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From The Church Quarterly Review.
rapher. He may preserve the materials out of which a later writer may conceive IN very early forms of art it sometimes and portray the great man's character; he happens that the desire for completeness may contribute for the student of a period is fatal to the effect intended in the pic-one aspect of the events; ture. The too faithful artist rightly feels that from no single point of view can the whole of his subject be seen and rendered; and if the front is important, it does not follow that the back and sides are to be ignored. A really exhaustive portrait must represent the whole man; and so the painter walks all round him, and conscientiously transfers to his paper all that he sees, from north and south and east and west. The result may be cumbrous and shapeless; it may recall no known specimen of humanity; it may be, in the phrase of Herodotus, "like thing rather than a man;" but, at all events, it is complete; it leaves out nothing; no one can ask further questions any or present any fresh facts in regard to the subject thus displayed.
A like method has become common
among biographers, with something like the same results. It seems ungrateful to complain about a book so carefully elaborated, and so rich in helpful thoughts, as the "Life of Bishop Dupanloup," written by the Abbé Lagrange, and translated by Lady Herbert; but its true worth is seriously impaired by the danger which is threatening almost to destroy the very conception of biography. For surely in writing a man's life, as in painting a man's portrait, the skill of omission is essential to the value of the work. A map is not a picture, and annals are not biography. A writer who loads page after page and chapter after chapter with details, often absolutely homogeneous and only evincing over again some trait already fully described and fastened in the reader's mind, may render important services to history, but he fails of the true work of a biog
• 1. Vie de Mgr. Dupanloup. Par M. L'ABBE F. LAGRANGE. Quatrième édition. Paris, 1884.
2. Life of Mgr. Dupanloup. By the ABBE F. LAGRANGE; translated from the French by LADY HERBERT. London, 1885.
3. Souvenirs d'Enfance et de Jeunesse. RENAN. Treizième édition. Paris, 1836.
4. Les Catholiques Libéraux. Revue des Deux Mondes, 1884. 15 Août, 15 Décembre.
with new specimens and instances the truths of ethics: but he does not give to the world at large that help which should be all men's gain from a noble life; he does not set before us the character that was beyond all characteristics, and beneath all energy and skill in action; he does not make us see, in its unity and uniqueness, the moral form that lived and wrought; he does not bear into our minds a fresh presence, to be henceforward, as it were, of the privy council of our life, a voice to be listened for, a witness to be remembered, a rebuke for all faint-heartedness. We may, perhaps, be able to get such an image out of the big volumes and the throng of incidents; but we must get it for ourselves, with more expense of time and industry and patience than most men care to give to the task. And so the power of the story never comes to many who would have had real help from a clear and vivid picture, bold and salient and strong in its presentation of that which was at the heart of the eventful life — the man who lived it. The first virtue of a biographer is to see in statuesque distinctness the character which he would make us see; the second is to be ruthless
and audacious in omissions. To borrow a metaphor from Mr. Browning, the biographer must recognize his limitations in the selection of details just as a cabin passenger must remember the scanty space allowed him as he chooses what he will take with him on his voyage. It would be delightful to take everything he values and enjoys; but then
understand what six feet mean, Compute and purchase store accordingly.*
through the English, if the strong and salient characteristics of the original had And yet the biographer of Mgr. Dupan- defied the effort of translation, and the loup might well plead that there never was English been brackish, as it were, with a life much more difficult to bring within French. Or the conception and title of the compass of artistic treatment than a translation might have been abandoned, his. The times through which he lived, and we might have had an English preshis continual prominence and energy, the entation of the bishop's life, based upon great variety of his gifts and of their uses, the abbe's work, and gathered out of his his restless readiness of tongue and pen, volumes; in which case the language his fights and friendships, his unhesitating might have been pure and natural Enacceptance of every task that a conspicu-glish, and the bulk of the book judiciously ous position could attract - these are retrenched. But Lady Herbert has adoptcauses which might seem to preclude all ed neither of these plans. We have neither hope of unity in the portrayal of his life. the accuracy of translation nor the atAnd it was, perhaps, impossible for any tractiveness of an independent work. one writing so near to the events quorum Phrases and sentences are here and there pars magna fuit, and writing from the omitted; it would not be too much to say standpoint of the Abbé Lagrange, to keep that, regarded as a translation, the book down in due subordination, or to compress seems quite recklessly inaccurate; but in just proportions, the details of contro- still the language in many passages is versy and policy and administration which plainly hindered and disfigured by the increase the bulk and diminish the effect influence of the French idiom. One inof these volumes. But we cannot help stance will suffice to show the extent of regretting the result; most of all for the the freedom with which the original has fear lest in the range and speed and din been treated. The Abbé Lagrange writes: and glare of the public life men will lose C'est à lui-même que nous devons ce que sight of the real greatness which was in nous allons pouvoir raconter de ses premières Mgr. Dupanloup. There have been many années. Chateaubriand a dit de ses "Méwho have been as brilliant as he upon moires," "Si telle partie de ce travail m'a plus the stage of history; many who have attaché que telle autre, c'est ce qui regarde in the long run exercised far more effect ma jeunesse, le coin le plus ignoré de ma vie. .. upon the course of affairs. But there are On pourrait ajouter, et le plus révélaother traits in his life and work which teur. Non certes " 'pour remonter le cours seem to belong to a very rare type of char-mais dans un sentiment autrement sérieux, de de ses belles années" comme Chateaubriand, acter, which look as though they came out profonde humilité et de reconnaissance, l'Abbé of that inner strength and purity which Dupanloup, en 1848, pendant une retraite qu'il lift a man at once into the very first rank, fit à Issy, se plut à écrire, sous l'œil de Dieu, and make him really worth watching and de simples notes, à l'usage de son âme, intiremembering. tulées, Souvenirs de ce que j'ai fait de mal el de ce que Dieu m'a fait de bien.*
Now the corresponding passage in Lady
One would like to be quit, as soon as may be, of the ungracious business of finding fault. That task can never be less welcome than when one deals with a We owe to himself the account of his early "labor of love," such as Lady Herbert has years. Chateaubriand says in his "Meachieved in translating the work of the moirs,' ," "If any portion of this work has Abbé Lagrange. But the translation suf-been more interesting to me than the other, it fers seriously from a great mistake of relates to my youth, that unknown corner of judgment. It was open to Lady Herbert my life." With a far deeper feeling, and to translate the abbe's French quite accurately; in which case no one would have complained if the French had shown
* Bishop Blougram's Apology. R. Browning's Poetical Works, vol. v., p. 266.
with intense humility and gratitude, the Abbé Dupanloup in 1848, during a retreat at Issy, wrote some simple notes on his childhood for the good of his own soul, and which he Vie de Mgr. Dupanloup, tome i., p. 3.
headed with the words, Recollections of what I have done wrong, and of the good which God has done to me.*
Some comments might be made on the grammar of these words; but they are quoted here only to illustrate the extreme liberty which again and again is taken in dealing with the original. Instances at least as marked might be multiplied to almost any extent: thus twenty-five lines of French at the beginning of chapter xxix., concerning the Abbé Dupanloup's grief for his mother's death, are represented by eight lines of English. This is surely inconsistent with the title of a translation; and the importance of insisting on accuracy in such matters forbids its being left without very serious
anxious to set before the mind and heart of English readers. Let us first try to form some idea of the ways by which the great Bishop of Orleans was trained for all his work; then let us glance at the astonishing activity of his life, the ceaseless and brilliant energy with which he threw himself into all the manifold complexity of strife and stir around him, the zeal and versatility with which he took the tasks of twenty men; and then let us pause to look rather more steadily at those aspects of his career which seem to yield, as we gaze at them, the gravest, highest lessons which he has to teach us.
Félix Antoine Philibert Dupanloup was cen-born on January 3, 1802, at the village of Saint Félix, between Annecy and Chambéry, and the former of these two places was the scene of his childhood. He began life with no advantages to make success or greatness likely; nay, with hindrances as serious as could well beset him. All that helped him in his early years he owed to the love and self-denial of his
At the same time there cannot be claimed for the English version the counterbalancing advantage of having got clear from the peculiar characteristics of the French: "I embrace you with all my heart; " "how useful such little gifts are towards young men ; ""an eminent catechist, the hope and ambition of all moth-mother; and in his letters and elsewhere ers "such expressions as these keep the flitting sense of the original always hovering about the reader's mind; the French idiom is seen, as it were, out of the corner of his eye, while he is looking at the page of English.
Lastly (and the word is written with real relish), far more care should be given to the revision of the proof-sheets. "Its fame resounded far beyond the diocese, and was as eagerly read by the laity as by the clergy;" "Another admirable play of Sophocles, the 'Edipus at Colonna ; ' "Oculi omnium in te sperant, Domine, et tu das illi escam in tempore opportuno "§ the sight of sentences like these seriously interrupts the enjoyment of any book.
it is easy to see the depth of reverence and affection with which he owned the debt. There are graceful, loving letters from the young seminarist :·
Bonne mère, je t'aime, je pense à toi dans mon travail; je dis, c'est pour Dieu et pour ma mère. . . . Adieu, ma mère, je vais aller à la messe de minuit; je prierai pour toi ce Dieu nouveau-né, qui eut une mère aussi et l'aimait bien tendrement. Ton tendre fils. (Vol. i., p. 64.)
She enters into the first and inmost thoughts of his life as a priest: "Mais, pour moi, vois-tu, il n'y a qu'une seule personne que je désire à ma première messe, et c'est ma mère "* (p. 86). Throughout all those stages of his work in which such an arrangement was possible he lived with his mother, and when he was superior of St. Nicholas he secured for her a lodging close by, and never passed a single day without going to see her. But when she was dying, at the age of seventy, only a few weeks before her son was made Bishop
• Cf. Souvenirs d'enfance, E. Renan, p. 176: "Le plus beau trait du caractère de M. Dupanloup était l'amour qu'il avait pour sa mère."
of Orleans, he felt how far his care and loyalty had stayed below the level of his mother's self-forgetful tenderness, and there are very touching words in the pages that tell of those days in his life :
Je bénis Dieu de ces dernières années. Mais auparavant tout avait été peine. Et je ne parle pas de toutes les peines que je lui donnais par ma froideur, mon indifférence apparente, mes duretés. Oh! qu'il faut prendre garde que le prêtre n'éteigne le fils. Ce ne peut être la volonté de Dieu. (Tome i., p. 525.)
Again, as he looks back very soon after her death, he writes:
Depuis que je l'ai perdue, je vois qu'elle tenait dans mon cœur et dans ma vie une place immense. Je lui donnais peu de temps; ma vie était ailleurs; mais il n'y avait rien dans ma vie et dans mon temps où elle ne fut. Il y a mille choses auxquelles je m'aperçois que je ne tenais qu'à cause d'elle; je les aimais parce que ces choses lui faisaient plaisir. Aujourd'hui que ma mère n'y est plus, toutes ces choses sont mortes pour moi. Je sens que dans les choses même les plus indifférentes, ma mère y était. (P. 529.)
One may venture thus to dwell on the love of the mother and the son, not only for the other instances which it may recall of great lives moved by a like force, but also because it had an unshared power over Félix Dupanloup. In face he was very singularly like his mother, and many traits of his character he drew from her. She is said to have been "digne de ce culte filial; femme extérieurement très-simple, mais belle et riche nature; d'une culture ordinaire, mais avec des qualités qui ne l'étaient pas; une trempe énergique, une sensibilité profonde, un rare bon sens, une ardente foi." * It is not hard to trace in the bishop's thoughts and life the reappearance of most of these characteristics. His school-days began at Annecy; but the tokens of promise soon encouraged a great venture, and with very scanty means and manifold anxiety his mother decided to take him to París, whither they came with an aunt and a cousin towards the end of 1809, when little Félix was between seven and eight; and there he was presently sent to school at the Collège SainteBarbe. At about this time, when he was ten or eleven years old, he had an experience which, discouraging as it seemed, probably bore good fruit in his later work. He learnt how children should not be dealt with; the dreary, ill-arranged catechizing at St. Etienne du Mont, and the
Vie de Mgr. Dupanloup, i. 521.
stiffness and dryness of the old priest who heard his first confession, probably often came back to him as a useful and warning memory. At twelve and a half, having been rejected at St. Séverin as too young to be prepared for his first communion, he found his way to St. Sulpice. His biographer has good reason for the words, "Le voilà où Dieu l'attend; tout son avenir allait se décider là " (tome i., p. 13).
Since the time of M. Olier the work of catechizing had been foremost in the care and fame of St. Sulpice. By the elaboration of catechisms and the devotion of catechists the parish had first been lifted out of the abyss of neglect and misery and infidelity and vice into which it had sunk, and the whole scheme of catechetical instruction had been elaborated to conspicuous excellence.* Félix Dupanloup felt at once, it may be with the dawning sensitiveness of the future catechist, the height and beauty of the work that was going on: "Il y avait là comme une atmosphère de silence, de religion, de recueillement, de docilité, de sincérité qui me toucha" (p. 14). He joined the class at once, and was drawn still further into sympathy and confidence by the simple kindliness with which he was welcomed. He tells the story very frankly and charmingly in his "Entretiens sur le catéchisme," whence it is drawn by M. Lagrange. Henceforward St. Sulpice, its teaching, its discipline, its character, its friendships, became the fashioning and animating forces of his life. There he was prepared for his first communion and for confirmation. There he first received the Holy Eucharist, and knew "les mystérieux épanchements de l'âme émue d'un enfant dans le cœur de Jésus-Christ, qui lui réserve pour ce solénnel et doux moment ses plus ineffables tendresses (p. 23). There he was confirmed; there the thought of seeking holy orders grew gradually clearer and less timid in his mind; and thence he was sent, "with a free burse," towards the close of 1815 to "la Petite Communauté," a school in close alliance
catéchismes (Paris: Lecoffre, 1874): a complete account of all the details in the system, organization, and arrangement of the various kinds of catechisms from his old friend at St. Etienne, and he tells in a few ↑ He found at St. Sulpice a very different confessor graceful words the happiness that came to him after he first went for confession to M. de Keravenant: 66 Je heur et de l'entrain avec lesquels j'allai, ce jour-là, sortis très-heureux. Je me souviens encore du bonfaire une partie de barres au Luxembourg. Jamais je ne m'étais senti si léger, jamais mes camarades ne m'avaient vu si intrépide à la course, sans se douter de ce qui, ce jour-là, m'avait rendu encore meilleur coureur qu'à l'ordinaire" (tome i., p. 17).
Cf. Méthode de Saint Sulpice dans la direction des
with St. Sulpice, “destinée à chercher et "Le nom de Saint-Sulpice doit m'être à soutenir les vocations sacerdotales" cher jusqu'au dernier soupir," he says (p. 28). There he stayed for three years himself; "L'évêque d'Orléans est un vrai with many troubles in them; for M. Poi- enfant de Saint-Sulpice "nul n'en loup, the superior, was young and mis- a plus avidement recueilli et plus fidèleunderstood the lad; he missed the consid- ment gardé l'esprit" (tome i. 55) adds his erateness and affection of his friends at biographer. It is probably impossible to St. Sulpice, and the happiest and perhaps enter rightly into his character and work the most fruitful hours in these years without a thorough study of the famous were those in which he was taken, with the seminary to which he owed so much. other boys of the community, to the Caté- And such a study would have elements of chisme de Persévérance at the well-loved fascinating interest; for two books have church. But it was a welcome change lately been given to the world which dewhen he was removed, according to the serve comparison, and might perhaps usual course of training, to the Seminary throw a good deal of light on one anof St. Nicholas — the seminary to which other. The first is M. Renan's "Souvesome fifteen years later he was to come nirs d'enfance et de jeunesse," in which again, as its superior. There for three he gives us, with characteristic grace and years he worked hard, with happiness and insolence, with an unfailing power of atsuccess. But probably the most impor- traction and of repulsion, his account of tant element gained at this time in his the character and work of Issy and St. preparation for the positions to which he Sulpice. The other is M. Icard's large was afterwards called came by two friend- and exhaustive volume entitled " Tradiships one with the two brothers De tions de la Compagnie des Prêtres de Moligny, who welcomed him to their Saint-Sulpice." Here we have a full debeautiful home at Courcelles; the other scription of the whole course of teaching with the Duc de Rohan, who, after a and training and discipline, in life and terrible sorrow, had turned his back upon thought, in mind and morals, adopted the world and was now on the verge of with the candidates for ordination; beginhis ordination to the priesthood. He ning from such simple virtues as not formed a sudden and close friendship with crossing one's legs and not putting one's the young Dupanloup, who thenceforward elbows on the table, and "ne déployant was constantly at La Roche-Guyon, the pas sa serviette avant que les personnes duke's château by the Seine. Among the les plus respectables n'aient déployé la group of friends whom he met there he leur,"* and going on to the highest conprobably learned lessons which stood him ceptions and means of progress, ethical, in good stead through all his subsequent intellectual, and spiritual, in the Christian work, while at the same time he came and the priestly life. The book is elabunder the wise and encouraging and help-orate and thoughtful, and, taken together ful influence of M. Borderies, afterwards Bishop of Versailles. To his influence he ascribed a new beginning in his life, and probably he understood the impulse and the power which most told upon him: "Je trouvais quelqu'un qui m'aimait et qui m'estimait; aimait et estimait ce qu'il y avait de bon en moi, pour le rendre meilleur: il en avait l'espoir, le désir, et me le faisait sentir."* It was under these conditions that he gradually received into himself the best characteristics of the clergy of the French Church, and began to drink in the spirit which was to be d'Issy, où l'on fait les deux années de philosophie. secured for his lifelong help by the next Ces deux séminaires n'en font, à proprement parler, stage in his education- the four years réunissent en certaines circonstances; la congrégation qu'un seul. L'un est la suite de l'autre; tous deux se which he spent at Issy and at St. Sulpice.tqui fournit les maîtres est la même." (E. Renan,
Tome i., p. 51. Some years later he added in a marginal note to these words the characteristic thought: "C'est tout le secret de l'action sur les âmes."
↑ "Le grand séminaire du diocèse de Paris, c'est le Séminaire Saint-Sulpice, composé lui-même en quelque sorte de deux maisons, celle de Paris et la succursale
with such light as M. Lagrange and M. Renan, from very different quarters, cast upon it, might give us a vivid and valuable insight into the real life and worth of St. Sulpice. But the inquiry would go far beyond the utmost limits of this article. It must suffice here to mark the great part which Issy and St. Sulpice had in the life of Félix Dupanloup. It was no little thing that he came to know at this time the Père de Ravignan and the Père Lacordaire; but the real work of
Souvenirs d'enfance et de jeunesse, p. 200). Félix Dupanloup was at Issy from 1821 to 1823, at St. Sulpice from 1823 to 1825.
M. Icard, Traditions, etc., p. 125:
† Cf. also M. Olier's Pietas Seminarii Sancti Sulpitii (Lecoffre, 1885).
+ His estimate of and relations with the latter would reward a careful study. But, indeed, a separate article