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broke in smoke over her, and hove old hat over the mast-head, as an her broadside on upon the reef--an- offering to Neptune, the gallant little other shock, and the mainmast was Midge bent to the freshening blast, lumbering and rasping over the sides. like a racehorse laying himself to She now fell off with her broadside his work, and once more bounded to the sea, which was making a fair exultingly " o'er the glad waters breach over her; and while the cries of the dark blue sea," as if the of the unfortunates aboard of her sweet little craft had been instinct rent the air, and it was clear she with life, and conscious that she must instantly go to pieces, we all had once more regained her own at once slid out of the infernal tur proper element the cloven water moil of dashing waves-“ the hell roaring at her bows, as the stem tore of waters"--and rose buoyantly on through it, like a trenchant ploughthe long smooth swell, that was roll. Share, dashing it right and left into ing in from the offing. For a mi- smoke, until it rushed past us in a nute before not a word had been white sheet of buzzing water, that spoken by officers or men, all hands spun away in a long straight wake · being riveted to the deck, looking astern, in the small yeasty swirls of
out, and expecting every moment to which the moon and stars sparkled see the vessel under foot driven into diamond-like, but of many hues, as staves; but now, as each man drew a if the surface of the ever restless long breath, old Davie, with most ocean had been covered with floatunlooked for agility, gave a spang ing prisms.-“ Hurrah-hurrah-we into the air, and while he skiffed his are once more in blue water!”
MEMOIRS OP MONSIEUR DE CHATEAUBRIAND.
If there be a spell in words to face that ever was written; in itself raise high expectation and eager cu- a piece of high biographical interest. riosity in the world of letters and If Monsieur de Chateaubriand's name politics, it consists in those at the were not alone sufficient, it would head of this Article. But these Me- serve to shew the deep, varied, and moirs are UNPUBLISHED, AND IN- entrainant interest of the legacy TENDED TO BE POSTHUMOUS ! How, he is to bequeath to posterity. then, have we got a peep at their May this bequest be yet long delaycontents? In the following man- ed! May the illustrious testator ner:- Monsieur de Chateaubriand continue long not only to serve his has but a short time ago regaled a country by his splendid talents, but select circle of his friends with the to adorn humanity by his brilliant high treat of hearing him read these example of whatever is high and Memoirs at his retreat at the Abbaye chaste in enthusiasm, of whatever is au Bois. We need hardly say that pure and lofty in principle! The they were heard with the liveliest following is the preface. It is dated sensations of delight, and moved his August 1, 1832, and has this motto audience often even to tears. Of this prefixed :favoured audience one-doubtless notici..
of “Sicut nubes, quasi navis, velut umbra." without the permission of Monsieur de Chateaubriand-has communicat- “As it is impossible for me to foreed to the Revue de Paris certain pas- see the moment of my end-as at my sages and fragments of the MSS., from age the days granted to man are days recollection, it is said. These recol- of grace, or rather of rigour, I am lections are most vivid, and have all about, lest Death should surprise the appearance of being faithful; but me, to explain the nature of a work there is often more than recollec- whose prolongation is destined to tions—whole extracts from the Me- beguile the ennui of these last demoirs themselves. These we are serted hours, which interest no one, now about to lay before our readers. and of which I know not how to disBut we must not omit previously to pose. notice the “ Testamentary Preface" « The Memoirs, at the head of of Monsieur de Chateaubriand, lately which this preface will be read, empublished in the Quotidienne. This brace, or will embrace, the entire is certainly the most eloquent pre- course of my life. They have been
begun since the year 1811, and con- only to fall again into indigence, and tinued till the present day. I have to experience the prison. related in that which is finished, and “I have been in relation with a I shall relate in that which is only crowd of personages, illustrious in planned, my infancy, my education, armies, in the church, in politics, in my early youth, my entrance in the the magistracy, in sciences, and in service, my arrival in Paris, my pre- arts. I possess immense matesentation to Louis XVI., the com- rials, more than four thousand primencement of the Revolution, my vate letters, the diplomatic correstravels in America, my return to Eu- pondence of my different embassies, rope, my emigration to Germany especially some relating to my apand England, my return to France pointment as Minister of Foreign under the Consulate, my occupa- Affairs, among which are several retions and my works under the Em- markable pieces concerning particupire, my journey to Jerusalem, my larly myself, hitherto unknown. I occupations and works under the have carried the musket of a soldier, Restoration; and, finally, the com- the stick of a pedestrian, and the plete history of the Restoration, and staff of a pilgrim. A navigator, my desits fall.
tinies have shifted with the incon"I have met almost all the men stancy of my sails. A water-bird, I who, in my time, have played any have made my nest upon the waves. part, small or great, both in fo “ I have been concerned in peace reign countries and at home, from and in war; I have signed treaties Washington to Napoleon, from Louis and protocols, and published in the XVIII. to Alexander, from Pius VII. midst of them (chemin faisant) nuto Gregory XVI.; from Fox, Burke, merous works. I have been initiPitt, Sheridan, Londonderry, Capo ated in the secrets of parties of the d'Istria, to Malesherbes, Mirabeau, Court and the State. I have witness&c. &c.; from Nelson, Bolivar, Me ed, not afar off, but near, the greathémet, Pacha of Egypt, to Suffrien, est reverses, the loftiest fortunes, Bougainville, La Perouse, Moreau, the most sounding celebrities. I &c. &c. I have made part of a tri. have assisted at sieges, at congressumvirate which had never before an es, at conclaves, at the re-edification example. Three poets, of opposed and demolition of thrones. I have interests and nations, found them- made essays on history, which I selves, nearly at the same time, Mi- could have written; and my life, 80nisters of Foreign Affairs--myself in litary, dreamy, and poetic, has traFrance; Mr Canning, in England; versed this world of catastrophes, and Martinez de la Rosa, in Spain. tumult, and noise, with the sons of I have traversed, successively, the my dreams, Chactas, René, Eudore, vacant years of my youth, the crowd. Aben Hamet; and with the daughed years of the Republic, the pompsters of my fantasy, Atalla, Amelia, of Napoleon, and the reign of legiti- Blanca, Velleda, and Cymodocia. macy.
On my age, I have exerted, perhaps “I have explored the seas of the without wishing it, and without Old and New World, and trodden the seeking for it, a triple influence, resoil of the four quarters of the globe. ligious, political, and literary. After having sheltered under the hut " I am no longer surrounded but of the Iroquois, under the tent of the by three or four contemporaries of Arab, in the wigwams of the Hurons, à long renown; Alfieri, Canova, in the ruins of Athens, of Jerusalem, Monte, have disappeared. Of its of Memphis, of Carthage, of Grena. brilliant days, Italy preserves only da, with the Greek, the Turk, the Pindemonte and Manzoni. Pellico Moor, among forests and ruins ; after has lingered out his best years in the having donned the bear-skin casque dungeons of Spielburg; the talents of the savage, and the silken cafetan of the country of Dante are conof the Mameluke; after having suf.. demned to silence, or forced to lanfered poverty, hunger, thirst, and guish on a foreign shore. Lord By, exile, I have sat down minister and ron and Canning died young. Walambassador, embroidered with gold, ter Scott seems about to leave us." and covered with decorations and Goethe has just quitted us, full of ribbons at the table of kings, and glory and of years. France has almost - the fêtes of princes and princesses, nothing of her past, so rich in talent.
She is commencing a new era; I sought for his history on the highremain to inter my age, as the old roads, and learnt it from the knights priest in the sack of Beziers, who and abbots whom he met. But from was to sound the knell to entomb the reign of Francis I., our writers himself after the last citizen had ex- have been isolated individuals, whose pired.
talents might be the expression of “ When Death shall have let down the mind, but not of the facts of the curtain between me and the their epoch. If I am destined to live, world, my drama will be found to be I will represent in my person-redivided into three acts. From my presented in my Memoirs-the prinearliest youth, to 1800, I was soldier ciples, the ideas, the events, the caand traveller; from 1800 to 1814, tastrophes, the epopeia of my time; under the Consulate and the Em- and this the more faithfully, as I pire, my life has been literary; since have seen a world begin and end, the Restoration to the present day, and the opposed characters of this political. In my three successive beginning and this end are mixed in careers I have proposed to myself a my opinions. I meet myself, as it great task; as a traveller, I aspired were, between two ages, as at a conto the discovery of the Polar world- fluence of two streams; I have plunas an author, to re-establish religion ged into the troubled waters, borne on its ruins; as a statesman, I have with regret from the old bank where striven to shew to nations the repre. I was born, and swimming with hope sentative monarchic system, with its towards the unknown shore, on several liberties. I have at least which new generations will arise. aided to attain that which is worth “ My Memoirs, divided into books them all, which replaces them, and and parts, have been written at dif. holds the place of a constitution— ferent dates and in different places. the liberty of the press. If I have These sections naturally introduce often failed in my designs, it was a sorts of prologues, which recall the failure of destiny. Foreigners who events which have happened since have succeeded in their designs, the last dates, and point out the were seconded by fortune; they had places where I resume the thread of behind them powerful friends and a my narration. The varying events tranquil country. I have not had and changing forms of my life, thus this happiness.
reciprocally cross each other. It “Of all contemporary modern happens sometimes that in my moFrench authors, I am the only one ments of prosperity, I have to speak whose life resembles his works ; of my unhappy days, and that in my traveller, soldier, poet, legist, it is in days of tribulation I retrace those of the woods that I have sung of the my happiness. The different sentiwoods, in vessels that I have descri- ments of the various periods of my bed the sea, in camps that I have life, my youth interpenetrating my spoken of armies, in exile that I age, the gravity of my years of exlearnt of exile, and in courts, in af- perience saddening my years of gaifairs, in assemblies, that I have stu- ety; the rays of my sun from its died princes, politics, laws, and his dawn to its setting, crossing each tory. The orators of Greece and other and blended together, like the Rome were involved in the public scattered reflex lights of my existcause, and partook of its fate. In ence, giving a sort of indefinable Italy and Spain, towards the close unity to my work; my cradle has of the middle age, the first genius of something of my tomb, my tomb letters and the arts participated in something of my cradle; my sufferthe social movement. What stormy ings become my pleasures ; my pleaand splendid lives are those of Dante, sures griefs, and one will not be able of Tasso, of Camoens, of Ercilla, to discover whether these Memoirs and Cervantes !
“are the work of a head bald or co“ In France, our ancient poets and vered with locks. ancient historians sang and wrote in “I say not this to praise myself, for the midst of pilgrimages and of com. I know not whether it be good or bats. Thibault, Count of Campagne, whether it be bad, but it has so hapVillehardouin Joinville,borrowed the pened, without premeditation, by felicities of their style from the ad. The inconstancy of the tempests ventures of their career. Froissard which have been unloosed against my back, and which have often left spiritual and abstract egotism is the me only the raft of my shipwreck, very essence. Of this kind was the to write such or such a fragment of genius of Rousseau and Byron; and my life.
of this kind, only refined by high “I have felt a paternal affection in moral and religious tendencies, is the composition of these Memoirs. the genius of Chateaubriand. This The notes which accompany the text class of genius only sympathizes are of three sorts; the first, at the with the outward universe, as it reend of the volumes, consist of ex- acts upon its proper identity. It is planative and corroborative pieces; an acuteness of sensibility which ab. the second, at the bottom of the pages, sorbs in itself all the powers of reaare of the same epoch as the text; son and observation, and individualthe third, also at the bottom of the izes every thing by making it part pages, have been added since the com- and parcel of its own essential being. position of the text; they bear the A genius of this kind will always be date of the time and place in which the prominent figure in every picthey were written. A year or two ture he may design; every other fi. in solitude, in some corner of the gure would be to him a nonentity, earth, will suffice for the accomplish- but for the influence, the lights or ment of my task. I have had no re- shadows it casts upon himself, the reapose but during the nine months lity amidst the shows. He therefore that I slept in the bosom of my mo. groups all things about himself; he ther; and it is probable that I shall cannot stir out of the circle of self, only regain this ante. natal repose in nor is it to be desired he should, for the bosom of our common mother this self reflects humanity. This is after death.
the key to the egotism of Monsieur “Many of my friends have pressed Chateaubriand, wbich is more or less me to publish at present a part of apparent in all his works. To quarmy history; but I cannot yield to rel with it, is to quarrel with a pecutheir wish. First, I should be, in liar character of genius, which, if not spite of myself, less frank and less of the highest order, has at least the true; then I have always imagined strongest hold upon our sympathies. myself writing from my coffin. - The For our own parts, we love to bework has hence taken a certain re- hold this vivifying principle, not only ligious character, which I could not in his works, but even when it apdivest it of without injury; it would pears more broadly, and takes the cost me much to stitle this distant semblance (though it may be far voice issuing from the tomb, which removed from it in reality) of va. is heard throughout the whole course nity. We love to figure to ourselves of the recital. It will not be found the chivalrous and enthusiastic old strange that I preserve some weak- poet and statesman, collecting about ness, and that I am anxious about him of an evening, in the old aristothe fate of the poor orphan, destined cratic religious building of the Abto remain after me upon the earth. baye au Bois, his select circle of If Minos judges that I have suffered friends, and reading aloud the ad. enough upon this earth to be a happy ventures of his youth, and vicissi. shade in the next, a little light from tudes of his life, himself the author, the Elysian fields, shed over my last the hero, and the reciter of his parpicture, will render the defects of rative. We fancy the enthusiasm the painter less salient. Life sits ill with which he recites the story of upon me, Death perhaps will sit his juvenile years, (yet retaining better.”
their buoyant spirit,) when he found It is with reluctance that we stop a fairy land in the savage wilds of here, previous to giving our readers America, when he roamed its bound. a foretaste of these Memoirs, which less forests, committed himself, a promise to be so splendid and of wanderer, with heaven above him such fascinating interest to make a and in his heart, to its broad streams, remark upon the apparent egotism visited in solitude, his “best society," of this preface. This must not be the appalling Falls of the Niagara, . confounded with petty vanity, nor and, borne along by ecstatic fancy, still less with selfishness, of which and its sudden joys, as it were with egotism is generally the sign; for wings, lived, as he advanced, unthere is a class of genius of which a harmed and cherished among suc
cessive groups of wild savages, but jointed and trembling stones. AR to him gentle and loving, as the be- unknown porter opened to me rudeings of his fancy with whom he has ly the gate. Covering for a moment peopled their glades. We follow him my eyes with my handkerchief, I in all his cadences and elevations, in entered beneath the roof of my anhis bursts of eloquence, and trans- cestors. I traversed the echoing ports of sensibility. We syınpathize apartments, and heard nothing but with the sympathy and admiration the sound of my own steps. The of his auditors. We wonder not at chambers were hardly lighted by the the tears of delight which spring to feeble light which penetrated through their eyes; and when we look up at the closed shutters. I visited the the bald head and wrinkled front of room where my mother had expired, the animated reciter, we could hug that in which my father used to rethe old man for his boyish enthusi. tire, the one in which I had sleptin my asm and sensibility, if reverence did cradle, and where friendship had utnot teach us rather to bow to him tered its first vows in the bosom of as the type and model of all that is my sister. Everywhere the halls estimable and admirable in youth, spread before me in melancholy namanbood, and old age.
kedness, and the spider spun its But it is time we should proceed webs along the abandoned cornices. to the narrative. The first volume, I quitted these scenes precipitately. then, is devoted to the ancestors, and I left them with a hurried step, the father of Monsieur de Chateau- and dared not turn round my head briand, a race of gentlemen of the as I departed. How sweet, but how old noblesse, and who lived constant rapid, are the moments which broly away from the Court of Louis thers and sisters pass together in the XIV. One of the most remarkable society of their aged parents !” If of tbis old race was the father of the Monsieur de Chateaubriand had not author. He was poor, as had been written those Memoirs of his youth, his father, and was left alone in the his character might be found in world with his mother. He was René. “My temper was impetuous scarcely fifteen years of age, when, and unequal, alternately buoyant kneeling before the bed of his mo- and joyous, and silent and melanther, he asked her for her blessing, choly. Sometimes I assembled as he had resolved to go and seek about me my young companions, his fortune. With his mother's bless. and then suddenly abandoned them ing, he embarked at St Malo. He to contemplate a passing cloud, was twice prisoner, and twice esca- or to listen to the rain falling on the ped. On his return to St Malo the leaves.” But that which we find not last time, he married a young per- in René, we find in bis Memoirs ; son of noble birth, by whom he bad that his respect for his father was several children. Monsieur de Cha- mingled with terror. His father was teaubriand and his sister, Lucilla, a man of tall stature, of a physioge were the two youngest. They were nomy sombre and severe, imposing brought up at the chateau of Comin all his manners, bis step heavy, his bourg, the ancient mansion of the voice solemn, his look stern. During Chateaubriands, which his father bad the day, young François de Chateau. repurchased. Of the chateau of briand would rather make a long Combourg, desolate and abandoned, circuit than meet his father; but on there is the following description in the fall of night the whole family René. “I arrived at the chateau assembled together in the balf-desertby the long avenue of pines. I ed chateau, situated in the midst of traversed on foot its deserted courts; woods, and far from all other habi. I stopped to contemplate the closed tation. In a vast hall they spent and half-broken windows. The their evenings; the mother and the thistles which grew at the foot of two youngest children sitting within the walls, the fallen leaves which the embrasure of the immense gathered about the doors, and the chimney, and the father, enveloped solitary vestibule where I had so in his cloak, pacing the apartment often seen my father and his faithful backwards and forwards in silence. servants. The marble basins were As this lord and master got more already covered with moss. Yellow distant from the cbimney corner, the weeds grew up between their dis- conversation between the mother