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the mountains, along the rivers, and in the forests. Undoubtedly it is possible to carry this personification to ex. cess and M. Michaud has reason to ridicule the poet Darwin who in the Loves of the Plants, represents Genista as walking tranquilly under the shade of, arbours of myrtle. But if the English author be one of those poets of whom Horace speaks who are condemned to make verses, for having dishonoured the ashes of their fathers, that proves nothing as to the fundamental good or ill of the thing. Let another poet, endowed with more taste and judgment, describe the Loves of the Plants, they will offer only pleasing pictures.

When in the chapters which M. Michaud attacks we have said; “ see in a profound calm, at the breaking of dawn, all the flowers of this valley ; immovable upon their stalks they incline themselves in a variety of attitudes, and seem to look towards every point in the horizon ; even at this moment when to you all appears tranquil, a great mystery is in operation, nature conceives, and these plants are so many young mothers turned towards the mysterious region whence they are to imbibe fecundity. The sylphs have sympathies less aërial, communications less invisible. The narcissus confides to the rivulet her virgin race, the violét trusts her modest posterity to the care of the Zephyr, a bee gathers honey from flower to flower, and without knowing it fertilizes a whole meadow, a butterfly carries an intire nation under her wing, a world descends in a drop of dew. All the Loves of the Plants. are not however equally tranquil, some are tempestuous, like those of mankind. Tempests are necessary to marry the cedar of Sinaï upon inaccessible heights, while at the foot of the mountain the gentlest breeze suffices to establish an interchange of voluptuousness among the Aowers. Is it not thus that the breath of the passions agi

ness.

tates the kings of the earth on their thrones, while the shepherds live happily at their feet.

This is very imperfect undoubtedly, but from this feeble essay it is easy to see how much might be made of such a subject by a skilful poet.

It is indeed this relationship between animate and inanimate objects, which furnished one of the primary sources whence was derived the ancient mythology. When man, yet wild, wandering among the woods had satisfied the first wants of life, he felt another want in his heart, that of a supernatural power, to support his weak

The breaking of a wave, the murmur of a solitary wind, all the noises which arise out of nature, all the movements that animate the deserts, appeared to him as if combined with this hidden cause. Chance united these local effects to some fortunate or unfortunate circumstances in his pursuit of the animals on which he was to prey; a particular colour, a new and singular object per haps struck him at that moment: thence the Manitou of the Canadian, and the Fetiche of the Negro, the first of all the mythologies.

Thus elementary principles of a false belief being once unfolded, a vast career was opened for human superstitions. The affections of the heart were soon changed into divinities more dangerous than they were amiable. The savage who had raised a mound over the tomb of his friend, the mother who had given her darling infant to the earth, came every year at the fall of the leaf, the former to shed his tears, the latter to drop her milk over the hallowed turf; both believed that the absent objects so regretted, and always living in their remembrance, could not have wholly ceased to exist. It was without doubt friendship weeping over a monument which inspired the dogma of the immortality of the soul, and proclaimed the religion of the tombs.

But man, at length, quitting the forests, formed himself into a society with his fellow-creatures. Soon, the gratitude or the fears of the people raised legislators, heroes, and kings to the rank of deities. At the same time, some geniuses cherished by heaven, as an Orpheus or a Homer, increased the numbers that inhabited Olym. pus : under their creative pencils, all the accidents of nature were transformed into celestial spirits. These new gods reigned for a long time over the enchanted imaginations of mankind ; Anaxagoras, Democritus, Epicurus, all essayed to raise the standard against the religion of their country. But, oh sad infatuation of human errors ! Jupiter was a detestable god, such an one that moving atoms, an eternal matter was preferable to this deity, armed with thunder, and the avenger of crimes.

It was reserved for the Christian religion to overthrow the altars of all these false gods, without plunging the people into atheism, and without destroying the charms of nature. For, even though it were as certain as it is doubtful, that Christianity could not furnish to the poet a vein of the marvellous as rich as that furnished by fable, yet it is true, and to this M. Michaud himself must assent, that there is a certain poetry of the soul, we tvill

say almost an imagination of the heart, of which no trace can be found in mythology. The affecting beauties that emanate from this source, would alone amply compensate the ingenious falsehoods of antiquity. In the pictures of paganism, every thing is a machine and a spring, all is external, all is made for the eyes ; in the pictures of the Christian religion, all is sentiment and thought, all is internal, all is created for the soul. What charm of meditation, what scope for sensibility! there is more enchantment in one of those divine tears which Christi. anity excites, than in all the pleasing errors of mythology. With Our Lady of Sorrows, a Mother of Pity, some obscure saint, a patron of the blind, the orphan and the miserable, an author may write a more heart-dissolving , page than with all the gods of the Pantheon. Here indeed is poetry, here indeed is the marvellous. But would you

seek the marvellous still more sublime, contemplate the life and the sorrows of Christ, and remember that your God was called the Son of Man. We will venture to predict, that a time will come when we cannot be sufficiently astonished how it was possible to pass over the ad. mirable beauty of the expressions used in Christianity, and when we shall have difficulty to comprehend how it could be possible to laugh at the celestial religion of reason and misfortune

273

UPON TH&

HISTORY OF THE LIFE OF

JESUS CHRIST,

BY FATHER DE LIGNY.

THE History of the Life of Jesus Christ is one of the last works for which we are indebted to that celebrated so. ciety;* nearly all the members of which were, men distinguished for their literary attainments. Father de Ligny, born at Amiens in 1710, survived the destruction of his order, and prolonged till 1783, a career which commenced during the misfortunes of Louis XIV, and finished at the period of the disasters of Louis XVI. Whenever in these latter times we met in the world with an aged ece clesiastic, full of knowledge, wit, and amenity, having the manners of a man of liberal education, and of one who had been accustomed to good company, we were disposed to believe that ancient priest ; a Jesuit. The Abbé Lenfant also belonged to this order, which has given so many martyts to the church; he was the friend

* Father de Ligny was a Jesuit,

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