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M. de St. Lambert. She died in childbirth; came rather late to a great supper in the neighand the following dramatic elegy was circu- bourhood; and as it was known that she made lated all over Paris the week after that catas- it a point of honour to attend on him, the trophe.
catastrophe was generally suspected. She & M. de Chatelet.-Ah! ce n'est pas ma mentioned it, however, herself, immediately faute!
on coming in ;-adding, that it was lucky he “ M. de Voltaire. - Je l'avais predit ! had gone off so early in the evening, as she "M. de St. Lambert.-Elle l'a voulu !" might otherwise have been prevented from
Crebillon the younger is naturally brought appearing. She then sate down to table, and to our recollection by the mention of wit and made a very hearty and merry meal of it! indecency. We have an account of his death, Besides Pont-de-Vesle, however, this celeand a just and candid estimate of his merits, brated lady had a lover almost as ancient, in in one of the volumes before us. However the President Henault-whom also she had frivolous and fantastic the style of his novels the misfortune to survive; though he had the may appear, he had still the merit of invent- complaisance, as well as his predecessor, to ing that style, and of adorning it with much live to near ninety years for her sake. The ingenuity, wit
, and character. The taste for poor president, however, fell into dotage, be. his writings, it seems, passed away very ra- fore his death; and one day, when in that pidly and completely in France; and long state, Madame du Deffant having happened before his death, the author of the Sopha, and to ask him, whether he liked her or Madame Les Egaremens du Caur et de l'Esprit, had de Castelmoron the best, he, quite unconscious the mortification to be utterly forgotten by of the person to whom he was speaking, not the public. M. Grimm thinks this reverse of only declared his preference of the absent fortune rather unmerited; and observes, that lady, but proceeded to justify it by a most in foreign countries he was still held in esti- feeling and accurate enumeration of the vices mation, and that few French productions had and defects of his hearer, in which he grew had such currency in London as the Sopha. so warm and eloquent, that it was quite im. The reason perhaps may be, that the manners possible either to stop him, or to prevent all and characters which the French at once who were present from profiting by the comknew to be unnatural, might be mistaken by munication. When Madame de Châtelet died, us for true copies of French originals. It is a Madame du Deffant testified her grief for the little more difficult
, however, to account for most intimate of her female acquaintance, by the fact, that the perusal of his works inspired circulating all over Paris, the very next moma young lady of good family in this country ing, the most libellous and venomous attack with such a passion for the author, that she on her person, her understanding, and her ran away from her friends, came to Paris, morals. When she came to die herself, how. married him, and nursed and attended him ever, she met with just about as much sym. with exemplary tenderness and affection to pathy as she deserved. Three of her dearest his dying day. But there is nothing but luck, friends used to come and play cards every good or bad—as M. Grimm sagely observes- evening by the side of her couch—and as she in this world. The author of a licentious chose to die in the middle of a very interest. novel inspires a romantic passion in a lady of ing game, they quietly played it out and rank and fortune, who crosses seas, and settled their accounts before leaving the apartabandons her family and her native country ment. We hope these little traits go near to for his sake ;-while the author of the Nouvelle justify what we ventured to say in the outset, Heloise, the most delicate and passionate of of the tendency of large and agreeable society all lovers that ever existed, is obliged to clap to fortify the heart;-at all events, they give up a match with his singularly stupid cham- us a pretty lively idea of the liaisons that bermaid!
united kindred souls at Paris. We might add Of all the loves, however, that are recorded 10 the number several anecdotes of the Presiin this chronicle, the loves of Madame du dent Henault--and of the Baron d'Holbach, Deffant and M. de Ponte-de-Vesle, are the who told Helvetius, a little time before the most exemplary; for they lasted upwards of death of the latter, that though he had lived fifty years without quarrel or intermission. all his life with irritable and indigent men of The secret of this wonderful constancy is, at letters, he could not recollect that he had all events, worth knowing; and we give it in either quarrelled with, or done the smallest the words of an authentic dialogue between service to, any one among them. this venerable Acmé and Septimius.
There is a great deal of admirable criticism “ Pont-de-Vesle ?–Madame!- Ovi êtes-vous ?
in this work, upon the writings and genius of -Au coin de votre cheminée.- Couché les pieds almost all the author's contemporaries-- Dorat, sur les chenets, comme on est chez ses amis ?- Piron, Millot, Bernard, Mirabeau. Moncrif
, Oui, Madame.—Il faut convenir qu'il est peu de Colardeau, and many others, more or less liaisons aussi anciennes que
la nôtre.-Cela est generally known in this country; nor do we passés. -—Ět dans ce long intervalle aneun nuage, lated to give a stranger a just and comprehenque j'ai toujours admiré. - Mais, Poni-de-Vesle, sive view of the recent literature of France. cela ne viendrait-il point de ce qu'au fond nous The little we can afford to extract, however, avons toujours été fore indifférens, l'un à l'autre ? must be hung upon names more notorious, Cela se pourrait bien, Madaine."
The publication of a stupid journal of Mon. The evening this veteran admirer died, she taigne's Travels in Italy gives M. Grimm an
opportunity of saying something of the Essays - Hawkesworth's Voyages are also very much of that most agreeable veteran. Nothing can commended; and Sir William Jones' letter to be more just than the greater part of the fol- Anquetil du Perron, is said to be capable, with owing observations.
a few retrenchments, of being made worthy ." Quoi-qu'il y ait dans ses Essais une infinité de of the pen of the Patriarch himself.—Mrs. faits d'anecdotes et de citations, il n'est pas difficile Montagu's Essay on Shakespeare is also apde s'appercevoir que ses études n'étaient ni vastes plauded to the full extent of its merits; and, ni profondes. Il n'avait guère lu que quelques po. indeed, a very laudable degree of candour and ëtes latins, quelques livres de voyage, et son Sénèque moderation is observed as to our national taste et son Plutarque.''
" De tous les auteurs qui nous restent de l'an. in the drama.--Shakespeare, he observes, is :iquité, Plutarque est, sans contredit, celui qui a fit for us, and Racine for them; and each recueilli le plus de vérités de fait et de spéculation should be satisfied with his lot, and would do Ses œuvres sont une mine inépuisable de lumières well to keep to his own national manner. et de connaissances : c'est vraiment l'Encyclopédie When we attempt to be regular and dignified, des anciens. Montaigne nous en a donné la fleur, et il y a ajouté les reflexions les plus fines, et sur aim at freedom and energy, they become ab
we are merely cold and stiff; and when they tout les résultats les plus secrets de sa propre expérience. Il me semble donc que si j'avais à donner surd and extravagant. The celebrity of Garune idée de ses Essais, je dirais en deux mots que rick seems to have been scarcely less at Paris c'est un commentaire que Montaigne fit sur lui. than in London,-their greatest actor being même en méditant les écrits de Plutarque. . Je familiarly designated " Le Garrick François.” pense encore que je dirais mal: ce serait lui prêter His powers of pantomime, indeed, were unitant la plume à la main, il paraît n'avoir songé qu'au versally intelligible, and seem to have made plaisir de causer familièrement avec son lecteur. Il a prodigious impression upon the theatrical lui rend compte de ses lectures, de ses pensées, de critics of France. But his authority is quoted ses reflexions, sans suite, sans dessein : il vent avoir by M. Grimm, for the observation, that there le plaisir de penser tout haut, et il en jouit à son is not the smallest affinity in the tragic decaise. Il cite souvent Plutarque, parce que Plu; lamation of the two countries ;—so that an tarque était son livre favori. La seule loi qu'il semble s'être prescrite, c'est de ne jamais parler actor who could give the most astonishing efque de ce qui l'intéressait vivement: de là l'énergie fect to a passage of Shakespeare, would not, et la vivacité de ses expressions, la grace et l'origi. though perfectly master of French, be able to valité de son langage. Son esprit a cette assurance guess how a single line of Racine should be et cette franchise aimable que l'on ne trouve que spoken on the stage. dans ces enfans bien nés, dont la contrainte du monde et de l'éducation ne gêna point encore les
We cannot leave the subject of the drama, mouvemens faciles et naturels."
however, without observing, with what an After a still farther encomium on the sound an auxiliary in that battle which we have for
agreeable surprise we discovered in M. Grimm, sense of this favourite writer, M. Grimm con- some time waged, though not without trepidacludes
tion, against the theatrical standards of France, “Personne n'a-t-il donc pensé plus que Mon and in defence of our own more free and irrega taigne ? Je l'ignore. Mais ce que je crois bien ular drama. While a considerable part of our savoir, c'est que personne n'a dit avec plus de sim. own men of letters, carried away by the authorplicité ce qu'il a senti
, ce qu'il a pensé. On ne peut ity and supposed unanimity of the continental ouvrage;" c' est ici un livre de bonne foi. Cela est judges, were disposed to desert the cause of divin, et cela est exact."
Shakespeare and Nature, and to recognize "Qu'est-ce que toutes les connaissances hu- Racine and Voltaire, as the only true models maines ? le cercle en est si borné!.... quatre mille ans, qu'a-t-on fait pour l'étendre? greatest Parisian critic, of that best age of
Et depuis of dramatic excellence, it turns out that the Montesquieu a dit quelque part, qu'il travaillait à criticism, was of opinion that the very idea un livre de douze pages, qui contiendrait lout ce que of dramatic excellence had never been denous savons sur la Métaphysique, la Politique et la Morale, et tout ce que de grands auteurs ont oublié veloped in France; and that, from the very dans les volumes qu'ils ont donnés sur ces sciences causes which we have formerly specified, là. . . . . Je suis très sérieusement persuadé qu'il there was neither powerful passion nor real ne tenait qu'à lui d'accomplir ce grand projet.'
nature on their stage. After giving some acMontesquieu, Buffon, and Raynal are the count of a play of La Harpe's, he observes, only authors, we think, of whom M. Grimm “I am more and more confirmed in the speaks with serious respect and admiration. opinion, that true tragedy, such as has never Great praise is lavished upon Robertson's yet existed in France, must, after all, be writCharles V.--Young's Night Thoughts are said, ten in prose; or at least can never accommoand with justice, to be rather ingenious than date itself to the pompous and rhetorical tone pathetic; and to show more of a gloomy im- of our stately versification. The ceremonious agination than a feeling heart.— Thomson's and affected dignity which belongs to such Seasons are less happily stigmatized as ex- compositions, is quite inconsistent with the cessively ornate and artificial, and said to just imitation of nature, and destructive of all stand in the same relation to the Georgics, true pathos. It may be very fine and very pothat the Lady of Loretto, with all her tawdry etical; but it is not dramatic :-and accordfuery, bears to the naked graces of the Venus ingly Í have no hesitation in maintaining, that de Medici.—Johnson's Life of Savage is ex- all our celebrated tragedies belong to the epic tolled as exceedirigly entertaining—though and not to the dramatic division of poetry. The author is laughed at, in the true Parisian The Greeks and Romans had a dramatic laste, for not having made a jest of his hero., verse, which did not interfere with simplicity or famili erity of diction; but as we have none, spirit of absolute monarchy—the same artiwe must make up our minds to compose our cial stateliness—the same slow moving of few tragedies in prose, if we ever expect to have persons—the same suppression of ordinary any that may deserve the name. What then?” emotions, and ostentatious display of lofty he continues; “must we throw our Racines sentiments, and, finally, the same jealousy of and Voltaires in the fire ?—by no means ;- the interference of lower agents, and the same on the contrary, we must keep them, and horror of vulgarity and tumult. When we study and admire them more than ever ;- consider too, that in the countries where this but with right onceptions of their true nature form of the drama has been established, the and merit-as masterpieces of poetry, and Court is the chief patron of the theatre, and reasoning, and description ;-as the first works courtiers almost its only supporters, we shall of the first geniuses that ever adorned any probably be inclined to think that this unination under heaven :-But not as tragedies, formity of character is not a mere accidental --not as pieces intended to exhibit natural coincidence, but that the same causes which characters and passions speaking their own have stamped those attributes on the serious language, and to produce that terrible impres- hours of its rulers, have extended them to sion which such pieces alone can produce. those mimic representations which were origConsidered in that light, their coldness and inally devised for their amusement. In Eng. childishness will be immediately apparent;= land, again, our drama has all along partaken and though the talents of the artist will al. of the mixed nature of our government, ways be conspicuous, their misapplication persons of all degrees take a share in boih, and failure will not be less so. With the each in his own peculiar character and fashion: prospect that lies before us, the best thing, and the result has been, in both, a much perhaps, that we can do is to go on, boasting greater activity, variety; and vigour, than was of the unparalleled excellence we have ai- ever exhibited under a more exclusive system. tained. But how speedily should our boastings In England, too, the stage has in general been be silenced if the present race of children dependent on the nation at large, and not on should be succeeded by a generation of men! the favour of the Court;—and it is natural to Here is a theory," concludes the worthy Baron, suppose that the character of its exhibitions a little alarmed it would seem at his own te has been affected by a due consideration of merity, “which it would be easy to confirm that of the miscellaneous patron whose feeland illustrate much more completely—if a ings it was its business to gratify and reflect. man had a desire to be stoned to death before After having said so much about the stage, the door of the Theatre François ! But, in the we cannot afford room either for the quarrels mean time, till I am better prepared for the or witticisms of the actors, which are reporthonours of martyrdom, I must entreat you to ed at great length in these volumes-or for keep the secret of my infidelity to yourself.” the absurdities, however ludicrous, of the
Diderot holds very nearly the same lan- " Diou de Danse” as old Vestris ycleped himguage. After a long dissertation upon the self-or even the famous “affaire du Menuet" difference between real and artificial dignity, which distracted the whole court of France he proceeds,—“What follows, then, from all at the marriage of the late King.
We can this—but that tragedy is still to be invented allow only a sentence indeed to the elaborate in France; and that the ancients, with all their dissertation in which Diderot endeayours to faults, were probably much nearer inventing prove that an actor is all the worse for having it than we have been ?-Noble actions and any feeling of the passions he represents, and sentiments, with simple and familiar language, is never so sure to agitate the souls of his are among its first elements ;-and I strongly hearers as when his own is perfectly at ease. suspect, that for these two hundred years, we We are persuaded that this is not correctly have mistaken the stateliness of Madrid for true;—though it might take more distinctions the heroism of Rome. If once a man of ge- than the subject is worth, to fix precisely nius shall venture to give to his characters where the truth lies. It is plain we think, and to his diction the simplicity of ancient however, that a good actor must have a capadignity, plays and players will be very differ- city, at least, of all the passions whose lanent things from what ihey are now. But how guage he mimics,—and we are rather inclined much of this,” he adds also in a fit of sympa- to think, that he must also have a transient thetic terror, “could I venture to say to any feeling of them, whenever his mimicry is body but you! I should be pelted in the very successful.' That the emotion should be streets, if I were but suspected of the blas- very short-lived, and should give way to triphemies I have just uttered.”
vial or comic sensations, with very little inWith the assistance of two such allies, we terval, affords but a slender presumption shall renew the combat against the Continental against its reality, when we consider how dramatists with fresh spirits and confidence; rapidly such contradictory feelings succeed and shall probably find an early opportunity each other, in light minds, in the real business to brave the field, upon that important theme. of life. That real passion, again, never would In the mean time we shall only remark, that be so graceful and dignified as the counterwe suspect there is something more than an feited passion of the stage, is either an imanalogy between the government and political peachment of the accuracy of the copy, or a constitution of the two countries, and the char- contradiction in terms. The real passion of a acter of their drama. The tragedy of the noble and dignified character must always be Continent is conceived il the very genius and dignified and graceful, -and if Cæsar, when
actually bleeding in the Senate-house, folded from the arms of her lawful husband, and to his robe around him, that he might fall with compel her to submit again to his embraces,decorum at the feet of his assassins, why and that the court was actually guilty of the should we say that it is out of nature for a incredible atrocity of granting such an order ! player, both to sympathise with the passions It was not only granted, M. Grimm assures of his hero, and to think of the figure he us, but executed, and this poor creature was makes in the eyes of the spectators? Strong dragged from the house of her husband, and conception is, perhaps in every case, attended conducted by a file of grenadiers to the quarwith a temporary belief of the reality of its ters of his highness, where she remained till objects ;-and it is impossible for any one to his death, the unwilling and disgusted victim copy with tolerable success the symptoms of of his sensuality! It is scarcely possible 10 a powerful emotion, without a very lively ap- regret the subversion of a form of governprehension and recollection of its actual pre- ment, that admitted, if but once in a century, sence. We have no idea, we own, that the of abuses so enormous as this: But the tone copy can ever be given without some partici- in which M. Grimm notices it, as a mere foipation in the emotion itself-or that it is pos- blesse on the part of le Grand Maurice, gives sible to repeat pathetic words, and with the us reason to think that it was by no means true tone and gestures of passion, with the without a parallel in the contemporary history. same indifference with which a schoolboy re. In England, we verily believe, there never peats his task, or a juggler his deceptions. was a time in which it would not have proThe feeling, we believe, is often very mo- duced insurrection or assassination. mentary; and it is this which has misled One of the most remarkable passages in those who have doubted of its existence. this philosophical journal, is that which conBut there are many strong feelings equally tains the author's estimate of the advantages fleeting and undeniable. The feelings of the and disadvantages of philosophy. Not being spectators, in the theatre, though frequently much more of an optimist than ourselves, M. more keen than they experience anywhere Grimm thinks that good and evil are pretty else, are in general infinitely less durable than fairly distributed to the different generations those excited by real transactions; and a lu- of men; and that, if an age of philosophy be dicrous incident or blunder in the perform- happier in some respects than one of ignor ance, will carry the whole house, in an instant, ance and prejudice, there are particulars in from sobbing to ungovernable laughter: And which it is not so fortunate. Philosophy, he even in real life, we have every day occasion thinks, is the necessary fruit of a certain ex. to observe, how quickly the busy, the dissi- perience and a certain maturity; and implies, pated, the frivolous, and the very youthful, in nations as well as individuals, the extinccan pass from one powerful and engrossing tion of some of the pleasures as well as the emotion to another. The daily life of Vol- follies of early life. *All nations, he observes, taire, we think, might have furnished Diderot have begun with poetry, and ended with phiwith as many and as striking instances of the losophy-or, rather, have passed through the actual succession of incongruous emotions, as region of philosophy in their way to that of he has collected from the theatrical life of stupidity and dotage. They lose the poetica] Sophie Arnoud, to prove that one part of the passion, therefore, before they acquire the succession must necessarily have been ficti- taste for speculation; and, with it, they lose tious.
all faith in those allusions, and all interest in There are various traits of the oppressions those trifles which make the happiness of the and abuses of the government, incidentally brightest portion of our existence. If, in this noticed in this work, which maintains, on the advanced stage of society, men are less brutal, whole, a very aristocratical tone of politics. they are also less enthusiastic ;—if they are One of the most remarkable relates to no less more habitually beneficent, they have less a person than the Maréchal de Saxe. This warmth of affection. They are delivered ingreat warrior, who is known never to have deed from the yoke of many prejudices; but taken the field without a small travelling se- at the same time deprived of many motives raglio in his suite, had engaged a certain of action. They are more prudent, but more Madlle. Chantilly to attend him in one of his anxious—are more affected with the general campaigns. The lady could not prudently interests of mankind, but feel less for their decline the honour of the invitation, because neighbours; and, while curiosity takes the she was very poor; but her heart and soul place of admiration, are more enlightened, but were devoted to a young pastry cook of the far less delighted with the universe in which name of Favart, for whose sake she at last they are placed. broke out of the Marshal's camp, and took The effect of this philosophical spirit on the refuge in the arms of her lover; who reward- arts, is evidently unfavourable on the whole. ed her heroism by immediately making her Their end and object is delight, and that of his wife. The history of the Marshal's la- philosophy is truth; and the talent that seeks mentation on finding himself deserted, is io instruct, will rarely condescend to aim purely ridiculous, and is very well told ; but merely at pleasing: Racine and Molière, and our feelings take a very different character, Boileau, were satisfied with furnishing amusewhen, upon reading a little farther, we find ment to such men as Louis XIV., and Colbert, that this illustrious person had the baseness and Turenne; but the geniuses of the presand brutality to apply to his sovereign for a ent day pretend to nothing less than enlightlettre de cachet to force this unfortunate woman ening their rulers; and the same young men
who would formerly have made their debüt | After these precious ameliorations were comwith a pastoral or a tragedy, now generally pleted, they threw of the full impression; leave college with a new system of philoso- and, to make all sure and irremediable, con. phy and government in their portfolios. The signed both the manuscript and the original very metaphysical, prying, and expounding proofs to the flames! Such, says M. Grimm, turn of mind that is nourished by the spirit is the true explanation of that mass of imof philosophy, unquestionably deadens our pertinences, contradictions, and incoherences, sensibility to those enjoyments which it con- with which all the world has been struck, in verts into subjects of speculation. It busies the last ten volumes of this great compilation. itself in endeavouring to understand those It was not discovered till the very eve of the emotions which a simpler age was contented publication; when Diderot having a desire to with enjoying ;—and seeking, like Psyche, to look back to one of his own articles, printed have a distinct view of the sources of our some years before, with difficulty obtained a pleasures, is punished, like her, by their in- copy of the sheets containing it from the stant annihilation.
warehouse of M. Breton-and found, to his Religion, too, continues M. Grimm, consid- horror and consternation, that it had been garered as a source of enjoyment or consolation bled and mutilated, in the manner we have in this world, has suffered from the progress just stated. His rage and vexation on the of philosophy, exactly as the fine arts and af- discovery, are well expressed in a long letter fections have done. It has no doubt become to Breton, which M. Grimm has engrossed in infinitely more rational, and less liable to his register. The mischief however was it
. atrocious perversions ; but then it has also remediable, without an intolerable delay and become much less enchanting and ecstatic- expense; and as it was impossible for the much less prolific of sublime raptures, bea- editor to take any steps to bring Breton to tific visions, and lofty enthusiasm. It has punishment for this horrible forfait;" withsuffered, in short, in the common disenchant- out openly avowing the intended publication ment; and the same cold spirit which has of a work which the court only tolerated by chased so many lovely illusions from the earth, affecting ignorance of its existence, it was at has dispeopled heaven of half its marvels and last resolved, with many tears of rage and its splendours.
vexation, to keep the abomination secret-at We could enlarge with pleasure upon these least till it was proclaimed by the indignant just and interesting speculations; but it is denunciations of the respective authors whose time we should think of drawing this article works had been subjected to such cruel muto a close; and we must take notice of a very tilation. The most surprising part of the extraordinary transaction which M. Grimm story however is, that none of these authors has recorded with regard to the final publica- ever made any complaint about the matter. tion of the celebrated Encyclopedie. The re- Whether the number of years that had elass. daction of this great work, it is known, was ed since the time when most of them had ultimately confided to Diderot ; who thought furnished their papers, had made them init best, after the disturbances that had been sensible of the alterations-whether they be. excited by the separate publication of some lieved the change effected by the base hand of the earlier volumes, to keep up the whole of Breton to have originated with Diderot, of the last ten till the printing was finished; their legal censor-or that, in fact, the alteraand then to put forth the complete work at tions were chiefly in the articles of the said
A bookseller of the name of Breton, Diderot himself, we cannot pretend to say; who was a joint proprietor of the work, had but M. Grimm assures us, that, to his astonthe charge of the mechanical part of the con- ishment and that of Diderot, the mutilated cern; but, being wholly illiterate, and indeed publication, when it at last made its appearwithout pretensions to literature, had of ance, was very quietly received by the incourse no concem with the correction, or even jured authors as their authentic production, the perusal of the text. This person, how- and apologies humbly made, by some of them, ever, who had heard of the clamours and for imperfections that had been created by threatened prosecutions which were excited the beast of a publisher. by the freedom of some articles in the earlier There are many curious and original anec. volumes, took it into his head, that the value dotes of ihe Empress of Russia in this book; and security of the property might be improve and as she always appeared to advantage ed, by a prudent castigation of the remaining where munificence and clemency to individu. parts; and accordingly, after receiving from als were concerned, they are certainly calcu. Diderot the last proofs and revises of the dif- lated to give us a very favourable impression ferent articles, took them home, and, with the of that extraordinary woman. We can only assistance of another tradesman, scored out, afford room now for one, which characterises altered, and suppressed, at their own discre- the nation as well as its sovereign. A popu. tion, all the passages which they in their wis- lar poet, of the name of Sumarokoff, had dom apprehended might give offence to the quarrelled with the leading actress at Moscow, court, or the church, or any other persons in and protested that she should never again authority-giving themselves, for the most have the honour to perform in any of his trapart, no sort of trouble to connect the disjoint- gedies. The Governor of Moscow, however, ed passages that were left after these mutila- not being aware of this theatrical feud, tions-and sometimes soldering them together thought fit to order one of Sumarokoff's tragewith masses of their own stupid vulgarity. dies for representation, and also to command