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No. 1531. - October 11, 1873.
Cornhill Magazine, III. THE RINGED PLANET,
Spectator, VIL. THE TOWERS OF SILENCE,
Times of India,
115 125 127
U'NDER THE SURFACE,
66 | PARTED,
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UNDER THE SURFACE.
Fair scenes in thought's dominions dwell, On the surface, foam and roar,
When we have wandered far away ; Restless heave and passionate dash;
Soft strains through memory's caverns swell, Shingle rattle along the shore,
Though every chord hath ceased to play. Gathering boom and thundering crash. So, thy kind voice, thine earnest face,
From fond remembrance nought shall sever, Under the surface, soft green light,
Though from my path thine every trace
Hath passed away forever.
When some bright dream of vanished hours On the surface, swell and swirl,
Is in thy heart upspringing, Tossing weed and drifting waif,
When some loved song through fancy's bow'rs Broken spars that the mad waves whirl,
In faded tones is ringing, Where round wreck-watching rocks they When some faint chord, long hushed and chafe.
’Neath memory's touch doth quiver, Under the surface, loveliest forms,
Then, think of one whose wayward foot Feathery fronds with crimson curl,
Hath passed away forever. Treasures too deep for the raid of storms
E, H Delicate coral and hidden pearl.
A painted skiff with a singing crew,
THE OLD LOVE. Tremulous crimson, gold, and blue.
I. Under the surface, life in death,
You love me, only me. Do I not know? Slimy tangle and oozy moans,
If I were gone your life would be no more Creeping things with watery breath,
Than his who, hungering on a rocky shore, Blackening roots and whitening bones. Shipwrecked, alone, observes the ebb and flow
Of hopeless ocean widening forth below, On the surface, a shining reach,
And is remembering all that was before. A crystal couch for the moonbeam's rest,
Dear, I believe it, at your strong heart's Starry ripples along the beach, Sunset songs from the breezy west.
I am the life; no need to tell me so. Under the surface, glooms and fears,
And yet — Ah husband, though I be more fair, Treacherous currents, swift and strong,
More worth your love, and though you loved Deafening rush in the drowning ears. Have ye rightly read my song ?
(Else must you have some different, deeper, FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL Good Words.
For loving me) dimly I seem aware,
WINTER AT MENTONE.
II. COME, let us sit beside the twisted boles The mountain traveller, joyous on his way,
Of olives always green, by scarps defended, Looks on the vale he left and calls it fair, Absorb the partial summer in our souls
Then counts with pride how far he is from And dream the reign of ice and mistral there, ended,
And still ascends. And when my fancies And mark the torrent's foam and sunshine
Pleased with light memories of a bygone day, And citron slopes all golden meet the shoals I would not have again the things that were. O'er which the heaving sapphire sea, ex I breathe their thought like fragrance in the tended
air Into a cove of palm and aloes, rolls.
Of flowers I gathered in my childish play. Talk not of winter while the labiate flowers
And thou, my very soul, can it touch thee Breathe choicest odours from vermilion lips, If I remember her or I forget ? And villas hide themselves in leafy bowers, Does the sun ask if the white stars be set ?
Nor any clouds the faithful sun eclipse, Yes, I recall, shall many times, maybe, Nor changing climate comes with changing Recall the dear old boyish days again, hours,
The dear old boyish passion. Love, what Nor biting frost the orange-blossom nips.
then ? Temple Bar.
From The Quarterly Review. moted amongst all a rivalry of good manBEAUMARCHAIS AND HIS TIMES.
ners and language, which has now com"LE Mariage de Figaro,” Beaumar- pletely disappeared.” This theory is chais' masterpiece, formed an epoch in confirmed by one of Beaumarchais' letthe dramatic, social, and political annals ters to his father from Madrid in 1765: of France. Napoleon called it the Revo- ! — “The bourgeoises of Madrid are the lution already in action. The author was most foolish creatures in the universe, the type, the living, breathing, varying, very different from what is seen amongst multiform type, of his times. There is us, where all conditions have acquired Do eighteenth century without him, said the bon air et le bel esprit.” There is also Sainte-Beuve, any more than without a letter from the father to the son, beVoltaire, Mirabeau, or Diderot. His ad- tokening a degree of cultivation not usual venturous, tumultuous career, marked by in his class :the strangest alternations of fortune, might
I have been five days and four nights withbe simultaneously presented as an excito' out eating or sleeping, and without ceasing to ing romance and studied as the most cry out. In the intervals when I suffered less, instructive introduction to his play. We I read Grandison, and in how many things have cannot say that M. de Loménie has made I not found a just and noble affinity between the best of his subject. His views are my son and Grandison! Father of thy sisters, just, his criticisms sound, and he has dis- friend and benefactor of thy father, if Engplayed a rare amount of discriminating land, I said, has her Grandison, France has research in the collection of his materials, the English Grandison is only a fiction of an
her Beaumarchais — with this difference, that which are rich and valuable ; but they agreeable writer, whilst the French Beaumarhave been arranged and worked up with chais really exists for the consolation of my little regard to artistic effect : the interest decline. of the narrative is marred by minuteness of detail, as well as by want of due pro There was little affinity with Grandison portion in the parts ; and altogether we in boyhood or in youth. Bred up an incline to think that our best mode of only son with five sisters, he was the proceeding will be to give an outline or spoilt child of the establishment; and summary of the strictly biographical por- the irrepressible joyousness and levity tions of his work.
of his disposition were constantly leading Beaumarchais, who is even less known him into every sort of folly. In the to the general public by his veritable Preface to “ Cromwell,” to prove the patronymic than Voltaire, began life as necessity of allying the comic with the Pierre-Augustin Caron. He was born tragic element, Victor Hugo insists that January 24th, 1742, the son of a watch this contrast is found in the authors maker in the Quartier St. Denis, which, themselves : “ These Democrituses are although deemed the Bæotia of Paris, also Heraclituses ; Beaumarchais was can lay claim to Béranger, the son of a morose : Molière, sombre: Shakespeare, tailor, and Scribe, the son of a silk-mer- melancholy.” In nine cases out of ten, a chant. The family of Caron occupied so man of genius naturally, if not necessahumble a position, that M. de Loménie rily susceptible and impressible, will be pauses to account for their comparative found alternating between gaiety and derefinement of tone and elevation of spondency. L'Allegro and n Penseroso thought by the existence of a Court aris- are sister poems. We do not believe tocracy, " which mixing more and more that Molière was habitually sombre, or with the classes of the bourgeoisie, with- Shakespeare constitutionally sad ; and all out being confounded with them, pro- available evidence, external and internal,
negatives the supposition that BeaumarBeaumarchais et son Temps: Etudes sur la chais was morose. The contrary was so Seite en France au XII!le Sidcle, d'après des Da notoriously the fact, that when (having Française. Troisième édition, revue et corrigée. Paris, been married only twice) he was accused
of poisoning three wives, Voltaire, who
disliked him, said, “ This Beaumarchais have been your ruin. However, out of conis not a poisoner: he is too droll ;” and, sideration for your weakness, I allow you the again, “ I persist in my belief that so gay
violin and the flute, but on the express condia man cannot be of the Locusta family. tion that you never play on either till after There were innumerable occasions when, supper on working days, and never in the daywithout hoping against hope, without of our neighbours nor my own.
and that you do not disturb the repose congeniality combined with hardihood, without glowing, electrical sympathy
The conditions were signed by the culcompelling energy, he would have been prit with the deepest sense of humiliation lost ; when, like Charles Surface, he kept than two years he had obtained that
and apparently in good faith ; for, in less his spirits because he could not afford to
celebrity in his profession which was the part with them.
All we are told of his education is, that utmost extent of the father's wishes or he was sent to the College (Anglicè expectations in his behalf
. In December, school) of Alfort ; that, though an apt 1753, he addressed a letter (his first apscholar, he gave slight indication of pearance in print) to the editor of the
“Mercure," in which he laid claim to capacity, and that he was apprenticed to
the invention of a new escapement for his father, with the view of succeeding to the business, at thirteen. This is the watches, stolen from him by one Sieur precise age of Cherubin, the precocious Lepante, and concluded by proposing to
refer the question to the Academy. The page whose heart beats at the rustling of a petticoat ; and it is a plausible specula- attract the attention of the Comte de
| affair having made noise enough to tion of the biographers, that the page was copied from the life. Some verses com
Saint-Florentin, a high official, two Composed by Beaumarchais at the period missioners were named for the purpose have been preserved, fully justifying the by the Academy; and their decision was appellation of polisson, which is indis- not merely that the invention belonged to criminately applied by himself to both Beaumarchais, but that, for watches, it
was at the same time the most perfect yet copy and original. With an excessive fondness for music, which made him
hit upon and the most difficult of execu
tion. In the course of the year following, lect his trade, he is said to have united other less innocent tastes, and his father June 16, 1755, he alludes to this and othstrove in vain to subdue his turn for dis
er mechanical improvements in terms sipation and extravagance.
In one of showing that he had obtained some illus
trious customers by his ingenuity :the numerous diatribes levelled at him in the height of his celebrity, he is described
By these means I make watches as flat as as turned out of house and home at they are called for, flatter than have hitherto eighteen, and forming one of a strolling their goodness. The first of these simplified
been made, without in any respect diminishing party of jugglers. That he was banished
watches is in the hands of the King. His from the paternal roof is true, but this Majesty has had it for a year, and is quite was no more than a temporary and pro- satisfied with it. I have also had the honour, visional expedient for the reformation of within these few days, of presenting a watch his morals and his ways. He was re- to Madame de Pompadour of this new conceived by friends with the connivance of struction, the smallest ever made ; it is only the family, and when it was thought that four lines and a half in diameter, and twoa sufficiently impressive lesson had been thirds of a line in thickness between the plates. conveyed he was taken back, upon con This letter is signed Caron fils, Hor. ditions which show that the profligate loger du Roi. In a preceding letter, July sons of those days could not resist pater- 1754, he says that the King has ordered a nal rule with impunity. One of them ran facsimile of the watch made for Madame thus:
de Pompadour, and that all the lords were 4. You will give up your unlucky music following the example, each eager to be altogether, and (above all) the company of served first. Till his twenty-fourth year, young people. I will tolerate neither. Both he was content with his prosperous busi
Dess as a watchmaker, and it was an inci- Letters ” of Montesquieu: “The King dent connected with it that led to his of France has no mines of gold, like the throwing it up and turning courtier, in King of Spain, his neighbour ; but he the hope of contending for the prizes of, has more wealth, for he draws it from the love and ambition with his customers. vanity of his subjects, more inexhaustiHe had one main requisite for success ble than mines. He has been seen on an arena where so much depended on dertaking or sustaining great wars, havthe favour of the fair. “No sooner did ing no other funds than titles of honour Beaumarchais appear at Versailles, than for sale ; and, by a prodigy of human the women were struck by his lofty pride, his troops were paid, his fortified stature, his well-proportioned figure, the places supplied, his feets equipped." regularity of his features, his clear and Ingenuity was racked to invent offices or animated complexion, his confident look; sinecures carrying rank or title ; and the by that commanding air which seemed to existing ones were multiplied at will. raise him above all around, and, above There were sixteen contrôleurs cleres all, by that involuntary ardour which when Beaumarchais joined the band, glowed in him at the sight of them.” A with whom he did not remain long. Hi shade of coxcombry did no harm : and predecessor added to the obligation that there was something more than a already conferred by dying soon aftershade, may be inferred from a sentence wards, and before the expiration of the in one of his later pamphlets : Si j'étais prescribed year of mourning the widow un fat, s'ensuit-il que j'étais un ogre? bestowed her hand on the young Caron, It was not, however, to any of the great who, three months after the marriage, at ladies that he was indebted for the first the beginning of 1757, assumed the name of step in his advancement. The wife of de Beaumarchais in right of a fief belongone of the minor functionaries - contrô-ing to his wife. What was the nature of leur clerc d'office de la maison du roi, the fief, whether it had any local existwhich corresponds pretty nearly with ence or was a fief of pure phantasy, his deputy clerk of the royal kitchen - hav- biographers are confessedly unable to ing seen him at Versailles, called at his declare ; and he must have winced at the shop in Paris under the pretence of sarcasm of his fellest adversary, Goëzbringing a watch to repair. She was a “ The Sieur Caron borrowed from handsome woman of about thirty, with one of his wives the name of Beaumaran old and infirm husband. They came chais, which he lent to one of his sisters.” to an understanding at a glance. The His clerkship did not confer nobility, young artist requested permission to be a privilege restricted to the more highlypersonally the bearer of the watch when priced offices; and it was not until 1761, repaired. The favourable impression that he became regularly entitled to the was rapidly improved ; and the husband coveted prefix de by the purchase for 85,after complacently sanctioning their inti- ooo francs of the nominal charge of secrémacy for some months, was induced to taire du roi. Ironically referring to this make over his office, in consideration of transaction in 1773, he writes : “I must an annuity, to Beaumarchais, who was take time to consider whether I ought not formally installed in it by royal brevet of to be offended at seeing you thus rummaNovember 9, 1755.
ging in the archives of my family, and Behold him now released from the recalling my ancient origin which was degrading trammels of a mechanical trade, almost forgotten. Are you aware that I with his foot on the rong — a very low can lay claim already to twenty (twelve) one, we must allow — of the ladder of years of nobility: that this nobility is Court preferment. The succeeding rongs honestly mine, in good parchment, sealed were not attained or attainable by merit; with the great seal of yellow wax: that it they were a mere matter of money like is not, like that of many, uncertain and the first. The explanation may be col- oral; and that no one could contest it lected from a passage in the “ Persian 'with me, for I have the receipt (j'en ai la