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upon its recollections. We are then less fit to mingle with society, but our sensibility is more alive. Let him who is borne downby sorrow bury himself amid the deepest recesses of the forest, let him wander among their moving arches, let him climb mountains, whence he may behold immense tracts of country, whence the sun may be seen rising from the bosom of the ocean, his grief never can stand against spectacles so sublime. Not that he will forget those he loved, for then would he fear to be consoled; but the remembrance of his friends would mingle itself with the calm of the woods and of the heavens, he would still retain his grief, it would only be deprived of its bitterness. Happy they who love Nature, they will find her, and her alone, a friend in the day of adversity,
These reflections were suggested by the work which we are about to examine. It is not the production of a poet who seeks the pomp and the perfection of the art, it is the effusion of a child of misfortune, who communes with himself, and who touches the lyre only to render the expression of his sorrows more harmonious; it is a proscribed sufferer, who addresses his book like Ovid : “My book, thou wilt go to Rome, and go without me! Alas! why is not thy master permitted to go thither himself? Go, but
go without pomp or display, as suits the produc. tion of a banished poet."
The work, divided into three cantos, opens with a description of the early fine days in the year. The author compares the tranquillity of the country with the terror which then prevailed in the towns, and paints the labourer's reception of a proscript.
Ah! in those days of woe, if some lorn wretch
And sheltering boughs spread circling, to conceal
Religion, persecuted in towns, finds also, in her turn, an asylum in the forests, although she has lost her altars and her temples.
Sometimes the faithful, warm'd by holy zcal,
These verses are easy and natural, the sentiments are: mild and pious, according with the objects to which they form, as it were, the back-ground of the picture. Our churches give to our hamlets and towns a character singu. larly moral. The eyes of the traveller are first fixed upon the religious turret that encloses the bells, the sight of which awakens in the bosom a multitude of pious senti. ments and recollections. It is the funeral pyramid, beneath which rest the ashes of our forefathers; but it is al. so the monument of joy, where the bell announces life to the faithful. It is there that the husband and wife exchange their mutual vows, that Christians prostrate themselves before the altar, the weak to entreat support from their God, the guilty to implore compassion from their God, the innocent to sing the goodness of their God. Does a landscape appear naked and barren of objects, let but the turret of a rustic church be added, everything in an instant is animated, is alive; the sweet ideas of the pastor and his flock, of an asylum for the traveller, of alms for the pilgrim, of Christian hospitality and fraternity, are awakened in the mind, they are seen on every side.
A country priest, menaced by the law which condemned to death all of his class who were seen exercising their sacred functions, yet who would not abandon his flock, and who goes by night to comfort the labourer, was a picture which must naturally present itself to the mind of a proscribed poet.
He wanders through the woods. O silent night,
It appears to us that this passage is full of simplicity and piety. Are we then much deceived in having maintained that religion is favourable to poetry, and that in repressing our religious feelings we deprive ourselves of one of the most powerful mediums for touching the heart.
The author, concealed in his retreat, apostrophizes the friends whom he scarcely hopes ever to see again,
Thou shalt be heard no more, O sweet Delile,
Nor thou, who by thy strains could charm our woes;
With learning, wit, with solid reason, grace ;
These regrets are affecting, and the eulogiums pronounced by the author upon his friends have the rare merit of being in unison with the public opinion; besides, this appears to us quite in the taste of the ancients. Is it not thus that the Latin poet, whom we have already cited, addresses his friends whom he has left at Rome? “ There is,” says Ovid, “in our native country a something soothing, which attracts us, which charms us, which does not permit us to forget it.... You hope, dear Rufinus, that the chagrins which devour me will yield to the consolations you send me in my exile; begin then, my friends, , by being less amiable, that I may live without you with less pain.”
Alas! in reading the name of M. de Laharpe, in the verses of M. Michaud, who can resist being deeply affected. Scarcely have we found again those who were dear to us, than a longer, an ever-during separation, must sever us again. No one sees more clearly and more painfully than ourselves the whole extent of the misfortune which at this moment threatens learning and religion. We have seen M. de Laharpe cast down, like Hezekiah, by the hand of God. Nothing but the most lively faith, but the most sacred hope, can inspire a resignation so perfect, a courage so great, thoughts so elevated and affecting, amid the pains of singering agony, amid repeated exa perience of the sufferings of death.
Poets love to paint the sorrows of banishment, so fertile in sad and tender sentiments. They have sung Pa
. troclus taking refuge under the roof of Achilles, Cadmus
abandoning the walls of Sidon, Tydæus seeking an asylum with Adrastus, and Teucer sheltered in the island of Venus. The chorus in Iphigenia in Tauris fain would traverse the air : “I would pause in my flight over my paternal roof, I would see once more that spot so dear to my remembrance, where, under the eyes of a mother, I celebrated an innocent marriage." Ah who does not see here the dulces moriens reminiscitur Argos? who does not recur to Ulysses wandering far from his country, desir. ing, as his sole happiness, once more to see the smoke of his own palace. Mercury finds him sad and dejected, on the shores of the island of Calypso, contemplating, as he sheds tears, that sea so eternally agitated :
Ponton en atrugeton derkerketo dekra leibon,
An admirable line, which Virgil has translated, applying it to the exiled Trojans':
flentes thrown to the end of the line is very fine. Ossian has painted with different colours, but which are also full of charms, a young woman dead far from her country in a foreign land. “ There lovely Moina is often seen when the sun-beam darts on the rock, and all around is dark. There she is seen, Malvina, but not like the daughters of the hill. Her robes are from the stranger's land, and she is unknown."
We may judge by the sweet lamentations which fall from the author of the poem under examination, that he deeply felt this mal du pays, this malady which attacks Frenchmen, above all others, when far from their own country. Monimia in the midst of the barbarians could not forget the sweet bosom of Greece. Physicians have