Lamartine married an English lady, a granddaughter of Governor Holwell, who was incarcerated in the Black Hole by Surajah Dowlah, in the early days of British rule in India. Of the piece we give here, 'The Lake,' Alfred de Musset has said:—. Emile Deschamps, like his brother Antoni Deschamps, has paid much attention to foreign literature. As an original writer, he belongs to the Romantic school founded by Lamartine and Hugo.
His complimentary verses in the album of Auguste Bressier, which we give here, are generally considered very happy. Antoni Deschamps, the brother of Emile Descharnps, has not much resemblance to him as a poet. Antoni is stiff, cold, uniform, austere, sometimes sublime, whereas Emile is varied, supple, changing and graceful. Antoni has written little or no prose, Emile has written a great deal of prose as well as verse. Antoni has devoted himself to the poetry of Italy, Emile has fluttered about from the poetry of Germany to the poetry of England, of Italy, and of Spain.
Antoni's translation of Dante, in which he has wished to give according to his own expressions 'an idea of the tone and manner of Dante,' is a noble work—a model for all who undertake the work of translation. He abstains from all notes and commentaries, and endeavours to produce with a religious fidelity 'the colour and especially the accent' of the poetry of the great master; and his success is wonderful.
Antoni never married—never even fell in love; all his love was for his books; hence a lonely life, a life so forlorn that he seems weary of it. The following verses may give some idea of his feelings. The original has considerable pathos. Of other clay I thought I was made exempt from decay, Formed, vivified, as few spirits have been With an essence more powerful, subtle and keen.
Than the herd. O folly! O sin! O pride! Pity me all those that will not deride! Behold like a brute I eat and I range, And the brute itself with me would not change; For it has nurslings to feed in its den, And I've none at my hearth, the most lonely of men. To a Bereaved Mother. Reboul knew well what to answer:. Alexandre Dumas also honoured Reboul in his 'Impressions de Voyage' with a flattering notice, which is so interesting that we must desire the reader to hunt out the book and read it. In the morning Dumas found the poet in his shop selling his loaves—'You come to see the poet and not the baker—is it not so?
Now, I am a baker from five o'clock in the morning to four in the evening. From four o'clock to midnight I am a poet. Would you buy nice little loaves? Then stay. I have excellent ones. Would you have verses? Come back at five: I shall supply you with bad ones. Well, it is just that. I had married a woman whom I loved. Those who had surrounded me up to that time were men of my class, gentle, pitiful, but common souls. Instead of telling me, 'Weep, and we shall weep with you,' they tried to console me. My tears, which only asked to flow, went back towards my heart, and inundated it.
I sought solitude, and finding no human souls able to understand me, I cried to God alone. True poets become thus what they are. How many men there are of talent who only want a great misfortune to become men of genius. You have told me in a single word the secret of your life. I know it now as well as you yourself. At the same time, it must be noted that Reboul was neither a man of great genius nor of a high education. In his more ambitious efforts Reboul utterly fails.
It was only in his occasional inspired moods that he succeeded in dashing off the little pieces which charm us, and will always charm, by their simplicity, modesty, melancholy, and even pathos. The piece we give here has often been translated into English. The reader will find one version of it in Longfellow, and another in the Dutt 'Family Album. The Last Day of the Year. There is not much merit in this commonplace piece, but Madame Tastu's poems seldom rise above the barren level of mediocrity.
She wants strength and stamina, and her best efforts are only pretty pieces of embroidery. She has written several educational works for the young, which are deservedly popular.
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Sur la Terrasse des Aygalades. All languages and lands seem familiar to him, and he flies from one to another without ever appearing to be out of his native region. His pictures of past times are generally very vivid, and his historical figures are not always mere automatons, but very often living and breathing men and women. Alexander Smith, the author of Dreamthorp, himself a poet of no mean order, and who has written a neglected novel named 'Alfred Haggart's Household,' which is as sweet as anything that has appeared since the 'Vicar of Wakefield,' says of England's Poet-Laureate, 'Mr.
Tennyson does not imitate so much as he is imitated, but even in his ear there have lingered notes from the other side of the Atlantic. With much greater reason than Alexander Smith, we might ask if the lines most often quoted from the Poet-Laureate's Tithonus—and the whole piece itself in all its beauty—is not an echo of Alfred de Vigny's Moise? Let the reader judge. Sings the Poet-Laureate,. Release me and restore me to the ground. Vous m'avez fait puissant et solitaire, Laissez-moi m'endormir du sommeil de la terre. Et cependant, Seigneur, je ne suis pas heureux. What a weariness in the man who has penetrated into everything!
What a prodigious fatigue of his superiority! What a disgust of life, in an eternal celibacy of power. What a weight at the heart! What sorrow for his high function, ever near God, where the air is not respirable for a human creature in the flesh! What an overwhelming sublimity—throughout!
Of the other pieces of M. Alfred de Vigny, the beautiful poem of 'Eloa' is the best. Eloa is the angel of pity in heaven. She was born from the tear of our Lord at the grave of Lazarus. She compassionates the prince of the fallen angels when she first hears of him as. The 'Death of the Wolf,' which we give further on, is wanting in condensation, and teaches a very questionable philosophy.
The Death of the Wolf. This piece has not the ordinary condensation of Alfred de Vigny—who is great both as a poet and as a novelist. See preceding note. The Message. The reader will perhaps feel a little surprised to find a poem by Henri Heine in a collection gleaned in 'French fields.
He was a Jew who embraced Christianity, and afterwards turned infidel, or at all events preserved only a very modified sort of belief. Born in Germany, he lived in France, or rather in the French capital. Though he wrote in German and had a power over that language which few have shown since Goethe and Schiller, his predilections and tastes were all French. This piece and several others were translated by himself into French and published in the 'Revue des Deux Mondes' under fictitious signatures.
His command over the French language was great for a foreigner, though not so marvellous as his command over the German. The Slaver. It would have been far better to have kept the measure of the original in this piece, but we found it impossible to do so. There is a scathing bitterness of sarcasm in some of Heine's pieces, this, among the rest, that appals and verges on the sublime. Morning Serenade. It would be absurd to make any comment on Victor Hugo in a short note at the end of a book.
His name is among the great ones of the earth. With Shakspeare, Milton, Byron, Goethe, Schiller, and the rest, his place has long been marked in the Valhalla of the poets. Sings England's latest poet,—a poet indeed, spite of his many serious aberrations—. Soleil Couchant.
It is impossible to do justice in translations to Victor Hugo's beautiful pieces, but it is next to impossible to abstain from an attempt every now and then. To those who Sleep. The third stanza reminds the writer of Lord Lytton's beautiful lines in Aurora Clair:.
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He Who, having a cause for which to fight, Hath also courage and will to smite, Finds waiting for him in pebble or reed Just such a weapon as serves his need. A Souvenir of the Night of the Fourth. A great sorrow inspired the muse of the one, a great public wrong that of the other.
But in Tennyson's poem, exquisite as it is, the monotony palls at last, while in Hugo's the variety is infinite; hence the superiority of the latter. Disdainful, sarcastic, pathetic, sublime, by turns, the book is a masterpiece of its kind. The Forts of Paris.
On the Death of his Daughter. Have we not here the same cry that thrilled the hearts of hearers three thousand years ago! After the Battle. A good account of Victor Hugo's father, the hero here mentioned, and a colonel in Napoleon's army, will be found in the poet's life published in England under the title of 'Victor Hugo, a Life Related by One Who has Witnessed It,' 2 vols. In Praise of Women.
Auguste Brizeux came of an Irish family settled in France after the Revolution of He was born in Passionately fond of Brittany the province, and Lorient the town in which he was born, after long and repeated residence in Italy, he used to hail his native place as the best in every respect on earth; and in one of his poems he says of the town—. It is remarkable that Brizeux never condescended to write in prose. Whether lie felt that he was born to be a poet, and would degrade himself by being anything else, or whether he had any diffidence in the matter, it is certain that, while every other poet wrote romances, essays, histories, criticism, he rigidly held to his lyre, and excepting one poor attempt in early life, would not even try the field of the drama.
His two best poems are 'Marie' and the 'Fleur d'Or. It has been a moot question, whether Brizeux personally knew and loved this Marie with the naked feet,. A schoolfellow of his says, she never existed, except in his imagination. Did Brizeux see her after she had been married, and was the mother of a family? There is a light, a halo about this Marie, like that which circles around the Jeanie Morrison of Motherwell, and one feels a wish to know more about her.
The rest of Brizeux's poems fall far short of these master-pieces. They want the Virgilian charm, the Theocritan 'souffle. Madame Emile de Girardin was a great beauty in her time 'with blue eyes and golden hair,' and she lived in the midst of a fashionable circle that all but worshipped her. Maxima Debetur Pueris Reverentua. The piece entitled 'La Rime' is delightful. It is difficult, almost impossible, to preserve in a translation the verve of pieces like this. Sainte-Beuve was one of the greatest literary authorities and critics in France, and his review of a new book often sealed its fate.
The articles he contributed to the 'Constitutionnel,' the 'Moniteur,' and the 'Revue des Deux Mondes' may easily be recognised by their style. His 'Causeries de Lundi' have a world-wide celebrity. No man could paint a literary portrait so well. We are glad to see that a translation of the reviews of English celebrities in his works is announced. It will give an insight to the English reader of his vast acquaintance with foreign literature, his scholarship, and his discrimination.
His prose has to some extent done harm to his poetry. The constant composition of critical or political articles does not seem to be agreeable to the Muse, who resents any worship but her own. And of this fact he himself was aware, for he said, 'The poet in me—shall I confess it? Some poetical lines of his furnished matter for the daily gaiety of the newspaper press in Provincial France, as well as in the Metropolis. One of these is—. Sainte-Beuve is a bad or even a mediocre poet.
Though he does not belong to the first class, and has no title to be ranked with the Hugos and the Lamartines, he takes a high place in the second. His first poetical work was 'Joseph Delorme. Hyppolite Babou whom we may almost hail as a countryman, for he is not a Baboo? He was an invalid, and he had died. His interrupted chants were but the vague echoes of a voice beyond the tomb; he had lived in obscurity, in poverty, in doubt,—he had died in isolation and despair. Yes, Joseph Delorme was a martyr of Life and of Poesy! But when people were chanting the 'De Profundis' over the open grave, the coffin was perceived to be empty, the dead had risen and not only risen, but was present at his own funeral, and had even contributed largely to its expenses.
A modest and proud talent had played at the moribund to conquer without danger the means to live. The sonnet was a powerful and a delicate instrument in his hands, and he translated some of Wordsworth's best, worthily. There is considerable similarity in the two pieces, though the measure is very different, and the greatest credit must attach to the poet who wrote first, but on this point we have no information.
The familiar acquaintance of M. Sainte-Beuve with English literature gives a tone to his poems which would make them more liked and appreciated in England than the works of much greater poets of France. Sainte-Beuve died in To My Children. He was the brother-at-arms and friend of the valiant phalanx consisting of De Vigny, Lamartine, Victor Hugo, and several others, who after many heroic battles established the new school of poetry, which is now admitted to be the best, in France.
He has written much, and written admirably well, but his name has never come out of the shadow which seems to be the unfortunate lot of so many poets worthy of distinction. In his earlier poems he drew much of his inspiration from England. And even when his genius was matured by travel and experience, after a long residence in Italy, when he published the 'Cloche de Saint Marc,' it had still the Byronic ring, and reminded one of Childe Harold.
With the simplicity of the 'School-Mistress' of Shenstone, it unites a pathos profoundly moving. It will take care of this noble name,—it will protect it from an ungrateful oblivion. It will make in his numerous works a selection, severe perhaps, but salutary on the whole, and at this price it will certainly perpetuate the renown of one of the highest poetic intelligences of our times.
During the Revolution of appeared the 'Curee;' and the effect was overwhelming. Auguste Barbier was then in his twenty-fifth year and this was his first work. It placed him at once on the pinnacle of popularity. The poem is indeed written with great power, greater power by far than that displayed in the 'Marseillaise,' which owes its popularity more to its glorious music than its words.
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Barbier wrote several poems afterwards, and although some of them have great merit, none had the popularity of his first-born. In fact his reputation declined with his years. This was hardly just to him,—but it was the natural consequence of a too sudden elevation. The Resting-place of the Kine. This piece will be found in the 'Revue des Deux Mondes' for , vol. Charles Dovalle was born at Montreuil-Bellay, a small town in the department of Maine—et-Loire on June 23, , and his infancy and boyhood were passed joyously in the liberty of a country life, amidst picturesque rural scenes full of old recollections and ruined castles that spoke of feudal grandeur.
He came to Paris to seek his fortune in his twentieth year, 'with a portfolio and his brains full of rhymes. With a great deal of immaturity, there is much promise in his poems. Charles Asselineau says, his works 'are a pale dawn—like all dawns—but with the certain and assured signs of a glorious and bright noon. Dost thou remember, Mary. A very popular 'Romance.
His tastes led him towards the legendary, the mysterious, and the supernatural, and German literature had, as a consequence, a fascination for him. He translated the 'Faust' of Goethe and the ballads of Burger and of Koerner. He knew Hebrew and Sanscrit well, and has left us some translations from Calidasa and Solomon. To the modern school of French poetry he did not take kindly.
The mystical sonnets he composed in the last years of his life obscure to any one who has not the key are very beautiful. The poem in fact is Swedish; and its author is the poet Stagnelius. The only poem of Hayley, Cowper's friend, which still lives, and deserves to live, is very much in the vein of this piece. Perhaps the reader may remember some of Hayley's lines, the echo of which still rings in our ears. L'Enfant Mourant. Behold, on all sides they appear— White robes and wings!
What spell hath bound me? And music, hark! They speak of life, of life immortal. Can Death assume so sweet a semblance? The parents by the bedside wept, And treasured up each fond remembrance. Soon at the door was heard a knock, In stepped the old and faithful servant;— ' Our lamb is gathered to the flock; 'Tis ours to weep, and pray more fervent. I've hastened, for, no form beholding, Her little arms, at break of day Around my neck I felt her folding.
Ils ont des ailes blanches.
Oh quel enchantement! J'entends parler de vie, oui—d'une vie sans fin. Eh, quoi! These small poems scarcely convey an adequate idea of the poetical genius of M. For correctness and chastity of style he has few equals. Never infringing the rules of French versification, as greater poets than himself, notably Victor Hugo, have sometimes done, he has yet been able to add to the power of the language by his majestic and harmonious combinations. His word-painting is exceedingly vivid, and at the same time exceedingly natural; and the only discord that jars in his magnificent utterances is that taint of—shall we call it irreverence or infidelity?
L'amour du vert laurier, Tu daignes Etre un bon ouvrier. Chanson de Fortunio. Alfred de Musset is a name too well known to require detailed notice in this place. He is one of the most popular poets of France, and his countrymen regard him as their Byron. Like Byron, he has no great depth of thought. Like Byron, he is sometimes eccentric and wild. His landscapes, like Byron's, seem to have been elaborated more often in a study, under the fumes of wine, than in the open air and under the blue sky. But his passion, like Byron's, has often the true ring. His epigrams, like Byron's, sparkle.
And his pathos, like Byron's also, is sometimes profound. But his boasting was premature; he was attained by the arrow of the god at last, and thenceforth his life became a dreary desert, without joy and without hope. It is not known whom he loved or why his love was unsuccessful. His proud heart ever guarded the mystery of his torment. The verses we give here have much of the manner of Byron, and a touch of sincerity which has made them a general favourite. The Hope in God. Pascal and Locke and even Kant are hardly treated with justice in this poem.
It is good to be terse and epigrammatic, but not at the expense of perfect fairness and accuracy. The Farmer's Wife. Can anything be more lovely than the description of the Voulzie which the dwarf green Oberon could cross 'sans mouiller ses grelots,' and which a thirsty giant could drink up at a breath, or than the description of 'l'imprimerie proprette' where the poet received a hospitality so noble, or than the description of the farm, for ever blessed, where milk and brown bread and fraternal caresses were lavished on the poor wanderer?
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And can anything be more blasphemous, absurd, and horrible, than the 'Noces de Cana' to which we have already made reference? Moreau's mind was by its nature pure, and his habitual delight was in rural scenes of peace and plenty, but he joined in the Revolution of , fought in the barricades, got into bad company, and then tried hard to be a writer of political satires for which he never had any turn, and of libertine chansons from which his better nature revolted. Glimpses of that nature flashed out, however, even in his utter debasement, for he could sing, addressing his own soul, when he had already been touched by the cold hand of death, in terms such as these:—.
Le Fond de la Mer. Autran was born at Marseilles. In he published an ode to Lamartine, which brought him to the notice of the literary world.
Autran is a member of the French Academy, and is celebrated for his knowledge of the classics. To a Young Poetess. The verses we cite here from Victor de Laprade are not in his usual vein. They are graceful and musical, as become verses addressed to a young lady and a poetess. His ordinary vein is very different—nervous, powerful, lofty, and religious—one would say the poems of a spiritual athlete. In truth, Laprade is one of the great poets of France, and may take rank with the greatest names of the time.
Quinet to advise him to relinquish the bar and take up literature as a profession, and to enable him to follow the advice Quinet offered to procure an appointment for him. Then came 'Psyche. The sentiment was a little vague, but it was there, and though the vulgar accused him of pantheism, the initiated could follow him, especially with the aid of the able preface. After the publication of this work in , Laprade undertook a journey to the Alps. Ch Alexandre, 'Nature made him drunk with her beauties on the high tops of the mountains. Alexandre, 'had made him a poet rustic and domestic, the family,—a poet religions of the past, Provence;—a poet Athenian, but Switzerland made him the poet of Nature.
He brought back with him a work of great freshness and force, the 'Odes and Poems' which appeared in January Of this work M. Alexandre says—'Nature had never been sung about, as it was in this book. Weber alone, in music, has this strange friendship for the elements. It has the whiteness of the marble and the sap of the oak. Alexandre, merely translating as before his French,—'went to enjoy his success at Paris, and make acquaintance with the great masters of the time. In , not being able to see Victor Hugo from the Place Royale, where he had posted himself before the poet's house, he seized a nail and bore it off in triumph as a relic.
He has got it still. Vive l'enthousiasme! It consists of three poems, one of which, 'Rosa Mystica,' shines 'comme une rosace au soleil couchant,' and another, 'Herman,' rings out with the power and sustention 'of an Alpine horn. Laprade and Lamartine are the only great modern poets of France whose works are essentially and eminently pure and religious, and it is remarkable that they both are deeply indebted for the tone of their minds to their mothers, women of prayer, large-minded and self-denying. The Dream of Lucretia. He has written comedies as well as tragedies subsequently. A Flame. Charles Coran, born , a friend of Auguste Brizeux, noticed in note to p.
He has not written anything during the last fifteen years, and leads the quiet and delicious life of a dilettante. The last of his two published poems is superior to the first, in which he had been, to some extent, groping about to find out his vocation. He cannot by any means be called a poet of a high order. Love verses, unless very superior, appear ridiculous now-a-days. Still Coran has one great merit. He is thoroughly French. It is on this account rather difficult to translate his poems. They lose their principal charm in the process.
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We do not know if there is an equivalent for piquette in English; it means,—the bad wine pressed out of grapes after they have been squeezed, and water poured upon them. The Poet's Apology for his Short Poems. Nicolas Martin is deeply imbued with the grand poetry of Germany. He was born at Bonn, and his mother was a German lady—a sister of the poet Karl Simrock, the learned translator into modern language of the old and magnificent Nibelungen , which Victor Hugo considers to be one of the three great epics of the world—the other two being the Mahabharatha and the Ramayana.
Martin's landscapes are very beautiful, and his German leanings have not spoiled his French at all. It is very clear and idiomatic, and as a French critic has observed, it proves 'qu'il est bien des no'res—un vrai fils de la France. Auguste Lacaussade was born in the island of Bourbon about He has published a remarkable translation of Macpherson's Gaelic poems, and was for some time the literary secretary of M.
With the melancholy music of Millevoye he unites a force, a passion, a pathos of his own which sets him, not indeed in the first rank of the French poets, but in a position far more elevated than Millevoye's. Jean nu-pieds - Vol. Albert Delpit. Le Fils de Coralie. Jean-nu-pieds: chronique de Jean-Nu-Pieds - II.
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