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THE SECOND VOLUME.
When the young heart beats with excitement, enchanted by the ever-popular Arabian Nights— when older eyes pore with delight over the exaggerated romances which the troubadours of Provence brought into fashion in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries,—and when we compare the style of life which can alone have given birth to such productions with that which we now see general around us, where material improvements command a constantly increasing portion of public attention, and theories which are not to save or to make money are despised, it is not wonderful if we should exclaim, that the age of romance is gone for ever!
VOL. II. B
And yet it is not so. The bulk of mankind have been forced to form their views, and to carry them into action more according to one stiff model; but even still we will ever find some wild exceptions, some characters in whom the savage of nature still holds rule, and which refuse to bend before that monotonous tyrant, custom. View the "souslieutenant d'artillerie" without friends, without interest, determining at Toulon that he will command; the young general at Marengo resolved to beat the Austrians, though none of his movements were according "to the regular rules of war;" the powerful emperor destroying the finest army Europe had ever seen, that he might sleep in the Kremlin, rich in its Eastern traditions; the exile of Elba overthrowing a victorious monarch in a few days, in order that a few months should behold himself pining to death on St. Helena,—is not that romance? Alexander of Russia was said to be eccentric; but was he not romantic too? And that fine veteran who earned such glory at the period to which we are alluding, Lynedoch, who has only just departed from among us,—was there no romance in his career, who found victory amid the strife of battles, where he only sought for that death which should permit him to rejoin the beloved wife who had been his companion for half his life?