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may be the nature of the laws governing the relations, internal and external, of such systems, it would, in the present state of our knowledge, be the height of presumptuous folly to attempt even to surmise. We know, indeed, from the observed revolutions of binary stars, that gravitation acts in the same manner in sidereal regions as at the surface of the earth; but we do not know but that, at enormously increased intervals of space, it may be superseded by some higher and wider law, ruling higher and wider relations, just as gravity itself is replaced, at minute distances, by the action of molecular forces.

We must now pause. What we have said is indeed little and inadequate, but it is enough to show that the natural awe and delight with which we regard the stately pageant of the spheres are amply justified in the sublime realities represented by it. A scene is disclosed to our enquiries instinct with life, motion, and variety. Law, the evidence and the instrument of design, sits enthroned there, but presides over no dull or monotonous succession of events. Unexpected activities from time to time manifest themselves, and tremendous catastrophes disturb the serenity of the heavens. Some one of the obscure bodies which, for aught we know, may be as numerous as the lucid ones, suddenly assumes a vesture of light, and sends us, across an interval which costs its swift messenger perhaps a thousand years of travel, the first tidings of its existence. Luminous bodies, on the other hand, sink into obscurity and apparent annihilation.

Nebular worlds, far surpassing in extent the entire ambit of the solar system, grow dim and vanish, like a pencil-mark rubbed with a touch from a sheet of paper, again as capriciously to reappear. Suns fade, century by century, like a field-flower held in a child's hand, while other suns grow and brighten, like rose-buds unfolding on their stems. Terrific conflagrations, involving perhaps in destruction whole dependent schemes with their inyriad possible inhabitants, desolate "fore-doomed orbs; while a large class of luminaries seem, by their periodical outbursts of volcanic fury, to be rendered unfit to act as the beneficent centres of planetary households. On all sides we see traces of activity and change; everywhere we find evidence of development and decay-decay, possibly a prelude to renovation, which again leads round to decay. For many and strange are the vicissitudes comprised within that stupendous cycle which bounds the existence of the heavens themselves, destined on the expiration of their appointed term, like the frail and fading sphere of the dew-drop to which Shelley compares them,

"To tremble, gleam, and disappear.'

а

ART. V.-Ecrits Inédits de Saint-Simon publiés sur les

manuscrits conservés au Dépôt des Affaires Etrangères. Par M. P. FAUGÈRE. Tome Premier: Parallèle des trois premiers Rois Bourbons. Paris : 1880. N for often does it happen that the vast ocean of literature

casts upon our shores a pearl of great price amongst the weeds and rubbish of the times. But this volume claims a conspicuous place in the classical literature of France and of Europe. It is a work of the eighteenth-we might almost say, from its 'style, of the seventeenth-century, the most splendid period in the history of French letters; but its existence was till lately unknown to the world, for it lay buried in the accumulated masses of the Saint-Simon manuscripts, still jealously guarded and preserved in the Foreign Archives of Paris. So little was the real character and value of this. Paral

lel understood that it is referred to by M. Lefèvre-Pontalis, in the excellent essay which was crowned by the French Academy in 1855, as the production of Duke Claude de SaintSimon, the father of the illustrious author of the Memoirs, and not of his son, which was impossible, because it refers to events long subsequent to the death of the first duke. M. Faugère has been engaged for the last eight years in a careful examination of the Saint-Simon manuscripts, consisting, no doubt, in great part, of the journals, notes, and materials from which the Memoirs were transcribed. He proposes to publish in six volumes a selection of the most valuable portion of these documents, and in the forefront of his work he has placed the biographical essay now before us, which has been hailed by the most competent judges as a masterpiece of this great author, bearing on almost every page the stamp of the full maturity of his genius.

Saint-Simon was seventy-two years of age when he resolved in 1746 to write this parallel of the three great Bourbon kings, Henry IV., Louis XIII., and Louis XIV. Although he began to keep a journal of the events of his time in 1694, when he was only nineteen years old, and continued the practice with undiminished assiduity throughout his active Tife, the Memoirs, as we now possess them in a voluminous manuscript completely transcribed by his own hand, were the production of his later years.* He had withdrawn in 1723

* The mode in which Saint-Simon composed his Memoirs, and the date at which they were written, are discussed at considerable length in an article published by ourselves in No. 243 of this Journal in

age

from the Court, being then only forty-eight years of

age. The sudden death of the Duke of Orleans by a stroke of apoplexy in that year severed the last tie which bound him to his contemporaries. Thenceforth he lived altogether in the past—he lived over again those years from 1691 to 1723, to which his pen was destined to give an immortal shape and colouring. And he survived his retirement thirty-two years. These years were spent in his country seat at La Ferté, and during the whole of this period, down to his death at the of eighty in 1755, the habit of writing continued to be the chief occupation and amusement of his existence. There is not another example in literary history of so voluminous an author, writing with no prospect of gain or of fame-nec lucri nec fama spe adlectatusuncertain whether he would ever be read at all, certain that, if read by posterity, a century at least must pass before the results of his prodigious and indefatigable labours could be known to the world. But literature is no ungrateful mistress. The treasures of the past which are placed in her keeping are repaid with interest. The modesty or the indifference of this silent writer who cast his bread upon the waters has been recompensed after many days by a higher rank than that of his ducal honours, and he will live for ever amongst the greatest annalists of his own country, amongst the keenest observers of human nature. A recent critic, commenting on some observations of our own, has remarked that Saint-Simon is one of the authors who are more talked about than read. We cannot verify the truth of this assertion, but in our judgment the Memoirs of Saint-Simon are one of the few modern works which possess, like the ancient classics or like Shakespeare, an inexhaustible interest. If one has nothing else to read or to do, they are always attractive and interesting. Life itself would be duller without their company. Every page is alive. Every personage comes before one in his proper habit. A man well read in SaintSimon knows the Court of Louis XIV. better than he knows the Court of Victoria. We guess at the characters and motives of our contemporaries; we judge, and think we know, the characters and motives which are stamped on the page of history. No doubt the passionate style in which Saint-Simon wrote is the main secret of his attractive power. M. de SainteBeuve called him the Rubens of the Court of Louis XIV.,

January 1864, to which we may refer our readers. It is therefore needless to revert to this subject. The 'Parallel' was undoubtedly written after the Memoirs were completed.

from the strength and colour he threw upon the canvas. We have heard an equally great authority describe him as the Rembrandt of history, because out of his vast irregular sentences, rising as they proceed in force and passion—a turbid cloud of words, wholly unlike the order and purity of French composition--flashes forth at last an expression or an epithet which illuminates the whole passage and brands it on the memory. It took more than a century for the French to comprehend such a style, which is to the established traditions of French prose what Gothic architecture is to Greek. When Madame du Deffand was first allowed to have these manuscripts read to her, she told Horace Walpole that they were vastly amusing, but mal écrits: just as Swift said of Bishop Burnet (who is the nearest approach we possess to Saint-Simon) that he had an ill style. But now the victory is complete. In

' a form essentially different from his own, Bossuet himself has found a rival where he never suspected it. Saint-Simon ranks with the finest French writers, and this volume may be ranked amongst the chefs d'auvre of his pen.

We have said that he was seventy-two when he wrote it. It is now ascertained with tolerable certainty that after the death of Dangeau in 1720 Saint-Simon obtained a copy of the journal of that sedulous courtier, which he covered with notes in the earlier years of his retirement. These notes and other materials were transferred into the Memoirs, which were completed between the years 1740 and 1746. This fact is proved by the insertion of numerous references to occurrences of that late period—for instance, the death of Philip V. of Spain, which took place in 1746. The introduction to the Memoirs is dated 1743, and the whole manuscript was written off clean by Saint-Simon himself, without additions, insertions, or corrections. Having then completed this extraordinary labour, he appears to have thought that the time was come to execute a long-cherished design of writing an exact historical comparison of the characters and reigns of Henry IV., Louis XIII., and Louis XIV., dictated mainly by a romantic desire to vindicate the fame of Louis XIII., which had, and has, doubtless been eclipsed by that of his father and his son.

I will not deny that impatience of the injustice commonly done to Louis XIII., between his father and his son, has ever inspired me with the desire to set it right, both by conviction and by feeling. That feeling is gratitude. My father owed to that Prince all his fortune, I therefore all I am. All I have reminds me of his benefits. I wait in vain that some one else, who lived by his favours, and more capable than myself, should be sufficiently mindful of them to rescue his bene

factor from this intolerable oppression. No one in all these years has attempted it. At last indignation at so much ingratitude and ignorance drives me to take up the pen, but with the most scrupulous observance of truth, which alone gives a value and inspires belief.' Louis XIII. had been dead one hundred and three

years when these lines were written. But a century had not extinguished the ardent feelings of gratitude and affection cherished in the house of Saint-Simon, and, we must add, revived even in our time in the house of Luynes, for the late Duke de Luynes erected a statue in solid silver, in the hall at Dampierre, to the memory of the benefactor of his race. For fifty years Saint-Simon never failed to make a pilgrimage to the tomb of the king at St. Denis on May 14, the anniversary of his death; and an ever-burning lamp hung for more than a century before the king's bust in the chapel of La Ferté. He was the patron of the family; and it is not wonderful that Saint-Simon, in whom all the traditions of his race were sacred and unchangeable, should have held his own literary life to be incomplete until he had endeavoured to vindicate the character and the reign of his father's royal friend, even at the risk of exaggeration, since he was prompted by these feelings to draw a picture of Louis XIII. which might pass for that of a hero and a saint. The parallel is in fact a panegyric even more than an apology. It must be read as such. But, without sharing the enthusiasm of the writer, we think that he raises considerably the character of Louis XIII., whose fate it has been to be overshadowed by his predecessor and by his successor, and above all by his own minister, Richelieu.*

We are not insensible to the defects of this work. It is fall of repetitions, which are sometimes tedious; it is full

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The character of Louis XIII. by Nicolas Goulas, who was not in his service but in that of his brother, is perhaps more just, though less highly coloured than that of Saint-Simon. I must show you,' he says, the King Louis XIII. as a very different man from the ordinary

descriptions of him, and from what he was supposed to be, for he " had fine qualities, a great heart, a great mind, a perfect intelligence

of war; he was capable of counsel, jealous of his authority, a good judge of the strong and the weak in mankind, fearing God, loving justice, ardent for the glory of his country and his reign, but harsh to his kinsfolk and severe to all. He lived in dread of his brother and the queen his mother ; but his chief defect was a distrust of him• self, for, imagining that he would make mistakes if he stood alone at

the helm, he made the most deplorable mistake of all in surrendering *it entirely to those whom he called to office under him.' (Mémoires de Goulas, vol. i. p. 16.) VOL. CLII. NO. CCCXII.

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