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affair with the "Floridiennes," Chateaubriand shows the way to a long series of exotic lovers.

I said to my heart between sleeping and waking,
Thou wild thing that always art leaping or aching,
What black, brown or fair, in what clime, in what nation,

By turns has not taught thee a pit-a-pat-ation? These lines are so plainly meant for Pierre Loti that one learns with surprise that they were written about 1724 by the Earl of Peterborough.'

Byron's Don Juan is at times exotic in his tastes, but, as I have said, he is not on the whole very nympholeptic - much less so than the Don Juan of Alfred de Musset, for example. Musset indeed suggests in many respects a less masculine Byron - Mademoiselle Byron as he has been called. In one whole side of his art as well as his treatment of love he simply continues like Byron the eighteenth century. But far more than Byron he aspires to ideal and absolute passion; so that the Musset of the “Nuits” is rightly regarded as one of the supreme embodiments, and at the same time the chief martyr, of the romantic religion of love. The outcome of his affair with George Sand may symbolize fitly the wrecking of thousands of more obscure lives by this mortal chimera. Musset and George Sand sought to come together, yet what they each sought in love is what the original genius seeks in all things – self-expression. What Musset saw in George Sand was not the real woman but only his own dream. But George Sand was not content thus to reflect back passively to Musset his ideal. She was rather a Galatea whose ambition it was to create her own Pygmalion. “Your chimera is between us," Musset

· See Scott's (2d) edition of Swift, XIII, 310.

exclaims; but his chimera was between them too. The more Titan and Titaness try to meet, the more each is driven back into the solitude of his own ego. They were in love with love rather than with one another: and to be thus in love with love means on the last analysis to be in love with one's own emotions. “To love,” says Musset, “is the great point. What matters the mistress? What matters the flagon provided one have the intoxication?”i He then proceeds to carry a love of this quality up into the presence of God and to present it to him as his justification for having lived. The art of speaking in tones of religious consecration of what is in its essence egoistic has never been carried further than by the Rousseauistic romanticist. God is always appearing at the most unexpected moments. The highest of which man is capable apparently is to put an uncurbed imagination into the service of an emancipated temperament. The credo that Perdican recites at the end of the second act of "On ne badine pas avec l'Amour” 3 throws light on this point. Men and women according to this credo are filled with

1 Aimer c'est le grand point. Qu'importe la maîtresse?

Qu'importe le flacon pourvu qu'on ait l'ivresse? * It has been said that in the novels of George Sand when a lady wishes to change her lover God is always there to facilitate the transfer.

8 "Tous les hommes sont menteurs, inconstants, faux, bavards, hypocrites, orgueilleux ou lâches, méprisables et sensuels; toutes les femmes sont perfides, artificieuses, vaniteuses, curieuses et dépravées; le monde n'est qu'un égout sans fond où les phoques les plus informes rampent et se tordent sur des montagnes de fange; mais il y a au monde une chose sainte et sublime, c'est l'union de deux de ces êtres si imparfaits et si affreux. On est souvent trompé en amour; souvent blessé et souvent malheureus, mais on aime et quand on est sur le bord de sa tombe, on se retourne pour. regarder en arrière, et on se dit: J'ai souffert souvent, je me suis trompó quelquefois, mais j'ai aimé. C'est moi qui ai vécu, et non pas un être factice créé par mon orgueil et mon ennui." (The last sentence is taken from a letter of George Sand to Musset.) On ne badine pas avec l'Amour, п, б.


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every manner of vileness, yet there is something “sacred and sublime," and that is the union of two of these despicable beings.

The confusion of ethical values here is so palpable as scarcely to call for comment. It is precisely when men and women set out to love with this degree of imaginative and emotional unrestraint that they come to deserve all the opprobrious epithets Musset heaps upon them. This radiant apotheosis of love and the quagmire in which it actually lands one is, as I have said, the whole subject of “Madame Bovary.” I shall need to return to this particular disproportion between the ideal and the real when I take up the subject of romantic melancholy.

The romantic lover who identifies the ideal with the superlative thrill is turning the ideal into something very transitory. If the summum bonum is as Browning avers the "kiss of one girl," the summum bonum is lost almost as soon as found. The beautiful moment may however be prolonged in revery. The romanticist may brood over it in the tower of ivory, and when thus enriched by being steeped in his temperament it may become more truly his own than it was in reality. “Objects make less impression upon me than my memory of them,” says Rousseau. He is indeed the great master of what has been termed the art of impassioned recollection. This art is far from being confined in its application to love, though it may perhaps be studied here to the best advantage. Rousseau, one should note, had very little intellectual memory, but an extraordinarily keen memory of images and sensations. He could not, as he tells us in the “Confessions,” learn anything by heart, but he could recall with perfect distinctness what he had eaten for breakfast about thirty years before. In general he recalls his past feelings with a clearness and detail that are perhaps more feminine than masculine. “He seems,” says Hazlitt, one of his chief disciples in the art of impassioned recollection, “to gather up the past moments of his being like drops of honey-dew to distil a precious liquor from them; his alternate pleasures and pains are the bead-roll that he tells over and piously worships; he makes a rosary of the flowers of hope and fancy that strewed his earliest years." 1 This highly


i developed emotional memory is closely associated with the special quality of the romantic imagination - its cult of Arcadian illusion and the wistful backward glance to the vanished paradise of childhood and youth when illusion was most spontaneous. “Let me still recall (these memories],” says Hazlitt, “that they may breathe fresh life into me, and that I may live that birthday of thought and romantic pleasure over again! Talk of the ideal! This is the only true ideal — the heavenly tints of Fancy reflected in the bubbles that float upon the spring-tide of human life.”2 Hazlitt converts criticism itself into an art of impassioned recollection. He loves to linger over the beautiful moments of his own literary life. The passing years have increased the richness of their temperamental refraction and bestowed upon them the "pathos of dis

' tance.” A good example is his account of the two years of his youth he spent in reading the “Confessions" and the “Nouvelle Héloise," and in shedding tears over them. “They were the happiest years of our life. We may well say of them, sweet is the dew of their memory and pleasant the balm of their recollection." 3

1 Table-Talk. On the Past and Future. · The Plain Speaker. On Reading Old Books. The Round Table. On the Character of Rousseau


Rousseau's own Arcadian memories are usually not of reading, like Hazlitt's, but of actual incidents, though he does not hesitate to alter these incidents freely, as in his account of his stay at Les Charmettes, and to accommodate them to his dream. He neglected the real Madame de Warens at the very time that he cherished his recollection of her because this recollection was the idealized image of his own youth. The yearning that he expresses at the

. beginning of his fragmentary Tenth Promenade, written only a few weeks before his death, is for this idyllic period rather than for an actual woman.' A happy memory, says Musset, repeating Rousseau, is perhaps more genuine than happiness itself. Possibly the three best known love poems of Lamartine, Musset, and Hugo respectively "Le Lac," "Souvenir,” and “La Tristesse d'Olympio," all hinge upon impassioned recollection and derive very directly from Rousseau. Lamartine in particular has caught in the “Le Lac" the very cadence of Rousseau's reveries. 2

Impassioned recollection may evidently be an abundant source of genuine poetry, though not, it must be insisted, of the highest poetry. The predominant role that * plays in Rousseau and many of his followers is simply a sign of an unduly dalliant imagination. Experience after all has other uses than to supply furnishings for the tower

1 "Aujourd'hui, jour de Pâques fleuries, il y a précisément cinquante ans de ma première connaissance avec Madame de Warens."

2 Even on his death-bed the hero of Browning's Confessions gives himself up to impassionated recollection:

How sad and bad and mad it was

But then, how it was sweet. In his Stances à Madame Lullin Voltaire is at least as poetical and nearer to normal experience:

Quel mortel s'est jamais flatté
D'un rendez-vous à l'agonie?

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