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and fruitless wisdom of antiquity. The heart of man opened to pity under the gentle and powerful influence of Christianity. He sought the poor and the sick in the name of God; and gave bread, assistance, and sympathy. At length the day arrived when religion was perfected by the more complete understanding of human greatness and human destiny. On that day, the happy, the powerful, the learned, the rich, each felt himself the brother of the ignorant and suffering. He understood that the first act of piety towards Heaven was to enlighten and to cultivate the understanding, and to help the progress of liberty in rendering labour easy. Already national animosities have become an obsolete prejudice; there is no longer any caste; intolerance henceforward is accounted folly; the spirit of peace everywhere succeeds the heroic madness of war; idleness is no longer but a fault and a misfortune. All those who know how to love and how to think, unite in a holy crusade against ignorance. Thy religion, O my God, is love, hope, reason, peace, liberty !
JULES SIMON, “La Religion Naturelle.”
Young owes perhaps a great part of his reputation to the picture presented in the opening of his “Night Thoughts.” A minister of the Most High, an aged father, who has lost his only daughter, awakes in the middle of night to mourn upon graves; with Death,
1 Of the ignorant and suffering, de celui qui ignore et qui souffre.
Time, and Eternity, he associates the only great thing that man has within himself-grief. This picture strikes at once, and the impression is a lasting one.
But draw nearer ;when the imagination, roused by the exordium of the poet, has already created a world of sorrows and of reveries, you find nothing of what you have been promised. You find a man racking his brains for tender and melancholy ideas, and who arrives only at a morose philosophy. Young, whom the phantom of the world pursues, even among the tombs, betrays, in his declamations on death, merely a disappointed ambition : he takes peevishness for melancholy. There is nothing natural in his tenderness, nothing ideal in his grief: it is always a heavy hand moving slowly over the lyre.
Young strove more especially to give to his meditations the character of sorrow. That character is derived from three sources the scenes of nature, the crowding of recollections, and the thoughts of religion.
As for the scenes of nature, Young has endeavoured to make them subservient4 to his complaints; he apostrophises the moon, he addresses the night and the stars, and the reader remains unmoved. I cannot tell where lies that melancholy which a poet draws from pictures of nature: it is hidden in deserts ; it is the echo of fable, pining away with grief, and dwelling invisible in the mountains.
As for the recollections of misfortune, they are
1 Draw nearer, avancez un peu—2 racking his brains for...... ideas, qui tourmente son esprit dans tous les sens pour enfanter des idées......
moving slowly, qui se traine—4 to make them subservient, les faire servir pining away with, desséchée par.
numerous in this poet, but without truth, like the rest. .... Young declaims in various places against solitude: the habitual bent' of his heart, therefore, was not reverie. The saints seek food for their meditations in the desert, and Parnassus also is a solitary hill. Bourdaloue entreated the chief of his order to permit him to retire from the world. “I feel,” he
“ wrote, “ that my body is declining and hastening to its end. I have finished my course, and would to God that I could add, I have been faithful!... Let me be permitted to devote the remnant of my life entirely to God, and to myself. ... There, forgetting all the things of this world, I shall pass in the presence of God all the
life in bitterness of my soul.”—If Bossuet, living amidst the pomp of Versailles, has, nevertheless, diffused over his works a holy and majestic melancholy, it is because he found in religion a complete solitude.
CHATEAUBRIAND, “ Essai sur la Littérature Anglaise.”
TRIAL OF CHARLOTTE CORDAY.
Charlotte Corday, conducted into the presence of the tribunal, preserved the same calmness. The act of accusation was read to her, after which they proceeded to hear witnesses. She interrupted the first witness; and not giving him time to commence his deposition, exclaimed—“It was I who killed Marat.”
1 The habitual bent, l'habitude—2 is, etc......end, s'affaiblit et tend vers sa fin-3 would to God, plût à Dieu—4 let me be permitted, qu'il me soit permis.
5 To hear, à l'audition de.
“Who induced you to assassinate him ?” inquired the president. “His crimes." “
“ What do you mean by his crimes ?” “The miseries he has caused since the revolution." “Who are those who induced you to this deed ?" “Myself alone,” proudly replied the young girl; “I have for a long time resolved on it, and I would never have taken counsel from others for such a deed. I wished to give peace to my country.” “But do you think you have killed all the Marats?" “No,” replied the accused, sadly. She then allowed the witnesses to proceed, and after each deposition she repeated—“It is true, the deponent is right.” She only denied one thing, which was, that she was the accomplice of the Girondists. She only contradicted one witness, the woman who implicated Duperret and Fauchet in her cause. Afterwards she sat down and listened to the rest of the trial? with perfect calmness. "You see,” said her counsel Chauveau-Lagarde, in her defence, “ the accused confesses all with unshaken boldness. This calmness, and this avowal, sublime in one point of view, can only be explained as the result of the greatest 3 political fanaticism. It is for you to judge what weight this moral consideration ought to have in the balance of justice.”
Charlotte Corday was condemned to suffer death.4 Her beautiful countenance did not appear moved ; she re-entered her prison with a smile upon her lips. She wrote to her father to ask his forgiveness for having disposed of her own life; she wrote to Barba
1 She only, etc......accomplice of, elle ne se défend que d'une chose : c'est de sa prétendue complicité avec— trial, instruction — 3 can, etc.... greatest....., ne peuvent s'expliquer que par le...... le plus exalté 4 to suffer death, à la peine de mort.
roux, to whom she related her journey and her deed in a charming letter, full of grace, and wit, and sublimity ;' she told him that her friends ought not to regret her, for a lively imagination and a sensitive heart only promise a stormy life to those who possess them : she added that she was well revenged on Pétion, who at Caen suspected for a moment her political principles. Lastly, she begged him to tell Wimpffen, that she had assisted him to win more than one battle. She finished in these words :“What a sad people to form a republic. It is necessary at least to lay the foundation of peace; the government will come as it can.”
On the 15th, Charlotte Corday suffered her sentence with the calmness that had never deserted her. To the outrages of the vile populace, she only replied by the most modest and the most dignified deportment. But all did not heap outrages upon her; many pitied this girl, so young, so lovely, so disinterested in her act, and accompanied her to the scaffold with a look of pity and admiration.
THIERS, “ Histoire de la Révolution Française."
The two young and already great men walked, as they conversed, upon that space which separates the statue of Henry IV. from the Place Dauphine; they stopped a moment in the centre of this place.
“Yes, sir," continued Corneille, “I see every evening with what rapidity a noble thought finds its
1 Sublimity, élévation.