19th century british literature


Thomas Francis Dicksee (1819–1895, Engand)

Characters from Shakespeare

Thomas Francis Dicksee was an English painter, primarily a portraitist and painter of historical, genre subjects — often from Shakespeare. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1841 until the year of his death. His brother John Robert Dicksee was also a painter, and his children, Frank and Margaret likewise became painters. In The Dictionary of Victorian Painters, Herbert Dicksee is given as his son also, but according to the City of London School, where Herbert taught, he was the son of John Robert Dicksee.

“The Windhover”- Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-    
   dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding    
   Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding  
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing  
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,  
   As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
   Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding  
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here    Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
   No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion  
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,    
   Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

Greenland Falcon, George Stubbs, 1780

“Magna Est Veritas”- Coventry Patmore (1823-1896)

Here, in this little Bay,
Full of tumultuous life and great repose,
Where, twice a day,
The purposeless, glad ocean comes and goes,
Under high cliffs, and far from the huge town,
I sit me down.
For want of me the world’s course will not fail:
When all its work is done, the lie shall rot;
The truth is great, and shall prevail,
When none cares whether it prevail or not.

View across Frenchman’s Bay from Mount Desert Island after a Squall, Thomas Cole, 1845

“Sweet and Low” (from “The Princess”) - Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Sweet and low, sweet and low,
        Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,
        Wind of the western sea!
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
        Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
        Father will come to thee soon;
Rest, rest, on mother’s breast,
        Father will come to thee soon;
Father will come to his babe in the nest,
Silver sails all out of the west
        Under the silver moon:
Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.

Sea-Coast at Night, near the Beacon, Ivan Aivazovsky, 1837

“The ‘Moses’ of Michael Angelo”- Robert Browning (1812-1889)

Note: Mizraïm = the Hebrew name for Egypt.

And who is He that, sculptured in huge stone,
   Sitteth a giant, where no works arrive
   Of straining Art, and hath so prompt and live
The lips, I hasten to their very tone?
Moses is He—Ay, that makes clearly known
   The chin’s thick boast, and brow’s prerogative
   Of double ray; so did the mountain give
Back to the world that visage, God was grown
Great part of! Such was he when he suspended
   Round him the sounding and vast waters; such
      When he shut sea on sea o’er Mizraïm.
And ye, his hordes, a vile calf raised, and bended
   The knee? This Image had ye raised, not much
      Had been your error in adoring Him.

Moses, Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1513-15.  Sculpted for the tomb of Pope Julius II in the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome.  Photo credit: Jörg Bittner Unna/Wikimedia Commons.

“Silence”- Thomas Hood (1799-1845)

There is a silence where hath been no sound,  
   There is a silence where no sound may be,  
   In the cold grave—under the deep deep sea,
Or in the wide desert where no life is found,
Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;  
   No voice is hush’d—no life treads silently,  
   But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free,
That never spoke, over the idle ground:
But in green ruins, in the desolate walls  
   Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,
Though the dun fox, or wild hyena, calls,  
   And owls, that flit continually between,
Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan,
There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.

Monastery Ruins at Eldena, Caspar David Friedrich, ca. 1825

Fortune telling at Thornfield Hall.

Pressed for further explanation, they declared she had told them of things they had said and done when they were mere children; described books and ornaments they had in their boudoirs at home: keepsakes that different relations had presented to them.  They affirmed that she had even divined their thoughts, and had whispered in the ear of each the name of the person she liked best in the world, and informed them of what they most wished for.

from Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë

Text from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

The peahens are as follows, starting from the top left and going clockwise: Elizabeth Bennet, Kitty Bennet, Mary Bennet, Jane Bennet, Lydia Bennet, Georgiana Darcy, Charlotte Lucas, and Caroline Bingley.