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The Gascon

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THE COMPLETE WORKS

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THEOPHILE GAUTIER

49838
'translated and Edited by

PROFESSOR
Department

S.
of

C.

De SUMICHRAST

French, Harvard University.

TJolume XII.

ART AND

CRITICIS

The Magic Hat


II-

ENAMELS AND CAMEfiSj


and Other Poems
(Translated by AGNES LEE)

London

THE ATHEN/EUM PRESS

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Contents
ART AND CRITICISM
Introduction

-f*^^^

"

Charles Baudelaire
Victor Hugo

Of the

Excellence of Poetry

Of the Utility

of Poetry

....

Civilization and the Plastic Arts

Hoffmann's Tales

The Barber
In

of Seville

Greece

THE MAGIC HAT

17

Presented

to the

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
LIBRARY
[71/

the

ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE
LIBRARY
1980

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Art AND
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ume

are

and worship of beauty.

own

save the

in

characteristics.

The

mind

series,

Baudelaire and the two articles on

of Poetry," and "

linked together

last,

Gautier's

Each

for

The
"

vol-

this

remained to the end the

nant thought

its

contained in

articles

all,

by what

series, has

vim

trodu c tiori
various

THE

CriticISM

The

domi-

the love

there

criticism

are

on

Excellence

Utility of Poetry," are

marked

by the profound conviction of the superiority of verse


over every other form
all

the articles

on Hugo breathe

the determined enthusiasm of a Romanticist, and

the persuasion that the leader of the school had said

more than the truth when he affirmed


as constituted

of literature

in

by him, was the

modern times

that

no

the drama,

final, the definitive

form

the chapters on Greece

overpowering sense of the very perfection


of beauty, attained by a race wholly different from the
French, by methods quite opposed to those of the
exhibit the

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ART AND CRITICISM


Gothic
tion

artists

of the Middle Ages, and by the applica-

of principles entirely different from those upon

which the Romanticists themselves had worked and


were
It

st'll

working.

would scarcely be possible to

find, in all the volu-

minous writings of Gautier, a stronger proof of the


fact that he was first and foremost an artist, and only
afterwards the adherent of a school.
ture

is

Greek

the very incarnation of the highest and purest

classicism

it

has

of the

nothing

upward-springing,

multitudinous conception of beauty which

of Gothic

art,

had restored to the place

But whether the

was or was not


architects

the

like

mattered

it

and

It

and Hugo next,

Greece

unto the work of the mediaeval


to

Gautier, once he beheld

Temple of Nike
He at once owned the

Propylaea, the

of the " miracle," as

Renan has

so well termed

it,

passionate feeling for the beautiful found as

complete satisfaction
as in

first

classical architecture of

little

Parthenon, the

his

distinctive

had long since so unjustly

Apteros, and the Erechtheium.


spell

is

the art which the Romanticists, under

the leadership of Chateaubriand

lost.

architec-

in the

masterpieces of Greek art

any other form.

may seem

to

many

readers, to

most

readers, of

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INTRODUCTION
these volumes that not only

is

there nothing strange in

it

is

quite reasonable.

the proposition

is

entirely true

but that

this,

man whose
great

taste

is

The

latter part

the genuine artist, the

really cultured,

admires equally the

works of the one and the other school, but

the time

when Gautier wrote,

of

at

the bitter struggle be-

tween the two doctrines had not wholly died away.


Romanticism, as a living and effective force in literature

was being displaced by Realism, and the names


of Balzac and Plaubert were attracting the attention
and

art,

that had formerly,

and not so long ago, been concen-

trated almost exclusively

resentatives

Gautier,

of

the

brilliant

had been

besides,

principles of

upon the champions and rep-

company of
deeply

idealists.

imbued with the

Romanticism, and had been one of the

most earnest and enthusiastic opponents of the Classical

school, though

little, if

anything,

work of
against
less,

in

it

must be owned

common between

there was

the real classical

antiquity and the wretched pseudo-classicism

which the youth of 1830

revolted.

Gautier seems never to have

classical

that

work of French

felt

for

None

the

the really

writers and artists anything

approaching the admiration he bestowed freely upon


his collaborators in the

new movement

or which he so

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ART AND CRITICISM


monuments on

the

gladly

accords to the

Of the

the golden age of classical litergreat writers of

ature in France,

it

is

Acropolis.

Corneille and Moliere alone that

he really enjoys and really admires

and even

in

Cor-

work, the more purely classical plays are dis" Don Sancho of
"
Cid,"
regarded by him, and the
neille's

Aragon," and one or two others are quoted by him and


"
is
of
while the noblest
admired,

play

not mentioned

at

him with

studied

all.

As

interest or

drous beauty of his work

by him.
is

This

is

all,

for

Polyeucte,"

Racine, he

has

not

deep feeling, and the wonis

apparently unappreciated

not in the least surprising.

There

no connection between the purely emotional, not to

say sensational drama of Victor

and the

ers,

Hugo and

stately, lofty, spiritual

his follow-

beauty of Racine's

greatest tragedies.
It

of the

must be borne

in

mind,

in

reading the accounts

volume, that the early im" Hernani " was of the


pression made upon Gautier by

Hugo dramas

deepest.

The

first

in this

performance of that play,

as the

reader will remember, was the


great epoch of his

He

dated everything back to

it,

and the

To

last

life.

words he

him Hugo was


the sov'ran poet and master, whose
glory none could
penned bore upon

this

subject.

INTRODUCTION
whom

equal, and to
to

Shakespeare's.

in this

estimate,

it

France owed

How

drama

fully

equal

utterly mistaken Gautier was

has not taken

and, indeed, he himself had

many

years to prove,

the painful
opportunity of

" Marion
witnessing the reaction against the author of

Delorme."

There

two

are

ume, of the

striking instances, in this very vol-

effect this intense admiration for

upon Gautier

the

in

way of blinding him,

Hugo had
who was
Roman-

usually so clear-sighted, to the weakness of the


ticist

drama

As he

in

general, and

us himself, the play entitled "

tells

Sport" (" Le Roi s'amuse ")


performed

is

yet

"this same

'

The

startling assertion.

in a

He

or scouted.

was

first

fit

it

of irritation against the


himself to

make such

had been engaged, he was then

educating that public to an understanding

and an appreciation of
to see

it

nothing of the kind, and

It is

public that Gautier allowed

him

when

King's

King's Sport,' so outrageously hissed,

must surely have been

in

failed

The

he does not hesitate to declare that

Hugo's best play."

engaged

in particular.

Hugo's plays

art,

and

it

was exasperating

any one work of Hugo disdained,

Yet

this

to

flouted,

time the public was right, and

Gautier was wrong, as was again the case when "

The

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ART AND CRITICISM


"

was brought out with much

Burgraves

trumpets, only to

dead as a door-nail

fall

of

flourish

and

most

deservedly.

This conclusion may not commend

the

to

itself

reader of Gautier's admirable, picturesque, and, on the

"
whole, correct appreciation of the
trilogy."
is

the only conclusion

"
performed.

The

possible

Burgraves,"

Yet

it

when

one sees the play

when

read, strikes one

as containing

passages and very exciting

situations.

for instance, the old

who

dicant,
in,

many superb
That in which,
none

is

else than

the Emperor,

men-

ushered

is

amid the blare of trumpets and the resonant clash

of spears, must surely be, thinks the reader, immensely

impressive; and

more awe-inspiring and

still

must be the one

in

which,

after

Hatto's

thrilling

insults

to

Otbert, and the challenge contemptuously thrown out

by the former, the beggar suddenly steps forward, declares himself the
in

reply to

am

the

cross

champion of the young archer, and,


" I
the taunt of the burgrave, exclaims
:

Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, and here


"

of

Charlemagne

every one and

of tragedy.
opposite

fill

urges

Surely

this

must

the

move

every heart with tremendous sense

Well, as
it

is

a matter

to

of

laughter,

fact,

for

it

does the very

anything

more

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ART AND CRITICISM


there
less

melodrama, more or

to the spectator but a

is left

and forced.
wildly extravagant

Such

is,

unques-

" The
King's Sport," absolutely revolting in
tionably,
such is " Angelo," which, notwithstandits main idea
;

the

ing

Gautier lavishes upon

praise

and so excessive
terror that
is

degree,

so unreal,

mysteriousness and striving after

Such

bores quickly.

it

is

" Lucrezia
Borgia,"

in

to a very

much

which there are

less

really

and powerful scenes.

thrilling

curious to notice that so intent were the author

It is

and

in its

it,

admirers upon the effect of " local colour" and

his

the production of startling contrast that they one and


failed

the

see

to

all

inherent weakness of the plots and

"
the characters they grew so enthusiastic over.
Ruy
"
Bias
is a
good example of this, and it may be quoted
all

the

more

play of

readily as, with

Hugo's

Hugo and
when all is

"

loafer,"

who

fancies, but

low ere he

Hernani,"

that has in any

the regular repertory.

by

"

Ruy

the only

measure remained

in

Bias, so glowingly painted

so superbly brought out by Gautier,

is,

more than

said

and

done,

nothing

indulges in poetic dreams and ambitious

meanwhile does not scruple


is

it is

to stoop pretty

taken up and made a lackey


by the ex-

ceedingly conventional melodrama villain,

10

Don

Salluste.

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INTRODUCTION
The more

the play proceeds, and the higher and the

more powerful does Ruy Bias become under

his

name Don

that this

Caesar de Bazan, the plainer

wonderful genius
ing

his

an absolute

is

and

opportunities

is

it

fool, incapable

consequently

new

of see-

of utilising

them, and wholly incapable of perceiving that he has


the whip-hand of the " tiger."
But, of course, one

must not expect character study or character drawing


from a Romanticist, and least of all from Victor Hugo.

The

as

drama,
of

real study

he understood

human

striking scenes

and

it,

did

not consist

nature, but in the

in

presentation of

mingling of the grave and the

gay.

This point must be borne


stand

and

Victor

Hugo and

mind

Gautier's

appreciate
his

in

in

order to under-

laudatory

accounts.

school had determined to create

and introduce upon the French stage a new form, to


which they gave the name of " drame."
Hugo insisted that this

definitive

form

form, which was, and was to remain, the


in

literature,

was neither tragedy nor


concen-

comedy, but the actual representation of

life

trated for the benefit of the spectator.

was the out-

come of

all

form, which

It

previous strivings after the ideal dramatic


it

realised.

It

was

II

to present at

once the

ART AND CRITICISM


loftiest

and the most familiar views of

life

was

it

to

to be varied, supple, in a
mingle tears and laughter;
"
The name "drame was selected in
word, life itself.

form from the consecrated

order to differentiate this

dramatic forms that then reigned in literature, and

word " drama

in this restricted sense that the

"

it

is

almost

that follow.
invariably recurs in the articles
It

does not follow, because Gautier was in error as

and mistaken

to the rear value of these plays,


belief that they

were destined

of them, his criticism on


it

for his

articles

to endure, that his

them

his

account

Far from

valueless.

is

in

enable the present-day

reader

to

form a just conception of the genuine enthusiasm excited in a highly cultured

upon the
change

taste.

in

It is

public

therefor, but

it

is

that

now

pall

an interesting study to trace this

taste

mind by works

and to

discover

the

reasons

study too large for the bounds of

an Introduction.

On
a critic

the other hand, Gautier shows his


great skill as

when he

analyses the reasons for the popularity

of Hoffmann

in

ingly valuable

and most fascinating review of Baude-

laire's
is

France, and yet more

" Flowers of Evil."

This

in his

latter piece

exceed-

of work

undoubtedly one of the best things he has ever done,


12

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INTRODUCTION
and
at

of the utmost value in enabling the reader to get

is

of

heart

the

Gautier's

speaking of Baudelaire and showing what the


he

lieved,

defending his

forth

also

setting

own

preferences.

is

While

doctrine.

poetic

his

own

be-

latter

creed

This aspect

and

will be

studied in the Introduction to the next and last volume,

which

will

comprise

the

celebrated

" Enamels and

Cameos," and other poems.


A word must be said concerning Gautier's own
dramatic work.
very

It

remarkable

pasticcio

in

of the

old

Devil's Tear," of

not very large in quantity nor

is

libretti for ballets.

consists

It

quality.

Miracle

two or three

the one given here

of

is

plays,

of a clever

entitled

light sketches, of

"The
which

about the best, and of a number

Gautier lacked time to produce

good piece of dramatic work; driven as he


was by the exigencies of the daily press for which he
a

really

wrote, he could not bestow the care and attention upon


a play

which are necessary

be turned out.

knew how
to

He

to turn

reallv

good drama

is

to

had fhe dramatic instinct, and he


dialogue, to

paint a character, and

therefore that he has not

of his powers in this

if a

line.

is

it

left

work up a
the more

regrettable

more important proof

"The
13

scene, and

Magic Hat"

is,

of

'

ART AND CRITICISM


course, inspired by the lighter comedies so

vogue

in

the sixteenth

seventeenth century,
still

at

and which,

fulfils

lively,
its

fact that
it

The

it

spirited,

in

and witty.

modern

dress,

was revived

at

the

It

is

Unpretentious,

it

spectator, and

mission of amusing the

in

beginning of the

the

delight the theatre-goer at the present time.

bright,

that

and

much

Odeon

is

the

proof sufficient

had real merit.


chapters on Greece were, like so

many

other

chapters in Gautier's work, intended to form the be-

ginning of a book on Greece, but the intention was

never carried out, for the old reason


the

constant occurrence of

Gautier or the public.

14

new

lack of time and

subjects

interesting

Art and Criticism

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
FIRST
the

met Baudelaire towards the middle of

year

at

1849,

Lauzun) where

House (Hotel

Pimodan

had a quaint apartment near

Fernand Boissard's, communicating with the

lat-

rooms by a secret stair concealed in the thickness


of the wall, and which must have been haunted by the
ter's

ghosts of the beauties

Among

the

dwellers

Maryx who, when


SchefFer for his "

roche for his

whom Lauzun
in

still

house were the

the
quite

young,

Mignon," and,

"Fame

represented in his

superb

posed to Ary

later, to

Paul Dela-

that
Distributing Wreaths;*' and

other beauty, then in her fullest bloom,

"

loved of yore.

Woman

whom

Clesinger

and Serpent," a piece of

which pain bears the appearance of a parwith an intenoxysm of pleasure and which is imbued
of life which no sculptor had yet attained to and
sity

statuary in

which

will

never be surpassed.

Charles Baudelaire's talent was as yet unsuspected,

and he was quietly preparing himself for fame with a


17

ART AND CRITICISM


his

tenacity of purpose that equalled

inspiration.

His

name, however, was already becoming known among


poets and artists with a certain

thrill

of expectation, and

the younger generation, that

was

succeeding to the

seemed

great generation of 1830,

ing reputations

manifest themselves,

most promising of

as the

in

which com-

his

was looked

all.

had often heard of him, but

with any of his works.

He wore

build great hopes

In the mysterious conclave

upon him.

upon

to

his

was not acquainted

was impressed by

very black hair cut quite short, and this

hair of his, with

its

regular points

on

his

white brow, formed a sort of Saracen

brown

dazzlingly

helmet.

outlined

silky

ironical

painted by
delicate,

ty

luptuous,

mustache, had

sinuosity

of the

Leonardo da Vinci.

the

mobile,

mouths of

chin

his

close-shaven

vofaces

His nose, shapely and

somewhat rounded and with

seemed to be scenting

His mouth,

faint

palpitating nos-

and distant odours

a strong dimple, like the


sculptor's final touch,
the

His

eyes had a deep, spiritual expression, and his

glance was almost oppressively penetrating.

trils,

his aspect.

cheeks,

the

marked

bluish

tone

of which was made more


velvety by rice-powder, contrasted with

the ruddy hue of the cheek-bones.

His

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
of feminine

neck,

freely out of a
tie

turned-down

of Madras

shiny,

stockings,

and

collar

showed

whiteness,

and a narrow-check

His dress consisted of a coat of

silk.

lustrous

and

elegance

stuff,

snufF-coloured

shoes

patent-leather

trousers,
;

white

garment

every

scrupulously clean and neat, with a marked stamp of

English

simplicity,

breaking away from the


felt

intended

apparently

to

denote

fashion of sporting soft

artist

huge beards, and

hats, velvet jackets, red jerseys,

There was nothing new-looking


dress.
Charles Baudelaire was one

wild heads of hair.


or striking in his

of those quiet dandies

who have

their clothes rubbed

with emery paper in order to take off the Sunday and

brand-new gloss so dear


able to well-bred
off his

men.

to

down,

Philistines

his

face

was

it

Thus

preserve.

and so unbear-

Later on, indeed, he shaved

mustache, considering that

picturesque chic which


like

to

recalled

it

was

childish

freed

from

a survival of

and bourgeoisall

superfluous

of Laurence Sterne, a

that

resemblance increased by Baudelaire's habit of pressing

his

which
English

forefinger
is

the

attitude,

humourist

his

against

in

as

the

works.
19

is

temple when speaking,


well

portrait

known, of the
prefixed

to

his

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ART AND CRITICISM


Such was the outward impression made upon me,
the future author of " The
our first

at

meeting, by

Flowers of Evil."

"New

In the

Parisian

Cameos," by Theodore de

Banville, one of the dearest and most faithful friends of

whose death we deplore,

the poet

find the following

portrait of Baudelaire in youth, before letters, as


I

must be allowed

prose,

which

give us a

here

to transcribe

it

these lines of

are as perfect as the finest verse.

known and

little

were.

They

rapidly disappearing picture

of Baudelaire, which is not to be found elsewhere.


" A
portrait painted by Emile Deroy, and which

one of the few masterpieces of modern


Charles Baudelaire

at

twenty,

at

poems, acclaimed by Paris

first

world.

It

uniting in

most

is

a rare

itself

irresistible

long, with

example of a

charms.

soft

broad
lids

The

really

divine face,

sweep,
the

the

eyebrows are clean and


over

masterful, take in, question, and

warm,

long,

eyes,

found, with a glance of unmatched

The

was writing
which rules the
he

every chance, every power, and

coloured Oriental

around.

shows us

the time when, rich,

happy, beloved, and already famous,


his

art,

is

fire,

reflect

richly-

black,

pro-

caressing and

every object

graceful, ironic nose, of firm shape, the

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
tip

rounded, and somewhat projecting,

one

think of the poet's famous line

on scents

borne fluttering

as

'
:

My

is

is

arched and

moment

already matured by talent, but at this

soul

men's souls are

other

The mouth

borne fluttering on music'

once makes

at

of a

still

rich purple fleshiness that recalls the splendour of fruit.

The

chin

rounded, but

is

powerful as Balzac's.

brown

pallor,

noble

blood.

beard

The whole

is

adorned

Although
seen as

it

is

and poetry,
time.

with

formed brow

rich,

ideal

youthful,

black, thick, beaute-

falls

of Paganini, that

that

as

this portrait should not

ness enables

be taken

literally,

through the double idealisation of painting


it

nevertheless was true and accurate at

Charles

Baudelaire

enjoyed

supreme beauty and perfect bloom,

is

warm

of a

upon a neck worthy of Achilles or Antinoiis."

ripples

It

is

the beard of a young god, and on the broad,

ous hair, curled and wavy

rarely

face

under which show the rosy hues of


It

lofty, superbly

the

modelled, and as

strongly

me

to affirm.

known under

his first

season

as this faithful wit-

poet or an artist

is

but

and most attractive aspect.

only later that fame comes to him,

fatigue of study, the struggle for

life,

when

the

and the tortures

of passion have altered his original appearance.


21

of

He

^ ^ 4*4

4* 4* 4< 4* 4* 4* 4 4< 4^

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4* ! 4

ART AND CRITICISM


him but

leaves behind

worn, withered mask on which

bruises or wrinkles for stigmata


pain has put
this latest
is

which has a beauty of

aspect,

When

Musset.

its

This was the case with

remembered.

Apollo, with his

and

it is

own,

that

Alfred

de

young he looked like Phoebus


golden hair, and David d'Angers'

quite
fair

medallion shows him to us almost with the face of a


god.

In Baudelaire's case, in addition to a peculiar

avoidance of whatever might smack of affectation, there

mingled a certain exotic savour, a distant perfume,


it

were, of sunnier climes.

this

when

was

as

understood the reason of

Baudelaire had travelled a

told that

great deal in India.

Contrary to the free and easy ways of


laire

artists,

Baude-

piqued himself on his careful observance of con-

and

ventionalities,

He

mannered.

was

he

particular

to give

way,

them

and capital

as

if

pronounced some words

in a

he wished to underline them and

letters in the

in

contemned by him

used

appear
the

words,

a mysterious importance.

which was held

to

as

polite

only

his

weighed

choicest expressions, and

so

He

tones of his voice.

had

italics

Caricature,

high honour at Pimodan House, was


as

being art-student and coarse, but

he did not refuse to indulge

in

22

paradoxes and utterness.

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
In the simplest, most natural, and perfectly easy
exactly as

if

he were

proclaiming a

air,

commonplace on

the beauty or unpleasantness of the weather, he would

put forward a satanically monstrous axiom or maintain

with icy coolness a mathematically extravagant theory,


he was rigorously methodical in the development

for

of

his absurdities.

His wit did not show

in

happy

hits

or flashes, but he looked at everything from a personal


point of view that altered

lines

in

the

same way

as

far below, and he


looking at things from far above or

perceived relations between them that were concealed

from others and which struck one by

odd-

their logical

His gestures were slow, few, and quiet, and never

ity.

wide-armed,

he had a horror of the Southerner's

for

He

also

speech, and English reserve

was

way of

gesticulating.

He may

taste.

strayed

into

disliked
to

him

volubility of

a proof of

be said to have been a dandy

good

who had

Bohemia, but who while there preserved

rank, his manners, and that self-respect character-

his
istic

of a

man imbued

This, then,

is

with Brummel's principles.

how he

appeared to

meeting, the remembrance of which

mind

as

if

it

is

me

memory.
23

our

as fresh

had taken place yesterday.

could paint the scene from

at

in

first

my

Indeed,

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ART AND CRITICISM


We

were

the large drawing-room, decorated in

in

XIV

the finest Louis


is

style, the

woodwork of which

touched up with gilding of a wondrous tone,

tarnished,

and adorned with

corbelled

albeit

cornice,

on

which some pupil of Lesueur or Poussin, who had

worked

the

at

Hotel Lambert,

mythological taste of the day

On

the reeds by satyrs.

mantelpiece, with

its

had

painted

in

the

nymphs pursued among

the great serancolin marble

red and white spotting, stood, by

way of a clock, a gilded elephant, in trappings like


those worn by the elephant Porus rides in the battle
scene by Lebrun, and supporting on

howdah, on which was placed


blue figures.

The

its

a dial

back a fighting
enamelled with

arm-chairs and sofas were old, and

upholstered in tapestries of faded hue representing hunting-scenes from designs by

was

in this

room

that

Oudry and Desportes.

were held the meetings of the

Hascheecheen Club, of which

As

have

said,

His short, curly

was

member.

Fernand Boissard was the host here.

fair hair, his

his gray
eyes sparkling
lips

red and white complexion,

with wit and brilliancy, his red

and pearly teeth, indicated a Rubens-like vigour

and exuberance of health, and gave promise of a


that

It

would exceed the span

allotted to

24

man.

life

But, alas

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRii
none of us can foresee another's

fate

Boissara,

lacked not a single requisite to happiness,

even

known

who had

vho
not

the jolly wretchedness of eldest sons, died

a ^QV/ years ago, after having


long survived himself, ot
a

disease

like

Boissard was an

dowed with

which

that

struck
able

uncommonly

great

breadth

down
fellow

of mind

he

Baudelaire.
-,

he was en^
appreciated

painting, poetry, and music with equal facility, but tne

him somewhat, no doubt, injured the artist.


spent too much time in admiring, and wore himself

dilettante in

He

out with enthusiasm

yet,

necessity's iron hand, he

excellent painter, as

is

had he been constrained by

would

certainly have

made an

proved by the success he

the Salon with his " Incident

won

at

during the Retreat from

But, though he did not give up painting, he

Russia."

allowed himself to be drawn away by the other

arts

he played the violin, got up quartets, studied the scores


of Bach,
learned

Beethoven,

foreign

Meyerbeer,

and Mendelssohn,

languages, wrote criticisms, and

posed lovely sonnets.

He was

com-

a great voluptuary in

matters of art, and no one enjoyed masterpieces with

more refinement, passion, and

sensuality than he did,

but by dint of admiring the beautiful, he forgot to express

it,

and he fancied he had rendered what he had

25

ART AND CRITICISM


felt

His conversation was delightful, bright,

so deeply.

He

and sparkling with unexpected good things.

pos-

power to invent sallies and


manner of pleasantly quaint ex-

that rare gift, the

sessed

clever remarks

all

pressions, Italian concetti

and Spanish agudexas^ flashed

out as he spoke, like Callot's fantastic figures indulging in graceful and comical contortions.
like

Baudelaire,

were

Enamoured,

of unusual sensations, even

"
perilous, he insisted on entering those

if

they

artificial

heavens," for the false ecstasies of which one has to

pay so dearly, and no doubt his robust and splendid


constitution

This
lived

was injured by the abuse of hascheech.


friend of

tribute to a

my

youth, with

under the same roof, to a Romanticist

brilliant

days

whom

fame

left

unknown,

for

whom

of the

he prized

too highly the celebrity of others to think of acquiring


it

for himself,

is

mutual friend,

On

not out of place here, in an account of

now

the day of

was present

also

dead.

my

meeting with

Jean Feucheres, a sculptor of the race

of the Jean Goujons, the

Benvenuto

Baudelaire there

Cellinis,

Germain

whose work,

Pilons,

and

the

so full of taste, in-

vention, and grace, has almost completely disappeared,

having been seized upon by manufacturers and trades-

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
and well deserved be
men, and
ascribed

to

it

the most illustrious artists, and thus sold

higher

as a matter of fact,

price to rich collectors,

who,

not swindled.

being an

Besides

at

admirable

to

were

sculptor,

Feucheres was also a wonderful mimic, and no actor

He

could bring out a character as he did.


the comic dialogues

of Sergeant Bridais and Private

which have prodigiously increased

Pitou,

and even now compel

was the
met

that

at

House,

On
in

first

to die,

time

only

irresistible

the

in

laughter.

and of the four


in

am

invented

artists

number,

Feucheres

who were

drawing-room of Pimodan

left.

the sofa, half-reclining and leaning on a cushion,

an attitude of immobility of which she had acquired

the habit through posing to artists,

white

gown

Maryx, wearing

quaintly spotted with polka dots that re-

sembled gouts of blood, was listening


of a

way

to the

without the

least

in

vague

sort

paradoxes enunciated by Baudelaire,


expression of surprise showing upon

her features of the purest Oriental type, while shifting

her rings from her

hands

left to

her right hand.

as perfect as her body,

And such

of which the beauty has

been preserved by a cast.

By

the

window, the Serpent woman


27

(it

would not

s^

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rf'

MM

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" " ^"^ *** "* "*

"* "*

*"

ART AND CRITICISM


do to

tell

name) had thrown on an arm-chair

her real

her black lace cape and the most fetching

hood ever turned out by Lucy

little

green

Mme. Baud-

Hocquet or

rand, and was shaking out her beautiful red-brown hair,


still

wet, for she had just

baths

from

whole

her

come from

the

in

draped

person,

swimmingmuslin,

streamed, as from a naiad, the cool scent of the bath.

She encouraged the speakers to the play of wit by her


glances and her smiles, and from time to time put in a

word, sometimes quizzing, sometimes approving, when


the tourney

Gone

recommenced more

briskly than ever.

are those delightful leisure hours

erons of poets,

artists,

and

and love,

as

fair

in

when decam-

women met
the

ature,

art,

Time,

death, and the stern claims of

days
life

to talk liter-

of Boccaccio.

have dispersed

bound by free sympathy, but the remembrance of them is still dear to those who were fortuthe groups

nate enough to be of them, and

emotion that

pen these

Shortly after this

me

to

bring

friends.
article

He

me

first

it

is

lines.

meeting Baudelaire called on

volume of verse from two absent

has himself related this

of which

with involuntary

am

visit in a

literary

the subject, in terms of such re-

spectful admiration that I dare not transcribe

28

it.

From

"^" " "

"^^

OT T <

M> MM

MW

JS* > * Sw

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
between us

that day there arose

Baudelaire always insisted on

of a favourite disciple

friendship in which

maintaining the attitude

the presence of a
sympathetic

in

own and

master, although his talent was wholly his

sprang

from

simply

own

his

Never,

individuality.

even when we were most intimate, did he


deferential to a degree that

which

testified

made

to

The Flowers

me, has preserved,

absolute expression of
I

considered excessive and

deference openly, and on

and the dedication of "


is

do not lay

stress

my

of

one,

whom some

many

He

occasions

of Evil," which
lapidary style, the

in its

poet friend's devotion.

on these points

praising myself, but because they

known

to be

have cheerfully dispensed with.

should
this

fail

Baudelaire's

for the purpose of

show one

character.

side, a little

This

man,

seek to depict as of a fiendish nature, and

enamoured of
depravation,

evil

and depravation

of course),

most loving and admiring


acteristic trait

of Satan

or admiration.

is

bat-like wings.

of Romanticism,

him

and

was, on the contrary, of a


disposition.

that

he

is

Now

that

the char-

incapable of love

Light hurts him, and glory

so unbearable to

evil

(literary

is

a sight

he veils his eyes with his

But no one, even


respected

29

and

in the

adored

fervent days
the

masters

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ART AND CRITICISM


He was

more than Baudelaire.


them the meed of incense

always ready to pay

was

that

and with-

their due,

out any servility as a disciple, without any fanaticism


a follower,

as

own
It

realm, his

may be

for

he was himself a master, with his

own

subjects,

and

his

desirable, after having

of Baudelaire

bloom of

in the

his

own

mint.

shown two

portraits

youth and the fulness

of his strength, to depict him as he appeared in the


of his

latter years

ere disease had laid

life,

upon him and sealed the


to

spiritual

were never again

eyes seemed larger

his

that

His face had become thinner,

open here below.

and more

lips

had become firmer and more prominent


closed

mysteriously and

secrets

in

their

hand

its

his

seemed to contain

corners.

nose

his

lips

had

sarcastic

Tones denoting weariness

and sunburn mingled with the once ruddy hues of the

The

cheeks.

deur and in

brow,

slightly bald,

solidity, as

it

had gained

and imparted to

Charles
1

821,

in

in
it

Baudelaire
the

His

hair,

and already thinner as well as almost

quite white, framed


old,

gran-

were, and might have been

carved out of some peculiarly hard marble.


fine, silky, long,

in

Rue

his face, at

once youthful and

an almost sacerdotal look.

was born

in

Paris,

April

21,

Hautefeuille, in one of

those

old

30

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE

houses with a turret

the corner,

at

which our

aediles,

too fond of straight lines and broad streets, have no

doubt swept away.

He was

the son

of Baudelaire,

formerly the friend of Condorcet and Cabanis, a very


distinguished and

served

the

very well-read

man, who had

pre-

manners of the eighteenth century,

fine

which the pretentiously rough manners of the Republican era did not do away with as completely as is sup-

This

posed.

trait

persisted in the poet,

remained always extremely urbane.


not appear to have been a

won many
found

whose manners

Baudelaire

does

to

have

prizes at the end of his school years.

He

phenomenal boy or

rather difficult, indeed, to get through his ex-

it

aminations, and obtained his degree almost by a favour.

Upset,

no doubt, by the

unexpected

questions,

the

clever and really well prepared lad seemed to be a dolt.


I

have not the

of putting forward

least intention

apparent stupidity as a mark of talent; a lad


the highest prize and yet

emphasizes the fact that

academic

tests.

minded or

While

lazy, or taken

to parents

it

is

very clever;

may win
it

may be

up by other matters,

man

and teachers.

31

merely

unsafe to bank upon

the schoolboy

the real character of the

known

be

this

is

absentrather,

slowly forming, un-

ART AND CRITICISM


M.

the

Baudelaire,

and

died,

father,

his

who

later

Before

long

Charles's mother, married General Aupick,

became ambassador

at

Constantinople.

dissensions arose in the

widow,

family on account of the pre-

cocious literary vocation manifested by young Baude-

The

laire.

fatal

gift

fears

experienced

of poesy manifests

but too well-founded, and


for

writers

itself in
is

it

of biographies

when

by parents

a son, are, alas

wrong,

to

the

in

reproach

my

opinion,

fathers

and

mothers with lack of intelligence and with taking com-

monplace views of
parents.

life.

For apart from pecuniary

precarious, and wretched a

of his

own

called

a literary

enters

free will
life

upon the

From

may look upon himself as


men he ceases to act, to live
;

life.

the

Way

moment

him

sad,

man who

of Sorrows
he does so

he becomes a spectator
has

involuntarily he separates

to
his

be

two

and when he lacks any other subject takes to

no corpse

spying upon himself.

If he has

stretches himself out

on the black marble

by

how

cut off from his fellow-

Every sensation he experiences

analysed by
selves,

troubles,

that of the

life is

he

of

are quite right, are the

They

at

hand, he

table, and,

a prodigy of frequent occurrence in literature, drives

the dissecting knife into his

own

32

heart.

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
Then what

to grasp as

difficult

form

endless, obstinate struggles with ideas,

to avoid being caught,

when constrained

ing only

their true aspect

seized and

knee,
the

Proteus, assuming every possible

is

and yielding up their meanto exhibit themselves under

And even when

an idea has been

panting and breathless under one's

held

has to be raised up again, clothed, indued with

it

robe of style, so

difficult

to

weave, to dye,

When

arrange in graceful or in majestic folds.

work

to
this

of long duration, the nerves become strung,

is

the brain overheated, sensitiveness becomes over acute,

and neurosis supervenes, attended by

its

train

of mys-

terious uneasiness, insomnia, and hallucination, undefin-

able pains, morbid fancies, unreasoning enthusiasm, and

motiveless antipathy,
for

prostration, thirst

healthy food.

am

mad

bursts of energy and utter

stimulants and distaste for any

not exaggerating in any degree

more than one recent death can

testify to that.

have

talent,

in

mind, too, only poets of

fame and who,


realised

ideal.

least,

still-born

won
3

gained

died in the enjoyment of a

What would

limbo where moan,

into the

that

at

who had

And

it

be were

in the

to descend

company of

babes,

vocations, abortive attempts, larvae of ideas


neither

wings nor shapes

33

Desire

is

not

ART AND CRITICISM


power, and love
cient

is

one must have the

Faith

not possession.

theology, works are useless

gift.

if

In

not

is

literature

suffi-

as

in

grace be wanting.

Although parents cannot even suspect the existence


of

this hell

of wretchedness,

one must have descended


a Vergil or a

its

know

for, to

winding

circles,

Dante, but by a Lousteau,

it

properly,

not led by

Lucien de

Rubempre, or other newspaper man described by Balzac,

they nevertheless
and sorrows of a
to turn

from

it

instinctively

perceive the dangers

literary or artistic life,

and they

the children they love, and for

they desire to secure a

humanly fortunate

strive

whom

position in

life.

Once

only, since the earth began

revolving round

the sun, have a father and mother ardently desired to

have a son
him.

in

The

brilliant

order that they might

make

a poet

of

was consequently given the most


education, and through the hideous

child

literary

became Chapelain, the author of " The


Surely that was hard luck

irony of fate

Maid."

In order to divert Baudelaire from the


obstinacy with

which he clung
travelling a long

to his literary ambitions, he

way

off.

was sent

Shipped on board a vessel

and recommended to the master, he traversed the Indian

34

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
Ocean,

the islands of Mauritius, Reunion, and

visited

Madagascar, and Ceylon, possibly, as also a few places


in the

from

his resolve to

to interest

him

become

in trade

man.

a literary

were

futile

him

share of the venture troubled


cattle

But he never swerved

peninsula of the Ganges.

All efforts

own

the sale of his

not, nor did a deal in

intended to furnish the English in India with

beefsteaks

him

attract

more

powerfully.

All

he

brought back from that long voyage was a sensation of


splendid, dazzling beauty that remained with
his

He

death.

constellations

giant

admired the heavens

unknown

in

with

vegetation

Europe

its

quaintly elegant pagodas

brown

magnificent,

odours;

penetrating

the

until

which shone

in

the

him

figures

the

swathed in

white draperies, the exotic nature, so warm, so tremendous, so richly coloured.


sakes the fogs and

of

light,

mud

In his verse he often for-

of Paris to

colour, and perfume.

fly

back

to the lands

some of

In

his

most

sombre poems there often comes an opening through


which, instead of blackened chimneys and smoky roofs,
are seen the azure seas of Ind, the
golden sands along

which

flits

the graceful form of a semi-nude maid of

Malabar bearing
for

granted

jar

upon her head.

without

trespassing

35

It

may be taken

beyond reasonable

> ?

"iS"

>

>

>

^^

*^

* **

^ "^ ^ ^

ART AND CRITICISM

was
bounds upon the
that

poet's private life

dur-

it

that he acquired his love


ing the course of this voyage
for the sable

On

Venus,

whom

he ever after v/orshipped.

from these distant wanderings, he had

his return

There was no longer any reapecuniary one, for he was rich, for a

attained his majority.

son

not even a

time, at least
It

to run

counter to Baudelaire's vocation.

had been strengthened by his opposition to obstacles,

and

it

had been impossible to move him from his purpose.

same

bachelor's apartment, in that


Settling in a small

Pimodan House where


lated at the

met him

beginning of this

later, as I

article,

have re-

he began the

life

of work, constantly interrupted and constantly resumed,


of dissimilar studies and fruitful idleness, which
life

of every

line.

not

man

of

soon

Baudelaire

on the

letters

hither, but

engaged

discovered

Sainte-Beuve,

it

who

it.

seeking his

He

the

own

observed,

beyond the farther bounds of

Romanticism, an unexplored land,

Kamschatka, and

in

is

was on

its

a sort of grim, rough

outermost point that, as

understood his worth, says, he built

himself a kiosk, or yourta, rather, of strange architectural design.

Several of the

of Evil

"

poems

that appear in

were already written.

36

Like

"The
all

Flowers

born poets,

4* 4*

^ ^ 4; 4; 4 4; 4; ^ 4 ^4* 4. 4 4* 4; 4* 4* 4; 4

! ! #

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE

Baudelaire possessed
to himself

made

he

the very outset a

at

and had mastered

out altering

He

it.

a style of his

more polished

stronger and

manner proper^
own, which

later on, but

with-

has often been accused of


having

been purposely odd, of having determined to be original


at

any cost, and especially of being mannered.

going farther

There

whom

are

will be well to discuss this point.

it

people

who

naturally

of inverted

affectation,

would have

to strive long

The

are

would be nothing

simplicity

simple.

Before

species

mannered,

else than

downright

mannerism.

and work hard

in

They

order to be

in

circumvolutions of their brains are such

that ideas, instead of keeping to a straight line, twist,

tangle, and
subtile, the

curl.

It

the most complex, the most

most intense thoughts that

most occur to them


liar

is

and fore-

they behold things from a pecu-

point of view that alters both their appearance and

the perspective.

It is

the strangest, the most unusual

images, the most absurdly


treated

of,

manage

to

that

chiefly

removed from the subject

strike

them, and which they

connect with their woof and warp by mys-

terious threads that are at

once perceived.

the nature of Baudelaire's mind, and


for

first

work,

effort,

what

That was
critics

took

exaggeration, and paroxysms of delib-

37

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ART AND CRITICISM


erate

was

purpose,

of his

soming out

their exquisitely

in

reality

His

individuality.

poems, with

strange savour, enclosed within vials

so marvellously chased, cost

badly rimed

the free and ready blos-

him no more trouble than


men.

cost other

commonplaces

Baudelaire professed for the great masters

Though

of the past the admiration they historically deserve, he


believed they ought not to be taken for models.

had been fortunate enough to be born

was young,

when

as

the

in

dawn of humanity,

yet nothing had been

form, every image, every feeling


novelty.

stock of

The

great

when

human thought were

the world

so to speak,

expressed, and

every

had the bloom of

still

commonplaces

They

that

form the main

then in their

first

flush,

and sufficed for simple geniuses addressing a people yet

But by dint of being repeated, these general

childish.

poetic

themes had become worn,

been too long

in circulation

ness of outline
plex, contains
sufficiently

and have

life

besides,

has

more notions and

reproduced

in

is

is

lost

their sharp-

become more comand

ideas,

artificial

spired by the spirit of another age.

cence

coins that have

like

is

no longer

compositions in-

While

true inno-

charming, perversity that affects to be innocent

_ Now the

annoying and detestable.

nineteenth cen-

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
is

tury

express

anything but
its

thoughts,

and

artless,
its

needs, in order to

it

dreams, and

its

aspirations, an

idiom more complex than the so-called classic tongue.


Literature, like day, has

Disregarding

all

its

morn, noon, eve, and

vain discussions as to whether

be preferred to twilight, the

to

night.

dawn

poet's business

is

is

to

paint the actual time of day and to use a palette pro-

vided with the colours necessary to render the hues of


the hour.

For has not sunset

Are not copper

reds,

its

beauty like the

dawn

golden greens, turquoise tones

melting into sapphire, the hues that blaze and

melt

into the final great conflagration, the


strange, monstrous

shaped clouds interpenetrated bv the

flash

of light, that

look like the ruins of a mighty aerial Babel, are not


these as poetic in themselves as rosy-fingered

which, nathelcss,
that

we

value

highly

But the

Dawn,
Hours

precede the car of Day, on Guido Reni's ceiling,

have long ago flown away.


The author of " The Flowers of Evil " loved what
is

inaccurately called the decadent style, which

art

that

has

reached the extreme

which marks the

point

is

of maturity

setting of ancient civilisations.

an ingenious, complex, learned style,

full

simply

It

is

of shades and

refinements of meaning, ever extending the bounds of

39

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"* * * "

"^

'

ART AND CRITICISM


f

/
j

from every technical vocabulary,


language, borrowing
and notes from every
taking colours from every palette
to express the most
keyboard; a style that endeavours
and most fleeting
inexpressible thoughts, the vaguest

contours of form, that

listens,

with a view to rendering

them, to the subtile confidences of neurosity, to the confessions of aging lust turning into depravity, and to the

odd hallucinations of fixed ideas passing into mania.

This decadent
which
is

is

called

worked

style

may

style

is

upon

for all

it

is

the final expression of the


to

Word

express everything, and which

worth.

In connection with this

be recalled the speech of the

Lower Empire,

was already veined with the greenish streaking of


decomposition, and the complex refinement of the Bythat

zantine school, the ultimate form of decadent Greek


art.

Such, however,

is

the necessary, the

speech of nations and civilisations


has taken the place of natural

wants

till

in this

then unknown.

style, despised

life

It is

though

it

when

inevitable

fictitious life

and developed

in

man

no easy matter to write


be by pedants, for

it

expresses novel ideas in novel forms and uses words


hitherto

unheard.

Contrary to the

classic

style,

admits of the introduction of shadows, in which

it

move

confusedly the larvae of superstition, the haggard phan-

40
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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
tasms of insomnia, the terrors of night, the monstrous

dreams that impotence alone stays


the

gloomy

all

that the soul

in their

reaHsation,

which day would stand aghast, and


has of darkest, most misshapen, and

fancies at

undefinably

horrible

the

in

of

depths

uttermost

its

recess.
It will

be readily understood that the fourteen hun-

dred words

in

an author

who

Racine's vocabulary are not sufficient for


has undertaken to reproduce

modern

ideas and things in their infinite complexity and varied

colouring.
in spite

So Baudelaire,

who was

of his lack of success

assuredly

at his

Apuleius,

preferred

He

and Cicero.

cal Latin, to the

good Latin scholar,

degree examinations,
St.

Pctronius, Juvenal,

Augustine, and Tertullian, with


to Vergil

his

ebony black

style,

even resorted to ecclesiasti-

prose and

the

hymns

in

which rime

stands for the forgotten ancient rhythm, and under the:


title

" Franciscae meae


Laudes," addressed

and erudite milliner,"

a Latin

in

calls

it,

poem rimed
which

is

''

to a

for thus runs the dedication,

To

the ternary form, as Brizeux

composed of three rimes following con-

secutively, instead of being alternated as in the


terzetta.

modest

this

curious note, which

curious
I

poem

transcribe,

41

is

for

Dantesque

added a
it

no

less

explains and

i^

ART AND CRITICISM


corroborates what I have just said about the idioms of

decadence

" Does

not strike the reader, as

it

the tongue of the latest Latin decadence

transformed
sigh of a robust being already
for spiritual

life

passion in the
/

the

way

modern world

singularly well

is

me, that

strikes

it

the parting

and prepared

fitted

to express

has been understood and

it

Mysticity

felt

by

the other pole of the

is

magnet of which Catullus and his followers, brutal poets


who were superficial merely, knew only the sensual
pole.

The

solecisms and barbarisms of that marvellous

tongue seem to
sion that forgets

The

me
all

to render the

and mocks

restraint

words, taken in a

new

carelessness of a pasat

regulations.

sense, reveal the

charming

unskilfulness of the Northern barbarian kneeling before

Roman

his

flash

beauty.

among

Have

look of child-

"
?

would not do to carry the notion too

Baudelaire
side

the puns, as they

the pedantic stammering, a

hood's shy, quaint grace


It

not even

is

far.

When

not engaged in expressing a yet untold

of the soul or of things, he makes use of so pure,

clear, correct,

cal can find

and accurate a tongue that the most

nothing in

noticeable in his

it

to blame.

prose, in

which he

42

This

criti-

is

particularly

treats

of matters

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
more generally current and less abstruse than in his
verse, which is almost always extremely condensed.
His philosophic and

literary beliefs

were the

beliefs held

by Edgar Allan Poe, whose works he had not yet translated, but

whom

for

he

felt

singular

remarks he wrote upon the American author,


''

preface to the

Humour,"
"

He
in

a trap to catch fools,

human

itself,

and he called improve-

dwellings rectangular

He

the eternal,

cruel

the

looked upon progress, the great rrioaern idea, as

abominations.
in

'n

Tales of Mystery, Imagination, and

are equally applicable to himself:

no better than
ments

The

affinity.

in

believed

in

and

cicatrices

the unchanging alone,

the self-same, and

he enjoyed the

privilege of possessing, in a society in love with


that

common-sense which goes

Machiavellian

before the wise

man through

the desert of history like

a pillar of light."

Baudelaire abhorred philanthropists, progressists,

utili-

who

seek

tarians, humanitarians, utopists,

to

make any change

inevitable order

in

and

all

those

unchanging nature and

of society.

He

in

the

sought neither the

suppression of hell nor that of the guillotine in the interest

of sinners and assassins.

man was born

He

did not believe

that

an
good, and he admitted original sin as

43

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ART AND CRITICISM


element that

ever to be found in the depths of the

is

purest souls, sin, that


to

do what

to

him and

is

is

an

counsellor urging

evil

harmful to him, precisely because

it is

man

deadly

of running counter to

for the sole pleasure

law, without any other inducement than disobedience,


apart from any sensuality,

marked and upbraided

any

profit,

this perverse disposition in others

he marked and upbraided

just as

slave caught in

wrong-doing

it

in

but he

himself, like a

refrained from

preaching on the subject, for he considered


irremediable.

The

short-sighted

cused Baudelaire of immorality

critics

it

well received by Pharisees

ever

are

normal

is

always

entirely in the

wrong.

it

professed haughtier disgust

for

turpi-

He

hated

being a deviation from the mathematical and the


;

despised

and, like the thorough gentleman he was, he


it

as

improper, ridiculous, commonplace, and

He

particularly as being filthy.


treat

ac-

a convenient text for

tude of mind and the repulsiveness of matter.


evil as

damnably

who have

abuse on the part of jealous mediocrity, for

No man

He

any charm.

has often been led to

hideous, repugnant, diseased subjects by that sort

of horror and fascination that leads a bird under the spell

of magnetism to flutter
but

many

down

a time, by a vigorous

44

to the serpent's evil

upward

flight

mouth,

he breaks the

4^ 4; 4;

^ 4; 4; 4* 4; ^ 4; 4^ 4r 4< 4 4* 4* 4. 4. ^ 4; 4< ^ ^.^f.

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
spell

of

and soars upward again towards the bluest realms

his seal

might have engraved as a motto on


the two words, " Spleen and Idealism," which

form the
If

He

spirituality.

it

title

of the

instead of dew, his


in

is

with

flowers,
filled

calyxes

of his volume of verse.

part

be urged that his bouquet

metallic-leaved
their

first

with

answer

composed of

intoxicating

bitter

that scarce

is

or

tears

strange,

perfumes,
aqua-tofana

any others grow

the black loam, saturated with rottenness like the

of a graveyard, which
tions, in

is

formed by the decrepit

which the corpses of former ages

No

amid mephitic miasmata.


roses, daisies,
like flowers,

the black

and

soil

civilisa-

are dissolving

doubt forget-me-nots,

violets are sweeter

and more spring-

but thev are not to be found growing in

mud

that

fills

the interstices between the

in

paving-stones in the great

cities.

Besides, Baudelaire,

though he does appreciate the great tropical landscapes


in

which strangely elegant and gigantic bursts of

suddenly bloom out dream-like, cares but


quieter pastoral glimpses of

woodland

the city, and he would be the

last to

Heinrich Heine's Philistines,


tic

efflorescence of the

new

in

in

little

trees

for the

the vicinity of

go into

ecstasies, like

presence of the roman-

leafage, or to be transported

by the twittering of the sparrows.

45

What

he likes

is

to

A* ! !

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ART AND CRITICISM


(

follow man, wan, overstrung, writhing, tortured by the


fictitious

passions and the genuine weariness of

modern

sinuosities of the vast madrepore that


days, through the
is

Paris

to

watch him

in his troubles, his

anguish, his

wretchedness, his prostration, his excitement, his ner-

He

vousness, and his despair.

instincts, the foul habits idly

at

the nascent evil

crouching

in their filth, as

gazes

one might gaze upon knotted vipers turned up from

The

under a dunghill.
repels him,

fills

sight,

it

pains

him

attracts

him with incurable melancholy,

does not consider that he

and

which both

is

and

for he

any better than other men,

to see the pure vault of

heaven and the

chaste stars veiled by loathsome vapours.

Holding such opinions, Baudelaire,

it

will readily be

perceived, believed art should be absolutely autonomous,

and refused to admit that poetry had any end other


than

or any mission to

itself,

exciting

in the

reader's

Beautiful, in the strictest

our day,

when men

he believed
a

certain

it

of

his

other than that of

mind the sensation of

the

meaning of the word.

In

anything but simple-minded,

was necessary

effect

commonness.

are

fulfil

to add to

that

sensation

of surprise, of astonishment, of un-

He

banished from poetry, to the utmost

power, eloquence, passion, and the too accurate

^6

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
reproduction of

truth.

Just

one must not use

as

In

sculpture parts cast directly from the living model, so

he insisted that before being admitted into the sphere


of art every object
should

that
it

fit

These

for that

it

and removing

should

it

principles

by idealising

truth.

trivial

may

metamorphosis

subtle realm,

when

one,

surprise

liberately set out to

examined,

it

be horrible
be

will

seen

but

they be care-

if

that

the

horrible

always transformed by the character and the


it,

by a Rembrandt-like

that of Velasquez, that

the foul difformity.

manner of

omous
in

reading

poems of his in which he seems to have de-

certain

fully

from

undergo a

flash,

by

As

is

determined ugliness of

a grand stroke, like

he mingles in his caldron

ingredients, Baudelaire

" Fair

foul,
this

The

may

say, like the witches

and

foul

Women

Men

"

Pre-

fair."

is

kind, therefore,

Seven Old

all

and cabalistically ven-

is

contradiction with the supreme aim of art, and

such as "

of

reveals the high breeding under

fantastically strange

Macbeth,

effect

is

and "

The

not in

poems
Little

"

drew from the poetic Saint John who


is
dreaming in the Patmos of Guernsey a remark
which admirably describes the author of " The Flowers

Old

of

Evil

"
:

"

You

have

endowed
47

the

heavens

of

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ART AND CRITICISM


with a ghastly beam

art

But the ardently ruddy or the coldly blue

shudder."

that helps Baudelaire to bring out the essential,

shadow

luminous touch

the shadow of

but

is

one may thus put

Though

it.

nervous, feverish, and


is

restless,

it

would

it

himself:

be

man

If a

pacem summa

simpler to

apparently

really serene.

is

is

if

talent,

He

tenent.

of saying what are the poet's

All the same, instead


beliefs,

his

that talent

peace on the high summits

at

''

have created a new

you

let

him speak

will only take the trouble

to

for

examine

himself, to question his

own

soul, to

hood remembrances, he

will

perceive that poetry has

no other end than


and

no

it

itself;

poem can

be

so

worthy of being called

recall

his child-

cannot have any other,


great,

poem,

so
as

noble, so truly
that

which

has

been written solely for the pleasure of writing a poem.

"

do not mean to imply that poetry does not en-

noble manners,

or that

its

desire to be correctly understood,

final result

above sordid interests

What

say

is

that

not the elevation of

would

man

plainly be absurd.

that if the poet has

a moral end, he has


is

is

sought to attain

lessened his poetic force, and

not imprudent to wager that his

work

it

will be poor.

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
Poetry cannot assimilate

itself to

under pain of death or

forfeiture.

is

The modes

end.

its

or

Itself,

of demonstrating

morals,

not truth,
truth

has nothing to do with

make

tend to

songs

the very causes that

song charming, graceful, and

would deprive truth of

its

are

Truth

and are to be sought for elsewhere.

different,

ible,

science

irresist-

authority and power.

Cold, calm, and impassible, the demonstrative temper


repels

gems and

the

of

flowers

Muse, and

the

is

therefore absolutely the opposite of the poetic temper.

" Pure

intelligence

aims

moral sense teaches us duty.

beauty, and

one of these senses

that the middle

two extreme

nected with

the

distinguished

from the

that

difference

some

That
taste

of

truth, taste

at

Aristotle

delicate

its

moral
did

why what especially


when he beholds vice is
it.

Vice

that

by so

sense

hesitate

exasperates a

it

slight

to

is

class

virtues.

man

of

the difFormity, the dis-

harmful

is

true

is

workings among the

is

proportion of

It

us

intimately con-

is

ones, and

not

shows

to

the

just

and

the true, revolting to the intellect and the conscience.

On
a

the other hand as an outrage against harmony, as

dissonance,

minds, and
4

it

hurts

more

do not think

49

specially
it

is

certain

scandalous to

poetic

look

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ART AND CRITICISM


upon every

infraction of morality, of moral beauty, as

and rhythm.

a sort of sin against universal prosody

"

It

is

immortal

admirable, this

this

look

the beautiful that leads

us

and the sights

us as a sort of

as

something

it

offers

corresponding

tiable desire for all that


is

to

is

to,

for

instinct

upon the

earth

summary

The

heaven.

insa-

beyond and concealed by

the most living proof of our immortality.

of,

It

is

life

at

once by poetry and through poetry, by music and through


of

music, that the soul obtains a glimpse


dours that

lie

beyond the tomb.

the

splen-

And when an

ex-

poem brings tears to our eyes, these tears do


mean excess of enjoyment rather do they testify

quisite

not

to irritation of melancholy, to postulation of the nerves,


to the existence of a nature
fect,

that

upon

this

vealed to

seeks to
earth,

seize

the

exiled within

at

once,

upon the paradise

and
that

even

imperwhile

has been re-

it.

"Thus, the principle of poetry Is strictly and


simply human aspiration to a higher beauty, and the
principle

of

the

manifests

soul,

an

Itself

in

enthusiasm,

enthusiasm which

is

in

rapture

wholly inde-

pendent of passion, the intoxication of the heart, and


of truth, the food of reason.

50

For passion

Is

a natural

^^
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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
thing, too

pleasant,

beauty

indeed

natural
a

not

discordant tone

to

introduce

un-

domain of pure

the

into

an

too familiar and too violent not to scandalise the

pure desires, the gracious melancholy, and the noble


despair that inhabit the supernatural regions of poetry."

Although {ew poets have been endowed with more


spontaneous originality and inspiration, Baudelaire, no
doubt through disgust
to believe that a

of the writer

sham

at the

tongue of

who

is

settles

fire

striving

lyricism that pretends

upon the head

hard to rime a stanza,

maintained that a true writer called up, directed and


modified
duction

at

will

and

the mysterious
find

in

a very

fixed to the translation of

poem "The Raven,"


serious lines, in

power of
curious

literary pro-

passage pre-

Edgar Allan Poe's famous

the following semi-ironical, semi-

which Baudelaire formulates

his

own

views while appearing to be simply analysing those of


the

American author:

"
after

We

are told that poetics are

poems.

Here

is

a poet

who

made and modelled


affirms that his

has been

composed

certainly

was possessed of greater genius and

in

than any other man,

accordance with

if

his poetics.

poem

He

inspiration

inspiration be taken to

mean

energy, intellectual enthusiasm, and the power of main-

51

,#A4 v^v *4* *S* *S* ** *S* *S* < ri* 'i* |**J! *! Vg* VS* *9* ! *g>g>

ART AND CRITICISM


But he was

taining one's faculties bright.

also fonder

of work than any other man, and though a thorough

was given

eccentric,

to repeating that
originality

thing to be learned by serving an apprenticeship to

which does not mean that


transmitted by teaching.

it

is

is

it,

which can be

a thing

His two great foes were chance

Did he claim

and the incomprehensible.

to be, through

strange and amusing vanity, less original than he nat-

was

urally

him on purpose

in
I

Did he undervalue the

am

to

make

natural gift that

was

the share of the will larger

rather inclined to believe he did, although

not be forgotten that ardent and swift as

was

it

must

his genius,

he was passionately fond of analysis, combinations, and


calculations.

Another of

axioms was that

his favourite

everything in a poem, as in a novel, in a sonnet, as in


a tale,

'A

ought to work for the end.

already thinking of his last line as he

Thanks
his

work

is

good author

penning

is

his first.'

to this admirable

method, an author can begin


the end and go on with it when he pleases

at

and

in

fine

frenxy

whatever part he pleases.

may perhaps

but no one need take

The

revolt at such cynical

more than he

likes.

be useful to show them the benefit art


deliberation,

and

men

amateurs of a

maxims,

It will

may

always

derive from

of the world the amount of labour

52

^
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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
required to produce that piece of luxury called poetry.

After

all,

little

genius, and

charlatanism

indeed

is

always allowable

is

not unbecoming to

it

is

Like

it.

rouge upon the cheeks of a naturally beautiful

woman,

an additional seasoning to the mind."

The

latter

sentence

is

characteristic of the poet

reveals his peculiar love of the artificial.

attempt to conceal

his

preference

the kind of composite, and at times

Nor

tions.

To

parison,

illustrate this

shall

and

did

somewhat

fictitious
civilisa-

by a readily apprehended com-

say that he

would have preferred

to a

maiden who used no other cosmetic than the water


her basin, a

he

he took pleasure in

beauty wrought out by very old or very corrupt

all

in

more mature woman who

in

availed herself of

the resources of skilled coquetry, sitting in front of a

dressing-table covered with bottles of scent, cosmetics,

ivory-backed brushes, and steel pincers.

The

penetrat-

ing perfume of a skin steeped in aromatics, like Esther's,

who was

purified

for six

months with myrrh, and

months with sweet odours, before being presented

to

six

King

Ahasuerus, exercised an intoxicating influence upon him.

He

by no means disliked a touch of china rose or hor-

tensia rouge

upon

blooming cheek, patches alluringly

placed at the corner of the

53

mouth or

the eye, eyelids

ART AND CRITICISM


darkened with kohl, hair dyed red and dusted with gold,
a

bloom of rice-powder upon the shoulders and bosom,

lips

these artistic improvements

skilful

hand

allurements

He

on with

laid

to increase the grace, attraction,

of a face.

liked

upon nature, clever ways of

setting off charms, piquant

ter

He

and finger-tips touched up with carmine.

and charac-

would never have written

certainly

virtuous tirades against crinolines and the making-up of


faces

whatever separated man, and especially woman,

from the

state

So unprimitive a

invention.
easily

of nature, he looked upon as a fortunate


taste explains itself

understood in a poet of the decadence

written "

The

Nor

Flowers of Evil."

readers be surprised

when

will

and

who

is

has

any of

my

add that he preferred to the

simple scent of the rose and the violet, benzoin, amber,

and even musk, so


as the penetrating

little

thought of nowadays, as well

perfume of certain exotic flowers the

heady scent of which

is

As

Baudelaire was

regards odours,

unsuited to our temperate climes.

strangely subtle sensuality not often

Eastern nations.

He

endowed with

met with save among

took deep delight

in

going through

the whole series of them, and he could with reason


say

of himself, in the words quoted by Banville which

reproduced

when drawing

the

54

poet's

portrait

at

have
the

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
beginning of
ing

on scents

this article

as other

"
:

My

soul

borne

is

men's souls are borne

flutter-

fluttering

on music."

He was

fond also of oddly elegant,


capriciously rich,

insolently fanciful dresses that


actress

and the courtesan,

always rigidly correct

partook

although

in his dress

at

he

once of the
himself was

such excessive, out

of the way, anti-natural taste, almost


invariably contrary
to the classical standard of
beauty,

that the

human

will

had corrected

was
in its

to

him

own

fashion the

He

forms and colours furnished by matter.

a token

beheld

proof of grandeur where a philosopher found only a text


for remonstrance.

Depravity^ that

from the normal type,


helplessly directed by

who

direct

breaking away

impossible to animals,

unchanging

reason, inspired poets,

work, and cannot

is

is,

it,

who

are

For the same

instinct.

are not conscious of their


filled

him with

a species of

aversion, and he desired to introduce art and

work even

into originality.
I

am

putting a good deal of metaphysics into this in-

troduction, but then Baudelaire's nature was

complex,

logical,

paradoxical,

that of poets in general.

occupied him greatly

The

and

more

subtle,

philosophical

aesthetics

of his

than

art pre-

he had a wealth of systems which

55

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ART AND CRITICISM


he endeavoured to apply, and he planned out whatever

he

In

did.

his belief, literature

should be predetermined^

and the share of the accidental restricted as


possible.
like

This

much

as

did not prevent his turning to account,

the true poet he was, the fortunate chances that

occur in the course of the work, and the unforeseen


that arise

beauties

from the very subject

itself,

like

flowerets haply mingled with the seed the sower has

chosen.

artist

Every

Vega, who, when he

is

set

more or

like

Lope de

about composing his plays,

locked up the rules with six keys


carried

less

away by the work, he

con seis claves.

forgot,

When

consciously or

unconsciously, his systems and paradoxes.


Baudelaire's reputation, which, for

some

years, had

not extended beyond the small conclave which every

budding genius draws to

itself,

burst out suddenly

when

he presented himself to the public with the nosegay of


" The Flowers of Evil " in his hand a
;
nosegay that
in

no respect resembled the innocent poetic sheaves of

aspirants.

The

attention of the law

number of poems so

so shrouded in veils
to be understood

was aroused, and

learnedly, so abstrusely immoral,

and forms of

by readers,

erary culture, had to be

art that they required,

a very high degree

of

lit-

withdrawn from the volume

56

JU

^ 4; ^ ^ 4; 4; 4; 4; ^ 4 ^4. 4.4;^ 4;4; ^4:db db ^3&

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
and

others

by

replaced

less

eccentric.

dangerously

much

Usually books of poems do not attract

attention

they are brought out, vegetate, and die in silence, for

two

or three poets at

most

for our intellectual

suffice

food.

But

delaire,

and when the scandal passed away

and talk burst out

light

that he had produced that

piece

at

fortune than

to

all

no poet, can ask


to

impart

it

was seen

very rare thing, an original

of work possessing a savour

writer, especially

once upon Bau-

taste

for greater

hitherto

No

own.

its

good-

unknown

sensation.

"

The

Flowers of Evil
are

titles

happy

believed.

general

more

was

in

brief,

hit

title,

and

upon than

poetic

of the book and indicated

Although quite plainly Romanticist


its

happy

to

difficult

summed up

It

idea

far

"

is

fashion the

its

tendency.

in its intention

and

execution, Baudelaire cannot be connected by any

very visible bond with any one of the great masters of the
school.
ture,

its

His verse, with


occasionally

obscure.

This

at the
is

refined

and erudite struc-

too great conciseness,

objects as with a suit of

ment, appears

its

clothing

armour rather than with

first

a gar-

reading to be difficult and

due not to any

fault

on the

part of

the author, but to the very novelty of the topics he

57

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*^ *=* *=* *=**=* *^ *=* ** *=* *^ *=* *s i e*s*

ART AND CRITICISM


treats of,

which had not before been rendered by

rary means.

In order to succeed in doing so, the poet

was compelled
palette

for

lite-

to

compose

He

himself.

a speech, a

could not, however, prevent

the reader feeling a shock of surprise


verse so different from

all

rhythm, and a

that

when

perusing

had until then appeared.

In order to paint the corruption which he abhors, he

managed

to find the morbidly rich hues of

more

or less

advanced decomposition, pearly, shelly tones such as

shimmer on stagnant waters, the bloom of consumption,


the ghastly whiteness of anaemia, the gall yellow

overflowing

bile,

the

leaden

grays of plague

poisonous, metallic greens that stink


copper, sooty blacks washed by the rain
walls,

bitumens baked and browned

in

of

mists,

of arseniate of

down

plastered

the frying-pans

of hell and so admirably adapted to form a background


to livid, spectral heads, in a

word, a whole scale of ex-

acerbated colours carried out to the most intense pitch,


that

correspond to autumn, to sunset, to the extreme

maturity of

fruits, to

The volume
Reader,"

whom

the dying hour of civilisations.

"
opens with a poem addressed

the

the poet, contrary to custom, does not

attempt to win over, but to


est

To

whom

he speaks the harsh-

of truths, accusing him, in spite of his


hypocrisy, of

58

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aX* fj^ |i* ! il i A aX* # JJ


9>

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
having

all

he blames in other men, and of

vices

the

bearing in his heart the great modern


ness,

which with bourgeois cowardice,

Roman

of

ferocity

and debauchery,

monster, Weariidiotically

like the bureaucratic

Nero, the shop-keeping Heliogabalus

poem, of the

it

greatest beauty, entitled,

Another

is.

no doubt with

ironical antithesis, " Benediction," depicts the

who

into the world of the poet,

his

persecution

fallijig

coming

an object of aversion

is

mother, ashamed of the huit of her

to his

dreams

womb, and

by stupidity, envy, and sarcasm,

a prey to a Delilah,

who

rejoices at

his

handing him

over to the Philistines naked, disarmed, shaven, after

having exhausted

in his

favour

ferocious cocjuetry, and at


ness, and torture,

the refinements of

all

last, after

and having been

insult,

wretched-

tried in the crucible

of suffering, winning eternal glory, and the crown of


light destined to martyrs,

for beauty that they

short

poem,

and contains

mad wanderings.
the foul city

"

like

whether

it

be for the truth or

have died.

entitled

sort

of

"Sunshine," follows

tacit justification

bright

gone

poet catching verses by

birds," to use Alathurin

of the poet's

beam of sunshine

the author has

this one,

forth and

calling to

lights

up

traverses,

them

as to

Regnier's picturesque expres-

59

4* 4* 4*

^ 4 4; ^ 4 4; ^ 4 ^ 4; 4 4 4* 4* 4^ 4* 4; j: ^
!

!;

ART AND CRITICISM

loathsome

sion,

blinds of the

the black,

houses

at

lanes

windows conceal

damp,

filthy

which

in

the

upon

closed

yet betray hidden lusts,

maze of blank-walled,

some window of which, here and

light shines
is

squares,

leprous

there, the

a pot of flowers or a girl's head.

For

not the poet like sunshine that goes in by itself wher-

ever

pleases, into

it

hospitals

and

into

palaces, into

hovels and into churches, ever pure, ever brilliant, ever


divine, illumining with

its

golden light the dead body

and the rose indifferently ?


"
In " Elevation
we see the poet soaring
of heaven,

vault

beyond

the

starry

In the

very

in

the

spheres,

luminous ether, on the verv confines of our universe

which has vanished


infinite,

drinking

in

like a cloudlet

in

the depths of the

deeply the healthy rarefied air free

from the foul odours of earth and perfumed by the


breath of angels.

For

it

must not be forgotten

that

Baudelaire, though he has often been accused of materialism

of talent

reproach fools never


is

may

He
still

also

to address to

on the contrary endowed

degree with the


say.

fail

gift

o^

spirituality^ as

to

an eminent

Swedenborg would

possesses the gift of correspondence^

use these
mystical terms

that

is,

he

to discover
through a secret intuition relations

6o

men

is

if I

able

invisible

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
to other people,

and thus to connect by unexpected

which a

analogies,

removed from and most opposed

ently utterly

Every true poet

other.

can note, objects appar-

seer alone

endowed with

is

this

to

each

quality to

is

the very essence of

book devoted

to the representation

a greater or less
degree, for

it

his art.

No

in this

doubt,

of modern

depravity

and

perversity,

Baudelaire

has

placed repugnant pictures, in which vice laid bare wal-

shame

lows

in all the

filled

with utter disgust, with indignant contempt, and

hideousness of

its

with a return to the ideal that


stigmatises

ists,

unhealthy

for

if

iron

does the thirst for pure, untainted

accessible light manifest

as

often lacking in satirthe

over with unguents and pow-

immaculate whiteness,

those

but the poet,

and brands with a red-hot

flesh, plastered

Nowhere

der.

is

for

itself

spotless azure,

air,

for in-

more ardently than

in

poems which have been charged with immorality;


the flagellation of vice and vice itself were one

and the same thing, or a

man were

a poisoner because

he had described the toxic pharmaceutics of the Borgias.

The method

is

not a

new

one, but

ceed, and there are people

when

reading

"The

who

it

never

affect

to

fails

to suc-

believe that

Plowers of Evil" one must neces-

6i

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.

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ART AND CRITICISM


sarily

wear

when engaged
heritance

powder.

all

told that blue


as

in-

poems

is

his

unfortunately harmful, for


it,

make an

artist

worthy

when he

shoulders with surprise

one were

if

All that

moral and scarlet indecent.

is

my

had supped with

one of the Pope's vineyards.

in

of nonsense, which

much

famous

been convulsed, and

fools enthusiastically believe

very

his

Baudelaire's

black spots, as if I

of the name shrug


is

read

features

my

body covered with

La Vanozza

have

worn by ExiU

that

have never yet been struck dead by

them, nor have

as

compounding of

in the

very often, but

sort

mask, such

a glass

to

It

is

say that the potato

is

virtuous and henbane criminal.

into classes that

poem on perfumes these are divided


awaken diverse ideas, sensations, and

remembrances.

Some

In a delightful

green as the meads


of

early

in

morn, and

are as

cool

as

child's

spring, recalling the rosy

laden

with

innocent

flesh,

hues

thoughts.

Others, like musk, benzoin, amber, nard, and incense, are


proud, triumphal, worldly, and incline to coquetry, love,
luxury, banquets, and splendour.

Transposed

into the

realm of colour, they would represent


purple and gold.

The

poet often recurs to this idea of the meaning

of perfumes.

By

the side of a dusky


beauty, a

62

Cape

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#* 1 ** iif***i*|**iMU*l # Jk'B*

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
an

maiden or

Indian bayadere

have been charged to

astray

in

seems

to

talgia,

he speaks of the mingled scent of


"

havana

that bears

away

lull his

who

Paris,

splenetic nos-

"musk

his soul to the shores

and

beloved

of the sun, where the palm leaves spread fan-like in

warm

the

blue

and the masts of ships swing to

air,

the harmonious roll of the sea, while the silent slaves

endeavour

young master from his languid


Farther on, wondering what will become

to rouse their

melancholy.

of

work, he compares

his

up, forgotten

among

it

flagon, corked

the cobwebs, at the back of

From

deserted house.

press, in a

to an old

some

the open press issue

with the odour of the past the faint scents of dresses,


laces,

and powder-boxes that bring up remembrances of

vanished loves and departed


viscous, rancid

the

from

it

a bitter

vinegar, the

flagon

perfume of

elegance.

be
sal

If by chance

uncorked, there arises

ammoniac and

powerful antidote to modern

This haunting sense of aromas reappears


place, shrouding beings
I

know

efi^ect

not

into

poets

who

in

pestilence.
in

manv

tenuous cloud.

seek to obtain the same

they are generally content to introduce light,

colour, and
fall

many

and things

Marseilles

it

music into

their verse, but

they seldom

the one drop of delicate essence with

63

let

which

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ART AND CRITICISM


muse never

Baudelaire's
in

to moisten the

fails

sponge

her scent-bottle or the cambric of her handkerchief.

As
and

am on

little

let

hobbies,

me

he adored cats,

add that

are very fond of perfumes and

like himself,

which,

whom

the subject of the poet's private tastes

in

the odour of valerian induces a sort of epileptic

He was

ecstasy.

very fond of these delightful, quiet,

mysterious, gentle animals, with their electric shivers,

whose favourite

attitude

is

the

prone

of

pose

the

sphinxes, which seem to have passed their secrets on


to them.

They prowl

house, like the genius

with velvet
or

loci^

come

to

paw through
sit down on

table by the writer, keeping his thought

gazing
with

him out of the depths of

at

gold,

with
It

penetration.
that

is

seems

way.

They

and no place
study.

them

and

tenderness

magical

are trying to seize

so well as

it

on

and peace,

literary

man's

wait with wondrous patience until his


they

accompany

rhythmic purring.
their

tongue some
64:

.>. J

their eyes, dusted

though cats divine the thought

paw they

task be done, while

smooth with

company, and

delight in silence, orderliness,

suits

They

their guttural,

as

the

the brain to the pen, and that as

passing from

they stretch out a


its

intelligent

the

--_

"ir;

his

Now
ruffled

labour with

and then they


spot

on

their

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
they are cleanly, careful of themselves, coquet-

fur, for
tish,

and cannot bear anything amiss with

ance, but they do


if

this

a calm, discreet

in

of disturbing or being

afraid

caresses are

of dogs, on
all

way,

have

with the noisy, boisterous petulance

masses have be-

nevertheless, the

whom,

their

as

Their

the way.

in

tender, delicate, sWein^ feminine, and

common

in

nothing

stowed

all

their appear-

sympathy.

These many merits were duly appreciated by Baudelaire, as was right and proper, and he more than once
dedicated to cats beautiful

"The

Flowers of Evil

moral and physical

them

dogs are

in

as

accessories

to these pretty

the daytime, a
tic

its

creatures,

verse

ought to add that there


so

behaved

well

attraction

for

the poet.

of lanterns, and sparks flashing from

through the darkness, where

ing ghosts, witches,


5

composi-

Baudelaire's

in

phosphorescent eyes that stand

fearlessly

his

in

during

nocturnal side, mysterious and cabalis-

which had much

with

of their

Veronese's paintings, and are

equivalent to a signature.
is

sincrs

in

and he very often brings

numerous

Paolo

there are three

which he

in

qualities,

characteristic

Cats are

tions.
as

as

in

"

poems

alchemists,

it

its
it

in

the stead

meets wander-

necromancers, resur-

i'mp^'^-

n^-

cat,

back, moves

65

;f

:^'^l

.^

ART AND CRITICISM


rectionists,

lovers,

patrols, and

all

by night

murderers,

thieves,

gray-coated

emerge and work


know more than the

the obscure larvae that

seems

It

only.

to

from the sabbath, and does not hesitate

latest special

lame

to rub up against Mephistopheles'

Its sere-

leg.

nades under the balconies of the females of


its

amours on the roof


of a child

like those

justifies

the repugnance

minds, for

whom

attraction.

But

a cat for a

and

the

felt for

companion

wheedling

mysterious gait,

in

to

difficult

and

it

point,

Erebus have no

always love to have


filled

with tomes

Baudelaire himself

strong and

tent

will

study

with

cat,

filled

perfidiousness,

his

certain

yells

by practical, daylight

mysteries of

and things a glance


light,

it

to

up

that,

alchemic apparatus.

voluptuous,

accompaniment of

to the

Doctor Faust

kind,

being murdered, impart to

look

devilish

passably

its

velvety

supple, casting

was

manners,

men

on

with a troublous, free insis-

retain,

but

wholly

from

free

faithfully attached to those to

whom

he had once given his independent sympathy.

Diverse female figures show in Baudelaire's poems,

some

veiled, others

be given.
represent

They
the

name

semi-nude, but to none can a

are types rather than persons

eternal

they

woman^ and the love the poet


66

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
expresses for them

we have

for

passion,

abstract love^

is

and not

concrete love^

seen that his theory did not admit individual

which he looked upon as too crude, famiHar,

and violent.

Among

these

women, some

are symbolical

of unconscious and almost bestial prostitution, with faces

heavy

with rouge and powder, eyes lined thick with

kohl, lips painted red and resembling bleeding wounds,

helmets of

false hair,

and gems that

hard and cold.

glitter

Others, more coldlv, cleverly, perversely corrupt. Marchionesses de Marteuil living

in

the nineteenth century,

transpose vice from the body to the soul.

haughtv, icy proud,


satisfied

as

and find pleasure only

wickedness, insatiable as

weariness,

lacking,

bitter,

filled

the

like

Endowed with

with

sterility itself,

hvstcrical,

mad

Fiend himself, the

terrific,

are

They

gloomy

fancies,

power

to

and
love.

almost spectral beauty, which

not flushed with the red ^\ovj of

life,

thev

2:0

on

in

is

to their

appointed end, pale, unfeeling, superbly disgusted, trampling

upon hearts

heels.

are

It is

like

that thev crush with their

narrow high

when he comes awav from such

hatreds,

from

such

loves, that

pleasures that are

more

deadly than combats, that the poet turns again to his

dusky

idol

with the exotic odour, with the wildly quaint

adornments, supple and wheedling

like the black

panther

ART AND CRITICISM


who

of Java,
the

him and compensates

rests

harm done him by

have toyed with

cats, that

Parisian

wicked

these

him

to

for

sharp-clawed

with a

his heart as

mouse.

But

upon none of these

is

it

plaster, marble, or

Above

creatures that he bestows his soul.

ebony

the darksome

mass of leprous houses, above the foul labyrinth where

meander the spectres of


ing

in

away up

attained

far

far,

perversity,

the unchanging heavens floats the beloved

phantom of

of a

ugliness, and

wretchedness,

swarm-

pleasure, above the foul

his Beatrice, the

never

ideal ever sought,

highest, divine beauty incarnated in the

form

made of

light,

woman,

etherealised, spiritualised,

flame, and perfume

a vapour, a

dream, a reflection of

the aromatical, seraphic world, like


Ligeias, Morellas,

Edgar Allan Poe's

Unas, and Eleonoras, and that amaz-

ing creation, Balzac's Seraphita-Seraphitus.

Out of

depths of his

it

celestial

falls, his

errors and his despair,

image that he holds out

Lady of Succour, with


contempt.

flee

and hide

some nook, mysteriously

tears,

his

Our

and utter

self-

68

It

is

with

perfect felicity in

fairy-like or

Gainsborough cottage, an

to this

hands as to

In hours of amorous melancholy.

her he fain would

able,

cries,

his

is

the

ideally

comfort-

interior of

Gerard

CHARL.es BAUDELAIRE
Dow's,

or, better

He

or Hyderabad.

Are we

dreams.

his

a fretted marble palace in Benares

still,

never has any other companion

in

to see in this Beatrice, this Laura,

maiden or young married woman


who, while she remained on this earth, was passionately
never named, a

real

and religiously loved by the poet


supposition, but

tic

it

was not

mv

It

would be

roman-

fortune to be admitted

sufficiently into his heart's inner life to be in a position

answer the question.

to

In the course of his purely

metaphysical conversations, Baudelaire spoke


his

little

ideas, very

actions.

And

as

of

ideal love as

and never of

his feelings,

his

regarded his loves, he had sealed his

delicate, disdainful lips

of Harpocrates.

much of

It

with a cameo bearing the image

would be

safest

to consider that

merelv an uplifting of the soul, the striving

of an unsatisfied heart, the ever recurring longing of the


imperfect that aspires to the absolute.

At

the end of "

ber of poems on "


intoxication

it

on which

acts.

are

vine

it

The

Flowers of Evil

Wine

"

and the

"

come

difl^erent

num-

forms of

produces, according to the kind of brain


It

is

unnecessary to say that these

not bacchanalian songs in which the fruit of the


is

honoured, or anything resembling them.

are terrible

They

and hideous descriptions of drunkenness,

wm^ S

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** ** *^* **

ART AND CRITICISM


The

but unprovided with a Hogarthian moral.

no

ing needs

inscription,

"

Workingman's Drink."
god of

evil

and one shudders

The

and the prince of

this

at

paint-

"

The

Litanies of Satan," the

world, are a cold piece

of irony of the kind the poet indulges

and which

in,

would be a mistake to consider impious.

it

Impiety did

not form part of Baudelaire's nature, for he believed in

God from

a higher law established by


violation of
in this

which

is

world only, but also

severest way, not

in the

punished

time, the least

all

in the next.

It is certainly

without taking any pleasure in the task that he has


depicted

He
and

is

vice and

Satan and

exhibited

his

all

sees

perversity

him

work everywhere,

at

were not

and crime.

Sin,

as

sufficient to drive

with Baudelaire,

man's native

if

him

to sin, infamy,

invariably followed

is

by remorse, anguish, and disgust, and entails


self-punishment, which

But

enough on

this

able

is

poems

one called "

in

"

The

have

must draw attention

its

own

the worst punishment of

point

theology with which


I

pomp.

even rather troubled by the devil as the tempter,

to

it

to

is

criticism,

and

all.

not

do.

some of

the most remark-

Flowers of Evil," especially the

Don Juan

grand picture, painted

in

Hades."

with a

70

It

is

a tragically

sober masterliness

of

^4;^4;4: 4* 4*4: 4;^ 47<^ 4:4; tl::!::!:^:!^? ti:^^^^

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE

colouring upon the sombre flaming background of the


infernal regions.

The

boat of the dead glides over the black waters,

Don Juan

bearing

men.

insulted

and

his train

whom

l^he beggar

deny the existence of God, an

room of Charon.
phantom, with

Don

stiff,

man

in

of stone, a

the

wan

Luis points to his white hair scorned by his


Sganarelle claims payment

now

for ever insolvent.

Elvira endeavours to bring back the lover's smile

the

lips

of the disdainful husband, and the pallid

women who
betrayed,

have

loved

trampled under

unveil the ever bleedintr

him, outraged,
foot

like

wound

remains impassible

Heaven,
please,

hell,

blooms,

in their hearts.

Amid

Don Juan

he has done what he willed to do

and the world may think of him what they

his pride

him, but

The

abandoned,

withered

the concert of tears, wailings, and curses,

blast

proud

sculptural gesture, holds the tiller;

of his wages from his master,

to

and

he sought to have

athletic vagrant, as

In the stern a

hypocritically impious son

Dona

women

any Antisthenes, handles the oars

in his
rags as

old

of outraged

it

knows not remorse

lightning

may

cannot force him to repent.

serene melancholy, the luminous peace, and the

slumbrousness

of the

poem
71

entitled

"

The Former

ART AND CRITICISM

v.-

Life," form a pleasant contrast to the


tions of

monstrous modern

fact that

by the

Paris, and

umbers, and siennas on the

whole range of cool,

dise Breughel's

testify

to

the

of the blacks, bitumens, browns,

side

ideally blue hues

sombre descrip-

artist's palette,

there

is

light, transparent, delicately rosy,

in the

like those

pictures,

which

distances in Para-

are fitted to reproduce

the mirages of dreams.


Elysian landscapes and

The

characteristic of the poet.


a creation

due wholly to

By

alive,

must be understood

in

is

which

en-

splendid,

sombre night-

mezzotints:

"Imagine

that

mare, worthy of Martin's

ex-

"

Dream

Parisian

quote the passage

deavoured to reproduce

is

to this curious
tendency,

of which the poem called "


I

as

wrote while Baudelaire

drew attention

striking instance.

this

and whence nature

art

In an article which

cluded.

was

mentioned

feeling for the artificial should be

landscape outside the realm of nature, or, rather, a pros-

composed of metal, marble, and water, and from


which vegetation is banished as out of place.
Everypect

thing

is

rigid,

burnished, glaring under a sunless,

less, starless sky.

illumined
towers,

by

stairs,

their

From amid

own

fountains,

moon-

the eternal silence rise,

light,

palaces,

colonnades,

whence ponderous cascades


72

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
fall like

The

crystal curtains.

blue waters are set, like

mirrors of antiquity, within quays and basins of

steel

burnished gold, or flow noiselessly under bridges of

The

gems.

flow

clasped by the crystallised ray, and

is

the porphyry flagstones of the terraces reflect objects as


if

Were

they were mirrors.

tread

them, she would

this

poem gleams

Is

is

Queen of Sheba

up her

lift

wetting her feet, so shiny

the

The

the surface.

like polished

of rigid elements

style

of

black marble."

not strangely fanciful, this composition

it

fear of

for

gown

to

among which nothing

made up

lives, breathes,

or moves, in which no blade of grass, no leaf, no flower,

breaks the implacable symmetry of

vented by

touched
intact

art

Does

Palmyra or

and erect

in

forms

in-

not one seem to be in an un-

Palenque

which

has

remained

some dead planet from which the

atmosphere has vanished

Unquestionably such fancies are


ral,

fictitious

fantastic, anti-natu-

bordering on hallucination, and they betray a secret


novelty, but for

desire for impossible

them

to the

my

part

sickly simplicity of so-called

prefer

poems

that

embroider with old faded wools upon the canvas of

worn-out commonplaces,
sentimental patterns

trite,

trivial,

and

idiotically

wreaths of big roses, cabbage-

73

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ART AND CRITICISM


green foliage, and doves billing and cooing.

have what

ready at times to

is

superior to platitude, to

my

has this advantage, so far as

be bad, but he
as his

its

Barbarism

thinking, and Baudelaire

am

concerned

he

may

never vulgar; his faults are as original

is

and even when he

qualities,

quite

rare at the cost of

being shocking, fantastic, and exaggerated.


is

am

is

is

it

unpleasant,

because he has willed to be so, in accordance with long

matured
I

must bring

analysis,

and reasoning.

aesthetics

to a close this already


I

though

have cut

words on the poem

a few

Women," which
walks the Paris

down

entitled

"

it

startled Victor
streets,

somewhat lengthy

he sees

The

old

Old

Little

As

Hugo.
little

deal, with

good

the poet

women

pass

by with humble and dejected mien, and he follows

them

just as if they

the old, worn,

were lovely women, reading,

faded shawl, rubbed, darned over and

over again, meanlv covering the thin shoulders,


bit

in

of yellowed, frumped lace, in the ring,

in

a souvenir

which the pawn-shop must not have, and which


ready to slip off the slender finger of the

the

wan hand,

is

whole past of happiness and luxury, of love and devo-

remnant of beauty still perceptible


under the wretchedness of
poverty and the devastation

tion,

it

may

be, a

74

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
He

of age.

new

breathes

spectres, straightens

into

life

these

them up, puts the

flesh

gaunt skeletons, and reawakens within their

upon

their

poor

unhappy

Most

ridiculous, yet

hearts

the

illusions

of bygone

master's

by, at the

prised by the

command,

like

all

who

lack feeling for form,

such nowadays,

monest thing

sume

that

nothing

in

as

they sadly

spectres sur-

dawn.

Baudelaire rightly considered that

by

days.

most touching are these graveyard

Venuses and almshouse Ninon de Lenclos


flit

tottering

of youth

and there

most important.

is

It

is

are plenty

the

com-

the world, at the present time, to as-

in

what

metre, disdained

is

is

poetical

common.

The two

poetry.

have

Fenelon, Jean-Jacques Rousseau,

Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Chateaubriand, George Sand


are

poetical,

are

they

but they are not poets

incapable

of writing

verse,

that

even

is

to say,

mediocre

verse, a special gift possessed by people greatly inferior


in

merit to these illustrious masters.

separate verse
that tends to
itself.

find

Sainte-Beuve,

who

from poetry
nothing
in

in

less

is

To

attempt to

modern piece of

folly

than the destruction of art

an excellent article on Taine,


connection with

by

Pope and Boileau,

are rather scornfully spoken of by the author of

75

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ART AND CRITICISM


the " History

of English

the

Literature,"

following

clean cut and judicious paragraph, in which the matter


is

put in

its

proper light by that great

by being a great poet, and

so

still

is

critic

who began

" But can

I,

with regard to Boileau, accept the strange judgment


passed upon him by a clever man, whose contemptuous

M. Taine

opinion

way

'
:

greater

There

are

endorses, since he quotes

two kinds of verse

number, which seem

schoolboy, and

the

to

in

that he

Boileau

the

number, which seem

smaller

says this (Guillaume

stand Boileau the poet, and

by the

have been written by a

have been written by a college student

man who

it

'

The

to

clever

Guizot) does not under-

I shall

go farther and say

must be incapable of understanding the poet

any poet.

in

can well understand that poetry should

not be supposed to consist of the technical part of the


art

only, but

I fail

to

understand how, when

art is in

question, no account should be taken of the art

and that consummate workmen


be

so

abused.

poetry in verse

knew

its

It
;

excel in

would be quicker

but

if this

secrets should be

to

it

should

suppress

be not done, the

all

men who

spoken of more respectfully.

Boileau was one of the small


so,

who

itself,

and Pope likewise."

^6

number of men who

did

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
would be impossible

It

or

more

manner

correctly.
in

which

considerable

]t is

When

his verse

is

poet

is

in

clearly

question, the

wrought is a matter of
importance worth studying, for it conpart the intrinsic value of that verse.

in great

stitutes

more

to put the matter

the stamp with which he mints his gold, silver, or


Baudelaire, while

copper.

or

provements

reforms

he accepted the chief im-

introduced

such as richness of rimes, the

Romanticism,

by

displacement

at

will

of the cassura, the running into or encroaching upon


the next line, the use of exact or technical terms, the

and

fulness

firmness of rhythm, the

great Alexandrine in one

casting

of the

unbroken length, and the whole

of that careful mechanism of prosody and cadence

in

stanza? and strophes, Baudelaire nevertheless exhibits


in

his

own

verse his

peculiar architectonics, his

individual formulae, his

own

his

own

private

own knack,

mark, C. B., which

if

is

always

may

found upon rime or hemistich.

He makes
feet, these

cast

easily recognised structure,

professional secrets, his

say so, his


to be

own

own

his

frequent use of lines of twelve or eight

being the moulds

thoughts.

stanzas are more

Poems
numerous
77

in

which

divided
in

his

he

into

prefers

to

quatrains or

works than those

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ART AND CRITICISM


He

which rimes follow regularly.

in

fond of the

is

harmonious interlacing of rimes which postpones the


echo of the note

will be

first line,

sounded, and strikes the ear with

unexpected sound which,

a naturally

faction

first

completed

later

like that

in

and cause the

which perfect accord causes

in

the

satis-

He

music.

is

usually careful that the final rime shall be full, sonorous,

and backed up by the supporting consonant, so that

may

which prolongs the

possess the vibration

it

note

last

struck.

Among

his

poems

many which

are

bear the outward

appearance and external form of the sonnet, although


"
the title " Sonnet
to
he has never
of

any

prefixed

them.

This

is

no doubt due

to literary scruple, and

an instance of conscientiousness
I

fancy

relates the visit

had

together.

bringing
friends,

account

prosody, of which

in

can trace the origin in the

me

me

he paid to
It

will

article

wherein he

and the conversation we

be remembered

volume of

verse, the

to

he

that

was

work of two absent

whom
I

he had been asked to represent.


In his
"
find the following passage
After having
:

rapidly glanced through the volume, he called


tion

is

the

fact

that

themselves to indulge

these
in

poets too

libertine

my

often

sonnets

atten-

allowed

that

is,

in

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
sonnets that were unorthodox and in which the law of
the quadruple rime was unhesitatingly neglected."

At

time the greater number of " The Flowers of


"
were already written, and there were among
Evil

this

them a good many

sonnets, which not only

libertine

lacked the quadruple rime, but in which, furthermore,


the rimes were interlaced in wholly irregular
for

in

orthodox sonnet, as

the

Petrarch,

Felicaja,

Ronsard,

Beuve, the second and third

end
as

in

the

two

lines

was composed by

it

Du

fashion

Bellay, and

Sainte-

of the quatrains must

similar rimes, either masculine or feminine,

poet

which

pleases,

distinguishes

the

sonnet

quatrain from an ordinary one, and regulates, according


as the rime of the first

and fourth

is

the order and arrangement of the


tercets that
less

complete

difficult

this

rimes

in

the

two

form of short poem, which

write than

to

mute or sonorous,

Boileau

because of its fixed geometrical form

is

thinks, precisely
just as in ceilings,

polygonal or oddly designed compartments help, rather


than hinder, painters by circumscribing the space within

which they must

set

and keep their

figures.

Not un-

frequently, by the use of foreshortening and ingenious

composition,

it

is

possible to place a giant within one

of these restricted spaces, and the work gains by being

79

M* M*

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<* " ** ** " * * ** ** ' " * "

ART AND CRITICISM


Similarly a great thought can easily

so concentrated.

room

find

move about

to

comfort within the fourteen

in

methodically arranged lines.

The

school allows itself to indulge in

rising

sonnets, and

libertine

many

me.

disagreeable to

pleases, choose

own

to dispose

a rigorous

and

and

violation of the rule pains

The

note.

sonnet

is

peculiarly

if

he desires

rimes

his

What

he

as

can be more

annoying than irregularity

of correspondence

lack

is

form that does not admit

of any variation or play of fancy


illogical

this

should a man,

Why

untrammelled and

to be

very

me

in

in

symmetry

regularity

Every

like a doubtful

or

false

theme

a sort of poetic fugue, the

of which must necessarily recur again and again until


it

resolved

is

or else,

fashioned,

write

be

he

writer

the laws

that

all.

are the

In

this

Italians

exhausted the

It

may be

subject.

said

old-

should

not

matter the masters to

and the

it

sonnet.

must

govern

considers that these laws are

poets

would not be out of the way


which Guillaume Colletet treats, ex

and

in

way.

pedantic, and troublesome, he

consulted

work
the

if

sonnets at

Pleiad,

the regular

submit absolutely to

therefore
it,

in

of him

of the

to read the
professo^

that

he

of
has

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
But enough on these libertine sonnets which Maynard was the first to make fashionable.
As for sonnets
duplicated, related,

septenary,

coda, estrambot, retro-

grade, repeating, inverted, acrostich, mesostich, lozenge-

and

shaped

be

these

saltire,

pedantic

models of which are to be found


in

"

tise

The

in

culties

Rabanus Maurus,

Spanish and Italian Apollo," and

devoted to them by Antonio

should

exercises, the

in the trea-

Tempo,

which

but

be contemned as mere laboriously puerile

and

diffi-

versified puzzles.

Baudelaire often seeks to produce his musical effects

more

by the use of one or


that
in

form

peculiarly

and that

refrain,

melodious

reappear

in

lines

turns,

as

the Italian stanza called sextain, of which there are

several

happy examples

verse.

He

in

Count de Gramont's

the

form, which has something of

uses this

the faint swing of a magical incantation dimly heard in


a

dream,

in

unfortunate

subjects
love.

of sorrowful remembrances and

The

stanzas,

with their monoto-

nous soughing, bear the thought away and bring


rocking

it

back,

the while as a flower fallen from the bank

rocked in the

Longfellow

regular

and

volutes

Edgar Allan

resorts to alliteration, that


6

it

is,

8i

of the billows.

is

Like

Poe he occasionally

the determinative recur-

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ART AND CRITICISM


rence of a
a

harmonious

who

Beuve,

effect

which

consonant

certain

within the body of the

sweetness

in practice in his

own

exquisite art, once

"Sorrento restored to me

my

sweet

Infinite

(" Sorrente m'a rendu mon doux reve


delicate ear

away on

is

borne away on the blue billows

No
to

frivolous

verse

Alliteration

is

frequently met

Beaumarchais' prose, and the scalds made large


it.

is

doubt these

utilitarian,

clever,

simply

the

four times, and which seems to

of the Bay of Naples.

use of

charm of

breast into the infinite of dreams

its

as a sea-gull's feather

in

dream."

infini.")

appreciate the

will

liquid thus brought in

with

Sainte-

sonnet of unspeakable and thoroughly Italian

said, in a

bear one

produce

line.

perceived every one of these refinements

and put them

Any

to

is

progressive,

men who

childish

primitive ages, but

minutiae will

think,

and

with

seem very

practical, or

Stendhal, that

form that was good enough

who

insist

that

for the

poetry should be

written in prose as beseems an age of common-sense.

Yet

it

is

precisely these minutiae that cause verse to be

good or bad, and that distinguish the true poet from the
sham.

82

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
Baudelaire

fond of great polysyllabic words, and

is

with three or four such he often writes lines that seem


vast and the vibrant resonance of

To

metre.
apart

which lengthens the

the poet, words have in themselves, and

from the meaning they convey, a value and a

beauty of their own, like gems yet uncut and unset in


bracelets, necklaces,

noisseur
his

hand

and

who gazes upon them and


the

in

little

are

that

might do

diamonds,

it

is

them out with

when

sapphires,

no small task

to

when

are

words

emeralds,

rubies,

make

thinking over

There

ornament of gems.

others that shine like phosphorus

and

sorts

vase wherein they are kept in re-

serve, just as a jeweller

the design of an

delight the con-

They

rings.

and

they are rubbed,

a choice

from among

them.

The

great Alexandrines of

which

while ago, and that in calm spells

was speaking a
ebb away on the
I

shore with quiet, slow undulations of the swell from


the open sea, sometimes break with

mad

fury of spray

and cast their white spume on high against a grim,

overhanging
showers.

clifF,

His

from which they

lines

fall

back

in

briny

of eight feet are abrupt, violent,

cutting like the thongs of a cat-o'-nine-tails, and their


lashes sting the shoulders of evil consciences and

hypo-

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** *" ^* ""^ *"" * "* * * "

ART AND CRITICISM


critical

They

compromises.

the expression of funereal fancies


that metre, as in a black

lend themselves to

also

wood

the author sets in

frame, night views of

cemeteries, with nyctalopian eyes of owls shining out

of the shadows, and robbers of tombs and body-snatchers,

of death, gliding with spectral steps

the thieves

behind the bronze-green curtain of


lines

trees.

It is in

of eight feet that he paints sinister heavens in

which a moon

in

them

of the dead

arctic weariness

from her bed of lechery


her solitude, abandoned

under the

drop

its

litter,

that

he describes the

woman who

to the bier,

has passed

and who dreams

in

even by the worms, as she


of icy rain that

through the boards of the coffin


to us, in all

Canidian incantations

o'er by

sicklied

moves above gibbets

starts

yew

has

filtered

or again he exhibits

pregnant with meaning, of faded

bouquets, old letters, ribbons, and miniatures pell-mell

with pistols, daggers, and vials of laudanum, the room


of the cowardly lover, visited
takes

its

it

walks abroad, by the ironic spectre of suicide,

for death itself will not cure

From

contemptuously, as

him of

the structure of the verse

woof and warp of

the style.

his
let

shameful

lusts.

us pass to the

Baudelaire weaves in

it

threads of silk and gold with strong, rough threads of

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
hemp,

of the East,

as in those stuffs

coarse, in

which the most

delicate

broidered in a delightfully fanciful

at

once superb and

ornaments are em-

way upon

ground of

harsh camel's-hair or coarse cloth, rough to the touch as

The most

sail-cloth.

subtle, even, are

coquettish refinements, the most

thrown

side

by side with grim brutal-

ities,

and the reader passes suddenly from the boudoir

with

its

heady scents and

conversations, to

the

vile

its

voluptuously languorous

pot-house where drunkards,

mingling blood with their wine, are knifing each other


for the sake of a street

"The

Helen.
"

Flowers of Evil

delaire's poetic

crown.

are the finest

them

It is in

gem

that he

in

Bau-

sounded a

note wholly his own, and proved that even after the incalculable
to

number of volumes of

verse,

which seemed

have exhausted every possible subject,

possible to bring to the light

it

was

still

something new and unex-

pected, without necessarily indulging in absurdities or

causing the whole procession of universal history to


past as in a

German

fresco.

It

was

file

his translation of

Edgar Allan Poe, however, that chiefly won him fame


for in France it is the prose works of poets that are
;

read by

preference, and

it

is

newspaper

spread the knowledge of their verse.

articles that

Baudelaire natu-

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ART AND CRITICISM


ralised

us that strange genius, so strikingly, so

among

markedly, so exceptionally original,

who

scandalised the United States rather than

not that there


ity,

on

seraph
tical

is

the outset

charmed them

anything in his works to offend moral-

the contrary, he

but he upset

all

is

chaste as a maiden or a

preconceived notions,

all

prac-

commonplaces, and afforded no standard by which

Edgar Allan Poe shared none of

he could be judged.
the

at

American

cratic

on progress,

ideas

institutions,

perfectibility,

and other themes

for

demo-

spread-eagle

oratory dear to the Philistines of the one and of the

other continent.

He

Dollar exclusively

did

not

worship the Almighty

he loved poetry for

its

and preferred the beautiful to the useful


monstrous heresy.

own

sake,

which was

Furthermore, he possessed the

gift

of writing well, which has the property of horrifying


fools in

zine

every clime.

editor,

friend

worthy newspaper or maga-

of Poe's

towards him, confesses that

it

and

was

him, and that he could not be paid

kindly

difficult

as

to

disposed

employ

well as others,

because he wrote in a style too far above the vulgar

which was a very good reason. The biographer of


the author of " The Raven " and "
Eureka," says that
if
Edgar Poe had only controlled his genius and applied
86

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
way better suited to American
he might have become a money-making author.

his creative

ideas,

in a

power

But he was unruly,

insisted

and worked only when he


such

subjects

humour
to

New

led

suited

as

on doing

disposed and only on

felt

his

he pleased,

as

fancy.

His

vagabond

him, like a rolling stone, from Baltimore

York, from

New York

Philadelphia to Boston or

to

Philadelphia, from

Richmond, but never allowed

down anywhere. In his moments of


gloom, distress, or despair, when the over-excitement
him

to

settle

due to feverish work was followed by the prostration


literary
fault

men know

so well, he

would drink brandy, a

with which he has been bitterly reproached by the

Americans, who,
temperance.

He

as all the

did

world knows, are models of

not blind himself to the disas-

"The
"What dis-

trous consequences of this vice, for he wrote in

Black Cat" the following fateful lines:


"
ease is there comparable to drink
!

He

did

not

drink for the sake of making himself drunk, but in


order to forget, or perhaps to put himself in a condition

of hallucination favourable
again to be done with a

life

to

his

that had

work, or perhaps

become

and yet to avoid the scandal of a

suicide.

on the

fit

street,

he was seized with

8^

intolerable,

One

day,

of delirium tre-

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ART AND CRITICISM


mens, was taken

to a hospital

and died there,

still

young

and without any perceptible weakening of his faculties


for his

no respect influenced

habit had in

unhappy

his talent or his

either

manners, that to the very end remained

the manners of a thorough gentleman

nor, again, his

personal beauty, which remained remarkable to the


I

last.

have rapidly sketched Edgar Allan Poe's character,

although
that

am

not engaged

American author

laire's intellectual

speak of him

at

filled

life

that

some

life,

because

so large a place in

Baude-

in

it

writing his

becomes indispensable

to

length, not biographically, but

from the point of view of his doctrines.

Poe certainly

influenced his translator, Baudelaire, especially during


the latter part of the poet's

The " Tales

life,

alas

too short.

of Mystery, Imagination, and

Humour,"

"
the " Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym," and " Eureka
were translated by Baudelaire with such close identification of thought and of style, such faithful and supple

freedom, that the translation conveys the impression of

an original piece of work and has its masterly perfection.


The " Strange Tales " are prefaced by admirable
criticisms in

which the

translator analyses, as a poet,

the highly novel and eccentric character of


Edgar Allan

Poe,

whom

France, with

its

88

utter lack

of interest

in

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
was deeply ignorant of
He brought to
Baudelaire revealed him to it.
foreign

task,

until

individualities,

which was necessitated by a character so

outside the

pale of ordinary ideas,

this

utterly

uncommon meta-

physical sagacity and rare

keenness of vision.

pages are to be reckoned

among

These

the most remarkable

things he has done.

Curiosity was excited to the highest pitch by the strange


tales, so

means of

mathematically fantastic, that are developed by


algebraical formulae, and

tions resemble judicial

which

inquiries conducted by the

"

perspicacious and subtle magistrate.


the

Rue Morgue," " The

Bug"

riddles

more

difficult to

so

plausible a

public of readers tired

dowed with

who seems

by

always

the rage with

of novels of adventure and

so strange

and lucid

power of divination,

to hold in his hands the thread that connects

the most dissimilar ideas, and

who

reaches his end by

wonderfully correct inductions.

Legrand,

all

in

set

People went crazy over Auguste Dupin, en-

manners.

such

comes

in

The Gold

guess than those

manner became

most

The Murders

Stolen Letter," "

the Sphinx, but the answer to which


in

in their exposi-

who was

superior,

in

the

They admired
deciphering

cryptograms, even to Claude Jacquet, the clerk

in

of
the

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** * * *

ART AND CRITICISM


Government

office,

who,

in

"

The

Story of the Thir-

teen," reads to the Desmarets, with the

old

key that

belongs to the Portuguese embassy, the cipher letter


written by Ferragus,

the result of the reading being

the discovery of Captain Kidd's treasure.

Every one

confessed that while the death's-head and the kid, the

rows of

shown

dots, crosses,

commas, and

figures,

might have

again and again, in the light of the flame, in red

on the yellowed parchment, they would never have


guessed where the great corsair
chest

full

had hidden the huge

of diamonds, gems, watches, gold chains,

ounces, quadruples, doubloons, rix-dollars, piastres and


coins of

"

The

countries that reward Legrand's sagacity.

all

Pit

and

the

Pendulum," produced

tion of terror equal to the

Anne

suffoca-

most sombre Inventions of

RadclifFe, Lewis, and the reverend Father Maturin,

and readers became giddy as they gazed down the swiftspinning abyss of the Maelstrom, a colossal funnel on
the walls of
bits

which ships revolve round and round

of straw in a whirlpool.

The

like

strongest nerves

were shaken by " The Facts in the Case of M. Val" The Fall of the House of
demar," while
Usher,"
induced deep melancholy.
liarly

Tender

souls

were pecu-

touched by the female figures, so vaporous, so

90

t%

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! * *9 i* VS* * 4* 9 j*

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
transparent, so romantically pale and of almost spectral

beauty,

whom

the poet has called Morella, Ligeia,

Rowena Trevanion, Lady Tremaine,

Lady

Eleonora, but

which are merely the incarnation under varied forms


of an only love that

persists

after

the

death of the

adored one, and traverses avatars ever revealed.

France henceforth the name of Baudelaire was

In

with that of Edgar Allan Poe,

indissolubly associated

and the recollection of the one immediately brings the


other to
think

remembrance.

American

the

At times indeed one would


writer's

were

ideas

really

the

arts,

less

Frenchman's.

Like most poets

in

than

widely divided

the present day,

when

was the case formerly,

are close

neighbours and admit of frequent transpositions, Baudelaire

had the taste and feeling

of painting.
the Salon,

He

among

for,

and the knowledge

wrote some remarkable reviews of


others notices on Delacroix, in which

he analysed with extreme penetration and subtilty, the


artistic
full

Poe,

nature of the great Romanticist painter.

of him, and
I

in

come upon

own Eugene

He

is

some remarks upon Edgar Allan


this significant

Delacroix,

who

sentence:

"Like our

has raised his art to the level

of great poetry, Edgar Poe loves to

91

make

his

figures

ART AND CRITICISM


move

against purplish and greenish backgrounds,

which

of rottenness and the odour


betray the phosphorescence

How

storm."

of the

true

is

the

simple sentence called out by the


passionate

As

colouring.

in

this

hot

and

feehng

painter's

a matter of fact the

of Delacroix for Baudelaire

was due

the

to

charm

diseased

character of his talent, that was so restless, so troubled,


so

so

nervous,

oxysmal,

if I

alone renders

inquisitive,

may

my

so

so

exasperated,

par-

be pardoned the expression, which

thought

correctly,

so

tormented

by the maladies, the melancholy, the feverish ardour,


the convulsive

efforts,

and the vague dreams of the

present time.

For

moment

claim Baudelaire.

the Realistic school fancied

Some of

the pictures in "

ers

of Evil," outrageously crude

and

in

in

any

might

The Flow-

their truthfulness,

which the poet had not hesitated

tion of hideousness of

it

at the

sort, led superficial

fancy that he was inclining to that doctrine.

reproduc-

minds

to

But thev

failed to notice that these so-called realistic pictures

were

and

that,

always elevated by character,


besides, they

Baudelaire
certain

effect, or colour,

formed contrasts to suave and

welcomed the advances made

extent,

visited the

ideal pictures.

to

him, to a

studios of Realistic artists,

92

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
and agreed to write about Courbet, the master
painter
of Ornans, an article that never appeared.
However
at

one of the recent Salons, Fantin placed Charles Bau-

delaire,
in a
ers

with his serious expression and

his ironical smile,

corner of the conclave of so-called Realistic


paint-

and sculptors

whom

he has ranged

in

a curious

frame, like the attendant figures at an apotheosis, round

Eugene Delacroix' medallion.

Assuredly

Baudelaire

had the right to appear there ^s an admirer of Delacroix.

But was he

intellectually

and sympathetically

one of that company, whose tendencies

could

not

accord with his aristocratic tastes and his aspiration to


the beautiful

In him, as

have already pointed out,

the use of the ugly and the vulgar

manifestation and of

horrified

was but

protest,

a species of

and

greatly

"
question whether Courbet's blowzv
Venus," a horrible

Callipyge scullion, ever charmed him, for he loved

exquisite

elegance,

refined

mannerisms, and

skilled

not that he was incapable of admiring


" The Giantess "
grandiose beauty ; the man who wrote
must have loved " Dawn " and " Night," the magnifi-

coquetry.

It is

cent female colossi, with such superb lines, which Michael

Angelo placed upon the pediment of the tomb of the


Medici.

His

philosophical

93

and

metaphysical views,

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ART AND CRITICISM


besides, necessarily separated

him from

that school, with

which he should on no account be connected.


Far from delighting

he eagerly sought the

in the real,

abnormal, and when he came upon an original and peculiar

type, he followed

up, studied

it

end of the thread and


It

to

unwind

it,
it

tried to find the

to the very end.

was thus that he had become deeply infatuated with


a mysterious personage

Guys,

whose business

it

was

to

any part of the world where an event occurred,

repair to

make

in order to

sketches of

it

for the English

illus-

trated press.

Guys,

whom

knew, was

and thorough observer, and


glance he took
things

in

his

true humourist.

his pencil

he

keen

At

men and

hit off their

sketch-book, inked in his outline, as

cursive as stenography, and boldly


flat tint

traveller, a

the characteristic points of

with a few strokes of

likeness on

a great

washed

it

in

with a

to indicate the colouring.

He was

not an

artist,

properly speaking, but he had

the peculiar gift of rapidly seizing the outward appear-

ance of things.

At

a glance, with unequalled

sightedness, he lighted

anything

that

trait,

upon the

clear-

characteristic trait in

and no other

and

brought

it

out strongly; instinctively or


purposely disregarding the

94

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
complementary
or a street

turn, the

lady or a

ruffian, a great

he was

class,

Whether he had

parts.

He

personality.

dandy

of the lowei
attitude, the

possessed in a high degree

modern corruption,

the feeling for

girl

marking the

in

unequalled

draw

to

upper and

in the

in

the lower strata of society alike, and he also gathered


his

bouquet of flowers of

No

one approached Guys

derncss and the

was

mahogany

just as clever

dress

evil in
in

rendering the elegant slen-

gloss of a race-horse, and he

way he made

the

in

the form of sketches.

over the edge of a pony-chaise as

fall

he sat a nobleman's powdered and furred


the

a courtesan's
in

the

way
coachman on

huge box of a great coupe hung on eight springs

and with blazoned panels, driving off to the Queen's

Drawing-room with

three footmen

embroidered straps behind.

hanging on to the

In this off-hand, clever,

fashionable sort of sketching, devoted to high-life sub-

seems

jects, he
artists

Crafty,
date,
in a

of

/a

to

vie

parisieune^

whose work

and

way

is

Marcelin, Hadol, Morin,

so thoroughly

modern, up to

Guys, however, not only reproduced,


would have won praise from a Brummel,

telling.

that

the dandies in the


airs

have been the precursor of the bright

first

flight

of fashion and the grand

of the ducal world, he also excelled

95

in

reproducing

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ART AND CRITICISM


the loud dresses and the ribald

Rooms and

of the Argyle
hesitate to

make

his

way

and to sketch by the

Piccadilly Hall; nor did he

into

light

ways of the venal nymphs

some of

the deserted lanes

moon

of the

or the quivering

flicker of a

gas-lamp the figure of one of those spectres

of pleasure

who wander

don

while,

about the pavements of Lon-

when he was

in Paris,

dens described by Eugene Sue, the exaggerated

in the

fashions of houses of ill-fame and

Of

the coquetry of the gutter.

looked

was

he sought out, even

course

all

that

Guys
That

was something
passion, and he brought out with astonish-

for there

his great

what might be termed

characteristic.

ing accuracy the picturesque and individual side of the


types, ways,

and dress of our day.

talent that could


fact the

latter

fail

to delight

prized him highly.

drawings,

sixty

not

sketches,

them

He

who was

greatly

Baudelaire, and in
I

some

possessed

and water-colours

by

this

gave some to

my

poet

humourist of the pencil, and


friend,

His was therefore a

charmed with the

gift

and bore

off jubilantly.

quite appreciated the shortcomings of these rapid

sketches, to which

Guys himself

attached no importance

once they had been transferred to the wood-block by the


clever engravers of the Illustrated London

News

but he

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
was struck by the

clear-sightedness and the

wit, the

power of observation, thoroughly

What

expressed by the graphic method.


these drawings
that

what

is,

literary

qualities,

he liked

was the complete absence of

in

antiquity,

of classical tradition, and the deep feeling for

"

I shall call

decadence," for lack of a word that

more accurately render my meaning but I have


explained what it was that Baudelaire meant by decawill

He

dence.

has said somewhere, with reference to these

"It

distinctions:

literary

me

presented to

as

is

if

two women were

the one, a rustic matron, sickeningly

healthy and virtuous, without any style or go about her;


in a

word, oiving nothing save

to

nature alone

the other,

one of those beauties who compel and haunt one's

remembrance, uniting

charm the eloquence of

own deep and

her

to

individual

walking with assured

dress,

gait,

self-conscious, and mistress of herself, speaking with a

voice like a well-tuned instrument, her glances charged

with thoughts and expressing no more than she chooses.

There can be no doubt

as to

yet there are pedagogic sphinxes

reproach

me

with failing

This most

original

way

inverts the problem, for


7

in

it

my choice would be
who would be sure to

what

my

duty to classical honour."

of looking

at

modern beauty

assumes that the beauty of

97

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ART AND CRITICISM


antiquity

primitive, coarse, and barbaric,

is

opinion, but

paradoxical

no doubt a

one that may very well be

Balzac greatly preferred an elegant, dainty,

maintained.

coquettish Parisian

woman, her

figure set off in her long

shawl by the motion of her elbows, tripping furtively


to a rendezvous, her Chantilly

lace

veil

over her face, and bending her head in a

drawn down

way

to

show,

between the lower part of the bonnet and the upper


fold of the shawl,
in

the light

two or three wisps of


repeat, to the

preferred her, I

And

there

is

an ivory-white neck upon which curl

no doubt

Milo

a great deal better;

my

am more

artist

It

Parisian

myself

but that

is

herself.

woman

like the

he
has a

Venus of

because, in con-

early education and a peculiar sense,

sequence of

an

Venus of Milo

that the

charm of her own, though

hair,

stray

than a literary man.

can be understood that, holding such views as

these, Baudelaire

towards the

should for a time have

realistic

school of which Courbet

god and Manet the high-priest.


of his nature found satisfaction
traditional

felt

But

if

certain

in the direct

drawn
is

the

sides

and non-

representation of contemporary ugliness, or

triviality, at least his

beauty drew him

love for art, elegance, luxury, and

towards a higher sphere, and Dela-

98

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
croix, with
his poetic

'^

feverish passion, his


stormy colouring,

his

melancholy,

his sunset palette,

technique of a decadent

artist,

and

his skilled

became and remained

chosen master.

his
I

now come

a remarkable

to

work of

Baudelaire's,

half a translation, half original, called "Artificial Paradises,

Opium and Hascheesh," upon which

dwell, for

it

had no small share

public, ever ready to

able to literary

Flowers of Evil
tion

was

in stimulants.

spreading

must

among

the

accept as true reports unfavour-

men, the
"

in

belief that the author of

"The

the habit of seeking inspira-

in

This

belief

was further confirmed

by the poet's death, which followed upon a stroke of


paralysis that rendered
his thoughts,

brain.

It

him powerless

to

communicate

which remained quick and active

was

said

that the paralysis

was due

in

his

to the

excessive use of hascheesh or opium, in which Baudelaire

had

at first

through fancy, and which

indulged

he had continued in consequence of the


tion exercised

by deadly drugs.

As

fatal

attrac-

a matter of fact,

the one and only cause of his illness

was the

fatigue,

the annoyances, the troubles and embarrassments of


sorts
all

that are inherent

men whose

in

literary

talent does

99

life

in

all

the case of

not lend itself to regular

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ART AND CRITICISM


and

easily

produced work, such

instance, and the originality of


rifies

newspaper work,

whose productions

of reviews.

timid editors

Baudelaire was

as

for
ter-

Like every worker,

sober, and

while he admitted that a


"
taste for creating an " artificial paradise
by means

of some stimulant, whether opium, hascheesh, wine,


alcohol, or tobacco,

nature, since

country,

even

It

is

savages,

in

met within every age,

to be

barbarians as

among

among

seems to be ingrained

he

among

civilised

considered

it

in

man's
every

men, and
proof of

original perversity, an impious attempt to avoid needful


pain, a

mere Satanic suggestion

to usurp at

once the

happiness intended to reward, later, resignation, force of

and persistent striving after the good and

will, virtue,

the beautiful.

He

believed that the devil said to has-

cheesh eaters and laudanum bibbers, as formerly to our


" In the
first parents
day ye eat thereof, ye shall be as
:

gods," and that he lied to

Adam

and Eve

for

them

just as he had lied to

the next day the god,

and enervated, has sunk below the

and remains isolated

in

void

level

weakened

of the brute,

immense, bereft of

all

means of escaping from himself save by having recourse to his poison, the dose of which he is compelled

to

increase gradually.

100

It

is

possible and even

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
Baudelaire

probable

that

twice, by

way of

that

for

hascheesh once or

try

physiological experiment, but he never

made continuous use of


pugnance

did

Besides, he

it.

much

felt

re-

of happiness, bought at the

sort

chemist's and taken away in the vest-pocket, and he

compared the ecstasy


for

whom

the

induces

it

to

that of a

painted canvas and rough drop-scenes take

place of real

and gardens balmy with

furniture

the scent of genuine flowers.

He came

and merely as an observer, to the meetings

but seldom,

Revue

scribed in the

own
so, I

hurt

des

Pimodan

in

House, where our club met, meetings which

"The

maniac

have de-

Deux Mondes^ under

the

title

Hascheesheen Club," adding an account of

hallucinations.

After tryinoj

gave up the seductive drug

me

physically, but

other than his

own

because a

natural

it

some

my

ten times or

for ever, not that


real writer

it

needs no

dreams, and does not care

to have his thought controlled by the influence of

any

agency whatever.
Balzac came to one of these evenings, and Baudelaire

thus relates his visit: "Balzac no doubt held the

belief that there


for a
I

man

is

no deeper shame nor worse suffering

than to renounce control over his

saw him once

at

own

will.

meeting where the prodigious


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ART AND CRITICISM


He

hascheesh were being discussed.

effects of

listened

and asked questions with amusing attention and vivac-

Those who knew him

ity.

was

will

But the idea of thinking

interested.

The

it.

childish curiosity

and

on

his

itself

The

love of self-dignity

Lambert's

to think of
spiritual

was

at

dislike

won

for abdication exhibin

a striking

And

the day.

the theorist of

twin, consenting

single particle of that


I

struggle between his almost

his expressive face

ited

difficult

spite of

without touching

is

in

he

him deeply
he was offered some
he examined it, smelt it, and returned it

himself shocked

dawamesk

readily guess that

will.,

manner.
indeed

of Louis

part with

to

it

precious substance.''

Pimodan House

that night,

and

am

in a

position to certify to the absolute accuracy of the story.

merely add this characteristic

I will

trait

as

he handed

back the spoonful of dawamesk that had been offered


him, Balzac remarked that

make

the test, for he

have no

effect

upon

This was quite


seat

it

would be of no use

was sure

that hascheesh

possible, for his powerful brain, the

aroma of mocha, and

dimmed by

would

his brain.

of a will fortified by study, saturated

subtle

to

that

was not

in

with the
the least

the drinking of three bottles of the headiest

102

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
Vouvray, might well have been capable of resisting the
Hastransitory intoxication caused by Indian hemp.
cheesh or dawamesk,

I find

have forgotten to say,

simply a decoction of Cannabis


fatty
it

is

mixed with some

Ind'ica^

make

substance, honey, and pistachio, in order to

of the consistency of paste or preserves.

Medically speaking,

"

The

laire

it

"

con-

monograph of hascheesh, and

stitute a very well written

science might find in

Artificial Paradises

reliable

information

for

Baude-

piqued himself on being scrupulously accurate, and

not for the world would he have allowed the smallest

was

poetic imagery to slip into a subject that

adapted to

it.

He

naturally

specifies quite correctly the peculiar

character of hascheesh hallucinations, which does not


create

anything, but

merely

the

develops

particular

temperament of the individual while exaggerating


its

highest power.

rendered

enlarged,

beyond

all

space, of

What
more

is

seen

acutely

reason, outside

the

is

which the very notion vanishes,


which

deformed, intensified, exaggerated, and

extreme

in

its

intensity,

importance, that, however,

is

in

to

self,

excited

of time and
in

surround-

are speedily

which every

assumes supernatural

readily

103

own

sensitive,

confines

ings that are real to begin with, but

detail,

one's

it

apprehended by the

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ART AND CRITICISM


hascheesh eater,

who

perceives

relations

mysterious

between images often incongruous.


If there should be heard music apparently performed

by a

celestial orchestra

with

and seraph choirs,

in

comparison

which the symphonies of Haydn, Mozart, and

Beethoven are but annoying discords,

it

because a

is

hand has fingered the keyboard of the piano or

a distant

organ has cast into the noise of the street some well

known

opera

If the eyes are dazzled by the stream-

air.

ing, the scintillation, the irradiation,

of

it

light,

because so

is

sconces and candelabra.

many

window opened out

a mirror
diffused

tapers are blazing

far reaching

into the infinite,

and azured,
is

it

because

shimmering opposite the dreamer, with

is

shadows mingled with

The nymphs,

in

If the wall ceases to be opaque

and reveals a hazy distance,


like a

and the coruscation

its

fantastic transparencies.

the goddesses, the graceful, or burlesque,

or terrible apparitions are produced by the pictures, the


tapestries,

the statues that exhibit

their mythological

nudity in niches, or by the grotesques that are grim-

acing on the whatnots.

The

case

is

that transport

the

same with the olfactory

ecstasies

one into paradises of perfumes, where

marvellous flowers, their cups swinging as

104

if

they were

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
censers, scatter the scent of aromatics, and nameless,
that recall the
subtly penetrating odours,

of

lives that

have been lived already, of balmy, distant

shores, and of primitive loves in

One

remembrance

some dreamland

need not look long to discover

in

the

Tahiti.

room

a pot

of heliotrope or tuberose, a scented sachet, or a cashmere

shawl impregnated with patchouli and carelessly thrown


a chair.

upon

will

It

be seen, then, that

if

it

is

desired to enjoy

wonders of hascheesh, they have

fully the

to be prepared

beforehand, and motives, so to speak, must be furnished


for
It is

its

extravagant changes, and

its

disorderly fancies.

necessary to be in sound physical and mental con-

dition, to

be free for the nonce from cares and duties

and appointments, and to be


laire loved,

and such

as

in a

room such

Edgar Allan Poe,

Baude-

as

in his descrip-

tions, furnishes with poetic comfort, quaint luxury,

mysterious elegance

which

seems

womanly form,
guage
is

to

a retreat concealed

await

the

from

all

and

eyes,

beloved soul, the ideal

the one that Chateaubriand in his lan-

calls the sylphid.

Under

these circumstances

it

probable, indeed almost certain, that naturally agree-

able sensations

will

turn

into beatitude, ravishment,

to the material
ecstasy, inexpressible delight, far superior

105

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ART AND CRITICISM


Mahometan

para-

The

green,

emerge from the hollow

pearls

in that
joys promised to the faithful

dise

which too closely resembles a

red, and white houris that

seraglio.

they inhabit and offer themselves to the faithful

renewed

virginity,

would be but coarse wenches

in
in

ever

com-

parison with the nymphs, the angels, the sylphids, per-

fumed

mists, ideal transparencies, forms breathed out of

rosy and azure light, standing out bright against suns

and emerging from the depths of the

infinite

rush, like the silvery globules in gaseous

out a crystal cup,

whom

with starry

liquids

from

the hascheesh eater sees pass-

ing in countless legions through the dream

he dreams

while wide-awake.

But

for these precautions the ecstasy

may

well turn

to nightmare.

Delight changes into suffering, joy into

terror

anguish clutches

terrible

at

the throat, presses

its

knee upon the chest, and crushes the dreamer with

its

tremendous weight,

as if the

Sphinx of the Pyramids

King of Siam's elephant were indulging in the fun


of flattening him out.
Or else icy cold seizes upon him

or the

and turns him into marble up to the hips, like the king
in the

"Thousand and One Nights,"

half changed into

whose wicked wife beat him every morning on


the shoulders, which had remained sensitive.
a statue,

io6

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
Baudelaire relates the hallucinations of two or three

men
a

of different temperaments, and one experienced by

woman

in

room

the

lined with

which

mirrors, over

runs gilded trellis-work festooned with flowers, which


it

is

easy to recognise as being the boudoir in

House, and he adds


moral commentary,

to
in

each vision an analytical and

which

is

plainly seen his repug-

nance to any happiness obtained by

To

Pimodan

means.

fictitious

begin with, the ideas themselves are not so entranc-

ing as

is

Their main charm

believed.

extreme nervous excitement of the

is

due to the

Then

subject.

hascheesh, which creates these ideas, at the same time

power of turning them to account, for it


the will and plunges its victims into a languid

destroys the
annihilates

weariness which renders

the

mind

incapable of any

another dose.

which can be overcome only by taking


" even if we
"
adds

admit for the

moment

exertion, and

Baudelaire,

Finally,"

sufficiently strong

that there

and vigorous to

may

be constitutions

resist the evil

effects

of the noxious drug, there remains another danger which

must not be
of habit.
to

lost

sight of, the deadly, terrible

The man who

make himself \.\\\x\\i^

he takes poison.

will

danger
in

order

soon be unable to think

unless

has recourse to poison

What must

be the fate of a

107

man whose

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ART AND CRITICISM


work without

unable to

is

imagination

paralysed

help of hascheesh and opium

the

"
!

Farther on he states his profession of faith in the

"

following noble words


legitimate

Man

that

he

should

pharmacy and witchcraft.

no reason why he should

is

not so deprived of

ways of reaching heaven

be compelled to call upon

There

is

soul in order

sell his

to purchase the love and the intoxicating caresses of

What

houris.

be gained

There
the

at

can

paradise be worth

it

has to

the expense of one's eternal salvation

follows a description of an

steep

if

mount of

situated

Olympus

spirituality

where

"
?

upon

Raphael's

or

by Apollo, surround with their

Mantegna's Muses,

led

rhythmic choirs the

artist

who

has devoted himself to

the worship of beauty, and reward his persistent efforts.

" Below
"
him," goes on Baudelaire,

at

the foot of the

mount, amid brambles and mud, the host of men, the


band

of helots, simulate the

grimaces of enjoyment

and utter howls drawn from one and

all

by the sting

of the poison, while the saddened poet savs to himself:


'

These unfortunates, who have

fasted,

who have

neither

prayed

nor

refused to be saved by work, are ask-

ing of black magic the

supernatural state of

power

life.

to

rise all at

once into

Sorcery deceives them and

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
makes sham happiness and sham Hght
them, while

we

poets and philosophers,

generated our souls by constant


assiduous exercise

by

tion,

to

shine upon

who have

work and contempla-

of will

and

unchanging

nobleness of purpose, have created for our

garden of
faith

allows us to perform.'

These words make


author of '''The

it

to

difficult

any frequent

the

'*

believe that

Flowers of Evil,"

Satanic tendencies, paid

use a

we have accomplished

can remove mountains,

God

own

Trusting to the declaration that

real beauty.

one miracle

re-

in

spite

the

of his

to artificial

visits

paradises.

The
opium
lar

study of hascheesh
;

in this

is

followed by a study of

case Baudelaire was guided by a singu-

work, very famous

in

of an Opium-Eater," by

England

Thomas

tinguished hellenist, a writer


respectable man,

who

dared,

in

describe

it,

to

acter, his

own

Confessions

de Quincey, a dis-

of mark, an
with

confess, in the country which, of

hide-bound

"The

tragic

all

eminently

candour, to

countries,

is

most

cant, to confess his passion for opium,


to state
falls

its

phases,

its

and struggles,

intermittent char-

his

enthusiasm and

depression, his ecstasies and weird visions, followed by


inexpressible tortures.

Incredible though

109

it

may

appear,

ART AND CRITICISM


de Quincey had got to drinking eight thousand drops
a day,

by gradually increasing the doses he took

yet

he reached the perfectly normal age of seventy-five,

1859, keeping the medical

dying only in December,


faculty, to

in a

whom,
his

bequeathed

fit

of humour, he had ironically

opium-saturated body as an interesting

His vice

subject for examination, waiting a long time.


did not prevent his publishing a large
rary

and erudite works,

in

which there

tray the deadly influence of

black idol!"

The

number of
is

nothing to be-

what he himself

closing lines of the

author

at last

managed

calls

"

the

book give the

reader to understand that by putting forth


efforts the

lite-

superhuman

to rid himself of his

thrall,

and

but possibly that

is

but a concession to morality

rewarded

conventionality, like virtue


at

punished

and crime

the end of a melodrama, final impenitence

being a bad example to

De Ouincey

set.

pretends

opium for seventeen years and abusing


more he succeeded in giving up the danger-

that after using


it

for eight

ous drug

One

should not discourage theriakis

manifest good intentions, but

is

in this lyrical invocation to the

"

just, subtle,

there not infinite love

brown

liquid

and all-conquering opium

the hearts of rich and poor alike, for the

no

who

that to

wounds

that

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
never heal, and for the pangs of grief that 'tempt

will

the spirit to rebel,' bringest an assuaging balm;

opium

quent

that

with thy

rhetoric

potent

away the purposes of wrath, pleadest


lenting

pity,

righteous

stealest

and through one night's heavenly sleep

hands washed

and

opium

from blood

pure

his infancy,

that to the chancery of

and confoundest perjury

dreams sum-

thou

bosom of darkness, out of

imagery of the brain,

cities

of Phidias and Praxiteles

false

and dost reverse

the sentences of unrighteous judges

upon the

and

just

moncst, for the triumphs of despairing innocence,


witnesses

elo-

effectually for re-

back to the guilty man the visions of

callest

the

buildest
fantastic

and temples, beyond the

beyond

Babylon and Hekatompylos

and

art

the splendours of
'

from the anarchy

of dreaming sleep,' callest into sunny light the faces of

long-buried beauties, and the blessed household countenances, cleansed from the

Thou
the

'

dishonours of the grave.'

only givest these gifts to

keys
"

opium

of

Paradise,

just,

man

and thou hast

subtle,

and

mighty

Baudelaire did not translate de Quincey's book in


full

he selected the most striking passages and con-

III

ART AND CRITICISM


nected

them by means of an

digressions

analysis mingled

and philosophical reflections so

as

to

with

form

an abridgment that would represent the entire work.


are the

Very curious indeed

fixed to the Confessions, in

biographical details pre-

which are

related the flight

of the schoolboy from the tyranny of

wandering,

wretched, and

in

life

starving

wilderness of London, his sojourn

teachers, his

his

the

great

the lodging trans-

in

formed by the landlord's neglect into an attic, his connection with the semi-idiotic maid of all work and with

Ann,

and virginal even


by

unhappy gutter-flower, innocent

a poor girl, an

his

family

in her prostitution, his

and

his

enough to enable him


studies in

a lovely

woman whom,

coming

being forgiven
fortune

into

large

to devote himself to his favourite

cottage, in the society of a noble

Orestes of opium, he

his

calls

Electra.

For, in consequence of neuralgic pains, he had already


acquired the ineradicable habit of the poison, of which

he ere long absorbed, without harmful effects, the terrific

dose of forty grains a day.

There

poems of Byron, Coleridge, or Shelley


strange

dreams.

and

grand

The most

magnificence

are but few

that surpass the

of

de

Quincey's

dazzling visions, illumined by the

blue and silver glories of paradise or Elysium are folI

12

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
lowed by

more dark than

With hue

like that

His pencil

when some

humanist,
years old,

he knew Greek and


had always taken

hostile multitudes

only ten

light,

The

five

when,

in his visions,

low

battlefield with

and dying

cries,

illumined

suddenly a mysterious voice shouted

made themselves heard over

aloud the words that


Consul

feet

him

to

with the vibration of

contended upon a

thunder of trampling

when

formula.

clarions blaring triumphantly, and

din

and precocious

Romanus sounded

magical

all-compelling

livid

Latin

eclipse."

particular delight in read-

syllables reverberated in his ears

by a

great painter dips

a distinguished

ing Livy, and the words Consul

an

gloom of earthquake and

in the

De Quincey, who was

like

Erebus, to which

applied the poet's sombre lines

may be
**

others

Romanus

On

all

anxious expectation, deep silence

filled

around,
fell,

the

with

and the Consul

appeared, riding a white horse, in the centre of the vast

swarming mass,
the

like

iMarius in

Cymri," and with

Decamps'

fateful

" Battle of

gesture decided

the

victory.

At other times,
mingled

in his
8

figures

he

had

beheld

dreams and haunted them


113

in

reality

like obstinate

4*

v^ *4< *^ (^

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ART AND CRITICISM


day

1813, a Malay, with yellow, bilious

the year

in

complexion and eyes

London and

One

no formula of exorcism.

spectres that yield to

filled

with nostalgia, coming from

some

striving to reach

seaport or other,

unacquainted with a single word of any European language, knocked

allowed to

the cottage door and

Not

rest himself.

seem not

his servants, to

addressed the
in

at

man

in

wishing, in the presence of

to understand

Greek

the

charitable

a cigar to

him,deQuincey

the Oriental answered

The owner

Malay, and honours were easy.

cottage, after giving the

asked to be

man some money,

of the

impelled by

impulse that leads a smoker to

offer

some poor wretch who has probably not

tasted tobacco

for

the

long time, presented

with a large lump of opium, which the

latter

Malay

swallowed

at a gulp.

There was enough

people not

used to the drug, but the yellow-skinned

man was no

to

doubt accustomed to

kill

it,

seven or eight

for he

with every mark of deepest gratitude and

He was

never again seen,

in the

went

off

satisfaction.

flesh, at least,

but he

became one of the most frequent figures in de Quincey's


visions.
This Malay, with his saffron face and weirdly
black eyes, became a sort of genie from the Far East,

who

held

the keys of Ind, Japan, China, and

114

other

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
countries that, so far as rest of the world
are

fantastically

and impossibly

distant.

the

consequences that occur

in

company of

trated, in the

fabulous

age and

in his Confessions,
this point

but

"

singularity, that

know

should go mad. ...

man

above what
Asia,

am

it

terrified

live
life

common

in

the?n^

can analyse.

were

China,

and scenery,
to

me

China, over

by the modes of

and

life,

by the man-

between

by counter-sympathies deeper than

could sooner

an

with the rest of southern

ners, by the barrier of utter abhorrence placed

myself and

feelings

if I

young Chinese seems

renewed. ... In

has in

my

have often thought that

filled

he says

not,"

" whether others share

among Chinese manners and modes of


antediluvian

one must

regions of

the Malay, into

terror.

one

of the unavoidable

compelled to forego England, and to

Just as

dreams, de Ouincey pene-

inexpressible

him with profound

on

result

concerned,

whom

follows the steps of an unbidden guide,

nevertheless follow, as

is

live

with lunatics, with

vermin, with crocodiles or snakes."

With

malicious irony, the Malay,

note the repugnance


to lead

him

felt

who

appeared to

by the opium-eater, took care

into vast cities, with porcelain towers, roofs

with up-curving eaves, adorned with

115

bells that

tinkled

ART AND CRITICISM


in the

carved dragons
ing

with

laden

rivers

ceaselessly,

figures that

wagged

The

many
to

sequel

"

Opium-Eater

of

population

grotesque

their little heads inset with

shaped eyes, moving their quivering


uttering, with

by

shape of bridges, streets swarm-

unnumbered

an

and crossed

with junks,

almond-

tails like rats,

and

bow, monosyllabic compliments.


the " Confessions of an

English

bears the sadly appropriate

title

Suspiria

In one of the visions appear three un-

de profundis.

Greek
"
"
of the second part of
Mothers
Moirae and the
" Faust."
They are the companions of Levana, the
forgettable figures, mysteriously terrible like the

austere goddess

the earth

Even

who

the

new-born one

three Graces, three

once even the Muses

and

so there are three Ladies of

Sorrow

of our Mother of Sorrows.

The

were
:

three

Parcae,

but

three,

the equivalents

eldest

of the

Mater Lachrymarum^ Our Lady of Tears


second. Mater Siispiriorum^ Our Lady of Sighs
is

from

and makes him perfect through suffering.

as there are

Furies,

raises

called

the third and youngest.

of Darkness

she

is

trio

the

and

Mater Tenehrarum^ Our Lady

the most dread of all, and the strong-

mind cannot dwell upon the thought of her without experiencing secret horror.
These woeful spectres

est

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
speak not the tongue of

man

and make weird gestures

in

of lonely

the

human

Man

soul.

these hard teachers

secrets that

It will readily

withhold from de

who

his

lesson

from

that are abominable,

So

shall

and

he read elder

y uincey

the reproaches he addresses to

About

treats

him with much kindliness

this

his tent in

time Baudelaire

Brussels.

It

the change, but

restful peace, far

existence.

in

con-

and poetic dreamer.

illustrious

make

be understood that Baudelaire does not

of the beauty of the pictures drawn by the

sideration

and

the

suffering,

seek to rise to the supernatural through material

means, but he

to

agonies, the

he see the things that

shall

unutterable.

are

is

sad truths, grand truths, fearful truths."

truths,

all

" So

It

the deepest recesses of

must learn

to be seen, sights

not

ought

lie in

the

all

despair,

and grief that

bitterness

dim darkness.

the

unknown woes, nameless

thus they express


suggestions

they weep, they moan,

He

left

was not

Paris and

politics

pitched

that led

longing for a quieter

his

him
life

from the excitements of Parisian

does not seem to have profited by the

change, for he worked but

little

in

Brussels, and his

papers contain only brief, concise, almost hieroglyphic


notes,

which he alone could have made anything

"7

of.

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i*5*

ART AND CRITICISM


His health, instead of improving, grew worse, either
because

it

was more shattered than he was aware of

The

himself, or because the climate did not suit him.


first

symptoms of the

disease manifested themselves in

slowness of speech and more and more marked hesitation in the selection of

often

words

himself

expressed

fashion, dwelling

as Baudelaire,

and

slow

in

on the words

to

give

however,

sententious

them

greater

weight, his difficulty of speech was not noticed, albeit


it

was the forerunner of the

to slay him,

malady that was

terrible

and which ere long showed

form of a sudden attack.

The

report

the

itself in

of

his

death

spread through Paris with the winged swiftness of

news, which
along

its

seems

to

travel

faster

than electricity

Baudelaire was

guiding wires.

he

he lingered on

few months, unable to speak and unable to write,

paralysis

having snapped the chain

and thought
his

Brought back from

Brussels by his relatives and friends,


for a

but

still alive,

the news, though false, was merely prematurely true

never recovered from the shock.

ill

brain,

expression

of

could
his

links speech

Thought remained

together.
as

that

plainly

eyes,

but

be
it

in

by

the

prisoner

and

perceived

was

alive

gagged, devoid of any means of communicating with

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
outer world

the

from the earthly

cell

which was

to

But why linger upon the


open only within the tomb.
There is no pleasant
incidents of that sorrowful end ?

way of

dying, but

is

it

painful

watch the passing away so early of


that

was capable of bearing

and to lose on the path of

more

lonely, a

Besides "

The Flowers

"
Edgar Allan Poe,

and

of Evil," his translations of


Paradises," art

Charles Baudelaire

stinacy refused to

make

the next series to a


publication.

tired

times

of these

the slightest concession, to take

first

or

more

literary

time these poems, scattered

much everywhere, and

prettv

volume

whose noble ob-

poet,

more venturesome

For the

the ordinary run

uninteresting to

of readers, and compelled the

left

reviews,

at various

newspapers or reviews, which ere long

dainty masterpieces

longer time,

ever becoming more and

of short poems in prose that appeared


in

to

their youth.

Artificial

literarv criticisms,

survivors

a remarkable talent

fruit for a still

life,

comrade of

the

for

very

difficult

to

find,

have been collected into one volume, which will prove


to

be one of the strongest claims of the poet to be

remembered by
In

posterity.

short preface, addressed

and prefixed

to the

to

Arsene Houssaye,

" Short Prose


Poems," Baudelaire
119

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ART AND CRITICISM


how

relates

the idea of making use of this hybrid form,

him

half prose, half verse, occurred to

"

have a confession

to

make

to you.

was while

It

glancing, for the twentieth time at least, through Aloysius

Bertrand's

work known

famous

to you, to

'

'

of the

Gaspard

me, and to some of

Night

my

(a

friends

has surely every right to be entitled famous), that the

thought occurred to
sort,

and to apply

me

to try

to the description

modern and more

rather to a

something of the same


of modern

abstract

life,

the

life,

or

method

he applied to the picturing of the strangely picturesque


life

of antiquity.

" Which of us has


not,

in

his

ambitious moments,

dreamed of a miraculous prose, poetic, musical, without rhythm or rime, pliant enough yet varied enough
to adapt itself to

the

the fluctuations of

conscience

lyrical

reverie, to

impulses of the soul, to


the

fits

and

starts

of

"
?

It is needless to
say

that there

is

not the remotest

resemblance between "Gaspard of the Night," and the

" Short Prose Poems."


fact as

Baudelaire himself realised the

soon as he entered upon the work, and he took

due note of

this accident^

of which any other

man might

perchance be proud, but which was deeply humiliating

120

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
mind accustomed

to a

do

for a poet to

Baudelaire,
his will

art

it

of

sort

will

it

the highest honour

what he intended to

exactly

his

govern

to consider

do.

be seen, meant invariably to have


inspiration

and to introduce into

himself with having turned out

proached

from what he had intended, even

differing

to be, as in

case, a strong

this

He

mathematical method.

infallible

re-

something
if

it

proved

and original piece of

work.

must be owned

It

of the earnest
render

our poetic speech,

that

efforts

made by

the

more supple and more

it

circumstantial details, especially


ern, familiar, or luxurious

French verse no longer,

life

as

when

have

uncommon and
subjects of

narrow

it

persists

in

forcing

setting, the verse

rocky, and unpleasant.

its

and

in

in

this

While

very structure

itself

is

peculiarities,

these to enter within

its

quickly becomes harsh,

"
So the " Short Prose Poems

have come most seasonably to make up for


tence, and

mod-

of yore, abhors accuracy of

opposed to the expression of significant


if

does not

to be treated.

expression and clings to periphrase,

and

school to

ductile,

rendering of

readily lend itself to the

new

in spite

this

impo-

form, which calls for exquisite

which every word must be weighed,


121

ere

art,
it

is

ART AND CRITICISM


used, in balances

Matsys'

"

scription,
laire

delicate than those of

Quentin

Misers," since each must bear the right in-

and have the

weight and sound, Baude-

right

brought out a precious, dainty, and odd side of

He

talent.
ible,

more

has

managed

his

to get closer to the inexpress-

and to render the fleeting shades that hover be-

tween sound and colour, and thoughts that resemble


motives of arabesques or musical themes.

This form

is

applied successfully not to physical na-

ture only, but to the

of nervous

ages to

is

author

of

" The

has drawn marvellous effects from

times to find that speech

surprising at

show

The

temperaments.
"

Flowers of Evil
it

soul,

melancholy, to the splenetic hallucinations

to fanciful

and

most secret motions of the

man-

objects apparently impossible to describe,

and hitherto never reduced by verbs,

now

through the

now with

transparent gauzy veils of dreams,

the sud-

den sharpness of a sunbeam that brings out vividly,


the bluish openings

mountain

it,

in

crest, or a

distance, a ruined tower, a

the

clump of

of Baudelaire's glory,

if

have brought within the

the great nomenclator.

trees.

It will

be part

not his greatest claim to


possibilities

of objects, sensations, and

in

effects,

No

it,

to

of style numbers

unnamed by Adam,

writer can wish for higher

122

A* A* 1* i/* A */ *A 4* *s* !! s*
^1; !* vA* ! vA* ! ! vl%

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
"
and he who wrote the " Short Prose Poems

praise,

undoubtedly deserves
It is

one has much space

unless

difficult,

very

command, and

one's

it.

in that case

it

better to refer the

is

reader to the pieces themselves, to give a correct

of these compositions

somewhat

the

in

pent's backbone.

cameos, following one anthe vertebrae do in a ser-

way

{tw of them may be removed,

yet the pieces join again,

own

still

living,

each possessing

its

individual soul, and convulsively writhing onwards

towards an unattainable
Before

ideal.

bring to a close, as briefly as possible, this

already too lengthy account,


leave no

whose

room

in the

talent I

am

volume

for

if

and

must be

the

in

my

depth, and

fancies

in

"

the

structure,

to

in

prose^

in

inten-

the dainty

Gaspard of the Night," which Baudelaire

had taken for a model.


posing

with quot-

poems

grace,

shall

commentary

opinion, are infinitely superior,

concentration,

and friend

satisfied

ing the titles of a ^tw of these short

which,

do not

for the author

analysing,

would obscure the work,

sity,

idea

pictures, medallions, bassi-relievi^

statuettes, enamels, pastels,

other

at

volume,
shall

Among

and

draw

the

which
attention

123

fifty

differ

to

"

poems comin tone and

The Cake,"

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ART AND CRITICISM


Double-bedded room," " The Crowds," " The
" A
"
Hemisphere
Widows," The Old Mountebank,"
"
An Invitation to Travel,"
in a Head of Hair,"
"
" Beauteous Dorothea,"
A Heroic Death," " The

"The

"

Thyrsis,"

"

Paint,"

Portraits

"

Mistresses,"

Blood Horse," and especially

Moon," an admirable poem

ings of the

Longing to
" The Blesswhich the

in

with magical illusory power what the

expresses

poet

of

English painter Millais has so completely failed to render


"
that is, the descent of
in his " Eve of Saint Agnes
:

the orb of night within a room, with


rescent light,

iridescent

its

interpenetrated

by beams

silvery atoms.

From

its

its

blue phospho-

pearly grays,

which

in

flutter

and luminous poison

endowed by
godmother
forever
fair as

it

it

feel

am

with

its

the

it

in

pale

pretty

living

head

is

strange blessings, and like a fairy

whispers in the child's ear


the influence of
fair;

mothlike,

moon bends

cloud throne the

over the cradle of a sleeping child, bathing


light

mistiness

its

my

"

Thou

shalt

kisses; thou shalt be

thou shalt love what

love: water

and clouds, silence and night, the mighty green

sea, the

wave

art

not,

knowest not, monstrous flowers

and

the

or fickle or

lover thou

scents that

still,

the

weaken the

place

will,

124

where thou

and

cats that

writhe

A* *

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CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
on

moan

and

pianos

women

like

with

soft

harsh,

voices."

know nothing comparable

poem of Li-Tai-Pe,

the

save

to this

so

charming poem

well

translated

by

Judith Walter, in which the Empress of China sweeps


on, amid effulgent irradiation, while the folds of her

white satin dress


the

in

When
that wafts

like

its

life

without the
the

in

which one pricks up one's

its

hazy

with

"

his

all

horn, and

the

blue drives

sensation

of appeasing
least

shock

ears.

It

of

like the voice

Oberon has

just

enchanted forest opens out,

prolonged

appears clothed

Night's
in

endlessly,

swarming

Dream," while Titania

word

in

in

herself

her transparent silver gauze dress.

Often while reading "Short Prose


been impressed

like

is

the fanciful beings Shakespeare describes

A Midsummer

single

fully

distance a strange

invisible spirits calling to each other.

blown

first

sleep, a sort

from the supernatural world,

a sigh

so

mysterious speech.

mesmeric

one away from

that sparkle

could

Weber's music, the

then there suddenly sounds


note, at

alone

lunatic

moon and

listening to

something

upon the jade steps

moonlight.

understand the

is

trail

this

oddly

way

Poems"

sentence, a word

selected and oddly placed

125

have

calling

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ART AND CRITICISM


up a world of unknown, forgotten faces that yet were
the faces of friends, reviving the

mer and

distant

far

presence around

me

lives,

remembrance of

and making

me

for-

feel

the

of a mysterious chorus of vanished

thoughts, softly whispering amid the ghosts of things


that are ever separating from reality.

Other sentences,

morbidly tender, seem

murmur

consola-

hopeless

despair.

tions

to

unconfessed

But one must beware,

Ranz
the

des

music, to

sorrows

and

for they inspire nostalgia just as the

Vaches did to the poor Swiss lansknecht,

German

swam

like

ballad,

across

the

who was

stationed

at

in

Strasburg,

Rhine, was caught, brought back

and shot " because he had listened too much to the


Alpine horn."

126

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ART AND CRITICISM


The
with

in

novel

a real Iliad.

is

Everything

is

to be

that prose epic, which, had not Victor

been famous already, would alone have made

There

for ever illustrious.

is

met

Hugo

his

name

variety in the characters,

accuracy in the costumes, lofty, sublime eloquence, genuine, irresistible fun, broad historical views, a pliant and

strong

plot,

deep feeling for

erudition, poetic flow,

art,

Benedictine-like

everything, in a word.

Byron, who, of all poets, has created the most attractive

ideal

feminine figures, has not one to oppose to

the divine Esmeralda


are as

lovely,

but

Gulnare, Medora, and Haydee

not lovelier, and they are not

as

touching.

Maturin would not have imparted

less

sombre character of Frollo, devoured by


science, which changes to thirst for love.
Phoebus de Chateaupers cuts as
his

war harness

as the

Veronese's pictures, with

fine a figure

who swagger

falcon

on

fist

His careless, brutal good nature

a masterly hand.

And who

is

It is life

there

his thirst for

under

handsome, dark-complexioned,

smiling youths, dressed in velvet,

leash.

vigour to the

who

and truth

in

is

in

Paolo

and dog

in

painted with

very deed.

has not laughed with

all

his

heart at the troubles of peripatetic


Gringoire, with his

128

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VICTOR HUGO

i*

*b

doublet gaping at every seam, his shoes in holes, and


his ever unsatisfied appetite

are

drawn with no

freer

Regnier's starving poets

and bolder touch.

Then Quasimodo, monstrous

Who

for a shell!

and

ing

has not admired his canine devotion

his angelic virtues

Who

concealed

has not blamed Esmeralda

him

leg,

and

have become typical


its

chamber,

and

unearthed

And

background stand out

churches,

somewhat

boar's-tusk

his

wept over poor Chantefleurie


nificent a

in a fiend-like

frame

palaces,

its

bastiles,

Court

the

from out the ground

all

The whole

and resurrected

for not lov-

of
j

Who

against

has not

how mag-

these figures that

of Old Paris

iVIiracles

dead

city

Gothic Pompeii drawn

two thousand

volumes studied,

folio

terrified a

man

of the Middle Ages acquired on purpose for

And

over

all

its

Louis XI's privy

an amount of erudition that would have

it

of his double hump, his one eye, his

in spite

knock-kneed

Notre-Dame

snail with

Gerthis

a dazzling, splendid granite and bronze

as the cathedral
style, as indestructible

" Notre-Dame de Paris

"

classic.

129

has even

it

celebrates.

now become

ART AND CRITICISM


II

ANGELO
July

Ordinary

dramatists need no

formance.

All they care to do

for a space of three or four

for the purpose,

composed

part

more than
is

to

5,

1835.

a single per-

occupy the stage

hours, to collect,
all

in

the effective hits of

a popular actor, and to furnish an actress with a pretext for

changing her dress several times,

the

act she shall

first

in the second,

inevitable

may

wear a white figured

one of black velvet, and

so that in

satin

gown

in the third the

wrapper of organdie or muslin

in

which she

writhe wildly on the floor without fearing to tear

her skirt or to stain

it

matic convulsion.

Many

with

oil in

the middle of a dra-

a play has

been put together

merely for the purpose of enabling Miss So and So to

show
its

But once the

off all her diamonds.

gloss, the folds

satin has lost

of the velvet have become flabby, and

the diamonds have been locked up in the jewel-case,

then the play sinks to the lowest depths of sombre

Lethe and

is

author himself,

forgotten

by everybody, including the

who vamps

it

up

six

months

later,

with-

out either he himself or the public being conscious of

130

J, 4* 4. 4< !? 4* 4 4* 4* 4* 4* 4*4. 4 4* 4* rl, .1. ! *l< 0, ! ! !

VICTOR HUGO
the fact.
dress

It

is

true that in the later piece the diva's

of gold-flowered brocade, and that she wears

is

feathers instead of a turban,

which greatly

differentiates

the character and turns the old play into a brand-new

one.

For such writers


hastily,

a short

column of prose worked up

with the name and date

the bottom, suffices

at

dramatic graveyard, the exact

to indicate, in the vast

place where each of their abortions

cannot act

in

not over

when

called to

the

is

But one

fine book.

All

such wise with Hugo.

Every drama by Hugo makes a

others

buried.

is

is

the curtain has fallen, and the star been

What

footlights.

but a mere detail to him.

is

of importance to

The

play

may have

run sixty nights, like " Hernani," or have had but a

"

single performance, like

not a whit.

The

matters so

It

little

recognised fact that this same


outrageously hissed,

is

Hugo's

public has reversed the


public, and the

crowd

matters

that

"The

it

is

now

a well-

King's Sport," so

The

best play.

reading

judgment of the theatre-going

book has

individual in the

it

King's Sport,"

set the theatre

that shouted

Ho

the finest passages, applauded separately.

right.
!

and

Every

Ha

at

For the poet,

face to face with the individual, and freed from countless

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ART AND CRITICISM


from the
obstructions wrong
reflections

material
lights,

a^ *w

foot-

a nose here, a pair of legs there, mistakes in the

stage setting, and general lack of intelligence

upon the man,

away on

his

filled

him with

mighty pinions

his breath,

far

seized

and bore him

above the old

hall

of the

Fran^ais.

^'Angelo" has met with

Dramas,

stage.

"

goes on

gelo

like
its

better

books, have their

Every day the

tropical.

upon the
" Anfates.

triumphant way amid the gravest

preoccupations and

political

fortune

line

temperature almost

in

the

at

doors lengthens

out and sweeps in the distance through the obscure


corridors of the Palais-Royal.
I shall

body

not describe the plot of the play, for every-

acquainted with

is

it,

from the point of view of

total

own

art

shall treat the

and

to

style.

lack of lyricism.
that with

It is

is

regard to the public, but so

prose drama.

away

is

that

it

in

is.

"An-

Hugo, having resolved

walk on earth, instead of soaring


that

is

shameful to have to

Another and equally sad cause of success


gelo"

book

"
cause of the complete success of " Angelo

The
Its

but

to

the heavens, so

the pit might not lose sight of him, wisely put


his talaria in a

drawer

132

for poets are like the hip-

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VICTOR HUGO
pogrifF, they

can both run and

fly,

while the most en-

vious of prose-writers can run only.

Any

poet, if he

chooses to condescend to such a job, can write excel-

were he
I

never will a born prose-writer, even

prose, but

lent

a Chateaubriand, write fine verse.

have said that the play

Hugo's eagle soars

not

is

By

times

somewhat curious

every one of these

nearly

at

and many of the sentences

loftily,

are genuine strophes of odes.

contradiction,

Yet

lyrical.

passages

is

applauded to the echo.

Hugo's character

He

German.

neither

is

neither

is

English,

French, nor

and human

profound

like

Shakespeare, magnificently placid and indifferent like

Goethe, nor witty and


is

He
if

and excessive

self-willed
is

willing
insist

you

enough

on

his

of sense like Moliere.

full

to

he

is

admire

doing so, but

He

Spanish and Castilian.

Homer
it

is

and the Bible,

quite certain that

he would give the pair of them for the Romancero.

His
fiercely

dulges

he

is

genius

is

bristling.
in

kin to that of old Corneille, proud and

Although from time

leonine graces, in giant mincing affectations,

a terrible

draughtsman, quite capable of repeating

with Michael Angelo that oil-painting

and

to time he in-

idlers

only.

He

is fit

for

women

goes straight to the muscles, frees

133

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K^

ART AND CRITICISM


them from the

and brings them out with prodig-

flesh,

There

ious vigour.

are passages in

that

Hugo

might

be mistaken for the figures placed in the coigns and


pendentives of the Sistine Chapel, whose adductor and
extensor muscles are

all

the exaggeration in his style


it

Buonarotti's,

Puget

when
in

felt

hands

like that in the

wax

men

of

in bronze.

of marble trembled

him drawing

like

is

an exaggeration

said that blocks

they

his

is

But

equally over-developed.

like leaves

near, and that they melted

fancy the case must be the

same with the blocks out of which our poet carves


think

thoughts.

his

can see him with his iron chisel

sending huge pieces flying in every direction, carving

with an axe rather than with a chisel, hammering open


with mighty blows the gaping mouth of a tragic mask,

and working broadly, robustly, without finickiness oi

behooves a primitive

daintiness, as
are to be set

Amid
in this

artist

whose

figures

up on high.

the general enfeeblement of our

age of ours

when no one

modern

life,

thing has preserved

any sharp corners, a character with such clean-cut, un-

worn edges

is

a regular

should not have been

have appeared

in

wonder.

That mighty genius

born in our times

he should

the sixteenth century, shortly before

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VICTOR HUGO
the production of the " Cid."

been greater

would not have had

that time he

the Pantheon or the


a

painter,

Exchange

rest, for his

to look

he could have been a

Vinci, Benvenuto, Buonarotti, and

Never has

subject.

an

as

artist

may have been


stone quarry

of genius

fashioning of the stone

ence would there

The

Hugo

else

between

be

is

the quarry

he or does he not know

Angelo is a drama
from the shock of the
a

primitive

comprises

"

passion.

It

Cymbeline,"

" Troilus and


Cressida,"
speare's

been looked
is

the

Victor

What

differ-

Ducange and

which

rest

ideas

are the stones,

question

is,

and
does

his business.

"

"

prated on

what difference would

The whole

the sculptor.

is

is

world

the poet

the

Form

the important point

there be between a block and a statue

Victor

all

an essentially plastic genius, loving and

is

everything, no matter what

upon

either

upon

seeking form, like every true young genius.

the

At

an architect, an engineer, and a

sculptor,

Da

poet, like

would have

that he

would have been happier.

but he

Not

in

which the tragedy springs

situations

belongs

rather than
to

the

class

from
that

" Measure for


Measure," and

romantic

plays

of Shake-

upon adventures and not upon


135

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ART AND CRITICISM


generalities,

and which are the only dramas possible

a civilisation so highly developed as ours.

now

possible

character,

made

It is

in

scarcely

to construct a play with a mortal sin or a

one and the same


and
by shadows,

thing, for characters are

there

visible

is

nothing on

earth less dramatic than virtuous people.

"The
"

Miser,"

"The

Misanthrope,"

"

The

Liar,"

The Jealous Man," " The Wicked Man," and " The
"

Hypocrite

have been written, but these are subjects

which one may not return, and it would be just as


" Othello " and " TartufFe."
Man's
stupid to touch up

to

passions and defects are not inexhaustible, and can furnish only a small

number of combinations, which have

already been reproduced a thousand times over.


are

left,

therefore,

adventures,

curious working out of style

romance,

for the

There

fancy,

the

drama of passion

and the comedy of manners can neither interest nor

amuse any one nowadays, when there


manners nor passion left.

The

fact that

knowledge

is

are

neither

so wide-spread militates

against the possibility of winning success with an historical

best

drama, and Victor

way

tator, but

to succeed

how

is

it

Hugo

fully realised this.

on the stage
possible to

136

is

The

to surprise the spec-

introduce surprise into

VICTOR HUGO
an

historical

drama

How

can the spectator be

when he knows

or the other hero,

to tremble for this

led

perfectly well that the said hero died quietly in his bed
after
thirty years ago,

having made

the last sacraments of the


terest himself in the fate

Church

of a heroine

borrows from history names merely


colouring

general
i

can he in-

whom

he knows

from

the

So Hugo

from the age,

country,

few

its

local

and out of these he weaves a harmonious

background

he intends to develop.

for the action

might be better even

It

How

been hunchbacked and dropsical?

to have

touches

and received

his will

he used no names

if

at all,

and simply called his characters the Duke, the Queen,


so on.

For my own

part, I should like fully as well the old

names, familiar

the

Prince,

the Princess, and

through long usage, of Silvio, Leander, Persida, and


Graciosa, that give to the plays in which they occur a
delightful air of improbability.

inestimable advantage of

those

learned critics

They would have

the

mouths of

all

shutting the

who

never

fail,

at

every

new

drama by Hugo, to ask, with their customary sprightli" Here is indeed Francis I but where is Leoness
:

nardo da Vinci

Pope

Where

Where

is

Luther

is

Caillette

Where

Where
is

is

Charles

the

ART AND CRITICISM


Where

are all the

And where

is

Why, hang

who

people

lived

those days

in

that glorious sixteenth century itself?

it, it

is

"

lying prone, between the fifteenth

and the seventeenth centuries,

in its eternal

shroud, in

the bottomless depths of nothingness, in the valley of

Jehoshaphat, where

Time, with

hands buries the ages that are dead


see

what need there

when one

is,

torical character, to

lug in

torical characters.

It

that

drama should be
But,

Dictionary.

he

that

is

has just

all

ever young old

its

is

And

do not

talking of an his-

other contemporary his-

not absolutely indispensable


a

of Moreri's

reproduction

of course,

has

critic

been re-reading

to

show

histories

his

and

chroniclers.
I

consider

The
That

scene
is all

is

Hugo's dramas are

Padua, Francisco Donato being Doge.

in

right.

If

it

were

in

reign of Hassan, second of the


right, too.

sufficiently accurate.

The whole

point

is

Trebizond, under the

name,

this

Did you weep ? Did you shudder ?


A quality which Hugo possesses
degree as

Anne

would be

it

Were you moved


in

RadclifFe and Maturin,

is

eminent a

as

the

producing gloomy and architectural terror,


expression be permissible.

all

power of

if

Angelo's palace

is

such an
as fear-

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VICTOR HUGO
There

unknown

another and

is

in

delight in chiselling,

is

and speaks

a door.

were here,
pink

with

poniard.
in

it

his

as
is

sword, but

walls,

took

artists

ascend and de-

Hamlet

If

shiver.

armed with

sbirro

Elsinore, or he

at

a secret

and that you

where

feel

his

corridor, that

might not venture

it

is

At

known

perpetually betrays
;

sombre

corri-

to others than you,

winding round without knowing exa

mysterious sap wherein go and

unknown men busy

incessantly

thing."

dresser, so

neither a rat nor a Polonius he would

dor the doors of which are

come

like

the wainscotting

hall, every room, every alcove

every

actly

pillars

is

it

Nay, Hamlet would not be so courageous

Padua

" There

is

Stairs

the tapestries

This

Renaissance

scend in the interior of the


hears

This looks

corridor.

which

carved,

wonderfully

is

it

reality

which

palace, of

but the outward casing and envelope.


a wall

of Udolpho.

a building as the Castle

fully mysterious

some-

about

one hears the sound of steps

night,

in the

and wonders whether one of the beautiful paint-

ings of nude courtesans painted by Titian

swing outwards and to reveal a bravo


be followed

into

who

is

will

about to

have to

some deep, dank place whence he

alone will emerge.

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ART AND CRITICISM


There

manner of masked entrances:

are all

doors that are opened by means of queer

Here

a button

must be pressed

Piranesi, the great

little

there a trap be lifted.

who knows how

round out the

to

blackest of vaults, dripping wet, ready to crash

causes to

like

serpents, and

and the
even

grow amid the rubbish

who

misshapen

dragora's

disjointed

most

in his

twists

churches are draped

in
is

stifling terror.

mass

black, a

is

being

being raised, a grave dug

Behind the handsome brocade curis,

instead of

rough wooden scafFold, an axe, and a sheet.

Every room

The

is

sinister

and uninhabitable

drapery

fall

in dainty folds

and flowers shimmer;


their best

chairs do

in

its

appear-

very chamber of Tisbe looks like the nave

of some deserted church, and


silk

not have attained,

covered with rich embroidery, there

a bed, a

ance.

man-

and supernatural engravings,

chanted, a stone in a vault

tains,

plants that look

hideously the

cornices, could

delirious

for a living being.

so

down,

between the cracked stones

legs

an equal power of opaque and

The

keys.

Piranesi himself, the fiend of archi-

tectural nightmares,

who

secret

in

in vain

and

its

does the figured

golden threads

vain do the stage masks smile

on the arm-chairs and the

floor.

Let the

what they may, they resemble prie-Dieu, and


140

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MW

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VICTOR HUGO
Rosamond's spangled
a

by

forgotten

dress

is

show

some one

that

plain

delightfully

The

phantom.

colour that will scarce

walls are

It

is

a
It

room

murder, and a most

for

painted

the splash of blood.

to die there.

is

convenient

naught but a shroud

is

fit

lodging for the dead.

To

the

tell

went out of
Tisbe
little

is,

it

do not believe that Catarina

truth,

quite

alive,

and kind-hearted though

would not swear that she

of the contents of the black

the white.

think

it

is

did

vial

not mix a

with those of

only friendly to advise Rodolfo

to moderate his transports of joy.

The
be put

spy scene has been cut


in

again

when

the play

is

out bodily, but

to

Is

next performed.

It

takes place in a sort of cut-throat den, or inn of evil

fame, which,

was

it

for the sensitiveness

feared,

would prove too

of the occupiers of boxes

much
at

the

Theatre-Fran^ais.
I

am

not sure

how

far

it

is

wise to break the fingers

or noses off bassi-relievi^ and to prune the dragons and

monsters off a cathedral, but there


bassi-relievt

the public's preference

planed board.
sibly

help to

it

is; in
is

way of

for a smoothly

bough severed from a


purify the air round the
141

the

tree

may

pos-

cradle, but

It

4* (A*

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v^v

!!

*^

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srtl?db

ART AND CRITICISM


makes

wound

a gaping

scutcheon upon

that

it

the bole, and leaves a white

in

hideous to look

as

is

an

at as

ulcer.
I

am

not of those

who

idea can be

believe that an

withdrawn with impunity from any work. There


the knot
a piece of canvas in which there is a knot
;

pulled out, but along with

which

a part, and a tear

it is

of the warp.
out of the

become

it

It is

pulled out the thread of

is

made

whole length

the

If one be cut

the same with ideas.

two

second which

in the

unintelligible, six in the third,

Every work

is

is

act, there are

first

is

and so on.

brought forth complete, either well-

is

shapen or misshapen, with well formed legs or crippled;


that

is

But

luck.

all

it

does not

cut ofFthe thigh because there

of the leg

As
those

is

for

the

way

Hugo's

to

play,

of the Hunting

cut off from

it

is

make
it

is

seem

stocks

the loveliest

that to

end

the limb shapely.

has legs

few locks of

upon

handsome

as
all

that has

hair, that fluttered


its

as

been
too

white shoulders for

the taste of the bourgeois of Paris done


stiff

me

a club foot at the

Diana, and

capriciously and too freely

to

up

in

their

but the precious locks, fine and delicate as


silk,

are to be found intact

satiny pages of the printed book.

142

between the

M 0%* # #A #Jk
vfs* /

tfr

w*

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'W

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T*

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VICTOR HUGO
III

RACHEL

IN

"ANGELO"
May

" Angelo "

had performed

at the

that, so clean, firm,

of which

is

and sculptural,

is

and

just as literary

is

it

I incline to the

prose

Theatre Fran^ais, but prose


as

like

as verse,

good

has the sonority, the brilliancy, and even

it

the rhythm

drama Victor Hugo has

the only prose

is

27, 1850.

belief that

as hard to write.

the effects of

all

which

susceptible have not yet been availed of in the

Almost

writing of plays.
repertory

are

in

and

verse,

the masterpieces in our

all

few exceptions that

the

might be mentioned merely confirm the

rule.

Moliere's regular plays, those on which he reckoned,


are in verse, and

with

when he makes

use

when

apparent reluctance and

of prose,
hurried

it

is

by the

King's commands.

His " Banquet of Stone,"


his " Stone Guest," which is,
its

superb

style,

Corneille, and
restored to

its

was

it

is

later

or, to
all

be more accurate,

the same,

on put into verse by Thomas

only in these days that

pristine

was not deemed to be

marked by

form.

For

it

has been

long time prose

finished enough, difficult enough,

143

Ik l* *!* ! vl^
anv ? ?<

JU
Wm

ol/*l'
iv

iHf,

rl*f/*||9*|*r|||i*i*|l*i**|fSi
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ART AND CRITICISM

polished enough for presentation to the refined public

of the Comedie-Fran^aise.

Marivaux and Lesage, who wrote

in

were

esteemed by the connoisseurs

for this reason less highly

of their day, although they belong to a

Beaumarchais was the

modern time.

prose,

comparatively
to

first

triumph

with prose on a stage accustomed to the tragic melopeia

and the rhythmic laughter of comedy, but then what


wonderful prose

it

was

out, cut in facets, full


in

that he wrote

of

skill

Clever, wrought

and of address,

in acoustic tricks, in

unexpected resources,

bringing out a sentence, of making words


hits

making
effects

His

as

calumny,
a little
air

for

ways of
flash,

of

of producing harmonious or abrupt

skill

is

such that

in

certain

passages

does he attain to verse effects, but to musical

not only
effects

tell,

fruitful

well,

as,

for

instance,

it.

makes use

noting

it,

order to

in

the

tirade

had merely to accentuate

so that Rossini

when

in

and

it

make an admirable

Beaumarchais goes so very


of assonance

on

far

alliteration,

that he

and very

often of the eight-syllabled blank verse.

Prose of this

kind

has

all

the qualities of verse,

with greater freedom, rapidity and suppleness, and


probably the sort of tongue best

144

is

adapted to the stage,

J/

VM

eA* r3^ cnI* *JU


IW VtW M

JU
VM

J'*

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VICTOR HUGO
where

take a place half-way

could

it

and ordinary speech.

We

iambic

verse

is

a pity, the

We

Latins.

The

verse.

forced

are

and

poets

prodigious metrical
a

caesura

too

is

illusion.

strains

The

it

be

The

when

purpose

of

10

flexible

emphasis.
delivery,

through

still

retains

The

ill-placed

and

spoils the

has been overcome often and

in the

he

skilful,

after

with

not rime

it

will

the
;

melodious

obtain
flute

many-keyed

and

all

is

Germans enjoy
Shakespeare

starts

the

great

with

using blank verse, with rimed

its

have the rapid romance octoslight

assonance,

does not care to

producing

Beaumarchais

its

never

Spaniards

line

it

difficulty has

English

prose and ends,

the one for

the heroic

these latter days,

skill in

from a reed, but

syllabic

more

rendered

metrical liberty on the stage

verse.

and the

manner.

player

better.

use of

it

has been admirably handled

it

do not mean that the

brilliant

If a

Greeks

the

make

readily felt in

been overcome;

most

of

to

redundancy and

certain

lack on the stage, and

hexameter, or alexandrine, to give

modern name, although


by great

between verse

an

do

efl'ect.

and Victor Hugo have

comedy and

which does

so, or for the

Prose,

such

turned

it

as

out,

the other for drama, appears

145

l*i#ivA*A* fit*!/**!*
ii|i**i*|*l*t*lll**l*i*B*|**l*
" *"
VM wS* *K ' "^ ! < * * * <"

ART AND CRITICISM


to

me

capable of taking the place of the

to be quite

iambic

we

This does not mean

lack.

banish verse from the stage, for although the

turned

life

has

am

a poet,

me

and

into a

critic,

certainly

shall

regard the charm and the rights

would

that I

way of

remember

that

never for one


of poetry

but

disI

do

think that there are subjects that can be wrought out

more

fully

in

prose than in verse, and that a differ-

ent order of dramatic ideas would be better expressed


this

by
I

means.

was sure

that

Rachel would score a great success

the part of Tisbe, and that she would be quite at


in lines that are as

as

solid

Nothing could better

suit

Corneille's

in

home

alexandrines.

her distinct, trained delivery

and her deep accents than those sentences which ring

on the ideas

like

brazen armour upon a warrior's shoul-

ders, than the clean, firm, masterly style that projects


like a bas-relief cut

with a chisel.

In her performance

of the part of Tisbe, Rachel has made herself the queen

of drama as she was already the queen of tragedy.

Henceforth she

will rule without a rival

in

the realm

of Romanticism as she ruled of yore in the realm of


Classicism.

The

part of Tisbe, as

is

well

146

known, was

created by

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al^

VICTOR HUGO
Mile. Mars.
that

have no very enthusiastic recollection of


for, I

performance,

confess

lady's talent never impressed

played the part.

^^ A^*A*
iHb nS <

While

me

to

it

very

my

shame, that

much when

do justice to her undoubted

qualities, I consider that she but imperfectly

She possessed

the character of Tisbe.

she

understood

in the highest

degree commonplace distinction and vulgar good form,


if

it

She did not

be not a cruelty to couple these words.

possess the high-bred air which

duchess and which

is

may be

lacking in a

occasionally met with in a gipsy.

Graces acquired through study are not the

result of a

fortunate temperament, but of the persistent exercise of


will.

It

was

plain that, like a banker's wife at

tocratic reception, she

There was

faut.

an

aris-

was anxious to appear comme

il

assuredly no fault to be found with

her voice or her gestures, but she did not possess that
easy,

good form which

natural

which forgets

itself

sure

is

without ceasing to

of

exist.

itself

and

In a word,

she lacked breeding.

The

part of

Tisbe frightened her

instead of bringing

ness of
stylish.

it,

it

out

she slurred

she tamed

down

it

over

the fierce-

thinking that by so doing she was making

who might have


drawing-room and who would not

She turned Tisbe into a lady

been presented

in a

it

H7

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I.'*

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ART AND CRITICISM


She made the

have been out of place there.

fiery

and

capricious actress as prosaic as she could, in order that

The whole

she should be proper.


the part disappeared

picturesque side of

the costume itself did not exhibit

the loud richness characteristic of a courtesan actress,

who

in private life still

bears traces of the stage costum-

and by exaggerating

ing,

style

was
:

avenges herself upon luxury

shame with which she has

for the

dress

it,

to purchase

Her

it.

quite a decent, sober attire in the troubadour

turbans and toques, epaulets on the sleeves,

dress, in short,

Now

which might be worn

Rachel makes a great

hit

at

an evening party.

by realising the

plastic

ideal of the parts she plays.


In " Phaedra," she is a
Greek princess of the heroic days in " Angelo," she
;

is
is

an Italian courtesan of the sixteenth century, and she


so in a

way

that

is

can possibly take her for anything

else,

or painter could do better.

at

She

move

one

and no sculptor

once masters the

audience by her imperiously true aspect.


she seems to

No

unmistakable.

quite

In tragedy,

out of a bas-relief by Phidias as she

walks down to the front of the stage

in

drama, she

seems to emerge from a painting by Bronzino or Titian.

The
she

illusion
is

first

is

perfect.

She

is

not only a great actress

and foremost a great

148

artist.

Her

beauty,

%|l^
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SS

VICTOR HUGO
which the bourgeois do not understand, and which they
are apt to

white marble,

She

move.

another

the

is

like a

warm Venetian

surroundings

Marvellously harmonised

Cordova
She

at

suits herself to the

with

At one time she

amazingly varied.

is

sway,

deny the existence of while yielding to

pearls, the

quillings,

is

painting.

which she

is

to

her golden pallor

one expects

oak wainscotting.

to see

in that

room,

and she stands out strongly from the background.


lives

like

the gold sequins, the

leather tapestries and the

just the figure

in

is

its

She

her ease in that bygone age and makes one

at

believe in the truth of the plot.


It

more

is

impossible to imagine anything

radiant,

more splendidly indolent than Tisbe's


she moves about among the guests, holding in

sparkling,

dress as

leash the podesta,

whose chain
is

more

is

who grumbles and

growls like a tiger

being pulled too hard by the keeper.

It

a true reproduction of the insensate luxury of artistic

and debauched Italy

in the

days

when Titian

painted the

mistresses of princes utterly nude, and Veronese flooded

the white steps of terraces with silks, velvets, and gold

brocades.

How

gracefullv inattentive

listens to the

is

the air with which she

complaints of the poor tyrant, always lead-

149

ART AND CRITICISM


him away from the point he wants to make and
how admirably she delivers the tale in which she relates
ing

how

her mother,

woman, who sang

husbandless

Morlacca songs upon the public squares, was saved by


a sweet child that begged her life just as she was being
led to the scaffold for having,

most sacred Republic


feeling,

in

it

was

one of her

how much emotion

there

is

And

one

who

is

How much

lays.

in the rapid,

in the telling, as
ently careless delivery,

as if to fulfil a duty, to

said, insulted the

if

appar-

constrained and

unable to understand.

with what wondrous ease, alike of a great lady and

an actress, she diverts the tyrant's suspicions and sends

him back

to tell

Rodolfo that she loves him

It

is

impossible to be at once more of an actress and more

of a woman.

Then, how wheedling, and

that she shall not too plainly reveal


indifferent

is

her purpose how

the same time

at

the grace she exhibits in the scene of the

key, and in the great quarrel between the honest

How

and the courtesan.

between her
the wall!

She
it

teeth,

Her

she does

woman

hold her victim

and shake her, and slap her against

fury

is

savage, her ferocity

attains the greatest heights of irony

seems that

so

in the actress's voice

150

is

is

and

implacable.
insult,

and

expressed the whole

fl^Mv

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^010

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VICTOR HUGO
sum of rancour long nursed by

herited race,

herself

that the female pariah

upon the fortunate

practice of virtue

temn

once avenging

for

whom

who

the

nevertheless con-

The

spouse's bed.

accursed

head and proudly enjoys the right to con-

lifts its

its

is

this world, to

so easy, and

is

ceal a lover under their

race

in

and disin-

a proscribed

contemners, and to insult

insulters.

its

It

is

the accused judging the judge, the tortured torturing the


tortioner

and more yet,

upon the decent

it

is

woman who

the courtesan trampling

her lover from

has taken

her.

more grand, sinister, and


experienced the same sort of feeling of

Never have
terrible.

horrible anguish
tigress,

seen anything

which one experiences

watching a

in

with flaming eyes and outstretched claws, turn-

ing and twisting

round a trembling,

terrified

But when the crucifix makes her recognise


the maiden

who

saved

wrath vanishes, and


Later, again,

when

you

life

mother's
feel

that

life, at

she

is

Catarina

once her
disarmed.

she realises that Rodolfo does not

love her and never has


gives up

her

in

gazelle.

loved

her,

how

superbly she

and harbours no other desire than to have

him say now and again: " Tisbe


kind girl."
151

yes, she

was a

ART AND CRITICISM


may be

It

the

play

part
it

stamped

no one

affirmed that

boldly

of Tisbe better than

Rachel

with an ineffaceable mark.

ever

will

she has

Every actress

has in her repertory a part of this kind in which she

has

summed up

in tragedy,

see

she

all

be seen

and Tisbe
is

in.

Rachel has two

her talent.
in

drama.

and can be,

Now

is

it

these

Mary Tudor,

ties for

in

parts she

must

upon Hugo's
Lucrezia Borgia and

which she would

successes no less brilliant.

"

two

desires to

that she has set foot

varied stage, she ought to try his


his

one

If any

Phaedra

find

The

opportuni-

superb female

drama by
Auguste Vacquerie, recently accepted by the ComedieFran^aise, is also very well cut out for her, and she
would unquestionably be splendid in it.
part in

Warwick,

or the

King Maker,"

IV

VICTOR HUGO AS A DRAUGHTSMAN


June

Hugo
whom

is

not a poet only

he

ridge

a painter also,

and one

Louis Boulanger, Camille Roqueplan, and Paul

Huet would not disavow


travels

is

17, 1838.

for

their

When

sire.

he sketches everything that strikes him.


of a

hill,

broken

horizon-line,

152

he

The

strangely

4* S*

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i via

1 1 9*f4

VICTOR HUGO
formed cloud, a curious

detail

on

a door or

window,

ruinous tower, an old belfry, these are the things that

he notes

then

at

evening,

in

the inn, he inks in his

pencil sketch, puts in shadows and colouring, strength-

ens

it,

lected.

brings out an

Thus

that

effect

always boldly se-

is

does the rough draft, hastily dashed off

with the paper resting on his knee or on the top of his


hat, often

done while the

ferry-boat

rolling,

become

amount

etching, with an

carriage
a

jolting or

is

much

drawing

the

an

like

of fancifulness and piquancy

that surprises even artists.

The drawing
trip

It

title

me

Llere fPj^ August 12

shows

have before

which

a square the architecture of

clouds

heaped

up

one

fol-

drizzling.

Renaissance, partly Gothic, with an

swoln

souvenir of a

is

Belgium, and bears on the back the

through

lowing

effect

above

is

partly

of storm-

another,

like

pieces of mountains, while from their ripped sides falls

making them look like quivers that have


been upset and from which the arrows are tumbling.
a dash of rain,

belfry of prodigious

brow, on which

box turrets
tail,

whirls

it

its

bears a coronet of finials and pepper-

a vane, in

round

height hides in the clouds

at

the form of a

comet with

the breath of the storm

153

t-

iff

its

on the

aHW

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caw

if

urm tmm <S

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<

ART AND CRITICISM


main

The

spire.

resented by the scud

tion only.

wind

action of the

which

is

on which

is

one direc-

lights

up

and ornamental

rendered with admirable cleverness,

delicacy, brilliancy, and


figures are picked out
to the paper surface,

skill.

The

in white,

dial,

must have called

on massive

whereon the

by scratching through

tience and care from the fiery poet.


belfry rises,

in

sunbeam

part of the belfry, every architectural


detail

accurately rep-

swept along

lustreless

tawny,

is

pillars, a

for infinite pa-

At the

foot of the

market-hall, quaintly

barred with black shadows, with imbricated slates like


fish-scales,

and dormer windows with dove-cot but-

Brilliant

tresses.

rays of

between the sombre

light

pillars,

that

sparkle

seem

unexpectedly
to

have been

designed purposely to afford hiding-places to Gubettas

This

or Homodais.

which would form a


ful

is

a very picturesque arrangement,

fine decorative motive.

houses in the Spanish Gothic

styles

fill

the back of the square.

nise in this architectural

the chapter

Dame

"

and

in the

It is

Delight-

Flemish

easy to recog-

drawing the hand that wrote


View of
in " Notre-

Bird's-eye

de Paris."

154

Paris,"

VICTOR HUGO
PERFORMANCE OF "RUY BLAS" AT
THE THEATRE DE LA RENAISSANCE

FIRST

November

Never

12,

1838.

has any literary solemnity excited public inter-

est so deeply, for

it

was not only the

first

performance

of "

Ruy Bias," it was also the first performance in


new theatre and it was on that evening that was

the
to

be finally settled

would succeed

in

question whether Frederick

the

stripping

hideous

off the

Robert Macaire, which seemed to cling to


like the

poisoned shirt of Nessus.

the position of an actor

"

Ruy

Macaire

become
Bias
is

flesh

Strange indeed

is

be separated from

"

a part of his features.

has

solved

the

problem.

Robert

no more, and from the heap of rags has

uprisen, like a god starting

the real

his

and whose mask, having been kept on too

his creation,

long, has

who cannot

rags of

from the tomb, Frederick,

Frederick, the one you are acquainted with,

sombre, passionate, the strong, the

who knows how


menace, who

is

to

move with

endowed with the

grand

tears,
gifts

to

Frederick,

thunder

in

of voice, glance,

and gesture, the Frederick of Faust, of Rochester, of

155

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ART AND CRITICISM


Richard Darlington, and of Gennaro, the greatest com-

modern

edian, and the greatest tragedian of


is

wish

possible success to the

all

It

for dramatic art.

wondrous good fortune


I

times.

new

which

theatre,

has been fairly started on the road of art and progress,

and which,

hope, will not have been called the Re-

There was

naissance Theatre for nothing.

by

Mery and

but above

all

drama by Hugo.
give us no prose.

and again verse.


vard shops.
there

is

Excellent

Give us

Prose should be

Employ

is

which they may come

to the

in this Paris

for

only right that fancy,


little

corner in

France,

intellectual country in

of ours, which proclaims

the brain of the universe, though

why.

Boule-

for the pro-

light in this vast

which boasts of being the most


the world

stall

and poesy should have one

style, wit,

verse, verse,

to the

left

no need of opening a new


it

so go on,

mere playwrights,

poets, not

ductions of these people, and

a speech

really

do not

itself

know

Surely eighteen theatres ought to be enough for

melodrama and

vaudeville.

156

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VICTOR HUGO
VI

REVIVAL OF '<RUY BLAS"


February

As
"

had been
"

Ruy

Bias

at

the

present at

first

1872.

28,

performance of

the Theatre de la Renaissance, on the

occasion of the opening of the house, there was for me,

long promised revival, and apart from the inter-

in this

est

it

naturally excited, an undefinable, sad attraction.

In "

Mary Tudor," Hoshua Farnaby, the


" Look
here,
Tower, says to Gilbert

the

jailer

Gilbert

when

man

become

has

gray-haired, he

of

should

not

review the opinions for which he fought formerly, or


look

at

twenty.
as

the

women

Both the

he made love to when

women

and the opinions

he

strike

was

him

very ugly, very old, very mean, very toothless, very

wrinkled, very stupid."


ions and

women,

is

no doubt true of opin-

but not of works of genius.

can stand being looked


mortal youth.

This

The

at

They

again, for they possess im-

over the
years, as they pass

bronze

or marble of which they are made, merely add the final


"
"
polish and patina to them.
Ruy Bias seemed to

me

as beautiful as the first

time

beautiful even.

157

saw

it,

if

not more

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ART AND CRITICISM


In spite of the lapse of time

away, as when
passion

was desperately

German

in

fetch her the

grandee of Spain,
terror,

experienced

in

anew

me

Don

me

with

and Zafari, the

the same impulsive sympathy.

up again, ready

the fresh impressions of

and the dormant Romanticism that

filled

little

Bohemian who had once been Don Caesar de

Bazan, excited

tles

brist-

flowers gathered at Coramanchel.

same sense of oppressive

jolly

Queen,

climbed over the high wall

Salluste, Satan turned

the

love with the

spikes in order to

ling with iron

myself carried

felt

was twenty, by the mighty rush of

and with Ruy Bias

blue

to enter

but of these there

ever

"
once more on " Hernani
bat-

no longer need.

is

questions Victor Hugo's

is

my youth,
in me woke

title

No

one

to be a dramatic poet,

now
and

he has compelled the most recalcitrant to admire him.

No

first

excited
interior

performance of a yet unknown work ever

more ardent

curiosity.

need not say that the

of the theatre upset the mathematical axiom

that the container

must be

larger than the contents, for,

through one of those phenomena of compressibility of

which the human frame


sions, there

were

is

susceptible on such occa-

were certainly more spectators than there

seats for

them.

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VICTOR HUGO
It

might be supposed that the eagerness was due, not

to literary attraction only, but also to political preoccu-

dainful of success

won

number of

as

commonplaces,

it

that

moment

into the

felt

first

lines

his

one

of

admirers.

poet had

of

stroke
realities

The

it

is

was

la

Renaissance.

elapsed since that night, and

boxes for the faces that

had
159

to

Cid,*'

no longer allowable.
earlier
In the

Thirty-four years
I

some

other recognised

There were very few survivors left of that


public which was present at the performance
Theatre de

rival

listened

had been the "

of Aragon," or any

masterpiece, criticism of which

of the

between two

play

his

Not even was

art.

performance, caused

first

with religious respect, as though

Don Sancho

the

been spoken

The

from the

far

it

lofty spheres

schools which, at the

"

few

that spirit of antagonism

to

always timely,

and with

public,

mighty wings had borne

anxiety

are

thoughts of the kind vanished.

got hold of the

there

does

were, of eternal justice.

Well, no sooner had the


all

"

Bias

Ruy

lines

for they express truths

than

"

by allusions,

dis-

which an opposition may


account against no matter what government,

contain a
turn to

though the poet ever was

It is true that,

pations.

looked

in

have

vain in the

known of yore.

could

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ART AND CRITICISM


scarcely

make

out five or six, that smiled at each other

from a distance, happy


of poesy

at

at

meeting again

such a feast

"
they formed a public of posterity for

Ruy

Bias."
It

was Frederick Lemaitre who,

bered, created

the part of

curtain rose people

which seemed
shirt

hideous rags of Robert Macaire,

Macaire.

But

Ruy

The

effect,

tremendous, and the way

Ruy

Don

Bias crushes

crushes

Archangel

memory of
Frederick

still

youth rather.

lives,

The

Bias

in

which,

in

under

Fiend,

is

who saw

it.

overcame

quickly

needless

Salluste

the

those

all

and before the

cling to his flesh like the poisoned

to

of Nessus.

Robert

Bias,

wondered whether he would succeed

stripping ofF the

in

Ruy

yet

to

his

fresh

old lion

is

still

out

the

ministers and slay

steps

of the throne.

Don
at

Never-

Burgraves," a Titanic work worthy

of iEschylus, were revived, there

compare

his chest

he can no longer throw himself prone

Queen's feet on the


" The
if

theless,

the

capable of shaking

can

the

in

but his genius lacks power, or

he

Salluste, but

was

heel, as the

mane, and of drawing a deep roar from


drive

say,

the third act,

his

still

remem-

as will be

is

What

with Frederick.
1

60

no actor who could


a

magnificent Job,

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VICTOR HUGO
what

would

he

Barbarossa

superb

4 M aim rti

^^

make

^J -.gj

;;;,

How

admirably he would play the part of the patriarchal bandit,


or that of the

Of
is

all

phantom Emperor.

Victor Hugo's dramatic works, "

Ruy

Note

that

one of those which

which
just as

best

like

best.

for there are others

parts of the

with an accuracy
junction to

The

like

in

be

perceived, for

subject

is

its

fit

does not allow

that

spite of

work

the plot

suddenly

the points

moves

of

easily

one that excites the imagination most

from obscurity by

seems

towards

into each other

which may be found in every youthful


the form of an unspoken longing,
to emerge

heart in

ideal,

on earth

magic, and

like

piece
to

radiant, sublime love

omnipotence, which

god

say

admire

that I

being complicated and involved.

intensely, and

that

"

much.

The component

along,

Bias

in

is

the

fly
;

nearest

word, to be

of good
swiftly

fortune

upwards

love in majesty and

thing to being a
the

lover

of the

Queen.

The
sequent

intoxication, the bewilderment, the vertigo con-

on

reaching

such

heights

are

mingled with

constant apprehension of unperceived disaster.


floor,

which seems
II

to conceal

i6i

In the

no snare, may suddenly

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ART AND CRITICISM


trap-door through which

open

may perhaps emerge,

opening

placable as Hatred

man's shoulder,

what

a tragical,

of one's

spite

leaves

self,

demon
its

fusedly

gloom

for the

in

his

on

moving

the

Don

presence

situation!

be

secret

im-

Don

unfortunate

the

lackey's

livery.

To

Caesar

of the

What

help

in

and without knowing what to do,

to set the trap prepared by

adored angel, while one feels con-

formidable

complications working

in

the

Every one of the characters


like a

icy-cold,

him the skin of

him

driven by inexorable fate


the

silent,

hand

his

with naught but

Queen

From

Vengeance, the diabolical

strips off

Bazan and

de

or

who, putting

Salluste,

victim will

darksome abyss.

into a

precipitated

the

portrait

is

drawn and painted

by Velasquez, with sov'ran

power of colour, freedom of touch, and


the

attitudes

one

away.

and

How

feeling of

often

have

mastery,

a grandeur in

the times

that carry

seen that

Marquis

of Finlas at the Prado, at the Escorial, at Aranjuez,

him or some one of

either

his race, in a

frame with a

coat of arms, rich, dressed in black, with eyes like live


coals set

have

in

his

deathly white face.

Many

an hour

spent in silent contemplation of pallid Infantas,

162

VICTOR HUGO
women

of bloodless Queens, of dead

having no other trace of

life, in

turned phantoms,

the silvery luminous-

ness of the drawing-rooms and under the shimmering

of pearls, than the carmine on their

of rouge on their cheeks

more

Spain lives once

The whole

the

in

Don

Caesar de Bazan, which

the

sparkling

he

elegant

in

is

his

Hugo's work what

how

and

of mind

in

well

loyal,

scrupulous, and

Count de Garofa,

proud, amid

later

de Villal-

Gulatembra

Don

Guritan, grotesque

Ruy

fine

type

of

old

come

rival

Spanish

to

Dulcinea de Toboso

to

gallantry

Court, with

the

let

me draw

was dramatic

life

Bias

He

Queen

And

what a
is

for

Don
his

But why dwell longer on what


Rather

he

poverty, and

cazar, the friend of Matalobos and

Quixote

How

Shakespeare's.

rags,

loftiness

his disorders, that

all

amazing character of

in

is

of picaresque

and philosophical forgetfulness of vanished

How

in

What

terrific

prosperity

even

is

wears them

what

Mercutio

and the spots

lips

attention

to

is

so well

known

the fact that never

managed with such sovereign

with such absolute power.

poet

may

ease,

express every-

thing, from the most lyrical effusions of love to the

minute

details

of etiquette, heraldry, and genealogy

163

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ART AND CRITICISM


from the highest eloquence to the
passing

from

sublime

the

riskiest

to the

pleasantry,

grotesque without

the least effort, and mingling every accent in the most

magnificent language that was ever spoken on the stage.


Moliere's

grandeur, and

Corneille's

speaking,

plain

Shakespeare's imagination, melted in the crucible of


into

Hugo, amalgamate
superior to

considers

critic is usually laudator temporis acti^

that

comedies,

were better performed

bound

to say that the

Odeon was

far as

superior,

the

setting, to

is

other metals.

all

Although an old
and

Corinthian bronze that

the days of his youth,

revival of
as

"

regards

Ruy

Bias

acting,

"

at

am
the

and

finish

performance, save and except so

first

Frederick

in

dramas

and

tragedies,

concerned, for he

is

be

cannot

re-

placed by any one.

Lafontaine, in the part of

nor avoided

was

perilous

him

in

from the

Ruy

Bias, neither sought

remembrances, and

unexpected outbursts,

heart, accents

that

were

incoherence and grandiloquence.


first

act,

Queen,

when he

his

delivery

tells

that

came

true in spite of

In the scene in the

Zafari of

was very good

cries

gave what

his
j

love

for

the

he was magnifi-

cently violent and superbly angry in his famous invec-

164

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VICTOR HUGO
tive against

the ministers, and the declaration of love

which follows was breathed with


and

timidity of adoration

while

passion,

lackey was implacable

the

the

in

well rendered

really

at

the end

way he

avenged

himself upon the nobleman.

As

The

for

Geoffroy, he

is

very ideal of the part.

the

not have conceived in his

poet could

imagina-

more impassible Don Salluste


one
more void of human feeling, more profound, more

tion

more

icy,

word, under the outward appearance of

Satanic, in a

Every one of

nobleman.

his

words cut

and made the back of one's neck creep.

Muzon was
The

far

part of

irresistibly for

pummel
the

beaver.

Don

Caesar de Bazan

into

holes on

feather

Who

is

is

his

call

meant

there that

hose wrinkling

the

purpose for him;

made

is

to

his

hand

upon

his

better

than

he,

could,

down

to

flutter

swagger round with triumphant mien,

neck and

seems to

the escudero cloak has been

of the shell-hilt rapier

drooping

Alexander

indeed from attaining such perfection.

Melingue

slashed and cut

an axe

like

his cloak

his legs

up

And

his
all

the sparkling nonsense, the happy hits, that flash across


the

sombre background of the drama

dles against a

dark sky

like

Roman

Melingue had no

can-

diflS.culty

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ART AND CRITICISM


making those who

in

Don

still

original

Cassar forget Saint-Firmin.

who

Atala Beauchene,

played the part of Marie de

the Renaissance,

at

Neubourg

suave, charming, and

Sarah Bernhardt

what an

is

hers

is

stifling for

at

poetic

the

was considered weak

in

But there could be no more

in spite of her beauty.

it,

remembered the

Marie de Neubourg than

Odeon.

What

languid sadness

she has of an ill-mated dove that

air

want of freedom and love

in the

gloomy
gilded cage wherein she is shut up by the mummified
Never
incarnation of etiquette, the camerara-mayor
!

has the gloomy, suffocating ennui of the Spanish Court

How chaste her reserve, even


How womanly her discretion

been better rendered.

when owning

How
who
and

her love

truly the

loves

how

Queen

How

clearly the

in her

truly she
little

head makes her look

always guards the


is

made

silver-lace

to be worshipped,

crown on top of her

like the

Madonna of

love

Don

Guritan, the

old

Fabien showed us

woman

fighting

beau, in the light of a high-bred and attractive character.

His costume, of a tender hue, braided

and covered with


the

tall,

thin,

that of a

stiff,

all

ribbons, contrasted comically

longitudinal figure,

young heron.

which

over
with

recalled

Ridiculous as he looks, he

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VICTOR HUGO
Queen and would

loves the

was not mistaken


Mile. Broisat
sibly lighten the

die for

her.

<^

Ruy

tSm

Bias

in that.

the sweetest Casilda that could pos-

is

gloom of the Spanish Court and coun-

terbalance the soporific influence of a camerara-mayor.

And

while

buquerque,
bodice,

is

am on

let

me

the subject of the Duchess d'Al-

say that Mile. Ramelli, in her black

in her dragon's part


irritatingly truthful

time she pulls the thread to stay the

flight

every

of some

fancy or other, one feels tempted, like the Queen, to

box her ears soundly.

Mme. Lambquin

assumed, without the

least coquetry,

the part of the hideous duenna, with pimples on her

chin and grog-blossoms on

her nose.

She seems to

have looked for her costume and the type she was to
represent

in

Goya's Caprichos^ among the wizards of

the College of Bozozona, the tias of the Rastro, and the

duennas with huge chaplets who,

you

for alms, first

for

in

church porches, ask

an old woman, and then for a

young one.

167

A* fA* #4* "^v 4* *i* 4* *4 4* A|i#i*l*i*l*ti**ii*#| ! !

ART AND CRITICISM


VII

REVIVAL OF "MARION

D ELORME"

November

1839.

9,

DESIRE to put on record the success which the revival


"
is
of " Marion Delorme
meeting with just now at the
I

It

Comedie-Fran^aise.

superfluous at this time of

is

day to sing the praises of the play.

run of eighty

nights and three successive editions are better than any

This beautiful drama unites

panegyric.

itself the

in

passionate seriousness of the great Corneille and the

mad

spirit

of Shakespeare's romantic comedies.


tone

in
infinitely varied

in

its

lords

How

vivacity.

who

most

delightful

admirably

their wit,

in

is

Scaramouch, and
the author of "
delet," could

and

those handsome

all

vividly.

it

Pray,

their

How

truly

comic an

take Taillebras,

pray

Scarron himself,
"
and of " JoJaphet of Armenia

Gracioso.

Don

not

flash

speak the proudly cavalier

tongue of the sixteenth century


accent there

is

and Castilian

merely pass through the play to

swords and exhibit

It

have

Why,

dashed them off more freely

And Marion's

tears

How

they stream, divine pearls of repentance, over

grimacing or dreadful faces

768

What

limpidly
all

those

charming Mar-

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VICTOR HUGO
And
Gaspard de Saverny
what a manly, severe, foredoomed face is that of
"Marion Delorme" is
Didier, sprung from nothing!
quis

that naughty fellow

is

one of Hugo's plays to which one turns back with the

most pleasure.
in

poem,

It

is

novel, a comedy, a drama, a

which every one of the cords of the

lyre

is

struck in turn.

VIII

REVIVAL OF *'MARION DELORME"


December

1851.

i,

Last Friday " Marion Delorme " was revived


Theatre de

la

That

Republique.

the

at

great and beautiful

drama, already consecrated by time, has become


classical as
all

that

first

taken

it

a tragi-comedy

was

its

by Corneille or Rotrou, for

when

it

was

drama,

it

has

so Romanticist at the time

Though

produced.

as

still

living

place in the gallery of masterpieces which the

Theatre-Fran^ais
generations.

presents

was

It

to

study

listened to with

both

by those

who were

those

who were

not.

an actress better

for

the younger

religious respect
it

and by

It is scarcely possible to

imagine

fitted for

acquainted

the part of

of the repentant courtesan, than

169

with

Marion Delorme,

Mile. Judith.

She

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ART AND CRITICISM


has the youth, the beauty, the intelligence, the passion,
the

and

tears,

the smiles

of the deeper and more


not do so well as
she
it

brings out

up

Mme.

other

it

calls

pathetic

for.

some

in

If,

does

passages she

Dorval, on the other hand,

points in

the

part

and

lights

differently.

Jouffroy does not play the part of Louis XIII, he


lives

it

he

is

Louis XIII

duced ennui to an
ness,

art,

in

It

is

his

crown from

impossible

to

re-

the

brow

be more lack-

more gloomy, more dull, more


whelmed with royal weariness as with

lustre,

lining the

who

almost to a form of voluptuous-

and who forgot to take

of Melancholy.

person, the king

regally

over-

a leaden cope

ermine mantle, the weight of which was

felt

by none more heavily than by that same pale Louis,


not even by Philip II at the Escorial, or by Charles

at Saint Just.

Brindeau made the character of Saverny ironically


eloquent,
passionate,

and

Maillard

woe-begone,

Didier, the type of

all

reproduced

and

foredoomed

the Antonys.

170

satisfactorily

aspect

the

of

VICTOR HUGO
IX

"LUCREZIA BORGIA" AT THE ODfiON


March
" LucREZiA Borgia" has been revived

13, 1843.

at the

Odeon,

and that gigantic drama, which reminds one more of


iEschylus than of Shakespeare, has produced

and never, since

it

first

it,

created, has the

interpreted

more beauty, wit, and youthfulwas Mile. Volet who was charged to draw into

gracefully, with

ness.

the

was

Negroni been

small part of the Princess

more

custom-

Mile. Georges showed herself sublime in

ary effect.
as usual,

its

It

snares of the too vindictive Lucrezia Gennaro's

over-trustful friends, and

it

will readily be believed that

they did not have to be asked twice before they fol-

lowed

her.

Strange indeed

is

Lucrezia's fate

Celebrated by

all

the poets her contemporaries, sung by the divine Ariosto,

who

set

her up as a model of

has a double reputation

fair,

Lord Byron
I forget

the virtues, she

to the poets she

Which

to the chroniclers, a fiend.

She was

all

is

an angel

of these have

lied

and had the gentlest face imaginable.

relates that he

whether

in

found

Ravenna or
171

in a library in

Italy,

Ferrara, a collection of

;|ft*i4*

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ART AND CRITICISM


of Lucrezla

letters

autograph

Borgia's,

between the

pages of which had been inserted a lock of her hair.

The
ness

spoke of platonic love, of idealised tender-

letters
;

the hair

was

soft, pale,

and

beams

silky, like the

of an angel's halo.

The

great poet abstracted a small portion of

just

as,

has become the type of Titanic

thanks to Vergil's slanders.

repellent, the

which

Now

he carried away and preserved carefully.

woman

it,

that

wickedness,

Dido, the

most dried-up prude of her day,

most

will live

for ever as the type of love and passion.

X
"LUCREZIA BORGIA" AT THE
PORTE-SAINT-MARTIN
February

In

1833

was present

" Lucrezia
Borgia,"

the

at

a fact I have

first

7,

1870.

performance of

no intention of con-

cealing with a view to


I

am.

I will

deputation
school,

we

sent

to

Victor

which objected

concession
for

making myself out younger than


even confess that I was a member of the

it

Hugo

by the Romanticist

to fighting for a prose

drama,

looked upon as made to the bourgeois

fanatics,

who may
172

appear

ridiculous

to

a
;

the

VICTOR HUGO
present generation, were proud of art and had a genuine

The

love for the highest forms of poetry.

which produced

the play, however,

swept away

reading of

tremendous

effect,

" Hernani "


scruples, and the hosts of

all

" Lucrezia
pledged themselves to stand by
Borgia
although, as

''
;

turned out, this was unnecessary, for the

it

play scored a triumphant success.

So

have seen Gennaro played by Frederick Le-

and Lucrezia

maitre,

You

need not shudder

advantage of

my

by

interpreted
;

am

lauded the

remembrances, and

I shall

men

of former days as being so

much

as I

public that

zia Borgia,"

Perhaps

better
I

am,

to say of himself, but as I

become too apparent,

can any senile

was present

new, so

to the greater
spirit

much

who

nothing more than an old Romanticist dolt, as

should not like the fact to

The

not sing the

Nestor, the good knight of Gerennia,

Theodore de Banville used

avoid as

mean

man, laudator tem-

and stronger than those of the present.


after all,

Georges.

not going to take a

praises of the past, like Horace's old


poris acti^ or

Mile.

far

at

drivel.

the revival of " Lucre-

as seeing

number, was

filled

173

It

it

performed went,

with a very different

from that which inspired us

change and men with them.

I shall

in

1833, for times

was not the

art ques-

ART AND CRITICISM


tion

which

self

from

aside
if I

my

interested

my

I tried to

isolate

my-

noisy yet calmer surroundings, to

put

former impressions, and to judge the play as

were seeing

Well,

most, but

it

for the first time.

it

after the lapse of so

many

years, filled with so

unforeseen events, such contrary doctrines and


"
varied changes of taste, " Lucrezia Borgia
produced

many

on me

as great

an

eff'ect as at

At

indeed a greater effect.


lyricism,

mad about

the drama

itself

and

first

in

its

its

prose

drama

construction.

tions, fully

superbly

performance, and

that time, intoxicated with

scenic situations

now,

play

is, it

of the poet

Delorme."
is

who wrote
Powerfully

also wonderfully simple

It consists

of three leading situa-

painted, that resemble three colossal

frescoes set in slender Renaissance architecture.


are grasped at a glance and the impression
they
:

Dead Drunk.
quaint,

dis-

developed and forming admirable tableaux

drawn and

ineffaceable

is

it

and strong situations that

" Hernani" and "Marion


effective as the

first

poetry, I appreciated less completely

precisely dramatic force

tinguish the

the

Outrage

upon

Outrage

These

are the

titles, at

The
once

They
make

Couple

sinister

is

and

which the poet has inscribed upon cartouches

with curving volutes, underneath these magical pictures

174

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SU (Sv

VICTOR HUGO
grim and sombre

finer than the scene

Palace in Venice,

Don

What

their splendour.

in

upon the

when Maffio

can be

terrace of the Barberigo

Orsini,

Beppo Loveretto,

Apostolo Gazetta, Ascanio Petrucci, and Alofeno

Villetozzo, whose families

murdered one, cast

in

each and

every one of her crimes,

off,

and by way of crowning insult


It

is

mourn some

the teeth of Lucrezia


Borgia,

whose mask they have torn

face?

all

fling

her

an astounding crescendo of

name

in

her

No

insults.

more powerThere is a remi-

poet, since Shakespeare's day, has sounded


fully the

" hideous
trump of curse."

niscence of the epic grandeur of iEschylus

in

that

scene.

The Couple represents with terrifying truthfulness the


private

life

of a pair of

They have

tigers.

exactly the

same treacherous gracefulness, the same velvety sneaki-

same tremendous strength concealed by suppleAs one watches the male


ness and softness of motion.
ness, the

and

female prowling up and down, as though in an

Indian jungle, within

that

snares, and oubliettes, in

which

palace
all

filled

that

is

with

traps,

necessary

is

to

rap on the wall to bring forth a cut-throat with his blade


in his

one

is

hand, or a cup-bearer bringing in vials of poison,


involuntarily filled with secret

175

terror.

These

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ART AND CRITICISM


two huge

felines, that

have for a moment escaped from

the menagerie of history, have a monstrous beauty of


their ovi^n, the savage character of

which has been won-

derfully brought out by the poet.

When,
sweetness,

after

vain

having in

and

uttered

shows her claws and


natural voice, cold

been

all

hypocritical

run

shivers

up

Lucrezia

sighs,

her rage roars

in

her

in

again

and

and

smiles

down

one's

back, and one dreads seeing the tigress spring from the

Van

stage into the auditorium, as at a performance of

Amhy's

or Caster's.

She

is

defending her cub to the

best of her ability against the stern, implacable ferocity

Don Alfonso of Ferrara, her fourth


What shall I say of the tableau

of

of

Dead Drunk

the supper at the Princess Negroni's, an elegant

Locusta
art

husband.

in

the

service of the Borgias,

of attracting

the

who

rose-crowned victims

had the
to

these

death feasts, and to smilingly present the poisoned cup


to
it

them

How

sinister

is

the chant of the

mingles with the refrains of the orgy, and

the spectator shares the terror of the guests

monks

how
when

as

fully

the

great doors swing open and reveal five coffins in a row,

standing out against the black hangings with the silver


cloth cross

upon them, and Lucrezia standing on the


176

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VICTOR HUGO
threshold, her arms crossed,

with

filled

satisfied pride at

having so well wrought out her cowardly vengeance,

which

the

in

Italian

every

have admired as a work of

my
in

honour

in

Venice

"

art

You gave

a ball in

pay you back with a supper

century would

sixteenth

sum up

Ferrara," are words that superbly

the whole

play.

The

other

and connecting scenes are

with masterly simplicity, without any

go straight to their end

But

squares by the shortest cut.


there

lanes

with statues,

porch

Even

work.

my

it

was

opinion,

stage machinery

curiously

balcony

in

and

is

it

are

traceried

to

open

turret,

interesting iron-

of the play art

is

merely a question of
scenes ought not to

present, and

at

would

play

lead

and

the Italian cities of that day.

tableaux, but introduced by

The

tricks,

the corner of these

with

some of these

be detached, as they

scene.

at

in the least visible parts

ever present, as

In

is

always

little

lanes that

like

out

carried

a simple

made

into

change of drop-

be benefited

by

this,

and

more important

these scenes would

not be

than they really are

but in France there exists a super-

stitious horror

rendered

of such changes

in

view of the spectators,

though Shakespeare has made large use of them.


12

177

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ART AND CRITICISM


At

the

first

came

performance

much

that the prose of the play had as


as the finest verse,

and the

fact that

because of

it is

firmness,

its

does not

view of the

in

cleanness,

the stage of antiquity.

am

guage has ever been heard on the

younger generation affirm that

it

of

were placed on

thirty-seven years

still,

No more

of the same mind.

conflict

order to reach the

in

need,

spectator's ear, the brazen vases that

later,

artistic value

brightened up by strong touches

and endowed with rhythm


dialogue, and

its

to the conclusion

magnificent lan-

stage.

has aged.

few of the

No

doubt

aged like a painting by Titian or Giorgione, which

making the lights


the tones warmer, and the waves of a yet more

time has covered with a golden


fairer,

veil,

mysterious depth.
It is

known

that this terrible

woman, whom

temporaries thought charming, was

Mme. Marie

ruddy gold.
this tradition.

It

is

is

love

to

not necessary to have hair black

Lionesses are tawny.

this difficulty in the

her maternal

was the colour of

Laurent has conformed

as ink in order to be terrible.

There

Lord Byron
which had been

fair.

possessed a lock of Lucrezia's hair,


forgotten in a love letter, and that

her con-

part of Lucrezia, that

having to remain unconfessed,

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VICTOR HUGO
often assumes the appearance of love

deceive
the

Gennaro

that

the

are

They

is

the beginning of the

more

difficult to

no monologue

knows

they

know

the son of Lucrezia and of


into the

Tiber by

horseback seen by the Ripetta boatman,

and whose sombre story

the

accents

they deceive

the secret

in

Giovanni Borgia who was cast

man on

Its

Mw mw

Ferrara, but they do not deceive

Gennaro

well that

WS* aiW aSw

itself.

they deceive Giubetta

Grand Duke of

the spectators.
full

for

is

told

by Beppo Loveretto

This

play.

subtle distinction

maintain that Lucrezia indulges


the

better than any

purpose

one

of stating

at
is

in

what she

makes use of

else, that she

Giubetta without confiding anything to him, and that


she yields up her secret only in the supreme explosion

when

she cries to Gennaro, with the death"


This difrattle in her throat , "I am thy mother

at the

end,

ference was delicately and thoughtfully rendered by the


actress.

when

she

avenging

She was very


falls

lips

grief arising

fine

in

the great curse scene,

smitten to the earth by the anathema the

hurl at her, or rather by the overpowering

from the thought

be despised and hated

by

that

henceforth she will

Gennaro.

Her wheedling

ways with the Duke, in the second act, were perhaps a


little bit overdone, and it would have been well not to
179

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ART AND CRITICISM


lay so

much

stress

on her

When

secret designs.

she

beseeches Gennaro to drink the antidote, and he re-

remarking that perhaps

fuses,

makes

it

is

the real poison, she

a superb gesture of unrecognised probity revolting

She howled the

against injustice.
third act with

amazing depth of

ironies in the

fierce

satisfied hatred,

and

in

the closing scene she proved both touching and pathetic,

making one

Why

did

forget the poisoner and pity the mother.

Taillade,

who

had to represent a young

captain of fortune, an Italian of the days of the Borgias,

crop his head quite close after the English fashion,

so as to look like

Kemble

cannot understand

in

the part of

Hamlet

strange fancy, which unjustifi-

this

ably alters the appearance of the character.

having often been blamed for playing


too jerky, too
sober

jumpy

manner; he

way, now

scarcely indulges

in

Taillade,

too nervous,

affects a cold
in

a gesture,

and
and

no longer allows himself to be carried away by the rush


of the play.
players:

"Do

It

is

true that

Shakespeare says to the

not saw the air too

much with your

" tear a
hand," and that he forbids them
passion to
tatters, to

"Be
the

very rags," but he also advises them thus

not too tame neither; suit the action to the word,

word

to the action."

If Taillade,

whose

talent

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VICTOR HUGO
much

appreciate,

be

the better.

all

would

himself go more, he would

Gennaro,

in spite

of his mysterious

be more frank and confiding

to

destiny, ought

let

than

he makes him.

Duke

the most admirable

is

Melingue

Don

Alfonso d'Este,

of Ferrara, that can be conceived.

He

has a

and princely mien, quite the port of a portrait by


" The name of Hercules
Bronzino and when he

lordly

says,

has often been borne in our family," he looks worthy

of bearing
there

plainly

Under

himself.

it

is

his

slashed silk sleeve

concealed a muscular arm capable of

handling the sword.

He

is

man of

the kind the age

bandit-hero, a tyrant, a lover of the

brought forth

arts, a gallant

and courteous poisoner, a deep

politician,

and worthy of being admired by Machiavel.

XI

FIRST PERFORMANCE OF*'THE BURGRAVES"


AT THE TH ATRE-FR A N^AIS
March

Of

yore, on the edge of the

cliffs

13, 1843.

that bristle

on the

banks of the Rhine, rose cloud-wrapped, inaccessible


donjons

inhabited

Homeric

robbers,

by

burgraves,

bandit-noblemen,

who took ransom from


181

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ART AND CRITICISM


pillaged

and then

convoys,

with their booty held

open by

assaults,

fast

returned
in

their

to

their

eyries

Smashed

talons.

broken down by time, cracked by the

invasion of vegetation, the

tall

towers of the deserted

strongholds are falling stone by stone into the stream,


or menacingly overhang the abyss in monstrous frag-

ments.

The

heroic bandits in their armour of plate

have been succeeded by thieves and swindlers


has replaced force, and

it

is

the hotel-keepers

cunning

who now

rob travellers.

In his admirable " Letters from the Rhine," Victor

Hugo, with

his unequalled

descriptive powers, took us

through a number of the ancient feudal


part of

the

which he

with their

cellars

staircases,

is

the

lairs,

every

the guard-rooms,
acquainted with

secret

elliptical

vaulting, the winding

passages

cut

the

in

thickness

of the walls, the oubliettes, their floors strewn with


dead

men's

the cone-topped

bones,

on the crenellations

look-outs,

like swallows' nests,

us everything and led us through every

hung
he showed

room and

hall,

and into every story.

No

doubt

it

was while he was exploring one of

these donjons that the idea of "

curred to

the

illustrious poet.

182

The

"

Burgraves

First,

oc-

he must have

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VICTOR HUGO
reconstituted

in

fallen stones

back

mind the ruined

his

in their places

parts

set

fastened the chains to

the drawbridge; restored the fallen floors; torn


the ivy and parasitical plants
their lead

the

down

replaced the stained-glass

two

cast an oak trunk or

panes

in

in the

gaping mouth of the fireplaces, placed here and

setting;

there in the

window

Then when

he saw

and

recesses a few carved

have seized him to


like the

witch

of

recall

to

come

then

rearranged

must

former inhabitants, for

its

Endor, a poet

Magnus,

chairs.

the fancy

manor,

lordly

make them

ghosts and
first,

everything was

that

right in the

set

wood

speak.
his

is

able to call

up

Hatto must have

father, then

Job,

the

grandsire, the circle widening and growing backwards

through

time.

It

this

is

vision

which Victor Hugo has

realised

cent

being

verse,

the

result

of vanished

and cast
the

in

years

magnifi-

of "

trilogy

The

Burgraves."

When

the curtain rises and allows

to look into the imaginary separated

dazzling
seen

the

scarped,
the

rock

line

of

fire

called

the

with

talons

real

footlights,

of

by the

there

is

those lofty,

strongholds that cling to

feudal

of

spectators

from the

keep of HeppenhefF, one


inaccessible

the

granite, clusters

^8^

of towers

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ART AND CRITICISM


engaged one within the other, walls resembling
to the point of deception, and of

which those who have

not visited the keeps of the Rhine

by looking

cliffs

may form some

idea

the ruins of Chateau-Gaillard, near

at

Andelys, on the banks of the Seine.

hawk

the battlements, and the

in

Clouds
its

swoop

wing against the spearheads of the sentries


are abysses, in which foam far below in a
the boiling waters

of a

torrent, and

rest

les

upon

tears

its

the moats

bluish haze
is

it

courting

dizziness to bend out of the narrow loopholes.

There

is

no communication with

outer

the

air,

not an opening in that stone panoply which the old

burgrave Job the Accursed

panoply he never lays


the Excommunicated,

puts

over

the

iron

Job the Accursed, Job

aside.
is

on

a sort

of centenarian Goetz

von Berlichingen, a Titan of the Rhine, who means


die as

to

he has lived, without yielding obedience to any

law or to any master;


the imperial

he has resolutely kicked

scaling-ladder

and to show that he

in

is

set

up against

his

down
walls,

open revolt against society he

has hoisted a great black flag upon his highest tower.

The

vast dilapidated

hall,

over which

the dust of

where damp turns the stone-work green


and the busy spider weaves its webs upon the broken
neglect

is

cast,

184

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VICTOR HUGO
the

is

mouldings,

^s

of the

lordly portrait gallery

tw

iiw

Keep

of HeppenhefF.

At the back, through the semicircular arches of

gallery, blaze the blood-red, lowering hues

Romanesque

The

of sunset.

lower story of the gallery consists

of short, squat, stout, massive-looking


ciful

capitals

in

with fan-

more

the openings of the arches

Through

perspective the summits of the ramparts

and of the other towers of the


already

pillars

the second, of lighter pillars set

closely together.

are seen

from the

gleaming

Lights are

castle.

barbicans,

whence come

bursts of strident clarion blasts and noisy refrains of

drinking-songs.

wicked of the burgraves,


panions.
like

The

lasting

and

the

most

feasting with

his

com-

morning,

looks

Hatto, the youngest

revel,

good

is

in

begun
deal

the

longer, for

the guests are

Amid

not inclined to cut their enjoyment short.


insolently joyous resonance of

the

revel

is

the

heard at

times the sinister sound of heavy steps and of leaves

brushed aside.

It

is

the slaves returning from work,

driven by a soldier, whip

Assuredly

if

ever a

in

man might

within his den. Count Job


lis is

hand.

may do

down, the drawbridge up


^8^

think himself safe


so.

The

portcul-

the archers are watch-

/*

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ART AND CRITICISM


their

at

ing

posts

Count's

the

door

its

chamber,

studded with huge nails, and locks with complex secret

wards,

itself

is

within the outer fortress

fortress

the slaves are securely ironed

known

save

Naught,

down from
Yet

foe

Do

all

Prometheus
vulture,

to

sent

by

on

fear

What,
rock

this

swooping

Jupiter,

the heavens.

well defended
tries.

the prisons are of un-

depth and never yield up their prey.

then, has the old

has

to

managed

manor,

in

you see that

within

of ramparts and

spite

old,

penetrate

worn woman,

sad

the

sen-

beyond

expression, with the cold, gloomy look of a spectre,

her two heels sounding on the stone pavement as she

walks

like

the heels of the

Commander,

strange name, her sinister, mysterious

Hatred and Vengeance

she

is

ways

who

who

has tugged at the boats

that ply

and

Rome, and who,

changing

existence,

forests

poor

ever

between Ostia
masters

has lived for sixty years a death in

terrifying

is

has been bought and sold a score of times,

the course of her

ing

She

.''

Guanhumara,

slave

climes,

her harsh,

tigers

many

she has

sufferings

learned

life.

and
In

and of her wander-

wondrous

secrets

even, she has gathered in the mighty

of Ind powerful herbs that bestow

786

life

or in-

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VICTOR HUGO
death

flict

Polar

shine in the heavens for

stars

meditated

she has

and

during the long

philters, she

upon the

months

six

when
at

the

a time

secret properties of stars

conversed

has

nights,

with

the spirits

of

darkness, and slowly matured her plan of vengeance,


a plan

Satan himself could not

that

She wanders through the


of which she

is

castle, every

surprising

certain

cures she has

amount
in

companions

a great void

surly,

silent,

of

around

and

inspires

and ever

sombre,

as

Now

her.
in

for, in

return for
is

allowed

In the breasts of her

liberty.

terror,

subterranean

worked, she

misfortune, she

and superstitious
is

nook and recess

acquainted with, every

passage in which she has explored


the

improve upon.

vague dread

she walks there

while she crouches,

corner, the prisoners

are talking together of the mysteries of the keep, and

whisper

which

among themselves words

terrifies

Guanhumara

the

very echo

of

them.
has

been seen

the graveyard, her

in

sleeves rolled up, preparing a horrid mixture with bones

of the dead, the while muttering a dread incantation.

light has

been seen glimmering

the torn iron bars, that

down which

in

the

window with

looks out upon the abyss, and

a trace of blood goes to

the waters of the

*ART AND CRITICISM


a

torrent.

It

trance to

which

is

window

that

lights

now unknown.

is

en-

cellar the

In that mysterious

recess dwells a phantom.

" Dread and


mysterious

and

events.

with strange

filled

rage unchecked.

Ah

rossa.

how

It

is

Everything

in

live

tottering

Violence, murder, and pillage

into ruin.

falling

we

the times

are

so in the days of Barba-

was not

were he only

now, he would know

alive

to punish the insolent burgraves.

But he

There

dead for ever, says one of the captives.


prediction that runs thus

'
:

Twice

believed dead, and twice shall he

is

not
is

shall

Barbarossa be

come

to

life

again.'

Count

Max Edmund

in the

Taurus, above which swoops round unceasingly

saw him near Lautern,

He was

a whirling flock of crows.

chair

and

his long white eyelashes

his beard,

came down

Max Edmund

Count

opened

his eyes

Sire,'

folly, a

rossa

and asked

if

to sleep again.

he was leaning.

approached,

Barbarossa

the crows had flown away.

answered the Count

Emperor went

to his cheeks,

once ruddy gold, now snow-white, went

When
No,

cave

seated on a brazen

three times round the table on which

'

in a

and the phantom-

All that

is

but a piece of

yarn, an old wife's tale, mere nonsense.

was drowned

in

Barba-

the Cydnus, in sight of the whole

i88

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Who
body was never found, though.
says another one of the company, less scepti-

why

nobleman

The

comrades.

should

saw long ago,

in

it

who

prophecy has come true

come

not

true a second

told

youth, he was a squire

who was

the following story

During

his

household of Barbarossa's

in the

had

that

him

the boy's birth, had intrusted

at

shut up as being

who, dreading the predictions

father,

time

the hospital at Prague, a Dalmatian

called Sfrondati,

insane, and

made

vp*

VICTOR HUGO

cal than his

vp*

His

army.

once

ttlb

been

to another

son, a bastard he had had by a girl of noble rank, to be

brought up under the name of Donato.

Duke

from the bastard,

erick had concealed his real rank

'

This

the

is

his

legitimate

your brother.'

son

to

him, he

When

they

were both

in

merely said

Donato was twenty,

two brothers quarrelled about

whom

lest

when he

the latter's ambition should be aroused, and

confided

Fred-

a Corsican

The

love.

maid with

elder brother

thought he had been treacherously dealt with, and slew


the younger, as well as Sfrondati

he

had

killed

them.

On

the

at

least

banks

he believed

of a

torrent,

shepherds picked up two blood-covered bodies, stripped


naked, which had been cast up by the waters.

were those of Sfrondati and Donato, who


1^9

They

were

still

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ART AND CRITICISM


alive

and Sfrondati hasthey were restored to health,

tened to take

Donato back

was hushed up

to his

Fosco disappeared and

from which he did not return

As

for Sfrondati, his

No

very

fled to

many

affair

Brittany,

years later.

keeping the

Duke

only.

affair

quiet,

had

Frederick, de-

him shut

one knew what had become of the Corsican

who

had been sold to bandits or corsairs.

was on

upon

his

old

that

never.

is,

No

Donato

Such, roughly,

tween the

man

an

tions

When

he

brother before the latter was a hundred years

his brother

each

girl,

the cross not to seek to be avenged

doubt Fosco had died without

being aware that his father

and

up.

death-bed Frederick sent for his son and

his

made him swear on

in

till

The

mind had given way, and he was

sensible at rare intervals


sirous of

father.

is

slaves,

the

Otho was Duke

Frederick,

Emperor Barbarossa."

the tenor of the conversation be-

merchants, citizens, and soldiers

putting in a

word and

rime with a

skill

and

unexpected way characteristic of the conversaVictor

Hugo

writes

modern drama take the

down, and which

in

the

place filled by the chorus in

the tragedy of antiquity.

When

the captives

have finished their

soldier-keeper cracks his

whip and drives them before


190

:i^*

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stories, the

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VICTOR HUGO
him, for

my

Hatto and

lord

to visit this portion of the

his

castle,

are

company

coming

and their eyes must

not be shocked by the sight of these wretches.


It is

this

not often that the young burgraves venture in

direction, for

it

Within

inhabit.

side holding

his

motionless for months

may

dits,

for

be,

and

his

son

in

the

state

Magnus

at

and

silent

time, sunk in deep thought.

thinking of their exploits, of their crimes,

They keep
it

sits

Job

They remain

lance.
at a

stair leads to

there.

under a dais of gold brocade, with


his

Magnus and Job

that

The darksome

have made their den.

rooms they

here

is

if

at

bottom

they are free

downright

ban-

the effeminate

vices

they are

from

of decadent periods, they have

their full

share of the

ferocious roughness and the brutal coarseness of primitive times.

but iron
live
steel

in

their

clinks

men

are

of iron, wearing naught

dressing-gown

their panoplies,

the other
silks

They

and

and clashes.

hand, find

it

as

leave the rough

work

to

they

they

move about
his

more convenient

crown themselves with

amorous dalliance with

a coat of mail

Hatto and

and velvets, to spend their

ing, to

is

lives in

the

friends,

to

on

dress in

prolonged feast-

flowers, to indulge in

their beauteous slaves,

and to

be done by subordinate brig191

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*1* **

ART AND CRITICISM


ands,

who have been

trieve the

trained like dogs or falcons to re-

They

prey.

prefer the clinking of glasses

to the clash of swords, and

perhaps,

notwithstanding

their heroic ancestors, they are not far

The

comes on

captives having withdrawn, there

scene a

An

wrong.

white-clad

pallid,

she

Is

figure.

angel strayed into this tiger-cat's den

the

vision

She leans

with one hand upon her maid, and rests the other upon
the

arm of the

free archer

fellow of twenty

She

sits

down, or

who

Otbert, a handsome young

loves her

lets

herself

and

fall,

loved by her.

is

rather, in

chair by the richly coloured stained-glass

an arm-

window, which

she has opened in order to look out over the countryside;

for the last time,

consumption.

it

The tomb

may

be, for she

is

dying of

yearns for her lovely frame,

and the angels are calling her pure and gentle soul.
Millevoye made himself famous by writing a few
of verse on

this

subject, but

these

lines

disappear in

the

presence of this scene between Regina and Otbert as


vanishes the moon's pale light before the rays of the
sun.
sad,

No

poetry

more

ravishing,

more

more

tender,

more amorously scented with the perfumes

air exhales

from

its

urn, ever caressed

Otbert's love expresses

human

itself in lyrical effusions

of

that
ear.

in-

192

*l!* *^
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* *^
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*< ! > w .* a^ ^. ; U * SW aSt OT? M*

VICTOR HUGO
ardour

comparable
live

the

"

he exclaims

young

in

girl

and

too

much

shalt

when

accents of love,

in passionate

her dismay utters a cry of sublime

despair, as she feels that


is

" Thou

tenderness.

leaving her and that she

life is

loved to die just yet.

Otbert goes to Guanhumara, for does she not hold


the keys of

life

and death

her hands

in

cannot refuse to grant him


there exists

the sinister

for

the reader in suspense,

none

old

else

age,

when

Besides,

Indeed, not to keep

say at once that Otbert

shall

than George, a child born to Job

when he was

patriarch he

Regina.

the fulfilment of a

for

up

formidable and terrible project.

is

Guanhumara

some mysterious bond between Otbert and


He was stolen by her when a child,
hag.

has brought him

and she

life

is.

The

past

fourscore,

devilish

old

like

in

the

his

true

wretch seized the

was playing on the sward, and bore it


away concealed in her rags. She has brought him up

child

it

with a horrible purpose of murder and vengeance, for


she means to punish fratricide by parricide.
if

it

were merely

a matter of killing Job,

Of course,
in whom the

reader has already recognised the assassin of Donato,


there would be no difficulty about
has at her disposal a whole
13

it,

for

Guanhumara

pharmacy of poisons

193

hen-

ART AND CRITICISM


bane, euphorbia, and the juices of the manchineel and

But that

the upas-tree.

of thing would be too

sort

mild, too simple, and not

Corsican enough.
"
Can you save Regina's
Otbert says to her,

"I can
" As

my

for

but what do

would buy her

me,

made up

Then

one drop of

But

if

to slay,

its

when

The
her

look at this

sash

where

I will,

"

bargain

is

to

faint

I will,

struck, and

life,

health,

It is

is

barrels of scarlet

whom

live.

shall

I will,

with-

an assassin or an

like

do so."

Guanhumara draws from

and bloom.

liquor

is

the

Really, Otbert

it.

Hatto advancing, followed by

Every man

in

hands, roses on heads.

exceedingly animated, for the

wine annually paid by the town

of Bingen to Count Hatto


broached.

your mind quite

That blackish

joyous company, glasses

Their conversation

two

Is

puff of wind again bears in the sound of

songs and clarions.


his

of

you, you must swear

it

not paying too high a price for

at the price

Let Regina drink

vial.

slay

swear

small vial.

quintessence of

contents every night, and she will

mercy,

executioner."

"

it."

you want me to give

out pity or

is

would have

soul, if Satan

back

life

"
?

"

care whether she dies

life

is

have been pretty

freely

telling of his exploits, and of

194

4* jU 4; 4; 4; 4; 4* 4; 4; 4* 4^ 4* 4* 4* 4* ! ! 4* 4* 4* 4* 4* ^ !

VICTOR HUGO
the
successes with the
fair

his

The one

takes time.

telling

boasts of having sacked a place, another of

having forsworn himself on the Holy

numerous other peccadilloes of the

Gospels, and

But while

sort.

these fellows are chattering, the donjon door has opened,

and a sight

meets the

First

gaze.

dressed in buff and steel, with a great

comes Magnus,
wolf-skin thrown

over his shoulders so that the head and mouth form a

His hair and beard are streaked with gray,

helmet.

and he leans upon


aged, he

is

huge Scottish pole-axe

plainly of colossal strength

On

are unconquered.

with veins prominent on the

long white beard falling

cascade upon a chest as powerful

Angelo's Moses.

By

his

side stand

It

muscles

his

the upper step stands another

figure, older, bald-headed,

temples, and

and

though

is

as

Job, formerly

down

that of

known

like

Michael
as Fosco.

Otbert and a squire bearing the red

and black banner.


Hatto's companions are too

own

much engaged

with their

sayings and doings to notice the arrival of Job and

Magnus, who preserve

granite-like silence until

one of

the guests boasts of having forsworn himself.

Magnus

speaks, and breaks out into one of those

nificent apostrophes,

common
195

in

Then
mag-

Victor Hugo's work,

Ii*

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aw

wt*

tf

tni*

4 vJU

rl>
art

mm

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ART AND CRITICISM


upon

old

German

on the difference between

loyalty,

worn of yore and the


worn at present. For-

the oaths sworn and the clothes

oaths sworn and the

merly

all

were

and imitation

steel,

clothes

now

nothing but

they are

neither oaths nor clothes endure.

The young

Homeric

**

Cold

is

the winter, fierce the blast

mountain tops the snow is ailing


But let us love, for what care we ?

**

Myself

The

priest

But

let

Outside with
let

my

all his

is

us love.

mother's dead

preachings

So

let

we

us love.

door knocks,
friends he 's waiting;

us love, for what care

For what care we

While Lupus

let

us love, for what care

Satan himself at

But

my

me

ever at

For what care we?

So

'm damned
is

allocu-

On

For what care we

the

The young Count Lupus

tions of their grand-parents.

song

heed to

but scant

burgraves pay

speech, for they are well used to the

starts a

silk

So

let

we

us love."

out of
singing, the others, bending

the windows, are throwing stones at an old mendicant


"
who appears to be begging a night's refuge. " What
!

196

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aw*

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(Mw aSw ^TV ! aS*

m>

fv

VICTOR HUGO
Magnus, emerging from

cries

to receive a

way

God
we

himself?

that the

is

mendicant who begs, a guest sent by


In my day we too were crazy-headed,

too were fond of prolonged repasts and songs, but

when

a poor

helmet was

wretch came along, cold and hungry, a

filled

with

money and

cup with wine, and

they were both sent out to the old man,


his

"

his torpor,

way

who went on

rejoicing, while the orgy proceeded apace, free

from remorse and care."

" Silence

young man,"
"

In my
Magnus the centenarian burgrave.
when we sang louder than even you, and when we

says to

day,

feasted

round a mighty board on which were served,

upon golden

came

platters,

oxen roasted whole,

to the castle gates,

we proceeded

him, the trumpets sounded, and the old


the seat of honour.

Stand back

go and fetch the man.


"
blast
for a
as

And

if a

beggar

forth to

meet

man was

given

ye children

Squires,

you, trumpeters, sound a

king!

Job's orders are carried out, and soon appears in the

redness of the sunset, framed


gallery at the head

of the

mantle, dusty sandals,

in

within an arch of the

stairs, a

and

pilgrim with torn

beard that

waist.

The

trumpets send out a second

curtain

falls

upon

this

falls

blast,

to

his

and the

tableau, one of the grandest,

197

^ a ^ JU ^ J^ JU

!. cl .i. 44

4* 4* 4* 4 4 ! 4* 4* 4* ! !

ART AND CRITICISM


one of the most

which there

no

is

on the

epic, ever seen


for

parallel

and to

stage,

sublimity of concep-

tion and execution save the insult scene in

" Lucrezia

Borgia."

At the beginning of the second

part, the

mendi-

old

cant delivers one of those beautiful poetic monologues


in

Hugo sums

w^hich Victor

lines,

up,

in

some threescore

the condition of a country and the character of

He

an age.

excels

views, in which

in

the

making of these

are represented in distinct

and

bird's-eye

When

the whole of the events of a whole century.

one has reached


with vertigo, as
It

is

maze of

plication

To

spair.
at

which

his
it

topmost thought one's head turns

does at the top of a cathedral spire.

pillars, buttresses, counterforts, a


at

com-

once astounds and drives one to de-

emerge from such

a labyrinth,

one must be

the least a Charlemagne, a Charles the Fifth, or a

Barbarossa.

And

indeed the mendicant, received with

royal honours by Job,


in

forms

real

broken

in

Emperor Frederick Barbarossa

This oration on transcendental

person.

couched

is

in

verse

upon

of Corneillian

beauty,

is

politics,

joyously

by the entrance of Regina, the

bloom

of health on her cheeks, her eyes shining with moist


light,

her

lips

wreathed with smiles.


^98

Guanhumara's

VICTOR HUGO
worked, and the

has

philter

pallid

girl,

so white, so

translucent that she might have served for the alabaster

on her tomb, has suddenly

that

was

to be put

returned to

life

and happiness, recalled by the sov'ran

statue

drugs of the old witch.

Otbert

radiant with

so

is

happiness

that

he

almost forgotten the dread condition imposed by

his

else,

by means of a second philter, the hag

may plunge back

into the

gloom of the tomb

face she has just snatched

As

Guan-

But as she has kept her promise so must he

humara.
keep

has

for Job, he

is

been so blind, as he

from

the smiling

it.

supremely happy, for he has not

sat in his great ancestral chair, that

he did not note the glances exchanged between Otbert

and Regina, and their hearts speaking

He

sees

young couple love each other, and


unite them in marriage.
Besides, a secret

draws

clean, proud

him

to

Otbert; the young fellow's

brow and firm look

please and delight him.

Otbert looks just as he, Job, looked


as his son

George, stolen

now, had he not been


of their sabbath
his father

smiles.

that the

he resolves to

sympathy

in their

in early

when he was twenty,

childhood, would look

sacrificed by the

feasts.

Jews upon one

Otbert has no idea

who were

and mother, but that does not matter


199

in the

ART AND CRITICISM


least, tor

is

own works?

the son of his


is

that

he, Job, himself a Count's bastard

riot

Otbert and Regina

gained.
tern of

way

So time must be

shall flee

by a secret pos-

which Job hands them the keys, and the old man

The

will take charge of the rest.


flee, their

filled

eyes

in their hearts;

lovers are

ready to

with joy and a heaven of happiness

but the fiend

sneering and gnashing


in a

difficulty in the

betrothed to Hatto.

is

Regina

The

and

its

is

teeth

there, in the shadow,

Guanhumara,

clinging

dark corner as clings a bat with the claws on

its

wings, has heard every word, and goes to inform Hatto


that Otbert

carrying off his bride.

is

Otbert pours out

raging with fury.

him, challenges and insults him.

away

his glove, taunting

Hatto dashes
his

him with being an impostor,

slave and the son of a slave.

archer

Spardacelli.

you are

called

Yorghi

you driven out with whips by


not fight with you.
to take
spot,

your

in

this

part,

contempt for

Hatto, however, kicks

"

my

You

are not Otbert the


I

have

shall

kennel grooms.

then

I will

accept a duel with him on the

very place, with any weapon, with two

The

mendicant,

watched the scene with

"

If any one of these lords chooses

daggers and bared breasts."

out,

in,

shall

who

has

suppressed indignation, calls


"
" This is
be Otbert's champion
!

200

4* 4; 4; 4;

^ 4* ^ ^ 4; 4 4* ^4*

! 4 4

^ U

4* t^ 4* 4*

VICTOR HUGO

buffoonery

Who

cant.

ward

"
?

are

is

the

the mendi-

you dare put yourself

that

you

"I am

and here

we tumble on

After the slave

for-

Emperor Frederick Barbarossa,


"

the cross of Charlemagne

This sudden revelation

fills

the whole assembly with

terror.

"

I shall

true

soon recognise

there

is

the

"

Magnus

Barbarossa," says

me

Let

it.

mark of

the

which my father branded you.


this

is

very truth the

in

The Emperor,

his

you be indeed he,

see your arm.

triangular

My

steel

It

is

with

lords, I declare that

Emperor Frederick Barbarossa."

identity

out into the most violent

burgrave to task, and

if

tells

being established, breaks

reproaches

him

plainly

he takes each

what he

is,

with

tempestuous, terrible eloquence, thunders and blasts that


recall the
est

wrath of the heroes of the Edda.

tremble and

bow

lion-like roars uttered

so

much

their heads

by the old Emperor, indignant

his hatred

Barbarossa's wrath even.

by

his

is

The

example, begin to close

at

Alone Magnus

storming louder than

burgraves, emboldened

in

upon Frederick

ever narrowing and more threatening ring.


is

bold-

as they listen to the

cowardice, treason, and rapine.

remains head up, for

The

The

in

an

giant

on the point of smashing the Emperor*s sword into


201

ART AND CRITICISM


huge pole-axe, when Job the Accursed,
has taken no sides in the quarrel, draws near

flinders with his

who

so far

puts his

Magnus,

hand on

sinks on one knee

his shoulder

" Frederick

is

and

says, as he

right

he

alone

Let us yield."

can save Germany.

Barbarossa, once more m^aster of the situation, settles

everything as he pleases, gives orders, sends some of


the burgraves to the frontiers,
store
free,

condemns

others to re-

what they have seized upon, sets the captives


and loads with the chains these are relieved of, the

among

guiltiest

and wait

for

"

the burgraves.

me

in the place to

And now,

which you

Fosco, go

repair every

night," whispers Barbarossa to the old burgrave,

who

remains thunderstruck, for no one nowadays

him

by that name,

all

those that ever

knew

it

calls

lying within

the tomb.

In the third part the scene


rifying

and lugubrious

and depths

place,

of darkness.

full

is

the secret cellar, a ter-

with

troublous

echoes,

Through an opening

grated with bars, three of which are twisted and partially

pulled out, streams in a pale

on the opposite wall


seated, leaning

lamp that

on

sputters

shroud-white mark.

a large stone,
in

moonbeam

that casts

Job

is

by a small, flickering

the damp, and


merely serves to

202

4*
4* 4* 4* 4* 4 4* 4< 4*
44 4* 4* -i* 4 4* 4* 4* ri* 3 4>
^ 4*
a^ 4
V WW* W MV* MW^ VW^ WM
V* Wr* * VfV* ** ttWM v^w* ^ ^ W 4*
**
4>
>

VICTOR HUGO

make

more

the blackness

over his

fall

for he,

He

intense.

mourning

demi-god of the Rhine, inflexible


been vanquished.

rebel, old mountain-eagle, has at last

He

is

recalls all the events of his life;

Do-

he thinks of

nato, of Ginevra, of George, his lost son, of his Inces-

To

sant remorse and despair.

the echo replies obstinately,

sombre lamentations

his

" Cain

"

The

Guanhumara, who slowly comes forward,


her vengeance

rible, for

of the burgrave, who, for the

front

long

known

him

to

which she

In a short,

that

was

"And

now,

listen:

was who

stole

fratricide

surely

fair.

Regina

would

I
I

point

can take
will

knows

is

he

he

that

Otbert's resolve
that

the

secret

Regina

203

to

put to
life

this

slay

It

my

a parricide

recalled

remain firm."
about

to serve

Otbert

The

back, and

is

should

out.

cell.

lives.

still

George
:

his

circumstances of the

son shall slay the father

Is

in

in

the course of

him away and bred him up

on condition

victim

tale, in

your son George

have made a bargain with him


life

time

first

within

perpetrated

The

vengeance.
for

broken

briefly recapitulates the

crime

quietly ter-

She makes herself

shudders as he sees her.

life,

is

She surges up

assured.

is

echo

death

I restored

to

the
to

makes me sure

"And
his

Otbert
"

father

ART AND CRITICISM


"

No

remain veiled

that

the only favour I grant

is

you."
Staggering steps are heard in the depths of the under-

ground room

it is

Otbert coming, dismayed, stumbling,

Then

to fulfil his fatal promise.

occurs an admirable

scene in which hearts are kept on the rack and tor-

and which compels the

tured,

driest eyes to shed tears.

Never has any one made

paternal love speak as here

has done the author of "

Autumn Leaves," " Notre-

Dame

de Paris," and " Lights

refuses to die before he has

and

embraced

off his veil, throws himself into the

who

is

him the most

boy

he pulls

arms of Otbert,

not his father, lavishes on

is

die.

to be venerated, but I

Be the avenging angel


brother

"

fatherly caresses.

not allow your Regina to

own

his

Job

himself torn by terrible forebodings, and while

he swears to him that he

am

Shadows."

am

strike

Slay

me

Besides,
a guilty

you may

you think

man,

without fear

a Satan.

slew

my

"
!

Still,

Otbert, notwithstanding Job's

eager entreaties, hesitates to perform the functions of


executioner.

Guanhumara, seeing
approaches

and

that

"
says

than fifteen minutes."

his

Regina

purpose

is

wavering,

cannot wait

longer

Otbert, beside himself, springs

204

-*^

-*-*

tb^^^tlrtlrtlr^

.i^^-i--i

!---

-I-

r*- r*T r*- rji iji ill i^i

VICTOR HUGO
forward knife
rossa,

who

hand, but his arm

in

is

suddenly emerges from the shadow, and says

"Ginevra, your vengeance would be


is

seized by Barba-

not dead, for

am

suspended over the abyss, you whispered

words that no other

tomb

for thee

feet

moaning
raises him and

and
for

me

hell

for

pity

and

him

small vial and


poison.
her,

And

when

down

falls

she

is

woman

right

has

rather,

is

now

disarmed, fully

as her life's pur-

for

what doth

become

old

when

it

advantage

and repulsive, to
she was twenty

the use of replacing a lovely phantom, a re-

membrance
reality

falls at his

struck suddenly dead by the

find again the lover she adored

What

The

swallows the contents of a

for ever, she

gone

'
:

ear

Barbarossa

forgiveness.

Otbert's betrothed, and

resuscitates
is

Fosco

my

me

to his heart.

Guanhumara, or Ginevra

pose

"

'

in

could hear

soul

living

presses

Donato

useless.

Fosco, when you held

he.

instinct with grace

and bloom by

a hideous

This summary, which

have made with

respect due to a great poet's work,

is,

all

the

though long, yet

should have liked, but

was an

very incomplete.

effort

powers, to have reproduced some

traits

beyond

my

it

of these grim giant figures, whose violent forms,

205

^M

vrit

MX

KT*

Or " tT*

? >

** vwv

t^

.^<

>*

)<>

ART AND CRITICISM


terrible

motions, and gait of angered lions, recall the

illustrations

nelius

for

drawn by the famous German


the

story

doubtful whether

am

of the

painter Cor-

Nibelungen.

capable of praising as

It

is

even

deserves

it

the firm, clean, robust, familiar, yet grandiose versification that betrays the sovereign

At every

instant

poet, as

Dante hath

one comes upon magnificent

it.

lines that

bear one upward into the highest realms of poetry as

with the swift rush of eagle's wings.

It

is

marked by

a variety of tone, an ease of rhythm, a facility in pass-

ing from the tender to the terrible, from the sweetest

of smiles to the deepest terror, such as no other writer


has ever possessed to a similar extent.

On

this

occasion, the public proved worthy of the

masterpiece that was being performed


listened, with the respect

that

before

it.

It

beseems the inhabitants

of the modern Athens, to the work of

its

greatest poet,

not interrupting the action on account of


risky detail or

comparative oddity.

And

indeed never had such an

assemblage met together to

listen

to

man's work.

Everything that Paris, the brain of the world, holds


the

way of

learning, intelligence, passion, celebrity, and

fame was met


tics,

in

there.

Literature, arts, the drama, poli-

banking, fashion, beauty, every form of aristocracy,

206

VICTOR HUGO
were represented.

renowned

Every box contained


Just at this time there

guest.

Hugo who can

Victor

able or hostile to

Whether people

sion

is

make

and

would be very easy, no doubt,

plenty of critics to undertake the task,


the poet on account of
exit,

but that matters

invariably excel
part, I like the

in

tain

even,

taste,

poet prick

power.

out

it

is

there will be

to fall foul of

mediocre minds that

For

fault-finding.

little

lines

me on
that

ears as the

Victor

do.

and the

least

sharply

Under
defined

207

his

my
am

oddity, barbarism,

these lead

superb

the

an entrance or an

detail,

to

often

cer-

make every

blare of

Hugo

Whatever he touches

energy, and solidity.

come

if

his

up

quality, the greatest


:

up with

makes the war-horse

art

little

take

shocking beauties well enough, and

unexpected and

true

some

such petty

quite willing to put

and bad

drama from

quarrels

literary

place of political debates.


It

works.

his

are favour-

always an event, and affords food for discus-

he alone can

no one but

compelled to make

feel

him, they

themselves acquainted with

pen

is

one

least

excite to such an extent public

attention and curiosity.

his

at

bugles

possesses one

met with

in

acquires vigour,

mighty hands contours

there

is

nothing

vague,

i* !

^ !./ X

4* vl^

^ i% ^v 4* 4* s*s* * = ==

*!;

ART AND CRITICISM


nothing

soft,

chance.

to

left

nothing

He

has

the

violence and harshness of style characteristic of Michael

Angelo

his

is

a virile genius,

Raphael and Racine were


a

neille

No

manly one.

for genius has sex

feminine

Cor-

there are tirades in Job's

would not be out of place

part that

geniuses

in

" Prometheus

Guanhumara's imprecations, when she

Bound."

one comes so close to the

grim grandeur of ^schylus

all

calls

nature to witness her oath of vengeance, constitute

one of the
filled

in

finest passages

our literature

they are

with the breadth and the soaring poetry of the

tragedy of antiquity, which

from the

classical tragedy

is

a very different

thing

**0 ye mighty heavens


O ye sacred depths
Sombre serenity of the azure vault!
!

Light so mournful in thy majesty!

And

My

thou, which in
chain's

I call

**

Ye

ye

worn

all to

life"" s

link

exile I ne' er

and comrade

witness now!

Ye

oaks, cool shade on travellers

have dropped,

true,

walls, ye citadels,

all

bestowing,

My words ye hear! By this avenging steel shall fall


Fosco, baron of the woods, the rocks, the plains.
Sombre

What

as thou,

night, aged as you, ye giant oaks!

'*

marvellous power was needed thus to evoke

the whole of a vanished

time that has

208

melted away

VICTOR HUGO
into the night of the doubtful past, to reconstruct a world

of granite inhabited by giants of brass, to rebuild stone

by stone, as patiently as

mediaeval

architect

might

have done, the inaccessible and formidable keep, with


its

walls

cellars

its

sages,

by the windings of darksome pas-

pierced

family portraits,

full
its

of mystery and

panoplies

that

terror,

out

give

its

old

strange

sounds when the breeze rustles over them, and which

seem

to be

protected

still

by the

inspired

What power

spirits

of those they

of realisation was needed to

mingle thus the phantoms of legend and natural beings,

and

to put into imperial

of them

worthy
maintain

the

epic

and Homeric mouths speeches

Hugo

alone

tone, the

three acts.

14

209

could

lyric

flight

at

this

day

throughout

i:i:'i::k^:k:k

OF THE EXCELLENCE OF POETRY


Science always ends by opening the gates of
ary to

whomsoever knocks

sanctu-

its

them often enough, but

at

poetry, music, and painting are of a prouder disposition

and yield to picked minds only.

do not mean that

man can become

do mean that close study, which will make a scholar

of a man, will not

That

is

why

a great

make

suffice to

arts

without working, but

artist

an

of him.

artist

are superior to sciences

quire, in addition to the

they re-

knowledge acquired by study,

a natural gift, a sort of instinctive intuition that nothing

on earth can take the place


found
I

in

and which

of,

As

any academy or market.

have no great opinion of scientists

deepest veneration for a real artist

would

admire a

beautiful

woman

God

alone

can

general rule,

but

feel

the

admire him as

or

Genius, beauty, happiness, a radiant


cent gifts which

not to be

is

happy

trinity,

man.

magnifi-

bestow, which are

beyond the generosity of kings and which the most persistent efforts of

truth

human

will fail to acquire.

which prose-writers

in

vain endeavour to

conceal under the Oriental splendour of their style


that they are unable to write verse.

contrary, can write in prose

The

211

poet, on the

whenever he chooses

condescend to such a job, and he turns

it

is

out in a

to

won-

#A* *& r* mI*


w*

>l| mM/t 4m fl
M^ aw* w* ^#

vp*

^w

m^ tfM #1
#1 1^
rM rl^ # #*
! <iA4
MM ftv* ^* * tji*
Mr 4^ c
r*
*^

p* *

*M

iw

>

ART AND CRITICISM


drously wrought out perfection

can approach.

and

spirited

singer can speak, but an orator can-

Birds both

not sing.

no prose writer

that

fly

proud their

and walk
gait,

horses,

however

can run only, and

come

gallop of the finest English race-horse does not

up to an eagle's

flight.

The

poet's double nature par-

takes of that of the hippogrifF; there

is

earth or under heaven that can surpass

or in flight
his flight

that

the

the spread of his

no creature on

him

pinions

is

in

running

greater and

through the azure ether more powerful than

of the condor or the roc of

lighter treading than

fable,

while his foot,

even the light-footed Camilla's,

scarce causes the blades of grass to bend.

In proof of

this, I

famous and admitted

name an

illustrious

name, a name

to be so by all alike, the

name of

the patriarch of modern literature, that of Chateaubriand.

Unquestionably,

dowed with

if

ever any

man on

earth

the gifts of epic grandeur, of

was en-

movement,

of warmth, of passion, of splendour, of mighty imagery,

and of

the lofty poetic

all

attributes, that

man

is

the

author of "

The

Never

a prose writer bear closer resemblance to a

did

poet, and

as

"
"
Martyrs," of Atala," and of Rene."

one reads the glorious pages of "

The

Genius of Christianity," involuntarily the thought occurs

212

OF THE EXCELLENCE OF POETRY


that they
all

would be easy

they lack

to turn

into beautiful verse

rime.

is

Writers of newspaper articles and

who

and other small-minded men,


to be

utilitarian bathos,

believe themselves

and judicious because they are

accurate

pleases the poets to do so, they can

sterile

Whenever

and colourless, unjustly run poets down.


it

compose news-

paper paragraphs far superior in range and style to anything the aforesaid gentlemen have

astounding

they can write on

produced of most

politics

without having

recourse to the rhetorical figures that alone form the

eloquence of these would-be Montesquieus.


Poets are

to

lit

fail

verse, although

do other things besides riming


to see

what

The

than write good verse.

better a

put together

man can do

prose of these fellows

not equal to theirs, and the whole

in

is

pack of scribblers

could not turn out a single one of the

poets' strophes

their

contempt

that of the fox that had

lost

its

is

too closely akin to

tail.

And

really I

do

not see any other explanation of the bitterness of critics

towards poets.
It is true that a

grand, broad style, flowing along like

one of the mighty American streams bearing flowery


islets

upon

its

slow and harmonious current,

213

is

so like

ART AND CRITICISM


poetry that

it

may

well be mistaken for

The waves of

it.

limpid, sonorous sentences

make one

words that abounded

Homer's mouth,

in

The

Chenier, the Greek poet, says.


rical

and cadenced, with suitable

But

are almost blank verse.

book

to be quite a

alone

is still

letters,
is

two even,

it ?

periods are met-

and

rests

falls

end of each

line

Barthelemy, separated from

Mery, writes three hundred


if he were asked, he would

they

the speech a song, rime

Nothing, a mere nothing

at the

Andre

as

to be quite verse, for the

poem and

wanted.

think of the divine

three

Not much,

Siamese twin

his

lines of

verse

week

readily

write six

Biblical,

Homeric,

just as

hundred.

Yet Chateaubriand, with


chivalric^

and royal

his

all

talent, has

never been able to join

on properly these three unfortunate


of

his sentences,

and has

tried in vain to

to the epic javelins he shoots

from

unto that of Apollo Smintheus.


proh pudor
prosaic,

written badly

inexact,

letters

rimed

grandiloquent,

In

many

places his tragedy,

end

add that barb

his silver

bow,

like

Chateaubriand has,
verse, hard,

pretentiously

verse worthy of a provincial academy

"

to the

flabby,
artless,

Moses,"

recalls

Baour-

"
Lormian's " Omasis
and Ducis' " Abufar," and not-

214

^ 4: 4: 4: i: 4: 4: 4: ^4? sb 4: 4: tb dr 44
OF THE EXCELLENCE OF POETRY
4: 4: 4:

tl:

tl:

!*: :!:

withstanding the Oriental profusion of camels, gazelles,

and palms,

name

in

Biblical

is

Verse

only.

Chateaubriand what sun spots are to the sun

none the

Yet the
if

Phoebus or

splendid

God Himself

may be

it

great

his

is

is

bad verse, even

had written

with

said,

renown and

briand, the

the sun

the sun and Chateaubriand Chateaubriand.

less

spots are spots and bad verse

believe

to

is

all

it

so that I

due respect

is

poetic prose-writer,

his

Chateau-

talent, that

mighty

to

an execrable

and ridiculous poet.


Jules Janin, frightfully wasteful though he
talent,
literary

else

and none the

men

with a single

line

verse

asked

his

at

least

of verse from

(ew stanzas

He

friends

for

for

one of

them

am

his

his

has never

unacquainted

When

pen.

whose prose

diapered with

of a poet, but
pierced and

is

he

novels, he simply

Frederic

Soulie,

dramatist, or Barbier, the writer of iambics.

Janin,

his

of the day, has been more fortunate, or

to write

needed

of

one of the most distinguished

less

more prudent, than Chateaubriand.

been able

is

the

Yet Jules

flowing, rhythmical, coloured,

images, seems to have


the pearls he scatters

every requisite
freely

cannot be strung together on

golden thread.

215

are

not

rhythm's

<

am* * vr

mm

vp*

<

la* xf* * <^* ovp

<*

^P>

* <

<ii*

ART AND CRITICISM


George Sand, the hermaphroditic writer whose novintroduced into "
els are so
Leila,"

highly poetical,

which

a grand

is

which,

ode, a

hymn

This hymn, or song,

Planche, but

this

is

the reader wills,

as

It is attributed

simply detestable.

Inno Ebrioso^

"
language, means
Drinking

in less pretentious

Song."

entitled

by some

to

is

Gustave

merely begging the question, for

Gustave Planche,

in spite of his characteristic dryness

and severity,

distinguished writer of prose and a

critic

of very

how bad

too,

fair taste,

verse

how good

is

is

verse

and knows better than any one

not written, even


is

written.

what happened when the


the
of "

Quinet,

order to

singer

make

Examples
the poet

man who

he does not

great

mysticist,

has

Edgar

Ahasuerus," took to riming in

his aureole

has written

"

know

Every one remembers,

complete.

to the contrary are very numerous.

who

Orientals,"

if

"Odes

and Ballads,"

Hugo,

"The

" Marion
Hernani," and
Delorme," the

come

nearest to Corneille and

who

is

un-

questionably the greatest of French lyrical poets, writes


a prose that
tural

is

not less beautiful than his verse, sculp-

and marked by firmness and vigour unsurpassed by

any other writer; he passes with equal


the lyre to the

pen, from

the

216

facility

pen to the

lyre.

from
His

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OF THE EXCELLENCE OF POETRY


prose sentences are as fine as his verse, due allowance

made

being

the material with which he works, for

for

diamond must always be superior to

make an

scratches crystal, while crystal cannot


sion

on diamond, although

impres-

apparently of as fine a

is

it

Diamond

crystal.

water, as limpid, and sparkling with equal beauty.

Lamartine writes eloquently and


author of "Joseph Delorme

known

for

his

is

easily in prose

and "Consolations"

Alfred de Vigny wrote


as

quite

the

is

wrought out and delicately

carefully

trenchant sentences.

Mars," which

"

good

" Eloa."

as

"CinqMusset's

prose comedies exhibit exactly the same freedom, insolent

with
I

elegance, and witty


in his

might carry

and quote
sufficient,

comparison a good deal farther

this

many another name,


and more than

Even granting
which

deny,

is

plenty of people

but

fancy these are

sufficient.

that fine prose

is

as

good as

fine verse,

the overcoming of difficulties not to

count for anything

who

be taken into account

am

well aware that there are

claim that difficulties should not


;

yet

means of overcoming the

way of

which are met

fancifulness

" Tales of
Spain and Italy."

what

is art, if it

obstacles nature

the crystallisation

of thought

217

be not the
puts in the

And

if

it

is

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ART AND CRITICISM


easy to overcome obstacles, what becomes of merit and
glory

the

An
sible

and

So

Olympus

claim for the poet the highest throne in


of the

absolute poet

superiorities

who

of

human

thought.

should reach the most inacces-

degree of perfection, would be as great as God,


it

may be

that

God

is

simply the greatest poet in

the world.

218

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ART AND CRITICISM


hire

members of

the

sale;

books which

thev have put on two pairs of

volumes, stained

greasy

counter

smelling of the

or obscene remarks of
It

officer.

or

the

with

or

oil

tallow,

kitchen, every

unwashed thumbs, and the

bearing the imprint of

police

footmen scarcely venture to

their

when

bring back even

gloves

the upper classes do not blush to

is

some would-be
perfectly

page
stupid

wit or literary

shameful.

Beautiful,

high-bred ladies, whose lovely, slender-fingered hands,

with rosy

have never touched

nails,

or rough, fearlessly

anything coarse

handle and turn over the pages

of those horribly dirty things called the

Of

truth,

would not be out of place

it

finger-bowls after reading as after


land

is

it

ladies'

ing libraries

down
have

if

table a

bought.

betters

their

disgrace tables

No
and

want

name and

In

have

Eng-

book, they take

address and send and

one there would have on

one of the

single

dinner.

to

maids alone that patronise circulat-

the publisher's
it

latest novels.

vilely

filthy

the

volumes that

shelves in the richest of French

drawing-rooms.

This

state

of things

is

doubly hurtful both from a

hygienic and from a literary point of view, for

not be denied that, thanks to circulating

220

it

can-

libraries, the

!<

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^ < * * "^ "^ -~ *' -'^ ** " > *

f/

MW

OF THE UTILITY OF POETRY


part

once played by the Hotel de Rambouillet

played by the denizens of the kitchen.

who form
lating

the greater

is

cooks

number of the patrons of

circu-

It

and the remaining portion consists of

libraries,

janitors'

wives, though their taste

is,

as

rule,

choice, and they themselves do not by a long


ercise as

much

cannot bear

"

young

Blasphemous

who
it,

poet,
it

in

because

who

may

love

it;

speaks

it

is

are

like

it

is

the

too frivolous and

part, I share the opin-

beyond

for in this

way ex-

not saleable,

respect

less

writes charmingly in prose

'tis

any age have dolts understood


limpid, and

it

is

be, therefore I whisper

verse, language immortal,

ness

this

my own

For

lacks coherency.
ion of a

If verse

influence.

because the cooks,


critics,

now

is

all 1

low that

To

love.

mad-

favoured, that never in


it

that

't is

God-given,

beauteous, and while the world hears,

it

not."

And whether

verse sells or not, whether the age be

poetic or not, the fact remains that the

number of

poets

goes on increasing day by day.


For, no matter what

always be poets.
in

The

rhythmic manner

literature

verse

has

is

may be

said or

done, there will

need of expressing
ingrained in

come

his

man, and

thoughts
in

every

before prose, although the

221

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p* i *

ART AND CRITICISM


contrary

process

would seem the more natural one.

Before the invention of printing and the propagation

The

of writings there were poets only.


of verse, not a single syllable

in

inflexible

which may be

form

altered

without destroying the harmony completely, was more

memory and

deeply impressed upon the

what was

faithfully

passed from

mouth

intrusted

to

mouth

to

preserved more

it.

distich

was

a score of times without

any change or interpolation being made in it, which


would assuredly not have been the case with a sentence
in prose,

no matter how

composed.

and very

jargon,

all

it

might have been

In addition, the pleasure derived from har-

mony and from


real

artistically

the overcoming of difficulties

the palingenesiacs, mystagogues, and other

may howl

as they please against poets, they will

vent any one making love and dove rime.

comes

to choosing

things,

it

is

very

All the utopists with their line

great.

dabblers in neologisms and bad French,

much

is

to choose

all

inventor of the steamship,


as great a genius as

never pre-

When

between useless things, or

best after

is

Homer

poets.

as

it

foolish

Watt, the

very far indeed from being

The

Chi-

lacquer,

who,

the rhapsodist.

nese, the masters of porcelain and

old

under their strangely diverse exterior conceal such ex-

222

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OF THE UTILITY OF POETRY


sense and such deep philosophy,

quisite

steamers, on

and

indecent

steamer

guns

the ground

that

these

are

invention.

And

they

are

right,

prose, and a sailing-vessel

is

fire

at

barbarous
for a

not

Is

poetry.

the steamer, black, massive, built throughout of iron,

without

furnace and

its

smoke,

far

going

not

iron

its

and

carrying a large

fast,
little

by

water, and

sailors,

at,

amount of

but

freight

manned by blacksmiths
like

exactly

ready to convey whatever

always

belch forth fetid

that

pipes

with

the breeze,

in

not the steamer, hideous to look

is

and drawing

and

so gracefully

swell

that

wings

ensign, without the great white

or

pendant

which

prose,

you

please,

is

wher-

ever you please, safely and quickly, and also cheaply

And

is

not the sailing-ship, guided by the brain and

from on high

not by a machine, awaiting the breath

order

in

to

with

canvas

some

giant

festoon

poetry
the

.?

start,

carried

high

not

is

and

low,

swan, and
of silvery

The

steamer,

paddles,

looks

the

sailing-ship

the

breasting

binding

foam,

sailing-ship,

the

looks

to

its

sea

shining

perfect
like

covered

like

sides

symbol
flying

bird

chumping through the water with


like

drowning dog

away on top of

flood.

223

As

of
;

its

or a wind-mill
I

am

naturally

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ART AND CRITICISM


tolerant, I consent nevertheless that literary

and commercial bagmen, whose time

drummers

so

is

precious,

should take to the railway and carry their samples and


their

idiocy

from one place

to another as

rapidly as

they may, but for Heaven's sake, give us leave to


quietly along as our thoughts lead

streams, through

by the bank of

mead and copse, now stopping

pluck a daisy wet with dew,


bird's

us,

stroll

now

to

to listen to the black-

song, deserting the highway for remoter paths,

and doing just as

we

Write prose

please.

as

much

as

you like, but let others write verse plant potatoes, but
do not pull up tulips fatten geese, but do not wring
;

the

necks of nightingales, and remember

that

stout

Martin Luther familiarly remarked that he who loves

women, and song

not wine,

to the end of his days.

you are imperfect, and

You

is

a fool and will be a fool

In spite of

can

all

your pretensions

understand one side of

man

only.

erly

cooked beefsteaks and sound

fancy that happiness consists in propelectoral

laws.

think highly of both these things, but comfort

enough

every select organisation must have

have beauty, must have form.

God

has

That

is

woven with His own hands

world's nudity.

224

is

art,

not

must

the garment
to

cover the

THE UTILITY OF POETRY

OF

Unhappily

this

is

no new debate, and

this

is

not the

time that mathematicians, on reading Racine, have


" What does this demonstrate ? " No one
asked
first

can expect the deaf to enjoy music, and the blind

may

chatter at their ease on the superfluity or non-existence

of colour.

15

225

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AND PLASTIC ARTS

CIVILISATION
acted

Civilisation

passes from the

fa

as does

complex

nature, which invariably

to the simple,

The

shapen to the beautiful.

from the mis-

notion of a god with an

elephant's trunk and polyp-like arms, precedes the Jupiter of Phidias


just as the

Economy

mammoth

of material and harmony of

the end aimed at by perfection.


little is

lines, that is

To make much

out of

the object of nature, and should be that of

Greek and Latin


tic

precedes the horse.

antiquity, with

polytheism, possessed

ing for form

the

in

its

art.

anthropomorphis-

the highest degree the feel-

human body, under which

were represented, became the object of

the gods

positive

wor-

ship; statuary attained to the highest degree of splen-

shame of progress be

dour, and in this respect, to the


said,

it

may be

affirmed that art has not advanced one

more than two thousand

step for

There

are

it

many who go

so

years.

far as

to believe that

it

has retrograded.

Now,

is it

Beautiful
tiquity, as

true that

modern times
is

from the point of view of the


are inferior to the times of an-

maintained, and in any case, what can be

the cause of such a degenerescence?

The
to

me

substitution of Christian for pagan ideas appears

to be the primary cause of this degradation of form.

227

ART AND CRITICISM


Formerly the human body,

set

up

as the type of the

Beautiful, as being the highest development of the configuration of matter,

was the

conceptions.

And, indeed,

more

form than

perfect

ideal regulator

the

that

of

artistic

mind cannot imagine a


of man.
The Greeks

referred everything to this prototype, u^hich assumed, in


their hands, the

most harmonious proportions

tecture, ceramics,

poet

could

bloomed "

The

say

were inspired by

of the

Propylaea

as with the beauty

pillars

its

and the

lines,

that

archi-

their

outline

of a human smile."

of the Parthenon offer to the caress of the

glance the graceful curves of a maiden's form, and the

amphorae
raised

recall, in

their handles, the

arms of

women

above the head to loosen the hair or upbear a

basket.

The

merit of the Greeks in poetry and art

that they ever preserved

tended to this

ideal, the

easily attained to

human

proportions.

purest and surest of

is

As they
all,

they

Beauty, and transformed matter into a

really divine thing.

which sprang from Essenian and Jewish


was far from experiencing the same passion-

Christianity,

doctrines,

ate love for form.

proscribe

images

The Hebrews,
that

is

as

is

the plastic arts

well

known,

under

the

pretext that they conduce to idolatry, and the Jewish

228

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AND PLASTIC ARTS

CIVILISATION
element

is

more powerful

far

The

generally believed.

in

Christianity than

early Christians

is

were almost

iconoclasts, and the exploits of the martyrs almost

all

invariably begin with the smashing of a

Venus

or an

Apollo.

Yet,

the Catacombs, there are to be seen Christian

in

mosaics and frescoes which borrow, though awkwardly,


the traditional processes of the ancient art in order to

render the

new symbols

the

do the attitudes become, the more barbaric

stifFer

but the farther one progresses,

the forms, and art ends by disappearing.


It

to

is

be

noted that

This

Catholicism.

is

Christianity, and

say

not

In the

a necessary distinction.

Christian doctrine the body not only ceases to be the

becomes an enemy.

it

ideal,

glorifying
It

was

it,

it

a palace

is

Far from exalting and

abased, reviled, tortured, and killed.


it

is

now

The

turned into a prison.

soul that manifested itself gently under the fair form,

now

is

restless

within

it

and seeks to throw

it

ofFas

were the poisoned tunic of Dejanira.


The outrages upon the statue of Adam, moulded by
God*s own hands as a type of beauty and harmony,

though

it

were to be speedily

punished

world along with barbarism.

229

ugliness

invaded

the

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ART AND CRITICISM


The

conceptions of the

such a

arts, if

name may be

applied to confused products no longer directed by any


aesthetics,

became merely

that

crystallisations

certain needs within certain surroundings.

obeyed

Deep

night

down upon humanity.

settled

This

bitter

war waged

against the flesh, originally,

perhaps, excusable on account of the reaction against

sensualism, struck a mortal

blow

the

at

plastic

arts.

Happily Catholicism came to the succour of Beauty


sacrificed,

and adorned with splendid ornaments the

The traditions

bareness of the evangelical doctrine.

Greece were renewed, and polytheism

The

forms to worship.
strict

conditions,

occurred

that

was

great

lent

its

of

graceful

body, under certain not very

relieved

of

curse, and

its

movement of

the

then

Renaissance,

which was immediately counterbalanced by the Reformation, which revived the old Jewish spirit, the hatred of
images, of beauty, and of luxury.

The
the

pagan Catholicism of the Renaissance offered

most favourable conditions

henceforth sure of

matter

men

itself,

for art.

no longer

felt

The

spirit,

timid hatred of

dared to listen to the nightingale's song

and to breathe the scent of the rose without dreading to


see the devil's eyes glaring between the leaves, and his

230

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AND PLASTIC ARTS

CIVILISATION

whipping round the trunk of the

tail

God

tree.

Father became as majestic as Jupiter Tonans

the

Christ

borrowed the form of the Pythian Apollo, and the Vir-

Mary, standing upon her azure globe, with the crescent of the moon under her feet, became lovelier and more

gin

associated

soul

Never were

Venus.

attractive than

in

happier

were brought back


beauty resplendent

to

this

trades

Once

proportions.

they

supreme type of modern

physical beauty, plastic creations

in

All

developed prodigiously.
exquisite taste

the body and the

became

things were elevated by


arts,

and

arts poesy.

Soon, however, the doctrines of the Reformation, that


is

to say negation taking the place of affirmation, stayed

admirable florescence, this wondrous

this

of the

human

blossoming

race.

Ever since the beginning of the world, these dual


principles have been contending together, fortune inclin-

ing

now

to the one,

now

to the other side,

and produc-

ing eras of artistic splendour or of barbarism.

have

at all

There

times existed certain poor, bare, abstraction-

loving, over-scrupulous

shocks, and

who

their personal

representatives

minds which any manifestation

hate form and colour as

foes.

in

if

they were

This tendency, which has had

its

may be symbolised

in

every

age,

231

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ART AND CRITICISM


manner by

a very intelligible

a Protestant

worn by

church and a Catholic one, between a

sober coat

Quaker's

the difference between

a Venetian

and the gold brocade dalmatic


in a painting

patrician

by Paolo

Veronese.

Now, we must not conceal from ourselves the fact


that though we have nominally remained Catholics, it
the

is

Protestant

spirit

has

that

prevailed

among

us.

That

middle-class, thrifty, quarrelsome doctrine,

fits

in well

with the envious dispositions of our age.

The
ity

fear of critical

examination and the lack of author-

have greatly hindered the external development of

We

civilisation.

have naught but dimmed splendour,

quiet luxury, crafty magnificence

for

more

by cost than beauty, by appearances than by

store

effect.

is

set

Mon-

umental facades have disappeared, palaces have become


houses, and dress has turned as nearly as possible into
the domino.

Out of

regard to universal jealousy, every

one has put on a black coat and

a loose overcoat.

Beauty has been sacrificed to envy.

The

atrabilious

fools, a big

word,

have invented, for the benefit of


the Useful

and, haughtier than the

Latin poet, they have declined to conjoin with


Beautiful.

232

it

the

CIVILISATION TnD PLASTIC ARTS


Then

the

new needs due

to

have pro-

civilisation

duced a multitude of unexpected forms that


had time to idealise

has not

art

our modern era, which dates from

the discovery of printing, gunpowder, and steam,

very young

use of;

its

it

scarcely understands the forces

uncovered

tions in a skeleton or

makes

mechanism allows the works

Our

within to be seen.

it

is still

lives are spent

embryonic

among

inven-

state.

Imagine men who have been flayed walking about,


bloody, through the streets, with their black arteries

all

and their blue veins, their red

nerves, and their quivering muscles

be more horrible

Well,

Could anything
from the plastic

such a spectacle;

it

has

bones, the necessary levers, but the flesh and the

the

skin are

All

wanting, and

you see are

ugly

elbows,

consequently form

sharp angles,

toothed

activity that terrifies

to

civilisation,

point of view, presents just

network of

flesh, their

cogs,

one as

if

stifF,

absent.

is

awkward

automatic

lines,

motions,

icy

a galvanised body were

move.
Art has to provide

civilisation

with an

epidermis,

and the painter and the sculptor have to complete the


machinist's work.
Civilisation has

no objection

to beauty

it

is

waiting

233

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* * ^ * "* * **

ART AND CRITICISM


until art clothes

its

framework and armature with noble

and graceful garments.

The
It

thing

is

possible and even easy.

would have been done

already, did not poets, archi-

tects, sculptors,and painters persist in

in the conceptions

looking fortheir ideal

of the past, because they are repelled

by arid language, unworkable aspects, and ignoble forms.


Unfortunately, they have allowed
into the

civilisation

to

fall

hands of vaudeville writers, masons, mould-

The

makers, and varnish-makers.


race flourishes unchecked, and

it is

taste

of the tailoring

milliners

who

settle

the

title

colouring instead of Delacroix or Diaz.

What
"

propose

to

under

accomplish,

Civilisation and the Plastic Arts,"

is

work

disdained

so far by artists, namely, the applying of a beautiful form


to a comfortable, prosaic, or
It is to

be clearly understood that

tion just

as

machines,

its

pots,

and

even vulgar object.

it

is,

with

its

railways,

English researches,

all its

its

accept civilisaits

steamers,

stoves,

its

its

chimney-

paraphernalia, which have hitherto been

thought incapable of picturesqueness.


I

may

must beg

to be forgiven this long

preamble which

appear to the reader to be too long.

contains but a rough statement of ideas,

234

Although
it

was

it

indis-

AND PLASTIC ARTS

CIVILISATION

That world of azure and white marble,

pensable.

called the world

of antiquity,

sphere of time by a
gas, as beautiful

may be

new world

balanced on the

brilliant

with

and

steel

other was in

in its activity as the

its

serene reverie.

Admirable materials

hand, and

require

merely to be put together to produce splendid

results.

ready to

lie

do not expect to meet with success

taking
bilities,

now

am
stir

entering upon, but

in the vast

I shall

under-

point out possi-

up thoughts, and perchance bring

astray while pursuing a retrospective

artists,

the

ideal, to

truth.
I shall criticise,

rect

shall

invariably place the cor-

by the side of the erroneous one.

form

deny and

but

shall affirm

I shall

take to task

shall

for their

the palace as
ugliness both the hat and the locomotive,
well as the trousers with straps, and
a thing that requires to be

that the ugly

is

done

in

shall

prove

these thrifty

as expensive as the beautiful.

235

times

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HOFFMANN'S TALES
devil as to feel the shudder that ran

back while he was engaged

down Hoffmann's

writing his tales, and

in

compelled him to wake his wife to keep him com-

pany

For the matter of

the devil

come

Paris

to

who

other people

are far

he would be taken

He

would have

ecarte

himself,

he

more

devils than

he

is,

and

country bumpkin.

money swindled

he were not

if

would

out

of him

on

be

to

whose behalf

the

to

and

evil skill,

such trouble

who

is

with

provided

sent

Goethe went
and

He would come upon

for?

in as readily as a

his

would

devil

at

he would be fooled into taking shares in some

company, and
papers,

what the

that

jail.

in

in truth

Mephistophcles

Wolfgang von

great

the

proper

way of

rascality

quite satanic consid-

ering the time at which he appears, would strike us as

He

rather childish.

has but just taken his degree at

the University of Jena.

Our

spectres

wear white kid

gloves and eye-glasses, and at midnight repair to

Instead of the awful

toni's to eat ices.

by

German

opera

airs as

then comes

ghosts,

they
it

our Parisian ghosts

stroll

that

moans

Tor-

uttered

hum comic

through the cemeteries.

How

were so

readily

Hoffmann's

tales

and generally understood, and that the most

common-

sense people on earth should have unreservedly adopted

237

^ 4; 4; 4; .^ 4^ 4^ ^ 44*4 4*4* 4 4*4;

4k4*

(I* !

^ 3^;^

ART AND CRITICISM

his

mad and vagabond


by

plained

and

attributing

It

year.

of Hoffmann

the

erroneous, like

is

of

effects

ex-

novelty

maintained and grows

is

because

is

cannot be

It

the

to

it

for his success

surprise,

year by

fancies

idea

have

people

generally received

all

ideas.

Gently buttonhole a

literary

world, bring him to bay in a

man, or

window

man

of the

recess or under

a carriage gateway, and, after having inquired the price

of stocks and asked after his wife's health, bring the


conversation round to
transition
a

Hoffmann by

you can manage.

member of

a provincial

May

the most ingenious

be a cab-horse or

Academy,

if

he does not

once mention the traditional huge meerschaum


and Master Luther's
venture the subtle

cellar

in

Berlin.

Then

remark that Hoffmann

at

pipe

he will
a great

is

genius, but a diseased genius, and that as a matter of


fact a

number of

his tales are

most improbable.

engraving which represents him seated on a


barrels,
scroll

bogies,

smoking

work,

a big pipe,

The

pile

of

and surrounded by fanciful

flibbertigibbets, small

serpents, and other

sums up the opinion of the German author

which many people, even clever ones, have accepted


ready-made.

^38

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HOFFMANN'S TALES
I

Hoffmann

smoke

a great

he did occasionally get fuddled on

German

do not deny that

deal, that

did

beer or Rhine wine, and that he had frequent attacks

of fever, but that sort of thing happens to everybody

and has very


to clear

to do with his talent.

little

It is desirable

up the mind of the public, once

point of these supposed

means of exciting

Neither wine nor tobacco imparts genius

when drunk
else,

for

all,

inspiration.

a great

not follow that one will be exalted to the skies.

not believe that any

man

wildest and most

vehement

company of

tirades

and

it.

It

does
I

do

fancy that the

have been composed

a carafe of water.

cause of Hoffmann's success

lies

unquestion-

where no one would think of look-

ably in a direction

ing for

it

ever wrote decently after part-

ing with his brains and his reason,

The

man

lurches from side to side just like anybody

and because one tumbles into the gutter

in the

on the

lies

in

the strong and true feeling for

nature which shows so vividly in his most unexplainable compositions.

Hoffmann,

in

truth,

is

among

writers one

of the

quickest to seize the character of things and to impart


the appearance of reality to the most unlikely creations.

At once

painter, a

poet,

239

and a musician, he notes

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ART AND CRITICISM


everything under a triple aspect, that of sounds, colours,

and

He

feelings.

takes account of external forms with

wondrous clearness and accuracy.

His touch

is

sharp

and sympathetic; he has the knack of drawing silhouand sportively cuts out innumerable mysterious

ettes,

and striking

profiles

member and which

which

it

impossible not to re-

is

give the impression of having been

seen before.

His method of working

is

very logical, and he does

ramble

not, as might be supposed,

at

haphazard through

the realms of fancy.

He
terior

walls,

begins his
;

There

tale.

is

seen a

a deal floor carefully holystoned,

windows framed

in

in-

whitewashed

with hop-vine, a piano

corner, a tea-table in the centre


plest interior possible.

German

one

in

the plainest and sim-

Suddenly, however, one of the

piano strings snaps untouched with a sound like the

moan
the

of a

woman, and

resonant

case.

the

The

sound long

reader's peace

vibrates

in

of mind

is

forthwith broken and he mistrusts the apparently calm

and honest

interior.

Hoffmann may

as he pleases that the string

a string

drawn too

snap every day

tight

is

really

affirm as

nothing

else

much
than

that has snapped as strings

the reader refuses to be convinced.

240

I.

mm

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HOFFMANN'S TALES
Meanwhile the water
bubble and

hiss

is

heating

the kettle begins to

Hoffmann, who

is

uneasy

getting

himself, listens so intently and so seriously to the

ming of
self
is

hum-

the cofFee-pot that the reader remarks to him-

with terror that there

is

something about

which

it

unnatural, and becomes expectant of an extraordi-

nary

There

happening.

enters

maiden,

fair

and

lovely, dressed in white, a flower in her hair, or an old

Aulic Councillor,
itation

in

iron-gray coat, chine stockings, im-

On

shoe-buckles, and his hair powdered.

whole he has a

shudders with terror just as

appear with her lamp


ghost glide

in.

On

in

with

he saw Lady Macbeth

looking closer

carmine of her

consonant

if

lips

waxen

the

reader

her hand, or Hamlet's father's

discovers a suspicious green


brilliant

face, yet the

jolly, entertaining

the

tinge

the maiden, he

at

her eyes

in

the

does not strike him as


pallor

of

her neck and

hands, and just

when

she thinks she

slender lizard's

tail

seen quivering in the corner of

her mouth.
undefinable

apparent

The

is

old Councillor himself

ironical

faces

good-naturedness,

most alarming

the

reader

begins

to

conjectures concerning

occupations, and while the worthy


i6

is

241

man

not noticed a

makes

certain

mistrusts
entertain
his
is

his

the

nocturnal

deep in the

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ART AND CRITICISM


reading of Puffendorf or Grotius, suspects him of seeking to penetrate into the

mysterious

much

Cabala and to decipher the


devil's

From

horn-book.

of the

secrets

scrawled pages of a

moment

that

suffocating

terror

oppresses the reader, and he ceases to breathe

freely

until

The

end

the

of the tale

farther the tale diverges

has

been

reached.

from the ordinary course

of things, the more minutely are the objects described,

and the accumulation of


serves to

mask

Hoffmann

is

endowed with

are concerned

and laughable

where ridiculous physical

peculiarities

he notes remarkably well the comical

side of forms,

who

portion.

a marvellous gift of obser-

and

in this

Jacques Callot, and especially

caricaturist
at

circumstances

the impossibility of the main

vation, especially

like

slight probable

too

is

once comical and

as the tales of the

little

In art an untrue thing

one quite untrue


Scribe's plays are

it

singularly

like

produce the same

effects

story-teller.

may be

all

is

Goya, a Spanish
known, and whose works,

terrible,

German

he

quite true, and a true

depends on

the

execution.

more untrue than Hoffmann's

and there are few books

tales,

have
"
The Entail "
subjects more readily admissible than
and " The Cremona Violin." Then one is
that, artistically speaking,

agreeably

242

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HOFFMANN'S TALES
surprised to

come upon pages

that sparkle with

of feeling, passages

wit and taste, dissertations

upon the

and an amount of fun and a sense of humour that

arts,

one does not expect

German who

to

involved and solved

word

all

meet with

in a

hypochondriacal

believes in the devil, and also, a matter of

importance to French

in a

full

readers,

node

the

is

skilfully

there are catastrophes and events,

that constitutes interest, in

the ideal and

the material meaning of the word.

Further,

Hoffmann's use of the marvellous

quite analogous to the use of


in

keeps

does one

mond

it

in fairy tales

touch with the world of

come

reality,

is

not

he always

and

rarely

across a palace of carbuncles with dia-

works, while he makes no use


whatever of the wands and talismans of " The Thousand
to

turrets

and

in

One

his

Nights."

The

supernatural elements

which he commonly has recourse are occult sym-

pathy and antipathy, curious forms of mania, visions,

magnetism, and the mysterious and malignant influence


of a vaguely indicated principle of
tive

evil.

and plausible side of the fantastic

mann's

tales should

be called

rather than fantastic tales.

It

tales

and

It is

in truth

Hoff-

of caprice or fancy

follows that the dreamier

and cloudier Germans greatly prefer Novalis

243

the posi-

to

him,

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ART AND CRITICISM


and look upon Hoffmann

as

robust literary stomachs

only.

absolutely Italian

warmth of

which are accustomed

eyes,

in

good judge

cosm.
tric

sees the

This deep

him

far

many

working of

is

form

heaven or

of

this

sort,

said

that

of a camera obscura

in

complete living micro-

life,

though often eccen-

one of Hoffmann's greatest merits,

above ordinary tale-writers, and

The moment

attained, for

desired

mournful pallor of

more

realistic

in this

and probable

a novel thought out and written with cool

steadiness.
is

most

colouring offend their

to the

effect

respect his stories are far

than

his

feeling for

and depraved,

placing

for the

His vivacity and the

matters

Hoffmann's works had the

which one

fit

Jean Paul Richter, who was assur-

winter moonlight.
edly

heavy and

it

is

the

hell the

life

shows

in a

work, success

not difficult to mould clay to any

important thing
fire

that

is

is

to snatch

from

to vivify the clay phan-

toms, and since the days of Prometheus

it

has not often

been done.

There

nothing fantastic in the greater number of


Hoffmann's tales. " Mademoiselle de Scudery," " The
is

Rosa," "Master Martin and


" Marino
Faliero," are stories
Apprentices," and
Entail," "Salvator

which the marvellous

is

explainable in

244

the

his
in

simplest

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HOFFMANN'S TALES
way, and they are those of
unquestionably do him most honour.

Hoffmann was

man who had

world and of mankind

and had long

well

the

he had been a theatre manager

on intimate terms with actors and

he must necessarily have seen and learned

life,

He

much.

much of

seen

In the course of his wandering and well-

actresses.
filled

lived

works which

his

possible

occupied various stations in

and poor

one time

off at

life

another

at

he was
he was

acquainted with superfluity and with privations; besides

he led an ideal one; he mingled dreams and

his real life

activity

in

a word, he led

that of a writer only.

the

life

Indeed, even

were not known, one would guess

number of

of a man, and not


if

as

his

biography

much from

different characters, plainly taken

from

the
life,

of keen and caustic remarks about worldly matters, and


the thorough knowledge of

page of his work.

acquaintance

with

and sound, and


the

subject.

spoken of music with so thorough

much enthusiasm

in

every

His views about the drama are

strikingly unconventional

close

mankind manifest

his

testify to his

No

one

has

knowledge and so

musical characters are master-

pieces of naturalness and originality.

He

alone, being

himself a musician, was capable of depicting so comi-

245

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ART AND CRITICISM


of
cally the musical sufferings

Hoffmann

for

is

Chapel-Master Kreisler,

endowed with

comic and the tribulations of

his

keen sense of the

simple-minded heroes

provoke the heartiest laughter.


I

lay a

good deal of

stress

upon the human and

ordi-

nary side of Hoffmann's talent, for he has unfortunately


created a school, and unskilful imitators, mere imitators,

was needed was

to

heap absurdities one upon another and to jot down

at

in a

word, have fancied that

all

that

haphazard the fancies of an over-excited imagination


in order to

become

a fantastic

On

and original writer.

the contrary, even in the maddest and most unruly fancifulness

it

is

necessary that there should be an

common-sense,

some

a pretext of

characters, and consistency

work

will be

empty verbiage, and the most eccentric fancies


cause the least surprise.
There is nothing so
as to succeed in a kind of writing in
liberty

is

say that

so

little

Hoffmann won

and

it

is

is,

mere

will not
difficult

which the

allowed, for the freer the author

exacting the reader becomes

of

sort or other, a plan,

else the

air

the

fullest

more

no small praise

to

so great a success with readers

disposed to listen to tales of wonder.

246

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ART AND CRITICISM


Then Count Almaviva

He

indeed a genuine,

is

great nobleman, brave and loyal at bottom, though he

allows himself to be carried


readiness of a

As
liere's

man unused

to

meeting with obstacles.

for Bartolo, the guardian,

Basilio's

name

become

has

he

is

Mo-

the equal of

more need not be

Arnolphe, and

with the

his passion

away by

byword

while

said,

of

that

like

TartufFe.

When

the curtain rises, the stage represents a street

in Seville, not

must

be.

as

really exists, but as

it

do not

know why

must be the Calle de


it

la

night breeze wafts to


trees in the

patio,

it

it

sure

it

always

Serpie, at

the

debouches into the Cathedral Square.

spot with broad spaces of

one fancies
feel

point where
It

a fine

is

shadow and moonlight

the

the spicy odours of the orange

and guitar players find low stone

posts ready to their feet.


I

have no doubt that Bartolo's house stood on the

corner where

now

stands the Cafe

have be.en whitewashed, after the


covered with a roof of varnished

Nuevo.

Arab

tiles,

It

fashion,

must
and

with gratings at

every opening, and miradores enshrined in iron-work,

looking from a distance like dark eyes in a pale face.

few branches of jasmine planted by Rosina


248

starred

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE


the network of bars, and in the corner flickered a tiny

dark

of the

front

in

lamp

Madonna

within the

set

recess of the wall.


It

is

in

this

sort

of

aerial

cabinet, a bird-cage sus-

pended outside the building with a view

to

the draughts of air that are so

valuable in

clime, that Rosina spends every

moment

small foot, in

burning

she can snatch

The

from the watchfulness of her tyrant.

intercept

tip

of her

white satin shoe, shows through the

its

grating, and from under the bottom of the leaded skirt

From time

peep her slender, shapely limbs.


there

is

heard a

strange rustling;

opened and shut,

like the

wing of

the rapidity of which Spanish

What

secret.

lashes

lovely

What

eyes

it

a startled bird, with

has,

alone have the

and

a wealth of black hair

what long

What

well-set teeth, flashing white in her rosy smile


a

complexion of amber and sunshine

Bartolo
I

is

jealous

confess that

never had

fair

time

the fan being

is

women

she

to

small,

What

No wonder

like Bartolo,

play.

He

is

and that

think he has

quite right in objecting to

having such a treasure stolen from him and in watching over

it

with the utmost vigilance.

It

is

true that

Moliere says that " bolts and bars are but poor safe-

249

1*4**4 4 fs* 9 s* vs* i*i*i*i4B*!**!*i**i**l*9*<a**!**i*

ART AND CRITICISM


"

guards for the virtue of maids


lock and key

Rosina

sure and certain

fire

vv^ith

presented

if

the

of course, will say yes, and

wretched of
of

but

not to be trusted, does

be

should

Women,
is

is

that

is

it

follow that

balcony key

men

What

no.

the saddest and most

is

it

under

virtue

be old and in love, to have a heart

fates to

and hair of snow.

never have been able to

those poor old fellows,

laugh with a good heart

at

guardians of maidens,

those Gerontes and Arnolphes

who

all

all

For

are fooled, tricked, and deceived.

very pleasant, of a surety, to bring up a ward

and daintily

tenderly

for

one's

self,

to

not

is

it

most

surround her

with attentions and worship, to think of no one else


the world, and then to see her carried

scamp

that chances to

than that he

come

Barber of Seville,"

who

who

is

first

along, for no other reason

hip.

Very often, when present

Figaro,

by the

well set up, has a curly mustache, and

is

walks past with hand on

Almaviva,

off

in

is

at a

performance of"

The

have taken Bartolo's part against

nothing else than a rake

a gallows-bird,

against Rosina herself, in

and even, dare

against
say

it ?

spite of her adorable fifteen-

year-old shamelessness and her resolute simplicity of a


little lass

who

is

enjoying her

250

first

love

affair.

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE


But,

when

that youth

all

and done,

said

is

comparison with

in

So you must e'en console yourself


for

may, poor Bartolo,

analysis of

your tortures.

Who

that prowling

well

not the case

it

draws to youth, and that gratitude, respect,

and veneration do not weigh much


love

is

is

down over

am now

down

and a dark lantern

in

Count Almaviva's

valet,

hand

his

who

sombrero pulled

wrapped

in a

Why,

is

you

entering upon the

there, a

his eyes, carefully

as best

it

mantle,

Fiorello,

brings in the musicians,

performers of serenades, brutes most deservedly abhorred of guardians, husbands, and jealous people of

Now

every kidney.

the noise begins.

Almaviva,

eyes turned up and one hand on his heart,


cold, pretentious,

women, even

the cleverest, in

all

song, which

cause meaningless.

are

dawn's
it

full

Yet

Rosina has not appeared

Spain will find

all

countries and in

all

is

with

has embroidered mar-

upon the meaningless words of the

vellous melodies

to hurt the

that

This time, the audience

the ladies, for the Signor Rossini

want

singing a

hackneyed thing of the kind

ages, think charming.

Italian

is

his

of meaning precisely be-

the

dawn

is

breaking and

probably because she does not

feelings, for

any one

who knows

hard to believe that a young Sevillian

251

ART AND CRITICISM


hearing from her room the

girl,

her balcony, will not

come on

lilt

of a serenade under

and

tip-toe, half asleep,

press her pretty face against the cross bars of the reja,

and pe/ar
not

paba with her

la

in

engaged

And

novio.

describing an

Italian

indeed, were

could

opera,

give you an Andalusian copla which affirms that such


a thing

is

impossible and has never been known.

Count

So

would almost
his

quality to

even

Almaviva cannot
were

despair,

doubt

for

under the balcony for

He

moment

many

dismisses the musicians,

row, as do

all

musicians

man

own

his

night and

who

when

are

attendance
a day.

a terrific

making

they are requested to

down under

a portico in front of the house, waiting for the


to her

of

powers,

many

cease from troubling, and he walks up and

when Rosina comes

and

it,

possible for a

now been dancing

he has

though

It

understand

window,

moment

partly to see if

her carnations are blossoming, but a good deal more


to observe

whether the handsome stranger happens

to

be strolling around.
Suddenly,

in

the cool, silent morn, rings out sonor-

ous a song as blithe as that of the lark


'gins to rise, a

making

his

song of voluble chatter.

appearance

Figaro

252

in

his

when Phoebus
It

is

Figaro

spangled

and

^*

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THE BARBER OF SEVILLE


embroidered jacket bestudded with

punto breeches,

were

still

worn

filigree buttons, his

his net for the hair (in those days nets

Spain), his guitar slung on his back,

in

polished like tortoiseshell, and his shaving dish, so reful-

Don Quixote would

gent that

to

so catching and

mouth,

it

mistaken

for

it

Every one knows that wonderful

Mambrino's helmet.
air,

have

Passing from mouth

irresistible.

has travelled as far as Polynesia, and the

hum

natives of the Southern Seas

it

cook their

as they

breakfast of shell-fish.

Figaro

is

happy

gay rascal he

like the

He

is.

joys the peace of mind of the unjust, and kind

having

endowed him

an

with

He

hand, exceedingly lucrative.

work and enough money.


shaves, he bleeds,

letters,

he

aro

is

the

all

heard

out

of Seville, and

for

without him

no

life

of

on the other

has lots of fun,

young

little

carries

love-

made

hearts

to

Gallants, ladies, lovers, jeal-

need Figaro.

call

lot

he

Is not that true happiness

together

brings

are,

he curls hair, he

understand each other.

ous people,

conscience,

easy

minor and hazardous businesses that

He

Heayen

the utmost coolness, a whole

carries on, with

en-

Here, Figaro
city over.

the

Hi, Fig-

Take

Figaro

and action vanish with him,

affairs

or

253

intrigues

are

possible,

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ART AND CRITICISM


nor can any love-letter reach the hands
for.

What would

their parents
little

suppers

would there be

gipsy

is

intended

do to get money out of

eldest sons

Who

it

with

to bring to quiet

golden

complexion, an

adept in the art of dancing the zorongo while swishing


her blue skirt diapered with silver stars

who knows

eyes and blue,

the abiding place of black

and of green eyes too, and

if

Figaro

getting the

of the eyes,
fools, for

he

owner thereof

in spite
is

In addition to

is

he see the sheen of gold

through the meshes of a silken purse, he

way of

it

of grim

will

find a

to talk with the

owners

fathers

and jealous old

cleverer than the devil or an old hag.

all

the skill he thus displays, he has had

the further luck of not being hanged and of living on


the best of terms with

Why!
says the

unless

Count.

You

What

are

Shaving
I

mistake,

are very thin,

it

my

is

Figaro!

lad.

lord.

rascal.

A thousand

the representatives of the law.

greatly

You

Hard work, my
-

all

my

thanks,

in Seville

you doing

people.

lord.

And your

saw a young lady

at

lordship

the Prado, a

wonder of

beauty, the daughter of a dotard old physician.

254

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THE BARBER OF SEVILLE


Not daughter;
So much the
his

ward.

his

better.

to her for

What
off,

dor

some time

Almaviva

a fellow that

name

name of Lindor.

past under the

he takes the name,


;

have been paying court

Right

many names, of Lin-

so

among

to be sure

is,

that at once suggests an apricot-coloured

name

coat with black velvet trimmings, a romantic


calculated to turn the head of every

Nothing

could be better

little

maid.

happen to be the

well

barber and hairdresser, the surgeon and botanist, the

pharmacist and the veterinary and the business


the family, replies the worthy

money,
opening

the

balcony

let

If you

Figaro.

But silence

be well.

will

all

have

some one

withdraw

us

man of

under

is

the

arcades.

Rosina puts her pretty


and

is

her

at

is

What

state

cannot

he

fathom the

is

that

of the weather.

you have

the paper you are holding

The
:

for

heels,

handsome Lindor.

of the young lady's matutinal curiosity con-

cerning the

now

nose out of the window,

quite troubled at not seeing

Bartolo
reason

little

"

words of an

The

Useless

in

your hand

What

is

air

that

is

very popular just

Precaution."

255

Oh

such

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ART AND CRITICISM


them up

pick

You know,
which has
single
It

for

me.

from her hands does not contain

fallen

one of the words of "

much

The

know

wit to

Bartolo cannot

make

Useless Precaution."

picks up the paper and hands

aro

quickly and

and the Count knows, that the paper

does not take

the

Pray run

have dropped them.

pity

much.

that

to

it

the

Fig-

Count.

out in which particular direction

wind has blown the song, and goes

upstairs again,

grumbling, to make Rosina re-enter the room, swearing


the while that he will have the cursed balcony bricked

While

up.

back

his

is

Rosina's note, for a note


''

My

Your

assiduous

turned,
it

is

attentions

me know, by some

condition,

as

break

may

my

And

be sure that

my

soon as he

is

interest.

gone, try

ingenious means, your name, your

and your intentions.

can never come to the

balcony without being accompanied by


but you

us hasten to read

have awakened

guardian will go out presently

to let

let

am

my

prepared

inseparable tyrant,
to

do anything

to

fetters."

that

girl is led to

is

the sort of thing a decent and lovely

write to the

first

spark that happens along

by dint of being worried, vexed, annoyed, and odiously


kept under watch and ward.

256

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE


The means

will be found, if not by

who

Almaviva,

does not look like a very inventive person, by Figaro.

one can always have poor devils


for

Then

be a Count and wealthy.

fine thing to

It is a

at

one and to harness themselves

hand

to be clever

to the car

of one*s

fancy or passion.

Have you any money

Heaps,
In case

says Figaro.

returns the Count.

that

think of the almighty metal

cano,

ferment

boil,

Dress yourself as

As

a soldier

A regiment
The

When

have thought of something.

my

head becomes a vol-

thousand ways occur to me.

a soldier.
?

What

so

it

come

has just

colonel,

for

happens,

is

town

into the

of

friend

mine.

You
you are
shall

will

be

billeted

time to whisper

in

so

Pretend to be

suspicious of a

of wine.

In

man whose

all

has been believed


17

busy that

Rosina's

ear

drunk
brain

is

and

Bartolo,

Nothing could be simpler.

keep the old chap

expects.

on

the

For
you

there

my

part

will

have

four words

people

are

not

she
so

clouded hy the fumes

ages the sincerity of drunken people


in.

And now,
257

to work.

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ART AND CRITICISM

But
shop

where

shall

find

you

Where

is

your

says the Count, observing Figaro on the point

of vanishing with the purse.

My

know.

is

shop

It

is

the easiest shop

on the

in

number

right,

world to

the
a

four,

splendid

sky-blue front, with five wigs, six shaving dishes, and

Can't mistake

a lamp.

it.

While the Count goes


Figaro

is

on

his disguise,

lathering the customers' cheeks,

to Rosina's

and

She

the balcony.

hand, and

and

us repair

let

room, the furniture of which consists of

a piano, a desk,

poco fa^

off to put

is

a grating erected
carefully

is

alone,

the

singing

holding
lovely

in

her

Una

voce

letter

cavatina,

round

beginning as dainty as a rosebud bursting

corset of green velvet, then

blooming and

trustful

its

as

youth, and towards the end, capricious and wilful, and

The

cavatina done,

she goes to the desk and writes a letter.

She has seen

indulging in coquettish rebellion.

for

Figaro talking
with the Count
is

assist

more than an hour on

the square

they are therefore acquainted

good fellow, willing

Figaro

to help, and perhaps he

may

our loves.

Talk of the
the wolf, and

devil,

you

and you see

see

his

__

tail

his

horns

talk of

talk of

Figaro, and

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THE BARBER OF SEVILLE


you see

He

his net.

common

to

enters with the light, furtive step

and

cats

plotters,

who

can step on eggs

without breaking them.

Why,

you doing now

are

am bored
There something should
And
something
to death.

's

there

silence

What

good morning. Miss Rosina.

hear

Bartolo

like to tell you.

to

I 'd like

's

my

Wait

guardian's step.

enters, coughing,

But

you.
a

little.

grumbling, and

spitting,

because she

quarrels with his niece

tell

is

always talking

with that rascally Figaro.

Are you jealous of Figaro


him

talk to
tells

me

he entertains me, makes

ever so

Yes,

much

but what

ink on your finger

burned my
There
I

is

you done with

made

Marceline.

No,
ing

me

own

me

do

like to

laugh, and

nonsense.

is

the meaning

of that stain of

and dipped

in the ink-bottle.

finger

a sheet of

it

paper wanting.

What

have

it r

a paper

Does

bag of

it

that satisfy

to put sweets in for

you

and trying to fool me.

259

little

angrily retorts the old fellow.

tales

You

are tell-

ART AND CRITICISM


While
a tall,
ing,

the quarrel

gawky

proceeding, enters

is

Don

fellow, thin, skinny, yellow, bilious look-

bony, unhealthy, with a venomous look

with low,

Basilio,

brow, thin

flat

forked

lips,

a rascal

tongue,

who

seems to have been cut out to wear a black cassock


and a wide-brimmed hat

and executioners are made

spies, inquisitors
villain

tongued

a fellow of the stuff of

for

ready

always

which

a soft-

and

sinister

evil

undertakings.

He

approaches and whispers in Bartolo's ear that the

unknown
is

cony

who

who

gallant

none

else than

come

has recently

The

is

famous Count Almaviva,

the
to

Seville.

danger must be warded

what way
It

prowling under Rosina's bal-

is

By means of

comes

here that

off,

a nice

little

but quietly.

piece of slander.

the wonderful

in

In

air, in

which

the composer has possibly surpassed the writer, although


the tirade

is

written by a

one

human pen

Calumny

at

most

of the

first

things ever

brilliant

faint

whisper that skims

over the ground like a swallow before a storm, pianissimo, breathing

low and gliding along

poisoned darts.

This one picks

drops

it

into your ear skilfully.

260

it

dropping

its

up, and piano, piano,

The harm

is

done,

it

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THE BARBER OF SEVILLE


germinates,

it

it

crawls,

from mouth to mouth


suddenly,

know

grow

hiss, swell,

makes
it

goes

its

way, and rinforzando

like the

Then

devil.

not how, you see calumny rise up,


visibly

whirls, envelops,

drags

it

starts,

its

spreads

out, carries

pinions,

away, bursts out,

thunders, and becomes a general hue and cry, a public

crescendo, a universal chorus that resounds everywhere,

and the unhappy wretch, slandered,

reviled,

overwhelmed,

most fortunately^ under the weight of general exe-

falls,

cration.

What think you

That
edified

all

is

it ?

very fine, replies Bartolo, sufficiently

but there

of

is

a surer

way

yet.

wed

shall

the girl to-morrow.

Let

me have some money,

these matters, holds the


I

says Basilio,

same doctrines

as

who,

in

Figaro, and

engage to draw off the coxcombs.

Whereupon

the fool and the rascal pass into another

room.

So,
old

that

is

the

way you go

scoundrel, says Figaro, issuing

place.

You

are a

nice

fellow with

look and your hypocritical

who

fancies he

morsel

is

is

airs.

work, you dear

to

from

261

hiding-

your sour lemon

And

that other old ass

going to wed Rosina

not meant for his

his

toothless

old

That

dainty

gums

not

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ART AND CRITICISM


know

if I

time.

Here she comes

it.

must

closeted together.

news

for

To-morrow, without

you.

He

are

they

have a great piece of

Senorita,

your amiable guardian.

next room en-

the

in

is

wed

you

fail,

drawing up the necessary papers with your

in

gaged

the very nick of

speak to her while

to

try

in

music master.

Figaro,

promise you one thing

not take place.

shall

But,

by the

young gentleman you were talking


square

marriage

way, who is
to just now on

the
the

.?

cousin of mine and a good fellow

He

hearted chap.

make

that

warm-

here to complete his studies and

is

his fortune.

He
He

will certainly

do that, answers Rosina.

has one great fault, however; he

is

madly

in

love.

Do you know who


She
;

the

is

he

in

is

love with

small, dainty, with splendid black hair and

is

eyes

it

letter

first

Rosi

of her name

is

she

is

called

Ro

It

is

I,

exclaims the young

heaven of happiness.

Come,

let

me have

was

girl

right

a couple

in

the seventh

of lines from you

262

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THE BARBER OF SEVILLE


time presses, says the prompt barber.

down

Sit

at

A
^M

the

desk there.

time

never dare

shall

from

drawing

bosom

her

same

says Rosina, at the

to,

folded

delicately

note.

She

has the note already written

with a gesture of admiration, and


nice fool

am

women

exclaims Figaro

who

women

Well,

the most stupid

of you could give points to the devil.

The

note

is

speedily handed over, and

Count Alma-

viva, sure that

Rosina approves, speedily makes use of

the

sprung

stratagem

from

Figaro's

brain.

fruitful

Disguised as a cavalryman, he comes to the house of

grumpy

Bartolo, describing the most extraordinary zig-

zags, and

drunken

with

man.

the gestures
I

leave

and the hiccoughs of a

you to imagine the

sort

of

reception he meets with at the hands of the irascible


old gentleman,

who

getting very angry


noisily

invading

is

perfectly justified, this time, in

when he beholds

his

house.

the brutal trooper

Rosina, ever

wide awake, and on the watch, hastens

in at

alert,

the sound

and inquires the cause of the unusual disturbance.

am
Be
I

Lindor, whispers the Count to her.

prudent, returns Rosina.

263

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ART AND CRITICISM

Let
it

pick

your handkerchief drop on

note, and

this

on the Count, describing an exceed-

up, goes

ingly sharp angle and pretending to lose his centre of


gravity.

Rosina manages to obtain possession of the loveletter

with a deftness worthy of the cleverest prestidigi-

tator,

and the row goes on between the Count and

Bartolo, the latter in vain alleging that he

from lodging
his

arguments, and

draws

The

The Count

soldiers.

his bilbo

is

exempted

pays no heed to

in order to scare the old

gentleman,

and makes lunges into the empty

old fellow yells and the

row becomes

air.

so great that

the authorities intervene, to the great grief of Rosina

The

and the great joy of Bartolo.

march

Lindor off

when, brushing aside the


haughty and imperious air, he hands

alguazils with a

it,

bows

to

full

Rossini alone

Although

jail

alcalde, after having glanced

the ground and

who

release the trooper,

of a finale

to

The

the alcalde a letter.


at

police are about to

of

life,

to

himself withdraws

to

jealousy

Bartolo

is

men

in the

to

swing

compose.

is

by no means bright, the

drunken soldier business has struck him


picious

his

agitation and volubility, such as

knows how

Don

signs

apt to

make even

as very sus-

the densest gray-

264

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THE BARBER OF SEVILLE


His credulity, however,

beards clear-sighted.
to

if

like that better, returns ere long

you

the disguise and the

name of Alonzo,

of Basilio's, to take
lesson he

latter's

a supposed pupil

place

at

Bartolo receives him rather sourly, and

convince that Basilio


In

the music

is

really as

ill

as

is

Alonzo

hard to
pretends.

Count's great terror, he has already

the

to

fact,

under

the habit of giving Rosina.

in

is

the

about

Lindor, or Count

be tested even more severelv.

Almaviva,

is

taken his stick with a view of ascertaining the facts for

The Count

himself.

him with

fooling

can think of nothing better than

supposed piece of confidential

formation, and hands him

by

this

Reassured

proof of devotion to his interests, Bartolo goes

from her room and allows her to take

to fetch the girl

her lesson with her


lynx's eyes

a lynx

parison with a

girl

new
is

teacher.

in love;

is

piano

is

pulled forward, and

is

it.

What
we sing
This rondo by Buranello.

too
answers Rosina.
It is

mole

in

com-

going to sing with.

over the music lying upon


shall

Bartolo's ward has seen at

it

she

People talk of the

no better than

who

a glance

The

Rosina's note.

in-

old,

265

the

Count glances

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ART AND CRITICISM

This
miauled
bolero

every night under every

It is

is

it

sickening, puts in Bartolo.

A Venetian
That

this part are

"

night

for

foolish

asleep,

woke

which

enough

maid

took.

The

and on

my arm

the

Rosina

to

singers

sing

who

take

in

my

The

words are

gondola the other

dear from sheer pleasure

little

to substitute very difficult

pieces.

golden-haired
I

sets

wearisome show

very

delightful

Count

the

melody

charming

and

barcarole

will do.

Whereupon

window;

lay dozing.

From

fell

time to time

her, and the rocking of the craft cradled her to

sleep again."

The

situation could not

clever Figaro

nobleman,

come

to

Count Almaviva's

like Lelio, Mascarille's master,

son of ready resource.


this is the

be much prolonged did not


help, for the
is

not a per-

Figaro persuades Bartolo that

day on which he

is

shaved, and under pretext

of fetching the necessary utensils, gets hold of his bunch


of keys, quick as a

monkey

abstracts the

key that opens

the balcony gate, and by innumerable tricks, each

more

ridiculous than the others, gives the lovers time to settle

^66

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE


their
lather,

He

plans.

the

blinds

old

chap with foaming

covers his face up with a napkin, and so on.

At midnight Almaviva

to be

is

a rope-ladder, everything

is

under the balcony with

to be in readiness,

and the

pair of lovers will elope together.

But
rolled

ill

fortune

in a strip

up

Here the

tall

yellow

wax

of black cloth, the bird of

evil

candle

omen,

the owl, the raven Basilio, comes in person to give the


to

lie

the

when he makes

Of

invented bv the Count.

fable

his

appearance, there

is

course

a general shout

How ghastly you


You look
corpse
You have the smell of
on you
Go bed and dose yourself!

of:

pale

are

like a

fever

to

Basilio,
at

all this

who

is

not any greener than usual,

hullabaloo about his

which the Count


enlightens him.

slips

He

ill

is

astounded

health, but a purse

into the wretch's

finds out that

he

is

bony hand,
very poorly

indeed, and withdraws to take to his bed.

But the jealous Bartolo's suspicions are again aroused


by a word he has caught, and he kicks out the sham

music teacher and


curses.

They

his

acolyte with an

abundance of

retire laughing, for all their

267

arrangments

m*mmJL
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ART AND CRITICISM


are

made, and there

no longer any reason why they

is

should stay in their foe's house.


Bartolo sends for Basilio to return and questions him.
Basilio informs

him

that he

not in the least acquainted

is

with Alonzo, and that he has no pupil of that name.

Then

that

Alonzo must have been some emissary

of the Count's.

Or

the

Count himself;

his purse testifies to that,

remarks Basilio to himself.

Now

make Rosina

me

think of

it,

we must

exclaims Bartolo,

believe that the note which

Alonzo handed

had been given by the Count to a mistress of

Of course

the poor girl

Bartolo's dirty

is

indignant

hand the dear

little

when

his.

she sees in

note written under

and which she had carried so long


inside her corset before finding an opportunity to hand

such

it

on.

It

is

difficulties,

In her despair, she consents to


a

sort

The

of suicide.

wed

Bartolo.

graybeard, transported

with joy, hurries off to fetch the notary.

Meanwhile the hour appointed for the elopement


strikes.
Almaviva and Figaro make their appearance
at

the top of the ladder.

will call out

for help

At

first

Rosina thinks she

she accuses Lindor of having

deceived her, but he throws himself

at

her feet, reveals

268

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THE BARBER OF SEVILLE


his

real

never

name and

difficult to

rank, and wins forgiveness.

do that when one

is

It

is

young and hand-

some.

Rosina consents to go with him, and the pair make


ready to get over the balcony,

when
At

the ladder has been removed.

they discover that

the same time steps

are heard on the stairs.

Who goes
Master

there

accompanied by the notary.

Basilio,

By Jove
here

is

It

am

Figaro, pointing to the

pair, says

You

Count and Rosina.


names,

if

you

have the marriage contract;

please,

and

witness for his lordship, and

let

Don

lady.

But am not sure


Perhaps you would
I

window

Mr. Notary,

could not be better.

the affianced

insert their

that I

ought

prefer to be

us sign quickly.
Basilio for the

chucked out of the

No, no indeed

it

is

too unhealthy.

prefer to

sign.

And
gone

Bartolo,

for the

who

after taking

away the

ladder, had

watch, arrives just as the contract has been

signed and sealed.

Figaro arrested

on

He wants
a

to

have Almaviva and

charge of having burglariously

269

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ART AND CRITICISM


entered his premises, but the

and

Count

states

who

he

is,

being said and done, he proposes to marry

as, all

Rosina without a portion, the miserly guardian gives

his

consent to the match, and comes to the conclusion that


he gains more than he loses by the bargain.

Before

close, let

me

add a few particulars of the

undergone by Rossini's masterpiece.

vicissitudes

The young composer was

"The

Barber of Seville"

Theatre.

An

twenty-four when he wrote


at

Rome

for the

Argento

opera on the same subject had already


Russia, towards the end of the previous

been written

in

century, by

Paesiello, Catherine's favourite composer.

The

" Barber of Seville " made a


Neapolitan master's

sensation
coldly

in

the Eternal City after having been very

received at

considered a

sort

French writer were

first,

of

and

Rossini's

sacrilege

very

attempt

much

as

was
if

on re-writing Racine's

to venture

" Andromache."

The

first

performance was so stormy that Rossini

dared not appear

tended to be

ill

at the

piano on the second night, pre-

and went to bed, waiting anxiously for

the result of the second attempt.

At about midnight, he heard


flashing

a great tumult,

saw the

of torches through the windows, and heard

270

ii^

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THE BARBER OF SEVILLE


sounding on the

numberless steps
maestro, trembling

in

The

poor

every limb, took refuge under his

blankets, convinced that the

him

stairs.

Romans proposed

to

make

him up, the crime of having


But it was not that; the
eclipsed Paesiello's w^ork.
"
luck had
the " Barber
had met with
expiate, by

cutting

turned,

success, and

were coming

it

shining

was an ovation,

to give

to Rossini,

as the greatest master in Italy

271

a serenade

which they

henceforth recognised

and the whole world.

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GREECE

IN
Thus
of

all

was

it

was the most magnificent


and the one on which the genius of

that her temple

pagan fanes,

antiquity lavished

The

its

highest efforts.

existing Parthenon

overthrown

is

the

during

Persian

of which are strewn

debris

not the original


building,

and

invasion,

the

on the platform of the

Acropolis or buried under constructions of more recent


Ictinus and Callicrates erected, during the reign

date.

of Pericles, the Leo

made

so

of Attica, a temple which they

regretted having to touch

ous man,

The

it

Time seems

perfect that

radiantly

it,

and that, but for barbar-

would have come down

intact to our days.

more pious than nations, had respected

ages,

though they had the feeling

for art

how

humanity

impossible

For

marvel.

upon

to have

it

was

there, indeed, set

golden tripod

choir of the

for

as

and had understood


to repeat such

upon the Acropolis as

the midst of the

in

it

sculptural

mountains of Attica, shines immortally

true, absolute, perfect

Beauty.

After that, there are

but varieties of decadence, and Greece, leaning upon

mighty ruins,
spurn

all

tattooing,

noses,

we
i8

else

has the proud aristocratic right to

still

We

as barbaric.

we have
have

pulled

the

exchanged

273

our

have got

of our

from

our

hatchets

for

fish-bones

stone

rid

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ART AND CRITICISM


needle-guns, but that

In the presence of

all.

is

this

work, so pure, so noble, so beautiful, so harmoniously


balanced, so divinely rhythmical, one becomes humbly

and deeply thoughtful, troublesome questions suggest

human

themselves, and one must fain wonder whether


genius, that fancies

so fast along the path

strides

it

of progress, has not, on the contrary, retrograded

one comes

the conclusion

to

of inventions of

religions,

compass, the

all

printing-press,

that, in

spite of

sorts,

the

the

and

new

mariner's

steam-engine,

the

notion of beauty has either vanished from this earth,


or else that the children of this world are powerless to
it.

express

The

Propylaea are not exactly in accord with the

axis of the Parthenon,

tion of the ground,


did not

ancients

is

which, owing to the configuraa little

strive,

as

more

we

to the right.

do, to attain

The

rigorous,

mathematical symmetry, but rather happy oppositions


of masses

The

and they were

road

debris of

followed,

right.

between

blocks

the

marble,

Turkish hovels, and sub-structures of ancient

walls, up to the facade of the marvellous


is

of

primitive

away down

path

to the

itself,

which has been cleared

living rock.

274

monument,

Ictinus, Callicrates,

A* 44*

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GREECE

IN
Phidias and

men who

those great

all

the immortal and universal

ought to

his

kiss,

living

have trod with their

life,

upon these sacred stones

divine feet

now

are

that

artist

every

brow humbly pressing the

dust of

ages.

The

facade consists of eight Doric columns, raised

on three

steps,

ing could be
a

geometrical

dreams

shadows
that
in

rays

its

one

few

would

paper

appearance

yet

the

and

to

suffice

impression

clouds

part,

the

serene

azure sky, the

in

the

ruled

on

give

the

it

pro-

All

irresistible.

the

sov'ran

lines

dreamed vanish

had

Noth-

triangular pediment.

profound, sudden, and

Is

vain

more simple, and

of white

piece

duces

and of

like

fleeting

golden
reality

the

beam

appears

power, a thousand times grander than

the imagination.

So many sunsets have impregnated with

their rosy

hues the white columns of Pentelicus marble since the


day,

two thousand four hundred years ago, when they

rose into the blue Athenian sky at the call of Pericles,


that the stone, enriched

has

acquired

by successive layers of glow,

extraordinarily

reddish, orange, and sienna

had been candied by that

vigorous
tones.

It

and

looks as

rich, ardent light,

275

powerful
if it

which does

^ART AND CRITICISM


not

afflict

ruins with the leprosy of

The

of unhealthy vegetation.

become golden,

The

like silver that

moss and the

stains

marble has with time

is

gilt.

dazzlingly white facade which one has built up

one's imagination, forgetful of the ages that have

in

elapsed, melts like a snowflake under a burning sun-

beam, and glorious colour

found where one had

is

thought of beauteous form only.


a

few garish blemishes due

alone impair the

were

gorism

few crude

and cannon-balls,

to shells

warm harmony, and

admissible

Athenian severity,

it

in

might be

if

Spanish gon-

of

presence
said

scars,

this

noble

that the white lips

of the divine temple's wounds silently protest against

man's

bestial barbarity.

The

straight, chaste folds,

eight columns, fluted in

like those

of the tunic of Pallas Athene, the goddess

with the bluish-green eyes, spring


a pedestal

base,

to

once and without

from the marble step that serves them


the

harmoniously swelling

capitals, diminishing

and, like

at

all

curves

a secret

of their

with infinite delicacy of gradation,

the perpendicular lines

the

in

leaning backwards imperceptibly, inclined

by

for a

rhythm towards an

the centre of the temple,

ideal

building,

as they

point placed

Minerva's

are
in

brain, or the

276

ii

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db

X db ^ db db ^ ^ ^ j? t& s: ^ &db ^ !& ^ ^


IN GREECE
tl:

mayhap

architect's,

the

t!?

radiant

thought

towards

unanimous movement of mystical


adoration, unnoted by the ordinary eye, the outward
which bend,

in

forms of the temple.


In spite of their oddity,

can find no better word to

express the ineffable beauty of these columns than to

company of youthful

icily

fact,

It

and

another,

minds

their

Callicrates,

We, who know

of these columns.

the

only
as

it

architects, have

is

filled

beheld, drew

of the forms they

mathematical straight
is

was when the sacred pro-

were passing along the road to Eleusis that

loveliness
profiles

like a

canephorae bearing the mystic

van upon their heads.

Ictinus

glowing marble seems

browned by the sun, and they look

to be skin

cessions

The

human.

say that they are

line,

shortest

the

only the

from
our

by

one

to

point

pseudo-classical

no conception of the extreme sweet-

ness, of the infinite suavity, of the tender and


trating grace of which a straight

susceptible.

pure

which, as a matter of

way

employed

with the

The

Chamber

of

pene-

line, thus treated,

Deputies

and

is

the

Church of the Madeleine, which we fondly fancy


are like the Parthenon, are but coarse imitations, like

those effected by children with

27//

wooden

blocks, ready

ART AND CRITICISM


cut, in the architectural playthings that are given

on

New

them

Year's Day.

Unfortunately

the

of the pediment

tympanum

is

A
damaged, but time is not to be blamed for this.
drawing made in 1600 represents the masterpiece of
Greek sculpture

as almost intact at that time.

traversed the ages and escaped the barbarians

but to
us in

make

its

three hundred-year strides

glorious integrity.

the Burgundians under

The

more

It

had

it

had

to reach

Gauls under Brennus,

Walter de Brienne, the Floren-

under Acciajuoli, the Turks under Othman, had

tines

not touched

its

Scarcely had a few

hard marble skin.

of the cannon-balls

fired

by Morosini the Peloponnesian

scored white ricochets upon the divine sculptures.

was

civilised

torn from

being,

Lord Elgin, who caused

It

to be

the pediment the figures of Phidias which

had been spared by the


like brutality,

shells.

He

and as awkwardly

did

as a

it

with Vandal-

drunken

porter,

drawing down on himself the avenging epigram which


Byron, the noble poet, engraved upon the top of the
profaned monument,

^uod

at

the risk of breaking his neck

non fecerunt Gothi^ hoc fecerunt Scoti^

tation of a similar play

Barberini in

in

imi-

upon words directed against the

Rome, who

built

278

themselves a palace out

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GREECE

IN

of three of the arches

of the Coliseum

fecerunt Barhari^ hoc fecerunt Barherini.

^od

by the

Museum, where
on

visitor

his

they

non

It is true that

the wonderful figures which were thus stolen are


in the British

9t W^

now

may

be admired

the

Tower and

way back from

Barclay and Perkins's brewery, but the noble marbles,


used to the
the

warm

London

fog,

of Attica, must shiver indeed in

air

and pine

sun that seemed

setting

for the

send the

to

beams of the

rosy

purple

of

life

coursing through their Pentelicus veins.

At each angle of the pediment there remains one


figure, the torso

of a

man and

the body of a

fragments of the mutilated poem.

woman,

These two bodies

of broken statues are headless, and they are damaged

and

mutilated,

survived

but

their

every

lines

modern

These

isolated

broken figures seem to be mourning over


companions, and to be chanting upon

itself

felt

as to drive to

so exquisite

sculptor.

has

beauty

innumerable outrages, and makes

through two or three


despair

imperishable

and

their absent

the ruins the

dirge of the deserted.

frieze

fifteen
I

comprising fourteen metopes, divided by

triglyphs, rests

have been speaking

upon the
of.

279

eight

Doric columns

Each metope contains

^^

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ART AND CRITICISM


carved

subject

nately for art,

almost

now, unfortu-

undecipherable

on account of the breaking

ofF of the pro-

jections, the obliteration of the hollows, and the scaling

away of the marble due

to the heat of

Time, which

cold of winter.

summer and

occasionally improves a

rough piece of sculpture with

its

intelligent touch, has

borne too hardly on these fine

The

reliefs.

runs round the four sides of the temple, but

made out

plainly

it

frieze

can be

on the anterior and posterior faces only.

second row of columns, also Doric, stands

front of the

the

pronaos and

bears

with

laden

frieze

in

sculptures, a procession of figures travelling from right


to left

men, women,

ing a carved

horses, and

Panathenea, with

horsemen perform-

free, life-like, easy

ar-

rangement, grouping, attitudes of bodies, and flow of

no wise breaks the

draperies, that in

tecture and loses

served
suffered
to

by the

much

none of

outer
less

its

frieze,

hieratic

these

of the archi-

lines

gravity.

bassi-relievi

than the others, and

am

the barbarity of the Turks, the ancient

of the Parthenon, for the

more

Pre-

have

indebted

profaners

means of inspecting them

closely.

Between the second row of columns and the

right

angle of the naos wall, rises a heavy mass of masonry

280

GREECE

IN

first

two columns of

shell

of an old ruined

of bricks and mud, in which the


the

row

are engaged.

It is

minaret, the stair of which

The

of the temple.
places

the
is

entered from the interior

the steps are gone, and


to the

By keeping
reached, and

spiral

many

the slope alone

is left.

seen close

the marble blocks that

crown the

possible to note the beauty of the

but one

must not get

is

of the

the level

may be

it

broken

in

itself

stair

lost

in

if

frieze

is

one ventures upon


It is

building.

work more

in

then

detail,

ecstasy or step

artistic

back incautiously, as the consequence would be a

fifty-

smash of every bone upon the sacred

foot drop and a

ground.

The

walls of the naos,

which

stand in

still

part,

though there are large breaches where the stones have


fallen

away, are

easily

so simple, clear, and

made

the

that

logical

prolonged of themselves.
rectangular

out, the architecture being

The

broken

lines are

walls consist of large

blocks of Pentelicus marble, joined with

such care and accuracy that the columns which remain


standing
feature

the

appear

to

be

monoliths.

of Greek architecture

of

The
the

extreme carefulness and marvellous

workmanship

distinctive

best period
finish

is

of the

the round blocks for the columns were

28^

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ART AND CRITICISM


ground round and round on each other,
in order to

make them

wood clamp

fastened

fit

perfectly,

them

like mill-stones,

and then an olive-

together.

number of

these clamps have been found in the ruins and pre-

Neither

served.
bolts,

explosions,

earthquakes,

lightning

nor bombardments have been able to disunite

these marbles, which are

one within the other

set

as

accurately as English hinges.

In the interior are to

be seen the faint traces of


turned

Byzantine paintings, for before being

into

mosque, the Parthenon had been a Christian church.

About the centre of the nave,

mark of

noticed on the pave-

ment

a square

spot

where rose the ivory and gold

a different colour

Athene, Phidias's masterpiece,

this

was the

statue of Pallas

in her severe

and virginal

beauty, protectress and sponsor of the city.

By

the way, talking of Phidias, scholars affirm that

this statue

was the only work of

his in the

Parthenon

according to them, the bassi-relievi on the metopes must


be attributed to other sculptors, for the author of the

Minerva and of the Olympian Jove worked


only, and never used marble.

this

am

not

ivory

sufficiently

how much weight ought


statement, but I own that it would

versed in these matters to say


to be given to

in

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GREECE

IN
grieve

me

have to dissociate the

to

name

of Phidias and

the Parthenon frieze.

Round

the place where presumably stood the pedes-

of the statue, are seen,

tal

interior order

of the

most probable

that this order

it

scattered

would seem

It

temple.

pillars,

number of

columns which formed the

blocks, the shafts of small

superimposed Ionic

among

to

be

comprised two rows of

but there

is

nothing

left

of

nowadavs.

The Opisthodomos,

or Treasury, occupies the back

nave, and was

probably semicircular, but the

of the
real

outline

is

make

hard to

under the mass of

out

debris and of pieces of broken

columns.

The

roof

is

gone, and the temple of Pallas has no other covering

Of

than the blue Athenian sky.


that

run along the longer sides

formed by the temple, there are


heights on
that the air

the sea side, and

shows

Parthenon when

it

in
is

the fifteen

of the
six

columns

parallelogram

broken

at different

nine on the land side, so

blue cuts in the outline of the


seen

from

distance.

These

breaks, regrettable from an artistic point of view, are


less

so

ruin and

from the picturesque,

make

The warm

it

for

they give air to the

lighter.

orange colour that gilds the

^8^

principal

>*

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ART AN D CRITICISM
to the other parts of the temple,
facade has not spread

the marble there having preserved

its

pristine whiteness,

The

or at least being of a relatively lighter tone.

which might be

trast,
first,

down by

being toned

ern pediment

On

startling,

con-

does not strike one

at

the perspective; the south-

golden, and the northern snow-white.

is

the triple steps that form the base of the temple

are lying pieces of the

frieze, portions

of the walls, and broken

of the courses

among which,

pillars,

so drv

the climate and so burning hot the temperature, no

is

weeds have grown.


the

nettles,

One would

in

vain look there for

hemlock, mallows, asphodel,

ivy,

ferns,

saxifrage, and wall plants that cast a mantle of verdure

over old stones


its

scattered

in

our moist climate; the temple, with

blocks of stone, so crude of tone and so

sharp on the edges, looks more like a building


cess of erection than like a ruined
ists,

monument.

however, have discovered a small

in pro-

Botan-

local plant

which

grows on the Acropolis only, and the name of which


escapes me.
a

specimen of

in the

should have dearly liked to bring back


it

carefully put

spring only that

it

away

in

vellum, but

it

is

blooms, and four months of

sunshine had calcined the bare rock, which


than pumice-stone even.

284

is

more

arid

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GREECE

IN

11

THE TEMPLE OF THE WINGLESS VICTORY

On

ascending the slope, with

steps,

which

its

broken, disjointed

from the gate discovered by Beule

leads

to

the facade of the Propylaea, and on reaching, amid excavations, rubbish mixed with

and blocks of marble,


is

seen on the

with the

The

skulls,

about midway up, there

a point

the pedestal of the statue of Agrippa,

left

Temple

human bones and

of the Wingless Victory on the right.

rock face, covered with retaining walls, forms a

two wings of which frame in the steps.


Before this entrance was cleared (which was not the

terrace, the

case on the occasion of


polis

was reached by

my

a small

front of the platform of the

and was quite unworthy of


in

when

the ground

side

Temple of Nike

Apteros,

iVInesicles' majestic

it

porch.

architectural

was believed that

logic

this

in-

and out of the way road had always been the

means whereby access was had

The

path that passed in

was inspected and

was taken into account,


direct

Acro-

to Athens), the

of every presumption to the contrary,

Yet,

spite

visit

point

present

is

now

is

to the Athenian citadel.

whether the stairway that

the original one.

285

exists

at

vA*
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mB* aS>

ART AND CRITICISM


Scholars are of opinion that the steps which

were reconstructed

ist

Romans

the

still

ex-

course of a restoration by

in the

second or third century, the marble

in the

worn down by the feet


That is a question I
or twenty generations.

of the Greek steps having been

of fifteen
shall not

mere

attempt to solve, for


I

though

tourist,

think

my
is

it

business

is

that of a

likely the scholars are

right.

In the face of the substructure opposite the

two

are

recesses

of the Turks

separated by a pilaster

was the opening,

this

filled

in the

Pnyx
belief

with sand and

walled up, of two subterranean passages which led to


the upper platform

deep

to

enough

they are merely two niches scarcely

hold

statue,

though

afiirmed they were cryptic sanctuaries of

and Demeter Chloe


anes'

"

"
Lysistrata

disposes of this suggestion.


steps,

recently

running up the terrace wall, which


four feet high, leads to the

somewhat
the right

The
no

in

Mother Earth

but a curious scene in Aristoph-

of antique

series

some have

Temple

is

and

replaced,

about twenty-

of Victory, situated

front of the Venetian tower

which

spoils

wing of the Propylaea.

small size of the temple surprises one, but

less elegant

because small

the Greeks

it

is

knew how

286

^ aA* J/ *Jl

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rJt

JU (X* i *! A ! ** rl% 1 A A 1 J^

GREECE

IN

idea of grandeur by the

to impart the
lines,

and
a

eurhythmy of

without needing to resort to enormous masses

this

monument, which might be loaded

bodily

upon

railway truck, does not look in the least crushed by

the

propinquity of the Propylaea

formidable

and the

Parthenon.

The
telicus

miniature temple

marble

throughout of Pen-

lovely material, of so soft a tone

the

built

is

and so perfect a grain, heightens the perfection of the

seems to have been created purposely to furnish immortal flesh for gods and columns for temples.
form.

The
steps,

It

building consists of a cella raised upon three

of two

and

tetrastyle

porticoes,

of the Ionic

one on the facade and the other

order, the

at

the

opposite end.

The

which

facade,

faces obliquely the

rather

is

tower

irregularly orientated,

have mentioned, so that as

one ascends the slope, the posterior portico


diagonally,

which

little

stress, as

monuments

are

metrically.

It

trating a large

seen

contrary to our modern notions

is

of absolute symmetry,
laid

is first

a point

may be

on which the ancients

seen by the fact that their

placed picturesquely rather than geo-

may also be
number of

that the necessity of concen-

buildings within a naturally

287

ART AND CRITICISM


restricted sacred space

of regularity.

lax in the matter

The columns
in

compelled them to be somewhat

of the portico, the shafts of which are

one piece, twelve

crumpled and crinkled by time

upon the body of

tunic

like drapery

with flutings

feet high, are striated

like the folds

a lovely

woman.

negligently cast by Phidias

of a fine

They

upon the hip

Clever breaks and appropriate

of a statue.

have broken the straight

lines

look

erosions

and the clean edges, and

imparted to the marble, of a golden transparency, the

appearance of

Ovid,

of

stories

his

in

byssus cloth.

soft

"

Metamorphoses,"

nymphs transformed

breathing under the


life-like

their

in

warm

bark.

gracefulness,

tells

into

good many

trees

and

still

These columns, so
make one think of

maidens whose white bodies and white draperies have


been caught within the slender blocks.
themselves prolong the illusion, for the
recall

capitals

rounded volutes

the tresses of hair twisted on the temples, and

the ornamentation the rich

As one

gems

in the hair.

looks upon these lovely columns, the idea

suggests itself that perchance ruin adds


ings than
lines

The

it

takes

from them.

It

may be

which have been softened by time


288

more

to build-

that

the

did not at

first

A* f* *A

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GREECE

IN
such

possess
suavity

when

and incomparable

morbide'z.xa^

exquisite

they were brand-new, they must

have

exhibited an architectural regularity that could not have

produced so favourable an
of softening of
well, for, if

it

effect.

Besides, this sort

the Ionic order particularly

reliefs suits

be permitted to assign a sex to columns,

looks, by the side of the virile Doric, like a beauti-

it

fully

the use of a

by the side of an austere and

The

young man.

robust
tified

woman

adorned

more

small size of the temple jus-

delicate style, and the

what slender elegance of the


slightness of the burden
greatly diminished

now,

and the frieze alone

Two

is

shafts

is

explained by the

they had to carry, a burden

for the

pediment has vanished

left.

rather slender pillars, which, besides, are

by the columns, form the entrance to the


are

visible holes cut in the stones

still

the sanctuary

which the

was formerly closed by

faithful

goddess placed
terior

is

The

no

It

There

which show that

a grating, through

could look upon the statue of the


the back

was of wood,

for the

whole of the

like

almost

was venerated on account of

and the very fact that


19

cella.

masked

in-

larger than an ordinary room.

statue

figures.

at

some-

it

all

its

archaic

great age,

was of barbaric form inspired


289

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ART AND CRITICISM


for
as,

more

more

beautiful and

among

would not have been

respect that

a superstitious

skilful

modern work

us, there are certain Black

backgrounds that are

far

Madonnas on

felt

just
gilt

more highly honoured by the

vulgar than the most exquisite Virgins of Raphael.

The

was not that of the Wingless Victory,


but that of Victorious Minerva, or, more literally,
statue

Minerva Victory (Athena Nike). Victory, a purely


allegorical being, had no temple among the Greeks.

The

ancients placed

it,

hand of the gods, as an attribute of omni-

figure, in the

The Minerva

potence.

shape of a small winged

in the

of the Parthenon bore in her

golden Victory, which

she held

in

or

released as she pleased, as a falconer recalls or lets

fly

ivory palm

No

the falcon.

doubt,

when

the meaning of the pagan

myths began to be forgotten, the wingless


surprise,

and

the

statue excited

was. lighted

explanation

ingenious

upon of Nike Apteros being unable

to

fly

away from

the

rock of the Acropolis and being permanently settled


in

the temple.

It

chained figure of

is

Mars

said

that

there

was

that expressed the

in

Sparta a

same

idea by

means of an analogous symbol.

The

roof of the building has fallen

the portico

still

stands, and

it

is

in,

but that of

yet possible to

make

290

GREECE

IN

out the traces of the metal roses within the compart-

Round

ments.

the temple runs a frieze of bassi-relievi^

the figures in which, not through the attacks of time,

which

is

than

far less destructive

but through man's

is

brutality, have

generally believed,

heads or arms

lost

or legs.

What

a singular instinct

which has
sion
its

of imbecile perversity

it

is

led every nation that has appeared in succes-

upon the

of Athens, and which has mingled

soil

bones with the splinters from the broken marble, to

mutilate the

monuments,

bodies of heroes

to scar the

and goddesses, and to dishonour the wondrous masterpieces of antiquity

It

is

impossible to

refrain

from

madly angry, and to include in one general


anathema Romans, Byzantines, Frenchmen, Italians,
feeling

Turks, and modern Greeks,

for

one and

wrought havoc, have profaned and outraged,


it

is

all

have

when

so plainly seen, by the perfect preservation of the

remains spared by cannon-balls,

by pick-axes and hammers, that


have come

down

intact to our

shells,
all

and explosions,

these marvels would

own

times but for the

vandalism of both victors and vanquished

for

upon the

surface of the hard, polished marble of Pentelicus, the

years have streamed like

mere drops of water.

'_

291

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ART AND CRITICISM


On

account of their smaller proportions and of the

comparatively low height


sculptures on

the

must have greatly


is

ever,

casts,
it

in

What

The

London.

frieze

that the pieces

most keenly

on two of the

it

was being put

were used

up, and

for the construc-

sagacity of scholars and antiquarians

been taxed, and

faces,

Turkish powder-magazine.

tion of part of a

The

regret

how-

was removed by Lord Elgin,


It was replaced
by terra-cotta

one of which broke as

was found

Victory

has survived,

make one

so beautiful as to

now

of the Wingless

suffered.

the north and the west,


is

which they are placed, the

Temple

what has vanished.

and

at

is

even

now

has long

taxed, to divine the

mean-

ing of the subject of the eastern frieze, that which

on the facade of the temple.

The most

is

ingenious,

but at the same time the most unsatisfying and uncon-

vincing hypotheses have been put forward; the mutilated

marble keeps

Nor

its

secret

and reveals

its

does art ask more, for what matters

be an apotheosis or a judgment, an
an historical event
In
figure

the

beauty alone.
it

whether

unknown myth

it

or

centre of the composition stands a female

armed with

a shield, her gesture indicating that

she formerly held a lance.

On

292

her right and on her

IN
left,

seated, the

two

are

throne,

GREECE

one upon a rock, the other upon a


figures

in

the

attitude attributed

and on either hand there

divinities,

group of

men and women.

position

there

is

is

Outside

symmetrical

this central

com-

going on an unintelligible action, a

mysterious drama that has given

to

rise

At one of the ends of the

conjectures.

to

innumerable
bas-relief, a

draped and seated figure seems to be contending with

two women

at

the other end, three

women seem

to

be hastening up, while two others appear to be restrain-

nude genie or Cupid.

ing a small winged,

Such

is

the general arrangement that can be

out through the cracks, the worn portions, and


outrages

that

inflicted

upon

so

many

a delicate

made

all

have

of barbarism

centuries

the

masterpiece within the reach

of the maces of the soldiery and the stones of the small


boy, that

everlasting

destroyer.

The

centre and at the ends are very badly

those

in

in

the

damaged, but

the other groups have, as a rule, lost their

heads and
entire,

figures

parts

of their arms only

and there are but few breaks

marble draperies.

It is possible

the torsos are

in the folds

of the

even yet to admire the

free,

proud flow of these draperies, and the harmonious

way

in

which they

cling

undulatingly to

293

the bodies,

A* aJ*

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ART AND CRITICISM


more

an atmosphere than

like

and rhythmical

figures have the balanced

The

like vestments.

attitudes,

and

the slightly bent limbs and prominent hips the ancients

were so fond

human

of,

and that were,

in a

way, the music of

Immortal beauty shines through the


stupid mutilations, and artist souls still own the sway
form.

of the crippled gods and headless heroes.

The

other sides,

more

or less deteriorated, are filled

with bands of warriors, and represent an idealised battle,


the

name and

date

of which

The names

definitively.

of

them

to the lips, but not one of


folds

it

History bites

title.

its

looks at the battle so well

groups so
is

full

of

life, at

Greek

settles

are

Medes

nails,

begun,

fix

victories rise

upon the
its

frieze,

finger

the

but art smiles as


at

the beautiful

the whole composition

so thoroughly sculptural.

enemy

the

impossible to

golden wings, and marks with

its

desired

all

is

it

which

It is quite certain that

the

or Persians, for they are recognisable

by their chlamys, their pleated trews, their almost feminine head-dress, so that

Amazons.
that
is

on

The Greek

at

first

they were taken for

warriors are quite nude, save

their shoulders flutter light mantles,

and there

nothing about them to mark a particular epoch.

would be

less

difficult

It

to settle the sculptural date of

294

GREECE

IN

the friezes, for the style seems to indicate the period


that elapsed

Art has reached the highest point of perfection,

pus.

but

between the times of Phidias and of Lysip-

not yet falling into decadence, though

is

more

it

refined through the necessity of doing something

new and

avoiding

famous

This

commonplaces.

perhaps, for refined minds, the most exquisite


in

the ages of greatness

existence

it

when

moment

conscious of

is

Beauty

is,

its

deliberately brought about instead of

is

when

being spontaneous, and

go

becomes

the supreme end

is

the attempt

attained,

is

successful,

no human

effx)rt

can

farther.
It

would appear, from recent

edge of the

terrace towards

discoveries, that the

the

steps

was adorned

with a balustrade of marble slabs ornamented with


relievi

and surmounted with a

railing.

hassi-

number of

the slabs have been placed within the cella, where they

may be admired.

One

of them represents a

woman

endeavouring to hold back a bull which one of her

companions

is

walking

in

front

of or running away

known

from, and another the winged figure

There

dalled

Victory.

Greek

art

parent

drapery caresses as loving

is

nothing

more

as the

San-

perfect

in

than this youthful body, which the trans-

295

lips

might do.

It

f2^
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ART AND CRITICISM


ceases to be marble

it

woven

Is

weft of wind

air, a

plays about the entrancing form with chaste yet

that

warm

voluptuousness.

unfastens
natural

the

sandal

The
strap

of the arm that

action
is

wonderfully

the other hand lightly grasps

easy

and

the falling dra-

pery, and the fluttering wings partly upbear the bending

body

like

the wings of a bird that has just alighted.

From what

golden

or azure

heaven came down

this

ideal creation, incarnated in the pure marble, the white-

ness of which

time

anonymous Victory be

has

respected

Phidias'

Muse

the Acropolis for the last time ere

vanish for ever

it

not

May

this

poising itself

wings

its

on

flight to

Ill

THE ERECHTHEIUM, THE TEMPLE OF ATHENA


POLIAS, THE PANDROSEIUM

The

plateau

museum.

of

Upon

the
that

formed

Acropolis

narrow

plot of

perfect

ground encum-

bered with temples, statues, and altars, pagan art had


delighted in heaping up marvels, and had

monuments one temple, as


oblation.
It would take a more

these

am

to

restore

and reconstitute

296

it

were,

made of

one

all

single

erudite person than I

all

these buildings, for

<*

>

aw

Mt.

iS>

many

cases

that

all

a^ xw

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a^*

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tSm

GREECE

IN
in

^r

<i3>

of them

is left

is

fragment

of a frieze, a portion of the shaft of a column, a mutilated

sometimes

capital,

not

less,

more than two or

three courses of stone, or a groove in the rock, indicative

of former foundations.

To make

one's

way

intelligently

this

through

of accumulated debris, the triple erudition of

and architect, would

me

be none too great.

with a curious regret

should not have enjoyed

of that

How many
how many

Beule,

rapid

life

previous

and negligent

in

His book

that the

is

it

"
might have written the
Voyage
stead

quarry

of the Acropolis, Hellenist, antiquarian

the historian

fills

M.

which he

in

Greece,"

tourist,

author

in

the

Pausanias.

uncertain points would be cleared up, and


secrets deciphered

Antiquity,

endowed

in

the highest degree with the artistic sense, had not the
gift

of description and criticism

and

it

many

would now

trustworthy pages.

in

a very great

vanished masterpieces that

pity, for there are so


live

is

Admirable

is

the sagacity with which Beule has discovered the sites

of the Temples of Diana Brauronia and Athena Ergane.

He

turns the smallest indication to account, interprets

a difficult text

without forcing the meaning, questions

every stone, reads a date

in

the

297

way

a course

is

clamped,

A af*

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ART AND CRITICISM


in the

more or

depth of a fluting,

in a

lects these scattered

while they would

its

them

less attentive

into a

and

up and resumes

wondrous monuments which

formed the sacred crown of that sublime plateau


statues that have vanished or that have been

pieces by

less

mass of convincing

Bit by bit the building rises

place in the assembly of

to

col-

of information logically, and

nothing to

tell

the

in

He

scoring of the rock.

bits

learned eyes, he unites


proofs.

form of a character,

less archaic

the

smashed

cannon-balls, shells, and explosions, re-

ascend their pedestals and there

is

formed anew,

as

by

the touch of a wizard's wand, the long line of master-

pieces past which the visitor walked from the five gates

of the Propylaea to the three steps of the Parthenon


Propylaean Mercury

for he

the

was

bronze

sculptor ere he

Lioness

the courtesan,

Socrates'

who

erected

three

a philosopher;

honour

of

Leaena

had faithfully kept the secret of

Harmodius and Aristogiton


Callias, the work of Calamis

the

Venus

offered

the bronze

Cresilas, of Dutrephes, the Athenian general


in battle, pierced

the

Draped Graces,

became
in

with arrows

the Hygeia, the

statue

who

by

by
fell

Minerva

Hygeia, a votive offering by Pericles on recovery from


sickness, a bronze figure larger than

298

life,

the

work of

GREECE

IN

Pyrrhus the sculptor, the imprint of the

upon the

visible

whereon Silenus
Nesiotes,

the

feet

being

still

pedestal, yet in existence; the stone


sat

rival

down

the Alcibius Citharadus of

of Phidias;

the

Child bearing a

vase of lustral water, and the Perseus holding the head

of Medusa, the one by Lucius, the son of Myron, the


other by

Myron

himself; the Trojan Horse, an eques-

trian colossus, a

bronze imitation of the famous wooden

horse,

side of which issued

from the

and the two sons of Theseus


butt of the
in

the

comic poet's jokes

Hoplites
the

moycus

race,

pancratiast

all

the gigantic

ram, the

Epicharinus victorious

by Critios and Nesiotes


;

Her-

Phormio, the general, who,

before starting on a campaign,


his debts,

Menestheus,Teucer,

made

have been replaced

the Athenians pay

in their

proper posi-

tions with wonderful intelligence and almost unquestionable

probability,

partly

by making use of the rather

obscure account given by Pausanias, partly in accord-

ance with inductions drawn from the aspect of the


place.
It is

worth watching Beule moving the blocks of

stone, turning

and forcing

which

is

them

them

often

over, studying every side of them,


to

reveal

the ancient

next the ground.

299

The

inscription,

statues

were

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ART AND CRITICISM


away, those

carried

ligious character, for

Golden House, or

them buried

in

which were not of a

at least

the purpose of adorning Nero's


scattered parts of

else there are but

The

the debris.

being heavy and of

little

undisturbed, and they

it

however,

pedestals,

interest at that time,

were

Pliny.

servility

utilised the greater

the time of the

Roman

number of

tors,

mation,

placing on

marble blocks which

simply reversing the

this

Greek

rule,

figures of proconsuls or obscure administra-

supported the vanished masterpieces, and


to

spelling

these pedestals,

shorn of the statues they had borne, by

them the

means

this

By

he has even been able to correct mistakes in

made by

left

which have been examined

is

by Beulewith almost invariable success.

At

re-

practice that so

unknown

until

many
the

it

is

had

thanks

valuable bits of infor-

present

day,

have

been

recovered.
It is

upon these

archaeologist

read

pedestals that the

the

young and learned

names of Strongylion,

Sthenis,

and Leochares, the sculptor of Thundering Jove, of

Crowned Apollo, and of Ganymede, the sculptor


who wrought the friezes of the tomb of Mausoleus
the

with Briaxys and Scopas.

Strange

is

the mingling

on

one and the same block of marble of the names of an

300

GREECE

IN

Athenian family and of Caesar Augustus, Germanicus,


Trajan, and Hadrian

not follow Beule farther in his

I shall

which have enabled

vestigations

him

learned

restore the

to

vanished nation of statues and to people with a


of bronze and marble

figures

in-

swarm

the desolate loneliness

of the Acropolis, which antiquity had transformed into


a

sort

of

little

Dunkirk

of

masterpieces.

have to quote constantly from his work


tell

where

it

was

that stood the group of

should

order to

in

Minerva

strik-

ing Marsyas, the Fight of Theseus, the statue of Flavius

Conon, the helmeted

man

with

the

nails, the

silver

work of Cleotas, Earth beseeching Jupiter Fluvius,


for
whose altar was on the summit of Hymettus,

to the visitor's eye there

is

naught

visible but a chaotic

mass of overthrown blocks of stone, and


antiquary's

worn

patience

portions in the

to

recognise the

museum

takes

it

mutilated

an

and

of fragments, a sort of

Hospital of the Invalids of sculpture, which

is

situated

under the portico of the Pinacothek.

On

the

left

of the Parthenon, on issuing from the

Propylaea, are seen the ruins of three temples, placed

one against another without any care


and each

in a different style

for

of architecture.

301

symmetry,

They

are

ft*

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!* 4**l**l!**i9*lil4*s**i*l i* *A*

ART AND CRITICISM


those of Minerva Polias, Erechtheium, and of Pandrosos, called also the

ment

is

a further proof of the fact that the ancients did

not lay as

moderns
it

much

stress

upon absolute

to please the eye

we

they avoided

by the non-continuity of

appear to have been acquainted with the

They

of intersequence, and

laws

regularity as

are apt to think, and indeed that

in order

lines.

This curious arrange-

Pandroseium.

in this respect

they often

bear out the ingenious views put forward by Ziegler in


his

ornament.

may be

It

and the principles of

into ceramics

investigation

that

the case in point the

in

was due

peculiar placing of the buildings

to local super-

which forbade the adoption of any other plan.


Within the Erechtheium was the salt spring which

stitions

Neptune caused
of

his dispute

of Athens.
the spring
face,

to well

up from the ground

at the

time

with Minerva concerning the patronage

Earthquakes and landslips have dried up


itself,

but there are

still

visible

on the rock-

through the disjointed flagstones, three marks not

unlike the deep scores that would be

blow with

a gigantic

trident.

In

all

made by

a violent

ages superstition

has delighted in interpreting such natural peculiarities


as traces

of the passage of the gods, and even

the Pyrenees one

is

shown the
302

cut

now

in

made by Roland's

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of Serendib the print of Adam's

in the island

foot.

The Temple
the City) had

of Athena Polias (that

its

portico

theium, against which

it

upon the

was

entered as through a side door.

sort

geometrical
letter

T.

side

Protectress of

of the Erech-

placed, so that

The

could only be entered through the

formed a

is,

it

could be

Pandroseium, which

Temple of Minerva,

of parallelogram with this portico, the

outline

of the plan being not unlike the

Like the Temple of Athena

Polias, the

Erech-

theium was Ionic, while the Pandroseium belonged to

no known order of architecture, and


example of
I

tion

that sort of construction

is

the one and only

known.

have endeavoured to give an idea of

this

agglomera-

of sanctuaries so strangely placed by each other

and assembled under the influence of religious

Erechtheus had

would be

a very

difficult

to

ideas.

complicated genealogy, which

it

explain without giving offence.

Vulcan, enamoured of Minerva, attacked her so fiercely


that

if

Earth had not generously substituted herself for

the goddess pursued by the lame blacksmith, the bluish-

green-eyed deity would have run the risk of seeing her


reputation

for virginity greatly

compromised.

Erech-

theus, the offspring of this disappointed lust, passed at

303

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ART AND CRITICISM


first

for being the son of

Vulcan and the Earth, then,

of the Earth alone, whence his appellation of

later,

Autochthone. Minerva, however, moved by


child in a basket

and brought

gibes of the gods and the

the divine blind

man

was somewhat

his

it

up

pity,

put the

in secret, fearing the

Olympic laughter of which

speaks.

mother.

And

then, in a way, she

In Minerva's sanctuary

dwelt the three daughters of Cecrops, Aglauros, Herse

One

and Pandrosos.

day the goddess, having observed

was not properly defended on the


west, ingeniously bethought herself of fetching a mountain from Pellene, and warned the three sisters not tc

that her beloved city

look

the

into

basket.

Pandrosos alone obeyed hei

injunctions, Aglauros and Herse

the chattering basket flew off to


erva,

who was

arm, and

were
tell

less discreet,

the tale to

let it fall in

Lycabetus, which

was dropped,

her surprise and confusion at find-

The mountain

may be

seen, at the very place

raising into the blue

heavens

gilded by the sun, and bearing an hermitage.

became
sisters

all

Min-

returning with her mountain under hex

ing that her secret was discovered.

it

and

the dearer to the goddess

its

is

where

summit

Pandrosos

the other

two

threw themselves down from the top of the

Acropolis.

Erechtheus dethroned Pandion, King of

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Athens, instituted the Panathenaic

upon,

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GREECE

IN
ples in

4S

tif

tiSw

tem-

festival, raised

honour of Minerva, u^hom he might well look


if

not as his mother, at least as having been the

cause of his coming into the world, and he was buried

under the sacred

soil

Thus around
grouped,

if

of the Acropolis.

Temple of Athena

the

were

Polias

one may use such an expression

in

connec-

tion with pagan divinities, the chapels of her adopted son

Erechtheus and of Pandrosos, her trusty confidant.

The Greeks

Middle Ages turned the Erech-

in the

theium into a church


Dislar

Aga

used

for

it

Turkish

under the
his

harem.

rule,

These

the

beautiful

buildings were spared no outrages, until the happier days

when

the fragments overthrown

were put back

in their

by the cannon-balls

places and the outward appear-

ance of the fanes was nearly restored.

It is

impossible

to give any idea of the perfection and the finish

the Greeks lavished upon their

of the gate of the


exist,

some

in

Temple of Athena

their proper place,

ground, where they

adorned with a

monuments;
Polias,

some

the jambs

which

still

fallen to the

may be examined more

fillet

which

closely, arc

of pearls alternating with olives,

wrought out with the most incredible delicacy, and by


the side of which the finest gems seem coarse.
Never
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M B

ART AND CRITICISM


did Cleopatra

wear upon her

regal

arms a bracelet of

rounder, more polished, more beautifully strung

gems

than these marble pearls which, to me, are as good as


those of Ophir, and which the ages seem to have taken
pleasure in rendering

more

lustrous.

Close by these fragments of antiquity a piece of marble,


in

wrought out with the praiseworthy object of serving


the restoration of one of the parts, showed how

modern work

vastly different

is

from ancient work, and

although the copy was mathematically correct.

this
It

was

bronze

in

this

palm

tree,

temple that used to burn, under a


the golden

lamp chased by

machus, the inventor of the Corinthian


a

capital,

and that

Hermes who,
the home of the

modest myrtle veiled the obscenity of

incongruously enough, was lodged in

Calli-

virgin goddess.

The Pandroseium
forth

contained the olive tree brought

from the ground by Minerva during her dispute

with Neptune, and under the foliage of the sacred tree,

emblematic of the source of Attica's wealth, rose the


altar

of Jupiter Herceus.

The

entablature of the Pandroseium does not rest

upon columns,
its

vicinity,

like the friezes

but upon

of the other temples in

caryatids,

306

living

pillars,

whose

GREECE

IN

rich and powerful forms support unyieldingly the weight

of the architrave.

capital adorned with

way of an
rich in

the

on

architectural head-dress, rests

their heads,

thick curls and plaited tresses, and admirably

manages the

The

ova and strings of pearls, by

transition

between nature and the building.

idea no doubt occurred to the artist

young

girls

when he saw

returning from drawing water at the

fountain of Callirhoe with their urns balanced on their


heads.

The arms

are cut off, like those of the

Venus

of Milo, but intentionally, for the projection of the

arms would have disturbed the monumental aspect of


the figures.

The

folds, like the flutings

in

each case.

fall

draperies

One

of a

pillar,

in

broad, symmetrical

and are nearly similar

of the caryatids was carried off by

Lord Elgin and has been replaced by

The Pandroseium
produced by Greek
itself in this

by the
It
full

the

one of the most lovely fancies

is

art, so

was between

of the

this

height the colossal

aigrette

noble that

it

seldom indulged

way and merely renewed consecrated forms

ideal perfection

armed with

a copy.

shield

trio

details.

of temples that rose to

statue of

its

Athena Promachus,

and lance, and wearing her helmet,

of which was visible at

sea

from Cape

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ART AND CRITICISM


Sunium,
adays

all

as if to terrify the foes of

spoils the right

Pallas

But now-

one sees within the bay of the Piraeus are the

rent outlines of the Parthenon

which

Athens.

and the Gothic tower

wing of the

Propylaea.

Athene no longer keeps watch and ward over

her city.

308

"The

Magic Hat

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MAGIC HAT

r/ffi

BASrONADE

ONE ACT

in

ONE COUPLET with the


COLLABORATION of M. PAUL SIRAUDIN
and

in

VERSE

and

First performed at the Theatre des Farietes, April 7, 1845,


and revived at the Theatre de V Od'eon^ November 30, 1872.

Si*

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CHARACTERS

The

G^RONTE
Valere

Champagne

Frontin

Marinette

scene

in

is

Inez

front of Geronte's house^ in a public square.

SCENE

Frontin, Marinette
f/^rj.

nette

here

(./f/^^).

{also

aside).

would have thought

{aside).

Marinette

Mari-

Marinette
FRONTIN
Who
Frontin

What!

The wretch
The

rascal

{aside').

3'i

it

Frontin

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THE MAGIC HAT

have
show
Frontin
self.

She

has

me.

seen

to

shall

(^aside^.

myGood morning,

(^Jloud.)

Marinette.

Marinette.
good

friend

Frontin.

is

the country, on

Good
back
I

Frontin.

got back

You

my

my estate.
Marinette.
Why, I

penitentiary.

So

Frontin.

morning,

flatter

thought

you were

But

me.

was

yesterday only.

seem

the

in

to

in

have

heard that for lack of a chateau where you might the

summer

spend, you

months

six

nay, do not blush for

it

such a thing

while

did

within the Reformatory.


Marinette. Whence

away

may happen

to

the best,

issued the very

same day

when, through some misunderstanding, no doubt, that


uncle of yours on the public square was hanged.

Frontin.

He was

'

Alas, yes

worthy man.

In company with your

Heaven envied

sire.

earth for hav-

ing him, and so the air had to be put between them.

Ha! ha! ha!


Marinette.

What
is

is

Let

us

drop

dangerous

the use of recalling such

apt to be unfortunate, and

312

if

trifles

subjects.

Everybody

perchance among our

l/*l "4^ *' * iy !' (jr*


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si* *!* I*i#l*


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aib

THE MAGIC HAT


relatives

we count some

of those great minds which are

not understood or appreciated by narrow-minded


judges,
is

that a reason for publicly proclaiming

is

not the

way between

Frontin.

You

What

change.

Marinette.

No

it ?

that

friends.

are

Let

right.

now

are you doing

Don't you
Marinette. am merely

believe

subject

Nothing contrary

Frontin.

the

us

to virtue.

it.

advising a

young lady

oppressed by a grievous guardian.

Where
Marinette. You
Frontin.

F^RONTiN.
joking.

Come,

insolent fellow!

do not get mad.

Be done with your


at

your lordship doing

Frontin.

am

confound him.

of hard work.
if

present

in the
I

valet.

we

It

was only

I
is

swear

me

chafF.

What

service of a gentleman in

my

little profit

hand

to be

and plenty

Ah

to anything.

should not have taken him for

not easy to be a valet.

born master instead

It is a

would prove but a poor servant.

my

hard trade

are expected to be patterns of every virtue;

a hero

is

get very

have to turn

only fate had caused

of servant,

you get a character?

have the highest regard for you.

Marinette.

love,

did

many

Masters

vJU
li4
Jta m Jf (^

vjU & *B* *s* i!*s**s**s*s**la**ss**i**s**sf * a*4i


w* " >v>

MM

VM am

THE MAGIC HAT


should like to

iK

know what

they would do without us,

That

all

the brutes.

Marinette.
some one were
Frontin.

is

very fine, but suppose

to tell your master

He would only

what you say

He

laugh.

me;

likes

have vices.

Marinette.
Frontin.
love,

Which

and these two

Marinette.

simple-minded

Frontin.
Marinette.
is

clever, but he

in

is

each other console.

way with me;

the

is

be to

am

timid

my

for

of

too

maid were

You
And

can be trusted to do your duty,

by the way,

should like to

know

the motive that leads you, at this unseasonable

hour, to

roam around

Marinette.
position

Why

faults

it.

That

what use could

what

own

are of great service to his.

this place.

Like

yourself, Frontin, I

commit an

to

do you, dear

rascal,

indiscretion.

am

in

commit

a
it.

prowl round here, your cap

over your eyes, and your cloak on your shoulder?

Frontin.

You

answer yours.

Marinette.
from

me

answer

You know

for the asking.

question,

that

you can get nothing

am

3H

and

my

woman

'11

of principles.

A*A* M- A L% *
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THE MAGIC HAT

Frontin. 'T was


Marinette. You
not ever thus

conceited fellow.

You have short memory.


rude.
Marinette. And you
Frontin.

are

You
Marinette. You
Frontin.

upon me.

are hard

are indiscreet.

And you
Marinette. Sh some one comes.
Frontin. Why,
Champagne, Geronte's
Frontin.

inquisitive.

't is

What

valet.

a fool he looks.

Marinette.

And

ugly

SCENE
The

II

Same, Champagne

Hallo Champagne.
Frontin.
Champagne. Hallo
Frontin. How
Mr. Geronte
of
Champagne. In
Frontin.

is

the best

.?

health,

some one knocks him on the head, he

Marinette.

He

is

still

quite a lusty

A
Marinette. Well preserved.
Champagne. Full of
Champagne.

little

will

dusty.

preserves.

and unless
never

man.

die.

4: 4: db 4: i:

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THE MAGIC HAT


Marinette.

Very

Champagne

lively.

Yes, when he has

and no

his stick

gout.

Marinette.
taste than

my

Frontin.
about

now

ward

sav

he

is

more

young fellow who puts on

What

to

side.

worthy master of yours

that

is

Putting under

very pretty

bright, penetrating eyes,

so

what

stick to

many

Champagne.
safe

that, in

jealous

girl

a youthful

Miss

spite

of

becoming prodigal for her


Frontin.
Nonsense.

bars, bolts, locks,

and

with

angel

whom

he

is

his closefistedness,

he

is

Inez, of

sake.

In the way of iron-work.


Marinette. A prudent man and a guardian wise.

Champagne.

And he successful
Champagne. Not

Frontin.

is

particularly.

out to bewitch

too old, too ugly, too

too

much

He

girls.

is,

to

much of an

He

win so

is

not cut

fair a

maid,

ass,

and, above

did

not create

all,

of a miser.

Frontin.

Heaven

evidently

him

with a view to his being loved.

Champagne.

No

one has ever loved

ronte.

316

Mr. Ge-

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THE MAGIC HAT


Frontin.

Not even

Champagne.

His

At
Champagne. Mr.

you
Frontin. What
Frontin.

wife

his

wife

Not much.

that rate, then

Geronte was,

in

polite

can

assure

is

called

language

" deceived."

Champagne.

He was

She

to the lady.

is

those were fine times

dead

used to carry the notes

God

my

pile,

which

master, who, as he desires to retain

perhaps, for he

is

naturally

money, though he
the rest, he feeds

ducts from

on
of

the hands of

in

is

was born under

Frontin.

If

it,

saved a

Mr. Geronte,
keeps

me

too

disinclined to return

enough

quick

to take

For

it.

than a sporting dog

de-

the cost of the sticks he breaks

me

dresses

take

in

to flight.

most niggardly

you choose

And
Champagne. No,
Marinette.

much

me worse

my wages

my back, and
me the crows

you a rich

is

had drinks galore, and out

of the fees earned by carrying the missives

handsome

Ah

her soul.

rest

such rags that

Curse

my

at sight

luck

star.

to serve

me,

I shall

make

shall love you.

thank you.

am

a virtuous

THE MAGIC HAT


chap and
for,

the

did he

man

have nothing to do with crooked ways

will

happen

to kick

to hear of

me

out and keep

So you
Champagne. Yes,

Frontin.

Frontin
lout

Here

at

you

is

Frontin.

just

cash.

my

say no.

You

How

is

rascal,

do you

like

you! you

being licked

Champagne.
Marinette

refuse

(thrashing him).

you dunderhead
's

Mr. Geronte

it,

Help!

Help!

Murder!

me

pinching and Frontin killing

Fall in with

my

Pass

it

roll

of gold.

over.

Serve me
Champagne. What do you
Frontin. You

Frontin.

plans, and before your

dazzled sight shall sudden shine a

Champagne.

Help!

first.

scoundrel

me for.?
You mean

take

Here you

honest and to your master true.

(He

thrashes

to

be

are, then

him again.)

SCENE HI
The
Geronte.
ing

Same, Geronte

What

Champagne

for

's

that

What

are

you thrash-

p ! v^v *i* ! * ! ! I* i*| I* {I**!**!*


* A> <
vM
> <
i*>

Mw

*!

* * r*

a^tb

Ww

iP*

THE MAGIC HAT


he
and
Frontin. He
deserves

wish

had

laid

all

gets,

only

on harder.

What has he done?


Frontin. Done
Nothing
Geronte.

An

point.
after all,

it

servant

idle
is

that

is

just

undeserving of respect,

is

quite plain that he

is

the
for,

not engaged merely

to spit into a well and to cross his arms.

Geronte.

You

My

man

Ah!

idle?

wretch!

the

swindle me.

Champagne.

Sir, I

Do
Frontin.
Geronte.

it

have finished

my

work.

over again, then.

Instead of staying at home, he drinks

at a

tavern until he loses his senses.

Marinette.

See

for yourself,

sir.

The

blazes in his face, and the wine on his nose

written

in

liquor

red has

Drunkard.

Champagne.

If I

am

drunk, so are the fishes

in

the river.

Geronte.
that

Is

it

to

fill

yourself up with

engaged you, you guzzler

Champagne.

am

still

fasting.

The

Frontin Qhoving hirri).


under him, makes him think he
a storm.

liquor

is

ground, giving way

on board

a skiflf in

A% Mi* aX*
R* Wi^

VM *
Ofl*

* !

>

(>

v^

'
M

ar*

*<X c rl vl* eVs ci^ eft* rJU rl* k


f^
MM Xb
< *> XT* WP* VT* W < VT M'
aivi*

THE MAGIC HAT


He
Marinette
(pushing him).

dance on a tight-rope.

not

f^RONTiN (again pushing him^.


wall to lean up against

Champagne.

could

certainly

Shall I fetch

Stop shoving me!

You
You loathsome
Marinette. And while he
round
Geronte.

sot

beast

for

it

would be the

some gay young

in that

staggers

beastly state,

you a

easiest thing in the

world

swallow of love, a

spark, light

balcony skimming as day declines, to

make

his

to

way

your ward's room.

Geronte.
ward

My

crazy.

Heaven
treasure

What

do

Lovers, robbers

dismiss you, you scoundrel

Champagne.

Sir, I repeat that

hear

shall

Geronte.

money

or

You

keep

to

pay

no
the

for

with you, you wretch

Away

Police

'11

brain you.

cost

(running

of

320

your

keeping

it.

Champagne

Help
away).

back.

So

witnesses.

all hustle
( TTjey

Champagne

least give

have

go

Not another word,


me my money
Champagne. At
GiRONTE,

My

out,')

Help

THE MAGIC HAT


SCENE IV
G^RONTE, FrONTIN, MaRINETTE

Well,

Geronte.
paced rascal
I

will give

if

He may

am

protest as

him nothing back,

thrifty, save

Frontin.

such a

for

sum when

that

thorough-

much

as he pleases

how

could he, even

pay him nothing

He must have robbed

Marinette.
Frontin.

of

rid

you.

It is plain as a pike-staff.

The

fellow's

money

is

yours.

less

indulgent master would send him to sea to write with


a

foot

fifteen

pen, and wearing, for fear of colds, a

superb cap of the most brilliant red.

Marinette.

To

go and deceive you!

shame, when you are so kind and

Geronte.

not to return the

am

sufficiently

money, and

It

is

trustful.

avenged since

would

have

just as lief he

went and got hanged elsewhere.


Frontin.
That 's right, but there you are without a valet now.

GfeRONTE.

What
no

Without

rank ill-fortune

valet

ZI

It is

it

a
is

valet,

for a

man

positively shameful.

321

as

you
like

truly

me

to

say.

have

4* * 4*

*4^

%* ** *S* ** **=* 9* S***S*S*S**i* *S* 'S^Vfi

*if*

THE MAGIC HAT


Frontin. You cannot
certainly,

own

august hands, ink the seams of your breeches and

beat your

own garments

No,

Geronte.
laugh at me.

your curls

all

Heaven

In

morn

Geronte.

the neighbours.

they would jeer and

to

is

grease,

at

night,

what an abyss of woe

have

fallen,

Marinette.
fire at

who

all

limp

Geronte.

of

in sight

of course;

And

Marinette.

Ah

with your

sir,

And who

to

is

come and

light

your

Sadness oppresses

me.

am

done.

Champagne, my good, my

faithful

Champagne,

miss you terribly.

Frontin.

He was

Marinette.

Frontin.

Geronte.

a fool.

drunkard.

thief.

All that I grant, yet if he stole, I

the receiver, and henceforth

he will put the

Frontin.

kicked

him

Geronte.

woe

is

me

fruits
It

is

of

most

out, think

But

his

it

is

in

was

other hands that

savings.

sad,

but

since

you have

no more of the matter.

who

is

322

to take his place

.?

Ah,

rl
>'* *
9^
ww r*
aiv* otw >>

A<1 viE* J/* M/% M% J/% 1 1 1J;1>!JII>


yS* tm* *> *w MM ar* MM f av wr *>t > *

THE MAGIC HAT

Frontin.

Marinette.

Geronte.

I shall.

I shall.

make

It is difficult to

a choice

between

you two, Frontin and Marinette.

Frontin.

honest, active, intelligent

and drink even

eat but little,

Marinette.
of attentions.
I

am

Sir, I

And
I

I, for

warm

his

hold his candle for him,

Frontin.

me

You

If

my

bed and

little,

engage you.

Marinette.

sir,

my

full

Let

dear.
sir,

it

is

ask nothing of you,

say twenty crowns.

Fifteen

his

cause very well.

crowns and the honour of

being your maid will be sufficient reward for


It is

am

slippers too

serve you,

The fellow pleads

GfeRONTE.

his

out of sheer disinterestedness.


or but very

master,

offer to

less.

are out of breath,

put in a word.

my

pains.

for glory I serve.

Geronte.

I'

faith,

she

is

alluring

mouth and sparkling eye.


Ten crowns, sir,
Frontin.

pretty

like

her

engage you.

will

be enough for

me.

Geronte.

Then

Marinette.

Not

take you.
so

fast,

sir.

care

for

the

THE MAGIC HAT


master more than for the pay

and

am

Frontin. Hold
at

me

so give

five

crowns

your service.

at

Geronte.

nothing

It is settled,

on,

then, Marinette.
will

please.

serve

for

man

for

all.

In

Geronte.

case

that

you

the

're

me.

Marinette.
shall

receive pay instead of me, and

hundred

You

have a better offer to make.

you a

will give

pistoles a year.

Geronte.

That

is

much

better plan.

Come

along, Marinette.

Frontin.

Marinette.
Frontin.

Marinette.

Geronte
pect

am

willing to give

And
I

two hundred.

three hundred.

add the pickings.

And
So
I

the cast-ofF clothes.

much

(aside).

something.

persistency

What

can

be

zeal

the

makes me
object

sus-

of such

Marinette.

Don't

yourself with

such

compel me to warn you

load

ne'er-do-weel.

My
Marinette. That
Frontin.

feelings
if

you engage him you

acquire in him a rich collection of dissolute ways.

324

will

THE MAGIC HAT


She

Frontin.
more

has every possible vice, and a few

besides.

Geronte.

The

truth

is

she does look like a real

bad one.

Frontin.

That

Marinette.

is

All

the only true thing about her.

very fine, but pray look at him,

with his bird-of-prey eyes and his dark complexion; he


Is

a regular cut-throat

Geronte.

shows

it

Marinette

other.

hesitate to choose

entirely share the opinion

am

off to look for

which he generally

him

still

so, all things

Champagne,

prefer

in the

believe you

you have of each

between you

duly weighed and considered,

and

over him.

and Frontin,

both, and
I

all

low pot-house to

resorts.

(^He goes out.)

SCENE V
Frontin, Marinette
Frontin.

The

devil

is

in

it

The

old goose has

flown, regularly scared away.

Marinette.
Frontin.

Was

Marinette.
driving

at.

Tell me, Frontin, was

such a fool

tongue-tied, Marinette.?

should have seen what you were

*p* * r *

**

vi* wv

VT*

W^^*

??

* 'PC vr

^^^

vr#

^^^^

t^ *

*<

* *

THE MAGIC HAT


Frontin.
coming

We

to an

have hurt each other for want of

understanding.

Marinette.

undid your work.

And
Marinette. We

Frontin.

other up.

Frontin.

The

spoiled your job.

trouble

have

to

ought

is

too

many

backed

each

rascals spoil

the broth.

Marinette.

And

is

always warned by one

fair

and openly, and talk

dupe

or the other.

Frontin.

Let

without guile.

Marinette.
Frontin.

us play

You were working

Marinette.

Yes

Frontin

Exactly.

for the girl

and you

You were
Marinette. And you
Frontin. Enough

for

said

for the lover?

The coincidence

Frontin.

was, like yourself.

You were

Marinette.

a love intrigue

Inez

is

singular.

for Valere
i

and work together.

326

let

us

kiss, join

forces,

* #4
fii*

^K

r^ ^
Vm

v vw

ffi

Jl #A^
ms *

tfJU

MM

ff

>* v4 (# ^f* !
l^#!i#l#l
wT* ft^ 'fw ftw*

TW ^< w*

^w

!;?'

a^*

THE MAGIC HAT


SCENE VI
The

But

Frontin.

Same, Valere

my new

see

stay, I

master,

Mr.

that can help

him

Valere, approaching.

Marinette.
with the

girls

He has everything

he

is

handsome, young,

Everything,
money.
quality

Frontin.
essential

brought any cash

Valere.

(To

By

the powers

Speak more

Frontin.
hateful

resolutely

who

lets

Then what

is

the use

respectfully of Gcronte.

scruples, to be sure.

Jews look

after you,

A
and

refuses to die.

He has
Frontin. That

Valere.

him

the

What touching

uncle

Have you

Valere.^

a red.

of having a fool of an uncle

Valere.

word, save the one

Not

Frontin.

in

disinherited me.
is

another story;

in that

case

let

live.

What have you done your


have thought out a very
Frontin.

Valere.

for

fail

subtle trick,

which cannot

part

to succeed.

JL% ! vA*
S*

m*

*>*/

*
aJ/* rM *!(* mU *> r * 1 > 1 #* ^ .C
m vtw wr *<* mw uw ftrm *w*
wB* MM ! Mw r*

?> tS* JB

!r

THE MAGIC HAT


Let me hear
know
Frontin. Not
VALiRE.

it.

if I

means much

it

The

Frontin.

direction

this

cast

heavens

indeed

shines forth, smiling and rosy

Dawn

morning, eh

has

come

out

on the balcony

And makes

Valere.

the rose pale by comparison

itself.

Frontin.

metaphorical.

of rhetoric

beg pardon,

You

sir,

are wasting

now, opportunity

is

but your style

your time
a

is

too

in flowers

woman, and

will

not wait.

Marinette, you keep watch yonder, and

at the foot

of this wall will give you,

you

with

sash

panes.

Frontin.

with

in

behold the heavens open.

Valere. Dawn

this

sir,

on the Balcony

Inez appearing.

The

bottle-green

my

VII

Same, Inez

Pray,

Marinette.

Valere.

Secrecy

to you.

SCENE

It is

am dumb.

such stratagems, and the success of

in

plan alone shall reveal

glance.

it.

to rise to the level of

your

fair.

sir,

lift

to help

S**B vA* aXw

v^

vJ^

!/

A *1 j>i:*Ci*l*j^*^ *{ Jt%

THE MAGIC HAT


How can

Valere.

ever repay

Do that by and by, when you are


Valere. Frontin, you are my saviour.
Frontin.

Frontin.

Come,

One, two
Valere. And up

no

lose

time;

in funds.

with

up

you.

(^He climbs on Frontiri

Frontin. Hang on to the


To to your
Valere

back^

railing.

rise

{to Inez).

would need

Inez, one

level,

to be a king's or a hero's son.

Frontin.

All

you need

Frontin to give you a

is

back.

Val^ire.

plunged
attract

feel

am

have nothing,

naught

am

But your eyes,

you.

and

in

once

at

adorable

murderous, pierce with their glance the stoutest

Take

poverty

well aware, that can

and

shields.

not offence at the sighs breathed by poor wretches

Be not angered
which these glances chance to strike.
by my audacious hopes, and deign to accept a heart
which

is

wholly yours.

Inez.

It is

easy to pardon

when

the offence

is

so

sweet.

Be

Valere.
a start
'

"

I
'

sure

my

very nearly

fell.

--

,,,.

love

,...-

,1

I.I

Hang

it!

..

What

pa

/ **

ftf*^

# vJL^
*^
w# viv viv

^^
'

M
M JL vA*
#X A #1^ A
A^ >* #A a 9^
f* t* 'r np* w^* 0X
r
wie m ^ 9 f mm
r

r*

vivw

'V*

5w

THE MAGIC HAT


Frontin.

you are heavy

Sir,

Finish up,

as lead.

and for heaven's sake do not be too long.


Inez.

Valere,

Valere, and
straint

do confess

which

in

others.^

less

longer.

It

believe your words.

too soon, but the con-

all

an

avowal,

would

have

excuses

live

watched,

carefully
is

it

love you,

which
delayed

such extremities that jealous gray-

to

beards force young maids they keep imprisoned.

Valere.

-Your

spect.

Marinette.
picious monster

rise

Look
e'en

is

Quick!

Frontin.
you

and

Inez.

now showing

It

Look

is

my

re-

sus-

in the distance.

Let Inez bend down, and do


of her

fair

fingers.

Geronte.

alive

Farewell, Valere, farewell.

Frontin.
change of

out for yourselves

kiss the tips

Marinette.

Frontin.

frankness, Inez, increases

Now,

air

let

the rest of us seek swiftly a

and scene.

Within what

SCENE

VIII

Geronte

alone

ditch, or against

off his drink, lies that rascal of

33

what

mine

wall,

sleeping

Champagne,

THE MAGIC HAT


are

you dead

Have you

for a coffin ta'en a staved-in

cask of Brie or Argenteuil


pearl

among

servants,

You model

more virtuous than

by heaven brought forth

tiquity,

shall I replace

Why

you

suppose

How

serve

to

slaves of an-

specially for

without you

tried

of valets,

live

me, how

That

myself?

would be a way out of the problem.


I should order
I should
myself about, and myself obey
always be at
;

hand when

pull the bell

down

do that

wanted mvself, and


for

ha

valet fooling
I

trump.

So, then,

my
at

me, you may proclaim

it

with sound of

shall

pocket your gold and hand

poor

ward, to wife.

spells,

shivering

death

under

clear moonlight.

And when

ardour

espy,
I

'11

with

cool.

She

gallants,

to

over to

And

shall read.

shall

and by her side lying

fortune, freezing

mine

myself

it

this

to-morrow, careless of praise or blame,

my

coughing
you,

eagerly engage myself.

you catch

all,

take Inez,

have always

if

myself; your scented notes


to better

one knows better than

gay young sparks,

my

No

morals are perfect and that

my

behaved honourably.

Ha

me.

should not have to

that

two or three

seekers
the

nurse

in

shall laugh

of amorous

balcony in the

precious
pails

me

nephew of

of water

his

A*

J;*

l* vs*

tM* V*

^M

til*

v^v * v^* '4**i4f4*li%*>*A*ii* >' Ic


<tm
! tKW f* av* wl* M MW ! <

THE MAGIC HAT


SCENE IX
Geronte, Valere

What
Valere.
Geronte. Your
Geronte.

confess, uncle, that

mud.

You

and you

't is

I.

will be taking root

feet

remain stuck too long

will

Valere.

you here again

the

in

the

in

same

spot,

be putting out leaves in spring.

came

to

Very good now be


Valere. beg of you
Geronte.

ofF.

Begging of no
Uncle, must embrace you.

GtRONTE.
Valere.
Geronte.

use.

is

^-No, thank

you

are too fond of

you

embracing, nephew mine.

Uncle, have
Geronte.
Valere. But uncle
have
Geronte. May

Valere.

nose

you

off;

if I listen

what

's

make

refuse to listen to any confessions.

my

a confession to

a boil

on the very

ever to aught you say

more,

Valere.

-I love

Geronte.

You

curse you

tip

of

have cut

indecent youth

shame on

THE MAGIC HAT


your crude speech

wig blush.

Val^re.

lasciviousness

(As Val^re

my

If ever again I catch you

see

my

gold-topped cane

he ineets Fronting with

goes out

knowing

makes

sir.

place

exchanges a

Inez

I love

Enough,
Do you

G^RONTE.
in this

Your

whom

he

look.^

Val^re. Uncle, you


G^ronte. Off with

are

violent.

you

My

hands are trem-

bling with wrath.

Val^re.
fate

my

Keep cool

'm

And now

off.

hangs

upon the success of Frontin's scheme.

SCENE X
G^ronte, Frontin
Frontin
is

(^aside^.

There

trick
Sir,

you

what

move

you,

shall

the matter

GERONTE.
Frontin.

You

am choking

For what

GfeRONTE.

What

is

man, since

teach you a lesson, and

(^Aloud as he co7nes forward.)

in rare fashion.
is

no mistake that Geronte

So, unnatural old

a fierce sort of uncle.

nothing can

is

look put out.

with anger.

reason

.?

the reason that causes a quiet-

tempered uncle to turn red and blue

333

i^ A* aX* rX rJU cA* 1 vA*

^ rh% *J^ *>** *A *

aJ*

^a

THE MAGIC HAT


A nephew.
Geronte. Because, forsooth

Frontin.

he claims to be

my

me beyond

brother's son, that cursed Valere exasperates


control.

Happy,

Frontin.
has

happy he that no

thrice

Geronte.

Under

Inez' balcony every day

upon him, working out some

Frontin.
are

grows

him

is

In

come

trick devising.

China

vases, daisies

meads, violets daintiest

in

the

by the waterside, and wallflowers on roofs,

iris

the

the

some

plan,

Tulips look well

seemliest in

woods,
but

relations

of flower

kind

a lover.

that

best

under a window

that

Inez has noticed

may be

It

Geronte.
the ground.

catch cold

if

Frontin.

Well and

truly shall

But put on your

you remain hatless

If I were to

appear from your sight

I 'd

put

you

will

on

my

hat

I 'd dis-

be eclipsed.

in

Geronte.

What nonsense

Frontin.

No
my

in the street.

What do you mean


Frontin. would vanish
at

hoe and weed

hat, Frontin

Geronte.

Pray look

nonsense

at

a flash.

are

you talking

all,

but

solid

truth.

hat.

334

THE MAGIC HAT

Geronte.

It is

napless and of washed out

fairly

colour.

You

Frontin.
in, filthy,

bare

I '11

may add

it

faded, bashed

is

greasy, that time and sunshine have

allow

Yet never on

it.

ever one to compare with

Geronte.
dirty.

Frontin.

wore

it

tread,
hats,

and rusty, was there

be, bandless

it

shapeless though

first

made

we

this earth

when men

since those ancient times

any so

that

this.

have seen hats just as ugly but never

Whence comes

From the
Frontin. Fie upon
Geronte.

think you

it,

gutter, by

you

its

'T

looks.

the

is

hat

of

Fortunatus.

That
Frontin. That
Geronte.

wearer

of incredible chances,
improbable.

Geronte.

You

the hat which

It is

came

It

invisible.

into

my

makes the

hands by a

of events too true not to be

mean

to

tell

me

that

when you

have that hat on your head no one can see you

Frontin.

Yes

Geronte.

believe you

series

such

have trust

is

in

its

virtue.

you

but

find

it

hard to

prodigies of that sort require full proof.

335

Nw

(^

4i

at*

<>

*>

aM w>

wfw wr wo*

mw

*ra *v * < aa*

THE MAGIC HAT


Frontin. The proof you
shall have.

At once

Geronte.

Yes
Geronte. Yes,
Frontin.

tail

of his

see

now

make

it

am

What

works.

the

do you

Where

has the fellow

behind him).

{still

gone?

can-

have gone nowhere

here, in front of you, but invisible.

Geronte.

Frontin

(^as

Geronte.

am bound

before).

Frontin
got

There's

eyesight.

I 've

trick

to

out.

Frontin
1

The

Anything

Geronte.
not

yes.

flipping behind him and hanging on

coat').

there, look carefully.

Frontin

(as before).

him by

the

tail

to find you.

Hunt away, Podgers.

nothing the matter with

He
of

'11

never see through

his coat.

Sir,

my
it

you are run-

ning like a deer; pray spare yourself.

Geronte.
is

The

there in front of

the

life

of

my

left

me

Frontin

thing

me, speaking

see him.

{as before).

Geronte.

is

wonderful indeed!
to

Where are

me, and

cannot for

you, Frontin

No, on your

This way

right.

He

On

THE MAGIC HAT


Frontin

(as be/ore).

No,

Go

there.

on,

'11

lock

step with you.

Ouf! am perspiring over!


Are you
Frontin. Are you

G^RONTE.

all

satisfied

convinced

fully

Quite.
Frontin. Well, then,
GfeRONTE.

see

you

reappear.

round

(//<? slips

Geronte.

Of course you
GERONTE.
amazing
It is

am

Frontin.
but upon

my

wonder
good

it

is

me

Let

do not know whether

have that

should love to present

word,

my home, my
Geronte.

do.

asleep or awake.

front of Geronte.^

now.

plainly

Frontin.

in

cellar,

And

That

cannot.

kitchen

my

so greasy.

it

to you, sir,

hat,

stewpan,

your

hat.

see,

dare say.

the soup you

Is

you

make

is

No
in

it

Frontin.

You

dinner hour within

beaver

down over

some cook-shop,

"

it,

the

my stomach sounds, I pull my


my eyes and make my way into

invisible to

chickens, nicely browned,

one, nobble

When

follow me.

do not

and devour

it,

337

all.

There, among the

pick

out

my

feet

the

best-done

on the hearth,

THE MAGIC HAT


where none

Then

disturbs me.

wash down the fowl,

to

drink of the best without

shot.

my

paying

at the nearest tavern,

Wonderful

Geronte.

With second-hand-clothes

Frontin.
as with the

cook and taverner both.

for

my

eyes,

you may

for

my

children, but not, not

Geronte.

me

to

Frontin.

easy for

up

But

call for

deal

it

ask

wife, nay,

would be

so

my ward

are

to a guardian, in

age

Valere and

to.
It

is

true

advanced and very jealous,


bolts

and

vain.
at

You may

my skin, my
for my hat.

with that hat on

know what

men

that

my

With such

bars.

hat

worth more than

is

a treasure

Before the criminal you suddenly

the crucial

all

tricks

are

arise, terrible,

moment, heaven knows whence,

like a

Jack-in-the-box shot up by a spring.

buy
Frontin. No, you
Geronte.

That

hat of

it

from you.

Geronte.
it?

are too niggardly.

mine makes me King of France and

Navarre, and you would offer


ouring.

You

don't.

Will

me

you take

a price most dishon-

hundred crowns

for

#A* tfM #* # #1 !y

MM

flM

w ^w

#M #X ^1% *
#A #1 #!> s|< fsl^ J/ ^J* #& fJU #
'vw wr* vrw

J/*
afv ttV^

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a^*

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THE MAGIC HAT

Frontin.
much,
Geronte. should
handing over

but

It isn't
I

cash, to try

Why,

certainly.

Geronte

(aside, as

he puts on the

it,

Frontin
thief.

(aside).

atrocious.

every corner

Ah

shower

arm

yell

my

'11

him

Geronte

let

'm sure

hit

'11

way

me

(aside).

hit

in

thrash the

him with

venture.

Here

's

down, crossways and

Oh, my

Oh, my

leg!
!

can't see him, but I hear

every step.

break the

'11

'11

Oh, my shoulder
on so with this wand of mine

sure.

me

it

catch

to

at a

off.

Ah!

lay

at

out

and

Up

Oh!

and groan

stick

costing

make

aback by such conduct

all

hopes of finding him.

you

that I'll catch

him

'11

very wrong to cheat a

cannot have got far

Oh, my back

Frontin.

is

it

sir,

He
in

for

Geronte.

your game, you old

to

taken

sideways, and every

of

'm up

am

some of my blows.
a

black and blue, and

air

its

the

won't see me.

(Aloud.)

poor man.

hat').

and get the hat without

He

penny.

it.

before

Frontin.

a bolt of

is

like,

well, I'll take

(Aside.)

am

knocks off the hat.)

black and blue

339

a crack

spell.

(He
I

With

all

over.

JU !

.!

*JU L% aJU

!/

rl

ti/%

l**4<s*<4ii*lis**a**9* l**s*e

THE MAGIC HAT


Frontin. There,
my arm.
I

really

for

worried

by your
I

you everywhere.

No.
Frontin. am

aside

lay

eclipsing

not hit you

I did

hope

looked

yourself.

was

Geronte.

afraid

on you.

Geronte.

to thrash you,

Frontin

Geronte

pocket.')

{Aside.) I'll pay a

tough.

him the hat).

go the hat.

I '11 let

You

Now

let

man

us close

There you

happy mortal;

but this purse.

You

lump

can both trust each other; you

(Jmnding him a purse).

Frontin.

raised a

you brute.

We

go the purse,

all

am

(^offering

the bargain.

yours,

may have

{He

are like the

air,

slips

now

let

are.

the world's

the purse

you can go

in

into

his

and out

mere man, you know as much


in
as the gods
every
nothing can be hid from you
mind you may read, and, what none has yet done, you

wherever you please

may know women.

Here

very nick of time.

Vanish, and

is

Marinette coming
I

shall

in the

confess her

before you.

{Geronte puts on the hat.)

340

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l*i*9
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^ v^

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JB* (HW

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THE MAGIC HAT


SCENE XI
The

What

Frontin.

Marinette
Nothing.

you look

is

the matter,

not

in brilliant smiles,

as if

you had

Marinette
have not got.

not

(pretending

That's

Frontin.
wreathed

Same, Marinette

(^as

your

girl,

face, usually

as a funeral,

and

lover.

You cannot

good

Geronte').

Your

gloomy

just lost

be/ore).

am

is

see

to

true.

dear

my

lose

what you

and will not be courted

save by those willing to wed, Frontin.

G^ronte
such virtue

have suspected her of

'd

Then why do

you look

so sad and cast

Marinette
I

Who

Frontin.

down

(aside).

too soon

For

(as be/ore).

a very different reason.

allowed myself to fancy that

might be

lucky enough to please dear Mr. Geronte, and be en-

gaged by him as maid of

how

things

fell

Geronte

out,

(aside).

all

her.

341
jjgimm<m^^i^^

Well, you

know

why I am so sad.
am sorry now I did not engage

and that

work.
is

dB* *

air*

<

?>

"Sw

aiw

* * * * *

THE MAGIC HAT


Marinette

Who

dresses

his cravat

before).

and curls

and find

his

Now

his hair

gloves

has

Who

is

no

one.

there to

tie

should have taken

he

upon myself and looked

these cares

all

(as

after

him

as

dutiful girl looks after her father.

GeRONTE

(aside),

Marinette.

He

I failed

to do, I can yet do.

such a gentle,

is

polite, attrac-

man.

tive

Frontin.
ing

What

he

is

am

an aged

Geronte

not quite of your

(aside to Frontin).

Ugly,

way of

think-

What?

You scoundrel
Geronte
Frontin).
Frontin. Sour-tempered
Villain
Geronte
Frontin).
Frontin. Filthy old
break every bone
Geronte
Frontin).

your body,
Frontin.

(^aside

stupid,

to

aside to

beast.

{aside

in

to

'11

if

Frontin

(aside

to try her, sir;

to

Geronte).

keep perfectly quiet.

So you think well of him

Marinette.
him

so

do

saying

all

that

(7!? Marinette).

there

is

about

something

open and frank that delights and enchants me.

Oh how
!

I'm

glad I should have been to serve

342

him

JU i

*!/
* VIM

m*

aiiv

!/ fi^ rl ! M/ l rjt* !
Mtf Jf tU * * atw a^w

! tl% 1 A #! # !

Mw M Mw M*

THE MAGIC HAT


G^RONTE
feel

ling

The

{aside).

and

my eyes moisten
in my nose.

kind-hearted

vat

>

lass!

emotion causes a tick-

my

(^He sneezes.^

Marinette.

hear some one sneeze, but

can

see no one.

Geronte.

What

Marinette.
ghost

who

It is I

phantom

that voice I hear?

is

Why,
Marinette. Who you
Geronte. Geronte.
Marinette. But where
no,

it

{taking

you must take

off

have given me,

Geronte.
fears

on or

your body
hat).
in

.?

beg

your

order to be seen

hat.

your
!

what

dreadful

fright

you

sir.

Be

with a word.

have to do

is

forget that

Oh

Marinette.

off Geronte' s

but you

sir,

it

is I.

pardon,

Is

Geronte.

Frontin

in order

reassured.

You

shall

see this hat

to vanish or reappear

dispel

your

Well,

all

to put

it

is

off.

Marinette

(^^/W^).

Let

pretend to be embarrassed.

343

me

affect

timidity

and

It ! JLt

*m

MM

ffJ/* Jiy%

or

ri*

& i cI^JU i ti* ! * ! i ! * !* 5 l*


S>*5*r*!<"r'* * *" * *<

!/ !/ !>

M MwWr>

THE MAGIC HAT


4

Geronte.
shall

The

you

desire,

my

girl,

be yuurs.

Marinette.

You

situation

heard

me

You were
I feel

there

the time,

all

know which way to


It was thus
Geronte.

Oh

so ashamed, so put out.

do not

sir

look.

learned

how devoted

you are to me.

While we are

Frontin.

about

we

suppose

it,

try

another experiment with the talisman to ascertain what

Inez thinks about you

Geronte.
Frontin.

know

Frontin.

What

would be the

straight

say she does loveyou.

Do

out to you

Geronte.

of that,

she does not love me.

books that must be opened

Marinette.

good

you would read

you

expect

she

that

But

if

Hearts areclosed

is

in

she has refused

girl

love

in

them.

to

blurt

with you

my hand

a score

of times.

Frontin.

The

And

you pay attention to such trifles?


" no " is
meaning of a young girl's
"yes."

real

Marinette.

Sir,

Inez loves you, that

Geronte.
into

Here

house and

my

's

agree

th"i'J%':

Frontin.

Miss

certain.

my keys, Marinette.
induce my ward to come
are

344

with

Go
out.

THE MAGIC HAT


SCENE

XII

Geronte, Frontin
Frontin.
as a

Thanks

your hat, you

conqueror read your name

Geronte.
large.

Frontin.
fops

to

as

dread

Girls
But

he.

dear

in that

not

care

for

in

letters

such

feeble

On

here they come.

proudly

girl's heart.

Valere's

reading

do

will

with your

hat.

SCENE
The
Marinette

The

weather

is

XIII

Same, Inez, Marinette

(to Inez).

Let us

take a turn or two.

so fine.

Willingly go out
Marinette. Valere may be round somewhere.
Valere
Inez.
me, he
sought
Inez.

If

so

might care

Marinette.
till

now

to

really

would cease importuning me.

women who

little.

You

There

please

are plenty other

for him.

surprise

me. Miss,

thought you had a tender spot

in

for

your heart for

him.

345

had

^.1

l/lf9 si rJ/

>

OT<*

>*

** *A

/ *!/ & JL*


vr* tTW

wve anw

OK*

if

>>

*> 5* <*

THE MAGIC HAT


Inez.

favour, for

did accept

attentions

his

should a

why

1 ri i !* #1 t* ! %M*fl^
"> or* vr* vt* <

up and get angry

bridle

girl

with apparent

because a young and gallant fellow, of attractive mien,


does his best to be agreeable?

Geronte

(aside).

Frontin

(aside').

Inez.

Geronte
Inez.

Inez.
better,

Frontin).

{to

ere

Frontin

turned.

it

And

Geronte.

that

am

his

dead

attentions

breathe again.

when

to

Geronte).

got

What

Shame upon
to

A man
(to

saw

was my money he was

(aside

Frontin

perceived,

Marinette.
Inez.

Support me,

long

(aside).

that

sir.

seeming and mere hypocrisy.

false

Geronte.

so loud,

rather liked him.

But

were but

True.
Do not shout

another

am

love

Now

my

listening.

's

alone.

346

after.

did I

listen.

Inez. Of mature age


Frontin. That
you.
Geronte. Hold your tongue.
Inez. Loves me
myself
Marinette. His name
for

know him

tell

you

the fortune-hunter.

Geronte).

to

thoughts

have

1JU 4* vi^ #*
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>

>

^
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M'*
aSw

^i^ * < * iAl*l jU


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? iJSw aB* WS>

* MM

* >
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* !

THE MAGIC HAT

Inez.
Geronte. am
dare not

Come

Marinette.

Geronte.

Inez.

It Is

Geronte.

Frontin.

all

blushing
!

tremble.

Geronte.
I

am

in the

Is that plain

seventh heaven

Now

hat dear at one hundred crowns

Geronte.

Frontin

over.

Frontin, my

do you think

my

my only friend
tell
my master it

truest,

shall

{asidey

go

is

time he appeared to play his part.

Inez.
be,

who

Geronte, my guardian, soon


alone

now

reigns in

little

man knows how

Where

Well

It is

put,

ducky, you.
is

my

Valere, the rascal

lass.

no

is

threescore.

is

But stay

who

cool.
is

What

What

make me mad.
347

my ward

to talk to

that

Geronte.

he

and that

At school

Keep
Geronte. But he
going

Frontin.
Well, what of

Frontin.

sure,

before

could he learn to love

Geronte.
comes

love

to

enlightened heart.

my

You dear
Marinette. One thing
Geronte.

husband to

my

of

that

You

will

THE MAGIC HAT


You

Frontin.

The

the lover.

talk like a guardian

when you

are

parts are changed.

SCENE XIV
The
Inez.

Valere,

Valere

Same, Valere

here, at this time

(Pretending^ throughout the whole scene, that

Be

he does not see Geronte').

same, and

longer the

you

of

My

love.

my

not

afraid;

am no

do not come, Inez, to


heart

has

got

rid

tell

of such

frivolity.

Your speech,
Valere. do not mean
Inez.

sir,

delights me.
to strive against an uncle

so adorable.

Inez.

Adored

Frontin
Valere.

(to Geronte^,

Much

You

see.

to be preferred to his

nephew

That

Valere. Who has nothing but


youth
time
Marinette. A merit that decreases
Geronte.

is

true.

his

as

rolls

on.

Geronte
Frontin

(to

{to

Frontin).

Geronte).

A of sense,
Let us keep up the
girl

348

that.
test.

THE MAGIC HAT


Valere.
Inez.

Valere.

You are going


I

to

wed Geronte

am.

am

widow whose

acquainted with a

charms of two houses and

hundred thousand francs

Who to such attractions


I
Inez. A very good match

consist.

could indifferent be
advise

you

to

marry

her.

Geronte.

The

world

nephew is getting sensible.


The match
Valere.

mean
dutiful

to turn

coming

will

account

to

it

's

in

an end

to

make me

rich^

my

and

order to settle, like a

nephew, my uncle's guardianship accounts with-

out checking them.

Geronte.
Inez.

That

Can

woman make

husband of her choice

Valere.

noble of him.

is

over her wealth to the

Assuredly.

Then
Geronte. What
Frontin. Mighty
Inez. My two farms
Inez.

give to Geronte
a fine deed
fine

woodland and meadow,


bridge Saint-Michel,

Geronte.

my

all I

have.

in Brie,

my

my

stocks,

clothes,

my

real

349

both

house on the

my

jewels

Go on, angel of heaven

estate,

Jl**4* ^i* viz*

>

S* aS*

JU
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MM

(X* vA* ! iA*#ll#ilri*i**jUS*if* 9* S**S


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THE MAGIC HAT


To Geronte

Inez.

Valere.

Geronte.
Inez.

mean

quite approve your purpose.

You

dear lad.

If my guardian

his wife,

once

to give.

have

my

me worthy

thinks

of being

goods on him bestowed,

my

happiness will be complete.

Geronte.
Inez.

What

And

nobleness of mind

be quite sure that, as

shall

then be poor, he marries

Don't

Geronte.
enough.

You

Frontin.

me

shall

for love.

be afraid;

will find

it

I'll

hard to

marry you

make up

fast

to her

for such devotion.

Inez.

Shall

Valere.
form,

it

In

is

have to sign a deed


order

the

that

gift

may be

in

due

necessary to have a deed drawn

up, and

now accompany

us to the

Marinette and Frontin shall


lawyer's, as witnesses,

Better send

Geronte.
Frontin.

where you

Not

much

shall sign.

for the lawyer.

deeds are not signed in a

public square.

They are
Frontin. That may be
Geronte.

in plays.
;

but this

is

no

play.

{They go

out.)

THE MAGIC HAT


SCENE XV

Geronte.

The

uncle

Valere

Frontin

was

right

wins

the

nephew

over

They bestow

to this old hat,

Red

under the vine

With

a bottle of wine,

or white, as the case

never

am

tell if

That makes

(^putting

Geronte.

Good

see

me

may

you see
sundown

pallid

light.

be,

gown

hat).

it

be

He

is

drunk

as a

Very much drunk.


morning,

Good

sir.

morning?

then, fellow

Rather

Yet

's

on his

What?

Champagne.

Thanks

the colour

it

thrush at vintage time.

You

able

it

Or morn's

strange.

the table,

a reason sound, as

To

Geronte.

new

When

Champagne.

me

beats

{drunk^ enters singing).

I sit at

For

Geronte

on

their wealth

she loves.

is

't

see the world in a

Champagne

Geronte

Champagne

then

Geronte,

think

have

my

351

do.

hat on.

That

is

Ii*4
aw V

^-^

<W

x^ ^
VM
1^

MW

'^

** cl^xl/* A* #l*I*i|**%l*jN !* i**l*f

at*

MfM

(fit*

'f* ^'M ** *

*>

THE MAGIC HAT


Champagne. ought
you
than once only, for

twice over, rather

to see

have had a drink, and every

of us vi^hen tipsy sees double

that

man

a vv^ell-known

's

fact.

Geronte.

His words make me

Champagne.

God

anxious.

one

but

created

sun;

wine

makes two.

Geronte.
them.

You

virtue of

should have been more distrustful of

cannot see me, for

my

That

(^He slaps him on the

Geronte.

Champagne.

may be, but


Did you
back?)

should think

Here

Oh
Champagne. Was
Geronte. No.
Champagne.
Geronte.

invisible,

in

is

your back

feel that

I did.

that big

's

this

paunch of yours

It

is it

am

hat.

magic

Champagne.

out

is

your head

n't

have kicked,

.?

Geronte.
fool

've

No

been

No

am

Heavens

Great

tricked,

what

robbed, duped like a

babe.

Champagne

{^asidey

elephant sighs for

What

352

is

he

uttering such

^%i

J/*

A JtJ>rJ*l*ll J 1 ft* #

AJ%

THE MAGIC HAT


Geronte.
crowns
Fire

have

been

robbed

have been robbed of

of

my ward

hundred

Murder

SCENE XVI
The

What

Same, Frontin

making such a row ?


Neither your money nor your ward is lost.
Hallo
There 's Champagne. By the way, with a drunken
man you need two hats I ought to have told you.

Frontin.

the use of

is

He saw

you,

Geronte.
you

You

poisoner

dare say.

May

heaven

fall

on

swindler, you galley slave,

and crush

vou

you

forger,

you

Frontin.

Quite

honour me.

There,

number of

look,

Inez

is

sir;

titles,

returning

Valere and Marinette.

SCENE XVII
The Same, Valere, Marinette

Where do you come from


Marinette. From very respectable

Geronte.

*3

353

place.

you
with

#>t
*
vx

9_/%

vjU l%
v

wiw fw

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*

Mw

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THE MAGIC HAT


due form drawn
deed
Valere. We have had
in

up by the notary.

the deed of
Valere. No, contract of marriage.
Geronte. What
Valere. A contract of marriage between
Geronte.

I see,

gift.

this lady

and myself.

am bursting with
the conclusion
Valere. We came
Geronte.

rage.

to

and hymen may get along hand

Geronte.

Marinette.

It

was

Your
Geronte.
'11

hand.

she loved.

Frailty, thy

Frontin.

in

that love

now

part

name

is

woman.

to bless the pair.

more

thrash you if you indulge in

sarcasm.

Valere
Geronte. You vixen You strumpet
Champagne. Take me back,

Marinette.

so nice

is

sir.

Geronte.

slap

What

does the drunken brute want

have plenty and to spare.

Champagne.
Geronte.

want

my

(He slaps

situation or

his

face.)

my money.

took you in naked as a Child Saint

John, and paid you very irregularly very small wages.

How

did

you get

that

money
354

By what

crimes

4**mU ! *S !
MW ! atw nv WM MW

i/% & ! rilrl*#i**f*if*j|#i ! e**9*


>*V *'^^ '"^ *"* *** ***
VTW * * * '> '** "* *" '*

THE MAGIC HAT


Champagne.

earned

Sir,

deceived.
Geronte. All

it

the days

in

when

you were

right

Champagne.

Oh!

take you back.

if

only

Madam

had

lived

longer

Silence
Marinette. Do not be
Geronte.

forgive this pretty pair with a

a hard-hearted uncle,

and

good grace.

Geronte. Never.
love you
Inez. Dear guardian, we
Geronte. won't.
the
Frontin. Forgive the means
shall

so.

for

sake of

the end.

Uncle
Geronte. Nephew mine, you

Val^re.

am

Geronte, and play

give you

All.

the

all

must.

but

I for-

Thank you.

(To

play your part

and

part

scamp

all.

Frontin.

and to

my

are a

this trifle

times

it

the public).

forgive us

Now

it is

your turn to

be our uncle for one day,

your applause grant,


favour has won.

man, the ward and her lover


355

It

for in all climes


Is

the uncle and

dear, the tale that ever

fj* {/

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f/ rf/ atl^ f kf/i *lf


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'"* '

*/ #/

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THE MAGIC HAT


brings laughter forth.

and

chatter

gay,

Authors

for

without

being

us

Birds are

but different
in

and

prose

whistled

to

we of plumage
from
verse

we

birds

do

bright

in

cage.

write,

our

learn

but

tunes.

Although we have not taken Moliere's name, pray do


not

treat

us

too

friends are, and

cavalierly

you

know

us,

you may applaud us without

356

we

fear.

old

JU !
**
ms vr*

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vr* fs

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r Mw

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a^M

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mv

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aiW T vTw Wtw *T

Contents
Introduction

The God and the Opal

To Theophile Gautier Page

33

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


Preface

A Pantheistic Madrigal ....


The Poem of Woman Marble of Paros
Affinity

A Study
I

II

of

Hands

II

III

38

42

Imperia

46

Lacenaire

49

Variations on the Carnival of Venice


I

37

On
On

the Street

52

the Lagoons

54

Carnival

56

IV

Moonlight
Symphony in White Major
Coquetry in Death
Heart's Diamond

58

60

64
66

Spring's First Smile

68

Contralto
Eyes of Blue

70

74

The Toreador's Serenade


Nostalgia of the Obelisks
I
II

The
The

11
:

Obelisk in Paris
Obelisk

in

Luxor
VII

80

84

#A

<*

^%%

rft^

wS^

9^

tJ/v

* ffM

w cMvA* #1 !% 1 A% fX* 0$^ # rf-^

vf^ 9^

4 W4W

ftlV

Vt

CONTENTS
Veterans of the Old Guard, December 15

Page

Sea-Gloom

To

Rose-coloured

The World

's

Gown

Malicious

Ines de las Sierras

To Petra Camara

Odelet, after Anacreon

Smoke
Apollonia

The Blind Man


Song

Winter Fantasies
The Brook
Tombs and Funeral Pyres
Bjorn's Banquet

The Watch
The Mermaids

Two

Love-Locks

The Tea-Rose
Carmen

What

the Swallows Say

An Autumn Song

Christmas

The Dead

Child's Playthings

After Writing my Dramatic Review

The Castle

of Remembrance

Camellia and

The

Meadow Daisy

Fellah A

Water-Colour by

Princess

Mathilde

The Garret
The Cloud
Vlll

ta

JU rA*

J/* vil*

M*

dE> *nw *

^i*

ft*

ft *jU* 1
MM iV> nw

vJU

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r* '* wiw vr* r>

ri rl #!/ *t<*

<^ mw

xTw <

<

> r>t/*

<

<

CONTENTS
The Blackbird
The Flower that makes the Springtlme
A Last Wish
The Dove

Pleasant Evening

Art

P^g^ i68
**
.

170

A* *A l > aJU l
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ENAMELS and CAMEOS


THE R POEMS
and

A* * v^* <* * S* ** !!* ** * S**l* * *i* VS* *S VS* ** *S* ** !


or* * "" <* *w aSb *> afc ww Wlw >
> >w * Jf* * > * aMw MM <*

Introduction
divine gift of verse having been denied
to the translator and editor of this English

THE

edition of

Thcophile Gautier's works, he

has secured the collaboration, for this part

of

Mrs. Agnes Lee, who has undertaken

task, of

his

and carried

To

it

out with care and

translate

author

any

such a manner that

his

apparent to the reader,


difficult

when

matter

to the

when

is,

skill.

satisfactorily,

literary
in all

shall

quality

is,

in

become

conscience, a sufficiently

prose alone

obstacles to be

that

in question.

is

overcome

are

But

added the

peculiarly characteristic features of verse, the difficulty

becomes wellnigh insurmountable.


In the case of French
possible

verse in

occasionally to render, with

accuracy combined with retention


the

general
fair

it

may be

approach to

of the poetic form,

meaning of the author, and with

it

the

more

strik-

tA% 0ic vA* vJU (Xw vA* cJU

M> Mb

iS>

aB*

JR>

& Mw WW

(J/* aJU vJt 4*


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V^
v^* * *S* ** **
**
tw *ll
*
iai*

*9* 'S*
*'!'*

!

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


ing features of
task, or

the style.

never can be an

It

one that when accomplished

satisfies fully the

more

exacting demands of the cultured reader,


ularly of the translator, if the latter, as
is

case,

The

endowed with

a literary

and

easy

times the

at

is

artistic

partic-

conscience.

very character of French verse presents in

itself

overcome.

The

an obstacle that can but rarely be

lack of accent, as generally understood, and the

total

consequent dependence upon rime, increase the arduousness of the task.

Then, with

all

poetry,

however

a version,

skilful

is

it

impossible to retain in

and loving, that flower, that

essence, subtle, delicate, magical, which, like the

on

butterfly's wing, vanishes the

impossible, or wellnigh

It is

tongue the mysterious and


elusive

melody of another.

that peculiar

warmth of

which charm

in

while

it

with the

may

the

instant
to

so,

it

is

touched.

reproduce

deep harmony, the


It is

flushing of hue

and the

loss

of which,

not be noted by the reader unacquainted

language in

perforce

the

one

sweet,

which the

original

is

written,

nevertheless so far disfigures the translation and


it

in

impossible to preserve

colour, that

original,

down

unfaithful.

world, with

the

With
liveliest

the

best

desire

to

makes

intentions

reproduce

in
in

> vA*

vA* *

J/

/ rl/

A vX* l^Alri#J # *1 r >!*

INTRODUCTION
the

English

of the

characteristics

French, with the

most thorough knowledge of the idioms and turns of


the one and the other tongue, the

transpose from the one language


fain

who

artist

seeks to

into

the other

but

excellent,

however accurate

especially

must

confess that

however

is

it

after all

must

paraphrase
that has

been

produced.

More
Gautier's

work

An

in verse.

precise sense of the word, he

letters or

syllables,

meaning attached

to

were not simply

own

himself in the most

a believer in and an

not

mere aggregations

having each and

all

definite

them and nothing more. They


means, when assembled, of com-

They had

municating ideas.
of their

was

of Theophile

true

artist

Words were

apostle of form.

of

be

this

qualities

and properties

intimately, essentially their

gave them a value wholly apart

own

which

from any usefulness

they might possess as replacing the primitive language

of signs.

They were

they were

full

full

of colour, they were colour

of music, they were music's self; they

were sculpture and they were architecture

gauze and lawn, velvet and brocade

gems and stones of purest


iwi p HI

^ JM wjLw ^ii

>BPp^p^^^ipjui jm

ray serene

^ Mifr

ii^^f.i ^n fP t^ii

p' '

'^ -i*8- w

they were

metal, and they were stuffs of richest loom,


satin,

silk

and

they were

they blazed with

** e* ! ** ** t* i >* < *><j

iji( vA* *!&* & *9* fs* s* *g*

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


internal fires

they were refulgent with inward glow

they burned with dull flame and shone with scintillation

No

resplendent.

was

orient but

metal, no

precious

pearl

among them.

to be found

of

finest

Every shade

and hue of colour, every sound and note of music was

They had

given out by them.


that naught

was

to

destroy, and

could

discover these, to turn

laire,

whose

and

so

"

well

the

poet's

them

to

own

business

it

Baude-

use.

Gautier so thoroughly understood

talent

said

described,

Correspondences

his

in

poem

"
**

properties of their

entitled

Like long-drawn echoes that in the distance mingle in dark,

abysmal harmony, vast

as night's self

and vast

as the light, per-

fumes and colours and sounds correspond."

Gautier did not go so

though he did believe


the

man

feeling

for

and

far

"

in

gift

his

proved the fact in


a colour of their
this property

correspondences," without

Words

belief,

his

he was not a Symbolist,

of which, he maintained, no

could be a true poet.

of their own, in

own

did possess a

and he has many a time


verse

own, and painter

over and over again

they also possessed


as he
;

was he

they had

rousness of their own, and like Hugo, he


avail himself of

it.

But

it

music

utilised

sono-

knew how

to

cannot be said of him that

|U A

!>

A & 11*1 f* ! ! * jpffe

INTRODUCTION
he used words in the

way

Decadents used them

which the Symbolists and

in

same extent, and was content


was

not force them to the

he did

plainly or subtly visible or audible in

artistic

eye and

ear.

It

which

to bring out that

was the sense of

them

to the

vision

which

he especially cultivated, never having forgotten his early


that

training in

line

when he

studied painting.

no one has

beheld particularly the exterior world, and


surpassed him
it

was

stead.

his

of

in his descriptions

He

had learned to look, and

His poems are

reproduce.

full

Here again

it.

him

painter sense that stood

and

of " bits."

called

" intense

words

to

having seen to

of admirable examples

He

impressions of

has
art

what
"
;

he

degree and with a power and

to

skill

unhas

own

dis-

meet with any word paintings equalling

his

in perfection

Now these
poems

paints in

One

come down

ciples,

of vast

Brunetiere

surpassed in any other works of the period.


to

it

such good

in

of vivid descriptions of scenery and landscape


prospects

He

to

Leconte de

Lisle,

one of

his

and strength and vividness.


very qualities

make

into any other tongue an

and arduous task.

It is

the translation of his

exceedingly

difficult

not possible, simply, to say in

another language just what he says in his rich, ample,

S* *

<w

"

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Mw

vl^

!/ rJ/i
f

<S* aSu

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*

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


varied

French.

effects

he sought and attained, for English

ferent

from

It

not

is

Gautier's

reproduce the

to

possible

greatest poet could render in

it

not

that

mother-tongue

so dif-

is

the

just the effects that

he

obtained, and obtained by most diligent labour and continual polishing

and repolishing of the form

in

which he

cast his thought.

" Form

is

everything," he says in an article on one

of Hugo's dramas, " no matter what

And

prated on the subject."

may have been


form he

to the cult of

applied himself with singular diligence and perseverance,


attaining effects so remarkable as to be the delight of

the ear attuned

to the

French

verse.

It

of, for

he holds

it

possibly

because that poet

repulsive.

in

He

is

finding

He

always

superior to

heaven.

in

succeeds

is

melody and beauteousness of

it

holds

beauty he
else

all

admires

on earth

Baudelaire

and
largely

worshipper of the beautiful and

even
that

in

the

beauty

is

horrible

and the

an end

in itself,

and he repels the proposition that every piece of


or artistic

search

in

is

work should have

literary

a practical or at least a

moral purpose.
Poetry,

to

him, was not meant to be

vehicle for instruction

in

used

morals, in science,
8

in

as

aught
i

* *S 'S* ** S* VS*

*lr*

(S* * *S vi* ! *JU * ^*

^* ^f ijf

INTRODUCTION
was

that

was

It

workaday, commonplace.

positive, utilitarian,
a

divine

tongue

said

a tongue

were to be

which

in

beauteous

things

which the vulgar could not

and need not understand, but which was comprehended


of

whom

all in

He was

**

It

't is

to madness.

it

is

speaks

it

He

above

love

blasphemy, so
It

it

than

If a
.

limpid and beauteous

me

the language

low

it

whisper

immortal.
:

love

it

comes

to us

that the

from

God,

world hears

it,

but

not."

who

man

will

looked upon him as his

only take the trouble to examine himself,

he will perceive that poetry


it

itself;

truly

worthy of being

which has been written

poem.
**
I do not mean

manners,

final result

is

can have no other end

cannot have any other, and no

great, so noble, so

that

thoroughly endorsed every word in the following

master

all

let

that

passage from Baudelaire,

f (

latter

has this great advantage, that never were

fools able to appreciate

that

fire.

verse

is

Perchance
it

one with Alfred de Musset when the

at

exclaimed

burned, however faintly, the sacred

to

I desire to

solely for the

poem can be

called

poem,

so
as

pleasure of writing

imply that poetry does not ennoble


be correctly understood,

not the elevation of

man above

or that

its

sordid interests

I>

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l% 1 aX* ! >

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or* xr* * << >> %vx < JSm Jim <

* *

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS

that

would be

has sought to attain


force,

and

it is

Poetry

poor.

The

say

is

that if the poet

moral end, he has lessened his poetic

not imprudent to wager that his work will be

cannot assimilate

under pain of death or


**

What

plainly absurd.

principle

forfeiture.

of poetry

is

or morals,

itself to

science

Itself,

not truth,

strictly

is its

end.

and simply human

aspiradon to a higher beauty, and the principle manifests itself


in enthusiasm, in rapture
is

of the soul,

an

enthusiasm which

wholly independent of passion, the intoxication of the heart,

and of

truth, the

food of reason.

For passion

natural

is

thing, too natural indeed not to introduce an unpleasant, a dis-

cordant tone into the domain of pure beauty

and too violent not

too famihar

to scandalise the pure desires, the

gracious

melancholy, and the noble despair that inhabit the supernatural


regions of poetry."

Poems of
work.

He

passion are not to be

met with

has none that recall

the cries of despair

in Gautier's

and ardour that burst forth from de Musset, the tender


regrets

ten

and lamentations of Lamartine,

some

love

Romanticists

all

poems
did, in

he

has

addresses

often as not purely ideal

He

indulged,
to

fair

has writas

young

female forms,

he has talked love, but

it

has

never swayed and tossed him about on the ocean of


passion.

For him no Graziella, no Elvira, no Julia

appears to have existed

in

10

his heart there

was

little

INTRODUCTION
room

women

its

various forms

as

they were partial

appealed to him in so far

incarnations of that divine prin-

they do not appear to have affected him as

ciple, but

much

worship of beauty under

for aught else than the

as the beauty

of statues or paintings, the glory

Music

of landscapes, or the majesty of architecture.

moved him, but


importance.

the

was of secondary

herself

artist

Dancing delighted him, but the dancer

was subordinate

to the

woman

So he never sang
that incomparable

performance
as

itself.

woman

he has written

"The Poem

poem:

of

Woman,"

but he makes clear his inmost thought in the sub-title


''

He

Marble of Paros."

statue to the living form

preferred,

the statue was

approached more nearly to the

more

and therefore,

This he dwells on

fact.

**

idealised,

Baudelaire

omous, and refused


than

itself,

est

mind

more

the

perfect,

of beauty,

it

was

view, truer to the

account of Baudelaire

believed art should be absolutely autonto

admit that poetry had any end other


fulfil

other than that of exciting in

the sensation of the Beautiful, in the strict-

meaning of the word.

to the

ideal

in his

in his

or any mission to

the reader's

we know,

He

banished from

poetry,

utmost of his power, eloquence, passion, and the too

accurate representation of truth.

II

Just as one

must not use

in

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


the living model, so he insisted
sculpture parts cast directly from
that before being admitted into the sphere of art every object

should undergo a metamorphosis that should


subtle realm,

That

by

idealising

admirer and
Art's
is

own

own

his

is

and removing

creed,

it

trivial

that

truth."

by an

practice

for

sake, without utilitarian or moral motive.

It

Leconte de

equally with Gautier,

"

Hypatia

"Sleep,

for

it

of Art

follower.

inspired

"

from

into

put
It

the

is

the worship of pure beauty, and

that

of

it

fit

Wrapped

fair victim,

in

cult

it

is

the thought

Lisle, the impeccable

when he sang

the

poet,

wondrous song

within our souls' closed depths,

thy virgin shroud and with lotus crowned.

For hideous ugliness of the world is queen,


no longer we know the road that to Paros leads.

Sleep!

And
*'

The gods

No

are turned to dust

the earth

sound from thy deserted heav'n

is

mute

shall e'er

be heard.

Sleep! But, living within him, sing to the poet's heart

Of sacred Beauty
**

For

it

the melodious

hymn.

alone survives, unchanged, eternal.

Scattered by Death the quaking worlds

may

But

her revives

forth doth

Beauty flame, and

Under her white

feet

This conception,

still

this

all in

be

the worlds revolve."

purpose Gautier faithfully ad-

hered to throughout his career, and

12

in face

of the reproach,

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INTRODUCTION
him even during

addressed to
sight

moral

of great

a moralist, a student
possibilities

lifetime, that he

his

He

notions.

disclaimed

lost

being

of manners, an inquirer into the

of elevating the

human

race by spreading

the principles of philosophy, total abstinence, religion,

or anything akin thereto, and desired simply to be an


artist, to
it

sing melodiously of beauty, and to reproduce

as fully as he

might in

all his

Poetry was a thing apart

was not merely,


and

admirably

and

colour

number

works.

the gift of writing verse

in his opinion, the

feelingly, of

power of expressing

imparting

melody, of communicating
the

to

make

or

was

it

wrote.

It

monplace or

real

is

more than

it

was

but

the

test

Form

susceptible.

theory of poetry.
the very

this in real

poetry alone that he cared

bringing

of perfection
subject the fullest measure

which

of each line

involved, not necessarily ideas

original

It

is

and

not enough

It is

the final letters

There

repeat a given sound.

rhythm

of

a gift possessed, as he has truly

remarked, by very mediocre people.


to align words, to

sense

on the other hand, the

phrase, or,

mere power of riming,

poetry, and

the

is

out

for

comof the

of form of

indispensable, in his

the very touchstone of merit

of existence.
13

The

careful

working out

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


of

with

without labour, alone marked

or

it,

form

out the

man

Without form he was only

as a poet.

with

perfect

of

the form, at least the producing

poetaster

a true singer.

This view

Whether

gives, apparently, over-importance to verse.

do so or not, it is unquestionably the view


" It is the commonest
held by Gautier.
thing in the
it

" to assume that


world, at the present time," he says,
what

is

poetical

common.

in

is

The two

poetry.

have nothing

Rousseau, Ber-

Fenelon, Jean-Jacques

nardin de Saint-Pierre, Chateaubriand, George Sand are


poetical, but

they are

not poets

that

is

to say, they

are incapable

of writing verse, even mediocre verse,

possessed

special

gift

by people greatly inferior in

To

merit to these illustrious masters.


rate verse

from poetry

is

attempt to sepa-

modern piece of

folly that

tends to nothing less than the destruction of art


It is

curious that Gautier, once the contemner of

Boileau, had

become, by the

time

words, almost a champion of the


a

he

penned these

critic's

or at

least

defender and advocate of one of the principles upon

which Boileau
ot

itself."

laid

most

improving the form

Not every kind of

stress

the absolute necessity

until perfection has

verse

satisfied

14

his

been attained.

exacting taste

INTRODUCTION
it

had to be the very best, wrought out with

care,

for

not given

is

it

lines

superb, perfect

with Victor Hugo,

he

verse of a

first

cast

of the form was

attained

than

higher quality

This meant

perfection.

average verse of

the

Lamartine and Alfred de Musset, neither of


troubled

much

again,

" the manner

a
in

poet

which

is

in

question," he says

his verse

is

of

it

constitutes

his verse.

It

is

in

great

intrinsic

That amounts

value of the

the writer

which
work.
will

is

inspiration of the writer,

dispense with

seeking

to constitute a great

"

No

seem very

doubt," he

value

in

in

its

saying

form,

the talent,

no case can

excellence of form,

part of the

continues,

frivolous to

to

poem, outside

must necessarily vary with the variation


genius, and

is

the stamp with which he mints his

gold, his silver or copper."


that, while the

part the

wrought

worth study-

a matter of considerable importance and


ing, for

whom

about the minutiae upon which Gautier

"When

lays stress.

and

So the poet must work over

not necessarily the best.


until

naturally

Gautier held to the need of

improving the work, and the

verse

as

produce

was the case

effort, as

them

uttered

as easily as he breathed.

his

every one to

to

without an

who

infinite

worth of

" these

minutiae

utilitarians, progressive

15

his

and

A* *

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


practical, or simply clever
hal, that verse

a childish form that

is

who

for the primitive ages, but

be written

Yet

sense.

it

is

was good enough

insist that

poetry should

beseems an age of common-

prose, as

in

men, who think with Stend-

minutiae

these

precisely

that

cause

verse to be good or bad, and that distinguish the true

poet from the sham."

The

instrument of verse, words, with their infinite

capabilities,

was therefore

matter of importance

to

him, and on the study of words and the resources they


offer to the poet he

bestowed

infinite

time and thought.

Gifted with a vivid sense of colour, with an intense


sense of form, with a delicate appreciation of sound,

he naturally enough sought to turn to account every

word

that could be

these ways.
to

whom

It

made

He

the separation

to

produce just the

if

attain
effect

effect in

differed

any one of

from Boileau,

of the nobler from the more

a matter of

words were good,


wished

an

was herein he

common words was


all

to yield

To

moment.

Gautier

only they rendered his thought.

accuracy

in

expression

he sought, and

or one merely analogous to

it.

Hence

to

not another,
his

vocabulary

was enriched with many terms drawn from the most


There are numberless examples of
varied sources.
i6

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INTRODUCTION
" Enamels and
Cameos," though the reader un-

this in

acquainted with the correct, restrained,

speech of the pseudo-classicists

And

stilted

mode of

not notice them.

may

indeed in English these words would

not

attract

by

mile

attention.

In

one of

conversations,
:

et

work

nature and value of his

in enriching the

language
"
modest praise of
poetry, and claimed the

of French

He

being a philologist."
the poets

reported

" Theophile Gautier Entretiens, Souve Gautier discussed the


Correspondance,"

Bergerat,
nirs

his

believed he had fashioned, for

who were coming

him, a remarkable

after

instrument capable of rendering every shade of feeling,


every gradation of hue and colour, every sound of music

He

and melody.
necessity
a

which

dilated

for thought to

exists

garment of words suited


**

So soon

as

it

finds

in

straightway goes along easily


cut and rich in colour,

when beauteous and


come and

is

a poet fastens to

takes

its

flight

its

it

fidy

received

to itself:

words
;

and

be possessed of

garment

if the

fitted

to

it,

it

words be elegant of

grows bolder and triumphant, for


attired, it feels that it is more wel-

into

feet

on the importance, on the

the

better

society.

Then

if so

two sonorous wings of rime,

and soars on high."

17

be
it

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


This view
the

"

and

interesting

Reply

to

an

**

Then,

which he

in the linguistic rev^olution

a brigand I,

came

shouted

these ever go before and those behind ever

the

the old

Academy,

in

blew

squares, I

crowned

with

upon the

a blast

of

molished the Bastile of rimes.


iron fetter that

bound

hell the old ones,


I

pulled

founded,

down

the

The

...

Liberty's red cap.

did

Why
to

shelter

of alexandrines
dictionary

and de-

stormed

common words, and

should

Then, upon

old

more

skirts

battalions

revolt.

entitled

relates the

be?

beldame, spreading her

the terrified tropes, and

in

Hugo

poem

personal

highly

Indictment," in

part he played

by Victor

forth

recalls that set

smashed every

drew

forth

from

long damned, legions of the nether depths.

the spirals of periphrases, and mingled, con-

laid flat

under heaven's vault, the alphabet, that sombre

tower which uprose out of Babel

for well

knew

wrathful hand that sets the words free, to thought

the

that

restores

its

liberty."

Gautier had
that

same conversation

revolution
the

this in

was

company.

dug up

"
:

My

plainly indicated.
I

in

further, in

that

literary

was the painter of


;

admirable ones, that henceforth

without.

foraged on

sixteenth century, to the horror

share

said

hurried forth to conquer adjectives

lovely, even

man cannot do

mind when he

all

hands

in the

of the subscribers to

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INTRODUCTION
the

of members

Theatre-Fran^ais,

of

French

the

Academy, of Touquet-snuff-boxes and wan-faced bourPetrus hath

geois, as
full,

with

and

sheaves

political wire-pullers

when

and

major,

upon the

put

the writers of

after

me

have written poems

saw

that

chairs,

splendours.

tint

my

that

kith

the

in

of

formulated

white

was good,

result

and kin were hastening

and that the professors were yowling

basket

my

have given you back red, dishonoured by

returned with

hue of dawn and every

palette of style every

sunset

it.

my famous axiom

'
:

in

their

He whom

even the most complex, a vision, were

a thought,

it

the most apocalyptical, surprises unprovided with words


to render

it,

is

not

writer.'

And

the

goats

were

separated

from the sheep, and the minions of Scribe

from the

disciples

sides.

Such was

Never was
Never

command

be

of

in

whom

genius re-

the conquest."

surprised

the

all

right

without

word.

expression to pro-

he sought, whether of colour, of sound,

Two

or of form.

in

part

Gautier

effect

ume, may

my

he lack just

did

duce the

of Hugo,

poems, among others,

cited as

examples

language, his

of

his

in

this vol-

marvellous

keen discernment of the

exact value of each word, and his intensity of vision.

19

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


They are the "Symphony in White Major" and
" The Obehsk in Luxor." These
may also serve as
instances of
into

absolute

the

impossibility

of

rendering

made

any other language the exquisite impression

by the originals and the

The

marks them.

of

perfection

exigencies

form

of English

which

verse are

not compatible with the beauties of the French, and

must

the utmost artistic effort


the infinitely strong

stanzas, the

to

deHcate

yet

reproduce exactly

fashioning

of

the

wondrous

variety of whiteness in the one,

intensest

colour and light in the other.

the glow of

The rhythm

fail

is

of each poem

" The Obelisk

perfect, so also the rime, and the music


is

in

"

Luxor"

Je

De

veille,

En

unique sentinelle

la solitude eternelle,

face de Timmensite.

r horizon que rien ne borne,

Sterile,

Le

these stanzas from

ce grand palais devaste,

Dans

"

Take

marvellous.

muet,

infini,

desert sous le soleil morne,

Deroule son linceul jauni.


**

Au-dessus de

Le

ciel,

Ou

jamais ne

la terre

nue,

autre desert d'azur,


flotte

une nue,

S'etale Implacablement pur.

20

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INTRODUCTION
" Le

Nil, dont I'eau inorte s'etame

D'une

pellicule de

Luit, ride par

plomb,

Thippopotame,

Sous un jour mat tombant


<*

Et

les

Sur

le

d' aplomb

crocodiles rapaces,
sable en feu des ilots,

Demi-cuits dans leurs carapaces,


Se pament avec des sanglots.

"Immobile
L'ibis,

le

sur son pied grele,

bee dans son jabot,

Dechiffre au bout de quelque stele

Le cartouche

How

sacre de

Thot."

possible to reproduce by a translation into

is it

any other European tongue just the

effect attained here

Undoubtedly the meaning, the general

be,

skilful

is

conveyed, but the form escapes the most

treatment and

vanishes

before the hot sun of


It

is

plain

that

it

as

the morning mist

summer.

the effort to translate a poet into

another tongue than his


outset, yet

own

was impossible

is

to

to court

One

defeat at the

present an edition of

Gautier to the public without including


at least,

the im-

idea,

loneliness and suffocating heat

pression of tremendous

may

in

it

some

part,

of his verse.
advantage the translation possesses:
21

it

proves

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


was not so wholly devoid of

Gautier

that

hostile critics,

mayhap deaf

The poems

lish dress interest

as

charm of

to the singular

have maintained.

his verse,

ideas

in their

Eng-

Gautier has delightful comparisons,

novel views of things, unexpected contrasts, and these


are not

lost.

subjects that

is

it

Further,

would never

to note

interesting

mind

the average

strike

how
as

susceptible of being turned into a vehicle for beautiful

verse are after

all

susceptible of poetic treatment if only

"

a thorough artist takes hold of them.

The Watch,"

" Love
"
Locks," After Writing my Dramatic Review,"
and "
cal

Pleasant Evening," do not appear to be poeti-

subjects, yet, in

is

at

least,

there

is

an un-

charm about every one of these poems, and

deniable

each

French

a splendid

instance of difficulties surmounted,

apparently, with the greatest ease.

Gautier's production

His " Farewell


incessant

to

verse

"

Poetry

is

comparatively limited.

The

gives us the reason.

demands of the newspaper upon

talent, the

his

time and

need of turning out a daily supply of copy

that increased instead


for the

in

of lessening,

worship of the Muse.

his career as a
journalist,

left

him no

leisure

Ere he entered upon

he had written more than one

graceful and even striking poem.

22

These

earlier

pro-

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INTRODUCTION
ductions were necessarily in
taste,

Romanticist

purest

and the characteristics of that school are markedly

evident in this
great artist

part

that

of his work.

The

with utmost care.

wrought out
subjects are drawn from the
infinite beauty,

new

storehouse of the

plethoric

Yet, already the

he was manifested himself, and there

numerous passages of

are

the

school

landscapes,
much

reminiscences of the beloved Middle Ages, so


fashion

recollections, sunsets

and

and

dreams

then,

just

orgies, ghastly

reveries,

and picturesque

in

sentimental

effects,

shudders

contemplations of skeletons

and

death's-heads, paeans in honour of comrades or masters,

in

word,

the stock in trade with

all

reader of the literature of that period

The

Preface

scribed in

is

interesting,

part, for

already, in

is

which any

familiar.

and deserves to be tran1832, he holds to the

theory of Art for Art's sake, and maintains the usefulness of Beauty
**

To

the utilitarians, utopists,

economists, Saint-Simonists

who may ask him what is the use of it


What is the use of it ? It is beautiful.

and others

all,

answer

Is

sufficient

It is beautiful, like

like

everything

and

to deprave.

man

flowers,

and

scents,

not that

and birds

has been unable to divert to his

23

he will

own

use

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useful,

it

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


**

As

a general rule, the

be beautiful.

ceases to
it

moment

It

becomes merged

turns to prose from poetry;

slave,

that

efflorescence

is

art,
is

it

all

becomes

a thing

art

having been

is

life

positive

free,

Art

really.

in

becomes

it

liberty,

luxury,

the blossoming out of the soul in idleness.

Painting, sculpture, and music subserve no useful purpose what-

Gems

ever.

carefully

ments are mere


without them

trifles,

who would

orna-

deliberately

enjoyment does not mean not

least

do

paintings of Ingres

suffering,

needs are those that charm one most.

and there always will be

Boulanger and

uncommon

Happiness does not consist in the possession

and the things one


are

Yet

superfluities.

of the indispensable

There

cut, unique

artistic souls to

whom

the

and Delacroix, and the water-colours of

Decamps

will

appear more useful than railways

and steamships."

He

described the contents himself, and in so pic-

manner

that the reader of the

fain to read every

one of the poems thus

turesque, so attractive a
is

present day

announced
'*

There

peaceful

are, to

small

effects,

home

little

begin with,

landscapes

after

scenes, sweet

and

manner of

the

the

Flemish, quiet in touch, somewhat subdued in tone, without

mighty mountains, boundless horizons, torrents, or cataracts.


Level plains, with cobalt blue distances

winds

a path

the

the water-lilies

smoke from

a cot

hills

lowly

brook babbling under

bush covered with red berries

24

up which

an ox-eye

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INTRODUCTION
daisy quivering dew-laden

a passing

shadow over the wheat

stork

That

donjon.

all

is

.scene, a frog leaping

ing

itself in a

as

were

it

a purely childlike

The poems
with

verse,

sonority,

and garnering,

in

lovely country district.

Here and

dawning of budding youth,

a longing, a

sketch of a girl's profile

love, a chaste

plump and dimpled, on which


yet show."

the

which

feeling
is

to

for

colour,

become

The

"The

the

picturesqueness,

characteristic of

opening

of the brief

immature,

the

the remembrances

piece,

"

Theo-

Meditation,"

of youthful freshness and of the sentiment,

full

that

toasting itself in the sunshine,

themselves are already very well written

Gautier.

phile

to the

poetry,

muscles do not as

is

few words of

tear, a

life

from the furrow, a thrush singing

of six months spent in


there,

of imparting

the reeds, a dragon-fly disport-

a lizard

a bee buzzing

hedgerow,

on roof of Gothic

settling

way

then, by

through

sunbeam,

a lark upspringing

cloud casting a wave of

life

of

all

things

on

still

earth.

Middle Ages" reveals the strong hold which'

period

had

taken

upon

writer and his contemporaries.

the imagination

"

of the
"

Landscape

is

marked by the qualities of vividness and accurate description which are to be still more evident in the
Spanish poems.
is

almost

In " Wishes," the sensation of colour

overpowering, and

25

Hugo

himself had not

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


then anything more

" The
Nightmare

and powerful

brilliant

"

of putridity which had adepts and admirers,

literature

but which did not long detain the poet,


fun of

great

line.

example of the

interesting as an

is

in this

" Daniel
Jovard,"

his

in

it

who

made

has

which he

in

way of epigraph, the last four lines of this


"Sunset" may well have inspired
composition.

used by

Zola's superb descriptions of the sunsets in Paris, in

"The

"I'CEuvre;" and
in the

poems
tive

same

order,

View," together with other


is

an admirable

poetry well worthy of the writer


so

pict

and

truly

" Debauch "

strikingly

peculiar, but

is

scenes

bit

of descrip-

who was

to de-

in

lands.

many

very Romanticist.

It

should be taken in conjunction with the tale entitled


" The Bowl of
of which it is a sort of

Punch,"

justifi-

cation, while the last lines expressly declare Gautier's

reasons for what


**

It is

different
itself

at least, a palette

poetry
hues

may shock many

something

complete.

It

is

clear,

colour,

people:

on which glow innumerable


unmistakable

something

song, and verse

in

"
!

In later years, in the fulness of his talent and

in

the

deliberate proclamation of his views and beliefs, he will

repeat

"
:

am

quite

ready

^6

at

times to

have what

is

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INTRODUCTION
rare at the cost of

being shocking, fantastic, and

its

exaggerated."

The

most important of

the " semi-diabolical, semi-fashionable legend

"

The

or

Albertus,

Legend," written
It is a

year.

and

Soul

Sin;

"

is

entitled

Theological

1831 and published the following

strange, weird, and at the close, repulsive

imaginative, and

purely

story,

in

works

his earlier poetical

same

the

in

of

line

"
Vampire," which has appeared
thought as the famous

An

in this edition.

old hag, a sorceress, a

compounder

of philters and poisons, a caster of spells, a servant of


the

Veronica by name, dwells within

devil,

wood-

covered, ruinous hut, in the neighbourhood of a

admirably painted

in

verse by Gautier.

tion of the beldame's den

she rubs herself

senility,

Thus

Leyden, and there leads the

lighted

love

in

with

whose

den

to

life

of the splendid courte-

Renaissance, which

portraying and
a

portrait

genuinely
is

her the bloom and

transformed, she repairs to

Gautier always de-

referring to.

Romanticist

thus limned

27

this

over, at the witching hour of mid-

and restores

loveliness of youth.

sans of the

Within

superb.

descrip-

unguent that removes wrinkles and every

night, with an

mark of

all

is

The

town

for

She

hero,

falls

in

Albertus,

the reader

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*"* "* " *

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


**

Foreign suns had shone upon his brow and gilded with a

layer of sunburn his naturally pale Italian

rumpled by

his

fingers,

fell

Gall would have ecstatically

he would have written no


an imperial brow, an
half the head
ration,

on either side
felt for six

less

His

skin.
a

which

forehead

months, and on which

than a dozen treatises.

artist's, a poet's,

and of

itself

It

in

which,

was

made up

'twas broad and ample, borne down by

hair,

inspi-

every wrinkle furrowed not by age, conceals

some superhuman hope, some mighty thought, and it plainly


Force and Conviction.
bore these words inscribed upon it
The rest of the features corresponded with this grand brow.
:

Yet was there somewhat unpleasant about them, and though


faultless, one could have wished them different.
Irony and
sarcasm rather than genius gleamed from them, and the lower
part of the face

seemed

produced the strangest

to

mock

effect

This combination

the upper.

one would have

demon

said a

beneath the heavens.

writhing under an angel's tread

Although he had

dark eyebrows growing finer

fine eyes, long

hell

towards the temples, over the skin gliding

as

fringe of quivering silky lashes, the lion-like


flash

that

made one

shot forth at times from

the

crawls a snake, a
glance, the fiery

depths of those

involuntarily shudder and turn pale.

The

orbs,

boldest

would have looked down when meeting the petrifying Medusa


Over his stern lip, shadowed
glance he sought to make gentle.
at

each end with a small mustache daintily waxed,

smile at times

flitted

but

his

mocking

customary expression was one of

deep disdain."

28

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INTRODUCTION
It

with this darksome dandy that Veronica

is

in

desperately

and though

at

she manages to attract

calcitrant,

He

love,

yields to her desires, but as

he proves re-

first

him

her

to

house.

strikes, the

midnight

glorious beauty resumes her hag shape and carries


off

him

on a broomstick to the witches' sabbath, where the

most monstrous diversions are indulged


presidency of

"God
!

fails

bless

devil,

into thin air, and

man,

Rome
his

is left

in

demons, sorcerers

witches,

on the Appian

the early

back broken,

morn

And

of Albertus, and the

But the

peasants repair-

find the

dead body of a
It is alT

poem ends with

had

poet has

vanish

Way

neck twisted.

his

reference to the morality which


ible.

Devil sneezes.

you," unconsciously utters Albertus.

straightway

ing to

The

Satan in person.

under the

in

that

mocking

is

not clearly discern-

his

fun at the reader's

expense; he has startled and possibly shocked him


he has certainly tried to do so

he has

introduced ex-

quisite descriptions, he has indulged in witty moralising

that recalls Musset's in

much

beautiful

reader

is

not

verse

no

"

Namouna," he

and

matter.

he

The

is

has written

satisfied.

object of

If

the

poetry

is

not to satisfy the wan-faced, smooth-shaven bourgeois,


the stupid

Philistine.

29

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


"The Comedy
of

parts

been

had

it

There was

composed

to

prefixed

Portal," and the

" Life

Death" appeared

of

the

it

" Death
Death," and

in

as

1831.
"
The
piece entitled
early

two

divided into

itself is

poem

as

1838, but

in

in

parts,

The

Life."

poet

has wandered into a graveyard on All Saints' Day, and


hears a conversation between a dead

worm

devour her

that has started to

home, Raphael Sanzio appears


disappearance

proceeds

of

art

the

into

woman

flesh.

to him,

Returning

and bewails the

from the world.


and Faust

depths,

and the

Gautier then
tells

him

science ends in nothingness, and that naught

on

having

Don

Juan,

save

earth

who

has

love.

known

all

There then

is

that love

seek knowledge
the poet

is left

Here again

is

if

deadly, and that

man

is

his

conclu-

life.

Thus

in uncertainty.

are fine passages, and admirable examples

not new, nor

larly striking.

appears

should rather

he desires to enjoy real

of Gautier*s powers as a writer of verse.


itself is

worth

the joys that love and

voluptuousness can bestow upon man, and


sion

is

that

is

the

The main

The

mode of treatment

subject
particu-

preoccupation of the author

already to turn out beautiful lines, and in this he

succeeds.

30

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INTRODUCTION
The

and here one

may

many

sharpness and accuracy

in

the

and contour,

in

the

of

line

number of poems

followed by a
intervals

pieces,

splendour of colour,

and intense reproduction of

faithful

superb

revel in the perfection of the descrip-

glow and

the

in

tions,

poems contain

Spanish

effects.

They

written at

different

and bearing upon a variety of subjects

And

one of them a model of prosody.

are

every

finally

come

the " Enamels and Cameos."

This
first

is

the typical collection of Gautier's verse.

appeared

1852, and subsequently passed through

in

several editions.

work

fashioning each

wrought out
"Progress
states the

**

The

It

is

on which

that

the author's most characteristic

a perfect

form.

In his account of the

Poetry since

Enamels and Cameos,'

1830," he

enamel upon

indicates

my

be

set in

a plate of gold or

finger

Every poem was

to

be

fit

worn on

recalling the copies of antique

31

copper,
as agate,

medallion

the cover of a casket, or a seal to be

something

intention

sometimes with

sometimes by using the cutter's wheel upon gems such


cornelian, or onyx.

thus

to treat slight subjects within a restricted


space,

the brilliant colours of

he had

infinite care, until

end he sought to attain


*

most pains,

he has bestowed

poem with

of French

title,

It

to

the

medals one

9f%

ow

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


the studios of painters or sculptors.

sees in

But

did not

to deny myself the pleasure of carving on the whitish

intend

or reddish layers of the

the

dressing

hair

clean

modern

profile, or of

Greek women seen

of Parisian

ball after the fashions

gems

at a recent

The Alexandrine

of Syracusan medals.

verse being too mighty for such modest ambition, I re-used

the octosyllabic verse only,

with

chiselled

new

all

which

possible care.

made

over, polished and

This form, by no means

but renewed by the rhythm, the richness of the

one,

which any workman may


and leisurely works out some small

rimes, and the accuracy to

when he
was

patiently

rather well received, and

became

for a

attain
task,

octosyllabic verse in quatrains

time a favourite subject for practice by young

poets."
It

been found

has

impossible

the

to preserve in

translation the form itself, for the reasons enunciated in

another part of this introduction.


to reproduce the delicacy of the

that the

Nor was
work

possible

French

so

reader might judge for himself of the merit

of Gautier as an

artist.

Mrs. Lee, indeed, considers

her work simply a free translation, and


light

in

it

that

it

it

is

in

this

should be judged.
F. C. DE SUMICHRAST.

32

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life

a human breast the

and death

Of silver from

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fre

he drew^

dew,

morning^ s mirth^
the sea^ a girth

the moon^ shot colour through

soul invisible^ until

To fulness^ and

it

grew

Opal Song had

the

birth.

then the god became the artisan.

With

rarest skill he 7nade his

Carving and shaping

it to

^hat down

it

the cycles

And evermore man^ s


The

an**

luere blended in one

A sunbeam golden with the


A wan^ salt phantom from

And

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caught he from the cloudy and green from earthy

And from

The

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THEOPHILE GAUTIER

TO

And

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perfect finish

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to

gloWy

beauty such

shall

gleam

to

man.,

wonderinent shall know

the immortal touch.

Agnes Les.

Enamels and Cameos


and Other Poems

*
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ENAMELS and CAMEOS


and OTHER POEMS
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PREFACE
When

empires lay riven apart,

Fared Goethe

at battle time's

To fragrant oases of art,


To weave his Divan into

thunder

wonder.

Leaving Shakespeare, he pondered the note


Of Nisami, and heard in his leisure

The hoopoe's weird monody float.


And set to soft Orient measure.
it

As Goethe

at

Weimar

And dreamed
And, questing

in

delayed

in the fair

sun or

With Hafiz plucked


I,

garden closes,

in shade.

redolent roses,

closed from the tempest that shook

My

window with

fury impassioned,

Sat dreaming, and, safe in

my

nook,

Enamels and Cameos fashioned.


37

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A A^

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


AFFINITY
PANTHEISTIC MADRIGAL

On an ancient temple gleaming,


Two great blocks of marble high
Thrice a thousand years

Dreams

lay

dreaming

against an Attic sky.

Set within one silver whiteness,

Two wave-tears for Venus shed,


Two fair pearls of orient brightness,
Through

the waste of water sped.

In the Generalife's fresh closes.

By

Two

Moorish

light illumed,

delicious, tender roses

met and bloomed.

a fountain

By

In the balm of May's bright weather.

Where

domes of Venice

the

rise,

Lighted on Love's nest together

Two
!

Mil

pale doves

^ - M i- i^t_wi jim -L Jt i^
i

from azure

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skies.

j' y."

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AFFINITY
All things vanish Into wonder,
pearl, dove, rose

Marble,

on

tree,

Pearl shall melt and marble sunder,

Flower

Not

shall fade

and bird

shall flee

a smallest part but lowly

Through

Where

all

the crucible must pass.

shapes are molten slowly

In the universal mass.

Then

as gradual

Marbles melt
Roses red

discloses

to whitest skin,

to lips of roses.

And anew
And

Time

the lives begin.

again the doves are plighted

In the hearts of lovers, while

Ocean

pearls are reunited.

Set within a coral smile.

Thus
By

affinity
its

comes welling

beauty everywhere

Soul a sister-soul foretelling.


All

awakened and aware.


39

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


Quickened by

Or
As

a zephyr sunny,

a perfume, subtlewise,

the bee unto the honey,

Atom

unto atom

And remembered

are the hours

down

In the temple,

And

flies.

the blue,

the talks amid the flowers,

Near

the fount of crystal dew.

warm, and on the royal


Golden domes the wings that beat;
For the atoms all are loyal.
Kisses

And
Love

again must love and greet.

forgotten

For the

And

past

wakes imperious.
is

never dead.

the rose with joy delirious

Breathes again from

Marble on the
Feels

Knows
With

its

flesh

own

lips

of red.

of maiden

white bloom, and faint

the dove a

murmur

the echo of

its

laden

plaint,

40

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AFFINITY
Till resistance giveth over,

And

And

the stranger

And

You

the barriers

affinity

is

hath

fall

the lover.

won

before whose face

Say

what

past

undone,

tremble,

we know

not of

Called our fates to reassemble,

Pearl or marble, rose or dove

41

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS

THE POEM OF WOMAN


MARBLE OF PAROS
Unto
As

the dreamer once

whose

heart she had,

she was showing forth her treasures rare,

Minded

The poem

she was to read a

poem

fair,

of her form with beauty glad.

and superb she swept before

First stately

His gazing eyes, with high. Infanta mien.


Trailing behind her

Of nacarat
Thus

When
And

out her box, her body one bright flame.


all

the air

had her

The

opera had he watched her bend

every song

Then

the splendid sheen

floods of velvet that she wore.

at the

From

all

was ringing with her name.

made her

art

ascend.

fair praise

another way, for look

weighty velvet dropped, and

in its place

pale and cloudy fabric proved the grace

Of every

line her

glowing body took

42

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THE POEM OF WOMAN


Till softly from her shoulder marble-sweet

The veil diaphanous fell, the folds whereof


Came fluttering downward like a snowy dove,

To

nestle in the

She posed

wonder of her

feet.

as for Apelles pridefully,

lovely flesh and marble

womanhood

Anadyomene, she upright stood


Naked upon the margent of the sea.

Fairer than anv foam-drops crystalline.

Great pearls of Venice lay upon her breast,


Jewels of milky wonder lightly pressed

Upon

the cool, fresh satin of her skin.

Exhaustless as the waves that kiss the brim,

Under

Were

What

the gleaming
all

moon

the strophes of her attitudes.

fascination sang her beauty's

But soon, grown weary of an

Of

of many moods,

art antique.

Phidias and of Venus, lo

Within another new and

hymn

again

plastic strain

She grouped her charms unveiled and unique.

43

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


cashmere opulently spread,

Upon

Sultana of Seraglio then she lay,

Laughing unto her little mirror gay.


That laughed again with lips of coral red;

The

indolent, soft Georgian, posturing

With

her long, supple narghile at

lip.

Showing the glorious fashion of her

One
And,

hip,

upon the other languishing.

foot

like to Ingres'

Odalisque, supine.

Defying prurient modesty turned she,


Displaying

Wonder

in

her beauty candidly

of curve and purity of

line.

But hence, thou

idle

Odalisque

Hath now

own

fair picture to
display

its

The diamond
Beauty

in

for life

in its rare effulgent ray,

Love hath reached

its

blossom

rife.

She sways her body, bendeth back her head.

Her breathing comes more subtle and more


Rocked in her dream's alluring arms, at last

Down

hath she fallen upon her costly bed.

44

fast.


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THE POEM OF WOMAN


Her

eyelids beat like fluttering pinions

Upon
Her

the darkened silver of her eyes.

bright, voluptuous glances

Into the vague and nacreous

Deck

lit

upward

rise

infinite.

her with sweet, lush violets, instead

Of death-flowers

with their every pearl a tear

Scatter their purple clusters on her bier,

Who
And

of her being's ecstasy

lies

bear her very gently to her

Her bed of

Long

When

white.

There

let

dead.

tomb

the poet stay,

hours upon his bended knees to pray.

night shall close around the funeral room.

45

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


STUDY OF HANDS

IMPERIA

SCULPTOR showed

to

me one

Or an Aspasia's, cast in clay,


Of masterwork a fragment
Seized in a

As

snowy

and

fair

like whitest

poem

there

beauty lay before mine eyes,

Bright in

its

pallor lustreless.

Reposing on
Its fingers,

little

a velvet bed.

weighted with their dress

Of jewels,

kiss,

pure.

the argent rise

in

lily

Of dawn,
Its

day

hand, a Cleopatra's lure,

delicately spread.

parted lay the thumb.

Showing the undulating

line.

Beautiful, graceful, subtlesome.

Of its

proud contour Florentine.

^6

STUDY OF HANDS

Strange hand

wonder

In silken locks of

Or on

To

if

Don

it

toyed

Juan,

a gem-bright caftan joyed

stroke the beard of

Whether,
Within

some soldan

as courtesan or queen.
its

fingers fair

and

slight

Was pleasure's gilded sceptre seen.


Or sceptre of a royal might
!

But sweet and firm


Full oft

Upon

its

it

must have

lain

touch of power rare

the curling lion-mane

Of some

chimera caught

in air.

Imperial, idle fantasy,

And

love of soft, luxurious things,

Frenzies of passion, wondrous,

Impossible dream-flutterings

Romances

wild, and poesy

Of hasheech

and of wine, vain speeds

Beneath Bohemia's

On

free.

brilliant

unrestrained and

sky

maddened

steeds

47
W- i^'^Kumvmv^mf^^matmm^^amn^imm^m^STSr^nfWrSnrT.

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


All these were in the lines of

Of

it,

book with magic scrolled,


Where ciphers stood, by Venus writ,
that white

That Love had trembled

48

to behold.

>

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A STUDY OF

HANDS

II

LACENAIRE
Strange contrast was the severed hand

Of

Lacenaire, the murderer dead,

Soaked

in a

powerful essence, and

Near by upon

Letting
I

The

cushion spread.

morbid fancy win,

touched, despite

my

loathing sane,

cold, hair-covered, slimy skin.

Not

yet

washed clean of deathly

stain.

Yellow, uncanny, mummified.

Like

And

to a Pharaoh's

stretched

its

hand

it

lay,

faun-shaped fingers wide,

Crisp with temptation's awful play;

As though

an itch for flesh and gold

Lured them

to horrors yet to be.

Twisting them roughly

Teasing
4

as of old,

their immobility.

49

*e*

'i*

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


There every

vice and passion's

Had seamed
With

the flesh abundantly

hideous hieroglyphs and grim,

That headsmen

There
I

read with fluency.

plainly writ in furrows

saw the deeds of

sin

Scorchings from every

Wherein

There was

Of

whim

and

fell,

soil,

fiery hell

corruptions seethe and boil.

a track of Capri's vice,

lupanars and gaming-scores.

Fretted with wine and blood and dice,

Like ennui of

Supple and

Of grace
Some

old emperors.

fierce,

it

had some dower

unto the searching eye,

brutal fascination's power,


gladiator's mastery.

Cold aristocracy of crime


No plane inured, no hammer spent
!

The

hand whose task

Had

for every time

but the knife for implement.

50

** *!l*
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4*i^ *!* 4* |*al*
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STUDY OF Hz^NDS

The hand
Therein

of Lacenaire

No

clue

to labour's honest pride

False poet, and assassin true,

The Manfred

of the gutter died

51

mL*

! est*

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


VARIATIONS ON THE CARNIVAL OF VENICE
I

ON TH E STREET
There

Is

a popular old air

That every

fiddler loves to scrape.

'T is wrung from organs everywhere,

To
The
Its

'Tis

barking dog with wrath agape.

music-box has registered


phrases garbled and reviled.
classic to the

household bird;

Grandmother learned

The

trumpet and the

it

as a child.

clarinet,

In dusty gardens of the dance.

Blow
In

And

it

to clerk and gay grisette.

shrill,

unlovely resonance.

of a Sunday

Under

swarm

the folk

the honeysuckle vine.

Quaffing, the while they talk and smoke.

The

sun, the melody, the wine.

52

s****
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VARIATIONS, CARNIVAL OF VENICE


It

lurks within the

The

man

blind

wry bassoon
plays, the porch beneath.

His poodle whimpers low the tune,

And

The

holds the cup between

its

teeth.

players of the light guitar.

Decked with

With

their Tiimsy t-irtano, pale,

voices sad, where feastcrs arc,

Through

coffee-houses fling

Great Paganini

One

night, as with a needle's gleam,

little

it

broidered

Till up and

bow

divine

antiquated theme.

And, threading

He

wail.

at a sign.

Picked up with end of

The

its

it

down

Ran golden

with fingers deft,


with colours bright,
the faded weft

arabesques of

53

light.

B* Sw v^>

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ofM

am mm

- xfo *xv

>

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


II

ON THE LAGOONS
Tra

la, tra la, la, la, la,

Knows

Or

not the theme's soft spell

Our mothers

loved

The Carnival of
Adown canals
Till, wafted

on

Venice
it

well.

Long

came.

ballet kept its fame.

Its

phrase I hear,

gondola to view.

With prow

voluted, black and clear,

Slip o'er the

see, her

With

The

it

or true.

a zephyr's song.

seem, whene'er

To

mock

sad or light or

The

who

bosom covered

pearls, her

Adriatic

On

water blue

o*er

body suave,

Venus

soar

sound's chromatic wave.

54

9f

mm

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VARIATIONS, CARNIVAL OF VENICE


The domes

that

on the water dwell

Pursue the melody


In clear-drawn cadences, and swell

Like breasts of love that

chains around a pillar cast,

My

land before a fair

And

rosy-pale facade at

Upon

Oh

sigh.

all

Her

a marble stair.

dear Venice with her towers,

boats, her masquers boon,

Her sweet
Throbs

The

chagrins, her mad, gay hours,


in that

ancient tune.

tenuous, vibrant chords that smite,

Rebuild

The

last,

in subtle

way

city joyous, free

Of

Canaletto's day

55

and
!

light

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS

III

ARNI VAL

Venice robes her for the

ball

Decked with spangles

bright,

Multi-coloured Carnival

Teems

with laughter

light.

Harlequin with negro mask,

Tights of serpent hue,


Beateth with a note fantasque

His Cassander

Flapping loose

Like

Through

true.

his long,

white sleeve,

penguin spread.
a subtle semibreve

Pierrot thrusts his head.

Sleek Bologna's doctor goes

Maundering on

a bass.

Punchinello finds for nose

Ouaver on

his face.

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VARIATIONS, CARNIVAL OF VENICE


Hurtling Trivellino

On

trill

Scaramouch

fine,

intent,
to

Columbine

Gives the fan she

lent.

Gliding to the tune,

One

mark

veiled figure rise.

While through

satin lashes

dark

Luring gleam her eyes.

Tender

little

edge of lace.

Heaving with her breath


" Under

An
And

is

her

As

dear face

"
!

arpeggio saith.

beneath the mask

Bloom of

And

own

rosy

know

lips,

the patch on chin of snow,

she by

me

57

trips

viz* *i 4* irii*>i*i*l*4ll4*4*44444*|4
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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


IV

MOONLIGHT
Amid

the chatter gay and

Saint

Like

to

fountain riseth to the

in that air

That shakes
Regret, a

in a

moon.

with laughter stirred.


its

bells far out to sea,

little stifled

Mingles

And

Lido wafts, a tune

as a rocket riseth glad

As

But

Mark

mad

sob audibly.

its frail

mist of

bird.

memory

clad.

Like dream well-nigh effaced,

The

sweet Beloved,

Of
Ah,

We

is

My

view

and sad.

dear, long-vanished days I

pale she

An

fair

knew.

soul in tears

April day remembers yet

sought the violets by the meres.

And

in the
grass

our fingers met.

^8

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VARIATIONS, CARNIVAL OF VENICE


The

vibrant note of violin

Is the child voice that struck

my

heart,

Exquisite, plaintive, argentine.

With

all

So sweetly,

So

the anguish of

falsely,

doth

dart.

steal,

cruel, yet so tender, too.

So cold, so burning,

It

its

that I feel

deadly pleasure pierce

me

through

my heart, an archway deep


Whose waters feed the fountain's

Until

Lets tears of blood


Into

my bosom

in silence

Where

How

weep

drip by drip.

Carnival of Venice

So chilling

lip.

theme

sad, yet ever

warm

laughter toucheth tears supreme,


hast thou hurt

59

me

with thy charm

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS

SYMPHONY IN WHITE
MAJOR
In the Northern

From

tales

of eld,

the Rhine's escarpments high

Swan-women

radiant were beheld,

Singing and floating by,

Or, leaving

On

their

plumage bright

was bending low.


Displaying skin more gleaming white
Than the white of their down of snow.
a

bough

that

At times one comes our way,

Of all
White

On
Her

as the

is

pallidest,

moonbeam's

shivering ray

a glacier's icy crest.

boreal

Our

On

she

bloom doth win

eyes to feasting rare

rich delight of nacreous skin.

And

a wealth of whiteness fair.

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SYMPHONY
Her rounded

Of snow,
With

IN

< MW

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<IM

<

(^^ *

insolent

war

her camellias and her robes

Of whiteness

nebular.

In such white wars supreme

She wins, and weft and flower

Leave

their revenge's right,

and seem

Yellowed with envy's hour.

On

the white of her shoulder bare,

Whose

marble Paros lends,

As through

the Polar twilight

fair,

Invisible frost descends.

What beaming
What pith a

What

snow,

reed within,

white of her matchless skin

Was she made


On the blue
The

virgin

Host, what taper, did bestow

The

of a milky drop

of a winter heaven

lily-blow on the stem's green top

The foam

WHITE MAJOR

breasts, pale globes

wage

mm

of the sea

at

even

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


Of the

marble

Wherein

Of

the great gods dwell

fires

of mystic

Like

Of the

kisses

fingers oft

butterflies

With

spell

the organ's ivory keys

Her winged

flit

over these,

pending

soft.

ermine's stainless fold.

Whose

On

and cold,

creamy opal gems that hold

Faint

Or

still

white,

warm

touches

fall

shivering shoulders and on bold,

Bright shields armorial

Of the

phantom flowers of

Enscrolled on the

Of the fountain
An Undine's

frost

window

drop

clear

in the chill air lost,

frozen tear

Of May bent low with the sweets


Of her bountiful white-thorn bloom
Of alabaster that repeats
The

pallor of grief

and gloom

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SYMPHONY
Of the

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Of slow

r>

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the gable steep

stalactite's tear-white drip


?

she from Greenland floes

With
Is she

Seraphita forth

Madonna

of the

Snows

sphinx of the icy North,

Sphinx buried by avalanche,

The

glacier's guardian ghost,

Whose

frozen secrets hide and blanch

In her white heart innermost

What

magic of what

far

who

This

name

Shall this pale soul ignite

Ah

!>

m^ w ^

WHITE MAJOR

In cavernous places deep

rl rft* #* ^K* #>^

feathers of doves that slip

And snow on

Came

Jl* #ftt

v*^ e^ ft^

shall flush with rose's flame

cold, implacable white

63

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS

&

S* *>^

'^''^

^ M^

'*

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M^ *M ** vlvcM !> vj* rl% 9*% )rM% ri% t*% #M M*

COQUETRY
Dear pillow

Often did

DEATH

IN

mark,

it

In mad, sweet nights our brows

And,

all

within the gondola dark,

Did count our

kisses infinite.

my waxen

hands supine.

About

Folded

My

in

prayer at

life's

deep gloam,

rosary of opals twine.

Blessed by His Holiness at

'11

finger

Where
His

unlit,

lips

it,

when bedded

never one

upon

my

Rome.

cold

shall rise.

lips

have told

Pater and an Jve soft

65

How

oft

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


HEART'S DIAMOND
Every

lover deep hath set

In a sacred nook apart

Some
In

its

One

dear token for the heart

hope or

Its

regret.

hath nested safe away

Blackest ringlet ever seen,

Over which an azure sheen


Lieth, as on wing of jay.

One from shoulder pale as milk


Took a tress more golden-fine
Than the threads that softly shine
In the silk-worm's wonder-silk.
In

its

hiding mystical,

Memory's

reliquary sweet.

Glances of another greet

Gloves with

And

fingers

another yet

white and small.

may

list

To inhale a faint perfume


Of the violets from her room,
Freshly given

faded, kissed.

'

66

!/

* 1 cA J^ i

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HEART'S DIAMOND
Here

a slipper's curving grace

One

with sighing treasureth.

There another guards

a breath

In a mask's light edge of lace.


I

Ve

no slipper to revere,

Neither glove nor

But

tress

cherish for love's

divine, adored tear,

nor flower;

dower

Fallen from the blue above,


Clearest dew, heaven's drop for me.
Pearl dissolved secretly

In the chalice of

To

my

love.

mine eyes the dim-worn dew

Beams,

gem

of Orient worth.

Standing from the parchment forth,

Diamond of

a sapphire blue,

Steadfast, lustreful

Tear

that

On

song

From an

fell

and deep

unhoped, unsought.

my

soul once wrought.

eye unused to weep.

67

^S*

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS

M#l;*4*
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m.'w*

SPRING'S FIRST SMILE


Where

for the restless stag the fountain wells,

His hidden hand

And

glides soft

amid the

cresses,

scatters lily-of-the-valley bells,

In silver dresses.

He

sinks the sweet, vermilion strawberries

Deep

And

in the grasses for


thy

garlands leaflets for thy forehead's ease.

When
When,

On
And

roving fingers,

sunshine lingers.

labour done, he must away, turns he

April's threshold

from

calleth unto Spring

The woods

his fair creating.

"

Come, Spring

are waiting

69

"
!

for see.

!/

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS

CONTRALTO
There

lies

Upon

within a great museum's

snowy bed of carven

hall,

stone,

statue ever strange and mystical.

With some

And

is it

fair fascination all its

youth or

is

Love

maiden sweet,

it

goddess or a god

own.

come down

to

sway

fearful, hesitating, turns his feet.

Nor any
Sideways

it

word's avowal will betray.


lieth,

Stretching

Unto

with averted face.

lovely limbs, half mischievous,

its

the curious crowd, an idle grace

Lighting

its

marble form luxurious.

For fashioning of

The

Man

its evil

beauty brought

sexes twain each one

whispers

And woman

its

magic dower.

"

"

in his thought,
Aphrodite
" Eros "
wondering at its power.
!

Uncertain sex and certain grace, that seem

To

melt forever in a fountain's kiss.

Waters

And

that

whelm

merge, and

the body as they gleam


it

is

one with Salmacis.


70

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^^^^ *^
v^ S*&

CONTRALTO
Ardent chimera,

Of Art

effort

and Pleasure

venturesome

figure fanciful

Into thy presence with delight

come,

Loving thy beauty strange and multiple.

Though

How

may never

often have

close to thee

my

draw nigh,

glances pierced the taut,

Straight fold of thine austerest drapery,

Fast

at the

end about thine ankle caught

dream of poet passing every bound

is

it

molten into

And boy and

thought hath built a fancy of thy form.

My
Till

tone divine,

The

girl

silver

sound.

one

are

in

cadence warm.

richest tone of earth,

beautiful, bright statue's counterpart

Contralto, thou fantastical of birth.

The
Thou

voice's

own Hermaphrodite

art the plaintive

art fair Juliet

art

dove, the linnet rare.

Perched on one rose

Thou

thou

and

tree,

mellow

Romeo

one note.

fair.

Singing across the night with one

71

in

warm

throat.

Jm ! L l/i

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


Thou

young wife of the castellan,


Chaffing an amorous page below her bower,
art the

Upon her balcony the lady wan.


The lover at the base of her high

Thou

art the

tower.

yellow butterfly that swings.

Pursuing soft a butterfly of snow.


In

spiral flights

One
The
The

winging high, the other winging low

angel

Of

and subtle traversings,

flitting

up and down the gold

the bright stair's aerial extent.

bell in

whose

alloy of

mighty mould

Are voice of bronze and voice of

Yea, melody and harmony

Song with

its

Matched unto

To
Or

true

force,

silver blent

art thou,

accompaniment, and grace

the woman plighting vow

her Beloved with a close embrace

thou

Her

Deep

art Cinderella

to spend

night before the embers of the

in a conversation

The

doomed

fire,

with her friend,

cricket, as the latter hours expire

72

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CONTRALTO
Or

Arsaces, the great and valorous,

Waging

his righteous battle for a

Or Tancred

realm,

with his breastplate luminous,

Cuirassed and splendid with his sword and helm

Or Desdemona

with her willow song,

Zerlina laughing

Malcolm,
Thee,

his plaid

O
The

fair

at

upon

art,

his

shoulder strong.
I

adore

thou dearest charm of each,

Contralto, double-throated dove

Kaled of a Lara,

Thou

Mazetto, or

thou dear Contralto,

For these thou

for thy speech.

mightest, like the lost Gulnarc, prove,

In whose heart-stirring, passionate caress


In one wild, tremulous note there blend and mount

woman's

And

sigh of plaintive tenderness,

virile

accents from a firmer fount.

73

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


EYES OF BLUE
A WOMAN,
Whose

mystic, sweet.

beauty draws

Stands silent where the

And
Her

singing waters

my

soul,

fleet

roll.

eyes, the mirrored note

Of

heaven, merge heaven's blue

Bestarred of lights remote.

With
Within

the sea's glaucous hue.


their languor set.

Smiles sadness

infinite.

Tears make the sparkles wet,

And
Like

tender grows the light.

from

sea-gulls

aloft

That graze the ocean


Her lashes flutter soft

Upon

an azure

As slumbering

sea.

treasures

Send shimmers

drowned

lightly up.

Gleams through the

The King

free,

tide

profound

of Thule's cup.
n

4: db 4: 4:

db 4: ^ 4: 4? 4: ^
EYES OF

:l::l: tl:

Athwart the weedy

^ tb

tl:

db tfc db Jb d? db

BLUE
swirl

waves upon,

Brilliant, the

Shine Cleopatra's pearl.

And

ring of Solomon.

The crown
That
Still

to

ocean

Schiller

cast,

showed

under sea caught

Beams

clear

magic

in that

to us.

fast.

and luminous.

gaze

Draws me, mad venturer


Thus mermaid's magic ways

Drew Harold
And

Haarfager.

my soul unquelled
Adown the gulf betrayed
all

Dives, to the quest impelled

Of some
The

elusive shade.

siren fitfully

Displays her body's gleam,

Her

breast and arms that ply

Through waves of amorous dream.


75

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


The

water heaves and

falls,

Like breasts with passion's breath.

The

breeze insistent calls

To
Come

me, and murmureth:

to

My

pearly bed !

my

ocean arms shall

About thee

salt shall

To honey on thy Up

Oh^

let

slip

spread

the billows link

Above us

Thou

shalt,

warm,

From cup of kisses drink


Oblivion of the storrn

Thus

"

sighs the glance that sweeps

From

out those sea-blue gates,

Till heart

down

treacherous deeps

The hymen consummates.

76

THE TOREADOR'S SERENADE

THE TOREADOR'S SERENADE


ROND ALLA
Child with
Dove

Whom

airs imperial,

thou hatest,

come

Underneath thy balcony

my

There,

I shall

Till thy

With

Let no

me

with falcon's eyes for

foot

I shall

upon the stone,

twang my chords with grace,

window-pane hath shone


thy lamplight and thy face.

lad with his guitar

Strum adown the bordering ways.


Mine the road to watch and bar,

Mine

Let the

He

Who

alone to sing thy praise.

first

my

courage brave.

shall lose his ears, egad


shall

howl

his love

and rave

In a couplet good or bad.

11

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


Restless doth

Come!

Who

my

dagger

lie.

who'll venture

would wear

its

rebuff?

for every sigh

Blood's red flower upon his rufF?

Blood grows weary of

For
Night

it

is

its

veins

yearns to be displayed.

ominous with

rains.

Haste, ye cowards, back to shade

On, thou braggart, else aroint


Well thy forearm cover thou.
!

On

Let

and with

me

my

write

dagger's point

upon thy brow.

Let them come, alone,

Firm of
For thy

foot I bide

my

mass

place.

glory, as they pass,

Would

I slit

each paltry face.

O'er the gutter ere thy

Snowy feet
By the Rood

With

in

clear.

shall be defiled,
!

a bridge I

'11

rear

the bones of gallants wild.

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THE TOREADOR'S SERENADE


I

would

Any

slay, thy love to

foe, yea,

wear,

even proud

Satan's very self to dare,

So thy sheets became

Sightless

shroud.

my

window, deafened door

Wilt thou never heed my sounds?


Like

wounded

Maddening

Drive

For

the baying hounds.

at least a

Where my
want

With

its

it

bull I roar.

poor

heart

nail then,
inert.

may hang

not again.

madness and

hurt

its

79
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'-'

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


NOSTALGIA OF THE OBELISKS
THE OBELISK
Distant from my
Ever

PARIS

IN

native land,

dull with ennui's pain,

Lonely monolith

I stand.

In the snow and

And my

shaft,

frost

and

rain.

once burnt to red

In a flaming heaven's glare,

Taketh on
In

Oh,

this

a pallor dead

never azure

air.

to stand again before

Luxor's pylons, and the dear.

Grim

My
Oh,

Colossi

be once more

vermilion brother near

to pierce the changeless blue,

Where

of old

my

With my shadow

peak upwon,

sharp and true

Trace the footsteps of the sun


80
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NOSTALGIA OF THE OBELISKS


Once,

Rameses

Not the
But

fell

it

my

tall

mass

ages could destroy.


cut

Paris took

Now my

down
it

like grass.

for a toy.

granite form behold

Sentinel the livelong day

Twixt

And

On

a spurious temple old,

the Chambre des Deputes!

the spot

where Louis

Died, they

With my

set

secret

Seize

me, meaningless,

which outweighs

Cycles of forget fulness.

Sparrows lean

Where
And

the

defile
ibis

my

head,

used to

light,

the fierce gypaetus spread

Talons gold and plumage white.

And

the Seine, the drip of street,

Unclean

Now

befouls

Which
_

river, crime's abyss.

mine ancient

the Nile

feet.

was wont

to kiss

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


Hoary Nile

that,

crowned and

To

its

lotus-laden shores

From

its

ever bended urn

stern,

Crocodiles for gudgeon pours

Golden chariots gem-belit

Of the

Pharaohs' pageanting

Grazed my

side the

Bearing out the

By my

cab-wheels

last

hit,

poor king.

granite shape of yore

Passed the priests, with stately pschent,

And

the mystic boat upbore.

Emblemed and

magnificent.

But to-day, profane and wan,


Camped between two fountains wide,
I

behold the courtesan

In her carriage lounge with

From
I

the

first

of year to

pride.

last

must see the vulgar show

Solons to the Council passed,

Lovers to the woods that go


'

"

82

jr*#* ** ** * *S* * jf*9*l#**i**l*f ** 9**9* *g*ff?**

NOSTALGIA OF THE OBELISKS


Oh, what

skeletons abhorred,

Hence, an hundred years,

this race

Couched, unbandaged, on a board,


In a nailed

coffin's place.

Never hypogeum

kind.

Safe from foul corruption's fearj

Never

hall

where century-lined

Generations disappear

Sacred

And

Where

soil

of hieroglyph.

of sacerdotal laws.
the Sphinx

is

waiting

Sharpening on the stone

Soil

its

claws,

of crypt where echoes part.

Where
All

stiff.

my

the vulture swoopeth free.

being,

all

my

mine Egypt, weeps

83

heart,
for thee

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


THE OBELISK
Where

LUXOR

IN

the wasted columns brood,

Lonely sentinel stand

I,

In eternal solitude

Facing

Dumb,

To

all

infinity.

with beauty unendowed,

the horizon limitless

Spreads earth's desert like a shroud


Stained by yellow suns that press.

While above

blue and clean,

it,

Is another desert cast

Sky where cloud

is

never seen.

Pure, implacable, and vast.

And

the Nile's great water-course

Glazed with leaden

pellicle

Wrinkled by the river-horse

Gleameth dead,

unlustreful.

All about the flaming

By

isles,

a turbid water spanned,

Hot, rapacious crocodiles

Swoon and

sob upon the sand.


8^^

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av* ! *r

NOSTALGIA OF THE OBELISKS


Perching motionless, alone,
Ibis, bird

From

of classic fame.

a carven slab of stone

Reads the moon-god's sacred name.

Jackals howl, hyenas grin.

Famished hawks descend and

Down the heavy air they


Commas black against
These

cry.

spin.

the sky.

the sounds of solitude.

Where

the sphinxes

yawn and

doze,

Dull and passionless of mood,

Weary

of their endless pose.

Child of sand's reflected shine.

And

of sun-rays fiercely bent.

Is there

ennui

like to thine.

Spleen of luminous Orient

Thou

To
Thou

it

was

satiety

cried " Halt

of yore

of kings.

hast crushed

With

"
!

me more and more

thine awful weight of wings.

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


Here no zephyr of the

the tears from skies that

Wipes

Time

the palaces long

Naught

this

still.

touch the features terse

shall

Of this

dull, eternal spot.

changing universe,

Only Egypt changeth not

When
Ve

the ennui never ends.

And
I

yearn a friend to hold,

the fellahs,

Of the

mummies,

friends,

dynasties of old.

I behold a pillar pale.

Or

a chipped Colossus note.

Watch

Up
Oh,

a distant, gleaming sail

and down the Nile

to seek

my

afloat.

brother's side,

In a Paris wondrous, grand,

With

fill.

himself leans wearily

On

In

sea

his stately

form to

bide.

In the public place to stand

86

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iS* Ki

NOSTALGIA OF THE OBELISKS


he looks on living men,

F'or

And
By an

To

they scan his pictures wrought


hieratic pen,

be read by vision-thought.

Fountains

On

fair as

amethyst

his granite lightly

pour

All their irisated mist.

He

Ah

is

yet he and

From
But

growing young once more.

He

Syene's veins of red.

keep
is

had birth

my

living.

spot of earth.
I

87

am

dead.

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS

VETERANS OF THE OLD


GUARD
(December

Driven by ennui from my room,


walked along the Boulevard.

'T was

December's mist and gloom.


bitter wind was blowing hard.

A
And

in

there

saw

strange thing to see

In drizzle and in daylight drear,

From

out their dark abodes

Dim,

Yet

't is

By

On

by night's uncanny hours.

German moonbeams

cast

old dilapidated towers,

That ghosts

It is

let free.

spectral shadow-shapes appear.

pallid

are

wont

by night's effulgent

to

wander

past.

star

In dripping robes that elves Intrigue

To

*^ * v^ *
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bear beneath the nenuphar

Their dancer dead of

his fatigue.

""

88

15)

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VETERANS OF THE OLD GUARD


At

night's mysterious tide hath been

The

great review

Wherein

the

Numbered

of

ballad writs

Emperor, dimly seen,


the shades of Austerlitz.

But phantoms near the Gymnase?

And wet and miry phantoms,


And close to the Varietes,

And
With

yea,

too.

not a shroud to trick the view

yellow teeth and stained dress,

And mossy
Paris

skull

and pierced shoon,

Montmartre behold

Death

in the

it

press,

very light of noon

Ah, 't is a picture to be seen


Three veteran ghosts in uniform
!

Of the

Two
The

Old Guard, and,

ghost-hussars in daylight's storm.

lithograph,

Wherein one

The

spare and lean,

you would surmise.


ray shines

down upon

dead, that RafFet deifies.

That

pass and shout

8^

"

Napoleon

"
!

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


No

dead are these,

whom

rouse to battle

May

nightly

fires that

drum

burn,

But stragglers of the Old Guard, come

To

celebrate the grand return

Since fighting in the fight supreme.

One has grown thin, another stout;


The coats that fitted once now seem
Too small, too loose, or draggled out.

epic rags

tatters light.

Starred with a cross

Of ridicule,
More

Limp

Heroic things

ye gleam more bright.

beautiful than robes of kings

feathers fluttering adorn

The tawny colbacks worn and grim.


The bullet and the moth have torn
And

riddled well the

dolmans dim.

Their leathern breeches loosely hang


In furrows on their lank thigh-bones,
Their rusty sabres drag and clang,

As

heavily they scrape the stones.

90

A * *4* *

'^

** ** !<* * *M i r*% * * | * *

VETERANS OF THE OLD GUARD


Or some

round belly firm and

Squeezed

tight in tether

Makes mirth and

jest to

fat,

labour-donned,

chuckle

Old hero quaint and cheveroned

But do not mock and

jeer,

my

at
!

lad.

Salute him, rather, and, believe,

Achilles he, of Iliad

That Homer's

Respect these

self could not conceive.

men

with battle signs

That twenty skies have painted brown


Their scars that lengthen out the lines

Of

wrinkles age has written

down

Their skin whose colour deep and dun,


Bared to the fronts of many foes.
Tells us of Egypt's burning sun

Their locks

And

if

Ah
And

that tell of Russia's snows.

they shake, no longer strong


Beresina's

if

they limp

From

wind was

cold.

The way was

Cairo unto Vilna

91

told.

long,

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


If they be

stiff?

For sheet

And

is

Mock
At

to hold their bodies

that a bullet tore an arm.

not these veteran shapes bizarre,

whom

They were

The

the urchin laughs and gapes.


the day, of which

we

are

evening, and the night, perhaps,

Remembering if we forget
Red lancer, grenadier in
With faces to the Column

As

warm.

a sleeve be loose, poor rag

if

'T

but a flag

They'd

blue.
set.

to their only altar true.

There, proud of pain each scar denotes,

And
They

feel

The
And

of long miseries gone by.


beneath their shabby coats

heart of France beat mightily.

so our smiles are steeped in tears.

Seeing this holy carnival.

This picture wan


Like morning

that reappears.
after midnight's ball.

92

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VETERANS OF THE OLD GUARD


And, cleaving heaven its own to claim,
Wide the Grand Army's eagle spreads
Its

golden wings, like glory's flame,

Above

their dear

and hallowed heads.

93

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4^ a^ r tt^ vw %
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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


SEA-GLOOM
The

sea-gulls restless

The mad

Of

gleam and glance,

white coursers cleave the length

ocean as they rear and prance

And

The

toss their

day

The

is

manes

ending.

in

stormy strength.

Raindrops choke

sunset furnaces.

The gloom

Brings the great steamboat spitting smoke,

And

And

I,

beating

down

its

long black plume.

more wan than heaven wide.

For land of soot and fog am bound,


For land of smoke and suicide

And

How

right

eagerly

good weather have


I

now would

found

pierce

The gulf that groweth wild and hoar


The vessel rocks. The waves are fierce.
!

The

wind freshens more and more.

salt

Ah bitter is my soul's unrest.


The very ocean sighing heaves
!

In

pity

its

unhopeful breast.

Like some good friend that knows and grieves.

94

A*

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J/

*!/

v^ !>* a***!* 1 4% i* vA* t$l ^U**!


"1

SEA-GLOOM

Let be

Let be

And

fell

One

Away

lost love's despair

supreme

illusions fair that rose

from pedestals of dream

leap

The

dark wet ridges close.

ye sufferings gone by,

That evermore returning brood,


And press the wounds that sleeping

To make
Away

them weep

afresh their blood.

whose crimson

regret,

lie,

heart

Hath seven swords.

Yea, One, maybe,


Doth know the anguish and the smart

Mother of Seven Sorrows, She

Each ghostly

And

To

grief sinks

down

the vast,

struggles with the waves that throb

close about

Drown

it

it,

and

at last

forever with a sob.

Soul's ballast, treasures of

Sink

and

we

'11

life's

hand.

wreck together down.

Pale on the pillow of the sand


I

'11

rest

me

well at evening brown.

95

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!/ Mi%

r aX* ii*a*JAl# ! 1> A #

b*^*^^

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


But, now, a

woman,

as I gaze.

darker nook,

Sits in the bridge's

woman, who doth sweetly raise


Her eyes to mine in one long look.

'T is Sympathy with

Who
Of

all

sea-gulls restless

The mad

Of Ocean
And

through the gray

her thousand charms.

Hail, azure eyes

The

me

smileth to

dusk with

outstretched arms,

Green

sea,

away

gleam and glance.

white coursers cleave the length

as they rear

toss their

and prance

manes

96

in

stormy strength.

(M*

e>a>w*(**aMav>iiSBa|i>aM<*

Mw

mw m

aCi*

tSb aab

TO A ROSE-COLOURED GOWN
TO A ROSE-COLOURED GOWN
How

love you in the robes

That

Your

disrobe so well your charms

dear breasts, twin ivory globes,

And your

bare sweet pagan arms.

Frail as frailest

wing of bee,

Fresher than the heart of rose.


All the fabric delicate, free.

Round your body gleams and glows,


Till from skin to silken thread.
Silver shivers lightly win.

And

the rosy

gown have

shed

Roses on the creamy skin.

Whence
Made

have you the mystic thing,


of very

flesh

of you,

Living mesh to mix and cling

With your
Did you take

glorious body's
it

Of the dawn
From

from the rud


?

From Venus'

a breast-flower nigh to

From

hue

a rose about to swell

97

bud
?

shell
?

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


Doth

the texture have

its

dye

From some blushing bashfulness

No your

Down

you

portraits do not lie

Beauty beauty's form

cast

shall guess

your garment

fair,

Art-dreamed, sweet Reality,

Like Borghese's princess, rare

For Canova's mastery

Ah

the folds are lips of

fire

Sweeping round your lovely form


In a

folly

With

of desire.

a weft of kisses

98

warm

I*

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*

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OV*

THE WORLD'S MALICIOUS

THE WORLD'S MALICIOUS


Ah, little one, the world 's malicious
With mocking smiles thy beauty greeting.
!

It says that in

A
Yet

watch, and not a heart,


like the sea thy breast

With

thy breast capricious


is

is

beating.

swelling

the wild, tumultuous

all

power

tide of blood sends pulsing, welling.

Beneath thy

Ah,
It

And

little

flesh in life's

one, the world

is

young hour.

spiteful

says thy vivid eyes are fooling.


that they have their

From

faithful,

Yet on thy

An

charm

delightful

diplomatic schooling.

lashes' shifting curtain

iridescent tear-drop trembles,

Like dew unbidden and uncertain,

That no
Ah,
It

little

well-water's gleam resembles.

one, the world reviles thee

says thou hast

That

verse,

no

spirit's

favour.

which seemingly beguiles

Hath unto thee

a Sanskrit savour.

99

thee,

4*
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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


Yet

to thy

crimson

lips inviting,

Intelligence's bee of laughter,

At every

flash

of wit alighting,

Allures and gleams, and lingers after.

Ah,

little

Thou

one, I
lovest

know

me.

Leave me, and hear

" What

heart,

the trouble

The
its

what

world,

it

guesses.

praises bubble

spirit,

100

she possesses !

"

4o al* 4* A ** !

^^

^^^vl**!*^^*!**!**!**!**!*

A Afj}*

INES DE LAS SIERRAS

INES DE LAS SIERRAS


To
In Spain,

Three

PETRA CAMARA

as Nodier's

officers in night's

Came on

true

Anne

With

Now
By

mid hours

eaves and mouldering towers,

RadclifFe type

was.

it

ruined halls and crumbling rooms

And windows

Of

told,

a castle dark and old.

With sunken

pen has

graven by the claws

Goya's bats that ranged the glooms.

while they feasted, gazed upon


ancient portraits standing guard

In their ancestral frames, anon

sudden cry rang thitherward.

Forth from a distant corridor

That many

moonbeam's

pallid

hue

Fretted fantastically o'er,

wondrous phantom sped


lOI

in view.

A* tMf* 4* 9* 9* 9* & * S* S* * *! *i* *i* * !* ik ?* *i* S* *


f^

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


With

bodice high and hair comb-tipped,

woman, running, dancing,

Adown the dappled gloom she


An iridescent form descried.

languid, dead, voluptuous


Filled every act's

abandon

hied.

dipped,

mood
brief.

Till at the door she stopped, and stood


Sinister, lovely past belief.

Her raiment crumpled


Showed here and

At every

start a

Dropped

in the

tomb

there a spangle's

foil.

faded bloom

petals in her hair's black coil.

dull scar crossed her bloodless throat,

As of

Like

a knife.

Of teeth,

rattle chill

her castanets she smote

Full in their faces

Ah, poor bacchante,

awed and

sad of grace

So wild the sweetness of her

The

curved

Had

lips in

still.

spell.

her white face

lured a saint from heaven to hell

102

vi:*
& fi*
4
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INES DE LAS SIERRAS


Like darkling birds her eyelashes

Upon
Her

her cheek lay fluttering light.

kirtle's

swinging cadences

Displayed her limbs of lustrous white.

She bowed amid

And

a mist

of gyres,

with her hand, as dancers may,

Like flowers she gathered up

And grouped them

Was

a wraith or

it

desires.

in a bright

woman

bouquet.

seen,

thing of dreams, or blood and flesh,

The

flame that burst from out the sheen

Of beauty's
It

was
It

undulating mesh?

phantom of the

past.

was the Spain of olden keep,

Who,

at the

sound of cheer

Upbounded from

at last

her icy sleep,

In one bolero mad, supreme.


Rough-resurrected, powerful,

Showing beneath her

The

kirtle's

gleam

ribbon wrested from the bull.

103

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


About her

The
Unto

deathblow was, dealt

silently

a generation dead

every new-born century.

By

throat the scar of red

saw

this self-same

phantom

fleet,

All Paris ringing with her praise.

When
La

soft,

Petra

diaphanous, mystic, sweet.

Camara

held

its

gaze,

Closing her eyes with languor rare,


Impassive, passionate of

And,

like the

Dancing,

art.

murdered Ines

fair.

a dagger in her heart.

104

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ODELET

ODELET
ANACREON

After

Poet of her
Curb

face divine,

this over-zeal

of thine

Doves wing frighted from the ground


At a step's too sudden sound,

And

her passion

is

a dove.

Frighted by too bold a love.

Mute
By

as marble

Hermes wait

the blooming hawthorn-gate.

Thou

shalt see her

wings expand.
hand.

She

shall flutter to thy

On

thy forehead thou shalt

Something

Or

like a breath

know

of snow,

of pinions pure that beat

In a whirl of whiteness sweet.

And

the dove,

grown venturesome.

upon thy shoulder come.


And its rosy beak shall sip

Shall

From

the nectar of thy

105

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS

SMOKE
Beneath yon

squalid,

With

tree sits

humble

hunchbacked house,

roof precipitous.

And mossy

walls that crumble.

Bolted and barred the shanty.

But from

its

must and mould,

Like breath of

Comes

lips in cold,

respiration scanty.

vapour upward welling,

slender, silver streak,

To God bears tidings meek


Of the soul in the little dwelling.

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APOLLONIA

APOLLON

Fair Apollonia, name august,


Greek echo of the sacred vale,
Great name whose harmonies robust

Thee

as Apollo's sister hail

Struck with the plectrum on the lyre,

And

in

melodious beauty sung,

Brighter than love's and glory's


It

resonant rings upon the tongue.

At such

The

a classic

sound as

this.

down

their

elves plunge

Alone the Delphian worthy is


So lustreful a name to take,

Pythia

when

in her

priestess white

German

lake.

flowing dress

She mounts her place with

And,

fire.

feet

unshod.

and prophetess.

Wistful awaits the tardy god.

107

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THE BLIND MAN


And

yet perchance

when

Death speeds unto

The

tomb-bred

life's last

spark

eternal night,

soul, within the dark,

Shall see the light.

109

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


SONG
In April earth

white and rose

Is

Like youth and love,

Her

smiles,

Her

now

now

tendering

fearful to disclose

virgin heart unto the Spring.

In June, a

And

little

full at

She hideth

pale and worn,

heart of vague desire,

in the

yellow corn,

With sunburned Summer

to respire.

In August, wild Bacchante, she

Her bosom

And on

in

Autumn

shapes,

the tiger-skin flung free,

Draws

And

bares to

forth the purple blood of grapes.

December,

shrivelled, old,

Bepowdered white from

foot to head,

In dream she wakens Winter cold.

That

sleeps beside her in her bed.

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WINTER FANTASIES
WINTER FANTASIES
I

Red

of nose and white of face,

Bent

his

desk of ice before,

Winter doth

his

theme

retrace

In the season's quatuor,

Beating measure and the ground

With

a frozen foot for us.

Singing with uncertain sound

Olden tunes and tremulous.

And

as Haendel's

wig sublime

Trembling shook

its

powder,

Flutter as he taps his time

Snow-flakes

in a flurry soft.

Ill

oft

ENAMELS AND CAMEOS


II

In the Tuileries fount the swan

Meets the

As

in land

of

ice,

and

fairies

the trees.

wan,

Are bedecked with

Flowers of

all

filigrees.

frost in vases

low

Stand unquickened and unstirred.

And we

trace

upon the snow

Starred footsteps of a bird.

Where

with lightest raiment spanned,

Venus was with Phocion met,

Now

has Winter's hoary hand

"
Clodion's " Chilly Maiden

112

set.

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WINTER FANTASIES
III

Women

pass in ermine dress,

Sable, too, and miniver.

And

the shivering goddesses

Haste to don the fashion's

Venus of the Brine comes


In her hooded mantle'c
Flora,

forth,
fluff.

blown by breezes North,

Hides her fingers

And

fur.

in

her muff.

the shepherdesses round

Of

Coustou and Coysevox,

Finding scarves too

light

have wound

Furs about their throats of snow.

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ENAMELS AND Ci^MEOS


IV
Heavy doth the North bedrape
Paris mode from foot to top,

As

o'er fair

Athenian shape

Scythian should a bearskin drop.

Over

winter's garments meet,

Everywhere we

see the fur.

Flung with Russian pomp, and sweet

With

the fragrant vetiver.

Pleasure's laughing glances feast

Far amid the

From

statues,

the bristles of a beast

Bursts a Venus torso

"--.vv;
;

...

.-.'

where

fair

^
,'

/.* **'-

114

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WINTER FANTASIES
V
If

you venture hitherward,

With

a tender veil to cheat

Glances over-daring, guard

Well your Andalusian

Snow

On

shall fashion like a

your

feet

frame

foot's impression rare,

Signing with each step your

On

name

the carpet soft and vair.

Thus were

To

surly master led

the hidden trysting-place,

Where

his

Were

Psyche, faintly red,

beheld

in

Love's embrace.

8"S

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS

THE BROOK
Near

a great water's waste

brook mid rock and spar

Came

bubbling up

As though
It

"

sang

in haste,

to travel far.

What

joy to rise

'T was dismal under ground.


I

mirror

Forget-me-nots

Beseech

Wings
And
"

me

And

river

be

how

fair

as they pass.

who knows
?

winding down.

greeting as

'11

from the grass

me

graze

Valley and
I

frolic in the air,

I yet shall

'

the skies.

banks with green abound.

My
"

now

it

cliff

broider with

flows

and town.

my

spray

Stone bridge and granite quay.

And

bear great ships

Unto

away

the long wide sea."

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THE BROOK
So planiTid

As water
Within

To

it,

babbling by,

boiling fast

a basin high.

top

its

brim

Cradle by tomb

is

at last.

crossed.

Giants are early dead.


Scarce born, the brook was

Within

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117

deep bed.

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ENAMELS AND CAMEOS

TOMBS AND FUNERAL


PYRES
No

grim cadaver

set its flaw

In happy days of pagan art,

And man,

content with what he saw,

Stripped not the veil from beauty's heart.

No form once loved that buried


A hideous spectre to appal.
Dropped

bit

by

bit its flesh

away,

As one by one our garments


Or, when the days had

And

fall

drifted by

sundered shrank the vaulted stones,

Showed naked

lay,

to the daring eye

motley heap of rattling bones.

But, rescued from the funeral pyre,


Life's ashen, light residuum

Lay

soft,

The

and, spent the cleansing

fire,

urn held sweet the body's sum,

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TOMBS AND FUNERAL PYRES


The sum

of

Of the
All that

that earth

all

souPs butterfly, soul passed,

of spended flame

is left

the tripod at the

Upon

may claim

Between acanthus

leaves

last.

and flowers

In the white marble gaily went

Loves and bacchantes

all

the hours,

Dancing about the monument.

At most,

a little

Trampled

And

art's

Upon

a flame out in the</