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needed-preferring, as such fine ladies generally do prefer, the trumpery gew-gaws of personal adornment to the priceless glory of a soul's gratitude.
Are there no patrons of Art? Yes, a few, such as the King and Queen of Italy, the Emperor and Empress of Austria, and certain wealthy heads of historical houses who flourish under the rule of these Continental potentates. But in England where shall we look for them? The "patrons” of the race-course are legion; plentiful, too, are the "patrons” of burlesque opera, where dancing in tights may be carried to the utmost limits of suggestive indelicacy. There are certain bars, too, in London, presided over by advertised bar-maids, who count their “patrons” among the “nobility and gentry” by the score; but the patrons of literature, music, painting, or sculpture are few indeed. It is a hard time just now for the delicate dreams and ideals of Genius, and yet it is by Genius alone that the nation must continue to live. The names that resound to-day through the educated world are not those of wealthy merchants, brokers, traders or lofty aristocrats—they are the names of poets, historians, musicians, painters, philosophers, thinkers, they who were the very life-blood of the age in which they laboured. As some of the personages living in Dante's time are only remembered because of his power in depicting them as enduring the horrors of the “Inferno” or “Purgatorio", so it may be that this Victorian era will some day only be thought of on account of the “Great Neglected”, who may be fighting with difficulties in some obscure corner at this very moment, unrecognized by so much as a commendatory line in the daily or weekly press. Queen Elizabeth was a great personage in her time--her revels at Kenilworth were no doubt as brilliant as any attending Queen Victoria's "Jubilee"-yet she seems a shadowy and uncertain figure compared to the all-embracing existence of Shakespeare.
Therefore, though it is hard, up-hill work, dear sons and daughters of Art, let none of you despond or faint by the way.
You are not so much in need of pity as are your so-called "patrons", for their eyes are blinded to all but things temporal while yours can gaze undazzled upon things eternal. For you the birds sing their secrets; for you the flowers talk; for you the clouds build fairy palaces; to you the great heart of Nature is bare as a scroll on which divine meanings are clearly inscribed. Your "patrons”, most of them at least, see none of these wonders. For them the curtain is down —fortune never comes with both hands full. Where she bestows great wealth she often denies the enjoyment of true benevolence; where she gives affluence and luxury, she refuses to add with it the understanding of brotherly love and charity. Be cheerful, O artists of all grades; be brave and work on patiently; for if your re
ward come not in this foolish brief bubble of a world, have no fear but that the Highest Patron of all—the Creator of Art and the Final Perfector of Beauty—will satisfy at last the unutterable longings of those among His faithful servitors, who, tried in searching fire, have not been found wanting.
THE “SLAIN” BYRON.
"It is announced," says the Literary Gossip of an evening contemporary, “that still another of the critics is marching out to slay the oft-slain Byron. . . . That Byron's popularity is decreasing a candid critic can hardly deny, though the fact only seems to show how fallacious is the contemporary estimate of men of genius.” This, and much more from the “smart” producer of the Literary paragraphs, concerning one of the grandest and most inspired poets that ever gave glory to England. And it is quite true that in these latter days a most unbecoming tendency has been displayed by the Infinitely-Little class of writing men, particularly small versifiers, to depreciate the worth and cheapen the fame of the unrivalled author of Childe Harold. The imperishable envy of the Lesser invariably creeps out when they presume to criticise the Great, and never did Algernon Charles Swinburne (whose genius, though far from approaching that of Byron, is still of a rare quality) appear to poorer advantage than when he used his pen to wantonly attack the fame of his more imperial brother in the realms of song. But it is not with
the unspeakable petty squabbles and “subtle” critical differences of the various followers of the Semi-Obscure modern school of poetry that I have to do. I would merely point out as briefly as possible a few facts in connection with the deathless, not “slain”, Byron-facts of which the larger majority of English readers seem to be lamentably ignorant.
To begin with, I am quite ready to admit that, with the characteristic ingratitude of all purely commercial nations to their best literary men, England does not, in this her Age of Mammon, know Byron or glory in him as she ought. But, is England, with all her greatness, the only country in the world? Surely there are a few others! And I trust it will not vex the mind or upset the literary digestion of any little aspiring modern poetling to have this knowledge gently imparted to him -namely, that in France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Russia, and Greece, Byron's reign is absolutely supreme, and on an almost equal footing with that of Shakespeare. Indeed, the French prefer him to Shakespeare—they give him a higher place of renown than their cherished De Musset; the Italians hold him dear as Petrarch or Ariosto; to the Greeks he is hero as well as bard; and along the lovely shores of the Lake of Geneva, which he has hallowed by his fiery minstrelsy, his name is the only one placed in companionship with that of Rousseau. Shelley is nowhere compared to him; Keats is almost