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And thought, as rose the cloudless sun,
Now 'tis the evening ;-on the plain
The kindling of a mother's eye,
To march beneath a distant skyThe peasant of the winding Rhine
Has wandered from his vine-wrought bowers, The shepherd of the Appenine
Has left his flock-his mountain flowers ;
When the last rallying charge of horse
But soon the sun will light again
MADAME DE STAEL.
BY ROBERT WALSH.
THERE is an emphatic moral in the statements of Madame de Saussure, concerning the unhappiness of her celebrated friend. The very splendour of her endowments, her triumphs as an author, her importance and lustre in the eyes of the world, not merely failed to secure for her “our being's end and aim,” but contributed to deprive her of all tranquillity and contentment. Her talents, says her biographer, penetrated through every feature ; they sparkled in her eyes, marked her slightest phrases, imparted a subduing eloquence to her kindness and her pity, but embittered her existence. “Her heart was more alive than that of any other person; but she suffered more vividly, and the intensity of her sorrow was dreadful. She gave us the idea of a superior intelligence, whom a jealous fate had subjected to the miseries and illusions of this world, and whose high prerogative only rendered her more sensible of the emptiness and wretchedness of human life,” She underwent all the fugitive and the fixed miseries of the heart; and such was her own impression of the disadvantage of her lot, that when she observed a manifestation of wit in her daughter, she earnestly warned her against seeking celebrity.
The spirit of Madame de Stael was, in fact, morbidly restless; her sensibility lawless and excessive; her ambi
tion premature and exorbitant. Her passions and habits had been subjected to no discipline. Whether from obstinacy or delusion, she pursued, on every side, unattainable ends. She allowed her potent imagination to keep her in the clouds. The incessant attempt to pass the “ flaming bounds of space and time," and to soar upon “the seraph-wings of ecstacy,” could not but end in bitter chagrin, or a fatal catastrophe. She married, first a worthy man, whom she did not please to love, and with whom she held but little intercourse. The liaisons, or ties of friendship, platonic, or more than platonic, by which she was connected with the Narbonnes, the Schlegels, and the Constants, being precarious, transitory, and ambiguous, could not satisfy her aspirations, if they left her conscience at rest.
Her face may have had “ intellectual beauty," and her exterior, when animated by the play of her faculties, ceased to be repulsive; but the whole woman was not of the description that awakens and perpetuates the sublime passion, of which she coveted to be the object. She excited only admiration—the love which she sought, like Sappho, was not to be won by her mental accomplishments, and she had too much acuteness, and fervour of fancy and affection, to remain blind to the absence of reciprocity. On that head of romantic passion and sympathetic union, she continued deeply excitable, and strongly imaginative, beyond the period of age when those who have been gifted with the kind of attractions which she lacked, lose much of their power and their susceptibility. Madame de Saussure tells that there was “a passion, or at least emotion, in all her attachments,”-that they appeared to differ 6 rather in intensity than in kind," and were “naturally expansive, ardent, impetuous, and even stormy;" that for a long time “ she comprehended only
her own manner of loving, in whatever relation, and refused to believe the existence of sincere sentiments, that did not express themselves like hers;" and that she “revolted against the obstacles which the frame of society, and often human indolence, oppose to the enjoyments of the heart." It is obvious, that with such a temperament, and such ideas, the severest disappointments and mortifications were inevitable.
Madame de Saussure elsewhere informs us that her friend“ profoundly lamented the lot of women, and more particularly pitied those who were endued with eminent faculties, when denied the happiness of wedded love, in her eyes of all the greatest.” It appeared to her, in this case, “equally difficult for them to confine themselves within the narrow limits of their fate, or to overstep those limits without exposing themselves to pungent sorrows." Her own sad experience was the teacher of this solid wisdom.-In secretly espousing, at last, a young officer-M. Rocca, claiming compassion for his wounds and debility—she attempted to fill up the aching void of her soul. Because she believed that she had inspired, or because she fondly hoped to raise, the kind and degree of love and tenderness of which she deemed herself still capable, she incurred the afflictive duty of watching and assuaging the ebb of a life which was to become as precious as her own. Ambition we have specified as one of the causes of her comparative infelicity. She was not content to shine and rule in the republic of letters alone ;-she sighed and struggled for power and distinction in every exalted sphere ; she would have conquered Napoleon, legislated for France, prescribed for Russia and Britain ; in short, she meddled emulously and anxiously with all sorts of public affairs. The world may be indebted to this extravasation of female thoughts and desires for much of the