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SELECTIONS FROM THE ST PRIEST Mss. No II. .
Portrait of Lise (late Baroness of Stael Holstein, when Mademoiselle Necker,)
by the Chevalier Charles Emmanuel de St Priest.
Orlando Furioso. No one posesses more wit than Lise. may, however, be permitted to say, A ready conception ; a retentive me- that I think it susceptible. When she mory ; a liveliness of repartee ; a just speaks of it herself, her expressions coup d'ail, when she allows her atten- border somewhat on extravagance ; tion to be fixed on any object; a sen- but this is because her conceptions are timent of agreeable things; a facility not as yet to be confined within the in expressing them; information ; ac narrow boundaries of what is real.complishments. She is mistress, in Her vague imagination creating in her short, of all which is calculated to fancy a chimerical being, the only please; and this all is embellished by one which has sufficient pretensions to the natural charm of her expressions, please her, it is very natural that she when she describes the sensations she should arrogate to herself sentiments feels.
which are not within the scope of huToo much ardour, or, at least, too manity, to the end that she may be great a vivacity, sometimes carries her deserving of the phantom she embeyond the bounds which custom braces. Her talents are allied to her seems to have prescribed. But until gayety, and partake of its freedom. experience shall have given her a suf- Her physiognomy indicates atten. ficient command over herself, to en- tion; but this is deranged at intervals able her to be fully sensible of the uti- by the movement of her eyes : somelity and wisdom of the received notions times mild in their expression, and of what is fit and congruous, and shall often ardent; they are the mirror of have taught her to correct the work her soul. When mention is made of of nature without spoiling it, these her father, they are animated to an transports, or, rather, these Aights of uncommon degree. If he were nothe imagination, are not to be other thing more than an ordinary indivi. wise regarded than as we see, in a dual, she would betray her sensibiFoung poet, those inordinate sallies lity in speaking of him; but her heart which bid defiance to the rules of art, rises to the level of the reputation of without, however, overstepping them, this celebrated man. or claiming exceptions in their favour, The sensation which is felt by those but which announce the fire of genius, who listen to Lise for the first time is and are its scintillations.
astonishment. She subdues the selfRacine composed fine verses with love of others without wounding it facility : the rigid Boileau recommend- and it is not long before each finds, to ed to him to give them a still higher bis surprise, that he is more deeply polish. The young poet, sensible of interested in the conquests of Lise the goodness of his friend's advice, than in his own. bestowed more pains on the composition of his pieces, and rendered them Chi vive amando il sa, senza ch'io'l scriva. chefs-d'auvres of harmony.
Orl Furo. Such will be the operation of reason on Lise, when Lise shall have felt and
To LISE. judged : she will perfectionate the work of nature * * *** * * if art were Vouchsafe . * " . . to interfere it would be a profana
these humble lines to take, tion.
The sole return your poet e'er can make The heart of Lise ought not to Nor deem the labour poor, or tribute small occupy my thoughts: my profession* 'Tis all he has, and thus he offers all! condemns me to be ignorant of it. I
• The Knights of Malta were enjoined a vow of celibacy.
Extract of a Letter relative to the Death of Voltaire, and that
of Jean Jacques Rousseau. M. de Voltaire has just terminated to endure me at her side.” He was his long career amid the honours paid not allowed to be interred in Paris ; to him by Parisian enthusiasm. He and the church in which he was was crowned at the Theatre Français, buried at Troyes en Champagne, has at the close of the representation of been interdicted. His punishment his Irene, a tragedy which savours was well merited by him, seeing that strongly of the chilled age when he he protested, until his latest hour, wrote it. On quitting the theatre, he against the divinity of Jesus Christ. was surrounded by the minor poets, He even composed the following epiwho demanded, on their knees, the gram, if it may be so named, against honour of kissing his hands. This religion, and repeated it to his friends, excess of enthusiasm, which was very when the agonies of death were fast ridiculous, became still more absurd approaching. on his reaching the house of Mr
Adicu, mes amis, Franklin, who fell on his knees, and
Adieu, la compagnie, asked a blessing of him for his young
Dans une heure d'ici, nephew. The excruciating pains felt
Mon ame, anéantie, by M. de Voltaire led him to ask a Sera ce qu'elle était une heure avant ma vie. remedy of his friend M. D. Richelieu, I have not heard that he has as yet who laboured under the same com- had an epitaph bestowed on him, unplaint. The latter sent him opium, less the ines which have been handed the remedy to which he had himself about, and which are quite in the had recourse; and by its abuse he was epigrammatic style, are to be considerpoisoned. In his latest moments, he ed as such. expressed a wish to consult M. Tron- De Voltaire admirez la bizarre planette : chin, of whom, however, he did not Il naquit chez Ninon, et mourut chez Villette, entertain the most favourable opinion, The latter is a young Swiss lady, of and treated him as a quack, his art as whom he was greatly enamoured, and imposture, &c. Exasperated at these whom he had married to M. de insults, M. Tronchin told him, with Villette.* much gravity, that, at the most, he Jean Jacques Rousseau has rendere had not more than two hours to live, ed his end singularly interesting by and that therefore it behoved him to the memoirs of his life, in which he see to his affairs. On this observation has made an exact avowal of all his he was desired to withdraw.
actions. These memoirs are comprised M. de Voltaire now raised himself in an octavo volume, which sells at a on his bed, with the help of his nurse most extravagant price. It is even and of his notary. The latter having said that copies have been purchased handled him somewhat roughly, re- at as high a rate as eighty livres, (more ceived a cuff, the force of which led than three guineas,) and from that to him to enter his protest against the twenty-five. The dearness of the prognostic of the doctor. As soon as book arises from the vigilance of the he was recovered from the disorder police, and from its interest-for M. into which the awkwardness of the Rousseau has developed in it the innotary had thrown him, he said to trigue of his novel. It is as follows: himself, “ At length I am to die. His Julie is Mademoiselle de MontBe it so; but let my end be conforme morency, married to a French nobleable to my life. It is more than pro- man, whose name I have not been bable that my body will be deposited able to learn, and whom he styles in the Chantier (timber-yard) of Madame Wolmar. This unfortunate Maurapas, where the ashes of La female has been long dead ; and it is Couvreur* repose. Forty years ago said by several persons who were acshe would not permit me to sleep with quainted with Rousseau, that from her, but she will now be constrained that time he became unsocial and mis
• A celebrated actress, denied, with all those of her profession in the Catholic states, Christian burial.
+ These details were given by M. Mercier, who was present when M. de Voltaire breathed his last.
anthropic. He acknowledges that he others, he presented to them this fehad carried on, during three months, male, saying, “I call God and my an illicit intercourse with Madame de friends to witness that I acknowledge Montmorency, the mother of his Julie; no other wife beside Mademoiselle le and that this lady, conceiving herself to Vasseur." By this woman he had four be the only object of his homage, had children, three of whom are, agreeably confided to him the education of her to his testimony, in the foundling hosdaughter, whom he seduced: That a pital. With the destiny of the other nobleman had demanded her in mar- he professes to be unacquainted. riage and that he, Rousseau, having (Here is introduced an extract from had satisfactory proofs of the probity the preface to " THE CONFESSIONS," of this nobleman, had beseeched him already before the public.' What folnot to entail misery on the young lows, as referring to the manner of lady and on himself.' To this he con Rousseau's death, is not so well known. sented, and retired to his country seat. A loose hint is thrown out by Madame This personage is his Milord Edouard. de Staël, in her memoirs of this exThat the Viscount de Montmorency, traordinary character, that a suspicion who is still living, on his return was entertained of his having been from the war in Hanover, having pere taken off by poison. The particulars ceived that intrigues were carrying on are these.) under his roof, dismissed M. Rousseau, The mausoleum of Jean Jacques and married his daughter to the noc Rousseau is at Ermenonville, where bleman known by the name of Wol- he died, in the house of his friend the mar. He also says, that having be- Marquis de Girardin. The cause of come desperately enamoured of Mad- his death has been disguised, by asame de Montmorency's female atten- cribing it to an attack of apoplexy. dant, his passion carried him to such He died of poison, because his mea length as to instigate him to steal a moirs had appeared before the time gold trinket belonging to her mistress, he had prescribed ; and it was the inwith a view to criminate her: That fidelity of his mistress, who had stolen having thrown out suspicions against them from him, which led him to this unfortunate girl, he caused her have recourse to poison. He is buried to be sent to prison, to the end that, in a small island formed by a lake, in as her deliverer, he might acquire cer- the centre of a sombre group of trees, tain rights over her person ; and that, in which he took particular delight. if she had not yielded to his passion, On one side of his tomb, which is a he would have had the courage to see square of six feet, surmounted by a her hanged, and to despatch himself cornucopia, M. Girardin has inscribed afterwards with a poignard: That the following lines. being in extreme distress, a doctor of Ici, sous ces ombres paisibles, the Sorbonne, whom he names, pro- Pour les restes de Jean Jacques Rousseau, posed to him to write against religion. L'amitié posa ce tombeau : This offer he accepted. and took care Mais c'est dans tous les cours sensibles to fulfil his engagement. He names
Que cet homme divin, qui fut tout sentiment, a dozen women of quality, still living,
Doit trouver du respect l'eternal monument. from whom he received favours, at The other side of the tomb has a times and under circumstances, which musical trophy for his operatic piece, carry with them a great air of proba- “ LE DEVIN DE VILLAGE.” Behind bility. His mistress is the daughter is a woman in tears, giving her breast of M. le Vasseur, a director of imposts to an infant, who holds in his hands at Dijon. By his persuasives she was “L’EMILE.” The third side repreled to elope with him. Having sents two doves billing, as an emblem brought together, at a dinner party, of the “ NouveLLE HELOISE." Messrs Diderot, d'Alembert, and
• This was written shortly after the death of Rousseau.
THE RAPE OP PROSERPINE.
(SCENE-The Vale of Enna.)
PROSERPINE, VIRGINS. Proser. Now come and sit around me, And I'd divide the flowers, and give to each What most becomes her beauty. What a vale Is this of Enna! Every thing that comes From the green earth, springs here more graciously, And the blue day, methinks, smiles lovelier now Than it was wont even in Sicily. My spirit mounts as triumphing, and my heart, In which the red blood hides, seems tumulted By some delicious passion. Look, above, Above: How nobly thro' the cloudless sky The great Apollo goes-Jove's radiant sonMy father's son: and here, below, the bosom Of the green earth is almost hid by flowers. Who would be sad to-day! Come round, and cast Each one her odorous heap from out her lap Into one pile. Some we'll divide among us, And, for the rest, we'll fling them to the Hours; So may Aurora's path become more fair, And we be blest in giving.
Comes onward : As he moves along the ground,
Of us may wisely look upon.
PLUTO enters. Pluto. Stay, oh! stay. Proserpina, Proserpina, I come From my Tartarean kingdom to behold you. The brother of Love am I. I come to say, Gently, beside the blue Sicilian stream, How much I love you, fair Proserpina. Think me not rude that thus at once I tell My passion. I disarm me of all power; And in the accents of a man I sue, Bowing before your beauty. Brightest maid! Let mestill unpresuming-say I have Roamed thro' the earth, where many an eye hath smild In love upon me, tho' it knew me not ; But I have passed free from amongst them all, To gaze on you alone. I might have clasped Lovely and royal maids, and throned queens, Sea-nymphs, or fairy shapes that glide along Like light across the hills, or those that make Mysterious music in the desert woods, And shake the green leaves in the face of day, Or lend a voice to fountains or to caves, Or answering hush the river's sweet reproachOh! I've escaped from all, to come and tell How much I love you, sweet Proserpina.