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Val d'Arno by John Ruskin

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the contrary, you dress these destructive rustics and their officers in
scarlet and gold, but give your productive rustics no costume of honour
or beauty; you give your peaceful student a costume which he tucks up
to his waist, because he is ashamed of it; and dress your pious
rectors, and your sisters of charity, in black, as if it were _their_
trade instead of the soldier's to send people to hell, and their own
destiny to arrive there.

114. But the investiture of the lily of Florence with scarlet is a
symbol,--unintentional, observe, but not the less notable,--of the
recovery of human sense and intelligence in this matter. The reign of
war was past; this was the sign of it;--the red glow, not now of the
Towers of Dis, but of the Carita, "che appena fora dentro al fuoco
nota." And a day is coming, be assured, when the kings of Europe will
dress their peaceful troops beautifully; will clothe their peasant
girls "in scarlet, with other delights," and "put on ornaments of gold
upon _their_ apparel;" when the crocus and the lily will not be the
only living things dressed daintily in our land, and the glory of the
wisest monarchs be indeed, in that their people, like themselves, shall
be, at least in some dim likeness, "arrayed like one of these."

115. But as for the immediate behaviour of Florence herself, with her
new standard, its colour was quite sufficiently significant in that old
symbolism, when the first restrial bearing was drawn by dying fingers
dipped in blood. The Guelphic revolution had put her into definite
political opposition with her nearest, and therefore,--according to the
custom and Christianity of the time,--her hatefullest, neighbours,--
Pistoja, Pisa, Siena, and Volterra. What glory might not be acquired,
what kind purposes answered, by making pacific mercantile states also
of those benighted towns! Besides, the death of the Emperor had thrown
his party everywhere into discouragement; and what was the use of a
flag which flew no farther than over the new palazzo?

116. Accordingly, in the next year, the pacific Florentines began by
ravaging the territory of Pistoja; then attacked the Pisans at
Pontadera, and took 3000 prisoners; and finished by traversing, and
eating up all that could be ate in, the country of Siena; besides
beating the Sienese under the castle of Montalcino. Returning in
triumph after these benevolent operations, they resolved to strike a
new piece of money in memory of them,--the golden Florin!

117. This coin I have placed in your room of study, to be the first of
the series of coins which I hope to arrange for you, not
chronologically, but for the various interest, whether as regards art
or history, which they should possess in your general studies. "The
Florin of Florence," (says Sismondi), "through all the monetary
revolutions of all neighbouring countries, and while the bad faith of
governments adulterated their coin from one end of Europe to the other,
has always remained the same; it is, to-day," (I don't know when,
exactly, he wrote this,--but it doesn't matter), "of the same weight,
and bears the same name and the same stamp, which it did when it was
struck in 1252." It was gold of the purest title (24 carats), weighed
the eighth of an ounce, and carried, as you see, on one side the image
of St. John Baptist, on the other the Fleur-de-lys. It is the coin
which Chaucer takes for the best representation of beautiful money in
the Pardoner's Tale: this, in his judgment, is the fairest mask of
Death. Villani's relation of its moral and commercial effect at Tunis
is worth translating, being in the substance of it, I doubt not, true.

118. "And these new florins beginning to scatter through the world,
some of them got to Tunis, in Barbary; and the King of Tunis, who was a
worthy and wise lord, was greatly pleased with them, and had them
tested; and finding them of fine gold, he praised them much, and had
the legend on them interpreted to him,--to wit, on one side 'St. John
Baptist,' on the other 'Florentia.' So seeing they were pieces of
Christian money, he sent for the Pisan merchants, who were free of his
port, and much before the King (and also the Florentines traded in
Tunis through Pisan agents),--[see these hot little Pisans, how they
are first everywhere,]--and asked of them what city it was among the
Christians which made the said florins. And the Pisans answered in
spite and envy, 'They are our land Arabs.' The King answered wisely,
"It does not appear to me Arab's money; you Pisans, what golden money
have _you_ got?" Then they were confused, and knew not what to answer.
So he asked if there was any Florentine among them. And there was found
a merchant from the other-side-Arno, by name Peter Balducci, discreet
and wise. The King asked him of the state and being of Florence, of
which the Pisans made their Arabs,--who answered him wisely, showing
the power and magnificence of Florence; and how Pisa, in comparison,
was not, either in land or people, the half of Florence; and that they
had no golden money; and that the gold of which those florins had been
made was gained by the Florentines above and beyond them, by many
victories. Wherefore the said Pisans were put to shame, and the King,
both by reason of the florin, and for the words of our wise citizen,
made the Florentines free, and appointed for them their own Fondaco,
and church, in Tunis, and gave them privileges like the Pisans. And
this we know for a truth from the same Peter, having been in company
with him at the office of the Priors."

119. I cannot tell you what the value of the piece was at this time:
the sentence with which Sismondi concludes his account of it being only
useful as an example of the total ignorance of the laws of currency in
which many even of the best educated persons at the present day remain.

"Its value," he says always the same, "answers to eleven francs forty
centimes of France."

But all that can be scientifically said of any piece of money is that
it contains a given weight of a given metal. Its value in other coins,
other metals, or other general produce, varies not only from day to
day, but from instant to instant.

120. With this coin of Florence ought in justice to be ranked the
Venetian zecchin; [1] but of it I can only thus give you account in
another place,--for I must at once go on now to tell you the first use
I find recorded, as being made by the Florentines of their new money.

[Footnote 1: In connection with the Pisans' insulting intention by
their term of Arabs, remember that the Venetian 'zecca,' (mint) came
from the Arabic 'sehk,' the steel die used in coinage.]

They pursued in the years 1253 and 1254 their energetic promulgation of
peace. They ravaged the lands of Pistoja so often, that the Pistojese
submitted themselves, on condition of receiving back their Guelph
exiles, and admitting a Florentine garrison into Pistoja. Next they
attacked Monte Reggione, the March-fortress of the Sienese; and pressed
it so vigorously that Siena was fain to make peace too, on condition of
ceasing her alliance with the Ghibellines. Next they ravaged the
territory of Volterra: the townspeople, confident in the strength of
their rock fortress, came out to give battle; the Florentines beat them
up the hill, and entered the town gates with the fugitives.

121. And, for note to this sentence, in my long-since-read volume of
Sismondi, I find a cross-fleury at the bottom of the page, with the
date 1254 underneath it; meaning that I was to remember that year as
the beginning of Christian warfare. For little as you may think it, and
grotesquely opposed as this ravaging of their neighbours' territories
may seem to their pacific mission, this Florentine army is fighting in
absolute good faith. Partly self-deceived, indeed, by their own
ambition, and by their fiery natures, rejoicing in the excitement of
battle, they have nevertheless, in this their "year of victories,"--so
they ever afterwards called it,--no occult or malignant purpose. At
least, whatever is occult or malignant is also unconscious; not now in
cruel, but in kindly jealousy of their neighbours, and in a true desire
to communicate and extend to them the privileges of their own new
artizan government, the Trades of Florence have taken arms. They are
justly proud of themselves; rightly assured of the wisdom of the change
they have made; true to each other for the time, and confident in the
future. No army ever fought in better cause, or with more united heart.
And accordingly they meet with no check, and commit no error; from
tower to tower of the field fortresses,--from gate to gate of the great
cities,--they march in one continuous and daily more splendid triumph,
yet in gentle and perfect discipline; and now, when they have entered
Volterra with her fugitives, after stress of battle, not a drop of
blood is shed, nor a single house pillaged, nor is any other condition
of peace required than the exile of the Ghibelline nobles. You may
remember, as a symbol of the influence of Christianity in this result,
that the Bishop of Volterra, with his clergy, came out in procession to
meet them as they began to run [1] the streets, and obtained this
mercy; else the old habits of pillage would have prevailed.

[Footnote 1: Corsona la citta senza contesto niuno."--_Villani._]

122. And from Volterra, the Florentine army entered on the territory of
Pisa; and now with so high prestige, that the Pisans at once sent
ambassadors to them with keys in their hands, in token of submission.
And the Florentines made peace with them, on condition that the Pisans
should let the Florentine merchandize pass in and out without tax;--
should use the same weights as Florence,--the same cloth measure,--and
the same alloy of money.

123. You see that Mr. Adam Smith was not altogether the originator of
the idea of free trade; and six hundred years have passed without
bringing Europe generally to the degree of mercantile intelligence, as
to weights and currency, which Florence had in her year of victories.

The Pisans broke this peace two years afterwards, to help the Emperor
Manfred; whereupon the Florentines attacked them instantly again;
defeated them on the Serchio, near Lucca; entered the Pisan territory
by the Val di Serchio; and there, cutting down a great pine tree,
struck their florins on the stump of it, putting, for memory, under the
feet of the St. John, a trefoil "in guise of a little tree." And note
here the difference between artistic and mechanical coinage. The
Florentines, using pure gold, and thin, can strike their coin anywhere,
with only a wooden anvil, and their engraver is ready on the instant to
make such change in the stamp as may record any new triumph. Consider
the vigour, popularity, pleasantness of an art of coinage thus ductile
to events, and easy in manipulution.

124. It is to be observed also that a thin gold coinage like that of
the English angel, and these Italian zecchins, is both more convenient
and prettier than the massive gold of the Greeks, often so small that
it drops through the fingers, and, if of any size, inconveniently large
in value.

125. It was in the following year, 1255, that the Florentines made the
noblest use of their newly struck florins, so far as I know, ever
recorded in any history; and a Florentine citizen made as noble refusal
of them. You will find the two stories in Giovanni Villani, Book 6th,
chapters 61, 62. One or two important facts are added by Sismondi, but
without references. I take his statement as on the whole trustworthy,
using Villani's authority wherever it reaches; one or two points I have
farther to explain to you myself as I go on.

126. The first tale shows very curiously the mercenary and independent
character of warfare, as it now was carried on by the great chiefs,
whether Guelph or Ghibelline. The Florentines wanted to send a troop of
five hundred horse to assist Orvieto, a Guelph town, isolated on its
rock, and at present harrassed upon it. They gave command of this troop
to the Knight Guido Guerra de' Conti Guidi, and he and his riders set
out for Orvieto by the Umbrian road, through Arezzo, which was at peace
with Florence, though a Ghibelline town. The Guelph party within the
town asked help from the passing Florentine battalion; and Guido
Guerra, without any authority for such action, used the troop of which
he was in command in their favour, and drove out the Ghibellines.
Sismondi does not notice what is quite one of the main points in the
matter, that this troop of horse must have been mainly composed of
Count Guido's own retainers, and not of Florentine citizens, who would
not have cared to leave their business on such a far-off quest as this
help to Orvieto. However, Arezzo is thus brought over to the Florentine
interest; and any other Italian state would have been sure, while it
disclaimed the Count's independent action, to keep the advantage of it.
Not so Florence. She is entirely resolved, in these years of victory,
to do justice to all men so far she understands it; and in this case it
will give her some trouble to do it, and worse,--cost her some of her
fine new florins. For her counter-mandate is quite powerless with
Guido Guerra. He has taken Arezzo mainly with his own men, and means to
stay there, thinking that the Florentines, if even they do not abet
him, will take no practical steps against him. But he does not know
this newly risen clan of military merchants, who quite clearly
understand what honesty means, and will put themselves out of their way
to keep their faith. Florence calls out her trades instantly, and with
gules, a dragon vert, and or, a bull sable, they march, themselves,
angrily up the Val d'Arno, replace the adverse Ghibellines in Arezzo,
and send Master Guido de' Conti Guido about his business. But the
prettiest and most curious part of the whole story is their equity even
to him, after he had given them all this trouble. They entirely
recognize the need he is under of getting meat, somehow, for the mouths
of these five hundred riders of his; also they hold him still their
friend, though an unmanageable one; and admit with praise what of more
or less patriotic and Guelphic principle may be at the root of his
disobedience. So when he claims twelve thousand lire,--roughly, some
two thousand pounds of money at present value,--from the Guelphs of
Arezzo for his service, and the Guelphs, having got no good of it,
owing to this Florentine interference, object to paying him, the
Florentines themselves lend them the money,--and are never paid a
farthing of it back.

127. There is a beautiful "investment of capital" for your modern
merchant to study! No interest thought of, and little hope of ever
getting back the principal. And yet you will find that there were no
mercantile "panics," in Florence in those days, nor failing bankers,
[1] nor "clearings out of this establishment--any reasonable offer

[Footnote: Some account of the state of modern British business in this
kind will be given, I hope, in some number of "Fors Clavigera" for this
year, 1874.]

128. But the second story, of a private Florentine citizen, is better

In that campaign against Pisa in which the florins were struck on the
root of pine, the conditions of peace had been ratified by the
surrender to Florence of the Pisan fortress of Mutrona, which commanded
a tract of seaboard below Pisa, of great importance for the Tuscan
trade. The Florentines had stipulated for the right not only of
holding, but of destroying it, if they chose; and in their Council of
Ancients, after long debate, it was determined to raze it, the cost of
its garrison being troublesome, and the freedom of seaboard all that
the city wanted. But the Pisans feeling the power that the fortress had
against them in case of future war, and doubtful of the issue of
council at Florence, sent a private negotiator to the member of the
Council of Ancients who was known to have most influence, though one of
the poorest of them, Aldobrandino Ottobuoni; and offered him four
thousand golden florins if he would get the vote passed to raze
Mutrona. The vote _had_ passed the evening before. Aldobrandino
dismissed the Pisan ambassador in silence, returned instantly into the
council, and without saying anything of the offer that had been made to
him, got them to reconsider their vote, and showed them such reason for
keeping Mutrona in its strength, that the vote for its destruction was
rescinded. "And note thou, oh reader," says Villani, "the virtue of
such a citizen, who, not being rich in substance, had yet such
continence and loyalty for his state."

129. You might, perhaps, once, have thought me detaining you needlessly
with these historical details, little bearing, it is commonly supposed,
on the subject of art. But you are, I trust, now in some degree
persuaded that no art, Florentine or any other, can be understood
without knowing these sculptures and mouldings of the national soul.
You remember I first begun this large digression when it became a
question with us why some of Giovanni Pisano's sepulchral work had been
destroyed at Perugia. And now we shall get our first gleam of light on
the matter, finding similar operations carried on in Florence. For a
little while after this speech in the Council of Ancients, Aldobrandino
died, and the people, at public cost, built him a tomb of marble,
"higher than any other" in the church of Santa Reparata, engraving on
it these verses, which I leave you to construe, for I cannot:--

Fons est supremus Aldobrandino amoenus.
Ottoboni natus, a bono civita datus.

Only I suppose the pretty word 'amoenus' may be taken as marking the
delightfulness and sweetness of character which had won all men's love,
more, even, than their gratitude.

130. It failed of its effect, however, on the Tuscan aristocratic mind.
For, when, after the battle of the Arbia, the Ghibellines had again
their own way in Florence, though Ottobuoni had been then dead three
years, they beat down his tomb, pulled the dead body out of it, dragged
it--by such tenure as it might still possess--through the city, and
threw the fragments of it into ditches. It is a memorable parallel to
the treatment of the body of Cromwell by our own Cavaliers; and indeed
it seems to me one of the highest forms of laudatory epitaph upon a
man, that his body should be thus torn from its rest. For he can hardly
have spent his life better than in drawing on himself the kind of
enmity which can so be gratified; and for the most loving of lawgivers,
as of princes, the most enviable and honourable epitaph has always been

[Greek: "_oide plitai anton emisoun anton_."

131. Not but that pacific Florence, in her pride of victory, was
beginning to show unamiableness of temper also, on her so equitable
side. It is perhaps worth noticing, for the sake of the name of
Correggio, that in 1257, when Matthew Correggio, of Parma, was the
Podesta of Florence, the Florentines determined to destroy the castle
and walls of Poggibonzi, suspected of Ghibelline tendency, though the
Poggibonzi people came with "coregge in collo," leathern straps round
their necks, to ask that their cattle might be spared. And the
heartburnings between the two parties went on, smouldering hotter and
hotter, till July, 1258, when the people having discovered secret
dealings between the Uberti and the Emperor Manfred, and the Uberti
refusing to obey citation to the popular tribunals, the trades ran to
arms, attacked the Uberti palace, killed a number of their people, took
prisoner, Uberto of the Uberti, Hubert of the Huberts, or Bright-mind
of the Bright-minds, with 'Mangia degl' Infangati, ('Gobbler [1] of the
dirty ones' this knight's name sounds like,)--and after they had
confessed their guilt, beheaded them in St. Michael's corn-market; and
all the rest of the Uberti and Ghibelline families were driven out of
Florence, and their palaces pulled down, and the walls towards Siena
built with the stones of them; and two months afterwards, the people
suspecting the Abbot of Vallombrosa of treating with the Ghibellines,
took him, and tortured him; and he confessing under torture, "at the
cry of the people, they beheaded him in the square of St. Apollinare."
For which unexpected piece of clangorous impiety the Florentines were
excommunicated, besides drawing upon themselves the steady enmity of
Pavia, the Abbot's native town; "and indeed people say the Abbot was
innocent, though he belonged to a great Ghibelline house. And for this
sin, and for many others done by the wicked people, many wise persons
say that God, for Divine judgment, permitted upon the said people the
revenge and slaughter of Monteaperti."

[Footnote: At least, the compound 'Mangia-pane,' 'munch-bread,' stands
still for a good-for-nothing fellow.]

132. The sentence which I have last read introduces, as you must at
once have felt, a new condition of things. Generally, I have spoken of
the Ghibellines as infidel, or impious; and for the most part they
represent, indeed, the resistance of kingly to priestly power. But, in
this action of Florence, we have the rise of another force against the
Church, in the end to be much more fatal to it, that of popular
intelligence and popular passion. I must for the present, however,
return to our immediate business; and ask you to take note of the
effect, on actually existing Florentine architecture, of the political
movements of the ten years we have been studying.

133. In the revolution of Candlemas, 1248, the successful Ghibellines
throw down thirty-six of the Guelph palaces.

And in the revolution of July, 1258, the successful Guelphs throw down
_all_ the Ghibelline palaces.

Meantime the trades, as against the Knights Castellans, have thrown
down the tops of all the towers above seventy-five feet high.

And we shall presently have a proposal, after the battle of the Arbia,
to throw down Florence altogether.

134. You think at first that this is remarkably like the course of
republican reformations in the present day? But there is a wide
difference. In the first place, the palaces and towers are not thrown
down in mere spite or desire of ruin, but after quite definite
experience of their danger to the State, and positive dejection of
boiling lead and wooden logs from their machicolations upon the heads
below. In the second place, nothing is thrown down without complete
certainty on the part of the overthrowers that they are able, and
willing, to build as good or better things instead; which, if any like
conviction exist in the minds of modern republicans, is a wofully ill-
founded one: and lastly, these abolitions of private wealth were
coincident with a widely spreading disposition to undertake, as I have
above noticed, works of public utility, _from which no dividends were
to be received by any of the shareholders_; and for the execution of
which the _builders received no commission on the cost_, but payment at
the rate of so much a day, carefully adjusted to the exertion of real
power and intelligence.

135. We must not, therefore, without qualification blame, though we may
profoundly regret, the destructive passions of the thirteenth century.
The architecture of the palaces thus destroyed in Florence contained
examples of the most beautiful round-arched work that had been
developed by the Norman schools; and was in some cases adorned with a
barbaric splendour, and fitted into a majesty of strength which, so far
as I can conjecture the effect of it from the few now existing traces,
must have presented some of the most impressive aspects of street
edifice ever existent among civil societies.

136. It may be a temporary relief for you from the confusion of
following the giddy successions of Florentine temper, if I interrupt,
in this place, my history of the city by some inquiry into technical
points relating to the architecture of these destroyed palaces. Their
style is familiar to us, indeed, in a building of which it is difficult
to believe the early date,--the leaning tower of Pisa. The lower
stories of it are of the twelfth century, and the open arcades of the
cathedrals of Pisa and Lucca, as well as the lighter construction of
the spire of St. Niccol, at Pisa, (though this was built in
continuation of the older style by Niccola himself,) all represent to
you, though in enriched condition, the general manner of buidling in
palaces of the Norman period in Val d'Arno. That of the Tosinghi, above
the old market in Florence, is especially mentioned by Villani, as more
than a hundred feet in height, entirely built with little pillars,
(colonnelli,) of marble. On their splendid masonry was founded the
exquisiteness of that which immediately succeeded them, of which the
date is fixed by definite examples both in Verona and Florence, and
which still exists in noble masses in the retired streets and courts of
either city; too soon superseded, in the great thoroughfares, by the
effeminate and monotonous luxury of Venetian renaissance, or by the
heaps of quarried stone which rise into the ruggedness of their native
cliffs, in the Pitti and Strozzi palaces.



137. I told you in my last lecture that the exquisiteness of Florentine
thirteenth century masonry was founded on the strength and splendour of
that which preceded it.

I use the word 'founded' in a literal as well as figurative sense.
While the merchants, in their year of victories, threw down the walls
of the war-towers, they as eagerly and diligently set their best
craftsmen to lift higher the walls of their churches. For the most
part, the Early Norman or Basilican forms were too low to please them
in their present enthusiasm. Their pride, as well as their piety,
desired that these stones of their temples might be goodly; and all
kinds of junctions, insertions, refittings, and elevations were
undertaken; which, the genius of the people being always for mosaic,
are so perfectly executed, and mix up twelfth and thirteenth century
work in such intricate harlequinade, that it is enough to drive a poor
antiquary wild.

138. I have here in my hand, however, a photograph of a small church,
which shows you the change at a glance, and attests it in a notable

You know Hubert of Lucca was the first captain of the Florentine
people, and the march in which they struck their florin on the pine
trunk was through Lucca, on Pisa.

Now here is a little church in Lucca, of which the lower half of the
facade is of the twelfth century, and the top, built by the
Florentines, in the thirteenth, and sealed for their own by two fleur-
de-lys, let into its masonry. The most important difference, marking
the date, is in the sculpture of the heads which carry the archivolts.
But the most palpable difference is in the Cyclopean simplicity of
irregular bedding in the lower story; and the delicate bands of
alternate serpentine and marble, which follow the horizontal or
couchant placing of the stones above.

139. Those of you who, interested in English Gothic, have visited
Tuscany, are, I think, always offended at first, if not in permanence,
by these horizontal stripes of her marble walls. Twenty-two years ago I
quoted, in vol. i. of the "Stones of Venice," Professor Willis's
statement that "a practice more destructive of architectural grandeur
could hardly be conceived;" and I defended my favourite buildings
against that judgement, first by actual comparison in the plate
opposite the page, of a piece of them with an example of our modern
grandeur; secondly, (vol. i., chap. v.,) by a comparison of their
aspect with that of the building of the grandest piece of wall in the
Alps,--that Matterhorn in which you all have now learned to take some
gymnastic interest; and thirdly, (vol. i., chap. xxvi.,) by reference
to the use of barred colours, with delight, by Giotto and all
subsequent colourists.

140. But it did not then occur to me to ask, much as I always disliked
the English Perpendicular, what would have been the effect on the
spectator's mind, had the buildings been striped vertically instead of
horizontally; nor did I then know, or in the least imagine, how much
_practical_ need there was for reference from the structure of the
edifice to that of the cliff; and how much the permanence, as well as
propriety, of structure depended on the stones being _couchant_ in the
wall, as they had been in the quarry: to which subject I wish to-day to
direct your attention.

141. You will find stated with as much clearness as I am able, in the
first and fifth lectures in "Aratra Pentelici," the principles of
architectural design to which, in all my future teaching, I shall have
constantly to appeal; namely, that architecture consists distinctively
in the adaptation of form to resist force;--that, practically, it may
be always thought of as doing this by the ingenious adjustment of
various pieces of solid material; that the perception of this ingenious
adjustment, or structure, is to be always joined with our admiration of
the superadded ornament; and that all delightful ornament is the
honouring of such useful structures; but that the beauty of the
ornament itself is independent of the structure, and arrived at by
powers of mind of a very different class from those which are necessary
to give skill in architecture proper.

142. During the course of this last summer I have been myself very
directly interested in some of the quite elementary processes of true
architecture. I have been building a little pier into Coniston Lake,
and various walls and terraces in a steeply sloping garden, all which
had to be constructed of such rough stones as lay nearest. Under the
dextrous hands of a neighbour farmer's son, the pier projected, and the
walls rose, as if enchanted; every stone taking its proper place, and
the loose dyke holding itself as firmly upright as if the gripping
cement of the Florentine towers had fastened it. My own better
acquaintance with the laws of gravity and of statics did not enable me,
myself, to build six inches of dyke that would stand; and all the
decoration possible under the circumstances consisted in turning the
lichened sides of the stones outwards. And yet the noblest conditions
of building in the world are nothing more than the gradual adornment,
by play of the imagination, of materials first arranged by this natural
instinct of adjustment. You must not lose sight of the instinct of
building, but you must not think the play of the imagination depends
upon it. Intelligent laying of stones is always delightful; but the
fancy must not be limited to its contemplation.


143. In the more elaborate architecture of my neighbourhood, I have
taken pleasure these many years; one of the first papers I ever wrote
on architecture was a study of the Westmoreland cottage;--properly,
observe, the cottage of West-mereland, of the land of western lakes.
Its principal feature is the projecting porch at its door, formed by
two rough slabs of Coniston slate, set in a blunt gable; supported, if
far projecting, by two larger masses for uprights. A disciple of Mr.
Pugin would delightedly observe that the porch of St. Zeno at Verona
was nothing more than the decoration of this construction; but you do
not suppose that the first idea of putting two stones together to keep
off rain was all on which the sculptor of St. Zeno wished to depend for
your entertainment.

144. Perhaps you may most clearly understand the real connection
between structure and decoration by considering all architecture as a
kind of book, which must be properly bound indeed, and in which the
illumination of the pages has distinct reference in all its forms to
the breadth of the margins and length of the sentences; but is itself
free to follow its own quite separate and higher objects of design.

145. Thus, for instance, in the architecture which Niccola was occupied
upon, when a boy, under his Byzantine master. Here is the door of the
Baptistery at Pisa, again by Mr. Severn delightfully enlarged for us
from a photograph. [1] The general idea of it is a square-headed
opening in a solid wall, faced by an arch carried on shafts. And the
ornament does indeed follow this construction so that the eye catches
it with ease,--but under what arbitrary conditions! In the square door,
certainly the side-posts of it are as important members as the lintel
they carry; but the lintel is carved elaborately, and the side-posts
left blank. Of the facing arch and shaft, it would be similarly
difficult to say whether the sustaining vertical, or sustained curve,
were the more important member of the construction; but the decorator
now reverses the distribution of his care, adorns the vertical member
with passionate elaboration, and runs a narrow band, of comparatively
uninteresting work, round the arch. Between this outer shaft and inner
door is a square pilaster, of which the architect carves one side, and
lets the other alone. It is followed by a smaller shaft and arch, in
which he reverses his treatment of the outer order by cutting the shaft
delicately and the arch deeply. Again, whereas in what is called the
decorated construction of English Gothic, the pillars would have been
left plain and the spandrils deep cut,--here, are we to call it
decoration of the construction, when the pillars are carved and the
spandrils left plain? Or when, finally, either these spandril spaces on
each side of the arch, or the corresponding slopes of the gable, are
loaded with recumbent figures by the sculptors of the renaissance, are
we to call, for instance, Michael Angelo's Dawn and Twilight, only the
decorations of the sloping plinths of a tomb, or trace to a geometrical
propriety the subsequent rule in Italy that no window could be properly
complete for living people to look out of, without having two stone
people sitting on the corners of it above? I have heard of charming
young ladies occasionally, at very crowded balls, sitting on the
stairs,--would you call them, in that case, only decorations of the
construction of the staircase?

[Footnote 1: Plate 5 is from the photograph itself; the enlarged
drawing showed the arrangement of parts more clearly, but necessarily
omitted detail which it is better here to retain.]

146. You will find, on consideration, the ultimate fact to be that to
which I have just referred you;--my statement in "Aratra," that the
idea of a construction originally useful is retained in good
architecture, through all the amusement of its ornamentation; as the
idea of the proper function of any piece of dress ought to be retained
through its changes in form or embroidery. A good spire or porch
retains the first idea of a roof usefully covering a space, as a Norman
high cap or elongated Quaker's bonnet retains the original idea of a
simple covering for the head; and any extravagance of subsequent fancy
may be permitted, so long as the notion of use is not altogether lost.
A girl begins by wearing a plain round hat to shade her from the sun;
she ties it down over her ears on a windy day; presently she decorates
the edge of it, so bent, with flowers in front, or the riband that ties
it with a bouquet at the side, and it becomes a bonnet. This decorated
construction may be discreetly changed, by endless fashion, so long as
it does not become a clearly useless riband round the middle of the
head, or a clearly useless saucer on the top of it.

147. Again, a Norman peasant may throw up the top of her cap into a
peak, or a Bernese one put gauze wings at the side of it, and still be
dressed with propriety, so long as her hair is modestly confined, and
her ears healthily protected, by the matronly safeguard of the real
construction. She ceases to be decorously dressed only when the
material becomes too flimsy to answer such essential purpose, and the
flaunting pendants or ribands can only answer the ends of coquetry or
ostentation. Similarly, an architect may deepen or enlarge, in
fantastic exaggeration, his original Westmoreland gable into Rouen
porch, and his original square roof into Coventry spire; but he must
not put within his splendid porch, a little door where two persons
cannot together get in, nor cut his spire away into hollow filigree,
and mere ornamental perviousness to wind and rain.

148. Returning to our door at Pisa, we shall find these general
questions as to the distribution of ornament much confused with others
as to its time and style. We are at once, for instance, brought to a
pause as to the degree in which the ornamentation was once carried out
in the doors themselves. Their surfaces were, however, I doubt not,
once recipients of the most elaborate ornament, as in the Baptistery of
Florence; and in later bronze, by John of Bologna, in the door of the
Pisan cathedral opposite this one. And when we examine the sculpture
and placing of the lintel, which at first appeared the most completely
Greek piece of construction of the whole, we find it so far advanced in
many Gothic characters, that I once thought it a later interpolation
cutting the inner pilasters underneath their capitals, while the three
statues set on it are certainly, by several tens of years, later still.

149. How much ten years did at this time, one is apt to forget; and how
irregularly the slower minds of the older men would surrender
themselves, sadly, or awkwardly, to the vivacities of their pupils. The
only wonder is that it should be usually so easy to assign conjectural
dates within twenty or thirty years; but, at Pisa, the currents of
tradition and invention run with such cross eddies, that I often find
myself utterly at fault. In this lintel, for instance, there are two
pieces separated by a narrower one, on which there has been an
inscription, of which in my enlarged plate you may trace, though, I
fear, not decipher, the few letters that remain. The uppermost of these
stones is nearly pure in its Byzantine style; the lower, already semi-
Gothic. Both are exquisite of their kind, and we will examine them
closely; but first note these points about the stones of them. We are
discussing work at latest of the thirteenth century. Our loss of the
inscription is evidently owing to the action of the iron rivets which
have been causelessly used at the two horizontal joints. There was
nothing whatever in the construction to make these essential, and, but
for this error, the entire piece of work, as delicate as an ivory
tablet, would be as intelligible to-day as when it was laid in its
place. [1]

[Footnote: Plates 6 and 7 give, in greater clearness, the sculpture of
this lintel, for notes on which see Appendix.]

150. _Laid_. I pause upon this word, for it is an important one. And I
must devote the rest of this lecture to consideration merely of what
follows from the difference between laying a stone and setting it up,
whether we regard sculpture or construction. The subject is so wide, I
scarcely know how to approach it. Perhaps it will be the pleasantest
way to begin if I read you a letter from one of yourselves to me. A
very favourite pupil, who travels third class always, for sake of
better company, wrote to me the other day: "One of my fellow-
travellers, who was a builder, or else a master mason, told me that the
way in which red sandstone buildings last depends entirely on the way
in which the stone is laid. It must lie as it does in the quarry; but
he said that very few workmen could always tell the difference between
the joints of planes of cleavage and the--something else which I
couldn't catch,--by which he meant, I suppose planes of stratification.
He said too that some people, though they were very particular



about having the stone laid well, allowed blocks to stand in the rain
the wrong way up, and that they never recovered one wetting. The stone
of the same quarry varies much, and he said that moss will grow
immediately on good stone, but not on bad. How curious,--nature helping
the best workman!" Thus far my favourite pupil.

151. 'Moss will grow on the best stone.' The first thing your modern
restorer would do is to scrape it off; and with it, whatever knitted
surface, half moss root, protects the interior stone. Have you ever
considered the infinite functions of protection to mountain form
exercised by the mosses and lichens? It will perhaps be refreshing to
you after our work among the Pisan marbles and legends, if we have a
lecture or two on moss. Meantime I need not tell you that it would not
be a satisfactory natural arrangement if moss grew on marble, and that
all fine workmanship in marble implies equal exquisiteness of surface
and edge.

152. You will observe also that the importance of laying the stone in
the building as it lay in its bed was from the first recognised by all
good northern architects, to such extent that to lay stones 'en delit,'
or in a position out of their bedding, is a recognized architectural
term in France, where all structural building takes its rise; and in
that form of 'delit' the word gets most curiously involved with the
Latin delictum and deliquium. It would occupy the time of a whole
lecture if I entered into the confused relations of the words derived
from lectus, liquidus, delinquo, diliquo, and deliquesco; and of the
still more confused, but beautifully confused, (and enriched by
confusion,) forms of idea, whether respecting morality or marble,
arising out of the meanings of these words: the notions of a bed
gathered or strewn for the rest, whether of rocks or men; of the
various states of solidity and liquidity connected with strength, or
with repose; and of the duty of staying quiet in a place, or under a
law, and the mischief of leaving it, being all fastened in the minds of
early builders, and of the generations of men for whom they built, by
the unescapable bearing of geological laws on their life; by the ease
or difficulty of splitting rocks, by the variable consistency of the
fragments split, by the innumerable questions occurring practically as
to bedding and cleavage in every kind of stone, from tufo to granite,
and by the unseemly, or beautiful, destructive, or protective, effects
of decomposition. [1] The same processes of time which cause your
Oxford oolite to flake away like the leaves of a mouldering book, only
warm with a glow of perpetually deepening gold the marbles of Athens
and Verona; and the same laws of chemical change which reduce the
granites of Dartmoor to porcelain clay, bind the sands of Coventry into
stones which can be built up halfway to the sky.

[Footnote 1: This passage cannot but seem to the reader loose and
fantastic. I have elaborate notes, and many an unwritten thought, on
these matters, but no time or strength to develop them. The passage is
not fantastic, but the rapid index of what I know to be true in all the
named particulars. But compare, for mere rough illustration of what I
mean, the moral ideas relating to the stone of Jacob's pillow, or the
tradition of it, with those to which French Flamboyant Gothic owes its

153. But now, as to the matter immediately before us, observe what a
double question arises about laying stones as they lie in the quarry.
First, how _do_ they lie in the quarry? Secondly, how can we lay them
so in every part of our building?

A. How do they lie in the quarry? Level, perhaps, at Stonesfield and
Coventry; but at an angle of 45 deg. at Carrara; and for aught I know, of
90 deg. in Paros or Pentelicus. Also, the _bedding_ is of prime importance
at Coventry, but the _cleavage_ at Coniston. [1]

[Footnote 1: There are at least four definite cleavages at Coniston,
besides joints. One of these cleavages furnishes the Coniston slate of
commerce; another forms the ranges of Wetherlam and Yewdale crag; a
third cuts these ranges to pieces, striking from north-west to south-
east; and a fourth into other pieces, from north-east to south-west.]

B. And then, even if we know what the quarry bedding is, how are we to
keep it always in our building? You may lay the stones of a wall
carefully level, but how will you lay those of an arch? You think
these, perhaps, trivial, or merely curious questions. So far from it,
the fact that while the bedding in Normandy is level, that at Carrara
is steep, and that the forces which raised the beds of Carrara
crystallized them also, so that the cleavage which is all-important in
the stones of my garden wall is of none in the duomo of Pisa,--simply
determined the possibility of the existence of Pisan sculpture at all,
and regulated the whole life and genius of Nicholas the Pisan and of
Christian art. And, again, the fact that you can put stones in true
bedding in a wall, but cannot in an arch, determines the structural
transition from classical to Gothic architecture.

154. The _structural_ transition, observe; only a part, and that not
altogether a coincident part, of the _moral_ transition. Read
carefully, if you have time, the articles 'Pierre' and 'Meneau' in M.
Violet le Duc's Dictionary of Architecture, and you will know
everything that is of importance in the changes dependent on the mere
qualities of _matter_. I must, however, try to set in your view also
the relative acting qualities of _mind_.

You will find that M. Violet le Duc traces all the forms of Gothic
tracery to the geometrical and practically serviceable development of
the stone 'chassis,' chasing, or frame, for the glass. For instance, he
attributes the use of the cusp or 'redent' in its more complex forms,
to the necessity, or convenience, of diminishing the space of glass
which the tracery grasps; and he attributes the reductions of the
mouldings in the tracery bar under portions of one section, to the
greater facility thus obtained by the architect in directing his
workmen. The plan of a window once given, and the moulding-section,--
all is said, thinks M. Violet le Duc. Very convenient indeed, for
modern architects who have commission on the cost. But certainly not
necessary, and perhaps even inconvenient, to Niccola Pisano, who is
himself his workman, and cuts his own traceries, with his apron loaded
with dust.

155. Again, the _re_dent--the 'tooth within tooth' of a French tracery
--may be necessary, to bite its glass. But the cusp, cuspis, spiny or
spearlike point of a thirteenth century illumination, is not in the
least necessary to transfix the parchment. Yet do you suppose that the
structural convenience of the redent entirely effaces from the mind of
the designer the aesthetic characters which he seeks in the cusp? If
you could for an instant imagine this, you would be undeceived by a
glance either at the early redents of Amiens, fringing hollow vaults,
or the late redents of Rouen, acting as crockets on the _outer_ edges
of pediments. 156. Again: if you think of the tracery in its _bars_,
you call the cusp a redent; but if you think of it in the _openings_,
you call the apertures of it foils. Do you suppose that the thirteenth
century builder thought only of the strength of the bars of his
enclosure, and never of the beauty of the form he enclosed? You will
find in my chapter on the Aperture, in the "Stones of Venice," full
development of the aesthetic laws relating to both these forms, while
you may see, in Professor Willis's 'Architecture of the Middle Ages,' a
beautiful analysis of the development of tracery from the juxtaposition
of aperture; and in the article 'Meneau,' just quoted of M. Violet le
Duc, an equally beautiful analysis of its development from the masonry
of the chassis. You may at first think that Professor Willis's analysis
is inconsistent with M. Violet le Duc's. But they are no more
inconsistent than the accounts of the growth of a human being would be,
if given by two anatomists, of whom one had examined only the skeleton
and the other only the respiratory system; and who, therefore,
supposed--the first, that the animal had been made only to leap, and
the other only to sing. I don't mean that either of the writers I name
are absolutely thus narrow in their own views, but that, so far as
inconsistency appears to exist between them, it is of that partial kind

157. And for the understanding of our Pisan traceries we must introduce
a third element of similarly distinctive nature. We must, to press our
simile a little farther, examine the growth of the animal as if it had
been made neither to leap, nor to sing, but only to think. We must
observe the transitional states of its nerve power; that is to say, in
our window tracery we must consider not merely how its ribs are built,
(or how it stands,) nor merely how its openings are shaped, or how it
breathes; but also what its openings are made to light, or its shafts
to receive, of picture or image. As the limbs of the building, it may
be much; as the lungs of the building, more. As the _eyes_ [1] of the
building, what?

[Footnote 1: I am ashamed to italicize so many words; but these
passages, written for oral delivery, can only be understood if read
with oral emphasis. This is the first aeries of lectures which I have
printed as they were to be spoken; and it is a great mistake.]

158. Thus you probably have a distinct idea--those of you at least who
are interested in architecture--of the shape of the windows in
Westminster Abbey, in the Cathedral of Chartres, or in the Duomo of
Milan. Can any of you, I should like to know, make a guess at the shape
of the windows in the Sistine Chapel, the Stanze of the Vatican, the
Scuola di San Rocco, or the lower church of Assisi? The soul or anima
of the first three buildings is in their windows; but of the last
three, in their walls.

All these points I may for the present leave you to think over for
yourselves, except one, to which I must ask yet for a few moments your
further attention.

159. The trefoils to which I have called your attention in Niccola's
pulpit are as absolutely without structural office in the circles as in
the panels of the font beside it. But the circles are drawn with
evident delight in the lovely circular line, while the trefoil is
struck out by Niccola so roughly that there is not a true compass curve
or section in any part of it.

Roughly, I say. Do you suppose I ought to have said carelessly? So far
from it, that if one sharper line or more geometric curve had been
given, it would have caught the eye too strongly, and drawn away the
attention from the sculpture. But imagine the feeling with which a
French master workman would first see these clumsy intersections of
curves. It would be exactly the sensation with which a practical
botanical draughtsman would look at a foliage background of Sir Joshua

But Sir Joshua's sketched leaves would indeed imply some unworkmanlike
haste. We must not yet assume the Pisan master to have allowed himself
in any such. His mouldings may be hastily cut, for they are, as I have
just said, unnecessary to his structure, and disadvantageous to his
decoration; but he is not likely to be careless about arrangements
necessary for strength. His mouldings may be cut hastily, but do you
think his _joints_ will be?

160. What subject of extended inquiry have we in this word, ranging
from the cementless clefts between the couchant stones of the walls of
the kings of Rome, whose iron rivets you had but the other day placed
in your hands by their discoverer, through the grip of the stones of
the Tower of the Death-watch, to the subtle joints in the marble armour
of the Florentine Baptistery!

Our own work must certainly be left with a rough surface at this place,
and we will fit the edges of it to our next piece of study as closely
as we may.



161. I closed my last lecture at the question respecting Nicholas's
masonry. His mouldings may be careless, but do you think his joints
will be?

I must remind you now of the expression as to the building of the
communal palace--"of _dressed_ stones" [1]--as opposed to the Tower of
the Death-watch, in which the grip of cement had been so good.
Virtually, you will find that the schools of structural architecture
are those which use cement to bind

[Footnote 1: "Pietre conce." The portion of the has-reliefs of Orvieto,
given in the opposite plate, will show the importance of the jointing.
Observe the way in which the piece of stone with the three principal
figures is dovetailed above the extended band, and again in the rise
above the joint of the next stone on the right, the sculpture of the
wings being carried across the junction. I have chosen this piece on
purpose, because the loss of the broken fragment, probably broken by
violence, and the only serious injury which the sculptures have
received, serves to show the perfection of the uninjured surface, as
compared with northern sculpture of the same date. I have thought it
well to show at the same time the modern German engraving of the
subject, respecting which see Appendix.]


their materials together, and in which, therefore, balance of _weight_
becomes a continual and inevitable question. But the schools of
sculptural architecture are those in which stones are fitted without
cement, in which, therefore, the question of _fitting_ or adjustment is
continual and inevitable, but the sustainable weight practically

162. You may consider the Tower of the Death-watch as having been knit
together like the mass of a Roman brick wall.

But the dressed stone work of the thirteenth century is the hereditary
completion of such block-laying, as the Parthenon in marble; or, in
tufo, as that which was shown you so lately in the walls of Romulus;
and the decoration of that system of couchant stone is by the finished
grace of mosaic or sculpture.

163. It was also pointed out to you by Mr. Parker that there were two
forms of Cyclopean architecture; one of level blocks, the other of
polygonal,--contemporary, but in localities affording different
material of stone.

I have placed in this frame examples of the Cyclopean horizontal, and
the Cyclopean polygonal, architecture of the thirteenth century. And as
Hubert of Lucca was the master of the new buildings at Florence, I have
chosen the Cyclopean horizontal from his native city of Lucca; and as
our Nicholas and John brought their new Gothic style into practice at
Orvieto, I have chosen the Cyclopean polygonal from their adopted city
of Orvieto.

Both these examples of architecture are early thirteenth century work,
the beginnings of its new and Christian style, but beginnings with
which Nicholas and John had nothing to do; they were part of the
national work going on round them.

164. And this example from Lucca is of a very important class indeed.
It is from above the east entrance gate of Lucca, which bears the cross
above it, as the doors of a Christian city should. Such a city is, or
ought to be, a place of peace, as much as any monastery.

This custom of placing the cross above the gate is Byzantine-Christian;
and here are parallel instances of its treatment from Assisi. The lamb
with the cross is given in the more elaborate arch of Verona.

165. But farther. The mosaic of this cross is so exquisitely fitted
that no injury has been received by it to this day from wind or
weather. And the horizontal dressed stones are laid so daintily that
not an edge of them has stirred; and, both to draw your attention to
their beautiful fitting, and as a substitute for cement, the architect
cuts his uppermost block so as to dovetail into the course below.

Dovetail, I say deliberately. This is stone carpentry, in which the
carpenter despises glue. I don't say he won't use glue, and glue of the
best, but he feels it to be a nasty thing, and that it spoils his wood
or marble. None, at least, he determines shall be seen outside, and his
laying of stones shall be so solid and so adjusted that, take all the
cement away, his wall shall yet stand.

Stonehenge, the Parthenon, the walls of the Kings, this gate of Lucca,
this window of Orvieto, and this tomb at Verona, are all built on the
Cyclopean principle. They will stand without cement, and no cement
shall be seen outside. Mr. Burgess and I actually tried the experiment
on this tomb. Mr. Burgess modelled every stone of it in clay, put them
together, and it stood.

166. Now there are two most notable characteristics about this
Cyclopean architecture to which I beg your close attention.

The first: that as the laying of stones is so beautiful, their joints
become a subject of admiration, and great part of the architectural
ornamentation is in the beauty of lines of separation, drawn as finely
as possible. Thus the separating lines of the bricks at Siena, of this
gate at Lucca, of the vault at Verona, of this window at Orvieto, and
of the contemporary refectory at Furness Abbey, are a main source of
the pleasure you have in the building. Nay, they are not merely
engravers' lines, but, in finest practice, they are mathematical lines
--length without breadth. Here in my hand is a little shaft of
Florentine mosaic executed at the present day. The separations between
the stones are, in dimension, mathematical lines. And the two sides of
the thirteenth century porch of St. Anastasia at Verona are built in
this manner,--so exquisitely, that for some time, my mind not having
been set at it, I passed them by as painted!

167. That is the first character of the Florentine Cyclopean But
secondly; as the joints are so firm, and as the building must never
stir or settle after it is built, the sculptor may trust his work to
two stones set side by side, or one above another, and carve
continuously over the whole surface, disregarding the joints, if he so

Of the degree of precision with which Nicholas of Pisa and his son
adjusted their stones, you may judge by this rough sketch of a piece of
St. Mary's of the Thorn, in which the design is of panels enclosing
very delicately sculptured heads; and one would naturally suppose that
the enclosing panels would be made of jointed pieces, and the heads
carved separately and inserted. But the Pisans would have considered
that unsafe masonry,--liable to the accident of the heads being dropped
out, or taken away. John of Pisa did indeed use such masonry, of
necessity, in his fountain; and the bas-reliefs _have_ been taken away.
But here one great block of marble forms part of two panels, and the
mouldings and head are both carved in the solid, the joint running just
behind the neck.

168. Such masonry is, indeed, supposing there were no fear of thieves,
gratuitously precise in a case of this kind, in which the ornamentation
is in separate masses, and might be separately carved. But when the
ornamentation is current, and flows or climbs along the stone in the
manner of waves or plants, the concealment of the joints of the pieces
of marble becomes altogether essential. And here we enter upon a most
curious group of associated characters in Gothic as opposed to Greek

169. If you have been able to read the article to which I referred you,
'Meneau,' in M. Violet le Duc's dictionary, you know that one great
condition of the perfect Gothic structure is that the stones shall be
'en de-lit,' set up on end. The ornament then, which on the reposing or
couchant stone was current only, on the erected stone begins to climb
also, and becomes, in the most heraldic sense of the term, rampant.

In the heraldic sense, I say, as distinguished from the still wider
original sense of advancing with a stealthy, creeping, or clinging
motion, as a serpent on the ground, and a cat, or a vine, up a tree-
stem. And there is one of these reptile, creeping, or rampant things,
which is the first whose action was translated into marble, and
otherwise is of boundless importance in the arts and labours of man.

170. You recollect Kingsley's expression,--now hackneyed, because
admired for its precision,--the '_crawling foam_,' of waves advancing
on sand. Tennyson has somewhere also used, with equal truth, the
epithet 'climbing' of the spray of breakers against vertical rock. [1]
In either instance, the sea action is literally 'rampant'; and the
course of a great breaker, whether in its first proud likeness to a
rearing horse, or in the humble and subdued gaining of the outmost
verge of its foam on the sand, or the intermediate spiral whorl which
gathers into a lustrous precision, like that of a polished shell, the
grasping force of a giant, you have the most vivid sight and embodiment
of literally rampant energy; which the Greeks expressed in their
symbolic Poseidon, Scylla, and sea-horse, by the head and crest of the
man, dog, or horse, with the body of the serpent; and of which you will
find the slower image, in vegetation, rendered both by the spiral
tendrils of grasping or climbing plants, and the perennial gaining of
the foam or the lichen upon barren shores of stone.

[Footnote: Perhaps I am thinking of Lowell, not Tennyson; I have not
time to look.]

171. If you will look to the thirtieth chapter of vol. i. in the new
edition of the "Stones of Venice," which, by the gift of its
publishers, I am enabled to lay on your table to be placed in your
library, you will find one of my first and most eager statements of the
necessity of inequality or change in form, made against the common
misunderstanding of Greek symmetry, and illustrated by a woodcut of the
spiral ornament on the treasury of Atreus at Mycenae. All that is said
in that chapter respecting nature and the ideal, I now beg most
earnestly to recommend and ratify to you; but although, even at that
time, I knew more of Greek art than my antagonists, my broken reading
has given me no conception of the range of its symbolic power, nor of
the function of that more or less formal spiral line, as expressive,
not only of the waves of the sea, but of the zones of the whirlpool,
the return of the tempest, and the involution of the labyrinth. And
although my readers say that I wrote then better than I write now, I
cannot refer you to the passage without asking you to pardon in it what
I now hold to be the petulance and vulgarity of expression, disgracing
the importance of the truth it contains. A little while ago, without
displeasure, you permitted me to delay you by the account of a dispute
on a matter of taste between my father and me, in which he was quietly
and unavailingly right. It seems to me scarcely a day, since, with
boyish conceit, I resisted his wise entreaties that I would re-word
this clause; and especially take out of it the description of a sea-
wave as "laying a great white tablecloth of foam" all the way to the
shore. Now, after an interval of twenty years, I refer you to the
passage, repentant and humble as far as regards its style, which people
sometimes praised, but with absolue re-assertion of the truth and value
of its contents, which people always denied. As natural form is varied,
so must beautiful ornament be varied. You are not an artist by
reproving nature into deathful sameness, but by animating your copy of
her into vital variation. But I thought at that time that only Goths
were rightly changeful. I never thought Greeks were. Their reserved
variation escaped me, or I thought it accidental. Here, however, is a
coin of the finest Greek workmanship, which shows you their mind in
this matter unmistakably. Here are the waves of the Adriatic round a
knight of Tarentum, and there is no doubt of their variableness.

172. This pattern of sea-wave, or river whirlpool, entirely sacred in
the Greek mind, and the [Greek: *bostruchos*] or similarly curling wave
in flowing hair, are the two main sources of the spiral form in lambent
or rampant decoration. Of such lambent ornament, the most important
piece is the crocket, of which I rapidly set before you the origin.

173. Here is a drawing of the gable of the bishop's throne in the upper
church at Assisi, of the exact period when the mosaic workers of the
thirteenth century at Rome adopted rudely the masonry of the north.
Briefly, this is a Greek temple pediment, in which, doubtful of their
power to carve figures beautiful enough, they cut a trefoiled hold for
ornament, and bordered the edges with harlequinade of mosaic. They then
call to their help the Greek sea-waves, and let the surf of the AEgean
climb along the slopes, and toss itself at the top into a fleur-de-lys.
Every wave is varied in outline and proportionate distance, though cut
with a precision of curve like that of the sea itself. From this root
we are able--but it must be in a lecture on crockets only--to trace
the succeeding changes through the curl of Richard II.'s hair, and the
crisp leaves of the forests of Picardy, to the knobbed extravagances of
expiring Gothic. But I must to-day let you compare one piece of perfect
Gothic work with the perfect Greek.

174. There is no question in my own mind, and, I believe, none in that
of any other long-practised student of mediaeval art, that in pure
structural Gothic the church of St. Urbain at Troyes is without rival
in Europe. Here is a rude sketch of its use of the crocket in the
spandrils of its external tracery, and here are the waves of the Greek
sea round the son of Poseidon. Seventeen hundred years are between
them, but the same mind is in both. I wonder how many times seventeen
hundred years Mr. Darwin will ask, to retrace the Greek designer of
this into his primitive ape; or how many times six hundred years of
such improvements as we have made on the church of St. Urbain, will be
needed in order to enable our descendants to regard the designers of
that, as only primitive apes.

175. I return for a moment to my gable at Assisi. You see that the
crest of the waves at the top form a rude likeness of a fleur-de-lys.
There is, however, in this form no real intention of imitating a
flower, any more than in the meeting of the tails of these two Etruscan
griffins. The notable circumstance in this piece of Gothic is its
advanced form of crocket, and its prominent foliation, with nothing in
the least approaching to floral ornament.

176. And now, observe this very curious fact in the personal character
of two contemporary artists. See the use of my manually graspable flag.
Here is John of Pisa,--here Giotto. They are contemporary for twenty
years;--but these are the prime of Giotto's life, and the last of
John's life: virtually, Giotto is the later workman by full twenty

But Giotto always uses severe geometrical mouldings, and disdains all
luxuriance of leafage to set off interior sculpture.

John of Pisa not only adopts Gothic tracery, but first allows himself
enthusiastic use of rampant vegetation;--and here in the facade of
Orvieto, you have not only perfect Gothic in the sentiment of Scripture
history, but such luxurious ivy ornamentation as you cannot afterwards
match for two hundred years. Nay, you can scarcely match it then--for
grace of line, only in the richest flamboyant of France.

177. Now this fact would set you, if you looked at art from its
aesthetic side only, at once to find out what German artists had taught
Giovanni Pisano. There _were_ Germans teaching him,--some teaching him
many things; and the intense conceit of the modern German artist
imagines them to have taught him all things.

But he learnt his luxuriance, and Giotto his severity, in another
school. The quality in both is Greek; and altogether moral. The grace
and the redundance of Giovanui are the first strong manifestation of
those characters in the Italian mind which culminate in the Madonnas of
Luini and the arabesques of Raphael. The severity of Giotto belongs to
him, on the contrary, not only as one of the strongest practical men
who ever lived on this solid earth, but as the purest and firmest
reformer of the discipline of the Christian Church, of whose writings
any remains exist.

178. Of whose writings, I say; and you look up, as doubtful that he has
left any. Hieroglyphics, then, let me say instead; or, more accurately
still, hierographics. St. Francis, in what he wrote and said, taught
much that was false. But Giotto, his true disciple, nothing but what
was true. And where _he_ uses an arabesque of foliage, depend upon it
it will be to purpose--not redundant. I return for the time to our soft
and luxuriant John of Pisa.

179. Soft, but with no unmanly softness; luxuriant, but with no
unmannered luxury. To him you owe as to their first sire in art, the
grace of Ghiberti, the tenderness of Raphael, the awe of Michael
Angelo. Second-rate qualities in all the three, but precious in their
kind, and learned, as you shall see, essentially from this man. Second-
rate he also, but with most notable gifts of this inferior kind. He is
the Canova of the thirteenth century; but the Canova of the thirteenth,
remember, was necessarily a very different person from the Canova of
the eighteenth.

The Cauova of the eighteenth century mimicked Greek grace for the
delight of modern revolutionary sensualists. The Canova of the
thirteenth century brought living Gothic truth into the living faith of
his own time.

Greek truth, and Gothic 'liberty,'--in that noble sense of the word,
derived from the Latin 'liber,' of which I have already spoken, and
which in my next lecture I will endeavour completely to develope.
Meanwhile let me show you, as far as I can, the architecture itself
about which these subtle questions arise.

180. Here are five frames, containing the best representations I can
get for you of the facade of the cathedral of Orvieto. I must remind
you, before I let you look at them, of the reason why that cathedral
was built; for I have at last got to the end of the parenthesis which
began in my second lecture, on the occasion of our hearing that John of
Pisa was sent for to Perugia, to carve the tomb of Pope Urban IV.; and
we must now know who this Pope was.

181. He was a Frenchman, born at that Troyes, in Champagne, which I
gave you as the centre of French architectural skill, and Royalist
character. He was born in the lowest class of the people, rose like
Wolsey; became Bishop of Verdun; then, Patriarch of Jerusalem; returned
in the year 1261, from his Patriarchate, to solicit the aid of the then
Pope, Alexander IV., against the Saracen. I do not know on what day he
arrived in Rome; but on the 25th of May, Alexander died, and the
Cardinals, after three months' disputing, elected the suppliant
Patriarch to be Pope himself.

182. A man with all the fire of France in him, all the faith, and all
the insolence; incapable of doubting a single article of his creed, or
relaxing one tittle of his authority; destitute alike of reason and of
pity; and absolutely merciless either to an infidel, or an enemy. The
young Prince Manfred, bastard son of Frederick II., now representing
the main power of the German empire, was both; and against him the Pope
brought into Italy a religious French knight, of character absolutely
like his own, Charles of Anjou.

183. The young Manfred, now about twenty years old, was as good a
soldier as he was a bad Christian; and there was no safety for Urban at
Rome. The Pope seated himself on a worthy throne for a thirteenth-
century St. Peter. Fancy the rock of Edinburgh Castle, as steep on all
sides as it is to the west; and as long as the Old Town; and you have
the rock of Orvieto.

184. Here, enthroned against the gates of hell, in unassailable
fortitude, and unfaltering faith, sat Urban; the righteousness of his
cause presently to be avouched by miracle, notablest among those of the
Roman Church. Twelve miles east of his rock, beyond the range of low
Apennine, shone the quiet lake, the Loch Leven of Italy, from whose
island the daughter of Theodoric needed not to escape--Fate seeking her
there; and in a little chapel on its shore a Bohemian priest, infected
with Northern infidelity, was brought back to his allegiance by seeing
the blood drop from the wafer in his hand. And the Catholic Church
recorded this heavenly testimony to her chief mystery, in the Festa of
the Corpus Domini, and the Fabric of Orvieto.

185. And sending was made for John, and for all good labourers in
marble; but Urban never saw a stone of the great cathedral laid. His
citation of Manfred to appear in his presence to answer for his heresy,
was fixed against the posts of the doors of the old Duomo. But Urban
had dug the foundation of the pile to purpose, and when he died at
Perugia, still breathed, from his grave, calamity to Manfred, and made
from it glory to the Church. He had secured the election of a French
successor; from the rock of Orvieto the spirit of Urban led the French
chivalry, when Charles of Anjou saw the day of battle come, so long
desired. Manfred's Saracens, with their arrows, broke his first line;
the Pope's legate blessed the second, and gave them absolution of all
their sins, for their service to the Church. They charged for Orvieto
with their old cry of 'Mont-Joie, Chevaliers!' and before night, while
Urban lay sleeping in his carved tomb at Perugia, the body of Manfred
lay only recognizable by those who loved him, naked among the slain.

186. Time wore on and on. The Suabian power ceased in Italy; between
white and red there was now no more contest;--the matron of the Church,
scarlet-robed, reigned, ruthless, on her seven hills. Time wore on;
and, a hundred years later, now no more the power of the kings, but the
power of the people,--rose against her. St. Michael, from the corn
market,--Or San Michele,--the commercial strength of Florence, on a
question of free trade in corn. And note, for a little bye piece of
botany, that in Val d'Arno lilies grow among the corn instead of
poppies. The purple gladiolus glows through all its green fields in
early spring.

187. A question of free trade in corn, then, arose between Florence and
Rome. The Pope's legate in Bologna stopped the supply of polenta, the
Florentines depending on that to eat with their own oil. Very wicked,
you think, of the Pope's legate, acting thus against quasi-Protestant
Florence? Yes; just as wicked as the--not quasi-Protestants--but
intensely positive Protestants, of Zurich, who tried to convert the
Catholic forest-cantons by refusing them salt. Christendom has been
greatly troubled about bread and salt: the then Protestant Pope,
Zuinglius, was killed at the battle of Keppel, and the Catholic cantons
therefore remain Catholic to this day; while the consequences of this
piece of protectionist economy at Bologna are equally interesting and

188. The legate of Bologna, not content with stopping the supplies of
maize to Florence, sent our own John Hawkwood, on the 24th June, 1375,
to burn all the maize the Florentines had got growing; and the abbot of
Montemaggiore sent a troop of Perugian religious gentlemen-riders to
ravage similarly the territory of Siena. Whereupon, at Florence, the
Gonfalonier of Justice, Aloesio Aldobrandini, rose in the Council of
Ancients and proposed, as an enterprise worthy of Florentine
generosity, the freedom of all the peoples who groaned under the
tyranny of the Church. And Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and Arezzo,--
all the great cities of Etruria, the root of religion in Italy,--joined
against the tyranny of religion. Strangely, this Etrurian league is not
now to restore Tarquin to Rome, but to drive the Roman Tarquin into
exile. The story of Lucretia had been repeated in Perugia; but the
Umbrian Lucretia had died, not by suicide, but by falling on the
pavement from the window through which she tried to escape. And the
Umbrian Sextus was the Abbot of Montemaggiore's nephew.

189. Florence raised her fleur-de-lys standard: and, in ten days,
eighty cities of Romagua were free, out of the number of whose names I
will read you only these--Urbino, Foligno, Spoleto, Narni, Camerino,
Toscanella, Perugia, Orvieto.

And while the wind and the rain still beat the body of Manfred, by the
shores of the Rio Verde, the body of Pope Urban was torn from its tomb,
and not one stone of the carved work thereof left upon another. 190. I
will only ask you to-day to notice farther that the Captain of
Florence, in this war, was a 'Conrad of Suabia,' and that she gave him,
beside her own flag, one with only the word 'Libertas' inscribed on it.

I told you that the first stroke of the bell on the Tower of the Lion
began the carillon for European civil and religious liberty. But
perhaps, even in the fourteenth century, Florence did not understand,
by that word, altogether the same policy which is now preached in
France, Italy, and England.

What she did understand by it, we will try to ascertain in the course
of next lecture.



191. In my first lecture of this course, you remember that I showed
you the Lion of St. Mark's with Niccola Pisano's, calling the one an
evangelical-preacher lion, and the other a real, and naturally
affectionate, lioness.

And the one I showed you as Byzantine, the other as Gothic.

So that I thus called the Greek art pious, and the Gothic profane.

Whereas in nearly all our ordinary modes of thought, and in all my own
general references to either art, we assume Greek or classic work to be
profane, and Gothic, pious, or religious.

192. Very short reflection, if steady and clear, will both show you how
confused our ideas are usually on this subject, and how definite they
may within certain limits become.

First of all, don't confuse piety with Christianity. There are pious
Greeks and impious Greeks; pious Turks and impious Turks; pious
Christians and impious Christians; pious modern infidels and impious
modern infidels. In case you do not quite know what piety really means,
we will try to know better in next lecture; for the present, understand
that I mean distinctly to call Greek art, in the true sense of the
word, pious, and Gothic, as opposed to it, profane.

193. But when I oppose these two words, Gothic and Greek, don't run
away with the notion that I necessarily mean to oppose _Christian_ and
Greek. You must not confuse Gothic blood in a man's veins, with
Christian feeling in a man's breast. There are unconverted and
converted Goths; unconverted and converted Greeks. The Greek and Gothic
temper is equally opposed, where the name of Christ has never been
uttered by either, or when every other name is equally detested by

I want you to-day to examine with me that essential difference between
Greek and Gothic temper, irrespective of creed, to which I have
referred in my preface to the last edition of the "Stones of Venice,"
saying that the Byzantines gave law to Norman license. And I must
therefore ask your patience while I clear your minds from some too
prevalent errors as to the meaning of those two words, law and license.

194. There is perhaps no more curious proof of the disorder which
impatient and impertinent science is introducing into classical thought
and language, than the title chosen by the Duke of Argyll for his
interesting study of Natural History--'The Reign of Law.' Law cannot
reign. If a natural law, it admits no disobedience, and has nothing to
put right. If a human one, it can compel no obedience, and has no power
to prevent wrong. A king only can reign;--a person, that is to say,
who, conscious of natural law, enforces human law so far as it is just.

195. Kinghood is equally necessary in Greek dynasty, and in Gothic.
Theseus is every inch a king, as well as Edward III. But the laws which
they have to enforce on their own and their companions' humanity are
opposed to each other as much as their dispositions are.

The function of a Greek king was to enforce labour.

That of a Gothic king, to restrain rage.

The laws of Greece determine the wise methods of labour; and the laws
of France determine the wise restraints of passion.

For the sins of Greece are in Indolence, and its pleasures; and the
sins of France are in fury, and its pleasures.

196. You are now again surprised, probably, at hearing me oppose France
typically to Greece. More strictly, I might oppose only a part of
France,--Normandy. But it is better to say, France, [1] as embracing
the seat of the established Norman power in the Island of our Lady; and
the province in which it was crowned,--Champagne.

[Footnote 1: "Normandie, la franche." "France, la solue;" (chanson de
Roland). One of my good pupils referred me to this ancient and glorious
French song.]

France is everlastingly, by birth, name, and nature, the country of the
Franks, or free persons; and the first source of European frankness, or
franchise. The Latin for franchise is libertas. But the modern or
Cockney-English word liberty,--Mr. John Stuart Mill's,--is not the
equivalent of libertas; and the modern or Cockney-French word liberte,-
-M. Victor Hugo's,--is not the equivalent of franchise.

197. The Latin for franchise, I have said, is libertas; the Greek is
[Greek: *eleupheria*]. In the thoughts of all three nations, the idea
is precisely the same, and the word used for the idea by each nation
therefore accurately translates the word of the other: [Greek:
*eleupheria*]--libertas--franchise--reciprocally translate each other.
Leonidas is characteristically [Greek: *eleupheros*] among Greeks;
Publicola, characteristically liber, among Romans; Edward III. and the
Black Prince, characteristically frank among French. And that common
idea, which the words express, as all the careful scholars among you
will know, is, with all the three nations, mainly of deliverance from
the slavery of passion. To be [Greek: *eleupheros*], liber, or franc,
is first to have learned how to rule our own passions; and then,
certain that our own conduct is right, to persist in that conduct
against all resistance, whether of counter-opinion, counter pain, or
counter-pleasure. To be defiant alike of the mob's thought, of the
adversary's threat, and the harlot's temptation,--this is in the
meaning of every great nation to be free; and the one condition upon
which that freedom can be obtained is pronounced to you in a single
verse of the 119th Psalm, "I will walk at liberty, for I seek Thy

198. Thy precepts:--Law, observe, being dominant over the Gothic as
over the Greek king, but a quite different law. Edward III. feeling no
anger against the Sieur de Ribaumont, and crowning him with his own
pearl chaplet, is obeying the law of love, _restraining_ anger; but
Theseus, slaying the Minotaur, is obeying the law of justice, and
_enforcing_ anger.

The one is acting under the law of the charity, [Greek: *charis*] or
grace of God; the other under the law of His judgment. The two together
fulfil His [Greek: *krisis*] and [Greek: *agapae*].

199. Therefore the Greek dynasties are finally expressed in the
kinghoods of Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Aeacus, who judge infallibly, and
divide arithmetically. But the dynasty of the Gothic king is in equity
and compassion, and his arithmetic is in largesse,

"Whose moste joy was, I wis,
When that she gave, and said, Have this."

So that, to put it in shortest terms of all, Greek law is of Stasy, and
Gothic of Ecstasy; there is no limit to the freedom of the Gothic hand
or heart, and the children are most in the delight and the glory of
liberty when they most seek their Father's precepts.

200. The two lines I have just quoted are, as you probably remember,
from Chaucer's translation of the French Romance of the Rose, out of
which I before quoted to you the description of the virtue of
Debonnairete. Now that Debonnairete of the Painted Chamber of
Westminster is the typical figure used by the French sculptors and
painters for 'franchise,' frankness, or Frenchness; but in the Painted
Chamber, Debonnairete, high breeding, 'out of goodnestedness,' or
gentleness, is used, as an English king's English, of the Norman
franchise. Here, then, is our own royalty,--let us call it Englishness,
the grace of our proper kinghood;--and here is French royalty, the
grace of French kinghood--Frenchness, rudely but sufficiently drawn by
M. Didron from the porch of Chartres. She has the crown of fleur-de-
lys, and William the Norman's shield.

201. Now this grace of high birth, the grace of his or her Most
Gracious Majesty, has her name at Chartres written beside her, in
Latin. Had it been in Greek, it would have been [Greek: *elevtheria*].
Being in Latin, what do you think it must be necessarily?--Of course,
Libertas. Now M. Didron is quite the best writer on art that I know,--
full of sense and intelligence; but of course, as a modern Frenchman,--
one of a nation for whom the Latin and Gothic ideas of libertas have
entirely vanished,--he is not on his guard against the trap here laid
for him. He looks at the word libertas through his spectacles;--can't
understand, being a thoroughly good antiquary, [1] how such a virtue,
or privilege, could honestly be carved with approval in the twelfth
century;--rubs his spectacles; rubs the inscription, to make sure of
its every letter; stamps it, to make surer still;--and at last, though
in a greatly bewildered state of mind, remains convinced that here is a
sculpture of 'La Liberte' in the twelfth century. "C'est bien la
liberte!" "On lit parfaitement libertas."

[Footnote 1: Historical antiquary; not art-antiquary I must limitedly
say, however. He has made a grotesque mess of his account of the Ducal
Palace of Venice, through his ignorance of the technical characters of

202. Not so, my good M. Didron!--a very different personage, this; of
whom more, presently, though the letters of her name are indeed so
plainly, 'Libertas, at non liberalitas,' liberalitas being the Latin
for largesse, not for franchise.

This, then, is the opposition between the Greek and Gothic dynasties,
in their passionate or vital nature; in the _animal_ and _inbred_ part
of them;--Classic and romantic, Static and exstatic. But now, what
opposition is there between their divine natures? Between Theseus and
Edward III., as warriors, we now know the difference; but between
Theseus and Edward III, as theologians; as dreaming and discerning
creatures, as didactic kings,--engraving letters with the point of the
sword, instead of thrusting men through with it,--changing the club
into the ferula, and becoming schoolmasters as well as kings; what is,
thus, the difference between them?

Theologians I called them. Philologians would be a better word,--lovers
of the [Greek: *Logos*], or Word, by which the heavens and earth were
made. What logos, _about_ this Logos, have they learned, or can they

203. I showed you, in my first lecture, the Byzantine Greek lion, as
descended by true unblemished line from the Nemean Greek; but with this
difference: Heracles kills the beast, and makes a helmet and cloak of
his skin; the Greek St. Mark converts the beast, and makes an
evangelist of him.

Is not that a greater difference, think you, than one of mere

This 'maniera goffa e sproporzionata' of Vasari is not, then, merely
the wasting away of former leonine strength into thin rigidities of
death? There is another change going on at the same time,--body perhaps
subjecting itself to spirit.

I will not teaze you with farther questions. The facts are simple
enough. Theseus and Heracles have their religion, sincere and
sufficient,--a religion of lion-killers, minotaur-killers, very curious
and rude; Eleusinian mystery mingled in it, inscrutable to us now,--
partly always so, even to them.

204. Well; the Greek nation, in process of time, loses its manliness,--
becomes Graeculus instead of Greek. But though effeminate and feeble,
it inherits all the subtlety of its art, all the cunning of its
mystery; and it is converted to a more spiritual religion. Nor is it
altogether degraded, even by the diminution of its animal energy.
Certain spiritual phenomena are possible to the weak, which are hidden
from the strong;--nay, the monk may, in his order of being, possess
strength denied to the warrior. Is it altogether, think you, by
blundering, or by disproportion in intellect or in body, that Theseus
becomes St. Athanase? For that is the kind of change which takes place,
from the days of the great King of Athens, to those of the great Bishop
of Alexandria, in the thought and theology, or, summarily, in the
spirit of the Greek.

Now we have learned indeed the difference between the Gothic knight and
the Greek knight; but what will be the difference between the Gothic
saint and Greek saint?

Franchise of body against constancy of body.

Franchise of thought, then, against constancy of thought.

Edward III. against Theseus.

And the Frank of Assisi against St. Athanase.

205. Utter franchise, utter gentleness in theological thought. Instead
of, 'This is the faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he
cannot be saved,' 'This is the love, which if a bird or an insect keep
faithfully, _it_ shall be saved.'

Gentlemen, you have at present arrived at a phase of natural science in
which, rejecting alike the theology of the Byzantine, and the affection
of the Frank, you can only contemplate a bird as flying under the reign
of law, and a cricket as singing under the compulsion of caloric.

I do not know whether you yet feel that the position of your boat on
the river also depends entirely on the reign of law, or whether, as
your churches and concert-rooms are privileged in the possession of
organs blown by steam, you are learning yourselves to sing by gas, and
expect the Dies Irae to the announced by a steam-trumpet. But I can
very positively assure you that, in my poor domain of imitative art,
not all the mechanical or gaseous forces of the world, nor all the laws
of the universe, will enable you either to see a colour, or draw a
line, without that singular force anciently called the soul, which it
was the function of the Greek to discipline in the duty of the servants
of God, and of the Goth to lead into the liberty of His children.

206. But in one respect I wish you were more conscious of the existence
of law than you appear to be. The difference which I have pointed out
to you as existing between these great nations, exists also between two
orders of intelligence among men, of which the one is usually called
Classic, the other Romantic. Without entering into any of the fine
distinctions between these two sects, this broad one is to be observed
as constant: that the writers and painters of the Classic school set
down nothing but what is known to be true, and set it down in the
perfectest manner possible in their way, and are thenceforward
authorities from whom there is no appeal. Romantic writers and
painters, on the contrary, express themselves under the impulse of
passions which may indeed lead them to the discovery of new truths, or
to the more delightful arrangement or presentment of things already
known: but their work, however brilliant or lovely, remains imperfect,
and without authority. It is not possible, of course, to separate these
two orders of men trenchantly: a classic writer may sometimes, whatever
his care, admit an error, and a romantic one may reach perfection
through enthusiasm. But, practically, you may separate the two for your
study and your education; and, during your youth, the business of us
your masters is to enforce on you the reading, for school work, only of
classical books: and to see that your minds are both informed of the
indisputable facts they contain, and accustomed to act with the
infallible accuracy of which they set the example.

207. I have not time to make the calculation, but I suppose that the
daily literature by which we now are principally nourished, is so large
in issue that though St. John's "even the world itself could not
contain the books which should be written" may be still hyperbole, it
is nevertheless literally true that the world might be _wrapped_ in the
books which are written; and that the sheets of paper covered with type
on any given subject, interesting to the modern mind, (say the
prospects of the Claimant,) issued in the form of English morning
papers during a single year, would be enough literally to pack the
world in.

208. Now I will read you fifty-two lines of a classical author, which,
once well read and understood, contain more truth than has been told
you all this year by this whole globe's compass of print.

Fifty-two lines, of which you will recognize some as hackneyed, and see
little to admire in others. But it is not possible to put the
statements they contain into better English, nor to invalidate one
syllable of the statements they contain. [1]

[Footnote 1: 'The Deserted Village,' line 251 to 302.]

209. Even those, and there may be many here, who would dispute the
truth of the passage, will admit its exquisite distinctness and
construction. If it be untrue, that is merely because I have not been
taught by my modern education to recognize a classical author; but
whatever my mistakes, or yours, may be, there _are_ certain truths long
known to all rational men, and indisputable. You may add to them, but
you cannot diminish them. And it is the business of a University to
determine what books of this kind exist, and to enforce the
understanding of them.

210. The classical and romantic arts which we have now under
examination therefore consist,--the first, in that which represented,
under whatever symbols, truths respecting the history of men, which it
is proper that all should know; while the second owes its interest to
passionate impulse or incident. This distinction holds in all ages, but
the distinction between the franchise of Northern, and the constancy of
Byzantine, art, depends partly on the unsystematic play of emotion in
the one, and the appointed sequence of known fact or determined
judgment in the other.

You will find in the beginning of M. Didron's book, already quoted, an
admirable analysis of what may be called the classic sequence of
Christian theology, as written in the sculpture of the Cathedral of
Chartres. You will find in the treatment of the facade of Orvieto the
beginning of the development of passionate romance,--the one being
grave sermon writing; the other, cheerful romance or novel writing: so
that the one requires you to think, the other only to feel or perceive;
the one is always a parable with a meaning, the other only a story with
an impression.

211. And here I get at a result concerning Greek art, which is very
sweeping and wide indeed. That it is all parable, but Gothic, as
distinct from it, literal. So absolutely does this hold, that it
reaches down to our modern school of landscape. You know I have always
told you Turner belonged to the Greek school. Precisely as the stream
of blood coming from under the throne of judgment in the Byzantine
mosaic of Torcello is a sign of condemnation, his scarlet clouds are
used by Turner as a sign of death; and just as on an Egyptian tomb the
genius of death lays the sun down behind the horizon, so in his
Cephalus and Procris, the last rays of the sun withdraw from the forest
as the nymph expires.

And yet, observe, both the classic and romantic teaching may be equally
earnest, only different in manner. But from classic art, unless you
understand it, you may get nothing; from romantic art, even if you
don't understand it, you get at least delight.

212. I cannot show the difference more completely or fortunately than
by comparing Sir Walter Scott's type of libertas, with the franchise of
Chartres Cathedral, or Debonnairete of the Painted Chamber.

At Chartres, and Westminster, the high birth is shown by the crown; the
strong bright life by the flowing hair; the fortitude by the
conqueror's shield; and the truth by the bright openness of the face:

"She was not brown, nor dull of hue,
But white as snowe, fallen newe."

All these are symbols, which, if you cannot read, the image is to you
only an uninteresting stiff figure. But Sir Walter's Franchise, Diana
Vernon, interests you at once in personal aspect and character. She is
no symbol to you; but if you acquaint yourself with her perfectly, you
find her utter frankness, governed by a superb self-command; her
spotless truth, refined by tenderness; her fiery enthusiasm, subdued by
dignity; and her fearless liberty, incapable of doing wrong, joining to
fulfil to you, in sight and presence, what the Greek could only teach
by signs.

213. I have before noticed--though I am not sure that you have yet
believed my statement of it--the significance of Sir Walter's as of
Shakspeare's names; Diana 'Vernon, semper viret,' gives you the
conditions of purity and youthful strength or spring which imply the
highest state of libertas. By corruption of the idea of purity, you get
the modern heroines of London Journal--or perhaps we may more fitly
call it 'Cockney-daily'--literature. You have one of them in
perfection, for instance, in Mr. Charles Reade's 'Griffith Gaunt'--
"Lithe, and vigorous, and one with her great white gelding;" and liable
to be entirely changed in her mind about the destinies of her life by a
quarter of an hour's conversation with a gentleman unexpectedly
handsome; the hero also being a person who looks at people whom he
dislikes, with eyes "like a dog's in the dark;" and both hero and
heroine having souls and intellects also precisely corresponding to
those of a dog's in the dark, which is indeed the essential picture of
the practical English national mind at this moment,--happy if it
remains doggish,--Circe not usually being content with changing people
into dogs only. For the Diana Vernon of the Greek is Artemis Laphria,
who is friendly to the dog; not to the swine. Do you see, by the way,
how perfectly the image is carried out by Sir Walter in putting his
Diana on the border country? "Yonder blue hill is in Scotland," she
says to her cousin,--not in the least thinking less of him for having
been concerned, it may be, in one of Bob Roy's forays. And so gradually
you get the idea of Norman franchise carried out in the free-rider or
free-booter; not safe from degradation on that side also; but by no
means of swinish temper, or foraging, as at present the British
speculative public, only with the snout.

214. Finally, in the most soft and domestic form of virtue, you have
Wordsworth's ideal:

"Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty."

The distinction between these northern types of feminine virtue, and
the figures of Alcestis, Antigone, or Iphigenia, lies deep in the
spirit of the art of either country, and is carried out into its most
unimportant details. We shall find in the central art of Florence at
once the thoughtfulness of Greece and the gladness of England,
associated under images of monastic severity peculiar to herself.

And what Diana Vernon is to a French ballerine dancing the Cancan, the
'libertas' of Chartres and Westminster is to the 'liberty' of M. Victor
Hugo and Mr. John Stuart Mill.



215. We may now return to the points of necessary history, having our
ideas fixed within accurate limits as to the meaning of the word
Liberty; and as to the relation of the passions which separated the
Guelph and Ghibelline to those of our own days.

The Lombard or Guelph league consisted, after the accession of
Florence, essentially of the three great cities--Milan, Bologna, and
Florence; the Imperial or Ghibelline league, of Verona, Pisa, and
Siena. Venice and Genoa, both nominally Guelph, are in furious
contention always for sea empire while Pisa and Genoa are in
contention, not so much for empire, as honour. Whether the trade of the
East was to go up the Adriatic, or round by the Gulf of Genoa, was
essentially a mercantile question; but whether, of the two ports in
sight of each other, Pisa or Genoa was to be the Queen of the Tyrrhene
Sea, was no less distinctly a personal one than which of two rival
beauties shall preside at a tournament.

216. This personal rivalry, so far as it was separated from their
commercial interests, was indeed mortal, but not malignant. The quarrel
was to be decided to the death, but decided with honour; and each city
had four observers permittedly resident in the other, to give account
of all that was done there in naval invention and armament.

217. Observe, also, in the year 1251, when we quitted our history, we
left Florence not only Guelph, as against the Imperial power, (that is
to say, the body of her knights who favoured the Pope and Italians, in
dominion over those who favoured Manfred and the Germans), but we left
her also definitely with her apron thrown over her shield; and the
tradesmen and craftsmen in authority over the knight, whether German or
Italian, Papal or Imperial.

That is in 1251. Now in these last two lectures I must try to mark the
gist of the history of the next thirty years. The Thirty Years' War,
this, of the middle ages, infinitely important to all ages; first
observe, between Guelph and Ghibelline, ending in the humiliation of
the Ghibelline; and, secondly, between Shield and Apron, or, if you
like better, between Spear and Hammer, ending in the breaking of the

218. The first decision of battle, I say, is that between Guelph and
Ghibelline, headed by two men of precisely oppposite characters,
Charles of Anjou and Manfred of Suabia. That I may be able to define
the opposition of their characters intelligibly, I must first ask your
attention to some points of general scholarship. I said in my last
lecture that, in this one, it would be needful for us to consider what
piety was, if we happened not to know; or worse than that, it may be,
not instinctively to feel. Such want of feeling is indeed not likely in
you, being English-bred; yet as it is the modern cant to consider all
such sentiment as useless, or even shameful, we shall be in several
ways advantaged by some examination of its nature. Of all classical
writers, Horace is the one with whom English gentlemen have on the
average most sympathy; and I believe, therefore, we shall most simply
and easily get at our point by examining the piety of Horace.

219. You are perhaps, for the moment, surprised, whatever might have
been admitted of AEneas, to hear Horace spoken of as a pious person. But
of course when your attention is turned to the matter you will
recollect many lines in which the word 'pietas' occurs, of which you
have only hitherto failed to allow the force because you supposed
Horace did not mean what he said.

220. But Horace always and altogether means what he says. It is just
because--whatever his faults may have been--he was not a hypocrite,
that English gentlemen are so fond of him. "Here is a frank fellow,
anyhow," they say, "and a witty one." Wise men know that he is also
wise. True men know that he is also true. But pious men, for want of
attention, do not always know that he is pious.

One great obstacle to your understanding of him is your having been
forced to construct Latin verses, with introduction of the word
'Jupiter' always, at need, when you were at a loss for a dactyl. You
always feel as if Horace only used it also when he wanted a dactyl.

221. Get quit of that notion wholly. All immortal writers speak out of
their hearts. Horace spoke out of the abundance of his heart, and tells
you precisely what he is, as frankly as Montaigne. Note then, first,
how modest he is: "Ne parva Tyrrhenum per aequor, vela darem;--Operosa
parvus, carmina fingo." Trust him in such words; he absolutely means
them; knows thoroughly that he cannot sail the Tyrrhene Sea,--knows
that he cannot float on the winds of Matinum,--can only murmur in the
sunny hollows of it among the heath.

But note, secondly, his pride: "Exegi monumentum sere perennius." He is
not the least afraid to say that. He did it; knew he had done it; said
he had done it; and feared no charge of arrogance.

222. Note thirdly, then, his piety, and accept his assured speech of
it: "Dis pietas mea, et Musa, cordi est." He is perfectly certain of
that also; serenely tells you so; and you had better believe him. Well
for you, if you can believe him; for to believe him, you must
understand him first; and I can tell you, you won't arrive at that
understanding by looking out the word 'pietas' in your White-and-
Riddle. If you do you will find those tiresome contractions, Etym.
Dub., stop your inquiry very briefly, as you go back; if you go
forward, through the Italian pieta, you will arrive presently in
another group of ideas, and end in misericordia, mercy, and pity. You
must not depend on the form of the word; you must find out what it
stands for in Horace's mind, and in Virgil's. More than race to the
Roman; more than power to the statesman; yet helpless beside the
grave,--"Non, Torquate, genus, non te facundia, non te, Restitvet

Nay, also what it stands for as an attribute, not only of men, but of
gods; nor of those only as merciful, but also as avenging. Against
AEneas himself, Dido invokes the waves of the Tyrrhene Sea, "si quid pia
numina possunt." Be assured there is no getting at the matter by
dictionary or context. To know what love means, you must love; to know
what piety means, you must be pious.

223. Perhaps you dislike the word, now, from its vulgar use. You may
have another if you choose, a metaphorical one,--close enough it seems
to Christianity, and yet still absolutely distinct from it,--[Greek:
*christos*]. Suppose, as you watch the white bloom of the olives of Val
d'Arno and Val di Nievole, which modern piety and economy suppose were
grown by God only to supply you with fine Lucca oil, you were to
consider, instead, what answer you could make to the Socratio question,
[Greek: *pothen un tis tovto to chrisma labot*]. [1]

[Footnote 1: Xem. Conviv., ii.]

224. I spoke to you first of Horace's modesty. All piety begins in
modesty. You must feel that you are a very little creature, and that
you had better do as you are bid. You will then begin to think what you
are bid to do, and who bids it. And you will find, unless you are very
unhappy indeed, that there is always a quite clear notion of right and
wrong in your minds, which you can either obey or disobey, at your
pleasure. Obey it simply and resolutely; it will become clearer to you
every day: and in obedience to it, you will find a sense of being in
harmony with nature, and at peace with God, and all His creatures. You
will not understand how the peace comes, nor even in what it consists.
It is the peace that passes understanding;--it is just as visionary and
imaginative as love is, and just as real, and just as necessary to the
life of man. It is the only source of true cheerfulness, and of true
common sense; and whether you believe the Bible, or don't,--or believe
the Koran, or don't--or believe the Vedas, or don't--it will enable you
to believe in God, and please Him, and be such a part of the [Greek:
*eudokia*] of the universe as your nature fits you to be, in His sight,
faithful in awe to the powers that are above you, and gracious in
regard to the creatures that are around.

225. I will take leave on this head to read one more piece of Carlyle,
bearing much on present matters. "I hope also they will attack
earnestly, and at length extinguish and eradicate, this idle habit of
'accounting for the moral sense,' as they phrase it. A most singular
problem;--instead of bending every thought to have more, and ever more,
of 'moral sense,' and therewith to irradiate your own poor soul, and
all its work, into something of divineness, as the one thing needful to
you in this world! A very futile problem that other, my friends;
futile, idle, and far worse; leading to what moral ruin, you little
dream of! The moral sense, thank God, is a thing you never will
'account for;' that, if you could think of it, is the perennial miracle
of man; in all times, visibly connecting poor transitory man, here on
this bewildered earth, with his Maker who is eternal in the heavens. By
no greatest happiness principle, greatest nobleness principle, or any
principle whatever, will you make that in the least clearer than it
already is;--forbear, I say, or you may darken it away from you
altogether! 'Two things,' says the memorable Kant, deepest and most
logical of metaphysical thinkers, 'two things strike me dumb: the
infinite starry heavens; and the sense of right and wrong in man.'
Visible infinites, both; say nothing of them; don't try to 'account for
them;' for you can say nothing wise."

226. Very briefly, I must touch one or two further relative conditions
in this natural history of the soul. I have asked you to take the
metaphorical, but distinct, word '[Greek: *chrisma*]' rather than the
direct but obscure one 'piety'; mainly because the Master of your
religion chose the metaphorical epithet for the perpetual one of His
own life and person.

But if you will spend a thoughtful hour or two in reading the
scripture, which pious Greeks read, not indeed on daintily printed
paper, but on daintily painted clay,--if you will examine, that is to
say, the scriptures of the Athenian religion, on their Pan-Athenaic
vases, in their faithful days, you will find that the gift of the
literal [Greek: *chrisma*], or anointing oil, to the victor in the
kingly and visible contest of life, is signed always with the image of
that spirit or goddess of the air who was the source of their invisible
life. And let me, before quitting this part of my subject, give you one
piece of what you will find useful counsel. If ever from the right
apothecary, or [Greek: muropolaes]', you get any of that [Greek:
*chrisma*],--don't be careful, when you set it by, of looking for dead
dragons or dead dogs in it. But look out for the dead flies.

227. Again; remember, I only quote St. Paul as I quote Xenophon to you;
but I expect you to get some good from both. As I want you to think
what Xenophon means by '[Greek: *manteia*],' so I want you to consider
also what St. Paul means by '[Greek: *prophetia*].' He tells you to
prove all things,--to hold fast what is good, and not to despise

228. Now it is quite literally probable, that this world, having now
for some five hundred years absolutely refused to do as it is plainly
bid by every prophet that ever spoke in any nation, and having reduced
itself therefore to Saul's condition, when he was answered neither by
Urim nor by prophets, may be now, while you sit there, receiving
necromantic answers from the witch of Endor. But with that possibility
you have no concern. There is a prophetic power in your own hearts,
known to the Greeks, known to the Jews, known to the Apostles, and
knowable by you. If it is now silent to you, do not despise it by
tranquillity under that privation; if it speaks to you, do not despise
it by disobedience.

229. Now in this broad definition of Pietas, as reverence to
sentimental law, you will find I am supported by all classical
authority and use of this word. For the particular meaning of which I
am next about to use the word Religion, there is no such general
authority, nor can there be, for any limited or accurate meaning of it.
The best authors use the word in various senses; and you must interpret
each writer by his own context. I have myself continually used the term
vaguely. I shall endeavour, henceforward, to use it under limitations
which, willing always to accept, I shall only transgress by
carelessness, or compliance with some particular use of the word by
others. The power in the word, then, which I wish you now to notice, is
in its employment with respect to doctrinal divisions. You do not say
that one man is of one piety, and another of another; but you do, that
one man is of one religion, and another of another.

230. The religion of any man is thus properly to be interpreted, as the
feeling which binds him, irrationally, to the fulfilment of duties, or
acceptance of beliefs, peculiar to a certain company of which he forms
a member, as distinct from the rest of the world. 'Which binds him
_irrationally_,' I say;--by a feeling, at all events, apart from
reason, and often superior to it; such as that which brings back the
bee to its hive, and the bird to her nest.

A man's religion is the form of mental rest, or dwelling-place, which,
partly, his fathers have gained or built for him, and partly, by due
reverence to former custom, he has built for himself; consisting of
whatever imperfect knowledge may have been granted, up to that time, in
the land of his birth, of the Divine character, presence, and dealings;
modified by the circumstances of surrounding life.

It may be, that sudden accession of new knowledge may compel him to
cast his former idols to the moles and to the bats. But it must be some
very miraculous interposition indeed which can justify him in quitting
the religion of his forefathers; and, assuredly, it must be an unwise
interposition which provokes him to insult it.

231. On the other hand, the value of religious ceremonial, and the
virtue of religious truth, consist in the meek fulfilment of the one as
the fond habit of a family; and the meek acceptance of the other, as
the narrow knowledge of a child. And both are destroyed at once, and
the ceremonial or doctrinal prejudice becomes only an occasion of sin,
if they make us either wise in our own conceit, or violent in our
methods of proselytism. Of those who will compass sea and land to make
one proselyte, it is too generally true that they are themselves the
children of hell, and make their proselytes twofold more so.

232. And now I am able to state to you, in terms so accurately defined
that you cannot misunderstand them, that we are about to study the
results in Italy of the victory of an impious Christian over a pious
Infidel, in a contest which, if indeed principalities of evil spirit
are ever permitted to rule over the darkness of this world, was

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