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with Madame de Warrens, Theresa, deference even from so headlong a reand his unrequited fondness for former as Rousseau-which has left it Madame de Houdetot, the plain but on the records of a thousand volumes faithful mistress of Saint Lambert. that the unreasonable indulgence of It is, in fact, the autobiography of an solitude is a factitious feeling, engenardent, self-willed inind, at one time dered by a diseased, and confirmed by capable of the loftiest flights of vir- an unsocial intellect. Amid passages, tue ; at another, equal to the most however, of such doubtful (to say the contemptible misdeeds. What can be least of them) sensibility, it is demore inconsistent than the candor lightful to catch now and then glimpses that could afford to acknowledge that, of another and a nobler nature. It is in order to avoid punishment, it false- like the bursting in of sudden sunly accused a poor, unfriended maiden shine upon November's gloom. Of of theft, and the meanness that could such a redeeming character is Rousstoop to act so? But, from first to seau's account of the periwinkle, last, Rousseau was the child of ca- which by accident he picked up in one price: his actions were all impulses of his Alpine botanical excursions. they could never be relied on.
His simple exclamation of delight at With regard to the literary excel- the recognition, “ Ah, voilà la perlence of his Confessions, it is lavish venche !" goes deeper to the heart and splendid in the extreme. Each than a thousand elaborate homilies. chapter abounds (as suits occasion) It was not the mere flower itself, but the in passages of unaffected simplicity, associations thereby engendered, that of glowing declamation, of energetic filled the philosopher's eyes with scorn, and sweet descriptive beauty tears, as be pressed it with fervor to In proof of this, we may adduce his lips. Eight and thirty years beRousseau's account of his first intro- fore, while rambling with Madame de duction to Madame de Houdetot-of Warrens through the same neighborhis solitary walk every morning, to bood, he had gathered that very flowsteal one kiss from this idol of his en- er. Time had nearly effaced the cirthusiasm-of his proud expectations cumstance from bis mind-age had -unwearied attachment, which nei- crept over him—the object of his un. ther absence on his own part, nor in- ceasing attachment had been long since difference on that of his mistress, consigned to earth; but here was could extinguish—and of his subse- a talisman to recal the past ; this little quently blighted hopes. Nor is that simple mountain-plant bore about passage to be forgotten wherein he with it a magic power that could roll describes his ecstatic feeling of enjoy- back the wheels of time, and array a ment, while sailing about at evening haggard soul in the same sweet freshin his boat, far away from the sight of ness which it wore in the morning of the human countenance, and surround- existence. As regards the pervading ed only by the grandest forms of na- spirit of the Confessions, it is a work ture—the towering mountain-the which sets out in a pensive vein of shrubless crag, the soft, Juxuriant reflection, and terminates in the darkmeadow, through whose daisied herb- est, the fiercest misanthropy. Yet, age wound a hundred silver rivulets, whether for good or evil-whether to sparkling in the red sunset, and la ps- sear with scorn, or melt with tendering on their course in music and in ness—the spirit of a mighty genius happiness. Yet the whole passage- moves along each page, free, undisbeautiful as it undoubtedly is, and guised, and unchartered as the wind. conceived in the rapt fervor of poetic Indeed, had Rousseau shown but half inspiration-is false to nature, and as much talent in palliating misery as equivocal in sentiment. It is in di- he has shown in forestalling and agrect contradiction to the experience gravating it, he would have been the of ages-surely entitled to some little greatest man that ever existed. But baneful as is the character of his pro- for vice, that it adapts itself to the ductions, they inculcate the Confes- taste of the day ; nevertheless, every sions more especially-an impressive, man is more or less fashioned by the but unconscious moral. They con- age in which he lives-few having, vince the unformed, wavering mind, like our dirne, unsullied Milton, the that true happiness is only to be found fortitude to precede it ;-and if the where it holds in respect the social gross immoralities of Beaumont and and the moral duties; that sensibility, Fletcher, and still worse, of Conwithout principle, is like the tower greve, Vanburgh, and Farquhar, are built by the fool upon the sands, excused from consideration of the pewhich the very first wave swept into riod in which they flourished, sureannihilation; and that every depar- ly the same extenuating principle ture from reason is a departure from may with justice be applied to enjoyment, even though companioned Rousseau ? In addition to this, it by supreme abilities.
must not be forgotten that his sentiHaving thus discussed impartially ments, however revolting they may the character of Rousseau's chief appear to Englishmen, were, literally works, it remains, as some slight apo- speaking, the received opinions of his logy for their obliquities, to say a few country. They grew out of a courtwords respecting the age in which he ly system of fashion which visited only flourished. He wrote at a period with condemnation an uncouth person, when the French mind, drugged with bad address, churlish temper, or a long course of anodyne literature, clownish dialect. At such a demoralmade up from prescriptions unchanged ized period—the necessary precursor through a tedious succession of ages, of a revolution which should clear the was eagerly prepared to receive any polluted atmosphere-a man of first alterative that might exhilarate its in- rate ability, a pander to the elegant tellectual constitution. Previous to sensuality of the age (which, accord his time, France was trammelled by ing to Burke, lost “ balf its danger in Aristotelian regulations, which, whe- losing all its grossness”), and an unther for the drama, the closet, or the flinching philosopher of the new senate, prescribed one uniform style school, was not likely to pass unnoticof composition-correct, but cold- ed. Rousseau felt this, wrote acpolished, but insipid ; founded essen- cordingly, and rendered himself imtially on the imitative, and deprecat- mortal and a wretch. The secret of ing—as was the case with the Augus- his success he has hijnself explained tan age in England, which derived its in a published conversation with mental character from the French Burke, wherein he observes, that court-any departure from the old es- finding the old vehicle of literature was tablished classics of Greece and crazy and worn out, he took upon himRome as downright unadulterated he- self the task of renewing the springs, resy. Voltaire was the first to break repainting the panels, and gilding the through the ice of this formality : he whole machine afresh. In other threw a vivifying power into litera- words, he resolved to extend the pature, which sparkled with a thousand thetic, deepen the unsocial, and percoruscations, and drew forth the dor- vert what little was left, of moral and mant energies of others. Rousseau religious sensibility among his counwas one of the master-spirits thus trymen. In this he too happily sucwarmed into life : his predecessor, by ceeded; but what were the penalties his novel and brilliant paradoxes, had he paid for such success? The antriumphantly led the way; France swer is tremendous ! A shipwrecked was henceforth prepared to be aston- character-a broken heart-a brilliant ished-overwhelmed-electrified; and but unenviable immortality. Rousseau answered every expectation. One word more. Rousseau bas This, perhaps, is but a poor apology been frequently styled the champion,
the apostle of freedom. Mr. Hazlitt, the borrowed robes of sentiment, in particular, who in his clouded mo- must be permitted to interfere with, or ments has much of his manner, has influence his opinions. His mind thus loved to designate him. This is must tower above the ordinary level of certainly a saying clause, with nothing mankind, as much in conduct as in to disturb its effect but the circum- intellect. It is not enough that he stance of its utter falsity. The phi- possess the ability to discuss ; he losopher's independence, like his sen- must add the heart to feel and the timent, was purely a factitious feeling. disposition to practise, the mighty It was not the healthy, progressive principle in its minutest as well as in growth of reason, but the forced pro- its most comprehensive sense ; for by duction of sophistry. It could stoop the union of worth and genius alone to be the slave of the most effeminate, either of which, when disjoined, is demoralizing vices, and—to adopt a useless—is the world's conviction ensportsman's phrase—was begot by Ir- sured. Milton, whose ethics were so ritability out of Selfishness and Ego- sublime, whose daily habits were so tism. Far different is the nature of stainless, spoke from the heart when the true apostle of liberty. The ma- he declared himself the sworn foe to terials of his magnanimity originate despotism; the Tell of private life with himself; they are beams reflect- gave abundant evidence of the public ed from the sunny purity of his own patriot; the moral influence of Washheart, and are mixed up with, and ington as a dictator, was the necessagive a tone and coloring to, his most ry consequence of his worth as a man : trilling actions. To be the true as- but Rousseau, though he fled from serter of public freedom, the man clime to clime the fancied martyr to himself must be free. No unworthy his virtue and his independence, wrote suspicions, no rash misanthropy, no only from the promptings of an exprurient fancies, no truckling to sensu- cited, a distrustful, and a dissatisfied ality, simply because it is clothed in mind.
TO A LADY, ON THE DEATH OF HER SON.*
BY BERNARD BARTON. The world, the heartless world, may deem What soothing thoughts must yield relief, But lightly of a loss like thine,
And fan a purer, holier flame! And think it a romantic dream
Whatever plans thy heart might frame, For such an one in grief to pine :
Had he survived thee, for his sake, A gentler creed, my friend, is mine, Could others have fulfill'd each aim,
Knowing wbat human hearts can bear, Or effort, love like thine would make ? And how a Mother's must enshrine The object of its love and care.
A Mother's heart, and hand, and eye,
Alone could do as thine have done, For was he not, though on him fell And unremittingly supply
A cloud that wrapt his soul in night, The wants and claims of such a Son: The tenderest tie, the strongest spell, But now thy love its meed bath won,
That could thy heart to earth unite ? Thy fond solicitude may cease ;
His race of life is safely run,
And who ma'y tell how bright the ray
Of light and life from Heaven may fall · But wben the bitterness of grief
On minds which, in their mortal clay, Hath been allowed its sacred claim, Seem'd bound in dark Afiction's thrall ?
* The unfortunate subject of these verses had lived, or existed, from childhood to manhood, in a state of most pitiable mental and bodily infirmity. To some the death of such a sufferer may seem to claim little sympathy. But the heart of a mother is naturally bound up in that of her child, especially an only one; and no common void must be caused by the removal of such an object of years of anxious solicitude.
47 ATHENEUM, vol. 1, 3d series.
Think not that He who governs all,
To suffer helpless, hopeless woe. With humble hope to Him entrust
a Thy mourn'd one; in strong faith that He
can call forth from his slumbering dust
A Spirit from all frailties free;
Hereafter to the joys of Heaven.
THE POPE'S PROMISE.
It was St. John's Eve : the summer open plains, and muttering imprecasun was sinking behind the distant tions against every fresh party of hills, while his last beams glittered on pleasure that passed his stall. the lofty spires and towers of Mar- His wife, a lovely dark-eyed young cerata, one of the oldest towns in Ita- woman, was earnestly engaged in bindly, and formerly the metropolis of An- ing the fellow shoe to that which Ariano cona. The uncommon beauty of the held half finished in his hand; and she evening had tempted forth most of its beguiled the lingering hours by singing, younger inhabitants, who were seen in in a sweet voice, an old ditty, to detached groups along the high road, amuse the infant that smiled upon her or in the fields, enjoying the fresh air. knee ; while from under her long dark The wealthier females rode forth, at- eyelashes she watched the perturbed tended by cavaliers well dressed and countenance of her husband. As the gallantly mounted, while the happier sun gradually declined in the horizon, peasants were dancing on the level Pietro's patience sank with it, and beplains without the town, to the merryfore the glorious luminary had totally notes of the pipe and tabor. The disappeared, its last remaining spark streets were deserted, the sounds of was utterly extinguished ; and, casting labor had ceased, and the voice of joy down his implements of labor, he exalone mingled with the chiming of the claimed, in a hasty tone-"Now, by convent bells, wbich announced the the mass ! not another stitch will I set hour of evening prayer. Yet Pietro in slipper or shoe to-night were it to Ariano was still hard at work at his please the Pope !-Ha! 'tis a beautistall-Pietro, who was reckoned the ful evening ; and the merry tinkling of best singer and the best dancer in that guitar has called forth all my Marcerata, and who was withal, though dancing wishes, and my legs, in idea, only a poor shoemaker, as handsome have been in motion for the last two and as well grown a young man as any hours. What say you, my pretty litin the Pope's dominions.
tle Francesca,” he continued, unconPietro's little domicile stood just sciously assuming a gayer tone, and without the town, by the road side, slapping his wife briskly on the shouland his stall fronted a long low lattic- der, “ will you put your boy to bed, ed window that commanded a fine and join with me the merry group yonview of the adjacent country, and with- der ?”. in the shade of which the young fol. The young woman shook her head, lower of St. Crispin was seated, busi- and looked up into his face with an ly plying his awl. His present fit of arch smile_“No, no, Pietro ! not industry appeared more like an act of till you have performed the promise imperative duty than choice : his bent you made to the handsome young fribrow expressed both impatience and ar last night."-Ariano sullenly refatigue, and he flung his various im- sumed his work. plements from side to side with a sul- “Ay, keep my promise, forsooth, len and dissatisfied air, glancing wist- and be repaid by promises for my lafully from time to time towards the bor! Oh, these monks are liberal patrons, who are too spiritual to attend to “ You are very profane to-night, any temporal wants but their own. Pietro, and speak more like a swag. To convert neats' leather into shoes gering man-at-arms than a poor artiand sandals, for their accommodation, zan. Besides, I am sure the band. is as difficult a task as bringing over some young padre is no hypocrite. I so many Turks and heretics to the never saw such a bright eye glance true faith ; and they are more nice to from beneath a monk's cowl.” fit withal, than the vainest damsel that « Ha! art thou again thinking of ever sported a smart foot and ankle. him, Francesca ? He is a stranger in They live on the general contributions Marcerata, but I warrant him a very of the public, and take good care to wolf in lamb's clothing.” want for nothing that can be obtained The color mounted to Francesca's by way of extortion. O, 'tis a dainty brow, and she called out in a hasty life!” he continued, plying his awl, voice,"Stint in thy foolish prate, in despite of his recent vow, with in- Pietro ! the young friar is even now creasing energy, whilst inveighing before us !” against his principal employers, a rich Ariano was utterly confounded when community of Franciscan monks, who he beheld the padre leaning against belonged to the noble monastery whose the stall; and he felt not a doubt that august towers formed the leading fea- the stranger had heard the whole of ture in the beautiful landscape before his intemperate conversation with his him, “O, 'tis a dainty life! whose very wife : nor was he wrong in his conjecmotto is laziness. They are the ture. The handsome young inan, hooded locusts that devour the sub- whose noble deportment and graceful stance of the land, and receive a pa- figure set off his monastic habit, and tent from the Pope, heaven bless him! whose bright, laughter-loving dark to live in idleness. Would that my eyes ill accorded with a monk's cowl, father had made me a member of this had been for some time a silent specholy community, instead of binding tator of the scene. Felix Peretti was me to his own unprofitable trade!” highly amused with the abuse that
“ If that had been the case, Pietro, Ariano had so uncereinoniously levelI should never have shared your po- led against his holy order, for which verty and your labors,” said Frances- he felt little respect himself, and as a ca, with a glance of reproachful ten- child of fortune, from his youth upderness.
wards, considered only as a step to“Il Diavolo !” exclaimed Pietro, wards further advancement. laughing; “you would have been much “How now, Signor Scarpettáro! is better off. A monk's mistress, let me it your ordinary custom to close the tell you, ever carries her head higher labors of the day by abusing your betthan an honest man's wife.”
ters? Are the shoes which you pro« Hush ! hush! Pietro, is it right mised should be completed for my for a Christian man to utter such im- journey to Loretto, finished ?" pious invectives against these holy “No," returned Pietro; “they yet monks ?”
want a full hour's work for their com“Now, by all the saints and angels pletion, and I have just made a vow ' whom they pretend to worship!” re- never to pursue my handicraft by canturned Ariano, “if I live and Aourish, dle-light to please any man. So you the boy you hold upor. your knee shall must e’en perform the journey, revebe one of these sleek bypocrites. Who rend padre, as many better and holier knows what preferment he may arrive men have done before you, barefootat? Several bishops have risen from ed.” no higher origin. Ha! what say you “Do you make it a point of conto that, my little advocate for celiba- science, Ariano, to fulfil one promise cy? Have I not well provided for by breaking another? I cannot comyour son ?"
mence a long and fatiguing pilgrimage