First of all, he was throughout his life a splendid specimen of the human race. ‘As a young man he was singularly fine looking, a sort of Hyperion,’ said his contemporary FitzGerald: ‘Apollo and Hercules in one’, as he wrote elsewhere, tall, six feet in height, broadchested , strong-limbed, large-handed, with waving hair, dark, like one of southern race, of great physical strength. I myself only knew him when he was quite old. I well remember, I shall never forget, the first impression he made on me. Qualis artifex!1 were the words which rose to my lips, ‘a great poet is a great artist’. Sensitiveness, imagination, discrimination, the critical, the creative spirit, seemed to breathe from his mien and face. Something of the same impression I received when I first saw Watts,2 and indeed they had not a little in common, these two friends and brother artists. It was only later that I came to see how strong he was, even in his extreme old age; how magnificently strong he must have been in his prime. This union of strength and sensitiveness must always have been his. You see it in the portraits. Some of them show the one quality more than the other. The best show both. Samuel Laurence’s3 noble portrait of him as a young man shows, I think, both.
KeywordsGood Critic Great Artist Outward Journey Great Poet Creative Spirit
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