast as I could walk), seems 
to involve a vibration of the scales quite too rapid to be conceived. The 
motion of the crest and dorsal fin of the hippocampus,' which is one of 
the intermediate types between serpent and fish, perhaps gives some 
resemblance of it, dimly visible, for the quivering turns the fin into a mere 
mist. The entrance of the two barbs of a bee's sting by alternate motion, 
" the teeth of one barb acting as a fulcrum for the other," must be some- 
thing like the serpent motion on a small scale. (Note of 188S. Cp. the 
Lecture ''A Caution to Snakes," Deucaiaon, Part VIl.«) 

t Richard Owen.^ 

^ [Best seen in the relieft of the battle of the gods and giants on the great altar 
of Pergamon (now at Berlin).] 

< [1 Corinthians xv. 36.1 

s [See Rttskin's drawing of ''the searhorse of Venice" : Pkte 5 in Vol. IV. p. 154.1 

^ [So the reviser printed in 1883. The note itself, however, was in the original 
editions. Only the reference to DeueaHon is the ''Note of 1883."] 

* [On the Anatamp af V€rta»raU$, vol. t., Fi9he$ and Beptilei, 1866, p. 261. 
"JerDoa" in Rusldn's quotation has hitherto been misprinted "zebra."] 


70. Yet, on the other hand, there is a power in the 
earth to take away corruption, and to purify, (h^iee the 
very fact of burial, and many uses of earth, only lately 
known) ; ^ and in this s^ise, the serpent is a healing spirit, — 
the representative of iSsculapius, and of Hygieia; and is 
a sacred earth-tjrpe in the temple of the Dew; — ^being 
there especially a s3rmbol of the native earth of Athens; 
so that its departure from the temple was a sign to the 
Athenians that they were to leave their homes.^ And then^ 
lastly, as there is a strength and healing in the earth, no 
less than the strength of air, so there is conceived to be a 
wisdom of earth no less than a wisdom of the spirit; and 
when its deadly power is killed, its guiding power becomes 
true ; so that the Python serpent is killed at Delphi, where 
yet the oracle is from the breath of the earth. 

71. You must remember, however, tHat in this, as in 
every other instance, I take the myth at its central time. 
This is only the meanmg of the serpent to the Greek 
mind which could conceive an Athena. Its first meaning 
to the nascent eyes of men, and its continued influence 
over degraded races, are subjects of ' the most fearful 
mystery. Mr. Fergusson has just collected the principal 
evidence bearing on the matter in a work of very great 
value,' and if you read his opening chapters, they will put 
you in possession of the circumstances needing chiefly to 
be considered. I cannot touch upon any of them here, 
except only to point out that, though the doctrine of the 
so-called ^' corrupti<m of human nature," asserting that there 
is nothing but evil in humanity, is just as blasphemous 
and false as a doctrine of the corruption of physicfd nature 
would be, asserting there was nothing but evil in the 
earth, — ^there is yet the clearest evidence of a 

^ [The Rev. Henry Moule (1801-1880) h«d fint invented the dry-eertk eygtom 
of tenitation in 1860.J 

< TBefore the hattfe of Sakmis : tee Herodotus, viiL 41.] 

* [Tree and Serpent Warehip; or, lUustratumi af Muthotogy and AH in India . . , 
wUh Inlroduotwry Eeeajft and Deecr^jdiane i^ the Piatesp hy James Feigus^^f .R.S. : 
India Museum, 186aj ^ 


plague, or <aretinoiis imperfection of derdopinent, hitlbrto 
allowed to prevail against the greater part of the racoif of 
men;^ and this in monstrous ways, more full of mystery 
than the setpent-bdng itself. I have gathered for you 
to-night only instances of what is beautiftd in Greek re- 
ligion; but even in its best time there were deep corrup- 
tions in other phases of it, and degraded forms of many 
of its deities, all originating in a misunderstood worship 
of the principle of life; while in the religions of lower 
races, little dse than these coirupted forms of devotion can 
be found; — ^all having a strai^ and dreadful consistency 
with each other, and infecting Christianity, even at its 
strongest periods, with fatal terror of doctrine, and ghast- 
liness of symbolic conception, passing through fear into 
frenzied grotesque, and tiience into sensuality. 

In the Psalter of S. Louis itself, half of its letters are 
twisted snakes ; ' there is scarcely a wreathed ornament, em- 
ployed in Christian dress, or architecture, which cannot be 
traced back to the serpent's coil; and there is rerely a 
piece of monkish decorated writing in the world, that is 
not tainted with some ill-meant vileDcss of grotesque — nay, 
the very leaves of the twisted ivy-pattern of the fourteenth 
century can be followed bade to wreaths few the foreheads 
of bacchanalian gods. And truly, it seems to me, as I 
gather in my mind the evidences of insane religion, degraded 
art, merdless war, sullen toil, detestable pleasure, and vain 
or vile hope, in which the naticois of the world have lived 
since first they could bear record of themsdi^tes — it seems 
to me, I say, as if the race itself were still half-serpent, 
not extricated yet from its clay; a lacertine breed of bit- 
terness — the glory of it emaciate with cruel hunger, and 
blotted with venomous stain: and the track of it, on the 
leaf a glittering slime, and in the sand a useless furrow. 

^ [With this paisage compare Raskin's letter of June 8, 1869^ given in the Intro- 
duction ; above, p. 1. Compare also Grown of Wild Olive, §§ 106-107 (VoL XVIII. 
pp. 474^476).] 

' [Compare 'Cfutui of Aglaia, §§ 50, 63 (above, pp. 100-102).] 


72. There are no mjrths, therefore, bjr which the moral 
state and fineness of inteliigenoe of different races can be 
so deeply tried or measured, as by those of the serpent and 
the bird; both of them having an especial relation to the 
kind of remorse for sin, or grief in fiite, of which the 
national minds that spoke by them had been capable. The 
serpent and vulture are alike emblems of inmiortality and 
punfication among races which desired to be immortal and 
pure: and as they recognize their own misery, the serpent 
becomes to them the scourge of the Furies, and the 
vulture finds its eternal prey in their breast. The bird 
long contests, among the Eg]rptians, with the still received 
serpent, the symbol of power. But the Draconian image 
of evil is established in the serpent Apap;^ while the 
bird's wings, with the globe, become part of a better sym- 
bol of deity, and the entire form of the vulture, as an 
emblem of purification, is associated with the earliest con- 
ception of Athena.^ In the type of the dove with the 
olive branch, the conception of the spirit of Athena in 
renewed life prevailing over ruin, is embodied for the 
whole of ftiturity ; while the Greeks, to whom, in a happier 
climate and higher life than that of Egypt, the vulture 
symbol of cleansing became unintelligible, took the eagle, 
instead, for their hieroglyph of supreme spiritual energy, 
and it thenceforward retains its hold on the human imagi- 
nation, till it is established among Christian myths as the 
expression of the most exalted form of evangeUstic teach- 
ing.^ The special relation of Athena to her &vourite bird 
we will trace presently ; ^ the peacock of Hera, and dove of 
Aphrodite, are comparatively unimportant myths: but the 

^ [''The battle in heaven with the gigantio Apap, or gnat serpent; his (Ra's) 
final triumph, and strangling of the dragon^ and his diurnal renewal of the frsy, 
formed the subject of tne walls of the tombe and sarcophagi at the time of the 
18th and subsequent dynasties" (Wilkinson's Mannen and CuMiotM qf the Ancient 
Egmttam, ed. 1878, vol. iii. p. 60). Compare Cutut of Aglaia^ § 31 (above, p. 84). 1 

' [That is^ of Neith, the Egyptian form of Athena^ who is often represented as 

3 [See further on this subject ''The Eagle of Elis" in VoL XX,] 

« [See below^ p. 381.] 


bird power is soon made entirely human by the Greeks in 
their flying angel of victory (partially human, with modi- 
fied meaning of evil, in the Harpy and Siren) ; and thence- 
forward it associates itself with the Hebrew cherubim, and 
has had the most singular influence on the Christian re- 
ligion by giving its wings to render the conception of 
angels mysterious and untenable, and check rational en- 
deavour to determine the nature of subordinate spiritual 
agency; while yet it has given to that agency a vague 
poetical influence of the highest value in its own imagina- 
tive way.* 

78. But with the early serpent-worship there was associ- 
ated another — ^that of the groves — of which you wUl also 
find the evidence exhaustively collected in Mr. Fergusson's 
work. This tree-worship may have taken a dark form 
when associated with the Draconian one; or opposed, as 
in Judea, to a purer faith;' but in itself, I believe, it was 
always healthy, and though it retains little definite hiero- 
glyphic power in subsequent religion, it becomes instead 
of sjrmbolic, real; the flowers and trees are themselves be- 
held and beloved with a half-worshipping delight, which is 
always noble and healthful. 

And it is among the most notable indications of the 
volition of the animating power, that we find the ethical 
signs of good and evil set on these also, as well as upon 
animals; the venom of the serpent, and in some respects 
its image also, being associated even with the passionless 
growth of the leaf out of the ground; while the distinc- 
tions of species seem appointed with more definite ethical 
address to the intelligence of man as their material pro- 
ducts become more usefid to him. 

74. I can easily show this, and, at the same time, 
make clear the relation to other plants of the flowers 
which especially belong to Athena, by examining the natu- 
ral myths in the groups of the plants which would be 

1 [Compare Mhies qf the Dust, §§ 113 teq. (Vol. XVIII. pp. 34&-d52).] 
* [See Exodus xxiv. 13 ; Deuteronomy zvL 21, etc.] 


used at any country dinner, over which Athena would, in 
her simplest household authority, cheerfully rule, here, in 
England. Suppose Horace's fiivourite dish of beans,^ widi 
the bacon; potatoes; some savoury stuffing of onions and 
herbs with the meat ; celery, and a radish or two, with the 
cheese; nuts and apples for dessert, and brown bread. 

75. The beans are, from earliest time, the most import* 
ant and interesting of the seeds of the great tribe of plants 
from which came the Latin and Fr^ich name for all kitchen 
vegetables, — ^things that are gathered with the hand — ^podded 
seeds that cannot be reaped, or beaten, or shaken down, but 
must be gathered green. ** L^^minous " plants, aU of them 
having flowers like butterflies, seeds in (fi^u^itly poident) 
pods, — ^^laetum siliqua quassante l^umen"^ — smooth and 
tender leaves, divided into many minor ones, — ^strange ad- 
juncts of tendril, for dimbiiig (and sometimes of thorn) ; — 
exquisitely sweet, yet pure, scents of blossom, and almost 
always harmless, if not serviceable, seeds. It is, of aU tribes 
of plants, the most definite; its blossoms being entirely 
limited in their parts, and not passing into other forms. It 
is also the most usefully extended in rfuige and scale ; fami* 
liar in the height of the forest — acacia, laburnum, Judas- 
tree; familiar in the sown field — bean and vetch and pea; 
familiar in the pasture — ^in every form of clustered clover 
and sweet trefoil tracery; the most entirdy serviceable and 
human of all orders of plants. 

76. Next, in the potato, we have the scarcdy innocent 
undeiground stem of one of a tribe set aside for evil;^ 

* Some two out of a hundred and Aftj spedei of Solanum are mefal to 
man [1883]. 

» [SaHrei, it e, 63 :— 

^^O quando &1» Pythagora coraata, rimulqaa 
Uncta satis pingui ponentur oluscula lardo? 
O noctea ccensftqae deun ! " 

Compare VoL XIV. p. 341.] 

* [Virgil, Qeormot, i. 74: '^tbe pnlaa which Sa laxuriaiit with qoivering pod" — 
a description of the bean. Compare IV eew p i n a^ L eh. xi. § 16.] 


having the deadly nightshade for its queen, and including 
the henbane, the witch's mandrake, and the worst natural 
curse of modem civflization — ^tobacco.* And the strange 
thing about this tribe is, that though thus set aside for 
evil, they are not a group distinctly separate from those 
that are happier in function. There is nothing in other 
tribes of plants like the form of the bean blossom; but 
there is another family with forms and structure closely 
connected with this venomous one. Examine the purple 
and yellow bloom of the common hedge nightshade; you 
will find it constructed exactly like some of the forms 
of the cyclamen ; and, getting this clue, you will find at last 
the whole ' poisonous and terrible group to be — sisters of the 
primulas ! 

The nightshades are, in fact, primroses with a curse upon 
them; and a sign set in their petals, by which the deadly 
and condemned flowers may always be known from the 
innocent ones, — ^that the stamens of the nightshades are 
between the lobes, and of the primulas, opposite the lobes, 
of the corolla. 

77. Next, side by side, in the celery and radish, you 
have the two great groups of umbelled and cruciferous 
plants; alike in conditions of rank among herbs: both 
flowering in clusters; but the umbelled group, flat, the 
crucifers, in spires: — both of them mean and poor in the 
blossom, and losing what beauty they have by too close 
crowding: — ^both of them having the most curious influence 
on human character in the temperate zones of the earth, 
from the days of the parsley crown, and hemlock drink, 
and mocked £iu*ipidean chervil,^ until now: but chiefly 
among the northern nations, being especially plants that 

* It is not easy to estimate the demoralising effect on the jouth of 
Europe of the cigar, enabling them to pass their time happily in idleness.^ 

1 [The reference is to Aristophanes, AekamioM, 478, where, taunting the poet 
with the lowly station of his motker as a herb-seller, he says ffKdfiucd /mm d^ iitfrpiBev 
iedeyfidrot ("give me chervil, and get it from your mother").] 
< [Compare Time and Tide, § 18 (Vol. XVIL p. 334).] 
XIX. 2 A 


are of some humble beauty, and (the crucifers) of endless 
use, when they are chosen and cultivated ; but that run to 
wild waste, and are the signs of neglected ground, in their 
rank or ragged leaves, and meagre stalks, and pursed or 
podded seed clusters. Capable, even imder cultivation, of 
no perfect beauty, though reaching some subdued delight- 
fulness in the lady's smock and the wallflower; for the 
most part, they have every floral quality meanly, and in 
vain, — ^they are white, without purity ; golden, without 
preciousness ; redundant, without richness; divided, without 
fineness; massive, without strength; and slender, without 
grace. Yet think over that useful vulgarity of theirs; and 
of the relations of German and English peasant character 
to its food of kraut and cabbage, (as of Arab character to 
its food of palm-fruit,) and you will begin to feel what 
purposes of the forming spirit are in these distinctions of 

78. Next we take the nuts and apples, — ^the nuts repre- 
senting one of the groups of catkined trees, whose blossoms 
are only tufts and dust; and the other, the rose tribe, in 
which fruit and flower alike have been the types, to the 
highest races of men, of all passionate temptation, or pure 
delight, from the coveting of Eve to the crowning of the 
Madonna, above the 

''Rosa sempitema, 
Che si dilata, rigrada, e ridole 
Odor di lode al Sol." ^ 

We have no time now for these; we must go on to the 
humblest group of aU, yet the most wonderful, that of the 
grass, which has given us our bread ; and from that we will 
go back to the herbs. 

79. The vast family of plants which, under rain, make 
the earth green for man; and, under sunshine, give him 
bread ; and, in their springing in the early year, mixed with 
their native flowers, have given us (far more than the new 

1 [Paradiso, xxx. 124 : the passage is referred to in VoL V. p. 272.] 


leaves of trees) the thought and word of "spring," divide 
themselves broadly into three great groups — the grasses, 
sedges, and rushes. The grasses are essentially a clothing 
for healthy and pure ground, watered by occasional rain, 
but in itself dry, and fit for all cultivated pasture and 
corn. They are distinctively plants with round and jointed 
stems, which have long green flexible leaves, and heads of 
seed, independently emerging from them. The sedges are 
essentially the clothing of waste and more or less poor 
or uncultivatable soils, coarse in their structure, frequently 
triangular in stem — hence called "acute" by Virgil^ — and 
with their heads of seed not extricated from their leaves. 
Now, in both the sedges and grasses, the blossom has a 
common structure, though undeveloped in the sedges, but 
composed always of groups of double husks, which have 
mostly a spinous process in the centre, sometimes project- 
ing into a long awn or beard; this central process being 
characteristic also of the ordinary leaves of mosses, as if a 
moss were a kind of ear of com made permanently green 
on the ground, and with a new and distinct fructification. 
But the rushes differ whoUy from the sedge and grass in 
their blossom structure. It is not a dual cluster, but a 
twice threefold one, so far separate from the grasses, and 
so closely connected with a higher order of plants, that I 
think you will find it convenient to group the rushes at 
once with that higher order, to which, if you will for the 
present let me give the general name of Drosidae,* or dew- 
plants, it wiU enable me to say what I have to say of 
them much more shortly and clearly. 

80. These Drosidae, then, are plants delighting in inter- 
rupted moisture — moisture which comes either partially or 
at certain seasons — into dry ground. They are not water- 
plants; but the signs of water resting among dry places. 

^ [Georgia, iii. 231 : "carice pogtus acuta. '[] 

' [For references to this namei see Ruskin's index to Praeerpina, So also he 
calls the fritillarf '^Alfred's dew-flower": see CkUaiogue qf the EdueatUmai Seriee, 
No. 13 (Vol. .XX.).] 


Many of the true water-plants have triple blossoms, with a 
small triple calyx holding them; in the Drosidae, the floral 
spirit passes into the calyx also, and the entire flower be- 
comes a six-rayed star, bursting out of the stem laterally, 
as if it were the first of flowers, and had made its way 
to the light by force through the unwilling green. They 
are often required to retain moisture or nourishment for 
the future blossom through long times of drought ; and this 
they do in bulbs under groimd, of which some become a 
rude and simple, but most wholesome food for man. 

81. So now, observe, you are to divide the whole family 
of the herbs oif the field into three great groups — Drosidse, 
Carices,* Gramineae — dew-plants, sedges, and grasses. Then 
the Drosidas are divided into five great orders — ^liUes, as- 
phodels, amaryllids, irids, and rushes. No tribes of flowers 
have had so great, so varied, or so healthy an influaice on 
man as this great group of Drosidae, depending not so much 
on the whiteness of some of their blossoms, or the radiance 
of others, as on the strength and delicacy of the substance 
of their petals; enabling them to take forms of faultless 
elastic curvature, either in cups, as the crocus, or ex- 
panding bells, as the true lily, or heath-like bells, as the 
hyacinth, or bright and perfect stars, like the star of Beth- 
lehem, or, when they are affected by the strange reflex of 
the serpent nature which forms the labiate group of all 
flowers, closing into forms of exquisitely fantastic symmetry 
in the gladiolus. Put by their side their Nereid sisters, the 
water-lilies, and you have in them the origin of the loveliest 
forms of ornamental design, and the most powerful floral 
myths yet recognized among human spirits, born by the 
streams of Ganges, NUe, Arno, and Avon.^ 

* I think Cares will be found ultimately better than Cyperus for the 
generic name, being the Virgilian word, and representing a larger sub- 

^ [For the lotus (water-lily) as ^'the root of leaf ornament" in architecture, 
'' founded on this gift of the waves of Nile," and for the ^' lily capital/' see Sianei 
qf Venice, vol. i. (Vol IX. pp. 279-280, SSJ), The myths and artistic uses of the 


82. P^or consider a little what each of those five tribes * 
has been to the spirit of man.^ First, in their nobleness; 
the Lilies g;ave the lily of the Annunciation ; the Asphodels^ 
the flower of the Elysian fields ; the Irids, the fleur-de-lys of 
chivalry ; and the Aniaryllids, Christ's lily of the field : while 
the rush, trodden always under foot, became the emblem 
of humility. Then take each of the tribes, and consider 
the extent of their lower influence. Perdita's "The crown 
imperial, lilies of all kinds," ^ are the first tribe ; which, giv- 
ing the type of perfect purity in the Madonna's lily, have, 
by their lovely form, influenced the entire decorative design 
of Italian sacred art ; while ornament of war was continually 
enriched by the curves of the triple petals of the Florentine 
" giglio," and French fleur-de-lys ; so that it is impossible to 
count their influence for good in the Middle Ages, partly as 
a symbol of womanly character, and partly of the utmost 
brightness and refinement of chivalry in the city which was 
the flower of cities. 

Afterwards, the group of the turban-lilies, or tulips, did 
some mischief, (their splendid stains having made them the 
favourite caprice of florists;) but they may be pardoned all 
such guilt for the pleasure they have given in cottage 
gardens, and are yet to give, when lowly life may again be 
possible among us ; and the crimson bars of the tulips in 
their trim beds, with their likeness in crimson bars of morn- 
ing above them, and its dew glittering heavy, globed in their 
glossy cups, may be loved better than the grey nettles of 

* Take this rough distinctioii of the four tribes : — JJlieu, superior ovary, 
white seeds; Asphodels, superior ovaiy, black seeds; Irids, inferior ovaiy, 
style (typically) rising into central crest ; Amaryllids, inferior ovary, stamens 
(^pically) joined in central cup. Then the rushes are a dark group, through 
which they stoop to the grasses. 

lily in Christian art and Shakespeare's use of the lily are given by Ruskin below. 
He here refers also to the lotus of C^pt, of which Plutarch says, ''They cluurao- 
terise the rising sun as though it sprang every day afresh out of the lotus-plant; 
but this implies, that to moisture we owe the first kindling of this lummary*' 
(De Irid.y 11). For the large place filled by the lotus in Indian mytholQgjr and 
poetry, see C. Coleman's Mythohgy of the Hindtu, 1832, pp. 387-388.] 
^ [With this section compare Vol tPAmo, § 262 and n.J 
< [WhUef^f TalBt iv. 3, 126 : quoted also in Bible ^ Armmu, eh. iv. § 32.] 


the ash heap, under grey sky, unveined by vermilion or by 

88. The next great group, of the Asphodels, divides 
itself also into two principal families; one, in which the 
flowers are like stars, and clustered characteristically in balls, 
though opening sometimes into looser heads ; and the other, 
in which the flowers are in long bells, opening suddenly at 
the lips, and clustered in spires on a long stem, or drooping 
from it, when bent by their weight. 

The star-group, of the squills, garlics, and onions, has 
always caused me great wonder. I cannot imderstand why 
its beauty, and serviceableness, should have been associated 
with the rank scent which has been really among the most 
powerful means of degrading peasant life, and separating 
it from that of the higher classes. 

The beUed group, of the hyacinth and convallaria, is as 
delicate as the other is coarse: the unspeakable azure light 
along the ground of the wood hyacinth in English spring ; 
the grape hyacinth, which is in South France, as if a cluster 
of grapes and a hive of honey had been distilled and com- 
pressed together into one small boss of celled and beaded 
blue; the lilies of the valley ever3n(vhere, in each sweet and 
wUd recess of rocky land ; — count the influences of these on 
childish and innocent life; then measure the mythic power 
of the hyacinth and asphodel as connected with Greek 
thoughts of immortality ; ^ finally take their useful and nour- 
ishing power in ancient and modern peasant life, and it will 
be strange if you do not feel what fixed relation exists 
between the agency of the creating spirit in these, and in 
us who live by them. 

84. It is impossible to bring into any tenable compass 
for our present purpose, even hints of the human influence 
of the two remaining orders of Amaryllids and Irids ; — only 
note this generally, that while these in northern coimtries 
share with the Primulas the fields of spring, it seems that 

1 [Compare A Joy far Ever, § 26 (Vol. XVI. p. 33).] 


in Greece, the primulaceae are not an extended tribe, while 
the crocus, narcissus, and Amaryllis lutea, the "lily of the 
field "^ (I suspect also that the flower whose name we 
translate *' violet" was in truth an Iris*) represented to the 
Greek the first coming of the breath of life on the renewed 
herbage; and became in his thoughts the true embroidery 
of the safiron robe' of Athena. Later in the year, the 
dianthus (which, though belonging to an entirely different 
race of plants, has yet a strange look of having been made 
out of the grasses by turning the sheath-membrane at the 
root of their leaves into a flower,) seems to scatter, in 
multitudinous families, its crimson stars far and wide. But 
the golden lily and crocus, together with the asphodel, re- 
tain always the old Greek's fondest thoughts — they are 
only "golden** flowers that are to bum on the trees, and 
float on the streams of paradise.^ 

85, I have but one tribe of plants more to note at our 
country feast — ^the savoury herbs; but must go a little out 
of my way to come at them rightly. All flowers whose 
petals are fastened together, and most of those whose petals 
are loose, are best thought of first as a kind of cup or 
tube opening at the mouth. Sometimes the opening is 
gradual, as in the convolvulus or campanula; oftener there 
is a distinct change of direction between the tube and ex- 
panding lip, as in the primrose; or even a contraction 
under the lip, making the tube into a narrow-necked phial 
or vase, as in the heaths, but the general idea of a tube 
expanding into a quatrefoil, cinquefoil, or sixfoil, will em- 
brace most of the forms. 

86. Now it is easy to conceive that flowers of this kind, 
growing in close clusters, may, in process of time, have ex- 
tended their outside petals rather than the interior ones 

1 [Matthew vi. 28.] 

< [Compare Laws qf FSsok, ch. vii. § 20 (Vol. XV. p. 426).] 


« ^Compare ibid., ch. vii. § 26 (Vol. XV. p. 427). 


[A reference to the passage in Pindar translated ahove (§ 50, p. 060), which 
continues, " golden flowers are glowing, some from the land on trees of splendour, 
and some the water feedeth, with wreaths whereof they entwine tiieir hands."] 


(as the outer flowers of tlie clusters of many umbellifers 
actually do), and thus, elongated and variously distorted 
forms have established themselves; then if the stalk is at- 
tached to the side instead of the base of the tube, its base 
beco^mes a spur, and thus ail the grotesque forms of the 
mints, violets, and larkspurs, gradually might be composed. 
But, however this may be, there is one great tribe of plants . 
separate from the rest, and of which the influence seems 
shed upon the rest in difierent degrees: and these would, 
give the impression, not so much of having been developed 
by change, as of being stamped with a character of their 
own, more or less serpentine or dragon-like. And I think 
you will find it convenient to call these generally, Draco- 
nidoe ; disregarding their present ugly botanical name,^ which 
I do not care even to write once — you may take for their 
principal t3rpes the Foxglove, Snapdragon, and Calceolaria; 
and you will find they all agree in a tendency to decorate 
themselves by spots, and with bosses or swollen places in 
their leaves, as if they had been touched by poison. The 
spot of the Foxglove is especially strange, because it. draws 
the colour out of the tissue all round it, as if it had been 
stung, and as if the central colour was really an inflamed 
spot,; with paleness roimd. Then also they carry to its 
extreme the decoration by bulging or pouting the petal; — 
often beautifully used by other flowers in a minor degree, 
like the beating out of bosses in hollow silver, as, in the 
kalmia, beating out. apparently in each petal by the stamen;; 
instead of a hammer; or the borage, pouting inwards; but 
the snapdragons and calceolarias carry it to its extreme. 

87. Then the spirit of these Draconidas seems to pass 
more or less into other flowers, whose forms are properly 
pure vases; but it affects some of them slightly, — others 
not at all. It never strongly affects the heaths ; never once 
the roses; but it enters like an evil spirit into the butter- 
cup, and turns it into a larkspur, with a black, spotted, 

^ [Scrofidatiaeea,'] 

Erba della Madonna 


grotesque centre^ and a strange^ broken blue, gorgeous and 
intense, yet impure, glittering on the surface as if it were 
st^rewn with broken glass, and stained or darkening irregu- 
larly into red. And then at last the serpent charm changes 
the ranunculus into monkshood; and makes it poisonous. 
It enters into the forget-me-not, and the star of heavenly 
ti^rquoise is corrupted into the viper's bugloss, darkened 
with the same strange red as the larkspur, and fretted into 
a fringe of thorn ; it enters, together with a strange insect- 
spirit, into the asphodels, and (though with a greater inter- 
val between the groups,) they dbange into spotted orchideoe : 
it touches the poppy, it becomes a frunaria; the iris, and 
it pouts into a gladiolus ; the lily, and it chequers itself 
into a snake's-head, and secretes in the deep of its bell 
drops, not of venom indeed, but honey-dew, as if it were 
a healing serpent. For there is an ^sculapian as well as 
an evil serpentry among the Draconidas, and the fairest, 
of them, the ''erba deUa Madonna" of Vei^ice, (LUiaria 
Cymbalaria,^) descends from the ruins it del^hts in to the 
herbage at their feet, and touches it; and behold, instantly, 
a, vast group of herbs for healing, — aU draconid in form, — 
spotted, and crested, and from their lip-like corollas named 
^^abiatas"; frill of various balm, and warm strength for 
healing, yet all of them without splendid honour or perfect 
beauty, "ground ivies,"* richest when crushed under the 
foot; the best sweetness and gentle brightness of the robes 
of the field,— thyme, and maqoram, and Euphrasy. 

88. And observe, again and again, with respect to all 
these divisions and powers of plants ; it does not matter in 
the least by what concurrences of circumstance or necessity 
they may gradually have been developed: the concurrence 
of circumstance is itself the supreme and inexplicable fact, 

^ [For this plant, the ''ivy-leftved toad-iUx/' see Vol. V. p. 107; VoL XI. 
p. 336. Plate XVII. here is ^m Ruskiu's drawing at Oxford, Edacational Series, 
No. 19J 

* [Tne herb ale-hoof {Nepeta Gieohwna); called *' ground iyj" £rom its creeping 
stem. Euphrasy is perhaps better known as eyebright.] 


We always come at last to a formative cause, which directs 
the circumstance, and mode of meeting it. If you ask an 
ordinary botanist the reason of the form of a leaf, he will 
tell you it is a "developed tubercle," and that its ultimate 
form "is owing to the direction of its vascular threads." 
But what directs its vascular threads? "They are seeking 
for something they want," he will probably answer. What 
made them want that ? What made them seek for it thus ? 
Seek for it, in five fibres or in three? Seek for it, in ser- 
ration, or in sweeping curves? Seek for it, in servile ten- 
drils, or impetuous spray? Seek for it, in woollen wrinkles 
rough with stings, or in glossy surfaces, green with pure 
strength, and winterless delight? 

89. There is no answer. But the sum of all is, that 
over the entire surface of the earth and its waters, as in- 
fluenced by the power of the air under solar light, there 
is developed a series of changing forms, in clouds, plants, 
and animals, all of which have reference in their action, or 
nature, to the human intelligence that perceives them ; and 
on which, in their aspects of horror and beauty, and their 
qualities of good and evil, there is engraved a series of 
myths, or words of the forming power, which, according 
to the true passion and energy of the human race, they 
have been enabled to read into religion. And this forming 
power has been by all nations partly confused with the 
breath or air through which it acts, and partly understood 
as a creative wisdom, proceeding from the Supreme Deity; 
but entering into and inspiring all intelligences that work 
in harmony with Him. And whatever intellectual results 
may be in modem days obtained by regarding this effluence 
only as a motion or vibration, every formative human art 
hitherto, and the best states of human happiness and order, 
have depended on the apprehension of its mystery (which 
is certain), and of its personality (which is probable). 

90. Of its influence on the formative arts, I have a few 
words to say separately: my present business is only to 
interpret, as we are now sufiiciently enabled to do, the 


external symbols of the myth under which it was repre- 
sented by the Greeks as a goddess of counsel, taken first 
into the breast of their Supreme Deity, then created out 
of his thoughts, and abiding closely beside him; always 
sharing and consummating his power. 

91. And in doing this we have first to note the mean- 
ing of the principal epithet applied to Athena, " Glaukopis," ^ 
"with eyes full of light,'* the first syllable being connected, 
by its root, with words signifying sight, not with words 
signifying colour. As far as I can trace the colour per- 
ception of the Greeks, I find it aU foimded primarily on 
the degree of connection between colour and light;* the 
most important fact to them in the colour of red being its 
connection with fire and simshine; so that "purple" is, in 
its original sense, "fire-colour,'** and the scarlet, or orange, 
of dawn, more than any other, fire-colour. I was long 
puzzled by Homer's calling the sea purple; and misled into 
thinking he meant the colour of cloud shadows on green 
sea;* whereas he really means the gleaming blaze of the 
waves under wide light. Aristotle's idea (partly true) is 
that light, subdued by blackness, becomes red;^ and black- 
ness heated or lighted, also becomes red. Thus, a colour 
may be called purple because it is light subdued (and so 
death is called " purple " or " shadowy " death) ; or else it 
may be called purple as being shade kindled with fire, and 
thus said of the lighted sea; or even of the sun itself, 
when it is thought of as a red luminary opposed to the 
whiteness of the moon: "purpureos inter soles, et Candida 
lunas sidera";* or of golden hair: "pro purpureo poenam 
solvens scelerata capillo";^ while both ideas are modified 

^ [Compare § 15 (above, p. 306).] 

' [For another passage dealing with 'Hhe strong impressions of the power of 
light in the Greeks, see Leeturei on Arty §§ 161 ieq,] 

* [See above, pp. 313, 330.1 

* [See the " Aadresses on becorative Colour " (1854), § 38, where this explana- 
tion was given (Vol. XII. p? 605).] 

Cohrihu9y ch. iii. ; compare Vol. VII. p. 159.] 

i^.Iuskin quotes from memory, and combines Georgics, i. 405 (''et pro purpureo 
posnas dat Scylla capillo") with ^neidj ii. 676 ('' sceleratas sumere poenas").] 


by the influence of an earlier fonn of the word, which 
hfiLS nothing to do with fi^e at all, but only with mixing 
or staining ; ^ and then, to make the whole group of thoughts 
inextricably complex, yet rich and subtle in proportion to 
their intricacy, tie various rose and crimson colours of the 
murex-dye, — ^the crimson and purple of the poppy, and firuit 
of the palm — and the association of all these with the hue 
of blood ; — ^partly direct, partly through a confusion between 
the word signifying "slaughter'' and '* palm-fruit colour,"* 
mingle themselves in, and renew the whole nature of the 
old word; so that, in later literature, it means a di£Eerent 
colour, or emotion of colour, in almost every place where 
it occurs: and casts around for ever the rcdection of all 
that has been dipped in its dyes. 

92. So that the word is really a liquid prism, and stream 
of opaL And then, last of all, to keep the whole history 
of it in the fantastic course of a dream, warped here and 
there into wild grotesque, we modems, who have preferred 
to rule over coal-mines instead of the sea (and so have 
turned the everlasting lamp of Athena into a Davy's 
safety-lamp in the hand of Britannia, and Athenian heavenly 
lightning into British subterranean ''damp''), have actually 
got our purple out of coal instead of the seal And thus, 
grotesquely, we have had enforced on us the doubt that 
held the old word between blackness and fire, and have 
completed the shadow, and the fear of it, by giving it a 
name from battle, "Magenta."' 

98. There is precisely a similar confusion between light 
and colour in the word used for the blue of the eyes of 
Athena — a noble confusion, however, brought about by the 
intensity of the Greek sense that the heaven is light, more 
than that it is blue. I was not thinking of this when I 

^ [By '' an earlier form of the word^" Raskin seems to mean that oriffinally the 
word wopibvpm was a reduplicated form of <^vp«» (to mix^ : see Uddell and Scott 1 

' [<^>'^ And <l>oafLKf0Sf purple (from <f>oufi^ : see Uadell and Scott under the 
latter word. Compare also Far^ CUmsmu, Letter 7> where Ruskin connects the 
word further with ^'phoenix or flamin^j^o colour."] 

s [The aniline dye. first so called, was discovered shortly after the date of the 
batUe (18^9).] 


wrote, in speaking of pictorial chiaroscuro, " The sky is not 
blue colour merely: it is blue fire, and cannot be painted ** 
{Mod. P., iv. p. 86^); but it was this that the Greeks 
chiefly felt of it, and so *'Glaukopis" chiefly means grey- 
eyed: grey standing for a pale or luminous blue; but ft 
only means "owl-eyed" in thought of the roundness and 
expansion, not from the colour ; this breadth and brightness 
being, again, in their moral sense, typical of the breadth, 
intensity, and singleness of the sight in prudence (" if thine 
eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light*'*). 
Then the actual power of the bird to see in twilight enters 
into the type, and perhaps its general fineness of sense. 
" Before the human form was adopted, her (Athena's) 
proper symbol was the owl, a bird which seems to surpass 
all other creatures in acuteness of organic perception, its 
eye being calculated to observe objects which to all others 
are enveloped in darkness, its ear to hear sounds distinctly, 
and its nostrils to discriminate effluvia with such nicety 
that it has been deemed prophetic, from discoveriii^ the 
putridity of death even in the first stages of disease."* 

I cannot find an3rwhere an account of the first known 
occurrence of the type; but, in the early ones on Attic 
coins, the wide round eyes are clearly the principal things 
to be made manifest. 

94. There is yet, however, another colour of great im- 
portance in the conception of Athena — the dark blue of 
her asgis. Just as the blue or grey of her eyes was con- 
ceived as more light than colour, so her segis was dark 
blue, because the Greeks thought of this tint more as shade 
than colour, and, while they used various materials in orna- 
mentation, lapis-lazuli, carbonate of copper, or perhaps, 
smalt, with real enjoyment of the blue tint, it was yet in 

* Payne Knight, in his Inquiry into the Symbolical Language of Ancient 
Art [1818], not trustworthy, being little more than a mass of conjectural 
memoranda, but the heap is suggestive, if well sifted. 

> [Part V. ch. iiL J 3 ; see now Vol VI. p. 51.] 
« [Matthew vi. 22.J 


their minds as distinctly representative of darkness as scarlet 
was of light, and, therefore, anything dark,* but especially 
the colour of heavy thundercloud, was described by the 
same term. The physical power of this darkness of the 
asgis, fringed with lightning, is given quite simply when 
Jupiter himself uses it to overshadow Ida and the Plain 
of Troy, and withdraws it at the prayer of Ajax for light ; * 
and again when he grants it to be worn for a time by 
Apollo, who is hidden by its cloud when he strikes down 
Patroclus:* but its spiritual power is chiefly expressed by 
a word signifying deeper shadow; — ^the gloom of Erebus, 
or of our evening, which, when spoken of the aegis, signifies 
not merely the indignation of Athena, but the entire hiding 
or withdrawal of her help, and beyond even this, her dead- 
liest of all hostility — ^the darkness by which she herself 
deceives and beguiles to final ruin those to whom she is 

* In the breastplate and shield of Atrides the serpents and bosses are 
all of this dark colour, yet the serpents are said to be like rainbows ; * but 
through all this splendour and opposition of hue, I feel distinctly that the 
literal ''splendour," with its relative shade, are prevalent in the concep- 
tion; and that there is always a tendency to look through the hue to its 
cause. And in this feeling about colour the Grreeks are separated from 
the Eastern nations, and from the best designers of Christian times. 1 
cannot find that they take pleasure in colour for its own sake; it may be 
in something more than colour, or better; but it is not in the hue itself. 
When Homer describes cloud breaking frt>m a mountain summit the crags 
became visible in light, not in colour; he feels only their flashing out in 
bright edges and trenchant shadows: above^ the ''infinite^" ''unspeakable" 
aether is torn open — but not the bhte of it^ He has scarcely any abstract 
pleasure in blue, or green, or gold; but only in their shade or flame. 

I have yet to trace the causes of this (which will be a long task, be- 
longing to art questions, not to mythological ones);'^ but it is, I believe, 
much connected with the brooding of the shadow of death over the 
Greeks, without any clear hope of immortality. The restriction of the 

1 [IHad, zvii. 683, 694, 626 aa?.] 
« Ihid., rvL 777 aag.] 
s Und,, xi. 24 m^.] 

* [Jbid., xvi. 297-dOO : " As when from the high crest of a great hill, Zea% the 
gatherer of the lightning, has stirred a dense cloud, and all the peaks, and sharp 
promontories, and glades shine forth, and from heaven the infinite air breaki 

* [See Ledur$s on Artf Lectures vi. and vii., and compare Art qf England, § 62.] 


wholly adverse; this contradiction of her own glory being 
the uttermost judgment upon human falsehood. Thus it 
is she who provokes Pandarus to the treachery which pur- 
posed to fidfil the rape of Helen by the murder of her 
husband in time of truce ; and then the Greek King, hold- 
uig his wounded brother s hand, prophesies against Troy 
the darkness of the aegis which shall be over all, and for 

95. This, then, finally, was the perfect colour-conception 
of Athena; — ^the flesh, snow-white, (the hands, feet, and 
face of marble, even when the statue was hewn roughly in 
wood); the eyes of keen pale blue, often in statues repre- 
sented by jewels ; the long robe to the feet, crocus-coloured ; 
and the aegis thrown over it of thunderous purple; the 
helmet golden, (//., v. 144,) and I suppose its crest also, 
as that of Achilles.^ 

If you think carefully of the meaning and character 

colour on their vases to dim red (or yellow) with black and white, is 
greatly connected with their sepulchral use^ and with all the melancholy 
of Greek tragic thought ; and in this gloom the failure of colour-perception 
is partly noble, partly base: noble, in its earnestness, which raises the 
design of Greek vases as far above the designing of mere colourist nations 
like the Chinese, as men's thoughts are above children's; and yet it is 
partly base and earthly; and inherently defective in one human faculty: 
and I believe it was one cause of the perishing of their art so swiftly, for 
indeed there is no decline so sudden, or down to such utter loss and 
ludicrous depravity, as the fall of Grreek design on its vases from the fifth 
to the third century, b.c. On the other hand, the pure colour-gift, when 
employed for pleasure only, degrades in another direction; so that among 
the Indians, Chinese, and Japanese,^ all intellectual progress in art has 
been for ages rendered impossible by the prevalence of that faculty: and 
yet it is, as I have said again and again,* the spiritual power of art; and 
its true brightness is the essential characteristic of all healthy schools. 
* c/Xfiv^v Klyt&a vSa-i. — //., iv. l66. 

1 [IHad, zvliL 611.] 

> [For Ruskin's views on Japanese art. see Time and lide, § 26 (Vol. XVIL 
p. 340); and for Indian art, Two FcUhs, §3 (Vol. XVI. p. 261). In Lecturei on 
Art, § 168, referring to the present page, Ruskin explains that the Indian and 
Chinese schools of art were ''content to obtain beaatifdl harmonies of colour 
without any representation of light'*] 

' [See, for instance, Modem PatrUere, voL ii. (VoL IV. p. 104) ; and vol v. 
(Vol. VII. p. 417).] 


which is now enough illustrated for you in each of these 
colours; and remember that the crocus-colour and the 
purple were both of them developments, in opposite direc- 
tions, of the great central idea of fire-colour, or scarlet, you 
will see that this form of the creative spirit of the earth 
is conceived as robed in the blue, and purple, and scarlet, 
the white, and the gold, which have been recognized for 
the sacred chord of colours, from the day when the cloud 
descended on a Rock more mighty than Ida.^ 

96. I have spoken throughout, hitherto, of the con- 
ception of Athena, as it is traceable in the Greek mind; 
not as it was rendered by Greek art. It is matter of ex- 
treme difficulty, requiring a sympathy at once affectionate 
and cautious^ and a knowledge reaching the earliest springs 
of the religion of many lands, to discern through the im- 
perfection, and alas 1 more dimly yet, through the triumphs, 
of formative art, what kind of thoughts they were that 
appointed for it the tasks of its childhood, and watched by 
the awakening of its strength.* 

The religious passion is nearly always vividest when the 
art is weakest ; and the technical skill reaches its deliberate 
splendour only when the ecstasy which gave it birth has 
passed away for ever. It is as vain an attempt to reason 
out the visionary power or guiding influence of Athena in 
the Greek heart, from anything we now read, or possess, 
of the work of Phidias, as it would be for the disciples of 
some new religion to infer the spirit of Christianity from 
Titian's "Assumption." The effective vitality of the re- 
ligious conception can be traced only through the efforts of 
trembling hands, and strange pleasures of untaught eyes; 
and the beauty of the dream can no more be found in the 

1 [See Exodus zziv. 18, xxv. 1-4: "And Moiea went into the midst of the 
cloud, and gat lilm up into the mount. . . . Aud the Lord spake unto Moees, 
■ayinff. Speak onto the children of Israel, that they hring me an offering. . . . 
And blue, and purple, and scarlet." Compare Modem PauUert, vol. v. (Vol VII. 
p. W).] 

> [See the Art qf Sngiand, § 43, for a reference to " the erroneous idea " that 
the nature of myths may be ''conclusively ascertained by the types which early 
art presents of them."] 


first symbols by which it is expressed, than a child's idea of 
fairyland can be gathered from its pencil scrawl, or a girFs 
love for her broken doll explained by the defaced features. 
On the other hand, the Athooa of Phidias was, in very 
fact, not so much the deity, as the darling of the Athenian 
people. Her magnificence represented their pride and fcmd- 
ness, more than their piety; and the great artist, in lavish- 
ing upon her dignities which might be ended abruptly by 
the pillage they provoked, resigned, apparently without re- 
gret, the awe of her ancient memory ; and, (with only the 
careless remonstrance of a workman too strong to be proud,) 
even the perfectness of his own art. Rejoicing in the pro* 
tection of their goddess, and in their own hour of glory, 
the people of Athena robed her, at their will, with the 
preciousness of ivory and gems ; forgot or denied the dark- 
ness of the breastplate of judgment, and vainly bade its 
unappeasable serpents relax their coils in gold. 

97. It will take me many a day yet — ^if days, many or 
few, be given me — ^to disentangle in anywise the proud 
and practised disguises of religious creeds £rom the instinc- 
tive arts which, grotesquely and indecorously, yet with sin- 
cerity, strove to embody them, or to relate. But I think 
the reader, by help even of the imperfect indications al- 
ready given to him, will be able to follow, with a continu- 
ally increasing security, the vestiges of the Myth of Athena ; 
and to reanimate its almost evanescent shade, by connecting 
it with the now recognized facts of existent nature, which 
it, more or less dimly, reflected and foretold. I gather 
these facts together in brief sum. 

98* The deep of air that surrounds the earth enters 
into union with the earth at its siuface, and with its 
waters; so as to be the apparent cause of their ascend- 
ing into life. First, it warms them, and shades, at once, 
staying the heat of the sun's rays in its own body, but 
warding their force with its clouds. It warms and cools 
at once, with traffic of balm and fix)6t; so that the white 
wreaths are withdrawn from the field of the Swiss peasant 

XIX. 2 B 


by the glow of Libyan rock. It gives its own strength 
to the sea; forms and fills every cell of its foam; sus- 
tains the precipices, and designs the valleys of its waves; 
gives the gleam to their moving mider the night, and the 
white fire to their plains mider sunrise; lifts their voices 
along the rocks, bears above them the spray of birds, 
pencils through them the dimpling of unfooted sands. It 
gathers out of them a portion in the hollow of its hand: 
dyes, with that, the hills into dark blue, and their glaciers 
with dying rose ; inlays with that, for sapphire, the dome 
in which it has to set the cloud; shapes out of that the 
heavenly flocks: divides them, numbers, cherishes, bears 
them on its bosom, caUs them to their journeys, waits by 
their rest ; feeds from them the brooks that cease not, and 
strews with them the dews that cease. It spins and weaves 
their fleece into wild tapestry, rends it, and renews ; and flits 
and flames, and whispers, among the golden threads, thrill- 
ing them with a plectrum of strange fire that traverses them 
to and fro, and is enclosed in them like life. 

It enters into the surface of the earth, subdues it, and 
faUs together with it into fruitful dust, from which can 
be moulded flesh; it joins itself, in dew, to the substance 
of adamant; and becomes the green leaf out of the dry 
ground; it enters into the separated shapes of the earth 
it has tempered, commands the ebb and flow of the cur- 
rent of their life, fills their limbs with its own lightness, 
measures their existence by its indwelling pulse, moulds 
upon their lips the words by which one soul can be known 
to another; is to them the hearing of the ear, and the 
beating of the heart; and, passing away, leaves them to 
the peace that hears and moves no more. 

99. This was the Athena of the greatest people of the 
days of old. And opposite to the temple of this Spirit of 
the breath, and life-blood, of man and of beast, stood, on 
the Mount of Justice, and near the chasm which was 
haunted by the goddess- Avengers, an altar to a God un- 
known ; — ^proclaimed at last to them, as one who, indeed, 


gave to all men, life, and breath, and all things; and rain 
from heaven, filling their hearts with food and gladness; — 
a God who had made of one blood all nations of men 
who dwell on the face of all the earth, and had deter- 
mined the times of their fate, and the bounds of their 

100. We ourselves, fretted here in our narrow dajrs, 
know less, perhaps, in very deed, than they, what manner 
of spirit we are of, or what manner of spirit we ignor- 
antly worship.* Have we, indeed, desired the Desire of 
all nations? and will the Master whom we meant to seek, 
and the Messenger in whom we thought we delighted, 
confirm, when He comes to His temple, — or not find in 
its midst, — ^the tables heavy with gold for bread, and the 
seats that are bought with the price of the dove? Or is 
our own land also to be left by its angered Spirit; — ^left 
among those, where sunshine vainly sweet, and passionate 
folly of storm, waste themselves in the silent places of 
knowledge that has passed away, and of tongues that have 
ceased ? 

This only we may discern assuredly: this, every true 
light of science, every mercifully - granted power, every 
wisely-restricted thought, teach us more clearly day by day, 
that in the heavens above, and the earth beneath, there is 
one continual and omnipotent presence of help, and of 
peace, for all men who know that they Live, and remember 
that they Die. 

^ FThe reference is to the preaching of St Paul on the Areopagus at Athens, 
opposite to the Acropolis, ana close to the cave of the Eumenides ; where stood 
^Nnn altar with this inscription. To the Unlcnown God " (Acts xvii. 19, 23, 26, 26, 
xiv. 17).] 

' [For the Bihle references here, see Acts xviL 23 ; Haggai ii. 7 ; Malachi iii. 1 ; 
Matthew xzi. 12.] 



{Athena in the Heart) 

Various Ncie^ reUOing to the Qmoepiion of Athena at the Diredreee 

of the Imagmation md Will 

101. I HAVE now only a few words to say, bearing on 
what seems to me present need, respecting the third function 
of Athena, conceived as the directress of human passion, 
resolution, and labour. 

Few words, for I am not yet prepared to give accurate 
distinction between the intellectual rule of Athena and that 
of the Muses: but, broadly, the Muses, with their king, 
preside over meditative, historical, and poetic arts, whose 
end is the discovery of light or truth, and the creation of 
beauty: but Athena rules over moral passion, and practi- 
cally useful art. She does not make men learned, but 
prudent and subtle : she does not teach them to make their 
work beautiful, but to make it right.^ 

In different places of my writings, and through many 
years of endeavour to define the laws of art, I have insisted 
on this rightness in work, and on its connection with virtue 
of character, in so many partial ways, that the impression 
left on the reader's mind — if, indeed, it was ever impressed 

* " Athena the worker^ or having rule over work." The name was first 
given to her by the Athenians.' 

1 rSee § 160, below, p. 414.] 

' [PauBaniaB, i. 24, 3 : '^ I observed before that the zeal of the Athenians in 
matters of religion exceeds that of all other peoples. Thus they were the iint 
to give Athena the surname of the Worker/' etc.J 



at all — ^has been confiised and uncertain. In beginning the 
series of my corrected works/ I wish this principle (in my 
own mind the foundation of every other) to be made plain, 
if nothing else is: and will try, therefore, to make it so, 
as far as, by any effort, I can put it into unmistakable 
words. And, first, here is a very simple statement of it, 
given lately in a lecture on the Architecture of the Valley 
of the Somme, which will be better read in this place than 
in its incidental connection with my account of the porches 
of Abbeville.* 

102. I had used, in a preceding part of the lecture, the 
expressicm, "by what faults" this Gothic architecture fell. 
We continually speak thus of works of art We talk of 
their faults and merits, as of virtues and vices. What do 
we mean by talking of the faults of a picture, or the 
merits of a piece of stone ? 

The faults of a work of art are the faults of its work- 
man, and its virtues his virtues. 

Great art is the expression of the mind of a great man, 
and mean art, that of the want of mind of a weak man. 
A fbolish person builds foolishly, and a wise one, sensibly; 
a virtuous one, beautifully; and a vicious one, basely. If 
stone work is well put together, it means that a thoughtful 
man planned it, and a careful man cut it, and an honest 
man cemented it. If it has too much ornament, it means 
that its carver was too greedy of pleasure ; if too little, that 
he was rude, or insensitive, or stupid, and the like. So 
that when once you have learned how to spell these most 
precious of all legends, — ^pictures and buildings, — ^you may 
read the characters of men, imd of nations, in their art, as 
in a mirror; — ^nay, as in a microscope, and magnified a 

^ [The Queen qf the Air was intended, it will thus be seen, to be the first 
volnme in a new series of the author's works. His appointment shortlv afterwards 
to the Slade Professorship at Oxford interfered with the plan; whien^ however, 
was resumed in 1871, when the " Works " Series, headed hj Sesame and lAHee, began 
to appear: see Vol. XVIII. pp. 9, 31.] 

' (See § 7 of the lecture; above, p. 248. The lecture read: "And, first, I 
liave just used the expression'^by what faults it fell. We continually speak," etc. 
The passage from the lecture ends with the end of § 106 here.] 


hundredfold; for the character becomes passionate in the 
art, and intensifies itself in all its noblest or meanest delights. 
Nay, not only as in a microscope, but as under a scalpel, 
and in dissection; for a man may hide himself from you, 
or misrepresent himself to you, every other way; but he 
cannot in his work: there, be sure, you have him to the 
inmost All that he likes, all that he sees, — all that he 
can do, — ^his imagination, his affections, his perseverance, his 
impatience, his clumsiness, cleverness, everything is there. 
If the work is a cobweb, you know it was made by a 
spider; if a honeycomb, by a bee; a worm-cast is thrown 
up by a worm, and a nest wreathed by a bird ; and a house 
built by a man, worthily, if he is worthy, and ignobly, if 
he is ignoble. 

And always, from the least to the greatest, as the made 
thing is good or bad, so is the maker of it. 

108. You all use this faculty of judgment more or less, 
whether you theoretically admit the principle or not. Take 
that floral gable;* you don't suppose the man who built 
Stonehenge could have built that, or that the man who 
built that, wotUd have built Stonehenge? Do you think 
an old Roman would have liked such a piece of filigree 
work? or that Michael Angelo would have spent his time 
in twisting these stems of roses in and out? Or, of 
modem handicraftsmen, do you think a burglar, or a brut^ 
or a pickpocket could have carved it? Coidd Bill Sykes 
have done it? or the Dodger, dexterous with finger and 
tool? You will find in the end, that no man coidd have 
done it but exactly the man who did it ; and by looking close 
at it, you may, if you know your letters, read precisely 
the manner of man he was. 

* The elaborate pediment above the central porch at the west end of 
Rouen Cathedral, pierced into a transparent web of tracery, and enriched 
with a border of '' twisted eglantine." * 

1 [L'AUegro, 48. A drawing of the west front of Rouen was Na 4d in the 
Catalogue of examples illustrating the Abbeville lecture : see above, p. 277.] 


104. Now I must insist on this matter, for a grave 
reason. Of all facts conoeming art, this is the one most 
necessary to be known, that, while manufacture is the 
work of hands only, art is the work of the whole spirit of 
man;^ and as that spirit is, so is the deed of it: and by 
whatever power of vice or virtue any art is produced, the 
same vice or virtue it reproduces and teaches. That which 
is bom of evil begets evil; and that which is bom of 
valour and honour, teaches valour and honour. All art is 
either infection or education. It nmst be one or other of 

105. This, I repeat, of all truths respecting art, is the 
one of which understanding is the most precious, and 
denial the most deadly. And I assert it the more, because 
it has of late been repeatedly, expressly, and with con- 
tumely denied; and that by high authority:* and I hold it 
one of the most sorrowful facts connected with the decline 
of the arts among us, that English gentlemen, of high 
standing as scholars and artists, shoidd have been blinded 
into the acceptance, and betrayed into the assertion of a 
fidlacy which only authority such as theirs could have 
rendered for an instant credible. For the contrary of it is 
written in the history of all great nations; it is the one 
sentence always inscribed on the steps of their thrones ; the 
one concordant voice in which they speak to us out of 
their dust. 

All such nations first manifest themselves as a pure and 
beautiful animal race, with intense energy and imagination. 
They live lives of hardship by choice, and by grand in- 
stinct of manly discipline: they become fierce and irresist- 
ible soldiers; the nation is always its own army, and their 
king, or chief head of government, is always their first 
soldier. Pharaoh, or David, or Leonidas, or Valerius, or 
Barbarossa, or Coeur de Lion, or S. Louis, or Dandolo, 

1 rComiMire Two Paths, § 62 (Vol. XVI. p. 294) ; and below, n. 408.] 
' [See, for iiutanoe, the diieusuon at the Royal Institttte of ^ritiih Architects ; 
above, p. 40.] 


or Frederick the Great :^ — ^Egyptian, Jew, Greek, Roman, 
German, English, French, Venetian, — ^that is inviolable law 
for them all ; their king must be their first soldier,* or they 
cannot be in progressive power. Then, after their great 
military period, comes the domestic period;' in which, with* 
out betraying the discipline of war, they add to their great 
soldiership the delights and possessions of a delicate and 
tender home-life: and then, for all nations, is the time of 
their perfect art, which is the fruit, the evidence, the re- 
ward of their national ideal of character; developed by the 
finished care of the occupations of peace. That is the his- 
tory of all true art that ever was, or can be : palpably the 
history of it, — ^unmistakably, — ^written on the forehead of it 
in letters of light, — ^in tongues of fire, by which the seal of 
virtue is branded as deep as ever iron burnt into a con- 
vict's flesh the seal of crime. But always, hitherto, after 
the great period, has followed the day of luxury, and pursuit 
of the arts for pleasure only. And all has so ended. 

106. Thus far of Abbeville building. Now I have here 
asserted two things, — ^first, the foundation of art in moral 
character ; next, the foundation of moral character in war. I 
must make both these assertions clearer, and prove them. 

First, of the foundation of art in moral character.^ Of 
course art-gift and amiability of disposition are two different 
things; a good man is not necessaray a painter, nor does 
an eye for colour necessarily imply an honest mind. But 
great art implies the union of both powers: it is the ex- 
pression, by an art-gift, of a pure soul. If the gift is not 

^ [For other referenees to thett tTpet of the hero as king or chieftain, lea, 
for Leonidas, Vol. VII. p. 231 and Vol. IX. p. 446 ; for Valerius^ above^ p. 102 ; 
for Barbaroeaa, FicHon, Fair and Foul, §§ 84 tea, ; for Coeur de Lion, VoL XL 
p. 79 ; for St. LoaiB, Vol. V. p. 416 and VoL XII. p. 138 ; for Dandolo^ VoL IX. 
p. 20 n., and VoL XVIII. p. 463 ; and for Frederick the Great, VoL XVIII. p. 610.] 

> [Compare Onwn of Wild OHw, §§ 91, 163 (Vol. XVIII. pp. 463, 616).] 

s [Comnare ibid., % Ql (Vol. XVIII. p. 462).] 

* [On tnia point compare (among other passages) Modem PaitUers, voL ii. (VoL FV. 
pp. 210-211); vol. iiL (VoL V. pp. 65-66); Two Paths, § 66 (VoL XVI. p. 810); 
Croum qf Wild O&ve, § 64 (VoL XVIII. p. 434) ; and Leehtret <m AH, §| 9, 27, 
33, 66-68, 71, 77> 96. And in this volome aee the lecture on ''The RelatioD 
of National Ethics to National Arts."] 


there, we can have no art at all; and if the soul — and 
a right soul too-~is not there, the art is bad, however dex- 

107. But also, remember, that the art-gift itself is only 
the result of the moral character of generations.^ A bad 
woman may have a sweet voice; but that sweetness of 
voice comes of the past morality of her race. That she 
can sing with it at all, she owes to the determination of 
laws of music by the morality of the past Every act, 
every impulse, of vui;ue and vice, affects in any creature, 
fSace, voice, nervous power, and vigour and harmony of in- 
vention, at once. Perseverance in rightness of human con- 
duct, renders, after a certain number of generations, human 
art possible; every sin clouds it, be it ever so little a one; 
and persistent vicious living and following of pleasure 
render, after a certain number of generations, all art im* 
possible. Men are deceived by the long*suffering of the 
laws of nature; and mistake, in a naticm, the reward of 
the virtue of its sires for the issue of its own sins. The 
time of their visitation will come, and that inevitably; for, 
it is always true, that if the fathers have eaten sour 
grapes, the children's teeth are set on edge.' And for the 
individual, as soon as you have learned to read, you may, 
as I have said, know him to the heart's core, throu^ his 
art. Let his art-gift be never so great, and cultivated to 
the height by the schools of a great race of men ; and it is 
still but a tapestry thrown over his own being and inner 
soul; and the bearing of it will show, infallibly, whether it 
hangs on a man, or on a skeleton. If you are dim-eyed, 
you may not see the difference in the Ml of the folds at 
first, but leam how to look, and the folds themselves will 
become transparent, and you shall see through them the 
death's shape, or the divine one, making the tissue above 
it as a cloud of light, or as a winding-sheet. 

^ [This mlso is a point oonstantlf enforced by Ruskin : see^ for instance, ''The 
Btadj of Architecture," § d (above^ p. 28) ; and the Preface to St Marie $ But.'] 
* [Jeremiah zzxi. 29.] 


108. Then farther, observe, I have said^ (and you will 
find it true, and that to the uttermost) that, as all lovely 
art is rooted in virtue, so it bears fruit of virtue, and is 
didactic in its own nature. It is often didactic also in 
actually expressed thought, as Giotto's, Michael Angelo's, 
Diirer's, and hundreds more; but that is not its special 
function, — ^it is didactic chiefly by being beautiful; but 
beautiful with haunting thought, no less than with form, 
and full of myths that can be read only with the heart. 

For instance, at this moment there is open beside me 
as I write, a page of Persian manuscript, wrought with 
wreathed azure and gold, and soft green, and violet, and 
ruby and scarlet, into one field of pure resplendence.' It 
is wrought to delight the eyes only; and it does delight 
them; and the man who did it assuredly had eyes in 
his head; but not much more. It is not didactic art, 
but its author was happy: and it will do the good, and 
the harm, that mere pleasure can do. But, opposite me,' 
is an early Turner drawing of the lake of Geneva, taken 
about two miles from Geneva, on the Lausanne road, with 
Mont Blanc in the distance. The old city is seen lying be- 
yond the waveless waters, veiled with a sweet misty veil 
of Athena's weaving: a faint light of morning, peaceful 
exceedingly, and almost colourless, shed frt)m behind the 
Voirons, increases into soft amber along the slope of the 
Sal^ve, and is just seen, and no more, on the fur warm 
fields of its summit, between the folds of a white cloud 
that rests upon the grass, but rises, high and towerlike, 
into the zenith of dawn above. 

109. There is not as much colour in that low amber 
light upon the hill-side as there is in the palest dead leaf. 
The lake is not blue, but grey in mist, passing into deep 
shadow beneath the Voirons' pines; a few dark clusters of 

1 [See above, § 17, p. 307.] 

> ^ow in the Raskin Drawing School at Oxford.] 

* [In his study at Denmark Hill: see '^ Instructions In Use of Rndimentary 
Series/' § 2 (Vol. XX.), where he again refers to the drawing, for which see 
VoL XIII. p. 458.] 


leaves, a single white flower — scarcely seen — are all the 
gladness given to the rocks of the shore. One of the ruby 
spots of the eastern manuscript would give colour enough 
for all the red that is in Turner's entire drawing. For the 
mere pleasure of the eye» there is not so much in all 
those lines of his, throughout the entire landscape, as in 
half an inch square of the Persian's page. What made 
him take pleasure in the low colour that is only like the 
brown of a dead leaf? in the cold grey of dawn — ^in the 
one white flower among the rocks — ^in these — ^and no more 
than these? 

110. He took pleasure in them because he had been 
bred among English fields and hills; because the gentle- 
ness of a great race was in his heart, and its power of 
thought in his brain; because he knew the stories of the 
Alps, and of the cities at their feet ; because he had read 
the Homeric legends of the clouds, and beheld the gods 
of dawn, and the givers of dew to the fields; because he 
knew the faces of the crags, and the imagery of the pas- 
sionate mountains, as a man knows the face of his firiend ; 
because he had in him the wonder and sorrow concerning 
life and death, which are the inheritance of the Grothic 
soul fix>m the days of its first sea kings; and also the 
compassion and the joy that are woven into the innermost 
febric of every great imaginative spirit, bom now in 
countries that have lived by the Christian faith with any 
courage or truth. And the pictm^ contains also, for us, 
just this which its maker had in him to give; and can 
convey it to us, just so far as we are of the temper 
in which it must be received. It is didactic, if we are 
worthy to be taught, no otherwise. The pure heart, it will 
make more pure; the thoughtful, more thoughtful. It has 
in it no words for the reckless or the base. 

111. As I myself look at it, there is no fault nor folly 
of my life, — and both have been many and great, — ^that 
does not rise up against me, and take away my joy, and 
shorten my power of possession, of sight, of understanding. 


And every past effort of my life, every gleam of rightness 
or good in it, is with me now, to help me in my gra^ 
of this art, and its vision. So far as I can rejoice in, 
or interpret either, my power is owing to what of right 
there is in me. I dare to say it, that, because through all 
my life I have desired good, and not evil; because I have 
b^n kind to many ; have wished to be kind to all ; have 
wilfully injured none ; and because I have loved mudi, and 
not selfishly;^ — ^therefore, the morning light is yet visible 
to me on those hiUs, and you, who read^ may trust my 
thought and word in such work as I have to do for you; 
and you will be glad afterwards that you have trusted 

112. Yet remember, — I repeat it again and yet again,-^ 
that I may for once, if possible, make this thing assur^ 
edly dear: — ^the inherited art-gift must be there, as well as 
the life in some poor measure, or rescued fragment, right 
This art-gift of mine could not have been won by any 
work, "or oy any conduct; it belongs to me by birthright, 
and came by Athena's will, from the air of Ei^^lish country 
villages, and Scottish hills. I will risk whatever charge ei 
folly may come on me, for printing one of my many 
childish rhyme