nothing of it -- what can we say to describe it? What a fine homely poet is the man who can produce this little world of mirth or woe for us! Does he elaborate his effects by slow process of thoughts, or do they come to him by instinct ? Does the painter ever arrange in his brain an image so complete, that he after- wards can copy it exactly on the canvass, or does the hand work in spite of him ?
A great deal of this random work of course every artist has done in his time, many men produce effects of which they never dreamed, and strike on excellencies, hap-hazard, which gain for them reputation; but a fine quality in Mr Cruikshank, the quality of his success, as we have said before, is the extraordinary earnestness and good faith with which he executes all he attempts -- the ludicrous, the polite, the low, the terrible. In the second of these he often, in our fancy, fails, his figures lacking elegance and descending to caricature; but there is something fine in this too; it is good that he should fail, that he should have these honest naive notions regarding the beau monde, the characteristics of which a namby-pamby tea-party painter could hit off far better than he. He is a great deal too downright and manly to appreciate the flimsy delicacies of small society -- you cannot expect a lion to roar you like any sucking dove, or frisk about a drawing-room like a lady's little spaniel.
If then, in the course of his life and business, he has been occasionally obliged to imitate the ways of such small animals, he has done so, let us say it at once, clumsily, and like as a lion should. Many artists, we hear, hold his works rather cheap; they prate about bad drawing, want of scientific knowledge; -- they would have something vastly more neat, regular, anatomical.
Not one of the whole band most likely but can paint an academy figure better than himself; nay, or a portrait of an alderman's lady and family of children. But look down the list of the painters and tell us who are they ? How many among these men are poets, makers, possessing the faculty to create, the greatest among the gifts with which Providence has endowed the mind of man? Say how many there are, count up what they have done, and see what in the course of some nine-and- twenty years has been done by this indefatigable man.
What amazing energetic fecundity do we find in him! As a boy he began to fight for bread, has been hungry (twice a day we trust) ever since, and has been obliged to sell his wit for his bread week by week. And his wit, sterling gold as it is, will find no such purchasers as the fashionable painter's thin pinch- beck, who can live comfortably for six weeks, when paid for and painting a portrait, and fancies his mind prodigiously occupied