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called this sadness of the soul nostalgy from two Greek words nostos return, and algos grief, because it is only to be cured by returning to the paternal roof. How indeed could M. Michaud, who makes his lyre sigh so sweetly, avoid infusing sensibility into a subject which even Gresset could not sing without being melted. In the Ode of the latter upon the Love of our Country, we find this affecting passage : “ Ah if in this melancholy course he should be overtaken by the last sleep, without seeing again that dear country in which the sun first beamed upon him, still his expiring tenderness prays that his sad remains may be deposited there. Less light would lie the earth of a foreign land upon his abandoned manes.”

In the midst of the sweet consolations which his retreat affords to our exiled poet, he exclaims :

O, lovely days of spring, beauteous vales
What work of art can with

charms compare

Is all a Voltaire wrote worth one sole ray
Of breaking down, or worth the smallest flow'r
Op'd by the breath of Zephyr ?




But does not M. de Voltaire, whose impieties we hold in as great detestation as M. Michaud can do, sometimes breathe sentiments worthy of admiration ?-Has not he too felt these sweet regrets for a lost country. “I write to you” he says to Madame Denis, “ by the side of my stove, with a heavy head and a sad heart, casting my eyes over the river Sprey, because the Sprey flows into the Elbe, the Elbe into the sea, while the sea receives the Seine, and our house at Paris is near that river."

It is said that a Frenchman, obliged to fly during the reign of terror, bought, with a few deniers, a bark upon the Rhine, where he lodged himself with a wife and two children. Not having any money there was no hospita.


lity for him. When he was driven from one bank, he passed over without complaining to the other side, and often persecuted on both banks, he was obliged to cast anchor in the midst of the river. He occupied himself in fishing for the subsistence of his family, but his fellowcreatures still disputed with him the succours offered by Providence, envying him even the little fish with which they saw him feed his children. At night he went on shore and collected a few dried plants to make a fire, when his wife remained in the utmost anxiety till his return. This family who could not be reproached with any thing except being unfortunate, found not, over the vast globe a spot of earth on which they could rest their heads. Obliged to pursue the lives of savagts in the midst of four great civilized nations, their sole consolation was that in thus wandering about they were still in the neighbourhood of France, they could sometimes breathe the air which had passed over their country.

M. Michaud wandered in this way over the mountains whence he could discern the tops of the trees in his beloved France; but how could he pass away his time in a foreign land ? How were his days to be occupied ? Was it not natural that he should visit those rustic tombs where Christian souls had terminated their exile full of hope and joy. This was what he did, and, thanks to the season he chose, the asylum of death was changed to a lovely field covered with flowers.

Perhaps beneath this grave with flowers o'ergrown
á child of Phoebus rests, to him unknown.

Thus the fair How'r that grows on yon lone mount
Its sweet perfumes, its brilliant hues alone
Flings to the barren waste. Thus dazzling gold,
Sovereign of metals, in the darkest caves
That carth embosoms, hides its fatal charms.

The author would perhaps have done better to follow : more closely the English poet whom he intends to imitates

He has substituted the common image of gold deeply embowelled in the earth to that of a pearl hidden at the bottom of the sea. The flower which only expands its colours to the barren waste ill explains the original turn of Gray, born to blush unseen.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene

The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear.
Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen

And waste its sweetness in the desert air.

The sight of these peaceful tombs recals to the poct the troubled sepulchres where slept our departed kings, which ought not to have been opened till the consummation of all things, but a particular judgment of Providence occasioned them to be broke into before their time. A frightful resurrection depopulated the funereal vaults of St. Dennis ; the phantoms of our kings quitted their eterbal shade, but as if frightened at reappearing alone to the light, at not finding themselves, as the prophet says, in the world with all the dead, they replunged again into the se

. pulchre.

And now these kings exhum'd by miscreant hands
Have twice descended to the darksome tomb.

From these fine lines it is evident that M. Michaud is capable, in his poetry, of taking any tone.

It is somewhat remarkable that some of these spectres, blackened* by the grave, still retained such a resemblance of what they were when alive that they were easily recognized. The characters of their prevailing passions, even the minutest shadings of the ideas by which they had been principally occupied, were to be discovered in their features. What then is that faculty of thought, in man, which leaves such strong impressions on the countenance even in the dust of annihilation ?-Since we speak of poetry let us be permitted to borrow the simile of a poet. Milton tells us that the Divine Son, after having accomplished the creation of the world rejoined his eternal principle, and that their route over created matter was for a long time discernible by a track of light; thus the soul returning into the bosom of God leaves in the mortal body the glorious traces of its passage.

* The face of Louis XIV was turned as black as ebony,

M. Michaud is highly to be applauded for having made use of those contrasts which awaken the imagination of the reader. The ancients often employed them in tragedy ; a chorus of soldiers keeps guard at the Trojan camp on the fatal night when Rhesus has scarcely finished his course. In this critical moment do these soldiers talk of combats, do they retrace the images of terrible surprizes? --Hear what the semi-chorus says: “Listen! those accents are the strains of Philomel who in a thousand varied tones deplores her misfortunes and her own vengeance. The bloody shores of Simoïs repeat her plaintive accents. I hear the sound of the pipe, 'tis the hour when the shepherds of Ida go forth, carrying their flocks to graze in the smiling vallies. A cloud comes over my weary eye-lids, a sweet langour seizes all my senses ; sleep shed over us, by the dawn, is most delicious."

Let us frankly acknowledge that we have no such things in our modern tragedies, however perfect they may otherwise be; and let us be sufficiently just to confess that the barbarous Shakspeare has sometimes hit upon a species of sentiment so natural, yet so rare, upon this simplicity in his imagery. The chorus above-cited

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in Euripides will naturally recal to the reader the dialogue in Romeo and Juliet : “ Is it the lork that sings&c.

But while those pastoral pictures which in softening terror increase pitý, because as Fenelon says, they create a smile ini a heart of anguish, are banished from the tragic scene, we have transported them with much success into works of another kind. The moderns have extended and enriched the domain of descriptive poetry. Of this M. Michaud himself furnishes some fine examples.

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On yon tall mountain tops, yet on the verge
Of disappearing, day, still ling'ring, smiles
Upon the Aow'rs herself had bade expand.
The river, following its majestic course,
Reflects beneath its clear and glassy surface
The dark hues of the woods that fringe its shores.
Some feeble rays of light still pierce amid
The thickly woven foliage, and illume
The lofty turrets of the antique castle;
The slate reflecting these declining rays,
The windows blazing to the dazzled sight
At distance shew like fire. And hark, I hear
From forth those bow'rs, sweet songstress of the spring,
Thy strains, which seem more mellow to the ear
'Mid evening's gloom; and while the woods around
Are vocal made by thee, the mute Arachne
To the low bramble and aspiring oak
Fastens her netted snares: meanwhile the quail,
Like me a stranger in a foreign land,
Pours through the listening fields her springy lays.
Quitting his labyrinth, the imprudent rabbit
Comes forth to meet the hunter who awaits him;
And the poor partridge, by the gloom encourag'd,
From answering echoes asks her wander'd mate.

This seems the proper place to advert to a reproach made us by M. Michaud in his preliminary discourse, where he combats, with no less taste than politeness, our

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