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shine, pretty demoiselles, benign harvest-homes where great golden harvest-moons shone over vineyards of Muscat grapes, and the merry vintagers danced to the airs of Wilhem. At times, beyond these gaieties, there strike the deep chords of a beautiful hymn full of trust and hope, rising into a soft diapason, filling the eyes with involuntary tears.
Perhaps in so short a compass no more speaking Christian regret was ever expressed than in those touching lines on the suicide of his two young friends, Lebras and Escousse. In a few brief words the poet soars into a magnificent pathos that is ablaze with the fires that burnt on the Mount of Olives. Sudden were the changes in him, for the piece that follows this is gay with the fiddle of The Fiddler of Meudon, like an allegro in a dead march. Long poems were tried, but elegies and eclogues, epics and Alexandrines were not his strong point. It was in those brief barbed Gelegenheitsgedichte that he excelled, the tiny fun of the tiny Bauern and Bäuerinnen of those wee Dutch genre-pictures, where on a bit of canvas, with a barrel, a beer-tankard, and three drunken peasants, Teniers and Adriaen Brouwer can evoke immortal scenes with the sunlight of immortal genius on them. His mood is as diverse and as deeplined as that of Murillo, who will gather a crowd of melon-munching beggar-urchins in a corner, lit up by sweet Andalusian sunshine, and then transport us to heaven to the great presence of his Immaculate Conception, with its pedestal of adoring seraphs. In both there is the master-hand, the distinct kinship of the beggar with the Mother of God. For, after all, is not the beggar of this world the king in the other?
Mention has been made in the early part of this paper of the Chansons Nouvelles et Dernières. There is scarcely a poem among the fifty-six that compose this collection that is not worth its weight in gold, without which France would not feel a loss that could be supplied by no other writer. The collection begins with a picture of the prisoner sitting at his fireside in La Force, 1829, marvelling at the sweet company which his fire keeps him through the rigors of the winter, chatting with his bon Génie, building châteaux en Espagne, Swiss valleys, glaciers, torrents, lakes, mountains, herds, moonshine out of the glowing embers at his feet ; letting us look, too, into the glowing embers of his heart, where solacing visions likewise rise and disperse in clouds of gleaming sparks. The glimpse which we get into this great kind heart, now lying in the white marble tomb in Père la Chaise — so gentle to misfortune, so lion-like in the presence of despotism - is a glimpse that is good and helpful. The diction has assumed a strange richness in this last work, the thought is sadder and more retrospective, the face has something infinite and unchangeable in it, like the little mermaid's after she has come into possession of a soul. Not that the prior issues were without this momentous quality ; but in them the lively, the epicurean, the simply lytic and joyous, have the upper hand and fill the entire foreground. And, furthermore, as a critic remarks, Béranger had not yet discovered to its full extent the capabilities of the song, its ability to be transformed into something far more elevated and lofty, its aptness to become a high lyric agency in the amelioration of society, its birth
through epic themes into a heroic ballad, to be sung, were it possible, in the migrations of nations, to be chanted, as Valerius Maximus tells us the deeds of their forefathers were, at the dinner-tables of the Roman nobles. There is all the patient riches of the leisure of long imprisonment shed over this concluding chapter of a life-work, the slow gatherings of the winter evenings, when there was nothing else to do but to think and to sing. The poet, too, was now old enough to mingle with his lyric impulses the softened glow of recollection, and thereby create that fascinating atmosphere of half-sunny, half-dreamy melancholy that is the most delicate charm of this part of his life. He reverts to his youth, to the "souvenirs pleins de charmes" of the 14th of July, when the Bastille was taken and Mirabeau thundered against the court, to his friends become ministers, to the tombs of July, to his happy infancy, to Saint-Simon and Fourier, and all the visionaries that have made the human race dream a happy dream. There is a judicious mingling of the emotional with the didactic, the results of a peculiarly ample experience with the esfusions of the heart. The straightforward rectitude of his intellect, the ideal honor of his dealings, enabled him to resist the most alluring claims of personal aggrandisement and uphold to the end a course of almost haughty self-abnegation. An amusing anecdote is related by biographers of his love of directness, an anecdote which serves ioo to illustrate an important phase in his literary method : "A poet of the Academy to whom Béranger, still unknown, was talking of his idylls and of the care that he took to name every object by its right name without the intervention of fable, objected to him : But the sea, for example, the sea, how will you say?' 'I will say quite simply the
•What!' cried the Academician, ‘Neptune, Thetis, Amphitrite, Nereus, would you throw all that overboard out of gaiety of heart?' * Assuredly,' rejoined Béranger.” The narrator of this incident leaves us in the dark as to what gesticulations of despair, what passionate recriminations and expostulations this member of the Quarante Immortels went through with at this saucy innovation. Meanwhile the sea was the sea to this clear calm vision; there was no mythological go-between, no rococo screen embroidered with pretty sky-blue goddesses and sea-monsters and tridents and fabulous trumpery, to shield the reader from the awful shock of the reality; no quirk or subterfuge to economise emotions and save a scene.
In the lines to Chateaubriand we get an inkling of the far-reaching influence which that great poet exercised over him. There is something in Chateaubriand profoundly charming, though he is a weak figure, a soprano among authors. Béranger felt all the stateliness and grace of his style, that style, as it were, the dernier gentilhomme of French styles, about which there lingers something majestic and ample of the olden time, in which we recognise the silver shoebuckles, the silk-stockings, the lace ruffles, the ermine linings, the costly accessories of a by-gone costume, wherein the imaginative needlework is more obvious than the comfort. Chateaubriand was imbued with antique culture as few Frenchmen have ever been, and perhaps read his Homer more diligently than his Bible. Béranger was absolutely without the rich dyes of classic association. It is.
scarcely hazardous to state that he knew no language but the French ; but he knew all of that, every chink and cranny of it, and like the masters of the old seigneurial châteaux in the Dark Ages, possessed secret ways of access, subterranean galleries and staircases, skeleton keys that unlocked to him its most hidden resources. An old fabliau, an Italian romance, the work of a Norman trouvère, the infidelities of Lisette, a great sonorous ballad like Le Juif Errant, gave equal scope to his felicitous talent and developed his erudite acquaintance with all the stages of his native tongue. He could not, perhaps, like Littré, reproduce the epic poetry of antiquity in the French of the 13th century. This is simply a feat of scholarship with its stigma of pedantry. But he enjoyed, perhaps, more keenly than the lexicographer the sources from which Molière and Lafontaine got their delicious humor, the literature of those fun-loving centuries when the confrères of the Passion and the clerks of Basoche called into being such amazing stores of mysteries and moralities, with all their lambent wit and indecency. . . . It would be of course an intricate task to trace all the phases of Béranger's political career, his love of the Empire after it had empurpled itself in remembrance with all the enchantments of the ideal, his obstinate resistance to the first and second Restoration, his delight at the expulsion of the Bourbons and the change that brought Louis Philippe to the throne, his somewhat grim acceptance of the second Empire when it came, despite its ideal attractiveness. His purpose was to spend the decline of life in writing the memorabilia of his career, and composing memoirs to assist in clearing up contemporary history. His songs are the best memoir that he could give. It might be well to contrast him, if space permitted, with Burns, Tom Moore, Arndt, Körner, even Tyrtaeus, in the various moods that he appears in as singer convivial or aggressive. Whether, to notice a current theory, he was the only poet of the time who could have dispensed with printing and enjoyed an oral celebrity, does not devolve upon us to say. We are told that in the wild ferment of the Middle Ages there were painters who could not write their names and yet who filled their canvases with imperishable art. So the poems of Béranger might have been handed down from age to age like an old Norse lullaby, and been none the less tender and true, none the less fiery and impressive.
J. A. H.
THE PROGRESS OF RADICAL GOVERNMENT.
HE new rulers of the Republic, North and South, seem bent upon
systematising their recently acquired sources of power, with a view to practical results. They have no notion of losing any of their conquests by neglecting to go upon and possess them. They are determined to fund their earnings for the benefit of the future, to consolidate their victories over the Constitution and the common experience of mankind, into the methodic madness of a “strong government” that promises at once the freedom and the enlightenment of the people. It is curious to note in how many and various directions this tendency towards centralisation reaches out, seeking for subjects for its transmuting action to work upon. Observing it, one is reminded forcibly of the blind but resolute and pertinacious endeavor, the cold insatiate rapacity of the Medusa, which, with mouth open and stomach hungry, sails softly and gelatinously along, its insidious filaments searching abroad in every direction for matter to assimilate, and defiling and poisoning everything that they touch whether they can use it or not. To do the thing justice, while it resorts to different and dissimilar pretexts, it works impartially throughout the land, north and south, east and west. Here, for instance, under the guise of reform, we find it subverting an ancient municipality and setting up instead a vicarious irresponsible government by commission, as is now being done in the city of New York. Here, again, in Louisiana, with certainly the excuse of atrociously bad government and scandalous anarchy (the parentage, however, of which, if the central authorities were to deny it, is well enough known to make them liable to the bastardy acts) we find the Federal government making for itself a precedent of interference in State affairs, with a corrupt judge for stalking-horse, that will be utterly intolerable in its final results. What is done in the case of Warmoth and McEnery, through Judge Durell, if permitted to go unrebuked and unpunished, will happen next time, partisan occasion demanding it, in the case of George Washington and James Madison. If the President of the United States can, upon any pretence whatsoever, pull down one governor of a State and set up another in his place, he can repeat the operation as often as the emergency occurs. In such a case the Governor of Massachusetts and the Governor of Illinois are no safer than the Governor of Florida, and the States are in reality States no longer, but provinces, as indeed the New York Nation lately called them with deliberate emphasis and wise anticipation.
Here, in another direction, we find the Executive kept apparently respectable by the consciousness and the empressement of power, and screened from common remark and vulgar inquiry by an impenetrable hedge of unscrupulous and ingenious subordinates, grimly but eagerly standing by to observe the waning strength and failing energies of Congress, broken assunder by its own corruptions and surrendering
one by one the fastnesses of its popular control of affairs. Wiil not the cloud of secrecy and silence which will overhang the conduct of national affairs after the abolition of franking and the curtailment of the printing of public documents, rain down upon us a storm of evils to which those redressed by these measures bear no sort of comparison whatsoever ? Will not the factitious reform of the civil service, whereof there is now such a vast amount of unreasoning prate, consolidate in the hands of the Executive and its subordinate departments that vast appointing power which is now in a large measure possessed by the members of Congress ? Add to this Mr. Creswell's amiable projects for perpetuating himself in the Post-office Department by seizing the telegraph and annexing it to the mails ; Mr. Shellabarger's attempts to frame an omnibus system of internal improvements by national aid, and to organise the Cabinet into a sort of Board of Trade, to act finally upon all measures of Congress intended to aid commerce; and Mr. Somebody else's proposition that if the Constitution dia not make the railroads coinpuisory servants of the Post-office Department, quoad carrying the mails, they should at once be constrained to become so, and the progress of the Government towards consolidation of power in itself becomes apparent enough.
Looking another way, we behold the Federal Courts undermined and attacked above-ground at the same moment. They are interfered with by the Executive ; their functions are pruned and pinched off by Congress, as we train a growing vine to make it bear fruit of a certain size and flavor, or to cover an arbor or screen an outhouse. At the same time the undisguised partisanship, the bold debauchery, the ill-concealed corruption of some of the judges of more recent appointment, help materially to break down the popular respect and observance which alone can give weight to the decisions and opinions of this bench. How long can the moths of contempt and irreverence be kept out of the ermine when it is Aung over the shoulders of such eager prostitutes as Bradley, Sherman, Busteed, Durell, and Bond, sycophants who, in addition to their more amiable vices, recompense themselves for the base fawning with which they crawl at the heels of authority, by snapping and snarling at all whom it is safe and politic for them to calumniate and lampoon?
In another direction we see a persistent and resolute effort made by the general government to snatch from the States the control of education, while at the same time the mild apostles of advanced Radicalism are shouting themselves hoarse in the endeavor to inculcate the necessity for making that education compulsory. Suppose this plan succeeds, and imagine our common schools everywhere under the direction of a central Board at Washington, teachers drawn out of Vermont and New Hampshire with all their nasal imperfections on their heads, text-books embodying that ready-made history and that peculiar philosophy which are thought the proper substituies for truth and right reason since “the rebellion,” and professors in our colleges graduated from Howard's nice little university at the capital, or sent down to us hot-livered and unannealed from Oberlin. What would become of our unhappy girls and boys? What "sea-change will interpenetrate the Republic? The men who are attempting to