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And oh! there is One that dwells above,
Beyond all sight and thought,
An image true,
Where thou mayest view
Child of a fallen race,
Upon thy breast
Faith's mailed vest
Than brass and steel more strong,
On the pinions bright
Of his Spirit's might,
Thy meat it must be His will to do;
And, lowly though it be, 'Tis sweeter far than the fruits that grow On pleasure's tallest tree.
For oh! what meat
Is half so sweet
Rev. W. E. Evans.
PALLISSY THE POTTER.- PART I.
THE name of Pallissy is chiefly known as connected with a kind of earthenware, shown as a curiosity in some Museums.
The Pallissy Ware is composed of a soft clay, covered with a hard polished glaze or enamel, upon which are figures of plants and animals, carefully drawn and painted in their natural colours. The naturalist will be delighted to find the accuracy with which every leaf, fish, lizard, or crab is depicted ; the common observer will be struck rather with the quaintness than the beauty of the designs, and may perhaps fancy that the chief value of the ware consists in its antiquity.
Modern art can, indeed, produce a more beautiful ware. By successive improvements, men have learnt to make a finer clay, and to employ a greater variety of rich colouring ; but besides the intrinsic value of Pallissy's works as faithful copies of nature by a master-hand, they remain for after-generations as the standing record of what may be effected by one patient, persevering, and energetic spirit. With a strength of purpose and determination, scarcely ever paralleled, he worked out for himself results which are not ordinarily achieved but by a succession of skilful men, each of whom has taken advantage of the genius and experience of his predecessors.
Bernard Pallissy lived about three hundred years ago in a remote province of France, where he earned a scanty subsistence, for himself and his family, as a painter in glass. He was a great observer of nature, and had considerable skill in drawing, and, besides the knowledge of his own trade, he had some acquaintance with land-surveying. He was both a thoughtful and a religious man, accustomed to search out for the causes of what he observed, and to recognise in all the First Great Cause, looking through nature unto nature's God.
In the time of Pallissy, the art of pottery was in its infancy. Porcelain was made only in China, and but just beginning to be known in Europe as a foreign production of great cost and rarity. In Italy, indeed, there were workmen in enamelled pottery; but a French artisan had little opportunity of knowing what was to be found in Italy, and all which such a person saw of pottery was in the shape of coarse jars, pots, and pans, useful indeed, but neither elegant nor ornamental.
It happened one day that Pallissy fell in with an enamelled cup of Italian manufacture. Struck by its beauty, he at once bethought himself, that if he could but find out how to make enamels, he might turn to account his knowledge of drawing in the execution of ornamental designs in earthenware.
Pallissy knew not how or where the cup had been made, and being married, with a family dependent upon him, could not wander abroad to ascertain what was already known of such things in France or elsewhere. He had everything to learn, and no one to instruct or guide him, and could only seek for the enamel as one gropes in the dark. But he had a manful and resolute spirit, and set to work in earnest to rival the cups of Italy, when he would have failed in an attempt to make even the roughest pipkin.
As a glass-painter, he had some knowledge of drugs, and by help of this, he hoped to discover a compound that might produce enamel. It must melt in the furnace so
as to make a polished surface, and it must be perfectly white, so as to admit of any colour which might be required.
He tried successively several hundreds of different compounds of various ingredients and proportions, upon fragments of earthenware, which were submitted to furnaces constructed by himself. For weeks and for months he pursued his experiments without success. Drugs were expensive, fuel was scarce, his family needed support; and it seemed as though he were wasting his time and energy upon a fruitless and unprofitable dream. But he was not to be baffled or dismayed. For weeks, for months, and for years, he still went on, every day pounding and grinding new materials, constructing new furnaces, consuming fresh drugs and fuel, but still in vain.
Unable at length to bear the expense thus incurred, he proceeded to diminish it, by sending his trial pieces to the furnace of a pottery not far off. His first batch so sent consisted of from three to four hundred pieces, not more than three of which were covered with the same compound. They were baked, and drawn out, and turned out good for nothing. Pallissy had not yet learnt that the potter's furnace was not bot enough to melt the enamel. So he laid the blame on his materials, and went on mixing fresh compounds, and sending them again and again to the potteries, and receiving nothing in return but disappointment, vexation, and sorrow.
The increasing wants of his family compelled him for a time to desist, and betake himself seriously to some more profitable trade. He obtained work in glass-painting, and fortunately procured some lucrative employment in a government survey of salt-marshes
in his neighbourhood. But no sooner had he in this E may got together a little money, than he commenced anew his search after the enamel.
Having failed, both with his own and with the potter's furnaces, he resolved to try another plan, and accordingly carried his earthen fragments to the furnace of a glass-house. Here the fire, being much hotter, produced its effect, and the next day, when Pallissy drew out his trial-pieces, he found that some of his compounds had begun to melt.
Cheered by this, bis first encouragement, Pallissy worked on for two years more, still without success, but not without hope.
PALLISSY THE POTTER.PART II. DISTRESS and want once more called upon Pallissy to desist. But he determined to make a last trial, and if that failed, to abandon the search, and devote himself henceforth to the zealous prosecution of his early trades. The batch of trial-pieces was larger than
Three hundred different mixtures were now submitted to the furnace, and Pallissy stood by to watch the issue of his final endeavour. “God willed," he writes, in describing the event, “ that when I bad begun to lose my courage, and was gone for the last time to a glass-furnace, having a man with me carry