grand idea, illumined by the blue-lights of poetry and rhetoric, and perceived from afar as in an apotheosis.

Our generation has been fed too much on these spectacles, this phantasmagoria, in which the French Revolution becomes a drama of scene shiftings and high-sounding phrases. Who was it that thus flattered these frivolous imaginations by presenting to them false ideals in regard to the events and men of that time, when the plainer duty was to bring them to a proper conception of human morality? Who was it fostered, in violent and feeble minds, so morbid an enthusiasm for an epoch where such great and noble aspirations were so foolishly compromised, so sadly sullied; for an epoch one must beware of commending, for fear of becoming an accomplice in the unatoneable crimes of the past, or in baleful imitations for the future? The answer may be found on all lips. We know some of these poets and rhetoricians who have wilfully transformed history, in order that they might glorify it with their endless dithyrambics, or their unreserved amnesties. These are the real culprits.

of public events, but the real Marat would have shuddered at the puppet trying to impersonate him the new one only succeeded in defaming his prototype, persecuting and denouncing his victims instead of executing them. Barrère was seen no later than yesterday, the same as ever, a honey-tongued revolutionist, ready at any time to tune his flexible soul to the key of almost any event. All this resembles a bloody masquerade, a lugubrious and atrocious jest. It is but a miserable parody! '93, minus its ardent convictions, an artificial '93; and since it has been asserted that the reign of terror was a religion, let us say that this new reign of terror through which we have just passed is far more monstrous and criminal than the first, for it is a religion without faith. It is through such ideas and examples, taken from high quarters, through this revolutionary eloquence so applauded in books, in the theatres, and on the rostrum, that this "Bohemia," already undermined by its own vices, was brought to ruin. But, however severely we may judge it in its downfall, we must not forget that a large share of the responsibility rests with the illustrious personages who were linked with it, who courted its journals for their own selfish ends, lavishing upon it their most approving smiles, their most delicate flatteries, carrying on with the poor fools a commerce of adulation and coquetry that captivated them completely. Proud of the appreciation of those they considered their betters, the poor wretches trumpeted all round the civic virtues of their patrons, and opened to them a way to easy triumphs. It was an active propaganda and a fatal contagion. We repent of it now; may it not be too late!

Thus sprang up among us the religion, or rather the idolatry. of the so-called infallible, impeccable, immaculate, Revolution; a worship supported by the imagination even more than by passion. The Revolution has its theologians, its mystics, and fanatics, its hypocrites even, without whom a religion is not complete. Everything concerning it is holy and sacred; the right by which it is most honoured, is to imitate it on all points. Its pompous rhetoric, the bluntness of its language, its big phrases, the attitudes and gestures of its personages are all reproduced with a labourious exactitude. Most happy are they who, by dint of study and observation, have succeeded in seizing upon some of the features of these consecrated types ! Each endeavours to cut himself out a part in this history, and take out from the great picture some figure under which he may introduce himself to the public. We have had Camille Desmoulins again, his very devil-may-care gait, and cruel impertinence, minus his bet-bered such speeches and behaved accordingly ? ter parts, his fits of true sensibility, and the chivalrous promptings of his soul. You have shuddered at recognizing Danton's loud voice; the same sonorousness and power; but its lightning effects were wanting. Marat, too, was seen crossing again the bloody stage

The men of '93 had this advantage over the feeble comedians that have tried to imitate them, that their hearts burned with patriotism. Where do you find any trace of the same sacred flame among the modern Jacobins? The country, they said (and clubs and cafés applauded the witticism),-the country is but a post guarded by a custom-house officer. Is it to be wondered that some of our soldiers should later have remem

All this makes up our present history. Add to these diverse influences the complicity of a petulant middle class applauding, without foreseeing the end, the work of social demolition; add the profound indifference of a society absorbed in business, money and

between the writers themselves, and above all, on an absolute respect for ideas. But for this it is evidently necessary that there be no longer a confusion possible between the healthy lib

pleasures, without thought for anything else; and, below this surface already undermined, the ardent passions of fanatics digging the abyss wherein we well-nigh perished, in sympathy with the over-excited appetites of the multi-eral ideas which represent civilization through tude and the conspiracy of the " Internationale," and you will no longer wonder at the depth of our fall, and at the number of ruins that cover now the soil of France.

liberty and justice, and the false anti-social ideas which represent a return to barbarism by arbitrary acts, violence and crime. To effect this, it will be very necessary in future to guard against idealizing under the charming names of fancy, of independent life and freedom, the unwholesome passions and the disorders in the morals and brains which have thrown out of their orbits, and hopelessly destroyed, talents intended by nature to be devoted to the making of " Vaudevilles" or to landscape paint

The events themselves illustrate the moral of this essay. One of the most essential conditions upon which the regeneration of France depends now, more essential even than the form of the institutions which are to govern us, is a ¦ reconstruction of the literature and the press, a reconstruction based on seriousness of thought, on hard work, on dignity of life, on mutual respecting, and not to the getting up of revolutions.



(From "The Contemporary Review" for December.)

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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

A maiden babe; which Arthur pitying took,
Then gave it to his Queen to rear: the Queen
But coldly acquiescing, in her white arms
Received, and after loved it tenderly,
And named it Nestling; so forgot herself
A moment, and her cares; till that young life
Being smitten in mid-heaven with mortal cold
Past from her; and in time the carcanet
Vext her with plaintive memories of the child:
So she, delivering it to Arthur, said,
"Take thou the jewels of this dead innocence,
And make them, an thou wilt, a tourney-prize."

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

Slid from my hands, when I was leaning out
Above the river-that unhappy child
Past in her barge: but rosier luck will go
With these rich jewels, seeing that they came
Not from the skeleton of a brother-slayer,
But the sweet body of a maiden babe.
Perchance - who knows?-the purest of thy

May win them for the purest of my maids."

She ended, and the cry of a great joust
With trumpet-blowings ran on all the ways
From Camelot in among the faded fields
To furthest towers; and everywhere the knights
Arm❜d for a day of glory before the King.

But on the hither side of that loud morn
Into the hall stagger'd, his visage ribb'd
From ear to ear with dogwhip-weals, his nose
Bridge-broken, one eye out, and one hand off,
And one with shatter'd fingers dangling lame,
A churl, to whom indignantly the King,

“My churl, for whom Christ died, what evil

Hath drawn his claws athwart thy face? or fiend?

Man was it who marr'd Heaven's image in thee thus ?"

Then, sputtering thro' the hedge of splinter'd teeth,

My knights are all adulterers like his own,
But mine are truer, seeing they profess
To be none other; and say his hour is come,
The heathen are upon him, his long lance
Broken, and his Excalibur a straw.'

Then Arthur turn'd to Kay the seneschal,
"Take thou my churl, and tend him curiously
Like a king's heir, till all his hurts be whole.
The heathen-but that ever-climbing wave,
Hurl'd back again so often in empty foam,
Hath lain for years at rest-and renegades,
Thieves, bandits, leavings of confusion, whom
The wholesome realm is purged of otherwhere,—
Friends, thro' your manhood and your fealty,-


Make their last head like Satan in the North. My younger knights, new-made, in whom your flower

Waits to be solid fruit of golden deeds,

Move with me toward their quelling, which

The loneliest ways are safe from shore to shore.
But thou, Sir Lancelot, sitting in my place
Enchair'd to-morrow, arbitrate the field;
For wherefore shouldst thou care to mingle
with it,

Only to yield my Queen her own again?
Speak, Lancelot, thou art silent is it well?"

Thereto Sir Lancelot answer'd, "It is well :

Yet strangers to the tongue, and with blunt Yet better if the King abide, and leave
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."

"He took them and he drave them to his tower-
Some hold he was a table-knight of thine-
A hundred goodly ones-the Red Knight, he—
Lord, I was tending swine, and the Red Knight
Brake in upon me and drave them to his tower;
And when I call'd upon thy name as one
That doest right by gentle and by churl,
Maim'd me and maul'd, and would outright
have slain,

Save that he sware me to a message, saying-
'Tell thou the King and all his liars, that I
Have founded my Round Table in the North,
And whatsoever his own knights have sworn
My knights have sworn the counter to it-and

My tower is full of harlots, like his court,
But mine are worthier, seeing they profess
To be none other than themselves—and say

Then Arthur rose and Lancelot follow'd him,
And while they stood without the doors, the

Turn'd to him saying, "Is it then so well?
Or mine the blame that oft I seem as he
Of whom was written, 'a sound is in his ears'-
The foot that loiters, bidden go,—the glance
That only seems half-loyal to command,—
A manner somewhat fall'n from reverence-
Or have I dream'd the bearing of our knights
Tells of a manhood ever less and lower?
Or whence the fear lest this my realm, uprear'd,
By noble deeds at one with noble vows,
From flat confusion and brute violences,
Reel back into the beast, and be no more?"

He spoke, and taking all his younger knights, Down the slope city rode, and sharply turn'd

North by the gate.


In her high bower the

Working a tapestry, lifted up her head,
Watch'd her lord pass, and knew not that she

Then ran across her memory the strange rhyme
Of bygone Merlin, "Where is he who knows?
From the great deep to the great deep he

And armour'd all in forest green, whereon
There tript a hundred tiny silver deer,
And wearing but a holly-spray for crest,
With ever-scattering berries, and on shield
A spear, a harp, a bugle-Tristram-late
From overseas in Brittany return'd,
And marriage with a princess of that realm,
Isolt the White-Sir Tristram of the Woods-
Whom Lancelot knew, had held sometime with

But when the morning of a tournament,
By these in earnest those in mockery call'd
The Tournament of the Dead Innocence,
Brake with a wet wind blowing, Lancelot,
Round whose sick head all night, like birds of And dinted the gilt dragons right and left,

His own against him, and now yearn'd to shake
The burthen off his heart in one full shock
With Tristram ev'n to death: his strong hands


The words of Arthur flying shriek'd, arose,
And down a streetway hung with folds of pure
White samite, and by fountains running wine,
Where children sat in white with cups of gold,
Moved to the lists, and there, with slow sad

Ascending, fill'd his double-dragon'd chair.

He glanced and saw the stately galleries,
Dame, damsel, each thro' worship of their

White-robed in honor of the stainless child,
And some with scatter'd jewels, like a bank
Of maiden snow mingled with sparks of fire.
He lookt but once, and veil'd his eyes again.

The sudden trumpet sounded as in a dream
To ears but half-awaked, then one low roll
Of Autumn thunder, and the jousts began:
And ever the wind blew, and yellowing leaf
And gloom and gleam, and shower and shorn

Went down it. Sighing weariedly, as one
Who sits and gazes on a faded fire,
When all the goodlier guests are past away,
Sat their great umpire, looking o'er the lists.
He saw the laws that ruled the tournament
Broken, but spake not; once, a knight cast

Before his throne of arbitration cursed

The dead babe and the follies of the King;
And once the laces of a helmet crack'd,
And show'd him, like a vermin in its hole,
Modred, a narrow face: anon he heard
The voice that billow'd round the barriers roar
An ocean-sounding welcome to one knight,
But newly-enter'd, taller than the rest,

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Art thou the purest, brother? See, the hand
Wherewith thou takest this is red!" to whom
Tristram, half plagued by Lancelot's languorous

Made answer, "Ay, but wherefore toss me this
Like a dry bone cast to some hungry hound?
Let be thy fair Queen's fantasy. Strength of

And might of limb, but mainly use and skill,
Are winners in this pastime of our King,
My hand-belike the lance hath dript upon

No blood of mine, I trow; but O chief knight,
Right arm of Arthur in the battlefield,
Great brother, thou nor I have made the world;
Be happy in thy fair Queen as I in mine."

And Tristram round the gallery made his horse

Caracole; then bow'd his homage, bluntly say


"Fair damsels, each to him who worships each Sole Queen of Beauty and of love, behold This day my Queen of Beauty is not here."

Then most of these were mute, some anger'd, Quiet as any water-sodden log


Murmuring "All courtesy is dead,” and one, "The glory of our Round Table is no more."

Stay'd in the wandering warble of a brook;
But when the twangling ended, skipt again;
Then being asked, "Why skipt ye not, Sir

Then fell thick rain, plume droopt and mantle Made answer, "I had liefer twenty years

And pettish cries awoke, and the wan day
Went glooming down in wet and weariness :
But under her black brows a swarthy dame
Laught shrilly, crying "Praise the patient

Our one white day of Innocence hath past,
Tho' somewhat draggled at the skirt. So be it.
The snowdrop only, flow'ring thro' the year,
Would make the world as blank as wintertide.
Come let us comfort their sad eyes, our

And Lancelot's, at this night's solemnity
With all the kindlier colours of the field."

So dame and damsel glitter'd at the feast

Variously gay: for he that tells the tale

Skip to the broken music of my brains
Than any broken music ye can make.”
Then Tristram, waiting for the quip to come,
"Good now, what music have I broken, fool?"
And little Dagonet, skipping, "Arthur, the

For when thou playest that air with Queen

Thou makest broken music with thy bride,
Her daintier namesake down in Brittany—
And so thou breakest Arthur's music too."
"Save for that broken music in thy brains,
Sir Fool," said Tristram, "I would break thy

Fool, I came late, the heathen wars were o'er,
The life had flown, we sware but by the shell-
I am but a fool to reason with a fool,

Liken'd them, saying "as when an hour of Come, thou art crabb'd and sour: but lean me cold

Falls on the mountain in midsummer snows,
And all the purple slopes of mountain flowers
Pass under white, till the warm hour returns
With veer of wind, and all are flowers again :"
So dame and damsel cast the simple white,
And glowing in all colours, the live grass,
Rose-campion, bluebell, kingcup, poppy, glanced
About the revels, and with mirth so loud
Beyond all use, that, half-amazed, the Queen,
And wroth at Tristram and the lawless jousts,
Brake up their sports, then slowly to her bower
Parted, and in her bosom pain was lord.

And little Dagonet on the morrow morn,
High over all the yellowing Autumn-tide,
Danced like a wither'd leaf before the hall.
Then Tristram saying, "Why skip ye so, Sir

Wheel'd round on either heel, Dagonet re-

"Belike for lack of wiser company;
Or being fool, and seeing too much wit
Makes the world rotten, why, belike I skip
To know myself the wisest knight of all."
"Ay, fool," said Tristram, "but 'tis eating dry
To dance without a catch, a roundelay
To dance to." Then he twangled on his harp,
And while he twangled little Dagonet stood,


Sir Dagonet, one of thy long asses' ears,
And hearken if my music be not true.

"Free love-free field-we love but while we

The woods are hush'd, their music is no more :
The leaf is dead, the yearning past away :
New leaf, new life-the days of frost are o'er :
New life, new love to suit the newer day :
New loves are sweet as those that went before :
Free love-free field-we love but while we

"Ye might have moved slow-measure to my

Not stood stockstill. I made it in the woods,
And found it ring as true as tested gold."

But Dagonet with one foot poised in his

"Friend, did ye mark that fountain yesterday
Made to run wine ?-but this had run itself
All out like a long life to a sour end-
And them that round it sat with golden cups
To hand the wine to whomsoever came-
The twelve small damosels white as Innocence,
In honour of poor Innocence the babe,
Who left the gems which Innocence the Queen

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