Of late years it has been my fate or my whim to write a good deal about the early days of the Preraphaelite movement, the members of the Preraphaelite Brotherhood, and especially my brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and my sister Christina Georgina Rossetti. I am now invited to write something further on the subject, with immediate reference to the Preraphaelite magazine "the Germ," republished in this volume. I know of no particular reason why I should not do this, for certain it is that few people liveing know, or ever knew, so much as I do about "the Germ"; and if some press-critics who regard previous writings of mine as superfluous or ill-judged should entertain a like opinion now, in equal or increased measure, I willingly leave them to say so, while I pursue my own course none the less.
"The Germ" is here my direct theme, not the Preraphaelite Brotherhood; but it seems requisite to say in the first instance something about the Brotherhood--its members, allies, and ideas--so as to exhibit a raison d'être for the magazine. In doing this I must necessarily repeat some things which I have set forth before, and which, from the writing of others as well as myself, are well enough know to many. I can vary my form of expression, but cannot introduce much novelty into my statements of fact.
In 1848 the British School of Painting was in anything but a vital or a lively condition. One very great and incomparable genius, Turner, belonged to it. He was old and past his executive prime. There were some other highly able men--Etty and David Scott, then both very near their death; Maclise, Dyce, Cope Mulready, Linnell, Poole, William Henry Hunt, Landseer, Leslie, Watts, Cox, J.F. Lewis, and some others. There were also some distinctly clever men, such as Ward, Frith, and Egg. Paton, Gilbert, Ford Madox Brown, Mark Anthony, had given sufficient indication of their powers, but were all in an early stage. On the whole the school had sunk very far below what it had been in the days of Hogarth, Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Blake, and its ordinary average had come to be something for which commonplace is a laudatory term, and imbecility a not excessive one.
There were in the late summer of 1848, in the Schools of the Royal Academy or barely emergent from them, four young men to whom this condition of the art seemed offensive, contemptible, and even scandalous. Their names were William Holman-Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painters, and Thomas Woolner, sculptor. Their ages varied from twenty-two to nineteen--Woolner being the eldest, and Millais the youngest. Being little more than lads, these young men were naturally not very deep in either the theory or the practice of art: but they had open eyes and minds, and could discern that some things were good and other bad--that some things they liked, and others they hated. They hated the lack of ideas in art, and the lack of character; the silliness and vacuity which belong to the one, the flimsiness and make-believe which result from the other. They hated those forms of execution which are merely smooth and prettyish, and those which, pretending to mastery, are nothing better than slovenly and slapdash, or what the P.R.B.'s called "sloshy." Still more did they hate the notion that each artist should obey his own individual impulse, act upon his own perception and study of Nature, and scrutinize and work at his objective material with assiduity before he could attempt to display and interpret it; but that, instead of all this, he should try to be "like somebody else," imitating some extant style and manner, and applying the cut-and-dry rules enunciated by A from the practice of B or C. They determined to do the exact contrary. The temper of these striplings, after some years of the current academic training, was the temper of rebels: they meant revolt, and produced revolution. It would be a mistake to suppose, because the called themselves Preraphaelites, that they seriously disliked the works produced by Raphael; but they disliked the works produced by Raphael's uninspired satellites, and were resolved to find out, by personal study and practice, what their own several faculties and adaptabilities might be, without being bound by rules and big-wiggeries founded upon the performance of Raphael or of any one. They were to have no master except their own powers of mind and hand, and their own first-hand study of Nature. Their minds were to furnish them with subjects for works of art, and with the general scheme of treatment, Nature was to be their one or their paramount storehouse of materials for objects to be represented; the study of her was to be deep, and the representation (at any rate in the earlier stages of self-discipline and work) in the highest degree exact; executive methods were to be learned partly from precept and example, but most essentially from practice and experiment. As their minds were very different in range and direction, their products also, from the first, differed greatly; and these soon ceased to have any link of resemblance.
The Preraphaelite Brothers entertained a deep respect and a sincere affection for the works of some of the artists who had preceded Raphael; and they thought that they should more or less be following the lead of those artists if they themselves were to develop their own individuality, disregarding school-rules. This was really the sum and substance of their "Preraphaelitism." It may freely be allowed that, as they were very young, and fired by certain ideas impressive to their own spirits, they unduly ignored some other ideas and theories which have none the less a deal to say for themselves. they contemned some things and som practitioners of art not at all contemptible, and, in speech still more than in thought, they at times wilfully heaped up the scorn. You cannot have a youthful rebel with a faculty who is also a model head-boy in a school.
The P.R.B. was completed by the accession of three members to the four already mentioned. These were James Collinson, a domestic painter; Frederic George Stephens, an Academy-student of painting; and myself, a government-clerk. These again, when the P.R.B. was formed towards September 1848, were all young, aged respectively about twenty-three, twenty-one, and nineteen.
This Preraphaelite Brotherhood was the independent creation of Holman-Hunt, Millais, Rossetti, and (in perhaps a somewhat minor degree) Woolner: it cannot be said that they were prompted or abetted by any one. Ruskin, whose name has been sometimes inaccurately mixed up in the matter, and who as yet published only the first two volumes of "Modern Painters," was wholly unknown to them personally, and in his writings was probably known only to Holman Hunt. Ford Madox Brown had been an intimate of Rossetti since March 1848, and he sympathized, fully as much as any of these younger men, with some old-world developments of art preceding its ripeness or over-ripeness: but he had no inclination to join any organization for protest and reform, and he followed his own course--more influenced, for four or five years ensuing, by what the P.R.B.'s were doing than influencing them. Among the persons who were most intimate with the members of the Brotherhood towards the date of its formation, and onwards till the inception of "the Germ," I may mention the following. For Holman-Hunt, the sculptor John Lucas Tupper, who had been a fellow Academy-student, and was now and anatomical designer at Guy's Hospital: he and his family were equally well acquainted with Mr. Stephens. For Millais, the painter Charles Allston Collins, son of the well-known painter of domestic life and coast-scenes William Collins; the painter Arthur Hughes; also his own brother, William Henry Millais, who had musical aptitudes and became a landscape-painter. For Rossetti, William Bell Scott (brother of David Scott), painter, poet, and Master of the Government School of Design in Newcastle-on-Tyne; Major Calder Campbell, a retired Officer of the Indian army, and a somewhat popular writer of tales, verses, etc.; Alexander Munro the sculptor; Walter Howell Deverell, a young painter, son of the Secretary to the Government Schools of Design; James Hannay, the novelist, satirical writer, and journalist; and (known through Madox Brown) William Cave Thomas, a painter who had studied in the severe classical school of Germany, and had earned a name in the Westminster Hall competitions for frescoes in Parliament. For Woolner, John Hancock and Bernhard Smith, sculptors; Coventry Patmore the poet, with his connections the Orme family and Professor Masson; also William North, an eccentric young literary man, of much effervescence and some talent, author of "Anti-Coningsby" and other novels. For Collinson, the prominent painter of romantic and biblical subjects John Rogers Herbert, who was, like Collinson himself, a Roman Catholic convert.
The Preraphaelite Brotherhood having been founded in September 1848, the members exhibited in 1849 works conceived in the new spirit. These were received by critics and by the public with more than moderate though certainly not unmixed favour: it had not as yet transpired that there was a league of unquiet and ambitious young spirits, bent upon making a fresh start of their own, and a clean sweep of some effete respectabilities. It was not until after the exhibitions were near closing in 1849 that any idea of bringing out a magazine came to be discussed. The author of the project was Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He alone among the P.R.B.'s had already cultivated the art of writing in verse and in prose to some noticeable extent ("The Blessed Damozel" had been produced before May 1847), and he was better acquainted than any other member with British and foreign literature. There need be no self-conceit in saying that in these respects I came next to him. Holman-Hunt, Woolner, and Stephens, were all reading men (in British literature only) within straiter bounds than Rossetti: not any one of them, I think, had as yet done in writing anything worth mentioning. Millais and Collinson, more especially the former, were men of the brush, not the pen, yet both of them capable of writing with point, and even in verse. By July 13 and 14, 1849, some steps were taken towards discussing the project of a magazine. The price, as at first proposed, was to be sixpence; the title, "Monthly Thoughts in Literature, Poetry, and Art"; each number was to have an etching. Soon afterwards a price of one shilling was decided upon, and two etchings per number: but this latter intention was not carried out.* All the P.R.B.'s were to be proprietors of the magazine: I question however whether Collinson was ever persuaded to assume this responsibility, entailing payment of an eventual deficit. We were quite ready also to have some other proprietors. Mr. Herbert was addressed by Collinson, and at one time was regarded as pretty safe. Mr. Hancock the sculptor did not resist the pressure put upon him; but after al he contributed nothing to "The Germ," either in work or in money. Walter Deverell assented, and paid when the time came. Thus there seem to have been eight, or else seven, de facto proprietors--not one of them having any spare cash, and not all of them much steadiness of interest in the scheme set going by Dante Rossetti.
With so many persons having a kind of co-equal right to decide what should be done with the magazine, it soon became apparent that somebody ought to be appointed Editor, and assume the control. I, during an absence from London, was fixed upon for this purpose by Woolner and my brother--with the express or tacit assent, so far as I know, of all the others, I received notice of my new dignity on September 23, 1849, being just under twenty years of age, and I forthwith applied myself to the task. It had at first been proposed to print upon the prospectus and wrappers of the magazine the words "Conducted by Artists," and also (just about this time) to entitle it "The P.R.B. Journal." I called attention to the first of these points as running counter to my assuming the editorship, and to second as in itself inappropriate: both had in fact been already set aside. My brother had ere this been introduced to Messrs. Aylott and Jones, publishers in Paternoster Row (principally concerned, I believe, with books of evangelical religion), and had entered into terms with them, and got them to print a prospectus. "P.R.B." was at first printed on the latter, but to this Mr. Holman-Hunt objected in November, and it was omitted. The printers were to Be Messrs. Tupper and Sons, a firm of lithographic and general printers in the City, the same family to which John Lucas Tupper belonged. The then title, invented by my brother, was "Thoughts towards Nature," a phrase which, though somewhat extra-peculiar, indicated accurately enough the predominant conception of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, that an artist, whether painter or writer, ought to be bent upon defining and expressing his own personal thoughts, and that these ought to be based upon a direct study of Nature, and harmonized with her manifestations. It was not until December 19, when the issue of our No. 1 was closely impending, that a different title, "The Germ," was proposed. On that evening there was a rather large gathering at Dante Rossetti's studio, 72 Newman Street; the seven P.R.B.'s, Madox Brown, Cave Thomas, Deverell, Hancock, and John and George Tupper. Mr. Thomas had drawn up a list of no less than sixty-five possible titles (a facsimile of his MS. of some of them appears in the "Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti to William Allingham," edited by George Birkbeck Hill-Unwin, 1897). Only a few of them met with favour; and one of them, "The Germ," going to the vote along with "The Seed" and "The Scroll," was approved by a vote of six to four. The next best were, I think, "The Harbinger," "First Thoughts," "The Sower," "The Truth-Seeker," and "The Acorn." Appended to the new title we retained, as a sub-title, something of what had been previously proposed; and the serial appeared as "The Germ. Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature, and Art." At this same meeting Mr. Woolner suggested that authors' names should not be published in the magazine. I alone opposed him, and his motion carried. I cannot at this distance of time remember with any precision what his reason were; but I think that he, and all the other artists concerned, entertained a general feeling that to appear publicly as writers, and especially as writers opposing the ordinary current of opinions on fine art, would damage their professional position, which already involved uphill work more than enough.
"The Germ," No. 1, came out on our about January 1, 1850. The number of copies printed was 700. Something like 200 were sold, in about equal proportions by the publishers, by ourselves among acquaintances and well-wishers. This was not encouraging, so we reduced the issue of No. 2 to 500 copies. It sold less well that No. 1. With this number was introduced the change of printing on the wrapper the names of most of the contributors: not of all, for some still preferred to remain unnamed, or to figure under a fancy designation. Had we been left to our own resources, we must now have dropped the magazine. But the printing-firm--or Mr. George I.F. Tupper as representing it--came forward, and undertook to try the chance of two numbers more. The title was altered (at Mr. Alexander Tupper's suggestion) to "Art and Poetry, being thoughts towards Nature, conducted principally by Artists"; and Messrs. Dickinson and Co., of New Bond Street, the printsellers, consented to join their name as publishers to that of Messrs. Aylott and Jones. Mr. Robert Dickinson, the head of this firm, and more especially his brother, the able portrait-painter Mr. Lowes Dickinson, were well know to Madox Brown, and through him to members of the P.R.B. I continued to be editor; but, as the money stake of myself and my colleagues in the publication had now ceased, I naturally accommodated myself more than before to any wish evinced by the Tupper family. No. 3, which ought to have appeared March 1, was delayed by these uncertainties and changes till March 31. No. 4 come out on April 30. Some small amount of advertising was done, more particularly by posters carried about in front of the Royal Academy (then in Trafalgar Square), which opened at the beginning of May. All efforts proved useless. People would not buy "The Germ," and would scarcely consent to know of its existence. So the magazine breathed its last, and its obsequies were conducted in the strictest privacy. Its debts exceeded its assets, and a sum of 33 [pounds] odd, due on Nos. 1 and 2, had to be cleared off by the seven (or eight) proprietors, conscientious against the grain. What may have been the loss of Messrs. Tupper on Nos. 3 and 4 I am unable to say. It is hardly worth specifying that neither the editor, nor any of the contributors whether literary or artistic, received any sort of payment. This was foreseen from the first as being "in the bond," and was not grievance to anybody.
"The Germ," as we have seen, was a most decided failure, yet it would be a mistake to suppose that it excited no amount of literary attention whatsoever. There were laudatory notices in "the Dispatch," "the Guardian," "Howitt's Standard of Freedom," "John Bull," "The Critic," "Bell's Weekly Messenger," "The Morning Chronicle," and I dare say some other papers. A pat on the back, with a very lukewarm hand, was bestowed by "The Art Journal." There were notices also--not eulogistic--in "The Spectator" and elsewhere. The editor of "The Critic," Mr. (afterwards Serjeant) Cox, on the faith of the doings in "The Germ," invited me, or some other of the art-writers there, to undertake the fine-art department--picture-exhibitions, etc.--of his weekly review. This I did for a short time, and, on getting transferred to "The Spectator," I was succeeded on "The Critic" by Mr. F.G. Stephens. I also received some letters consequent upon "The Germ," and made some acquaintances among authors; Horne, Clough, Heraud, Westland Marston, also Miss Glyn the actress. I as editor came in for this; but of course the attractiveness of "The Germ" depended upon the writings of others, chiefly Messrs. Woolner, Patmore, And Orchard, my sister, and above all my brother, and, among the artist-etchers, Mr. Holman-Hunt.
I happen to be still in possession of the notices which appeared in "The Critic," "Bell's Weekly Messenger," and "The Guardian," and of extracts (as given in our present facsimile) from those in "John Bull," "The Morning Chronicle," and "The Standard of Freedom": I here reproduce the first three for the curious reader's perusal. First comes the review which appeared in "The Critic" on February 15, 1850, followed by a second review on June 1. The former was (as shown by the initials) written by Mr. Cox, and I presume the latter also. Major Calder Campbell must have called the particular attention of Mr. Cox to "The Germ." My own first personal acquaintance with this gentleman may have been intermediate between 15 February and 1 June.
The Germ. Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature, and Art.-----
Nos. I. and II. London: Aylott and Jones.
We depart from our usual plan of noticing the periodicals under one heading, for the purpose of introducing to our readers a new aspirant for public favour, which has peculiar an uncommon claims to attention, for in design and execution it differs from all other periodicals. The Germ is the somewhat affected and unpromising title give to a small monthly journal, which is devoted almost entirely to poetry and art, and is the production of a party of young persons. This statement is of itself, as we are well aware, enough to cause it to be looked upon with shyness. A periodical largely occupied with poetry wears an unpromising aspect to readers who have learned from experience what nonsensical stuff most fugitive magazine-poetry is; nor is this natural prejudice diminished by the knowledge that it is the production of young gentlemen and ladies. But, when they have read a few extracts which we prose to make, we think they will own that for once appearance are deceitful, and that an affected title and an unpromising theme really hides a great deal of genius; mingled however, we must also admit, with many conceits which youth is prone to, but which time and experience will assuredly tame.
The contents of The Germ are the production of no common minds the following extracts will sufficiently prove, and we may add that these are but a small portion of the contents which might prefer equal claims to applause.
"My Beautiful Lady," and "Of my Lady in Death," are two poems in a quaint metre, full of true poetry, marred by not a few affectations--the genuine metal, but wanting to be purified from its dross. Nevertheless, it is pleasant to find the precious ore anywhere in these unpoetical times.
To our taste the following is replete with poetry. What a picture it is! A poet's tongue has told what an artist's eye has seen. It is the first of a series to be entitled "Songs of One Household." [Here comes Dante Rossetti's poem, "My Sister's Sleep," followed by Patmore's "Seasons," and Christina Rossetti's "Testimony."] We have not space to take an specimens of the prose, but the essays on art are conceived with an equal appreciation of its meaning and requirements. Being such, The Germ has our heartiest wishes for its success; but we scarcely dare to hope that it may win the popularity it deserves. The truth is that it is too good for the time. It is not material enough for the age.
Art and Poetry: being Thoughts towards Nature. Conducted principally by Artists.-----
Nos. 3 and 4. London: Dickinson and Co.
Some time since we had occasion to direct the attention of our readers to a periodical then just issued under the modest title of The Germ. The surprise and pleasure with which we read it was, as we are informed, very generally shared by our readers upon perusing the poems we extracted from it; and it was manifest to every person of the slightest taste that the contributors were possessed of genius of a very high order, and the The Germ was not wantonly so entitled, for it abounded with the promise of a rich harvest to be anticipated from the maturity of those whose youth could accomplish so much.
But we expressed also our fear lest the very excellence of this magazine should be fatal to its success. It was too good--that is to say, too refined and of too lofty a class, both in its art and in its poetry--to be sufficiently popular to pay even the printer's bill. The name, too, was against it, being somewhat unintelligible to the thoughtless, and conveying to the considerate a notion of something very juvenile. Those fears were not unfounded, for it was suspended for a short time; but other journals after a while discovered and proclaimed the merit that was scattered profusely over the pages of The Germ, and, thus encouraged, the enterprise has been resumed, with a change of name which we must regard as an improvement. Art and Poetry precisely describes its character. It is wholly devoted to them, and it aims at originality in both. It is seeking out for itself new paths, in a spirit of earnestness, and with an undoubted ability which must lead to a new era. The writers may err somewhat at first, show themselves too defiant or prescriptive rules, and mistake extravagance for originality; but this fault (inherent in youth when, conscious of its powers, it first sets up for itself) will after a while work its own cure, and with experience will come soberer action. But we cannot contemplate this young and rising school in art and literature without the most ardent anticipations of something great to grow from it, something new and worthy of our age, and we bid them God speed upon the path they have adventured.
But our more immediate purpose here is with the poetry, of which about one-half of each number is composed. It is all beautiful, must of it of extraordinary merit, and equal to anything that any of our known poets could write, save Tennyson, of whom the strains sometimes remind us, although they are not imitations in any sense of the word. [The Reviewer next proceeds to quote, with a few words of comment, Christina Rossetti's "Sweet Death," John Tupper's "Viola and Olivia," Orchard's "Whit-Sunday Morn," and (later on) Dante Rossetti "Pax Vobis."]
Almost one half of the April number is occupied with a "Dialogue on Art," the composition of an Artist whose works are well known to the public. It was written during a period of ill health, which forbad the use of the brush, and, taking his pen, he has given to the world his thoughts upon art in a paper which the Edinburgh Review in its best days might have been proud to possess.
Sure we are that not one of our readers will regret the length at which we have noticed this work.
The short and unpretending critique which I add from "Bell's Weekly Messenger" was written, I believe, either by or at the instance of Mr. Bellamy, a gentleman who acted as secretary to the National Club. His son addressed me as editor of "The Germ," in terms of great ardour, and through the son I on one occasion saw the father as well.
Art and Poetry. Nos. I., II., and III. London, Dickinson and Co.-----
The present numbers are the commencement of a very useful publication, conducted principally by artists, the design of which is to "express thoughts towards Nature." We see much to commend in its pages, which are also nicely illustrated in the medieval style of art and in outline. The paper upon Shakespeare's tragedy of "Macbeth," in the third number, abounds with striking passages, and will be found to be well worthy of consideration
I now proceed to "The Guardian." The notice came out on August 20, 1850, some months after "The Germ" had expired. I do not now know who wrote it, and (so far as memory serves me) I never did know. The writer truly said that Millais "contributes nothing" to the magazine. This however was not Millais's fault, for he made an etching for a prose story by my brother (named "An Autopsychology," or now "St. Agnes of Intercession"); and this etching, along with the story, had been expected to appear in a No. 5 of "The Germ" which never came out. The "very curious but very striking picture" by Rossetti was the "Annunciation," now in the National British Gallery.
Art and Poetry. Being Thoughts towards Nature. Conducted principally by Artists.-----
Dickinson and Co., and Aylott and Jones.
We are very sorry to find that, after a short life of four monthly numbers, this magazine is not likely to be continued. Independently of the great ability displayed by some of its contributors, we have been anxious to see the rising school of young and clever artists find a voice, and tell us what they are aiming at, and how the propose to reach their aim. This magazine was to a great extent connected with the Pre-Raffaelle Brethren, whose paintings have attracted this year a more than ordinary quantity of attention, and an amount of praise and blame perhaps equally extravagant. As might have been expected, the school has been identified with its cleverest manipulator, Mr. Millais, and his merits or defects have been made the measure of the admiration or contempt bestowed by the public upon those whom it chooses to class with him. This is not matter of complaint, but it is a mistake. As far as these papers enable us to judge, Mr. Millais is by no means the leading mind among his fraternity; and judged by the principles of some clever and beautiful papers upon art in the magazine before us, his pictures would be described by them as wanting in some of the very highest artistic qualities, although possessing many which entitle them to attention and respect. The chief contributors to this magazine (to which Mr. Millais contributes nothing) are other artists, as yet not greatly known, but with feeling and purpose about them such as must make them remarkable in time. Some of the best papers are by two brother named Rossetti, one of whom, Mr. D.G. Rossetti, has a very curious but very striking picture now exhibiting in the Portland Gallery. Mr. Deverell, who has also a very clever picture in the same gallery, contributes some beautiful poetry. It is perhaps chiefly in the poetry that the abilities of these writers are displayed; for, with somewhat absurd and much that is affected, there is yet in the poetical pieces of these four numbers a beauty and grace of language and sentiment, and not seldom a vigour of conception, altogether above the common run. Want of purpose may be easily charged against them as a fault, and with some justice, but it is a very common defect of youthful poetry, which is sure to disappear with time if there be anything real and manly in the poet. The best pieces are too long to extracted in entire, and are not to be judged of fairly except as wholes. There is a very fine poem called "repining" of which this is particularly true. [Next comes a quotation of Christina Rossetti's "Dream Land," and of a portion of Dante Rossetti's "Blessed Damozel."] The last number contains a remarkable dialogue on Art, written by a young man, John Orchard, who has since died. It is well worth study. Kalon, Kosmon, and Sophon, and Christian, whose names, of course, represent the opinions they defend, discuss a number of subjects connected with the arts. Each character is well supported, and the wisdom and candour of the whole piece is very striking, especially when we consider the youth and inexperience of the writer. Art lost a true and high-minded votary in Mr. Orchard [A rather long extract from the "Dialogue" follows here.]
It is a pity that the publication is to stop. English artists have hitherto worked each one by himself, with too little of common purpose, too little of mutual support, too little of distinct and steadily pursued intellectual object. We do not believe that they are one whit more jealous than the followers of other professions. But they are less forced to be together, and the little jealousies which deform the natures of us all have in their case, for this reason, freer scope, and tend more to isolation. Here, at last, we have a school, ignorant it may be, conceited possibly, as yet with but vague and unrealised objects, but working together with a common purpose, according to certain admitted principles, and looking to one another for help and sympathy. This is new in England, and we are very anxious it should have a fair trial. Its aim, moreover, however imperfectly attained as yet, is high and pure. No one can walk along our streets and not see how debased and sensual our tastes have become. The saying of Burke (so unworthy of a great man), that vice loses half its evil by losing all its grossness, is practically acted upon, and voluptuous and seductive figures, recommended only by a soft effeminacy, swarm our shop- windows and defile our drawing-rooms. It is impossible to over-state the extent to which they minister to, and increase the foul sins of, a corrupt and luxurious age. A school of artists who attempt to bring back the popular taste to the sever draperies and pure forms of early art are at least deserving of encouragement. Success in their attempt would be a national blessing.
Shrivelling in the Spring of 1850, "The Germ" showed no further sign of sprouting for many years, though I suppose it may have been known to the promoters of "The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine," produced in 1856, and may have furnished some incitement towards that enterprise--again an unsuccessful one commercially. Gradually some people began to take a little interest in the knowledge that such a publication had existed, and to inquire after stray copies here and there. This may perhaps have commenced before 1870, or at any rate shortly afterwards, as in that year the "Poems" of Dante Rossetti were brought out, exciting a great amount of attention and admiration, and curiosity attached to anything that he might have published before. One heard of such prices as ten shillings for a set of the "The Germ," then 2 [pounds], 10 [pounds], 30 [pounds], etc., and in 1899 a copy handsomely bound by Cobden- Saunderson was sold in America for about 104 [pounds]. Will that high-water mark ever be exceeded? For the sake of common-sense, let us hope not.
I will now go through the articles in "The Germ" one by one. Wherever any of them may seem to invite a few words of explanation I offer such to the reader; and I give the names of the authors, when not named in the magazine itself. Those articles which do not call for any particular comment receive none here.
On the wrapper of each number is to be found a sonnet, printed in a rather aggressively Gothic type, beginning, "When whose merely hath a little thought." This sonnet is my performance; it had been suggested that one or other of the proprietors of the magazine should write a sonnet to express the spirit in which the publication was undertaken. I wrote the one here in question, which met with general acceptance; and I do not remember that any one else competed. This sonnet may not be a good one, but I do not see why it should be considered unintelligible. Mr. Bell Scott, in his "Autobiographical Notes," expressed the opinion that to master the production would almost need a Browning Society's united intellects. And he then gave his interpretation, differing not essentially from my own. What I meant is this : A writer ought to think out his subject honestly and personally, not imitatively, and ought to express it with directness and precision ; if he does this, we should respect his performance as truthful, even though it may not be important. This indicated, for writers, much the same principle which the P.R.B. professed for painters, --individual genuineness in the thought, reproductive genuineness in the presentment.
By Thomas Woolner : " My Beautiful Lady," and "Of My Lady in Death." These compositions were, I think, nearly the first attempts which Mr. Woolner made in verse ; any earlier endeavours must have been few and slight. The author's long poem " My Beautiful Lady," published in 1863, started from these beginnings. Coventry Patmore, on hearing the poems in September 1849, was considerably impressed by them : " the only defect he found" (as notified in a letter from Dante Rossetti) " being that they were a trifle too much in earnest in the passionate parts, and too scupturesque generally. He means by this that each stanza stands too much alone, and has its own ideas too much to itself."
By Ford Maddox Brown ; " The Love of Beauty : Sonnet."
By John L. Tupper : " The Subject in Art." Two papers, which do not complete the important thesis here undertaken. Mr. Tupper was, for an artist, a man of unusually scientific mind ; yet he was not, I think, distinguished by that power of orderly and progressive exposition which befits an argumentation. These papers exhibit a good deal of thought, and state several truths which, even if partial truths, are not the less deserving of attention ; but the dissertation does not produce a very clear impression, inasmuch as there is too great a readiness to plunge in medias res, checked by too great a tendency to harking back, and re-stating some conclusion in modified terms and with insecure corollaries. Two points which Mr. Tupper chiefly insists upon are: (1) that the subject in a work of art affects the beholder in the same sort of way as the same subject, occurring as a fact or aspect of Nature, affects him ; and thus whatever in Nature excites the mental and moral emotion of man is a right subject for fine art ; and (2), that subjects of our own day should not be discarded in favour of those of a past time. These principles, along with others bearing in the same direction, underlie the propositions lately advanced by Count Leo Tolstoy in his most interesting and valuable (though I think one-sided) book entitled " What is Art ?"--and the like may be said of the principles announced in the " Hand and Soul" of Dante Rossetti, and in the " Dialogue on Art" by John Orchard, through the mouths of two of the speakers, Christian and Sophon. I have once or twice seen these papers by Mr. Tupper commented upon to the effect that he wholly ignores the question of art-merit in a work of art, the question whether it is good or bad in form, colour, etc. But this is a mistake, for in fact he allows that this is a relevant consideration, but declines to bring it within his own lines of discussion. There is also a curious passage which has been remarked upon as next door to absurd ; that where, in treating of various forms of still life as inferior subjects for art, he says that " the dead pheasant in a picture will always be as ' food,' while the same at the poulterer's will be but a dead pheasant." I do not perceive that this is really absurd. At the poulterer's (and Mr. Tupper has proceeded to say as much in his article) all the items are in fact food, and therefore the spectator attends to the differences between them ; one being a pheasant, one a fowl, one a rabbit, etc. But, in a varied collection of pictures, most of the works representing some subject quite unconnected with food ; and, if you see among them one, such as a dead pheasant, representing an article of food, that is the point which primarily occurs to your mind as distinguishing this particular picture from the others. The views expressed by Mr. Tupper in these two papers should be regarded as his own, and not by any means necessarily those upheld by the Praeraphaelite Brotherhood. The members of this body must however have agreed with several of his utterances, and sympathized with others, apart from strict agreement.
By Patmore : " The Seasons." This choice little poem was volunteered to " The Germ" in September, after the author had read our prospectus, which impressed him favourably. He withheld his name, much to our disappointment, having resolved to do so in all instances where something of his might be published pending the issue of a new volume.
By Christina Rossetti : " Dream Land." Though my sister was only just nineteen when this remarkable lyric was printed, she had already made some slight appearance in published type (not to speak of the privately printed " Verses" of 1847), as two small poems of hers had been inserted in " The Athenaeum" in October 1848. " Dream Land" was written in April 1849, before " The Germ" was though of ; and it may be as well to say that all my sister's contributions to this magazine were produced without any reference to publication in that or in any particular form.
By Dante G. Rossetti : " My Sister's Sleep." This purports to be No. 1 of " Songs of One Household." I do not much think that Dante Rossetti ever wrote any other poem which would have been proper to such a series. " My Sister's Sleep" was composed very soon after he emerged from a merely juvenile stage of work. I believe that it dates before " The Blessed Damozel," and therefore before May 1847. It is not founded upon any actual event affecting the Rossetti family, nor any family of our acquaintance. As I have said in my Memoir of my brother (1895), the poem was shown, perhaps early in 1848, by Major Calder Campbell to the editress of the " Belle Assemblée," who heartily admired it, but, for one reason or another, did not publish it. This composition is somewhat noticeable on more grounds than one ; not least as being in a metre which was not much in use until it became famous in Tennyson's " In Memoriam," published in 1850, and of course totally unknown to Rossetti when he wrote " My Sister's Sleep." In later years my brother viewed this early work with some distaste, and he only reluctantly reprinted it in his " Poems," 1870. He then wholly omitted the four stanzas 7, 8, 12, 13, beginning : " Silence was speaking," " I said, full knowledge," " She stood a moment," " Almost unwittingly" ; and he made some other verbal alterations.** It will be observed that this poem was written long before the Praeraphaelite movement began. None the less it shows in an eminent degree one of the influences which guided that movement : the intimate intertexture of a spiritual sense with a material form ; small actualities made vocal of lofty meanings.
By Dante G. Rossetti : " Hand and Soul." This tale was, I think, written with an express view to its appearing in No. 1 of our magazine, and Rossetti began making for it an etching, which, though not ready for No. 1, was intended to appear in some number later than the second. He drew it in March 1850 ; but, being disgusted with the performance, he scratched the plate over, and tore up the prints. The design showed Chiaro dell' Erma in the act of painting his embodied Soul. Though the form of this tale is that of romantic metaphor, its substance is a very serious manifesto of art-dogma. It amounts to saying, The only satisfactory works of art are those which exhibit the very soul of the artist. To work for fame or self-display is a failure, and to work for direct moral proselytizing is a failure ; but to paint that which your own perceptions and emotions urge you to paint promises to be a success for yourself, and hence a benefit to the mass of beholders. This was the core of the " Praeraphaelite" creed ; with the adjunct (which hardly came within the scope of Rossetti's tale, and yet may be partly traced there) that the artist cannot attain to adequate self-expression save through a stern study and realization of natural appearances. And it may be said that to this core of the Praeraphaelite creed Rossetti always adhered throughout his life, greatly different though his later works are from his earlier ones in the externals of artistic style. Most of " Hand and Soul" war written on December 21, 1849, day and night, chiefly in some five hours beginning after midnight. Three currents of thought may be traced in this story : (1) A certain amount of knowledge regarding the beginnings of Italian art, mingled with some ignorance, voluntary or involuntary, of what was possible to be done in the middle of the thirteenth century ; (2) a highly ideal, yet individual, general treatment of the narrative ; and (3) a curious aptitude at detailing figments as if they were facts. All about Chiaro dell' Erma himself, Dresden and Dr. Aemmster, D'Agincourt, pictures at the Pitti Gallery, the author's visit to Florence in 1847, etc., are pure inventions or "mystifications"; but so realistically put that they have in various instances been relied upon and cited as truths. I gave some details as to this in my Memoir of Dante Rossetti. The style of writing in " Hand and Soul" is of a very exceptional kind. My brother had at that time a great affection for " Stories after Nature," written by Charles Wells (author of "Joseph and his Brethren"), and these he kept in view to some extent as a model, though the direct resemblance is faint indeed. In the conversation of foreign art-students, forming the epilogue, he may have been not wholly oblivious of the scene in Browning's " Pippa Passes" (a prime favourite of his), where some " foreign students of painting and sculpture" are preparing a disagreeable surprise for the French sculptor Jules. There is, however, no sort of imitation ; and Rossetti's dialogue is the more markedly natural of the two. In re-reading " Hand and Soul," I am struck by two passages which came true of Rossetti himself in after-life : (1) " Sometimes after nightfall he would walk abroad in the most solitary places he could find--hardly feeling the ground under him because of the thoughts of the day which held him in fever." (2) " Often he would remain at work through the whole of a day, not resting once so long as the light lasted." When Rossetti, in 1869, was collecting his poems, and getting them privately printed with a view to after publication, he thought of including " Hand and Soul" in the same volume, but did not eventually do so. The privately-printed copy forms a small pamphlet, which has sometimes been sold at high prices--I believe 10 and upwards. At this time I pointed out to him that the church at Pisa which he named San Rocco could not possibly have borne that name--San Rocco being a historical character who lived at a later date : the Church was then re-named " San Petronio," and this I believe is the only change of the least importance introduced into the reprint. In December 1870 the tale was published in "The Fortnightly Review." The Rev. Alfred Gurney (deceased not long ago) was a great admirer of Dante Rossetti's works. He published in 1883 a brochure named "A Dream of Fair Women, a Study of some Pictures by Dante Gabriel Rossetti"; he also published an essay on "Hand and Soul," giving a more directly religious interpretation to the story than its author had at all intended. It is entitled "A Painter's Day-dream."
By W. M. Rossetti: "Review of Clough's Bothie of Toperna-fuosich." The only remark which I need to make on this somewhat ponderous article is that I, as Editor of "The Germ," was more or less expected to do the sort of work for which other "proprietors" had little inclination--such especially as the regular reviewing of new poems.
By W. M. Rossetti: "Her First Season: Sonnet." As I have said elsewhere, my brother and I were at one time greatly addicted to writing sonnets together to bouts-rimes: the date may have been chiefly 1848, and the practice had, I think, quite ceased for some little while before "The Germ" commenced in 1850. This sonnet was one of my bouts-rimes performances. I ought to have been more chary than I was of introducing into our seriously-intended magazine such hap-hazard things as bouts-rimes poems: one reason for doing so was that we were often at a loss for something to fill a spare page.
By John L. Tupper: "A Sketch from Nature." The locality indicated in these very spirited descriptive lines is given as "Sydenham Wood." When I was compiling the posthumous volume of John Tupper's "Poems" which came out in 1897, I should, so far as merit is concerned, have wished to include this little piece: it was omitted solely on the ground of its being already published.
By Christina Rossetti: "An End." Written in March 1849.
By Collinson: "The Child Jesus, a Record Typical of the Five Sorrowful Mysteries." Collinson, as I have already said, was hardly a writing man, and I question whether he had produced a line of verse prior to undertaking this by no means trivial task. The poem, like the etching which he did for it, is deficient in native strength, nor is there much invention in the symbolical incidents which make it up: but its general level, and several of its lines and passages, always appeared to me, and still appear, highly laudable, and far better than could have been reckoned for. Here and there a telling line was supplied by Dante Rossetti. Millais, when shortly afterwards in Oxford, found that the poem had made some sensation there. It is singular that Collinson should, throughout his composition, speak of Nazareth as being on the sea-shore--which is the reverse of the fact. The Praeraphaelites, with all their love of exact truth to nature, were a little arbitrary in applying the principle; and Collinson seems to have regarded it as quite superfluous to look into a map, and see whether Nazareth was near the sea or not. Or possibly he trusted to Dante Rossetti's poem "Ave," in which likewise Nazareth is a marine town. My brother advisedly stuck to this in 1869, when I pointed out the error to him: he replied, "I fear the sea must remain at Nazareth: you know an old painter would have made no bones if he wanted it for his background." I cannot say whether Collinson, if put to it, would have pleaded the like arbitrary and almost burlesque excuse: at any rate he made the blunder, and in a much more detailed shape than in Rossetti's lyric. "The Child Jesus" is, I think, the only poem of any importance that he ever wrote.
By Christina Rossetti: "A Pause of Thought." On the wrapper of "The Germ" the writer's name is given as "Ellen Alleyn": this was my brother's concoction, as Christina did not care to figure under her own name. "A Pause of Thought" was written in February 1848, when she was but little turned of seventeen. Taken as a personal utterance (which I presume it to be, though I never inquired as to that, and though it was at first named "Lines in Memory of Schiller's Der Pilgrim"), it is remarkable; for it seems to show that, even at that early age, she aspired ardently after poetic fame, with a keen sense of "hope deferred."
By F. G. Stephens (called "John Seward" on the wrapper): "The Purpose and Tendency of Early Italian Art." This article speaks for itself as being a direct outcome of the Praeraphaelite movement: its aim is to enforce personal independent endeavour, based upon close study of nature, and to illustrate the like qualities shown in the earlier school of art. It is more hortatory than argumentative, and it is in fact too short to develop its thesis--it indicates some main points for reflection.
By W. Bell Scott: "Morning Sleep." This poem delighted us extremely when Mr. Scott sent it in reply to a request for contributions. I still think it a noticeably fine thing, and one of his most equable pieces of execution. It was republished in his volume of "Poems," 1875--with some verbal changes, and shortened, I think damaged.
By Patmore: "Stars and Moon."
By Ford Madox Brown: "On the Mechanism of a Historical Picture": Part 1, the Design. It is by this time a well-recognized fact that Brown was one of the men in England, or indeed in Europe, most capable of painting a historical picture, and it is a matter of regret that "The Germ" came to an end before he had an opportunity of continuing and completing this serviceable compendium of precepts. He had studied art in continental schools; but I do not think he imported into his article much of what he had been taught,--rather what he had thought out for himself, and had begun putting into practice.
By W. M. Rossetti: "Fancies at Leisure." The first three of these were written to bouts- rimes. As to No. 1, "Noon Rest," I have a tolerably clear recollection that the rhymes were prescribed to me by Millais, on one of the days in 1849 when I was sitting to him for the head of Lorenzo in his first Praeraphaelite picture from Keats's "Isabella." No. 4, "Sheer Waste," was not a bouts-rimes performance. It was chiefly the outcome of an early afternoon spent lazily in Regent's Park.
By Walter H. Deverell: "The Light Beyond." These sonnets are not of very finished execution, but they have a dignified sustained tone and some good lines. Had Deverell lived a little longer, he might probably have proved that he had some genuine vocation as a poet, no less than a decided pictorial faculty. He died young in February 1854.
By Dante G. Rossetti: "The Blessed Damozel." As to this celebrated poem much might be said; but I shall not say it here, partly because I wrote an Introduction to a reprint (published by Messrs. Duckworth and Co. in 1898) of the "Germ" version of the poem, which is the earliest version extant, and in that Introduction I gave a number of particulars forestalling what I could now set down. I will however take this opportunity of correcting a blunder into which I fell in the Introduction above mentioned. I called attention to "calm" and "warm," which make a "cockney rhyme" in stanza 9 of this "Germ" version; and I said that, in the later version printed in "The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine" in 1856, a change in the line was made, substituting "swam" for "calm," and that the cockneyism, though shuffled, was not thus corrected. In "The Saturday Review," June 25, 1898, the publication of Messrs. Duckworth was criticized; and the writer very properly pointed out that I had made a crass mistake. "Mr. Rossetti," he said, "must be a very hasty reader of texts. What is printed [in 'The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine'] is 'swarm,' not 'swam,' and the rhyme with 'warm' is perfect, stultifying the editor's criticism completely." Probably the critic considered my error as unaccountable as it was serious; and yet it could be fully accounted for, though not fully excused. I had not been "a very hasty reader of texts" in the sense indicated by "The Saturday Review." The fact is that, not possessing a copy of "The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine," I had referred to the book brought out by Mr. William Sharp in 1882, "Dante Gabriel Rossetti: A Record and a Study," in which are given (with every appearance of care and completeness) the passages of "The Blessed Damozel" as they appeared in "The Germ," with the alterations printed in "The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine." From the latter, the line in question is given by Mr. Sharp as "Waste sea of worlds that swam"; and I, supposing him to be correct (though I allow that memory ought to have taught me the contrary), reproduced that line to the same effect. "Always verify your references" is a precept to which editors and commentators cannot too carefully conform. Many thanks to the writer in "The Saturday Review" for showing that, while I, and also Mr. sharp, had made a mistake, my brother had made none.
By W. M. Rossetti: "Review of the Strayed Reveller and other Poems, by A." As we all now know, "A." was Matthew Arnold, and this was his first published volume; but I, at the time of writing the review, knew nothing of the identity of "A.," and even had I been told that he was Matthew Arnold, that would have carried the matter hardly at all further. I remember that, after I had written the whole or most of this admiring review, I found that the volume had been abused in "Blackwood's Magazine"; a fact of sweet savour to myself and other P. R. B.'s, as we entertained a hearty detestation of that magazine, with its blustering "Christopher North," and its traditions of truculency against Keats, Shelley, Leigh Hunt, Tennyson, Ruskin, and some others. I read "A.'s" volume with great attention, and piqued myself somewhat upon having introduced into my review some reference (detailed or cursory) to every poem in it. Possibly (but I hardly think so) the critique was afterwards shortened, so as to bereave it of this merit.
By Madox Brown (the etching) and by W. M. Rossetti (the verses): "Cordelia." For the belated No. 3 of "The Germ" we were much at a loss for an illustration. Mr. Brown offered to accommodate us by etching this design, one of a series from "King Lear" which he had drawn in Paris in 1844. That series, though not very sightly to the eye, is of extraordinary value for dramatic insight and energy. We gladly accepted, and he produced this etching with very little self-satisfaction, so far as the technique of execution is concerned. Dante Rossetti was to have furnished some verses for the etching; but for this he did not find time, so I was put in as a stopgap, and I am not sure that any reader of "The Germ" has ever thanked me for my obedience to the call of duty.
By Patmore: "Essay on Macbeth." In this interesting and well-considered paper Mr. Patmore assumes that he was the first person to put into writing the opinion that Macbeth, before meeting with the witches, had already definitely conceived and imparted the idea of obtaining the crown of Scotland by wrongful means. I have always felt some uncertainty whether Mr. Patmore was really the first; if he was, it certainly seems strange that the train of reasoning which he furnishes in this essay--forcible, even if we do not regard it as unanswerable--should not have presented itself to the mind and pen of some earlier writer. The Essay appears to have been left incomplete in at least one respect. In speaking of "the fifth scene," the author refers to "postponement of comment" upon Macbeth's letter to his wife, and he "leaves it for the present." But the comment never comes.
By Christina Rossetti: "Repining." This rather long poem, written in December 1847 on a still broader scale, was never republished by the authoress, although all her other poems in "The Germ" were so. She did not think that its deservings were such as to call for republication. I apprehend that herein she exercised a wise discretion: none the less, when I was compiling the volume of her "New Poems," issued in 1896, I included "Repining"--for I think that some of the considerations which apply to the works of an author while living do not remain in anything like full force after death.
By Dante G. Rossetti: "The Carillon, Antwerp and Bruges." These verses, and some others further on in "The Germ, " were written during the brief trip, in Paris and Belgium, which my brother made along with Holman-Hunt in the autumn of 1849. He did not republish "The Carillon"; but he left in MS. an abridged form of it, with the title "Antwerp and Bruges," and this I included in his "Collected Words," 1886. The only important change was the omission of stanzas 1 and 4.
By Dante G. Rossetti: "From the Cliffs, Noon." Altering some phrases in this lyric, and adding two stanzas, Rossetti republished it under the name of "The Sea-limits."
By W. M. Rossetti: "Fancies at Leisure." The first four were written to bouts-rimes: not the fifth, "The Fire Smouldering," which is, I think, as old as 1848, or even 1847.
By John L. Tupper: "Papers of the MS. Society; No. 1, An Incident in the Siege of Troy." This grotesque outburst, though sprightly and clever, was not well-suited to the pages of "The Germ." My attention had been called to it at an earlier date, when my editorial power was unmodified, but I then staved it off, and indeed John Tupper himself did not deem it appropriate. It will be observed that "MS. Society" is said not to mean "Manuscript Society." I forget what it did mean--possibly "Medical Student Society." The whole thing is replete with semi-private sous-entendus, and banter at Free Trade, medical and anatomical matters, etc. The like general remarks apply to No. 4, "Smoke," by the same writer. It is a rollicking semi-intelligible chaunt, a forcible thing in its way, proper in the first instance (I believe) to a sort of club of medical students, Royal Academy students, and others--highly-seasoned smokers most of them--in which John Tupper exercised a quasi-privacy, and was called (owing to his thinness, much over-stated in the poem) "The Spectro-cadaveral King." No. 5, "Rain," is again by John Tupper, and is the only item in "The Papers of the MS. Society" which seems, in tone and method, to be reasonably appropriate for "The Germ."
By Alexander Tupper: No. 2, "Swift's Dunces."
By George I. F. Tupper: No. 3, "Mental Scales." This also, in the scrappy condition which it here presents, reads rather as a joke than as a serious proposition: I believe it was meant for the latter.
By John L. Tupper: "Viola and Olivia." The verses are not of much significance. The etching by Deverell, however defective in technique, claims more attention, as the Viola was drawn from Miss Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal, whom Deverell had observed in a bonnet-shop some few months before the etching was done, and who in 1860 became the wife of Dante Rossetti. This face does not give much idea of hers, and yet it is not unlike her in a way. The face of Olivia bears some resemblance to Christina Rossetti: I think however that it was drawn, not from her, but from a sister of the artist.
By John Orchard: "A Dialogue on Art." The brief remarks prefacing this dialogue were written by Dante Rossetti. The diction of the dialogue itself was also, at Orchard's instance, revised to some minor extent by my brother, and I dare say by me. Orchard was a painter of whom perhaps no memory remains at the present day: he exhibited some few pictures, among which I can dimly remember one of "The Flight of Archbishop Becket from England." His age may, I suppose, have been twenty-seven or twenty-eight years at the date of his death. In our circle he was unknown; but, conceiving a deep admiration for Rossetti's first exhibited picture (1849), "The Girlhood of Mary Virgin," he wrote to him, enclosing a sonnet upon the picture--a very bad sonnet in all executive respects, and far from giving promise of the spirited, if unequal, poetic treatment which we find in the lines in "The Germ," "On a Whit-Sunday Morn in the Month of May." This led to a call from Orchard to Rossetti. I think there was only one call, and I, as well as my brother, saw him on that occasion. Afterwards, he sent this dialogue for "The Germ." The dialogue has always, and I think justly, been regarded as a remarkable performance. The form of expression is not impeccable, but there is a large amount of eloquence, coming in aid of definite and expansive thought. From what is here said it will be understood that Orchard was quite unconnected with the P.R.B. He expressed opinions of his own which may indeed have assimilated in some points to theirs, but he was not in any degree the mouthpiece of their organization, nor prompted by any member of the Brotherhood. In the dialogue, the speaker whose opinions appear manifestly to represent those of orchard himself is Christian, who is mostly backed up by Sophon. Christian forces ideas of purism or puritanism to an extreme, beyond anything which I can recollect as characterizing any of the P.R.B. His upholding of the painters who preceded Raphael as the best men for nurturing new and noble developments of art in our own day was more in their line. In my brother's prefatory note a question is raised of publishing any other writings which Orchard might have left behind. None such, however, were found. Dr. W. C. Bennett (afterwards known as the author of "Songs for Sailors," etc.), who had been intimate with Orchard, aided my brother in his researches.
By F. G. Stephens (called "Laura Savage" on the wrapper): "Modern Giants."
By Dante G. Rossetti: "Pax Vobis." Republished by the author, with some alterations, under the title of "World's Worth."
By Dante G. Rossetti: "Sonnets for Pictures." No. 1, "A Virgin and Child, by Hans Memmeling," was not reprinted by Rossetti, but is included (with a few verbal alterations made by him in MS.) in his "Collected Works." No. 2, "A Marriage of St. Katherine, by the same." A similar observation. No. 3, "A Dance of Nymphs, by Andrea Mantegna," was republished by Rossetti, with some verbal alterations. No. 4, "A Venetian Pastoral, by Giorgione"--the like. The alterations here are of considerable moment. Rossetti, in a published letter of October 8, 1849, referred to the Giorgione picture as follows: "A Pastoral--at least, a kind of Pastoral--by Giorgione, which is so intensely fine that I condescended to sit down before it and write a sonnet. You must have heard me rave about the engraving before, and, I fancy, have seen it yourself. There is a woman, naked, at one side, who is dipping a glass vessel into a well, and in the centre two men and another naked woman, who seem to have paused for a moment in playing on the musical instruments which they hold." Nos. 5 and 6, "Angelica Rescued from the Sea-Monster, by Ingres," were also reprinted by the author, with scarcely any alteration. Patmore, on reading these two sonnets, was much struck with their truthfulness of quality, as being descriptive of paintings. As to some of the other sonnets, Mr. W. M. Hardinge wrote in "Temple Bar," several years ago, an article containing various pertinent and acute remarks.
By W. M. Rossetti: "Review of Browning's Christmas Eve and Easter day." The only observation I need make upon this review--which was merely intended as introductory to a fuller estimate of the poem, to appear in an ensuing number of "The Germ"--is that it exemplifies that profound cultus of Robert Browning which, commenced by Dante Rossetti, had permeated the whole of the Praeraphaelite Brotherhood, and formed, not less than some other ideas, a bond of union among them. It will be readily understood that, in Mr. Stephens's article, "Modern Giants," the person spoken of as "the greatest perhaps of modern poets" is Browning.
By W. M. Rossetti: "The Evil under the Sun: Sonnet," This sonnet was composed in August 1849, when the great cause of the Hungarian insurrection against Austrian tyranny was, like revolutionary movements elsewhere, precipitating towards its fall. My original title for the sonnet was, "For the General Oppression of the Better by the Worse Cause, Autumn 1849." When the verses had to be published in "The Germ," a magazine which did not aim at taking any side in politics, it was thought that this title was inappropriate, and the other was substituted. At a much later date the sonnet was reprinted with yet another and more significant title, "Democracy Downtrodden."
Having now disposed of "The Germ" in general, and singly of most of the articles in it, I have very little to add. The project of reprinting the magazine was conceived by its present publisher, Mr. Stock, many years ago--perhaps about 1883. At that time several contributors assented, but others declined, and considerations of copyright made it impracticable to proceed with the project. It is only now that lapse of time has disposed of the copyright question, and Mr. Stock is free to act as he likes. I was from the first one of those (the majority) who assented to the republication, acting herein on behalf of my brother, then lately deceased, as well as of myself. I am quite aware that some of the articles in "The Germ" are far from good, and some others, though good in essentials, are to a certain extent juvenile; but juvenility is anything but uninteresting when it is that of such men as Coventry Patmore and Dante Rossetti. "The Germ" contains nothing of which, in spirit and in purport, the writers need be ashamed. If people like to read it without paying fancy prices for the original edition, they were and are, so far as I am concerned, welcome to do so. Before Mr. Stock's long-standing scheme could be legally carried into effect, and American publisher, Mr. Mosher, towards the close of 1898, brought out a handsome reprint of "The Germ" (not in any wise a facsimile), and a few of the copies were placed on sale in London.*** Mr. Mosher gave as an introduction to his volume an article by the late J. Ashcroft Noble which originally appeared in an English magazine in May 1882. This article is entitled "A Pre-Raphaelite Magazine." It is written in a spirit of generous sympathy, and is mostly correct in its facts. I may here mention another article on "The Germ" also published, towards 1868, in some magazine. It is by John Burnell Payne (originally a Clergyman of the Church of England), who died young in 1869. He wrote a triplet of articles, named "Praeraphaelite Poetry and Painting," of which Part I. is on "The Germ." He expresses himself sympathetically enough; but his main drift is to show that the Praeraphaelite movement, after passing through some immature stages, developed into a quasi-Renaissance result. A perusal of his paper will show that Mr. Payne was one of the persons who supposed Chiaro dell'Erma, the hero of "Hand and Soul," to have been a real painter, author or an extant picture.
Mr. Stock's reprint is of the facsimile order, and even faults of print are reproduced. I am not called upon to say with any precision what there are. On page 45 I observe "ear," which should be "car"; on page 62, Angilico, and Rossini (for Rosini). On page 155 the words, "I believe that the thought-wrapped philosopher," ought to begin a new sentence. On page 159 "Phyrnes" ought of course to be "Phrynes." The punctuation could frequently be improved.
I will conclude by appending a little list (it makes no pretension to completeness) of writings bearing upon the Praeraphaelite Brotherhood and its members. Writings of that kind are by this date rather numerous; but some readers of the present pages may not well know where to find them, and might none the less be inclined to read up the subject a little. I give these works in the order (as far as I know it ) of their dates, without any attempt to indicate the degree of their importance. That is a question on which I naturally entertain opinions of my own, but I shall not intrude them upon the reader.
Ruskin: Pre-Raphaelitism, 1854, and other writings.
F. G. Stephens: William Holman-Hunt and his Works, 1860.
William Sharp: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1882.
Hall Caine: Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1882.
Walter Hamilton: The Aesthetic Movement in England, 1882.
T. Watts-Dunton: The Truth about Rossetti, 1883, and other writings.
W. Holman-Hunt: The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, 1884 (?).
Earnest Chesneau: La Peinture Anglaise, 1884 (?).
Joseph Knight: Life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1887.
W. M. Rossetti: Dante Gabriel Rossetti as Designer and Writer, 1889.
Harry Quilter: Preferences in Art, 1892.
W. Bell Scott: Autobiographical Notes, 1892.
Esther Wood: Dante Rossetti and the Pre-Raphaelite Movement, 1894.
Robert de la Sizeranne: La Peinture Anglaise Contemporaine, 1895.
Dante G. Rossetti: Family Letters, with Memoir, by W. M. Rossetti.
Richard Muther: The History of Modern Painting, vols. ii.
and iii., 1896.
Ford H. M. Hueffer: Ford Madox Brown, 1896.
Dante G. Rossetti: Letters to William Allingham, edited by Dr. Birkbeck Hill, 1897.
M. H. Spielmann: Millais and his Works, 1898.
Antonio Agresti: Poesie di Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Traduzione con uno Studio su la Pittura Inglese, etc., 1899.
Fraulein Wilmersdoerffer: Dante Gabriel Rossetti und sein Einflusz, 1899.
Edited by W. M. Rossetti: Ruskin, Rossetti, Praeraphaelitism, 1899.
J. Guille Millais: Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais, 1899.
Percy H. Bate: The English Praeraphaelite Painters, 1899.
H. C. Marillier: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1899.
Edited by W. M. Rossetti: Praeraphaelite Diaries and Letters, 1899.
There are also books on Burne-Jones and Willaim Morris with which I am not accurately acquainted. It seems strange that no memoir of Thomas Woolner has yet been published; a fine sculptor and remarkable man known to and appreciated by all sorts of people, and certain to have figured extensively in correspondence. He died in October 1892. Mr. Holman-Hunt is understood to have been engaged for a long while past upon a book on Praeraphaelitism which would cast into the shade most of the earlier literature on the subject.
W. M. ROSSETTI
London, July 1899.
N.B.--When the third number of the magazine was about to appear, with a change of title from "The Germ" to "Art and Poetry," two fly-sheets were drawn up, more, I think, by Messrs. Tupper the printing-firm than by myself. They contain some "Opinions of the Press," already referred to in this Introduction, and an explanation as to the change of title. The fly-sheets appear in facsimile as follows:
** I may call attention to Stanza 16, " She stooped an instant." The word is " stooped" in " The Germ," and in the " Poems" of 1870. This is undoubtedly correct ; but in my brother's re-issue of the " Poems," 1881, the word got mis-printed " stopped"; and I find the same mis-print in subsequent editions. [Back]
*** I have seen in the "Irish Figaro," May 6, 1899, a very pleasant notice, signed "J. Reid," of this reprint. [Back]