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they are his best work.  A kind of deisidaimonia--a sacred awe--

falls upon one in turning over these wonderful productions of the

artist's declining years and failing hand.

"Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,

That stand upon the threshold of the new,"

sings Waller; and it is almost possible to believe for a moment that

their creator was (as he said) "under the direction of messengers

from Heaven."  But his designs for Blair's "Grave," 1808,

popularised by the burin of Schiavonetti, attracted greater

attention at the time of publication; and, being less rare, they are

even now perhaps better known than the others.  The facsimile here

given is from the latter book.  The worn old man, the trustful

woman, and the guileless child are sleeping peacefully; but the king

with his sceptre, and the warrior with his hand on his sword-hilt,

lie open-eyed, waiting the summons of the trumpet.  One cannot help

fancying that the artist's long vigils among the Abbey tombs, during

his apprenticeship to James Basire, must have been present to his

mind when he selected this impressive monumental subject.

To one of Blake's few friends--to the "dear Sculptor of Eternity,"

as he wrote to Flaxman from Felpham--the world is indebted for some

notable book illustrations.  Whether the greatest writers--the

Homers, the Shakespeares, the Dantes--can ever be "illustrated"

without loss may fairly be questioned.  At all events, the showy

dexterities of the Dores and Gilberts prove nothing to the contrary.

But now and then there comes to the graphic interpretation of a

great author an artist either so reverential, or so strongly

sympathetic at some given point, that, in default of any relation

more narrowly intimate, we at once accept his conceptions as the

best attainable.  In this class are Flaxman's outlines to Homer and

AEschylus.  Flaxman was not a Hellenist as men are Hellenists to-

day.  Nevertheless, his Roman studies had saturated him with the

spirit of antique beauty, and by his grand knowledge of the nude,

his calm, his restraint, he is such an illustrator of Homer as is

not likely to arise again.  For who--with all our added knowledge of

classical antiquity--who, of our modern artists, could hope to rival

such thoroughly Greek compositions as the ball-play of Nausicaa in

the "Odyssey," or that lovely group from AEschylus of the tender-

hearted, womanly Oceanides, cowering like flowers beaten by the

storm under the terrible anger of Zeus?  In our day Flaxman's

drawings would have been reproduced by some of the modern facsimile

processes, and the gain would have been great.  As it is, something

is lost by their transference to copper, even though the translators

be Piroli and Blake.  Blake, in fact, did more than he is usually

credited with, for (beside the acknowledged and later "Hesiod,"

1817) he really engraved the whole of the "Odyssey," Piroli's plates

having been lost on the voyage to England.  The name of the Roman

artist, nevertheless, appears on the title-page (1793).  But Blake

was too original to be a successful copyist of other men's work, and

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