"The favorite subjects of Poussin were ancient fables; and no painter was ever better qualified to paint such subjects, not only from his being eminently skilled in the knowledge of the ceremonies, customs, and habits of the ancients, but from his being so well acquainted with the different characters which those who invented them gave to their allegorical figures. Though Rubens has shown great fancy in his Satyrs, Silenuses, and Fauns, yet they are not that distinct, separate class of beings which is carefully exhibited by the ancients, and by Poussin. Certainly, when such subjects of antiquity are represented, nothing should remind us of modern times. The mind is thrown back into antiquity, and nothing ought to be introduced that may tend to awaken it from the illusion.

"Poussin seemed to think that the style and the language in which such stories are told is not the worse for preserving some relish of the old way of painting, which seemed to give a general uniformity to the whole, so that the mind was thrown back into antiquity, not only by the subject, but also by the execution.

"If Poussin, in imitation of the ancients, represents Apollo driving his Chariot out of the sea, by way of representing the sun rising, if he personifies lakes and rivers, it is noways offensive in him, but seems perfectly of a piece with the general air of the picture. On the contrary, if the figures which people his pictures had a modern air and countenance, if they appeared like our countrymen, if the draperies were like cloth or silk of our manufacture, if the landscape had the appearance of a modern one, how ridiculous would Apollo appear instead of the sun, and an old Man or a Nymph with an urn to represent a river or lake?" He also says, in another place, that "it may be doubted whether any alteration of what is considered defective in his works, would not destroy the effect of the whole."