Proser. Speak out, Cyane!

Pluto. But, above all, in my heart shall you reign
Supreme, a Goddess and a Queen indeed,
Without a rival. Oh! and you shall share
My subterranean power, and sport upon
The fields Elysian, where 'midst softest sounds,
And odours springing from immortal flowers,
And mazy rivers, and eternal groves

Of bloom and beauty, the good spirits walk :
And you shall take your station in the skies
Nearest the Queen of Heaven, and with her hold
Celestial talk, and meet Jove's tender smile
So beautiful-

Proser. Away, away, away,

Nothing but force shall ever.-Oh, away.
I'll not believe. Fool that I am to smile.
Come 'round me virgins. Am I then betrayed?
Oh! fraudful king!

Pluto. No, by this kiss, and this:

I am your own, my love; and you are mine
For ever and for ever. Weep, Cyane.


[Forces off Proserpine.

They are gone-Afar, afar,
Like the shooting of a star,
See their chariot fade away.
Farewell, lost Proserpina.

Cyane is gradually transformed.)
But, oh! what frightful change is here:
Cyane, raise your eyes, and hear-
We call thee.-Vainly-on the ground
She sinks, without a single sound,
And all her garments float around.
Again, again she rises-light,
Her head is like a fountain bright,
And her glossy ringlets fall,
With a murmur musical,
O'er her shoulders like a river,
That rushes and escapes for ever
Is the fair Cyane gone?
And is this fountain left alone,
For a sad remembrance, where

We may in after times repair,

With heavy heart and weeping eye,
To sing songs to her memory


Oh! then, farewell! and now with hearts that mourn Deeply, to Dian's temple will we go:

But ever on this day we will return,

Constant, to mark Cyane's fountain flow;
And, haply, for among us who can know
The secrets written on the scrolls of Fate,

A day may come when we may cease our woe,
And she, redeemed at last from Pluto's hate,
Rise, in her beauty old, pure and regenerate.


still very properly expressions of his true meaning. Thus, it is rather a false modesty that leaves to be raised by implication, a construction which necessarily follows from every man's declaring that such, or such, is his particular opinion. Still, in the present refined state of society, it is far better that hard words should be avoided in every discussion; and therefore it is to be regretted that the writer above quoted did not add to the humility for which he is so conspicuous, a little forbearance, and substitute some milder epithets, by which to characterise the fault of those who choose to proceed farther than he does in the road to which he had, up to a certain point, journeyed with them. Of all shapes in which intemperance of thought or language displays itself, the most odious is that which it assumes when employed by men to whom the world (whether justly or unjustly) will always affix the stigma of political apostacy, when it hears them reviling and insulting their former partizans and associates.

I en

tertain all possible indulgence for any honest change of opinions, and all possible respect for the honest account of such change; but the very consciousness of being subject to such mutability, ought to make all men cautious and moderate in their expressions regarding the opinions of others; and more especially, those who are not only theoretically but experimentally acquainted with this infirmity of human nature. Of the various gradations, therefore, of criminality, to which the vice of exaggeration is subject, the highest and most enormous is the exaggeration of renegades and apostates-which terms, in their popular sense, I take to include all men who have publicly altered their political creed, or separated themselves from their political associates. Next to that in flagitiousness, is the exaggeration of men in power, which I consider as incomparably less excuseable than that of Whigs and Reformers; both as it is more mischievous in its effects, and as there is less temptation to the commission of it. The party in power, when once firmly seated, have the command of innumerable engines, and methods of self-support, infinitely more efficient than the abuse and misrepresentation of their less fortunate rivals; besides, that to the fair and well-judging part of the community,

that very abuse and misrepresentation are instruments of no potency in their hands when opposed to similar weapons in the grasp of their antagonists. The world, which looks upon the parties in and out of place with the same eyes that it contemplates two prizefighters on a stage, feels naturally indignant when that which, in point of situation, has a great and overwhelming advantage, condescends, in addition, to resort to the same instruments of annoyance which the other employs as his only means of defence and resistance. It is like a combat between two swordsmen, of whom one is cased in complete armour, while the other is naked. But I have a stronger objection to urge against this method of ministerial warfare. In the hands of opposition, exaggeration and mis-statement, ridicule and calumny, are so far the recognised instruments of party purposes as to have lost at least half their effect, even with the multitude and no man-I will not say no man of sense only-but nobody whatevernow thinks the worse of a minister's talents because the Edinburgh Review calls him incapable, or more highly of his opponents because the same journal represents that certain improvements in political knowledge, which are open to all the world, have by some unaccountable fatality remained as exclusively their own property as if they had been sealed up, and the use of them prohibited to every one else. But it is otherwise, when these same engines of fraud and contrivance are employed under the broad imposing cover of official or semi-official gravity. The Whig, bespattered with government dirt, becomes at once, in the eyes of half the world, the identical monster they would represent him to be; and as, unfortunately, there now exists a third party in the state, incomparably inore dangerous and more hostile to the existence of both Whigs and Tories, than either of those can be to the other; and who are restrained, by no one scruple of honour or policy, by no one motive which can actuate the mind of a gentleman, and by no one principle that is seated in the breast of a patriot, by whom the old and regular opposition, so long as they retain the smallest portion of popular favour or esteem, are beyond all comparison more hated than the warmest and most violent among the supporters of government, the consequence is, that,

thus assailed on both sides, they must, as a political party, soon cease to have any being; and that with their fall, the old and well tried balance of the constitution will be destroyed, and the liberties of the nation delivered over, bound and fettered, to all the extremities which the prevalence of despotism or anarchy may inflict upon them. I am quite convinced that this deplorable crisis is not to be averted on the part of the Whigs, by the weak compromise of a single constitutional principle in the way of concession to popular clamour and insolence; and I am equally certain, that it must be incalculably accelerated by the system of abuse and recrimination so diligently pursued by the government writers against the remnant of a party, which, though politically opposed, is essentially united to them by one common interest against their more formidable and radical opponents. It is by

measures of concession to and conciliation with all those of every class and mode of opinion to whom the ark of the constitution is yet properly the object of veneration and care, and not by the proud and uncompromising spirit of injustice, which would confound all shades and diversities of doubt and dissent in one indiscriminate charge of rebellion, that the state is now to be defended against the attacks of those who are openly pledged and sworn to its subversion; and it is well said by the author whom I have before cited, with feelings very different from those of entire approbation, "Les amis aveugles des mesures violentes tombent sans cesse dans la même erreur. C'est au despotisme qu'ils demandent la reparation des maux que le despotisme a causés. Quand un état est prêt a peri faute de liberté, ils appellent à leur secours plus de servitude encore, et c'est par un accroissement d'arbitraire qu'ils croient apaiser le besoin des garantiés. Mais le pouvoir absolu n'est pas comme la lance d' Achille-il ne guerit point les blessures qu'il a faites-il les envenime et les rend incurables."

Now, if there is any truth in this observation, (and I think that every day's political experience more and more tends to confirm it,) how does it apply to the habit of perpetual a buse and altercation to which the public is condemned to listen, in the form of sound argument and fair dis

cussion, between the contending parties which we denominate, (for want of more proper terms of distinction) Whig and Tory? Let us first calmly consider what is the actual situation of the country, and then, if we can persuade ourselves that it is really such as to leave those who have its interests at heart, sufficient leisure to devote themselves to this war of words, and that they can devote themselves to it securely, there is no more to be said. But, if higher and more immediate duties not only require their attention, but are of such a nature as to demand it entirely, what true Englishman will persist for a moment longer in the useless, the more than useless, exercise? The nation is no longer divided between Whig and Tory, or between Churchman and Dissenter, or between Protestant and Catholic; but between those of all parties who acknowledge an interest, and who claim a right, in the preservation of the commonwealth, and those whose only aim, secret or open, is to destroy it. It is impossible that any man, whether he be Whig or Tory, can be so blinded by the bigotry of faction, as not to be internally convinced, that it is as much the desire and the object of those of the contrary party, as it is his own, to defend the real interests of the state against the enemies who are leagued together for its overthrow. Then why any longer stoop to employ that false and execrable jargon, the sole tendency of which, is to confound the proudest and best established distinctions, and by levelling the barriers of truth, to expose the constitution, unarmed and naked, to every shaft which is aimed at its existence? Let me ask,-setting aside all motives of prudence and true political wisdomwhether, in common justice between man and man, the Whigs are strictly chargeable as a body, with all the warm and intemperate expressions, with all the extravagant doctrines or principles, to which the fury of the moment may have given birth in certain individuals of the party, any more than these whose profession is that of attachment to the existing government, are deserving of having imputed to them, in the mass, the exploded chimera of the divine right of kings, or the more dangerous notion of the perfection of absolute_monarchy, upon which many of their too

Extract of a Letter relative to the Death of Voltaire, and that
of Jean Jacques Rousseau.

M. de Voltaire has just terminated his long career amid the honours paid to him by Parisian enthusiasm. He was crowned at the Theatre Français, at the close of the representation of his Irene, a tragedy which savours strongly of the chilled age when he wrote it. On quitting the theatre, he was surrounded by the minor poets, who demanded, on their knees, the honour of kissing his hands. This excess of enthusiasm, which was very ridiculous, became still more absurd on his reaching the house of Mr Franklin, who fell on his knees, and asked a blessing of him for his young nephew. The excruciating pains felt by M. de Voltaire led him to ask a remedy of his friend M. D. Richelieu, who laboured under the same complaint. The latter sent him opium, the remedy to which he had himself had recourse; and by its abuse he was poisoned. In his latest moments, he expressed a wish to consult M. Tronchin, of whom, however, he did not entertain the most favourable opinion, and treated him as a quack, his art as imposture, &c. Exasperated at these insults, M. Tronchin told him, with much gravity, that, at the most, he had not more than two hours to live, and that therefore it behoved him to see to his affairs. On this observation he was desired to withdraw.

M. de Voltaire now raised himself on his bed, with the help of his nurse and of his notary. The latter having handled him somewhat roughly, received a cuff, the force of which led him to enter his protest against the prognostic of the doctor. As soon as he was recovered from the disorder into which the awkwardness of the notary had thrown him, he said to himself, "At length I am to die. Be it so; but let my end be conformable to my life. It is more than probable that my body will be deposited in the Chantier (timber-yard) of Maurapas, where the ashes of La Couvreur* repose. Forty years ago she would not permit me to sleep with her, but she will now be constrained

to endure me at her side." He was
not allowed to be interred in Paris;
and the church in which he was
buried at Troyes en Champagne, has
been interdicted. His punishment
was well merited by him, seeing that
he protested, until his latest hour,
against the divinity of Jesus Christ.
He even composed the following epi-
gram, if it may be so named, against
religion, and repeated it to his friends,
when the agonies of death were fast

Adicu, mes amis,
Adieu, la compagnie,
Dans une heure d'ici,
Mon ame, anéantie,
Sera ce qu'elle était une heure avant ma vie.

I have not heard that he has as yet had an epitaph bestowed on him, unless the ines which have been handed about, and which are quite in the epigrammatic style, are to be considered as such.

De Voltaire admirez la bizarre planette:
Il naquit chez Ninon, et mourut chez Villette.

The latter is a young Swiss lady, of whom he was greatly enamoured, and whom he had married to M. de Villette.*

Jean Jacques Rousseau has rendered his end singularly interesting by the memoirs of his life, in which he has made an exact avowal of all his actions. These memoirs are comprised in an octavo volume, which sells at a most extravagant price. It is even said that copies have been purchased at as high a rate as eighty livres, (more than three guineas,) and from that to twenty-five. The dearness of the book arises from the vigilance of the police, and from its interest-for M. Rousseau has developed in it the intrigue of his novel. It is as follows: His Julie is Mademoiselle de Montmorency, married to a French nobleman, whose name I have not been able to learn, and whom he styles Madame Wolmar. This unfortunate female has been long dead; and it is said by several persons who were acquainted with Rousseau, that from that time he became unsocial and mis

* A celebrated actress, denied, with all those of her profession in the Catholic states, Christian burial.

+ These details were given by M. Mercier, who was present when M. de Voltaire breathed his last.


anthropic. He acknowledges that he had carried on, during three months, an illicit intercourse with Madame de Montmorency, the mother of his Julie; and that this lady, conceiving herself to be the only object of his homage, had confided to him the education of her daughter, whom he seduced: That a nobleman had demanded her in marriage and that he, Rousseau, having had satisfactory proofs of the probity of this nobleman, had beseeched him not to entail misery on the young lady and on himself. To this he consented, and retired to his country seat. This personage is his Milord Edouard. That the Viscount de Montmorency, who is still living,* on his return from the war in Hanover, having perceived that intrigues were carrying on under his roof, dismissed M. Rousseau, and married his daughter to the nobleman known by the name of WolHe also says, that having become desperately enamoured of Madame de Montmorency's female attendant, his passion carried him to such a length as to instigate him to steal a gold trinket belonging to her mistress, with a view to criminate her: That having thrown out suspicions against this unfortunate girl, he caused her to be sent to prison, to the end that, as her deliverer, he might acquire certain rights over her person; and that, if she had not yielded to his passion, he would have had the courage to see her hanged, and to despatch himself afterwards with a poignard: That being in extreme distress, a doctor of the Sorbonne, whom he names, proposed to him to write against religion. This offer he accepted, and took care to fulfil his engagement. He names a dozen women of quality, still living, from whom he received favours, at times and under circumstances, which carry with them a great air of probability. His mistress is the daughter of M. le Vasseur, a director of imposts at Dijon. By his persuasives she was led to elope with him. Having brought together, at a dinner party, Messrs Diderot, d'Alembert, and


others, he presented to them this female, saying, "I call God and my friends to witness that I acknowledge no other wife beside Mademoiselle le Vasseur." By this woman he had four children, three of whom are, agreeably to his testimony, in the foundling hospital. With the destiny of the other he professes to be unacquainted.


(Here is introduced an extract from the preface to THE CONFESSIONS," already before the public. What follows, as referring to the manner of Rousseau's death, is not so well known. A loose hint is thrown out by Madame de Staël, in her memoirs of this extraordinary character, that a suspicion was entertained of his having been taken off by poison. The particulars are these.)

The mausoleum of Jean Jacques Rousseau is at Ermenonville, where he died, in the house of his friend the Marquis de Girardin. The cause of his death has been disguised, by ascribing it to an attack of apoplexy. He died of poison, because his memoirs had appeared before the time he had prescribed; and it was the infidelity of his mistress, who had stolen them from him, which led him to have recourse to poison. He is buried in a small island formed by a lake, in the centre of a sombre group of trees, in which he took particular delight. On one side of his tomb, which is a square of six feet, surmounted by a cornucopia, M. Girardin has inscribed the following lines.

Ici, sous ces ombres paisibles,
Pour les restes de Jean Jacques Rousseau,
L'amitié posa ce tombeau :

Mais c'est dans tous les cœurs sensibles
Que cet homme divin, qui fut tout sentiment,
Doit trouver du respect l'eternal monument.

The other side of the tomb has a musical trophy for his operatic piece, 66 LE DEVIN DE VILLAGE." Behind is a woman in tears, giving her breast to an infant, who holds in his hands "L'EMILE." The third side represents two doves billing, as an emblem of the " NOUVELLE HELOISE."

*This was written shortly after the death of Rousseau. D

« ElőzőTovább »