Zanoni eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 579 pages of information about Zanoni.
can bring him no money, unless he lets her out on the stage; so handsome, that every one asks who she is, and every one hears,—­the celebrated singer, Pisani.  Clarence Glyndon shuts himself up to grind colours and paint pictures in the grand historical school, which nobody buys.  There is even a prejudice against him, as not having studied in the Academy,—­as being an amateur.  Who is Mr. Clarence Glyndon?  Oh, the celebrated Pisani’s husband!  What else?  Oh, he exhibits those large pictures!  Poor man! they have merit in their way; but Teniers and Watteau are more convenient, and almost as cheap.  Clarence Glyndon, with an easy fortune while single, has a large family which his fortune, unaided by marriage, can just rear up to callings more plebeian than his own.  He retires into the country, to save and to paint; he grows slovenly and discontented; ‘the world does not appreciate him,’ he says, and he runs away from the world.  At the age of forty-five what will be Clarence Glyndon?  Your ambition shall decide that question also!”

“If all men were as worldly as you,” said Glyndon, rising, “there would never have been an artist or a poet!”

“Perhaps we should do just as well without them,” answered Mervale.  “Is it not time to think of dinner?  The mullets here are remarkably fine!”


     Wollt ihr hoch auf ihren Flugeln schweben,
     Werft die Angst des Irdischen von euch! 
     Fliehet aus dem engen dumpfen Leben
     In des Ideales Reich! 
     “Das Ideal und das Leben.”

     Wouldst thou soar heavenward on its joyous wing? 
     Cast off the earthly burden of the Real;
     High from this cramped and dungeoned being, spring
     Into the realm of the Ideal.

As some injudicious master lowers and vitiates the taste of the student by fixing his attention to what he falsely calls the Natural, but which, in reality, is the Commonplace, and understands not that beauty in art is created by what Raphael so well describes,—­namely, the idea of beauty in the painter’s own mind; and that in every art, whether its plastic expression be found in words or marble, colours or sounds, the servile imitation of Nature is the work of journeymen and tyros,—­so in conduct the man of the world vitiates and lowers the bold enthusiasm of loftier natures by the perpetual reduction of whatever is generous and trustful to all that is trite and coarse.  A great German poet has well defined the distinction between discretion and the larger wisdom.  In the last there is a certain rashness which the first disdains,—­

“The purblind see but the receding shore, Not that to which the bold wave wafts them o’er.”

Yet in this logic of the prudent and the worldly there is often a reasoning unanswerable of its kind.

You must have a feeling,—­a faith in whatever is self-sacrificing and divine, whether in religion or in art, in glory or in love; or Common-sense will reason you out of the sacrifice, and a syllogism will debase the Divine to an article in the market.

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Zanoni from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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