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and to work out new opinions for one's-self.1 We were not to him an enlightened people, who claimed their rights: we were revolted subjects, whose insolence must be repressed. What would you have required of him ?2 He had not lost the illusion of 'faithful subjects;" he comprehended nothing of the legal insurrections of the Chambers; he still had the prejudice of the Crown-in a word, he wished to reign under pretext that he was a king. That was3 why he died, as he lived, in exile. Oh! this is sad -always to see kings proscribed, guillotined, assassinated, from the misunderstanding of the people.* Formerly, a man displeased the prince, who sent him to the Bastille now it is the prince who displeases the people; and the people, who are absolute, proscribe him. The land of exile is then the Bastille for kings.
MADAME DE GIRARDIN, "Lettres Parisiennes, 1836."
A SPIRITED PROTEST.
I declare that I recognise in3 no one here the right to accuse or to judge me. Moreover, I look around for judges, and I find but accusers. I do not expect an act of justice; it is to an act of vengeance that I resign myself. I profess respect for the established authorities; but I respect still more the law by which they have been constituted, and I no longer recog
1 And to work out, etc......one's-self, et pour se refaire des croyances nouvelles-2 what would you have required of him? que voulez-vous ? -3 that was, c'est from the misunderstanding of the people, pour des malentendus de peuples.
5 In, à—6 or, ni— moreover, I look around for, d'ailleurs, je cherche ici dess by which they have been constituted, qui les a fondées.
nise in them any power,1 from the moment that, in contempt of that law, they usurp rights which it has not conferred on them.4
In such a situation of things, I know not if submission be an act of prudence; but I know that, as soon as resistance is a right, it becomes a duty.
Having arrived in this Chamber by the will of those who had the right to send me, I must not leave it but by the violence of those who choose to arrogate to themselves the right of excluding me; and should this resolution on my part bring down on my head even greater perils, I think within myself 10 that the field of liberty has been sometimes fertilized by generous blood.
MANUEL, A la Chambre des Députés, 1825.
These words were sung in notes11 alternately deep and shrill, which seemed to burst from the breast with sullen mutterings 12 of national anger, and then with the joy of victory. There was in them something as solemn as death, but as serene as the undying confidence of patriotism. It seemed a recovered echo 13 of Thermopyla. It was heroism in song.14
1 I, etc......power, je ne leur reconnais plus de puissance-2 from the moment that, dès l'instant que-3 in contempt of, au mépris de- it has not conferred on them, elle ne leur a pas donnés-5 situation, état 7 as soon as, dès que having arrived, arrivé-8 of......me, de m'en...... should......bring down, si......doit appeler 10 I think within myself, je me dis.
11 In notes, sur des notes-12 to burst from, etc......mutterings, gronder dans la poitrine avec les frémissements sourds-13 it seemed a recovered echo, on eût dit un écho retrouvé-14 in song, chanté.
There was heard the regular footfall of thousands of men marching together to defend the frontiers over the resounding soil of their country, the plaintive voice of women, the wailing of children, the neighing of horses, the hissing of flames as they devoured3 palaces and huts; then gloomy strokes of vengeance, striking again and again with the hatchet, and immolating the enemies of the people and the profaners of the soil. The notes of this air rustled 5 like a flag dipped in gore still reeking on a battle plain. They made one shudder, but the shudder which passed over the heart with its vibrations had naught of fear. They gave an impulse, they redoubled strength, they veiled the horrors of death. It was the "fire-water" of the Revolution, which instilled 10 into the senses and the soul of the people the intoxication of battle.
There are times in the life of nations when they hear their soul thus gushing forth in accents which no man hath written, and which all the world utters.12 All the senses desire to present their tribute to patriotism, and eventually to encourage each other.13 The foot advances-the gesture urges on-the voice intoxicates the ear-the ear stirs the heart. The whole man is wound up,' 14 like an instrument of enthusiasm.
Like those sacred banners suspended from the roofs
1 There was, etc......footfall, on y entendait le pas cadencé2 to defend, à la défense de-3 as they devoured, dévorant- striking again and again, frappant et refrappant-5 rustled, ruisselaient-6 dipped in gore still reeking, trempé de sang encore chaud-7 had naught of fear, était intrépide-8 an impulse, l'élan- fire-water, l'eau de feu10 instilled, distillait-11 thus gushing forth, jaillir ainsi-12 utters, chante-13 and eventually......each other, et......mutuellement-14 is wound up, se monte.
of holy edifices,1 and which are brought out only on2 certain days, we keep the national song as an extreme arm for the great necessities of the country. Ours received from circumstances a peculiar character, which makes it at the same time more solemn and more sinister: glory and crime, victory and death, seem intertwined in its chorus.3 It was the song of patriotism, but it was also the imprecation of rage. It conducted our soldiers to the frontier, but it also accompanied our victims to the scaffold.
The Marseillaise preserves the echo of the song of glory and the shriek of death; glorious as the one, funereal like the other, it reassures the country, whilst it makes the citizen turn pale.
LAMARTINE," Histoire des Girondins."
Doubtless, nature had endowed Voltaire with the most wonderful faculties; such powers of intellect were not entirely the result of education and of circumstances; still, would it not be possible to show that the employment of these talents was constantly directed by the opinions of the time, and that the desire of succeeding and of pleasing, the first motive of nearly all writers, guided Voltaire every moment of his life?
But then, too, no one was more susceptible than
1 From the roofs of holy edifices, aux voûtes des temples-2 and which are brought out only on, et qu'on n'en sort qu'à intertwined in its chorus, entrelacés dans ses refrains- the echo, un retentissement -5 whilst it makes, et fait.
6 Motive, mobile-7 but then, too, mais aussi.
he of yielding to such impressions; his genius presents, as it seems to us, the singular phenomenon of a man most frequently wanting in that faculty of the mind which we call reflection, and at the same time endowed, in the highest degree, with the power of feeling and expressing himself with wonderful vivacity. Such is undoubtedly the cause of his success and of his errors.
This habit of looking at all things from one single point of view, and of yielding to the actual sensations produced by an object, without thinking of those which it might give rise to in other circumstances, has multiplied the contradictions of Voltaire, has often led him away from justice and reason, has injured3 the plan of his works and their perfect harmony. But an absolute yielding to impressions, a continual impetuosity of feeling, a most delicate and lively irritability, have produced that pathos,5 that irresistible enthusiasm, that spirit of eloquence and pleasantry, and that continual grace which flows from boundless facility. And when reason and truth happen to be clothed in this brilliant exterior," they then acquire the most seducing charm, they seem to be born without effort, all radiant with a direct and natural light; and their interpreter leaves far behind him all those who seek them with difficulty, through judgment, comparison, and experience.
Had the first success of Voltaire been less signal; 9
1 As it seems to us, à ce qu'il nous semble-2 of looking at all things from, d'envisager tout sous-3 has injured, a nui à— an absolute yielding to, un abandon entier à --5 pathos, pathétique-6 spirit, verve
to be, etc......exterior, viennent à être revêtues de ces brillants dehors- with difficulty, through, péniblement, par-9 had, etc...... signal, si les premiers succès de V. eussent été moins éclatants.