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nately lies in Spain, Germany, Holland and Russia, and remains in neither long enough to make the reader feel at home in it? The sentiments, personages, and events, the hopes and fears, speculations and realities, contemplated or described in this multifarious composition, are so immediately connected with politics—the politics of to-day, or rather the politics of yesterday, for today every interest in the war centres in the heart of France itself, that all the fine “ ideal,” the quickening, invisible, undefinable spirit of poetry, is lost, or so mingled with grosser matter as to be rarely felt, and perceived with difficulty, amidst the tumult of ordinary sensations excited by the public details of these events; from which details we have received our first and strongest impressions of them. We do not intend the whole weight of our objections to bear against Mr. Southey. We entertain an opinion of his song of Victory far more favourable than has yet been publicly expressed; but we regret that he should spend his strength in beating the air from Lisbon to Moscow, and from Moscow to Amsterdam, instead of displaying his admirable powers to the highest advantage in a narrower compass. When we see a poem, equally long and excursive, accomplishing all that has been unreasonably expected of Mr. Southey, we will judge him by that as a standard. Filicaja's two Odes on the siege of Vienna, and that addressed to Sobiesky, King of Poland, rank among the noblest lyrics of any age or country; but there is an undistracted interest, a perfect unity, in the subject of the former two, while the latter is a crown of glory to both. Had Filicaja himself attempted to sketch in rhyme the history of Europe for only twelve months, he would not have succeeded better than our countryman has done in his poetical retrospect of five years.
Of all the forms of verse which Mr. Southey has attempted, we think he shines least in the ode. His measures are frequently slow, interrupted, or inharmonious. In the work before us, abounding with vigorous, manly, and patriotic sentiments, the diction, the pauses, the turns, and the whole strain of argument, are rather those of eloquence than of poetry. The following lines will illustrate our meaning, and also discover the politics of the piece: the latter, however, we shall not presume to criticise.
“O virtue, which above all former fame,
Exalts her venerable name!
Her counsels, to abase her lofty crest
Her Red Cross floated on the waves unfurl’d,
« First from his trance the heroic Spaniard woke;
His chains he broke,
For well he knew that wheresoe'er
Her arm be present there.
Rising against intolerable wrong,
And well that old ally the call obey'd,
The following is incomparably the grandest stanza in the poem.
“ From Spain the living spark went forth :
It warms-it fires the farthest North.
Meets the Tyrant in his might:
Rises more glorious from his fall;
Treads in the path of duty and of fame.
See Austria from her painful trance awake!
Land of the virtuous and the wise,
Glory to God! Deliverance for mankind !" P. 16, 17.
'Though the march of the numbers in this magnificent stanza is at first heavy, there is a rising gradation of thought, language, harmony, interest, and emotion, amidst the changes of scene, subject, and imagery, to the very last line, when
“ Glory to God! Deliverance for mankind!” is sounded forth with a voice of music and of power, that might “ create a soul under the ribs of death.” Three such stanzas would have constituted a finer New Year's Ode than we have ever met with from a poet laureat's pen.
Quelques Details sur le Général Moreau et ses derniers Moments,
suivis d'une courte Notice Biographique. Par Paul de Suinine, chargé de l'accompagner sur le Continent. Pp. 144.
[From the Edinburgh Review.]
This is indeed a meager production upon such a subject. But, unsatisfactory as it is, the interest of that subject carries us through, and prevents us from being quite overcome by Mr. Suinine's total incompetency to do it justice. Although, however, we cannot pass this publication entirely over, yet it will not detain us long.
Who, or what Mr. Suinine may be, he has left us to guess. That he is a Russian, we indeed find in every page; that he was appointed to accompany Moreau, he tells us himself; but in what capacity, whether as a companion, an attendant, or a superintendant, he has omitted to mention. He was with him during the voyage from America; and exclaims, “Je n'oublierai jamais cette heureuse époque de ma vie! J'étais tout entier au plaisir de l'entendre disserter sur toutes sortes de sujets.” But it really appears that he has forgotten all that passed; for of “all sorts of subjects,” he gives us none, except a few sentences of his own dull description of the general's manner of conversing.
“ Sa manière de s'exprimer, quoique pure et souvent élégante, n'appartenait qu'à lui; elle tenait de la franchise militaire et de la politesse de l'homme du monde. Il exposait ses pensées avec clarté, avec aisance, et il avait tant lu et tant observé qu'il répandait la plus grande variété et le plus constant intérêt dans la conversation. Les seuls objets sur lesquels il était difficile de le faire parler, étaient les faits qui constituaient sa gloire militaire, et les persécutions qu'il avait essuyées de la part de ses ennemis. Il ne pouvait pardonner à Napoléon les maux que celui-ci faisait éprouver la France, mais il lui pardonnait tous ceux dont il l'avait affligé. Son âme angélique ne connaissait pas la haine, et son coeur repoussait toute idée de vengeance particulière. Les seuls traits que j'ai pu recueillir de lui relativement à son emprisonoement, et à son exil, se rapportent aus refus et à la fierté qu'il opposa sans cesse aux insinuations des agents de Napoléon, qui cherchaient à lui faire faire quelques démarches envers ce dernier pour opérer un rapprochement." P. 21–23.
Then come one or two of the traits with which the volume abounds, that lead us to doubt the correctness of the narrative. It is all written to be read at court, and is crammed with fulsome compliments to the allies, especially Russia--compliments not
Vou. IV. Ner Series.
only excusable, but landable in the mouth of the author himself but wholly intolerable when put by him into Moreau's. For example, we more than doubt every one of the three following anecdotes, which occur within the space of two pages. When Bonaparte found that he durst not sacrifice Morean, says our author, he sent F..... (which, we presume, means Fouché, though surely a more foolish piece of coyness cannot be imagined than this blank) to offer him terms of liberty and reconciliation ; but these “ were dryly rejected by the general, who said he preferred his own lot to that of his
Now, as far as our observation of human affairs goes, such epigrams belong only to heroes of the stage, or of German novels, and never come from great inen of real life. At all events, if the story have any foundation, we are confident it is built of Mr. Suinine's own materials, and that if Moreau said any thing of the kind, it was only “ Tell him I would not change places with him," or some such phrase; and nothing about "mon sort,” and “mon persecuteur." The next fact is, that when he arrived at the Spanish frontiers, the officer who had accompanied him, (and apparently travelled those 400 miles in silence,) " said mysteriously to him, that if he wished to write to the emperor, he might do so, and await, on the frontier, the answer, which must be speedy and favourable;" and this, be it observed, after Moreau had said, while in prison, that he would not change lots with Bonaparte. “The general answered, that he would not write to what the officer called his emperor, nor have any communication whatever with hin.” Perhaps Mr. Suinine has forgotten that his own sovereign has very lately set his hand to a declaration, in which Bonaparte is called “his majesty the Emperor of the French;” not to mention the scene of the raft at Tilsit. He has, also, it should seem, forgotten the letter written by Moreau to Bonaparte, the price of his liberation. The next anecdote is no doubt genuine. « Il aimait aussi à s'entretenir du genie et des talens militaires de notre immortel Souvarvif, qu'il jugeait cependant avec une impartiale séverité.” It is very odd that he should never have conversed on the greater talents of a military genius whom he knew much more of-the Archduke Charles.
It must be admitted that the flattery of this anthor towards all princes de facto, provided they are on the side of Russia, is pretty indiscriminate. He never stops to consider the origin of their dignities–else why should Bonaparte be alluded to as “what you call your emperor," while the Crown Prince of Sweden is treated as a sovereign, and cited as “S. A. R. ?” Their titles to sovereignty, however, are the very same ; for who can be so foolish as to fancy that the voice of the people had more to do in the Swedish than in the French revolution? This inconsistency signifies very little in Mr. Paul Suinine; and we should not have noticed it, but for the prevalence of the same folly among persons of greater importance; certainly not among the allied sovereigns, whose conduct in this, as in inost oiher respects, has hitherto been' marked with sound sense and consistency.
The general landed at Gottenburgh; and then begins the flattery of Bernadotte, but in so clumsy a way, as to be ofien incompatible with the admiration of Moreau. Marshal d'Essen, an old Swedish officer, bursts forth in expressions of joy at seeing Moreau. His einotions, however, are truly courtly; they are the reflection of the prince's; or rather he only feels happy at the event, because he knows how it will delight his master. One should think a little genuipe admiration might have been expressed for the illustrious stranger on this occasion--but we only find a string of praises, not very lofty, put into Bernadotte's mouth“ How delighted our crown prince will be, who never ceases to speak of his friend General Moreau! How often has he told us that Moreau was born a general, that he had the conception, the coup-d'ail, the decision, of a great captain!” So that an inferior commander becomes all of a sudden Moreau's superior, and entitled to assume the most intolerable tone of preëininence, that of praising, as soon as he is made a prince. This blundering man (whether the marshal or the writer we know not) cannot find any thing to say of Moreau's genius, better than that Bernadotte has a high opinion of him. The same unfortunate disposition leads to the telling of an anecdote, which, if true, is not creditable to Bernadotte's discretion—that above a year before, he had freely talked of Moreau's coming to Sweden. If he really did so, it was many chances to one that the plan was frustrated.
After telling how little baggage the general travelled with, and how he packed it, distributing it equally among his bags or boxes, so that each might contain a little of every thing, and the chances of having some supply of every article be increased, the author hastily mentions the anxiety of all ranks to see and entertain, and show every civility to the traveller on his route to Ystadt, where he took shipping for Stralsund, where the crown prince and he
The interview of these distinguished warriors, under circumstances so extraordinary, is certainly a striking event; and even Mr. Suinine cannot tell it feebiy-though he gives us far less of it than might be wished. Bernadotte's first question to every one after this was, “ Have you seen Moreau ?” Mr. Suinine adds a fact, considerably niore in the spirit of candour than could have been expected—that during the ihree days these great men were together, they arranged the whole plan of the subsequent campaign.
The journey towards headquarters is rendered very interesting, by the enthusiasm for Moreau, shown in the people of all