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"Lift up thy praise to Life

That set thee in the strenuous ways,

And left thee not to drowse and rot

In some thick perfumed and luxurious plot.

"Strong, strong is Earth With vigor for thy feet,

To make thy wayfaring Tireless and fleet,

"And good is Earth,

But Earth not all thy good,

O thou with seeds of suns And star-fire in thy blood."

T HE early part of the year 1881 was spent by Theodore Roosevelt and his young wife with my mother at 6 West 57th Street, and was devoted largely to literary work and efforts to acquaint himself with the political interests of the district in which we lived.

During the following summer, they travelled in Europe; he climbed Swiss mountains and showed his usual capacity for surmounting obstacles. June i6, i88i, he writes from Paris in connection with artistic wanderings in the Louvre. "I have not admired any of the French painters much excepting Greuze. Rubens' `Three Wives' are reproduced in about fifty different ways, which I think a mistake. No painter can make the same face serve for Venus, the Virgin, and a Flemish lady." And again on August 24 from Brussels: "I know nothing at all, in reality, of art, I regret to say, but I do know what pictures I

The Young Reformer   117

like. I am not at all fond of Rubens; he is mentally a fleshly, sensuous painter, and yet his most famous pictures are those relating to the Divinity. Above all, he fails in his female figures. Rubens' women are handsome animals except his pictures of rich Flemish house-wives, but they are either ludicrous or ugly when meant to represent either the Virgin or a Saint. I think they are not much better as heathen goddesses. I do not like a chubby Minerva, a corpulent Venus, or a Diana who is so fat that I know she could never overtake a cow, let alone a deer. Rembrandt is by all odds my favorite. I am very much attracted by his strongly contrasting coloring and I could sit for hours examining his heads; they are so life-like and impressive. Van Helst I like for the sake of the realism with which he presents to one, the bold, rich, turbulent Dutchman of his time. Vandyke's heads are wonderful; they are very life-like and very powerful-but if the originals were like them, I should hardly have admired one of them. Perhaps, the pictures I really get most enjoyment out of are the landscapes, the homely little Dutch and Flemish interiors, the faithful representations of how the people of those times lived and made merry and died, which are given us by Jan Steen, Van Ostade, Teniers, and Ruysdael. They bring out the life of that period in a way no written history could do, and interest me far more than pictures of Saints and Madonnas. I suppose this sounds heretical but it is true. This time I have really tried to like the holy pictures but I cannot; even the Italian masters seem to me to represent good men and insipid, good women, but rarely anything saintly or divine. The only pictures I have seen with these attributes are Gustav Doree's ! He alone represents the Christ so that your pity for him is lost in intense admiration and reverence. Your loving brother."

The above letter is one unusual in its type, because it was rare for Theodore Roosevelt to write as much about art. He always loved certain types of pictures, but his busy, active career had but small time for the more xsthetic interests ! All these


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