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EPITAPH ON A DOG.
(From the Latin of Vincent Beurne.)
Poor Irus' faithful Wolf-dog here Ilie,
Orders received by the Newsmen, by the Booksellers, and by the Publisher, Joseph Appleyard,
Printed by Joseph Appleyard, No. 19, Catherine-street, Strand.
No. XXXI.-WEDNESDAY, MAY 10th, 1820.
We are not aware that this piece of Rousseau's has hitherto appeared in English. _It is a favourite in France, and very naturally so, on all accounts. To our countrymen there will perhaps appear to be something, in parts of it, too declamatory and full of ejaculation; and it must be confessed, that if the story alone is to be considered, the illustrious author has committed one great fault, which was hardly to be expected of him; and that is, that he has not made the sentiment suf. ficently prominent. The original story, though spoiled by the rake Ovid, informs us, that Pygmalion with all his warmth towards the sex was so disgusted at the manners of his countrywomen, that instead of going any longer into their society, he preferred making images, in his own mind, and with his chisel, of what a woman ought to be; informing her looks, of course, with sentiment and kindness, as well as with the more ordinary attractions. It appears to us, therefore, that instead of making him fall in love, almost out of vanity, as Rousseau has done, it might have been better, in the abstract point of view above mentioned, to represent him fashioning the likeness of a creature after his own heart, lying and looking at it with a yearning wish that he could have met with such a living being, and at last, while indulging his imagination with talking to her, making him lay his hand upon hers, and finding it warm. The rest is, in every respect, exquisitély managed by Rousseau. But now we must observe, that while the charge of a certain prevailing air of insincerity over the French style in these matters, appears just in most instances, a greater confidence is to be put in the enthusiasm of the Genevese; for he was a kind of Pygmalion himself, disgusted with the world, and perpetually yet hopelessly endeavouring to realize the dreams of his imagination. This, after all, is perhaps the most touching thing in his performance. Pygmalion's self predominates over the idea of his mistress, because the author's self pressed upon him while he wrote. The only actual difference between the fabulous solitary and the real one, was, unfortunately, that Pygmalion seems to have been willing enough to be contented, had he found a mistress that deserved him; whereas Rousseau, when he was really beloved, and eren thought himself so, was sure to be made the ruin of his own comfort; partly by a distrustful mora bidity of temperament, and partly perhaps by a fastidious metaphysic cal subtlety, which turned his eye with a painful sharpness upon
defects instead of humanities of his fellow-creatures, and made the ina dividual answer for the whole mass.
The Scene represents a Sculptor's work-shop, in which are several blocks of marble, sculptured groups, and sketches of stálues. In the midst of these is another statue, concealed under a drapery of a light and shining stuff, ornamented with fringes and garlands.
Pygmalion is sitting, supporting his head with his hand, in the attitude of a man who is uneasy and melancholy. On a sudden he rises ; and taking one of his tools from a table, gives some strokes of the chisel to several of the sketches; then turns from them, and looks about him with an air of discontent.
Pygmalion. There is neither life nor soul in it; it is but a mere stone. I shall never do any thing with all this.
Oh, my genius, where art thou ? What is become of thee ? All. my fire is extinguished, my imagination is frozen; the marble comes cold from my hands.
Make no more gods, Pygmalion: you are but a common artista Ye vile instruments, no longer instruments of my glory, ye shall dishonour my hands no moré.
(He throws away his tools with disdain, and walks about with his arms crossed, as in meditation.)
What am I become? What strange revolution has taken place in me ? --Tyre, proud and opulent city, your illustrious monuments of art, no longer attract me. I have lost my taste for them. All intercourse with artists and philosophers has become insipid to me: the society of painters and poets, has no attraction for me; praise and renown have ceased to elevate me; the approbation of posterity has no interest for me, even friendship has to me lost all her charms. And
you, young masterpieces of nature, whom my art has presumed to imitate, you, in whose train the pleasures ever led me, you, my charming models, who consumed me at once with the flames of love and genius,-since I have surpassed you, you are all become indifferent to me.
(He seats himself, and contemplates the figures around him.)
Detained in this room by an inconceivable charm, I know not what to do here, and yet I cannot leave it. I wander from group to group, from figure to figure, my weak and uncertain chisel no longer acknowlcdging it's master. These rude sketches are left untouched by the hand which should have given them life and beauty(He rises impetuously.) It is over, it is over: I have lost my genius! So
youngand yet I have survived it!
And what then is this internal ardour which consumes me? What is this fire which devours me? Why in the languor of extinguished genius, should I feel these emotions, these bursts of impetuous passion, this insurmountable restlessness, this secret agitation which torments
I know not: I fear the admiration of my own work has been the cause of this distraction : I have concealed it under this veil-my profane hands have ventured to cover this monument of their glory. Since I have ceased to behold it, I have become more melancholy and absent,
How dear, how precious, this immortal work will be to '
me! If my exhausted mind shall 'never more produce any thing grand, beautiful, worthy of me, I will point to my Galatea, and say, “There is my work.'
Oh my Galatea! when I shall have lost all else, do thou alone remain to me, and I shall be consoled.
(He approaches the veiled statue ; draws back; goes, comes; stops sometimes to look at it, and sighs.) i to
But why conceal it? What do I gain by that? Reduced to idleness, why refuse myself the pleasure of contemplating the firest of my works? - Perhaps there may yet be some defect which I have not perceived ; perhaps I might yet add some ornament to the drapery : no imaginable grace should be wanting to so charming an object. Perhaps the contemplation of this figure may re-animate my languishing imagination. I must see her again ; I must examine my work. What do I say? Yes; I have never yet examined it; hitherto I have only admired her.
(He goes to raise the veil, and lets it fall, as if alarmed.)
I know not what emotion seizes me when I touch this veil: I feel a tremor, as though I were touching the sanctuary of some divinity. Pygmalion, it is but a stone'; it is thine own work-What can it mean? In our“ temples, they serve gods made of the same material, and formed by the same hand as this.
raises the veil trembling, and prostrates himself before the statue of Galatea, which is seen placed on a
pedestal, raised by semicircular steps of marble.).
Oh, Galatea ! receive my homage. I have deceived myself, I thought to make you a nymph, and I have made you a goddess. Even Venus herself is less beautiful.
O vanity, human weakness! I am never weary of admiring my own work; I am intoxicated with self-love; I adore myself in that which I have made -No, never was there any thing in nature so beautiful; I have surpassed the work of the Gods What! so many beauties formed by my hands z my hands then have touched them; my mouth has- I see a defect. This drapery too much conceals it. I must slope it away more; the charms which it shades should be more displayed.
(He takes his mallet and chisel, and, advancing slowly, begins with much hesitation to ascend the steps towards the statue, which it seems he dares not touch. He raises the chisel, he stops.)
What is this trouble this trembling? I hold the chisel with a fceble hand- I cannot-I dare not-I shall spoil every thing.
(He endeavours to conquer his trouble, and at last raising the chisel again, makes one stroke and lets it fall, with a loud cry.). MA Gods! I feel the quivering flesh'repel the chisel!
Stailis (He descends, trembling and confused.)
-Vain terror, blind foliy !--No-I will not touch her the Gods affright me. Doubtless she is already deified. (He contemplates her again.)
1079 4:14 What would you change, Pygmalion ? Look! what new charms can you give her? Alas! her only fault is her perfection.Divine Galatea! [ess perfect, nothing would be wanting lo thee. 30200929
It is on
(Tenderly.) Yet a soul is wanting. That figure should not be without a soul. (With still encreasing tenderness.) How fine should be the soul to animate that body!
(He stops a long time: then returns to his seat, and speaks with a slow and changed voice.)
What desires have I dared to form? What senseless wishes! What is this I feel-Oh heaven! the illusion vanishes, and I dare not look into my heart. I should have too much to reproach myself with.
(He pauses a long time, in profound melancholy.)
This then is the noble passion which distracts me! account of this inanimate figure, that I dare not go out of this spot! A figure of marble!-A stone !-A hard and unformed mass, until worked with this iron !
-Madman, recover thyself, see thine error, groan for thy follyBut no
No, I have not lost my reason; no, I am not wandering ; I reproach myself with nothing. It is not of this marble that I am enamoured ; it is of a living being whom it resembles; the figure which it presents to my eyes.
Wherever this adorable form may be, whatever body may bear it, whatever hand may have made it, she will have all the vows of my heart. Yes, my only folly is in the power of discerning beauty; my only crime is being sensible to it. There is nothing in this I ought to blush for.
(Less lively, but always with passion.)
What arrows of fire seem to issue from this object to burn my sepses, and to carry away my soul unto their source! Alas! she remains immoveable and cold, while my heart, consumed by her charms, longs to quit my own body to give warmth to her’s. I imagine in my delirium that I could spring from myself, that I could give to her my life, that I could animate her with my soul. Ah, let Pygmalion die, to live in Galatea !-What do I say, O heaven? If I were she, I should no longer see her; I should not be he that loves her !-No, let my Galatea live; but let not me become Galatea. Oh! let me always be another, always wish her to be herself, to love her, to be beloved
Torments, vows, desires, impotent rage, terrible, fatal love-Oh! all hell is in my agitated heart- -Powerful, beneficent Gods !--Gods of the people, who know the passions of men, ah, how many miracles have you done for small causes! Behold this object, look into my heart, be just, and deserve
altars! (With a more pathetic enthusiasm.)
And thou, sublime essence, who concealing thyself from the senses, art felt in the heart of men, soul of the universe, principle of all existence, thou who by love givest harmony to the elements, life to matter, feeling to bodies, and form to all beings; sacred fire, celestial Venus, by whom every thing is preserved, and unceasingly re-produced ! Ah, where is thy equalizing justice? Where is thy expansive power Where is the law of nature in the sentiment I experience? Where is thy vivifying warmth in the inanity of my vain desires ? AU thy flames are concentrated in my heart, and the coldness of death remains upon