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[231] Orpheus steps forward with earnest action,—reaching with his body, as it were, into the shades impenetrable to mortals. In one hand he holds the lyre, which has done its first work of conquest; and, with the other, he shades his eyes, that he may better collect the light to guide his adventurous progress. The expression of the body and of the countenance are in harmony; and they denote the strong resolve which inspires the heart of the lover to seek his lost companion. Nothing shall make him hesitate. He sees already her image: he catches the sound of her voice. He has left the light of day behind him; and he knows not fear. Move on, then, eager soul! Such devotion shall not be without its reward. The torments of hell shall cease at your approach: the company of the damned shall bless your coming; and at least one fleeting vision of her whom you have loved so well shall be yours!

Too much cannot be said in praise of the manner in which the artist has arranged his little group. The attitude of the principal figure, the position of the arms, and the apt employment of drapery, strike the most careless eye. But it is in the selection of the scene, and the poetical conception of it, that Crawford challenges our warmest admiration. It is not known that any other sculptor—we believe no other artist of any kind—has illustrated this scene. From the pictured urn of the past our young countryman first drew it forth, and invested it with the light of his genius.

The statue was not finished in marble till some months after the order was received; and its arrival in Boston was delayed till September, 1843. Sumner was much annoyed to find, on opening the box, that it had been broken in the transportation. He employed Mr. Henry Dexter to restore it,—under whose skilful hands the fractures were mended. He arranged an exhibition for the artist's benefit; and the sculpture hall of the Athenaeum, then situated on Pearl Street, being unsuitable for the purpose, he induced the proprietors to erect a small temporary building on the lawn by the side of it. He attended to the choice of coloring for the walls, selection of furniture, admission of light from proper points, and other preliminary details. The exhibition, with a view to a better attendance of visitors, was postponed till the next May. Sumner obtained from the owners of Crawford's works, residing in Boston, the privilege of exhibiting them with the ‘Orpheus;’ and, by the advice of friends, his own bust was added to the number. His best expectations were realized; and he had the satisfaction of seeing the artist's reputation established by the exhibition.

Mr. Hillard, writing twenty-four years later, said:—

The statue excited great and general admiration, alike from the originality of the conception and the technical excellence of the details. Good

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Charles Sumner (2)
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