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O Pan, great Pan, thou art not dead,
Nor dost thou haunt that weedy place, Tho' blowing winds hear not thy tread,
And silver runlets miss thy face;
Where deep glens murmur, thou art dumb,
I feel thee go and come!
Over the City falls the snow,
I see a Shade flit to and fro;
It parts, an ancient Face flits by,
With a thin human cry.
An old, old Face, with dull, dumb stare;
In the street-walker's dripping hair; Thy ragged woe from street to street
Goes mist-like, constant day and night; But often, where the black waves beat, Thou hast a smile most strangely sweet
For honest hearts and light! Where'er thy shadowy vestments fly
There comes across the waves of strife, Across the souls of all close by,
The gleam of some forgotten life: There is a sense of waters clear,
A scent like flowers in forest nooks;
Murmur like running brooks.
Look in each other and are wet-
Alike are full of tender fret; And then the noble and the base
Raise common glances to the sky;
Thrills thy thin human cry!
Now all the other gods are fled ?
When all the sages deem thee dead ? Or, if thou yet wilt live and dream,
Why leave the vales of harvest fairWhy quit the glades of wood and streamAnd haunt the streets with eyes that gleam Thro' white and holy hair ?
[From St. Paul's. FRENCH NOVELISTS.
FRANCOIS RÉNÉ DE CHATEAUBRIAND the great Napoleon feared; that he flung is a literary celebrity about whom it is dif- money away like a prodigal millionaire one ficult to form an opinion. At one mo- day, and was a pauper the next—it will ment we think him effeminate and affected; be plain that we are looking upon a charat another, we fancy that no one has yet acter sufficiently extroardinary to be intergiven him his due position. He is an im- esting. posing character, and yet incomplete. He Chateaubriand was born in Brittany, is poetic, and yet not “ of imagination all that region of bigotry and old fashions. compact," as all lunatics, lovers, and poets St. Malo has the honor of being his birthought to be. He is not a manly hero, in place, and he first saw the light on the 4th any Shakspearian sense; he is full of weak- September, 1768. Frenchmen always renesses, and in the delicate elegance of member most accurately the localities those weaknesses lies his strength. He where their celebrities are born, and so is a writer-passionately enough too--on give an air of romance, or a touch of intererotic subjects, but retains perfect dignity est, to most of their towns. Twenty days all the while; and is as far removed from before Chateaubriand's birth, Napoleon had the ordinary French novelists who write of stepped in to the world. We can't fancy love with paraffine, or distilled nitrogly- the latter appearing as a puling infant, but cerine, or liquid fire instead of ink, as the imagine the tramp of a military heel as “ wild nun," of whom Mr. Swinburne he came into the midst of men. But even treats, is different from a ballet-dancer. man-taming men are insignificant at one " As the cross that a wild nun clasps till period of their lives, and dignified men the edge of it bruises her bosom,” so was undignified. Chateaubriand, for instance, Chateaubriand's love. His nature was es- had all the majestic bearing of the old arissentially that of a recluse, and he hugged tocratic régime; but he began life with his passion to his heart till it scorched him some importune haste and unexpectedness like a brand. Then in solitude he dream- in a kitchen, his mother being on her way ed over it till he fell into utter depths of upstairs from a walk. There was a temdespair. Finally he contemplated this de- pest of the autumnal equinox on that day. spair of his from every possible point of The sound of the storm prevented the inview, and described it all with perfection fant's cries from being heard, on which acof language. Besides being the delineator count, if it had been able to think at all at of love-sentiments, Chateaubriand writes a the time, it would probably have found the huge tome on the Christian religion; and world as inexplicable a puzzle then as in in addition to being a preacher of Chris- life afterward proved to the man. The tianity, he has long been to France the child was brought up in a gloomy castle, prophet of morbidness and the apostle of on the borders of the sea; and the melanennui. This strange mortal also, with a choly murmurs of the Channel were about methodical array of proof which makes us his early years. They seemed to be wovalmost believe in him, and a feminine jeal- en into his life, and the restless waves form ousy which prevents us from believing in no inadequate type of his mental condition him altogether, claims, as a poetic influ- -unquiet, unsatisfied, “full of tears that ence, to have been the forerunner-nay, he could not shed,” as he ever was. He even the father of Byron. When we add took these breakers, himself, as an emblem to these already sufficiently curious qualifi- of his life ; and when mature in years, he cations, the fact that during his chequered was wont to say that there had not been a existence he fought the fiend, poverty, in day when he failed to revisit in dream the London, doing translations from the French austere rock whereon he was born, the for very scanty pay; that he was also a tempest whose roar was about his earliest peer of France; that an English girl pro- sleep. Other causes that acted upon his posed marriage to him, and that he escap- childhood tended to make him what he ed with precipitation; that in Paris he is was. A frail child, elegant by instinct, and stated to have been the only man whom fastidious by constitution, he was put out to nurse in St. Malo, and for some years red woodpeckers, Chateaubriand might well enjoyed little society, infantine or otherwise, smile when he thought of that old French save that of the small gamins of the place, bird Philomèle, on which we live excluthe associates of the children of the nurse. sively, ever since the mythologic era.” His father was morose, cold, and proud, a From travel in such regions of the New man who inspired fear and no love; his World, Chateaubriand gained a certain apmother is described as lively, but she was proach to nature and to real life which the of the French kind of liveliness, and found old school of pedantry and classicism could equal pleasure in frivolous society and the not have opened to him. But the new devotions of the Church. When they met bright-colored garment never sat very well for dinner in his father's house, no one was on the old-fangled dignity and tradition. allowed to speak a word. Then the mas- Still his “happy savages," with their simter of the house went out hunting, and Cha- ple passions; and his attempt to write natteaubriand's mother retired to her oratory. urally, recommended him to those who The children had their books, or could might not otherwise have been drawn to play near the house till supper time. Then, him. Béranger, who disliked all borrowafter supper, the mother and children ing from the ancients, and looked upon stood immovable and mute, watching the “consul” and “prefect” as worn-out, obsofather make a promenade, backwards and lete titles, that no one had wit enough to forwards, always grave and taciturn, until replace by new and suitable ones, was deten o'clock, in the great hall. Directly lighted to find a man who, when he wantthe clock struck, he stopped his melan- ed to speak of the sun, would speak of the choly march, received icily his family's sun and not of Phæbus; of the sea as the good-night, and retired; when all the rest sea, and not as Neptune. Chateaubriand, must do the same.
nevertheless, never reached true simplicity. This rigid gaoler of the domestic prison He has been styled a historic coin with the died when Chateaubriand was about eigh- effigy of a by-gone age. In vain do modteen, and at the Military Academy at Cam- ern manners, literary habits, all the prebrai. After this event the youth went to cipitations of the new world, strive to covParis. On one occasion, in 1789, his er the ancient type. sword was unsheathed against the mob; Chateaubriand soon returned from his but alarmed by the popular excesses, he American wanderings, reaching France quitted the service on the occasion of the early in 1792. “Atala,” which was not revolt.
published until some years after, was the Chateaubriand remained in Paris all that result of his sojourn abroad. The publistrange time before the revolution, but he cation of this manuscript produced quite a belonged to no party. The aristocracy, furore. We must remember that at that feeling the approach of their end, rushed time scarcely any graphic pen had been headlong into luxurious vice. Chateaubri- brought to bear upon life in the wilds of and was cold and grave, and though he America. Cooper had not appeared as dined with them, was not of them; and he the pioneer of Western romance; so Chadid not belong to the people. Perhaps all teaubriand had a new field to himself. he cared for at this time—he was only “Atala," apart from its Indian accessotwenty-was the applause which the small ries, is composed of about equal parts of fry of literature bestowed upon his puerile mystic Catholicism and passionate love. verses. Had he been a few years older he The love is never gratified: the Catholiwould have seen what was going on. cism is. At least the priests seem to have
When the Revolution came, he escap- it all their own way in the end; and Atala, ed from Paris. The nobility went to Co- who had loved so intensely, and had poiblentz: Chateaubriand departed for the soned herself in terror of breaking the vow United States.
of virginity which her mother had imposed The New World opened his eyes. upon her, undergoes a most ecstatic cele“Only figure to yourself," says a French bration with the wafer and holy oil. The biographer, “the astonishment of a liter- scenes of this book are most sentimentally ary man of the 18th century, at sight sad; perhaps in this rational age they of that strange gigantic Nature, full of would not affect us with so deep a sense life, gracefully terrible.
Dropped of solemnity and reality as they inspired in among blue herons, rose-colored flamingoes, those who were more subject to the influence of the spirit of the devotee. We These comparisons are, at least, foolish, feel a certain sense of narrowness in con- for Milton and Byron may chance to outtemplating these scenes; we seem still to live Chateaubriand. The work of Chasee in them the gloomy shore that was the teaubriand's in which the largest reference birth-place of our Breton gentleman. We is made to Byron is the “ Sketches of Engdo not see the broad world, or any Shak- lish Literature,” a book written by him spearian grandeur. The emotion is in- somewhat late in life. In the memoirs of tense, but circumscribed. But we must his younger days, he mentions him too. remember that Chateaubriand despised Chateaubriand was at one time, soon after Shakspeare, who took his characters from his return from America, a resident in such low places as taverns, and made them England. He was in poor circumstances, talk sometimes only like men. Chateau- and was glad to make a scanty income by briand praises Voltaire for retracting his translations from the French, and any litpraise of Shakspeare, and speaks of him as erary work that might turn up. At this repenting for having " opened the door to time he speaks of himself as having been mediocrity, deified the drunken savage, corporeally very close to Byron : "In his and placed the monster on the altar.” melancholy rambles he was seen passing “Hamlet” Chateaubriand called " that through the village of Harrow at the time tragedy of lunatics.” In return, it has when the lively face and curly head of been pertinently asked, what would Shak- a boy-Lord Byron-frequently appeared speare have called “ Moïse,” that tragedy at the window of a school." Whether the of Chateaubriand's.
curly-headed boy was actually seen by the Chateaubriand is rather fond of dispar- impecunious French exile, or not, does not aging great men; he considers himself
, as matter much : it may be interesting, howwe have said, the poetic father of Byron, ever, to note what claim the Frenchman and certainly brings forward some singular prefers against that naughty English boy. coincidences between their writings. By- Chateaubriand first draws a parallel beron, on the other hand, whether conscious tween Byron and himself: “I was desof this jealousy or not, evidently does not tined to precede him in the career of letseek to exalt Chateaubriand. He rather ters, and to remain in it after him. He speaks of him slightingly, as when, in had been brought up on the heaths of “The Age of Bronze," referring to the in- Scotland, on the sea-shore, as I had been congruous Congress, he says,
on the heaths of Brittany, on the sea-shore.
He was at first fond of the Bible and Os“There Chateaubriand forms new books of Mar- sian, as I was fond of them. He sang, tyrs;
in Newstead Abbey, the recollections of And subtle Greeks intrigue for stupid Tartars."
childhood, as I sang them in the Castle of In his notes to this poem, Byron, too, Courbourg." Personal as well as literabrings in an anecdote most disrespectful ry coincidences, it will be observed, are for a son to quote against his reputed liter- brought forward by our injured Chateauary papa : “ Monsieur Chateaubriand, who briand. The next of these which he brings has not forgotten the author in the minis- before our notice is, that Byron and himter, received a handsome compliment at self—the former in 1807, the latter seven Verona from a literary sovereign : 'Ah! or eight years earlier-both sat under the Monsieur C- are you related to that self-same elm-tree in Harrow church-yard, Chateaubriand who-who-has written to meditate or make verses.
“ Hail ansomething?' (écrit quelque chose!) It is cient elm of dreams," says Chateaubriand, said that the author of "Atala' repented "at the foot of which Byron, as a boy, inhim for a moment of his legitimacy. dulged the caprices of his age, at the time
With Milton, also, Chateaubriand com- when I was pondering on · Rene' in the pares himself: "Milton served Cromwell; shade, in that same shade to which the I have combated Napoleon : he attacked poet subsequently repaired, in turn, to kings; I have defended them : he hoped ponder on Childe Harold.” Chateaunothing from their pardon; I have not briand then proceeds with his comparison, reckoned upon their gratitude. Now that as follows: “Some interest will perhaps in both our countries monarchy is declin- be felt on remarking in future—if I am ing towards its end, Milton and I have no destined to have any future—the coincimore political questions to squabble about.” dence presented by the two leaders of the
new French and English schools, having lon taught me what had happened to one and the same fund of ideas, and des- Corinth.” So far Chateaubriand's descriptinies, if not manners, nearly similar; the tion, as extracted from his book. “Now," one a peer of England, the other a peer of says he, triumphantly, “ turn to the fourth France; both travelers in the East, at no canto of Lord Byron's Childe Harold !'” great distance of time from each other, but we turn to stanza 44, and read as folwho never met. The only difference is, lows: that the life of the English poet was not “Wandering in youth, I traced the path of him, mixed up with such great events as mine." The Roman friend of Rome's least mortal From a man possessed of such bad taste
The friend of Tully: as my bark did skim and morbid contemplation of self as to in
The bright blue waters with a fanning wind, clude himself in such a comparison as this, Came Megara before me, and behind it is easy to understand that Byron, if he Ægina lay, Piræus on the right, fell under his influence, might have acquir
Ånd Corinth on the left; I lay reclined ed much of his own melancholy egotism.
Along the prow, and saw all these unite
In ruin, even as he had seen the desolate But Byron never descended to such puer- sight." ilities as this coincidence-making of Cha- Those who compare this stanza with teaubriand's. The former may have had the passage in prose above quoted will be unhealthy cravings for present and future able to judge whether Byron is to be deemfame, personal affectations, and self-de- ed debtor to Chateaubriand, or not. We vouring introspection, but at least he did offer, as a suggestion, that Chateaubriand not display them in so childish a fashion and Byron dipped into the same “Muras Chateaubriand. When he comes to ray," supposing there existed sixty years treat of coincidences purely literary be- ago such a guide-book to Greece. Chatween himself and Byron the Frenchman teaubriand, however, does not take this becomes more precise. “Lord Byron,” he view of the matter, but enters upon a says, “ went to visit after me the ruins of small rhapsody thereupon, wherein is most Greece. In • Childe Harold' he seems to delicately insinuated the suspicious circumembellish with his own colors the descrip- stance of two persons having made use of tions of my' Travels.' At the commence the same words on the same subject. He ment of my pilgrimage I introduced the says, with some pedantry: “Here the farewell of Sire de Joinville to his castle : English poet, as well as the French proseByron, in like manner, bids adieu to his writer, falls short of the letter of Sulpicius Gothic habitation."
“ In the to Cicero; but so complete a coincidence • Martyrs' Eudorus sets out from Messenia is singularly glorious for me, since I preto proceed to Rome. Our voyage,' he ceded the immortal bard on the shore says, was long. We saw all those prom- where the same reflections occurred to ontories marked by temples or tombs. both, and where we both have commem
We crossed the Gulf of Megara. orated the same ruins." Byron has had Before us was Ægina, on the right the sufficient detractors of late; but as ChaPiræus, on the left Corinth. Those cities, teaubriand makes it evident that he himof old so flourishing, exhibited only heaps self is the inferior man, (for would Byron of ruins. The very sailors appeared to be have condescended to such affected selfmoved by this sight. The crowd collect- measurement ?) there is no harm in coned upon the deck kept silence : each fixed tinuing the comparison, and listening to his eye steadfastly on those ruins : each the pretended plagiarisms. Chateaubriand perhaps drew from them in secret a con- proceeds : "I have likewise the honor of solation in his misfortunes by reflecting agreeing with Lord Byron in the descriphow trifling are our own afflictions com- tion of Rome. The Martyrs,' and my pared with those calamities which befall 'Letter on the Campagna' of Rome, whole nations, and which had stretched claim for me the inestimable advantage of before our eyes the corpses of those cities. having anticipated the inspirations of a
My young companions had never great genius. M. de Béranger, our imheard of any metamorphoses other than mortal
song-writer, has inserted in the last those of Jupiter, and could not account for volume of his Chansons' a note, too the ruins before their eyes. I, for my part, flattering to me to be quoted entire. In had already seated myself with the prophet adverting to the impulse which, according on the ruins of desolate cities, and Baby- to him, I have given to French poetry, he