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The following exquisite ballad we found in an old collection of songs, and it certainly belongs to the seventeenth century, although faultless in style and equal to any lyrical effusion of Beranger. It contains a scene, a dialogue, and a picture; and though all is precise and neat in thought and in expression, it is wholly free from stiffness or common place. We account it a literary gem of the purest water. We recommend some of our professional composers to adapt it to music, and if they succeed in producing an air in the slightest degree proportioned to the harmony of the poem, they may be assured of reaping a rich reward from their labours.
De mon berger volage
J'entends le flageolet ; De ce nouvel hommage
Je ne suis plus l'objet : Je l'entends qui frédonne
Pour une autre que moi. Hélas ! que j'étais bonne
De lui donner ma foi !
Un jour (c'était ma fete)
Il vint de grand matin.
Il plaignait son destin.
Jouir de mes tourmens ?
Et laisse faire au temps.
Le printemps qui vit naître
Ses volages ardeurs,
Les a vu disparaitre
Aussitôt que les fleurs.
Mais s'il ramène à Flore
Les inconstants zephyrs,
Ne pourrait-il encore
Ramener ses désirs.
Faut-il être tant volage ?
Ils m'auraient gardé pour eux. The French theatre is rich in pastoral opera, and Favart unquestionably stands at the head of this department of literature. No author ever depicted the loves of the village with such fidelity and spirit. La Chercheuse d'esprit, Jeannot and Jeannette, Bastien et Bastienne, Ninette à la cour, and Annette et Lubin, are models of perfection in this style of writing. We shall endeavour to justify this praise by contrasting Favart with Rousseau, and for that purpose we select the opera of Bastien et Bastienne, which is a quasi parody on the Devin du Village. The scenes of the former are chalked on those of the latter, not in the spirit of hostile criticism, but as a confessed imitation, Favart having resolved, in generous emulation, to try his powers against Rousseau. Both these operas are in sentiment an expansion of the Donec gratus eram of Horace: both are excellent, but we must give the palm of superiority to Favart over Vol. I.-No. I.
Jean Jacques Rousseau certainly displays more theatrical invention, but the poetry of Favart is truly “simplex munditiis,” ingenuous, natural, easy, and inartificial. The characters of both are villagers, but those of Rousseau speak the more polite language of the town, while the rustics of Favart converse in the dialect of the country. The following is the address of Colin to his absent mistress from the Devin du Village.
Des champs, de la prairie,
Retournant chaque soir,
Chaque soir plus chérie,
Je viendrai te revoir.
Du soleil, dans nos plaines,
Devançant le retour,
Je charmerai mes peines
En chantant notre amour.
In these lines we recognise the hand of a master in the art of composition, but we think more of Rousseau than of Colin. The verses are beautiful, but they are out of keeping with the character of a rustic, and thus the scenic illusion is lost. For instance, the following expressions, “Devancer le retour du soleil, and, charmer mes peines,” are too elegant for a ploughman, and they thus violate that rule of the drama which insists on identifying the speaker with his speech. Let us now listen to Bastienne speaking of her lover.
D'où vient q' tout me chagrine;
Et que j' nons de cœur à rien ?
Hélas ! c'est que Bastienne
N' voit plus son cher Bastien.
Le changồment de c' volage
Devrait bien m' dégager:
Mais je n'en ons pas l'courage,
Et je n' fais q' m'affliger.
D'un ingrat quand on s'venge,
C'est se dédommager.
Mais, hélas ! Bastien change,
Et je n' saurais changer.
These verses breathe an air of rusticity. It is the village girl who speaks. We think only of Bastienne and forget Favart. To produce this effect is the triumph of the dramatic art. The two last lines of the third stanzà are peculiarly beautiful, and proclaim the sincerity of deepseated affection. We shall place in contrast Colette and Bastienne, both complaining of the caprice of their lovers ; both alluding to the more tempting offers they had received ; and both innocently praising their own fidelity. This first song is from the Devin du Village, by Colette.
Si des galants de la ville
Mise en riche demoiselle,
This is a delightful and harmonious piece of versification, but surely it is not the natural language of a rustic maiden. “Charger ses atours de rubans et de dentelle" would better suit the lips of a fine lady of fashion. "J'ai refusé mon bonheur" contradicts the next two lines, and inconsistency is an unpardonable error in such a writer as Rousseau. From him criticism has a right to expect perfection. Favart has imitated this song of Collette, and his copy breathes the pure air of the village. Bastienne sings :
1. Si j'voulions être un tantet coquette, Au déclin du jour, près d'un bocage, Et prêter l'oreille aux favoris,
Un jeune monsieu des plus gentis, Que je férions aisément emplette Voulait dans un brillant équipage
Des plus galants monsieux de Paris ! Nous mener, c' dit-il, jusqu'à Paris.
Et j' nons sans mystère (plaire, Mais toujours fidèle,
J'y ons répondu !
Sachez qu'au village (sage: Sachez qu'au village [sage :
J'ons de la vertu.
“ En honneur, je vous trouve charmante,
“ Me dit un jour un petit collet :
“ Chez moi vous vous plairez tout à fait.”
J'ons connu l'adresse,
Et j'ons répondu :
Sachez qu'au village
J'ons de la vertu.
We consider this song a triumph of genius. We hear the voice of a rural beauty who has been frequently exposed to the snares of the seducer.
song is at once lively and true, and contains an indirect criticism on morals. Favart evidently intended it as a trial of skill against his talented competitor, and most assuredly he gained the prize. How felicitously has he seized the dialect of the village and preserved the idiomatic expressions of rural life? How harmonious is the cadence, how chaste the sentiment, how natural the reflections, how pure and sincere the devoted attachment
The following is, however, if possible, even superior, and it is not copied from any model in the Devin du Village. Bastienne sings :
Pour qu'il eut tout l'avantage
A la fête du hamiau,
De rubans à tout étage,
J'ons embelli son chapian
D'une gentille rosette, D'une autre amante aujourd'hui ? J'ons orné son flageolet. Avions-je dans le village
C' n'est pas que je la regrette Queuq' chos' que n' fut pas à lui ? Malgré moi l'ingrat me plait ; Mes troupiaux et mon laitage,
Mais, pour parer ce volage
J'ons défait mon biau corset.
Faut-il qu'une autre l'engage
Après tout ce que j'ai fait. Here is another gem of poesy. Never did nature, in the artless and unsophisticated simplicity of rural life, pour forth strains more true, more lender, or more graceful. How delicate and ingenuous are the feelings of Bastienne ! “J'ons defait mon biau corset” is above all praise : what could a village girl do more to prove her sincerity? "C' n'est pas que je la regrette" flows from the heart. She seems desirous to convince herself that no bitter querulousness is mingled with her reproaches. How exquisite is the soft confession contained in “Malgré moi l'ingrat me plait.” Who would not throw himself at the feet of this enchanting shepherdess? The chorus is full of similar interest : yes, Bastienne, your lover would have been a villain had he deserted you.
Let us once more place Rousseau and Favart in contrast. Colin and Bastien are both confident of the fidelity of their mistresses, despite some little misgivings. Let us first hear Rousseau.
Non, non, Colette n'est pas trompeuse,
Elle m'a promis sa foi :
D'un autre berger que moi ?
Non, non, etc. We have no fault to find with this couplet, as far as it goes; but it is meagre and insufficient. How much richer is the imagination of Favart, when he makes Bastien speak of his sweetheart. He absolutely pleads his case, and argues as for a verdict. He constitutes himself judge, jury, and advocate, and exults in the certainty of a favourable decision. Favart has, in this song, amplified the “Malo me Galatea petit" of Virgil, and most beautifully has he improved on the original.
All' me jette de la tarre,
All me pousse dans la mare :
Et pis, c' jour qu' à la main chaude Et Bastienne n'est pas fille
On jouait sur le gazon,
Moi, qui ne suis pas un glaude,
All’ toujours folle et maleigne,
Pour se divertir un brin, All’ me guett' venir de loin.
Courut tôt prendre une épeine, Pour m’ faire queuq' tricherie,
Et m'en tapit dans la main. All' se gliss' derrière el foin.
How superior is Bastien to Colin. Clown though he be, he understands the rationale of love. “Ce sont des preuves que ça” bespeaks a knowledge of human nature which would not discredit a philosopher. Fontenelle has seized the same thought in one of his eclogues. Iris is conversing with her swain, and expresses her doubts of the sincerity of two lovers.
Croyez-vous que, pour être et fidèle et sincere,
Vous vous plaindriez bien si j'en usais de même. Virgil, Fontenelle, and Favart, have all expressed the feeling of true love, ever accompanied by delicacy. Love is intense and expanded esteem, and it is exclusive. It repudiates all plurality, and is ever based on unity. A woman who yields ber little favours and attentions to more than one man is accounted a coquette, and true love never nestles itself in a fickle bosom. Bastien knew that he was the favoured swain from the innocent and playful familiarity of his mistress. He says in the first verse that she is “de bonne foi," and that she was incapable of uttering a "oui" for a non.” He knew that she was not a flirt or a coquette.
gave her credit for delicacy of mind, and therefore was certain that she would not have taken any liberty with him, unless he possessed her affections. Bastien was in fact a philosopher, without knowing it, and understood the principles of human action without ever having studied them. In the village as well as in the metropolis the approving smile of beauty is easily penetrated, and Bastien took the hint as it was intended ; hence the multum in parvo contained in the line : “Ce sont des preuves que ça."
ON THE CAUSES OF THE REVOLUTION IN
During three centuries the court of Madrid exercised undisputed sovereignty over her possessions in the New World. Her reign had been exclusive, partial, and unjust, sacrificing all the rights of the Creoles to the avarice of the Spaniards. The natives were treated as the absolute property of the mother country, and deprived of almost every privilege which appertains to humanity. This continued system of misrule had kindled the materials of revolution, and a favourable opportunity only was wanted to rouse the inhabitants of Spanish America into open revolt. The insurrection of Aranjuez in Old Spain, 1808, which led to the dismissal of Godoy, the prince of peace, and to the abdication of Charles