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at the least success, and if it lasts any time, they are on the rack. We are right glad, at the bottom of our hearts, when a man of merit happens to die ; it is one rival the fewer: the provoking noise made about him prevented our hearing that of the fools and the croaking concert of mediocrities. We hasten to pack up the celebrated defunct in two or three newspaper articles; we then cease to mention him; we never more open his works; we solder up his fame in his books as we do his body in his coffin, despatching the whole to eternity through the medium of time and death.
Now-a-days, every thing grows old in a few hours: a reputation fades, a work passes away in a moment. Poetry has the same fate as music: its voice, fresh at dawn, is harsh at sunset. Every one writes; nobody reads seriously.
A name uttered three times annoys one.
Where are those illustrious men, who on awaking one morning, a few years since, declared that nothing had existed before them ; that they had discovered unknown heavens and an unknown earth; that they had determined by their genius to cover with contempt the pretended master-pieces till then so stupidly admired? Those who styled themselves Young France in 1830, where are they? Behold, here come the great men of 1835, who look upon these elders of 1830 as writers of merit in their day,
but now worn out, superannuated, obsolete. The sucklings will soon get into the arms of their nurse : they will laugh at the octogenarians of sixteen, at those ten thousand poets, at those fifty thousand prose-writers, who are now covering themselves with glory and melancholy, in every nook and corner of France. If by chance you do not perceive that such writers exist, they leave no means untried to attract the public notice. Another chimera! Even their last sigh passes unheard. What causes this delirium and these ravages? ? The absence of that counterpoise to human follies--Religion.
At the period in which we live, each lustrum is equivalent to a century; society dies and is renewed every ten years.
Farewell then to all long universally acknowledged glory. Whoever writes in the hope of a name sacrifices his life to the most silly as to the most vain of chimeras. Bonaparte will be the last marked existence of this ancient world which is passing away: nothing will again rise above the dead level of societies, the greatness of the individual will henceforth be merged in the greatness of the species.
Youth is all that is most beautiful and most generous; I feel myself powerfully drawn towards it, as to the source of my ancient life; I wish it success and prosperity : for this reason
I make a point of not flattering it. In the false tracks in which it is straying, it will find as a final result nought but disappointinent and disgust. I know that at the present day it lacks a career to pursue, that it is struggling amidst an obscure society; hence those brilliant coruscations of talent, which suddenly break through the darkness, and expire: but long and laborious studies, prosecuted in solitude and silence, would well employ the time, and would be more worth than a multitude of verses too rapidly composed, too soon forgotten.
I cannot conclude this chapter without being assailed by remorse and doubts - remorse, for having ventured to assert that Dante, Shakspeare, Tasso, Camoens, Schiller, Milton, Racine, Bossuet, Corneille, and some others, cannot live universally like Virgil and Homer; doubts for having thought that the time for universal individualities is past.
Why should I strive to deprive man of the feeling of infinity, without which he would accomplish nothing, and never reach the height that he is capable of attaining! If I find not in myself the faculty of existing, why should not my neighbours find it in themselves ? Has not a little dissatisfaction with my own nature caused me to judge in too absolute a manner of the possible faculties of others? Well then, let us restore every thing to its first state : let us give back to the talents born or to be born the hope of a glorious perpetuity, which some writers of the present day, male and female, may justly cherish : let them advance then to universal fame; I shall be delighted. Left behind on the road, I shall not complain, and above all, I shall have nothing to regret :
WILLIAM AND MARY. QUEEN ANNE.
The invasion of French taste, begun in the reign of Charles II., was completed under William and Queen Anne. The great aristocracy, which was raising itself up, assumed the noble and imposing character of the great monarchy, its neighbour and its rival. English literature, till then almost unknown in France, crossed the Strait. Addison saw Boileau in 1701, and presented him with a copy of his Latin poems. Voltaire, obliged to seek refuge in England, on account of his quarrel with the Chevalier de Rohan-Chabot, dedicated the “ Henriade” to Queen Anne, and spoiled his genius by the philosophic ideas of Collins, Chubb, Tindal, Wolston, Toland, and Bolingbroke. He made us acquainted with Shakspeare, Milton, Dryden, Shaftesbury, Swift, and exhibited them to France as men of a new species, discovered by him