arriving at success. They aimed solely at that the unfortunates who had received no other moral sordid popularity which might be called the education than the one they found in these prize of extravagance. They intoxicated each books, conducted themselves through real life, other by speech-making and ready applause. as if they lived actually in that world of They commenced by being merely artists in coarse and corrupting fictions which the sensaeccentricity, and ended by becoming despera- tional novel had created for them. They deterdoes.

mined to get along in the world at all hazards, At the same time flourished the press of the and remove the obstacles they could not overrevolutionary “Bohemia.” It had commenced


Another influence of which account with the Marseillaise" and ended with the “Mot ought to be taken in the moral history of the d'Ordre," and the “Cri du Peuple.” What this last times, is that of the singular philosophies press was, may be easily conjectured. The which have invaded and ruled literary Bohemia. money question played a far more important to designate them by their true name, and part in it than the idea question. The traffic in without much ceremony, we shall simply call lies and scandals became a lucrative business, them Atheism. Heaven forbid I should carry and we know of infamous newspaper articles the weighty questions which have divided philthat secured as many as four extra editions a osophers into the domain of politics, nor would day.

I insult the doctrine of Rationalism by supposing In what such principles finally end, we have it destined to become the official philosophy of seen, and the world still shudders at it. One the Commune! But we cannot deny that its might trace the gradual descent of some of various disciples, the men who prepared the these journals. They proved schools of public 18th of March, had for many years adopted demoralization before they became the secret some of its theories, and these had been boislaboratories and offices of public robberies. The terously published in their sheets and in their first stage in this fatal descent is marked by an books. A food of small periodicals, styled absolute want of seriousness—by a complete literary, appeared and disappeared at different disrespect for everything time-honoured—by a periods, concealing under different names the most fanciful cynicism. The second opens a same monotonous phraseology-the same docperiod of perpetual agitation, and an attempt to trine repeated over and over again, and paved revive the reign of terror by abuse pushed to thereby the way for the slowly advancing Enbyperbole, by the most violent polemics sub-cyclopædia of the New School. Around the stituted for a dignified discussion of ideas. In chief of the latter, the capitalist of the sect, the third stage, the journal becomes the most gathered the larger brains of the school, the active instrument of this new reign of terror, thinkers, all those that had advanced far enough which it has so loudly invoked, and for which in their studies to handle with impunity danit has so industriously laboured. We may well gerous formulas. United with the partisans of ask what influences have brought“Bohemia” to Positivism, vagrant disciples of experimental such a degree of moral and intellectual depra- science, they formed a large battalion, well vity? What has driven to madness and crime prepared for intellectual struggles, until the hour these vanities, at first so inoffensive ? It may for political struggles should strike. Among be accounted for in many ways ; one of the the writers that played in this new Encyclopædia chief causes, however, is the literary influence the parts of those who wrote in the former one, of the times; it is that which transformed the endeavouring, as that did, to bring about a social literary adventurer into the political adventurer, renovation by a renovation of ideas, we can ready to dare anything in order to acquire easily recognize the magistrates, the ædiles, the wealth or power. Yes, the modern novel may great office-holders of the Commune, and even claim a large and heavy share of responsibility those of the socialistic Republic ensconced since in the recent events. The examples it gave of the 4th of September in some of the municipalelegant scoundrelism and intellectual depravity, ities in Paris. have dazzled and fascinated a number of feeble The teaching of this school was not purely minds whom the uncertain morality of the so- theoretical, confined to special sheets which no ciety and time in which we live but ill-protected one read, or to that monumental Encyclopædia against their own evil propensities. Many of which but few consulted; it des nded briskly



new one.

It was

into the political papers of the party, and even tiquity and that of the French Revolution. All into the popular clubs. But there, in order to the rest has gradually been wiped out ; but these appear with advantage, it had to undergo a cer- two groups of events move and live in our imatain transformation ; it had to put aside the pe- gination ; they stand out in bold relief on a vague dantries of the physiologist, the dissertations ground of extinct notions and languid memoabout first and final causes of the professor of ries. We mix the heroes of ancient republics Atheism; the learned reasonings of doctors on with those of our present history; it becomes a the physiological conditions of the phenome sort of illustrious company that haunts our non called soul ; the clever demonstrations of minds with graceful attitudes, with sublime the chemist, who explains the mystery of life ! speeches on republican virtues, on liberty, on without needing to have recourse to that old the country. All is on a large scale, larger than hypothesis called God; the assertions of the nature; it assumes superhuman proportions critic in regard to the quantity of bile or blood through our feverish sentiments, our indomiit takes to write a poem, a drama, or a sermon. table pride, our language where the man is lost All these heavy doctrines, passing through the in the hero ; all this is lit up by too glaring a crucible of the Parisian mind, evaporated into light, and placed in a perspective of immortallight clouds that fell back upon the press in a ity. It is a world slightly overdone, somewhat shower of fine ironies and sharp sarcasms against declamatory, which resembles nothing that has old beliefs, old superstitions, the old fogies of really existed, and which is the result of our philosophy and superannuated gods. Down classical education, combined with the fictions it came like a thick and piercing hailstorm, for which the French Revolution furnishes inupsetting the old order of things and mak- exhaustible themes. This is the basis of our ing room for a

a great political education, such as most Bohemians treat for the idlers ; never before had grave acquire in the colleges and schools, amidst the subjects and long-honoured people been handled rough struggles of life, and the great dangers so cavalierly. All this did not as yet present of modern society, in the conflict of their poany great danger ; but look a few rounds down verty with the wealth displayed on all sides, and the ladder, and you will see what the tendency its accompanying power, the lustre of which of all this impious babble and flippant raillery dazzles their eyes and attracts their wild dreams. will be. I have followed with a sad curiosity All serious study concerning the conditions of the degradation of an idea, from the literature social existence, the progress of nations and of elegant circles down to that of hovels, where the price at which this progress is bought ; all it died in some mob newspaper, and was finally deep meditation on the true laws of history, on thrown into the rag-picker's basket; I have the feebleness of certain big words, on the vanity followed it in its sad wanderings through jour- of certain formulas, on crimes disguised under nals of the most varied origin, tone and size, pompous names, all this was unknown to them. down to the “Père Duchêne.” The distance The judicial, truthful history of the Revolution between refined scepticism and gross abuse was not to their mind; they cared very little for is shorter than one would think. Never before the teaching of the masters that had brought it had such treacherous and varied means been back to a true perspective by reducing its men employed to demoralize the people and destroy to just proportions.

to just proportions. They wanted something in them all faith and ideal, creating a vacuum more fanciful. It was not the drama of ideas in their minds without providing the wherewithal that pleased their frivolous and feeble minds—it to fill it again, except by unlawful pleasures and was the tumult of facts, the agitation on the unwholesome appetites.

public squares, the scenes of the Convention, This sketch, hastily drawn, is evidently in the horrors of the Conciergerie; nay, they decomplete, but on the whole it is exact. We lighted in the mere theatrical paraphernalia of should have to go far back, in the history of our the Revolution, its stage effects, its scarfs, its national education, to find the origin of the revo- feathers, its trumpery ; they relished particularlutionary sentiments blended in our minds with ly its pompous harangues and violent language, the first intellectual impressions we have re- its sudden vicissitudes of fortune, splendours ceived. We know only two sorts of history, and ruins, passing before them as in a dazzling and those but indifferently : that of classic an- and sinister dream brought out in their eyes the

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grand idea, illumined by the blue-lights of po- of public events, but the real Marat would etry and rhetoric, and perceived from afar as in have shuddered at the puppet trying to imperan apotheosis.

sonate him : the new one only succeeded in deOur generation has been fed too much on faming his prototype, persecuting and denounthese spectacles, this phantasmagoria, in which cing his victims instead of executing them. the French Revolution becomes a drama of Barrère was seen no later than yesterday, the scene shiftings and high-sounding phrases. same as ever, a honey-tongued revolutionist, Who was it that thus flattered these frivolous ready at any time to tune his flexible soul to imaginations by presenting to them false ideals the key of almost any event. All this resembles in regard to the events and men of that time, a bloody masquerade, a lugubrious and atrowhen the plainer duty was to bring them to a cious jest. It is but a miserable parody! '93, proper conception of human morality? Who minus its ardent convictions, an artificial '93 ; was it fostered, in violent and feeble minds, so and since it has been asserted that the reign of morbid an enthusiasm for an epoch where such terror was a religion, let us say that this new great and noble aspirations were so foolishly reign of terror through which we have just compromised, so sadly sullied; for an epoch one passed is far more monstrous and criminal than must beware of commending, for fear of becom- the first, for it is a religion without faith. It is ing an accomplice in the unatoneable crimes of through such ideas and examples, taken from high the past, or in baleful imitations for the future? quarters, through this revolutionary eloquence so The answer may be found on all lips. We know applauded in books, in the theatres, and on the some of these poets and rhetoricians who have rostrum, that this “Bohemia,” already underwilfully transformed history, in order that they mined by its own vices, was brought to ruin. But, might glorify it with their endless dithyrambics, however severely we may judge it in its downor their unreserved amnesties. These are the fall, we must not forget that a large share of the real culprits.

responsibility rests with the illustrious personaThus sprang up among us the religion, or ges who were linked with it, who courted its rather the idolatry. of the so-called infallible, journals for their own selfish ends, lavishing impeccable, immaculate, Revolution ; a worship upon it their most approving smiles, their most supported by the imagination even more than delicate flatteries, carrying on with the poor by passion. The Revolution has its theologians, fools a commerce of adulation and coquetry its mystics, and fanatics, its hypocrites even, that captivated them completely. Proud of the without whom a religion is not complete. appreciation of those they considered their betEverything concerning it is holy and sacred ; ters, the poor wretches trumpeted all round the the right by which it is most honoured, is to imi-civic virtues of their patrons, and opened to tate it on all points. Its pompous rhetoric, the them a way to easy triumphs. It was an active bluntness of its language, its big phrases, the propaganda and a fatal contagion. We repent attitudes and gestures of its personages are all of it now; may it not be too late ! reproduced with a labourious exactitude. Most The men of '93 had this advantage over the happy are they who, by dint of study and ob- feeble comedians that have tried to imitate them, servation, have succeeded in seizing upon some that their hearts burned with patriotism. Where of the features of these consecrated types ! do you find any trace of the same sacred flame Each endeavours to cut himself out a part in this among the modern Jacobins ? The country, history, and take out from the great picture they said (and clubs and cafés applauded the some figure under which he may introduce witticism),—the country is but a post guarded by himself to the public. We have had Camille a custom-house officer. Is it to be wondered Desmoulins again, his very devil-may-care that some of our soldiers should later have rememgait, and cruel impertinence, minus his bet- bered such speeches and behaved accordingly? ter parts, his fits of true sensibility, and the All this makes up our present history. chivalrous promptings of his soul. You have Add to these diverse influences the complishuddered at recognizing Danton's loud voice ; city of a petulant middle class applauding, the same sonorousness and power; but its without foreseeing the end, the work of social lightning effects were wanting. Marat, too, demolition ; add the profound indifference of was seen crossing again the bloody stage a society absorbed in business, money and


pleasures, without thought for anything else; between the writers themselves, and above all, and, below this surface already undermined, the on an absolute respect for ideas. But for this it ardent passions of fanatics digging the abyss is evidently necessary that there be no longer a wherein we well-nigh perished, in sympathy confusion possible between the healthy libwith the over-excited appetites of the multi- eral ideas which represent civilization through tude and the conspiracy of the “Internationale," liberty and justice, and the false anti-social and you will no longer wonder at the depth of ideas which represent a return to barbarism our fall, and at the number of ruins that cover by arbitrary acts, violence and crime. To efnow the soil of France.

fect this, it will be very necessary in future to The events themselves illustrate the moral of guard against idealizing under the charming this essay. One of the most essential condi- names of fancy, of independent life and freetions upon which the regeneration of France dom, the unwholesome passions and the disordepends now, more essential even than the form ders in the morals and brains which have thrown of the institutions which are to govern us,

is a out of their orbits, and hopelessly destroyed, reconstruction of the literature and the press, a talents intended by nature to be devoted to the reconstruction based on seriousness of thought, making of“ Vaudevilles” or to landscape painton hard work,on dignity of life, on mutual respect I ing, and not to the getting up of revolutions.




(From The Contemporary Review" for December.) AGONET, the fool, whom Gawain in his A maiden babe ; which Arthur pitying took, moods

Then gave it to his Queen to rear : the Queen Had made mock-knight of Arthur's Table Round, But coldly acquiescing, in her white arms At Camelot, high above the yellowing woods, Received, and after loved it tenderly, Danced like a wither'd leaf before the Hall. And named it Nestling ; so forgot herself And toward him from the Hall with harp in A moment, and her cares ; till that young life hand,

Being smitten in mid-heaven with mortal cold And from the crown thereof a carcanet

Past from her ; and in time the carcanet Of ruby swaying to and fro, the prize

Vext her with plaintive memories of the child : Of Tristram in the jousts of yesterday,

So she, delivering it to Arthur, said, Came Tristram, saying, “Why skip ye so, Sir * Take thou the jewels of this dead innocence, Fool ?"

And make them, an thou wilt, a tourney-prize."


For Arthur and Sir Lancelot riding once
Far down beneath a winding wall of rock
Heard a child wail. A stump of oak half-dead,
From roots like some black coil of carven snakes
Clutch'd at the crag, and started thro' mid-air
Bearing an eagle's nest : and thro' the tree
Rush'd ever a rainy wind, and thro' the wind
Pierced ever a child's cry : and crag and tree
Scaling, Sir Lancelot from the perilous nest,
This ruby necklace thrice around her neck,
And all unscarr'd from beak or talon, brought

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“Would rather ye had let them fall,” she cried,
Plunge and be lost—ill-fated as they were,
A bitterness to me!-ye look amazed,
Not knowing they were lost as soon as given-

This poem forms one of the “Idylls of the King." Its place is between “ Pelleas” and “Guinevere."

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But on the hither side of that loud morn Make their last head like Satan in the North. Into the hall stagger'd, his visage ribb’d My younger knights, new-made, in whom your From ear to ear with dogwhip-weals, his nose flower Bridge-broken, one eye out, and one hand off, Waits to be solid fruit of golden deeds, And one with shatter'd fingers dangling lame, Move with me toward their quelling, which A churl, to whom indignantly the King,

achieved, “My churl, for whom Christ died, what evil The loneliest ways are safe from shore to shore. beast

But thou, Sir Lancelot, sitting in my place Hath drawn his claws athwart thy face? Enchair'd to-morrow, arbitrate the field ; fiend?

For wherefore shouldst thou care to mingle Man was it who marr'd Heaven's image in thee with it, thus ?”

Only to yield my Queen her own again?

Speak, Lancelot, thou art silent : is it well ?” Then, sputtering thro’ the hedge of splinter'd teeth,

Thereto Sir Lancelot answer'd, “ It is well : Yet strangers to the tongue, and with blunt Yet better if the King abide, and leave stump

The leading of his younger knights to me. Pitch-blacken'd sawing the air, said the maim'd Else, for the King has will'd it, it is well.”

churl, * He took them and he drave them to his tower-- Then Arthur rose and Lancelot follow'd him, Some hold he was a table-knight of thine- And while they stood without the doors, the A hundred goodly ones-the Red Knight, he- King Lord, I was tending swine, and the Red Knight Turn’d to him saying, “Is it then so well ? Brake in upon me and drave them to his tower ; Or mine the blame that oft I seem as he And when I callid upon thy name as one Of whom was written,' a sound is in his ears'— That doest right by gentle and by churl, The foot that loiters, bidden go,-the glance Maim'd me and mauld, and would outright That only seems half-loyal to command,have slain,

A manner somewhat fall’n from reverenceSave that he sware me to a message, saying, or have I dream'd the bearing of our knights 'Tell thou the King and all his liars, that I Tells of a manhood ever less and lower ? Have founded my Round Table in the North, Or whence the fear lest this my realm, upreard, And whatsoever his own knights have sworn By noble deeds at one with noble vows, My knights have sworn the counter to it-and From flat confusion and brute violences,

Reel back into the beast, and be no more ?" My tower is full of harlots, like his court, But mine are worthier, seeing they profess He spoke, and taking all his younger knights, To be none other than themselves--and say Down the slope city rode, and sharply turn'd


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