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THE Duc de Broglie was at Coppet when I visited it, which forbade all attempts at seeing the interior. It mattered little. Nothing can be more contemptible than the pedantry which hoards up the petty memorials of genius, and boasts a pen, a chair, or a chamber, as the sole substantial relics of a great mind. Familiar objects of domestic association may recall the memory of a friend, of our parents, or children; but genius cannot be viewed by such means. Its relation towards us is not of that individual kind;—it is above either our friendship or tenderness. Nor should we intrude upon the privacy of its sons, living or dead. Besides, this curiosity baffles itself; it is like becoming valet to a hero for the sake of admiring him more closely; by which both hero and self-respect are lost. We English, not famed for being over-civil to the living, are in this way extremely impertinent towards the dead. We care as little for coffin or sarcophagus, as for tower and bastion, and seem determined to get at the inside of every thing. From Robert Bruce to Tom Paine, no bones can rest for us. A French Emperor cannot have handled a pen which we will not purchase, nor can a poet leave an arm-chair that we will not be seated in. It is strange, too, that we, who are the most incredulous pilgrims in the world, on the score of sacred relics, should be the most credulous as to those of literature and genius. "You are very Catholic in every thing but religion," observed a French gentleman, with whom I visited Chillon; you believe in this ring to which Bonnevard was chained; but if he had been a saint or a martyr, you would have laughed outright."



As memorials of passion, of feeling, or misfortune, domestic relics. are of powerful effect, for in such our interest is personal; or when they have belonged to the worldly great, for here the contrast speaks a mighty moral. Those who have beheld the humble cloak and bonnet still preserved in a chamber at Claremont, must have experienced the force of both these associations. But to link the memory of intellect with such petty objects, or to think we do homage to genius by such puerile curiosity, is the very bathos of sentiment.

In spite of all these arguments, it would have afforded us some satisfaction to have seen the salon, or the boudoir of Corinne. Beautiful as were the shores of Coppet, and the Leman that stretches beneath, it was impossible to link with them the spirit of De Staël ;-of her who despised all the beauties of mountain and lake, and preferred the filthiest street in Paris to the solitude of her Swiss home, so far as even to number the days passed there among her Dix Années d'Exil. I was at first much at a loss to conceive how such a want could be in a mind constituted like hers; but a few weeks' tour in Switzerland having given me a complete surfeit of the picturesque, I came more easily to understand apathy towards rural beauty in one brought up between the Jura and the Alps. That this, in her, proceeded less from any defect

The ring which they shew at Chillon, as that to which Bonnevard was chained, is evidently an imposture. It is much too small to have served such a purpose; the mortar about the stone is comparatively fresh; and it has been placed away from the light to avoid detection.

than from satiety, is evident from an observation of Madame Necker de Saussure, that her cousin's long dormant taste for natural beauty was awakened on her visit to Italy, and became conspicuous in her subsequent compositions. The mansion alone, however, (no very remarkable object, marked on the roof 1722,) was sufficient to recall, and add a zest before untasted to the thousand anecdotes of which it is the scene. I thought of it as the Hall of Odin, resounding with boisterous but good-humoured argument as the social resort of our own Gibbon, and many an intellectual brother-as the scene of filial and paternal affection-and, above all, as the retirement of a virtuous minister. The garden-walk beneath its range of poplars recalled the frequent conversations between father and daughter, which the latter describes as having taken place there;-where the aged statesman, in the still infantine simplicity of his heart, expressed, in tears, his confidence," that the French would yet do him justice ere he died."

Madame de Staël was of that noble order of beings, for whom it is impossible to be selfish. Endowed, like all minds of genius, with a reflective and egotistic habit of thought, her feelings were too strong to allow themselves to be absorbed in so narrow a space. The circumstances of her life, too, conduced to such an end-but in vain. Early and disproportionately married, and on that account, as well as perhaps from want of personal attractions, deprived of the only true solace of high-wrought minds, she transferred to her parent the sum of her baffled affections, and spent in paternal love the ardour which might have been more naturally and more happily placed. I cannot look upon her devotion to her father, extreme even to the ridiculous, in any other light than as one of those amiable deceptions which passionate minds so often practise upon themselves, exemplifying the true, but by no means, as it is supposed, libertine maxim of Marmontel. Quand on n'a pas ce que l'on aime, il faut aimer ce que l'on a. It was like the

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Nympholepsy of some fond despair,"

a cheat to occupy and keep alive the warm impulses of the heart. Happy are those who, like De Staël, can find such substitutes to keep the mind from preying upon itself. Literature too is a solace, but literature embitters, as much as it sweetens. It is but a medium that heightens pain as well as pleasure, and even poetry itself is too unsubstantial to answer and satisfy the cravings of the passionate spirit. De Staël did wisely: she gave up her whole soul to politics towards the latter part of her life; and this more from chance than design. Her interest in her father's fame first drove her to it: her love of social pre-eminence and her consequent rivalry with Bonaparte fixed her in it; and at length, like her filial feelings in early years, it came to absorb every other consideration.

As a politician, Madame de Staël is looked down upon by some, in part deservedly: she had too much of the woman and the idealist for such pursuits. Nevertheless her influence has been great. Her writings have matured and ameliorated that, of which Rousseau sowed the seeds. Through them, there is a feeling and a soul in politics, extending even to the most opposite parties, which before was not at all; and but for her, what had been produced by Rousseau would have died away. After him a new order of things sprang up, to which his manual

is inapplicable. De Staël revived and regenerated the sacred spirit, and the tongues and pens of Europe breathe fresh from her school:

"The philosophic progress of the human race," says she, "ought to be marked by four different eras: the heroic ages, which gave birth to civilization; patriotism, which was the glory of antiquity; chivalry, which was the old warlike religion of Europe; and the love of liberty, whose era commences towards the epoch of the Reformation."-De l'Allemagne.

The expansiveness of her soul is evident in the object of all her writings. None of them narrow, none of them ever private. She preached an eternal crusade against selfishness-against selfishness of affection in her early works, and against selfishness of political principle in her later. Her very epigrams tended to some great and national end. Of the many that assailed her, she took not the least notice, with the great exception of her arch-enemy Napoleon, whom still she attacks more as the public despot than the private foe. In his misfortunes she was generous, and did not conceal her interest; nor was he backward, upon his return, in expressing his gratitude for such unlooked for commiseration.

But our judgment of De Staël is not to be taken either from her politics or criticism, both of which for the most part she borrowed from the society around her, mingling with them, however, the poetical leaven of her own imagination. The "Considerations" afford an example, in how poetical a dress the principles of political party may be exhibited; and the "Allemagne" another, how a very superficial share of knowledge on a given subject may be redeemed by the force of hazardous eloquence. Even the critical judgments of Corinne are not a little unworthy of the poetess, crowned in the Capitol. It is by her woman's genius she must be estimated-by her feeling, her ardour of conception and expression-her curious knowledge of the human heart-in fine, by her poetry, for, after all, the best poetry the French have, is their prose.

"I feel myself a poet," says Corinne, "not only when a happy choice of rhymes or of syllables, or a happy combination of images, strikes my auditors, but when my soul becomes elevated,-when it feels the most sovereign disdain for selfishness or baseness;—in short, when a noble action is more easy to me. It is then that my verses grow sublime. I am a poet, whilst I admire, whilst I despise, whilst I hate, not from personal motives, but for the dignity of the human race," &c.

If this be the definition of a poet, De Staël needed not to put into execution her intentional epic of Cœur de Lion. Her claims to the laurel, like Rousseau's, were independent of rhyme.

To us, English, who have fortunately kept these two departments of literature more distinct, and who have visited with a condemnation perhaps too severe any attempts at blending them together, such an union is not agreeable. With the languor of prose we have the affected point and brilliancy of poetry; there is neither the ease of one, nor the pleasant rhyme and regular harmony of the other. Hence the works of Madame de Staël, though delightful reading for a few pages, are wearisome to peruse for any length of time uninterruptedly. Her style is too epigrammatic for a continuance, and, like strong liquors, in order to be enjoyed, requires time or dilution. This most likely was

owing to her love of talking in preference to writing. Her thoughts flowed for the tongue rather than the pen,-they are too ambitious for the solitary reader, and seem to require a brilliant saloon with an assembly of elegant and quick-sensed auditors to give them due reception and applause. As to the purity and correctness of her style, we leave the consideration to those verbal hypercritics, that swarm in Italy and France, who think their literary lives well spent in preserving the purity of national diction, without adding a single new idea to national thought. If the writings of Madame de Staël be not French, as some have asserted, all to be said is, that they are something far superior. An entertaining and acute writer, Mr. Simond, has discussed this censure in his late "Voyage en Suisse," on the occasion of his visiting Coppet:


"J'entends dire que le style de Madame De Staël n'est pas Français: en serait-on surpris? Rousseau aussi avait le style refugié. Notre langue et notre littérature, usées comme la vielle monnaie, ne presenteront bientot plus qu'une surface polie, d'où l'empreinte aura totalement disparu. Toute originalité en est bannie aussi complétement que la nature l'est de nos jardins ; et le style légitime, en compartimens et tirés au cordeau comme parterres, ne saurait s'écarter de l'allée droite et de la plate-bande: ainsi entravés de règles et chargés de fers, que nous nous sommes forgés, on nous voit reduits, que l'on me passe le paradoxe, à chercher l'originalité en traduction. N'est il pas étrange que le même peuple qui, depuis trente ans, se joue des formes établies et des précédens en matière de lois et de gouvernement, n'est jamais osé faire, en littérature, un seul pas sans y être autorisé par l'usage, et veuille toujours soumettre la génie à cette legitimité, dont il fait si peu de cas en politique."

"There are a thousand anecdotes," continues Simond, "related concerning this celebrated woman during her youth, of her natural maladresse, and of the many errors into which she was led by her short sight, confiding temper, and energy of affection." Indeed, there is scarely any one of whom so many interesting anecdotes are told: she has herself preserved a great number, all displaying her character in the most amiable light, yet without the least tincture of vanity or affectation displayed in the relation. She is, perhaps, the only author who has written volumes upon herself without being ever egotistic. The "Dix Années d'Exil" is one of the most amusing books any where to be met with on this account. It is the only work she has left, written with the most perfect ease. It contains the primal idea of almost every striking thought in her more laboured work of the "Considerations ;" and also presents a full picture of her mind, even to its most secret foibles. There is even a little personal vanity allowed to manifest itself in it, which never escaped in her other compositions. Her views of foreign countries, manners, character, and society, are much more just in this little sketch than either in the Italie, or Allemagne. They are the first impressions-but the first impressions of one experienced in such things. And the force and justice of every remark confirm me in an old opinion I entertained concerning books of travels, &c.—that they should be written hot, quick, while new perceptions were fresh, but that this should be not on the first visit but the second. In her Italie and Allemagne, scenic description is either totally overlooked, or else laboriously and ambitiously worked up; whereas in Russia, Norway, and those parts of Europe, which she de

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