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M. Baour-Lormian's poems obtained for him considerable encouragement; they attracted towards him the notice of Napoleon, and as the Homer of the day, he became the appointed bard of the conqueror of Italy, A system of exchange in praises and benefactions was established between these two so differently celebrated men. In his poem, Sur l'etablissement du culte, M. Baour pays an homage to his hero, which almost amounts to adoration. He makes God say, through a cloud, that the First Consul is a Messiah:
'Alors paroit un homme en des jours plus prospères
This, however, did not prevent him in 1815, a few months after Napoleon had made him an academician, as successor to the Chavelier de Boufflers, from addressing an epistle to the King. In this poem, feeble in every thing but its monarchical sentiments, like M. de Chateaubriand, the poet cries, in an ecstacy of penitence,
'Abjurons les erreurs dont nous fumes epris.'
Satires and epistles are the most favourite pieces, therefore, of our author, and to abuse the humble and flatter the great, there is not a muse more fruitful than his. To those of the first kind, which we have already mentioned, should be added one in which he has lately attacked the sect of the romantiques, a new school, which has for its aim the regeneration of French literature, and of which Le Globe is the grand organ. To those of the other species should be added three pieces of a different style and merit. Les fêtes de l'Hymen, a poem written on the marriage of Napoleon; La Retour à la Religion, a dithyrambic in honour of the restoration; and Le Chant du Sacre, inspired by the journey of Charles X. to Rheims.
But whilst satire and flattering epistles are the favourite subjects of M. Baour-Lormian, he has attempted, in times barren of public events, the opera, tragedy, and even romances. There are two operas by him; La Jerusalem Delivrée, which was first played at Paris on the same evening as the conspiracy of Mallet broke out; and L'Oriflamme, which he composed, jointly with M. Etienne, in February, 1814. There are also two tragedies by him; the one Mahomet the Second, which had no success on the stage; the other, Joseph en Egypte, a drama, good in style, but wanting in interest and effect; it, nevertheless, obtained considerable success, thanks to one character, that of Benjamin, happily conceived, and a chef d'oeuvre of nature, sweetness, and sensibility. Lastly, without making mention of the poem entitled l'Atlantique, now a long time forgotten, there are by the same author, Les Vielleés Poëtiques et Morales, which has gone through many editions; Rustan, ou les Voeux, followed by thirty-eight dreams in prose; and the romance of Duranti, which was published when the author was fiftysix years of age, and of which we shall give an analysis.
Duranti, First President of the Parliament of Toulouse, was the son of a Counsellor of Requests, in the palace of that city. Whilst young, he embraced the profession of an advocate, and distinguished himself by his eloquence. Appointed to be Capitoul, in 1563, and afterwards Advocate-General, his virtues and talents shone conspicuously forth, and obtained for him, in 1581, the rank of First President in the Parliament of Toulouse. He filled this situation till the time of the breaking out of the league. At this disastrous and terrible epoch, the most fearful in the history of the French Monarchy, at this period, when six conspirators, under the orders of the house of Guise, conspired against the legitimate authority of Henri III., it seemed that in perpetuating the horrors of the civil war, it was the intention of heaven to inake France expiate the bloody massacre of St. Bartholomew. The earth itself, under the stream of blood with which it was deluged, became barren and barbarous as the men who ravaged it, and who perished of hunger. The Spaniards, invited by the leaguers, encamped in the midst of the French provinces, and the people, oppressed by want, and excited by the partizans of Mayenne and Guise, marched to the civil war to escape the agonies of despair. The magistracy alone remained faithful to its charge, as is mentioned in these verses of Voltaire :
"Dans ces jours de tumulte et de sédition,
La soif de s'agrandie, la crainte, l'esperance
HENRIADE, chant. 4.
The parliament of Toulouse, like that of Paris, remained faithful to the cause of Henri III. Duranti, by the force of his talents and virtues, more than by his authority, had for some time been able to resist the attempts of the factious; but at the news of the death of the Duke of Guise, whom Henri had caused to be assassinated, the leaguers of Toulouse rushed to arms, roused the populace, attacked the house of Duranti, seized him, and carried him first to prison, and then to the scaffold.
It was in February, 1589, that a new movement took place at Toulouse. Suddenly the gate of the Convent of the Holy Inquisition is burst open; the people roused to madness, call for the First President Duranti. But Duranti is wrapped in meditation. He is employed in correcting his admirable work on the Church; he has first finished his letter to D. Jean de la Barriere, Institutor of the order des Feuillans, and in which he prays him to obtain the approval of his book at Rome, and to have it printed there after his death. It seemed by the calmness of his countenance, that he was still seated in his own house, by the side of the vast chimney, where the heaped-up fuel burnt in the morning through silver bars.
At length, roused from his work by the tumult, he leaves his dungeon. He knew that he must die. He knelt down, addressing his last prayer to heaven; then, rising with the dignity of the president, he arranged his long black beard, which floated on his breast, and shook his red robe, moist with the vapour of his dungeon. He puts on his calm and serene forehead that cap of the president, which he never used but in entering the temple, at the head of his attendants.
"Duranti! Duranti !" madly shouted the crowd. But Duranti advanced towards them to the entrance of the prison. His fine countenance, full of gravity, inspired respect, and commanded silence. On looking at Monseigneur, the First President, it might have been believed that the assassins came to suffer the punishment of their crimes, and that he had been pronouncing their sentence. Alas! in these miserable times the magistrate was as criminal in the eyes of the people, as royalty.
It was the last day of the Carnival; the furious populace were clad in a variety of frightful, or foolish disguises. Rustics, soldiers, priests, inquisitors, monks, white and black, bishops, and filles de joie, all came in some extravagant costume to assassinate the First President of the city, in the same manner as they went to a show. We have seen how the execrable massacre of St. Bartholomew had hardened all hearts! It has been said that the voice of the sovereign justifies every crime of the subject. In fact, with what face could the infamous Medicis demand the punishment of a murder, when she herself had committed so many?
But the President demanded what were his crimes? His crimes! excellent man! They were, his having wept for the blood which had been spilt; his having executed the law when it had lost its strength; his having opposed the encroachments on the rights of society; his having what shall we say?-cast some innocent sarcasms against the Capitole of the citizens of Toulouse, and having slept whilst some poets of the city disputed for the golden eglantine and the silver palm, which Clemence Isaure had the folly to give to the poets of the Academie and the Athénée.
Then, in the midst of the crowd, an axe, guided by a sure hand, struck the magistrate, who fell immediately. The respect due to the dead was not awarded to him. As there was no sledge ready, they put him on his feet, and fastened him to piles, together with the king's picture. Some pulled his beard; others seizing his nose, cried, The King was dear to him, and behold they are together!' The students of the good city of Toulouse, in company with the filles de joie, danced round the body; and in the evening, at the end of their orgies, they put him on a throne, enveloped him in the portrait of the King, his lord and master, and led the populace to the pillage of his house.
The next day the mob proceeded to the country-house of the
Advocate-General, the brother-in-law of Duranti. The magis trate was sitting with his family, reading a passage in the Bible. The young and interesting daughter of the First President was by him, as yet ignorant of the murder of her parent. All at once shouts were heard; the doors were broken down; the domestics put to flight; men and women rushed furiously into the apart↓ ment where he was with his family. He now saw nothing but insult in the countenances which had formerly regarded him with respect and fear. Esteemed and honoured till then, adorned with the chief dignity of Toulouse, after that of the First President (the judge of this very populace, which now heaps upon him reproaches and injuries), he is separated from his children, loaded with irons, conducted to prison, and without pity for his age, secretly strangled by some fanatics.
Witness the fruit of religious wars; witness the consequences of fanaticism and priestly zeal, when it is in pursuit of power! See how we have been cast into all the miseries of anarchy and disorder! This terrible picture of a city, once calm and happy, now carried into the most frightful excesses, has something well fitted to awaken reflection. Who could have believed, that in a city, where they were magistrates, the first magistrates of the kingdom could be assassinated without one course being left for defence, one voice to demand justice, one priest for confession? Such were the bloody fruits of Saint Bartholomew !
Happily the time of retribution arrives sooner or later. When the first fury was appeased, the relatives of Duranti demanded that a new process should be instituted to his memory. He, and also his brother-in-law, received the honour of a public funeral, in which the parliament assisted, the capitouls, and the corporation of the city of Toulouse. The body of Duranti was put into a marble sepulchre, near those of the Counts of Toulouse, whose good actions occupy so large a sphere in the old French chronicles; and about a hundred years after, when they were about to remove this tomb, the body of the unfortunate magistrate was discovered yet entire and unchanged.
The work of Baour-Lormian is full of interest and truth, and very preferable to the unpoetical verses of the academician. The author has gone to the proper sources. He has studied the old chronicles; he has, moreover, made use of the life of Duranti, by Martel. He has not forgotten any of the facts which could increase the glory of his hero; he follows him from his infancy tỏ his death; he mentions all the improvements he made in Toulouse. He was founder of the College de l'Equisse; of the institution for the marrying of poor girls, and assisting prisoners; and his liberalities towards young persons who gave evidence of ability and contributed to the advancement of the arts or literature, were many and great. During the plague which afflicted Toulouse in 1588, when negligence and selfishness were the order of the day,
when the citizens avoided each other, neighbours neglecting neighbours, and parents even fearing the contagion, not only avoided conversing with, or approaching the sick, but abandoned them to their wretched fate, Duranti opened his palace to the sick, spent his revenues in providing them with places of shelter, and devoted the most careful attention to all who required it. He neither feared the contagion, nor shrunk from the thousand horrors which he saw around him. He saw but in them suffering humanity, and he assisted, succoured, and protected it. His recompence for all this was a fearful and terrible death! But not many years after, his name was placed by that of the Chancellor l'Hopital, &c.; a new proof, that the halo of glory is often found only on the tombs of great men.
We repeat, this work of M. Baour-Lormian has much interest. Its style is frequently eloquent, though occasionally declamatory; and several of the descriptions are picturesque, though failing, perhaps, in fidelity. The greater part of the characters are historical; and, after having read what the chroniclers and biographers say of the President Duranti, we are able to add, that the author has preserved a close resemblance in the portrait he has drawn of this excellent man, an ever memorable honour to the French magistracy.
ART. IX.-Reise Seiner Hoheit des Herzogs Bernhard zu Sachsen Weimar Eisenach, durch Nord America, in den Jahren 1825 und 1826. Herausgegeben von Heinrich Luden. Zwei Theile. Weimar: W. Hoffman. London: Black, Young, and Young. 1828.
Travels of his Highness Duke Bernhard of Sachsen Weimar Eise nach, through North America, in 1825 and 1826. 2 vols. Weimar : W. Hoffman. London: Black, Young, and Young. 1828. IN giving to the public an account of the travels through North America that have recently made their appearance, it has been our lot to be confined principally to English and American authors, whose statements, it must be confessed, are generally tinged with an air de patrie. A flaming Tory can see nothing in the New World that is worthy of praise; the United States are as galling to him as a novus homo amongst aristocratical legislators; their pretensions are mere bombast, their society ridiculous, whilst he wilfully shuts his eyes against their vast and increasing resources. A native, on the other hand, will give his travels or notions in the extreme of ultra Americanism; and the unfortunate reader is thus left to choose between detracting hostility and fulsome panegyric. Some few honourable exceptions occur, but these are mostly confined to a narrative of a few weeks, which the writer spent over there on a trip of pleasure, and our knowledge of the country is enhanced by a few personal adventures; but with respect to the internal economy of the growing republic, we