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and Béranger the chansonniers of the eighteenth century. Tradition is essential to the popular lyrist, who must also avail himself, in order to seize the popular heart, of known and familiar artistic forms, just as of known and familiar airs or tunes. But through imitation Horace learned to be original. The charming odes addressed to his friends Septimius, Pompeius, Varus, and others, are not fancy-pieces, but fresh from life; while such noble passages as the description of Regulus in the Colo_tonantem are thoroughly Roman. Scholars who insist too much on the imitative side of Horace's labours, seem to forget that the Greek lyrists Alcæus, Sappho, and others, continued to exist alongside him for many ages, and that, if he had been anything like a mere echo of them, his works would have been allowed to fall into oblivion. As it was, he appears to have been as popular through the whole Roman empire as Béran

essential parts of the Cæsarean policy. But | Burns imitated the old Scotch song-writers,
he could still sing the praise of "the noble
death of Cato." Nor was there anything
servile in his attitude towards Augustus,
whose services to the State he celebrated in
a manly and independent kind of way.
Augustus chid him playfully for not court-
ing him more. Compared with the attitude
of Boileau to such a ruler as Louis Quatorze,
that of Horace towards Augustus who,
whatever else we may think of him, was one
of the ablest sovereigns that ever lived-
stands out with something of a classical dig-
nity. With regard to his private life, what
writer has shown more filial piety, or shown
it with a finer disregard of all the mean
social fears which beset low natures in un-
expected prosperity? What man has ever
been more familiar with the rarer and
sweeter natures of his time? As for his
morals, he would not have understood what
is held on some branches of morals by the
modern world, which has no right to meas-
ure him by its own standards. And Butt-ger in France, or Burns in Great Britain.
mann did a good deal to put people right on
one matter at least, when he subjected the
heroines of the love-songs to a critical in-
quiry. There are some eighteen of them,
but they vanish away when looked at close-
ly. The Pyrrhas and Glyceras are mere
Greek statuettes. The Lalage of one lyric is
not the Lalage of another; and Lydia dis-
solves into two figures, one as shadowy as its
sister. Mr. Newman contends for the his-
torical reality of Cinara, and is a little an-
noyed with Horace for not having married
her. But even Cinara proves to have been
a mere name on investigation. These
houris of literature, with yellow and myrrh-
scented hair, and crowns of ivy or rose
leaves, were just as much Greek ornaments
of Horace's library as the figures which
Atticus bought in Athens for the library of
his friend Cicero's Tusculan villa. The fact
is, that in one whole class of his Odes, our
friend the Venusian simply used the Latin
language as an ivory on which to paint
Greek subjects. This is so indisputable,
that he has often been treated within the
last half century or so as a mere imitator,
whose satires and epistles alone deserve
much admiration. But to talk in this way,
is to talk just as great nonsense as those
gentlemen who pretend to know all about
the family of Tyndaris; or who believe
Horace to be in downright earnest when he
relates how, having fallen asleep in his child-
hood on Mount Vultur in Apulia, doves
came and covered him with leaves of laurel
and myrtle. He imitated the Greek lyrists
undoubtedly; and there is a sense in which

We cannot say, indeed, how far it was possi-
ble for a writer to penetrate the masses in a
civilization of which slavery formed so large
a feature; but there is evidence enough that
Horace was as widely known as any classi-
cal writer could become. Now, it is a car-
dinal point about our three lyrists, and their
own peculiar triumph, that they gained the
multitude without losing the cultivated
classes. "If anybody provokes me," boasts
Horace," he shall weep for it, and be sung
about all through the city."
whose songs were heard in every cabaret,
tells us, not without complacency, that Louis
XVIII. was accused of having them on his
night-table when he died. Who such a
formidable enemy of the Bourbons as Béran-
ger? But the head of the Bourbons was a
great lover of Horace, and knew a truly
good song when he saw it. Success of this
double kind is by no means the necessary
attendant of all kinds of lyrical greatness.
Odes like those of Gray or Wordsworth, even
songs like some of Mr. Tennyson's, are not
addressed to the people. What can be
grander in its way, for example, than Tenny-
son's bugle-song? But take a stanza of
it :-

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O love, they die, in yon rich sky,

They faint on hill, and field, and river; Our echoes roll from soul to soul,

And grow for ever and for ever.

Who can even imagine a stanza like this being sung by a country girl, while spread

ing her webs to bleach near a running stream?

shire farmers, who seem to have been people of some superiority, for his grandfather is found joining his brother agriculturists in setting up a school. His reading, from boyhood upwards, was what would have been thought respectable in almost any class of life at that time; for, with all the talk about Scotch education, it is the diffusion, rather than the degree of knowledge of any kind, that makes the Northern kingdom remarkable. But though in reality no vulgar portent, Burns was too much treated as such; and he left Edinburgh with stings lurking in his breast, for which the hospitality that curiosity about him had excited did not compensate. His drinking-bouts with what he calls "the stately patricians" of Edinburgh, produced not only headaches, but heartaches, which were much worse to bear.

This illustration of a poet's popularity is taken from Allan Cunningham, who records it as his own experience in the matter of the popularity of the songs of Burns. Burns, like Horace, has been differently estimated at different periods, since his death in 1796, ten years after his poems burst upon the world. His first biographers, including even Dr. Currie, obviously underrated him; and Walker especially (of whom the world would never have heard but for his acquaintance with the great man) writes in an intolerable and contemptible strain of patronage. It was the misfortune of Burns to be born in an age when Scotland had ceased to be a kingdom, without having reconciled herself to the condition of a province. In an earlier time he would have been happier, for That Burns's poems should have been whatever his circumstances his heart would admired, can hardly be claimed as a credit have been more at peace. In a later time, for that generation. Their power is so he would have emigrated young, risen to glaringly undeniable; they are so superior fame and fortune, and left, probably, great- to any Scottish poems that the country had er contributions to literature than any of seen for centuries; that to overlook them those for the sake of which the world cher- would have been simple barbarism. Yet ishes his memory. As it was, he fell up- they only reached two editions in Burns's on a generation whose society and litera- life-time, though he lived ten years after ture were both eminently artificial, and achieving his fame. Nor are those apolowrote his best things in a language the gists more successful who would extenuate doom of which was already sealed. His the meanness of the sordid patronage whole life was thus a moral struggle, as which placed him in an employment of well as a physical and social one; a strug- seventy pounds a year. Scotland, through gle between a loyal romantic Scots heart, the influence of Dundas, had a large share and a society fallen into narrow divisions, of crown patronage at that time, but it was with their class prejudices and local mean- bestowed on those who had no claims but nesses; between the consciousness of original relationship, or who made up for the want power, and the check imposed by the over- of that, by the qualities so admirably porvaluing of mere formal education on the trayed in Sir Pertinax Macsycophant. Lord part of an age which had forgotten what Brougham and the late Mr. McCulloch are poetic originality really was. We hear not unnaturally surprised that Adam Smith much of Burns's flattering reception, in the should have been fobbed off with a commiswinter of 1786, by the Edinburgh men of sionership of customs. But this was a joke letters. But they were after all mere me- to making Burns a gauger. And it is no diocrities; for the era of Hume had passed excuse to say that he was "a poet, and as away, and the era of Scott had not opened. a poet unfit for business." There are, inHume was dead; Adam Smith was in de- deed, some morbid modern poets of pecuclining health, and suffering from the de- liar schools who shrink even from critipression of spirits which overtook him a ter cism; who are afraid of being looked at; the loss of his mother. Those whose names and who are capable of nothing but proone hears as receiving Burns- let us say ducing their highly artificial stuff in a reBlair and Mackenzie, for instance-want-tirement cheered by the occasional comed a relish for real genius, and evidently pany of toadies. But the type of poet we regarded the poor bard as a miraculous are investigating just now is quite a differAyrshire ploughman who thought much too ent kind of man. Whether it be the ' highly of himself. Indeed, gross exaggera- strong vein of humour which seems an estion long prevailed on the subject of sential part of him, that widens the lyrist of Burns's actual position and attainments. this class, or not, certainly he has always He was not a peasant at all, to begin with, sound common-sense, and tact, and a prac but came of an old stock of Kincardine-tical faculty for affairs. Burns astonished

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people as much by the judgment with | who had addressed Mr. Tytler, the cham-
which he behaved in a society quite new to pion of Mary Stuart, in such verses
him, as by his genius. His talk and corre-
spondence were admirable, and the extant
papers of the excise show that he quickly
learned, and excellently discharged, all
kinds of business that came in his way.
The similar qualities of Horace, whose lot
was cast among a more generous people,
were chiefly displayed in the mixture of
taste and discretion with which he filled his
place in the high Imperial society. As for
Béranger, some of the ablest men in
France loved to illustrate his good worldly
wisdom by comparing it to that of


Burns was undoubtedly the least fortuview. The best friend that his genius got nate man of our group, from every point of for him, the Earl of Glencairn, who might perhaps have been to the poet something of what Mæcenas was to Horace, or Prince Lucien Bonaparte to Béranger, was cut off by death. Yet his name will last if only in

these beautiful lines:


The bridegroom may forget the bride,
Was made his wedded wife yestreen;
The monarch may forget the crown

That on his head an hour has been;
The mother may forget the child,

That smiles sae sweetly on her knee;
But I'll remember thee, Glencairn,

And a' that thou hast done for me.

lived to sing " A Man's a Man for a' that,”
and to welcome the French Revolution.
If, at one end of his career, he could, like
the Roman poet, think kindly of the Etru-
Frank-rian grandees, and of the Claudii, and
Lamiæ, of his Northern land, at the
other end of it, he handed over his torch to
Revolution destined to pepetuate its glories,
one who cared little indeed for such recol-
lections and associations, -a child of the
and to continue its work. Fate seems to
have curiously linked together these lyr-
ists; and Béranger, who knew neither the
language of Rome, nor of Great Britain,
lived to be repeatedly entitled
Horace," and "the Robert Burns," of
France, by men well competent to judge of


For this "Lament" promises to live as long as the Tyrrhena regum progenies on the one hand; or the dédicace of the Chanson's published in 1833, on the other.. There was a strong romantic element a feudal feeling akin to that of Sir Walter - in the original attitude of Burns towards the ancient Scotch families. It is seen very

clearly in his curious Jacobite letter to Lady Winifred Maxwell, the heiress of the Earl of Nithsdale; in his correspondence with Mrs. Dunlop, who came of the Wallace blood; in the dedication of his second edition to the Caledonian Hunt; and in the high-spirited, heart-stirring "Address to Edinburgh." We are reminded in the last poem of the.

Quid debeas, O Roma, Neronibus,
Testis Metaurum flumen -

and not a few similar passages, of Horace. But the stern experience of life taught Burns that the time for generous illusions was gone by. The Jacobite became a Jacobin, or something like it. The poet

My fathers that name have revered on a throne,
My fathers have fallen to right it;
Those fathers would spurn their degenerate


That name should he willingly slight it

Burns, like Horace, had enjoyed the advantage of being the son of a good and wise father; and of receiving that sound domestic training which books cannot give, and which the want of books does not necessarily impair. It is curious to compare the Roman poet's grateful record of the excellent old freedman who kept his youth pure from all corruption,

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doned by his father, who re-married in England, and whose name and designation were Béranger de Formentel. But in spite of their condition, the father and grandfather of the poet resolutely maintained a claim to belong to the noblesse, and bequeathed him (their only legacy) a genealogy in which they asserted themselves to be descended from the great house of the Counts of Béranger in Provence. The poet was described as De Béranger in his acte de naissance, and through life adhered to "the particle;" that famous particle, the right to bear which is so fertile a theme for pleasantry among the wits of Paris, and about which Balzac was so persistently tormented. Béranger, we need not say, became as fervent a democrat as his father was a royalist, and made the "de" the occasion for a celebrated song:

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October of the same year, 1789, while walking with one of his aunts, they found themselves surrounded by a crowd of men, and of women of dreadful appearance. They were carrying the bloody heads of the gardes-du-corps, massacred at Versailles, on pikes; and one of these heads passed quite close to the shuddering boy. When thinking of it, adds he long afterwards, I can see it yet; and he thanked Heaven that he had been away from Paris during the Terror.

He escaped the scenes of that worst period of the Revolution (which, Republican as he was, he always deplored,) by having been sent to an aunt at Péronne. The good poor woman looked at the lad of nine years and a half, whose grandfather could no longer maintain him; whose father freed himself from him as a burden; whose very mother gave herself no thought about his fate; and who had been sent to her by the diligence as a kind of worthless parcel of humanity to be stowed away as she best could. "It is impossible for me to charge myself with him," said she, in her perplexity; and Béranger never forgot that moment. "Scenes like these," he remarks, "quickly ripen reason the honest kindly aunt, a moment afterin those who are born to a little of it!" But wards, clasped little Pierre Jean, with tears in her eyes, and exclaimed, " Pauvre abandonné! I will be to you a mother!" "Never," writes the grateful poet, "never membered in literary history, in her turn, was promise better kept!" She will be rewith the libertinus of Venusia, and the grave kindly Scots father, who sleeps in Alloway kirkyard. Béranger calls her his real mother; and describes her as a woman of superior mind, who had made up for a defective education by serious and select readHe was still unable to read aloud when she received him, though he had already contrived to get through the Henriade. She took him in hand, with the aid of a Racine, old schoolmaster taught him to write and cia Télémaque, and Voltaire's dramas; and an pher.

He tells us, however, that he could have passed for a noble if he had liked; though it is no wonder that he never cared for the subject, bred among the people as he was, and making of the ideas of the Revolution a life-long worship. His youthful training was of a vague and various kind. His father, after having been a lawyer's clerk in the provinces, came to Paris, where he fell in love with the lively and attractive daughter of a tailor, in whose house the song-writer was born. The father and mother separated in six months. The father wandered away to Anjou and elsewhere in search of employment, and the mother went to live by herself, while young Pierre Jeaning. continued under the roof of the good old tailor. Sometimes he went to see her, and she would take him to the theatres in the Boulevards, or to little dances in the country; so that he learned something of the strange drama of human life in Paris even before learning to read. And what a drama This excellent aunt's position was that of life in Paris was during the boyhood of Bé-keeper of a small inn; and, as may be supposed, she could not bestow on her nephew, ranger, who grew up in a Revolution, as Horace had done before! At nine years of anything like a high education. He reage he saw the taking of the Bastille from mained through life, in his own words, unathe roof of a house in the Faubourg St. An- ble to decline musa, a muse, or rosa, a rose ; toine, where he had been sent to school, and ignorant of every language but that of but where he got no other lesson, he says, his own land. We all know the attitude than the lesson of that spectacle.* In the less excellent than his verse. In the satires and epistles of Horace we can see the capacity for a prose style, if need be; while that of Burns (though occasionally turgid) is full of vigour and animation.

Ma Biographie a posthumous work, and an admirable contribution to autobiographical literature. The prose of Béranger is scarcely, if at all,

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towards the ancient masters which a misfor- the Revolution itself, and its results, were tune of this kind would have caused a nar- giving him an education of their own, which row-minded mediocrity to assume. Such a blended strangely with the charm of the soman would have gone through life protest- norous elegance, or exquisite and delicate ing that the Falernian grapes were sour; playfulness, of the writers of Louis Quawould have sneered at classical scholars; torze. He attended a club where republiand made hazardous jests about Greek can songs were sung, and republican speeches particles" without any distinct idea of the made, an influence to which he attributed place occupied by the particles in the struc- the birth in him of le goût de la chanson. ture of the language. But Béranger was a His aunt herself was full of the enthusiasm man of genius, and an honest man. Circum- of the hour, with which the whole moral air stances did not enable him to teach himself of France was hot. The boom of the cannon Latin, as Rousseau had done. But he al- of the English and Austrian forces besieging ways deplored his want of such knowledge Valenciennes reached Péronne at the disas a misfortune; and he has expressed the tance of sixteen leagues across the plains of feeling in remarkable passages of his letters. Picardy, and woke an echo of hatred of the His ignorance of Latin gave him more pain, foreigner in young Béranger's sensitive he declares, than all that he suffered from heart. When a salute announced to the the poverty of his youth. Horace is to town that Toulon had been retaken, he was me," he writes, "the Unknown God!"* on the ramparts, and at every gun his heart "The happiness I most envy is that of know- throbbed with such violence that he was ing Greek." But perhaps he exaggerated obliged to sit down to recover his breath. his disadvantages after all. For he was a If young Burns, some twenty-five years begreat student of the best translations, to be- fore, had glowed with patriotic passion on gin with; especially those of Aristophanes, reading of Wallace, what must have been who had a perfect fascination for him. And the emotions of a French youngster of kinthen there were the best models of his own dred soul, with the enemy on the frontier? brilliant and graceful literature, which he The love of the national flag, and a certain studied thoroughly. From a very early pe- jealousy of the foreigner, lasted with Beranriod he loved the standard old French mod- ger through the whole of his long life. In Iels, in spite of his sympathy with the Revo- spite of all his admiration for Voltaire, both lution, and its influence on literature. He as genius and reformer, he scarcely ever had no respect for the extravagance and ec- forgave him his zeal for foreigners, and he centricities to which the Romantic move- never forgave him his outrage to the memment led; or with the "easy writing" of ory of Joan of Arc. later times. "If this sort of thing goes on," are his words, "Racine and La Fontaine will soon be in want of translators."-"We shall soon have people writing," observes he elsewhere, "who have not learned to read." He did not belong, he protests, to the creators of what is called la littérature facile, "the mortal foe of that other literature which has been the joy of my life, and was once the pride of France!" In precisely the same spirit, Horace toiled lovingly at the exemplaria Græca; and Burns compared, sifted, analysed, the old Scotch ballads and songs, and the poems of Thomson, Collins, Shenstone, and the Queen Anne men.

Béranger remained in Péronne till he had reached the age of fifteen, having passed two years of the time in a printing-officea part of his experience to which he always looked back with interest. He had also attended, during a small portion of this period, a gratuitous primary school, one of the thousand new, schemes which the ferment of revolution had inspired. Meanwhile,

♦ Correspondance de B'ranger, vol. ii. p. 137-212. Ib. vol. iii. 410.

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When Béranger returned to Paris, not long before the time of Burns's death at Dumfries, he found his father and mother living together again, and his father engaged in operations on the Bourse, and Royalist intrigues. Béranger's mother, whom, as he relates, he nowise resembled, either physically or morally, died soon afterwards her life having been shortened by her imprudences at the age of thirty-seven. The young Béranger joined his father in his money dealings, and became a clever financier; and he got some near glimpses of the kind of men who were plotting for the return of the Bourbons. But in 1798 the house broke down, and the growing poetfor he had already written much verse found himself plunged in poverty. This period of his life corresponds to the period which intervened in the life of Horace between the battle of Philippi and the gift from Maecenas of the Sabine farm. Among the earliest of Horace's writings were his Archilochian Iambics against upstarts like Vedius Rufus;, Béranger wrote Alexandrines against Barras and his adherents;


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