“HARLEQUIN”: A SIGN-BOARD, PAINTED ON COPPER, SIGNED ‘W. EVANS, LONDON’ CIRCA 1820
Harlequin dances, and, over the park he dances in, surely there is thunder brooding. His figure stands out, bright, large, and fantastic. But all around him is sultry twilight, and the clouds, pregnant with thunder, lower over him as he dances, and the elms are dim with unusual shadow. There is a tiny river in the dim distance. Under one of the nearest elms you may descry a square tomb, topped with an urn. What lord or lady underlies it? I know not. Harlequin dances. Sheathed in his gay suit of red and green and yellow lozenges, he ambles lightly over the gravel. At his feet lie a tambourine and a mask. Brown ferns fringe his pathway. With one hand he clasps the baton to his hip, with the other he points mischievously to his forehead. He wears a flat, loose cap of yellow. There is a ruff about his neck, and a pair of fine buckles to his shoes, and he always dances. He has his back to the thunderclouds, but there is that in his eyes which tells us that he has seen them, and that he knows their presage. He is afraid. Yet he dances. Never, howsoever slightly, swerves he, see! from his right posture, nor fail his feet in their pirouette. All a` merveille! Nor fades the smile from his face, though he smiles through the tarnished air of a sultry twilight, under the shadow of impending storm.