Imágenes de páginas

les ruines romaines on croit aux antiques Romains, comme si l'on avait vécu de leur temps. Les souvenirs de l'esprit font acquis par l'étude. Les souvenirs de l'imagination naillent d'une impression plus immédiate et plus intime qui donne de la vie à la pensée, et nous rend, pour ainu dire, témoins de ce que nous avons appris. Sans doute on ett importune de tous ces bâtimens modernes qui viennent se mêler aux antiques débris. Mais un portique debout à côté d'un humble toit ; mais des colonnes entre lesquelles de petites fenêtres d'église sont pratiquées, un tombeau fervant d'afile à toute une famille rustique, produisent je ne sais quel mélange d'idées grandes et simples, je ne sais quel plaisir de découverte qui inspire un intérêt continuel. Tout est commun, tout ett prosaique dans l'extérieur de la plupart de nos villes européennes, et Rome, plus souvent qu'aucune autre, presente le triste aspect de la misère et de la dés, gradation, mais tout à coup une colonne brisée, un bas-relief à demi detruit, des pierres liées à la façon indestructible des architectes anciens, yous rappellent qu'il y a dans l'homme une puissance éternelle, une étincelle divine, et qu'il ne faut pas se lasser de l'exciter en soi-même et de la :: ranimer dans les autres.'

The passage that immediately follows, breathes strongly the spirit of freedom.

Ce Porum, dont l'enceinte eft fi resserrée et qui a vu tant de choses étonnantes, est une preuve frappante de la grandeur morale de l'homme. Quand l'univers, dans les derniers temps de Rome, était soumis à des maîtres sans gloire, on trouve des siècles entiers dont l'histoire peut à peine conserver quelques faits ; et ce Forum, petit espace, centre d'une ville alors très-circonscrite, et dont les habitans combattaient autour d'elle pour son territoire, ce Forui n'a-t-il pas occupé, par les souvenirs qu'il retrace, les plos beaux génies de tous les temps ? Honneur donc, étergel honneur aux peoples courageux et libres, puisqu'ils captivent ainli les regards de la postérité !' vol. I, p. 184-186.

Corinna is represented as excelling in the character of an Inie provisatrice, so peculiar to Italy, and so intimately connected with the flowing and sonorous language of that country. . Several specimens of this sort of composition are given in the course of the work; one of the most beautiful we think is an effusion that Corinna is supposed to make sitting on the promontory of Misenum in a moonlight evening, just after sunset, with the bay of Naples, and all the classical and magnificent scenery that surrounds it, stretched out before her. The subject suggested by her friends was the recollections attached to the objects now in view. Melancholy had then begun to take possession of her thoughts, from the circumstances of her own situation, and this is strongly marked in the whole of her disco se : we give only the end of it, where, after mentioning the names of Cornelia, Portia, Agrippina, who, in circumstances of deep distress, had all passed over the theatre before her, she goes on thus.

- Amou'a

“ Amour, suprême puiffance du cour, mvxérieux enthousiasme qui renferme en lui-même la poésie, l'hérojsine et la religion ! qu'arrive-t-il quand la destinée nous sépare de celui qui avait le secret de notre ame et pous avait donné la vie du cæur, la vie céleste? Qu'arrive-t-il quand l'absence ou la mort isolent une femme sur la terre ? Elle languit, elle tombe. Combien de fois ces rochers qui nous entourent n'ont-ils pas offert leur froid soutien à ces veuves délaissées qui s'appuyaient jadis sur le fein d'un ami, sur le bras d'un héros !

“ Devant vous eft Sorente ; là, demeurait la fæeur du Talle, quand il vint en pélerin demander à cette obscure amie un afile contre l'injustice des princes : fes longues douleurs avaient presque égaré fa raison ; il ne lui restait que la connaissance des choses divines, toutes les images de la terre étaient troublées. Ainsi le talent, épouvanté du désert qui l'en. vironne, parcourt l'univers sans trouver rien qui lui refferable. La na. ture pour lui n'a plus d'écho; et le vulgaire prend pour la folie ce malaise d'une ame qui ne respire pas dans ce monde affez d'air, assez d'en. thougasme, affez d'espoir, "

“ Sublime créateur de cette belle nature, protége-nous! Nos élans font sans force, nos espérances mensongères. Les pasfions exerceat en nous une tyrannie tumultueuse, qui ne nous laiffe ni liberté ni repos. Peut-être ce que nous ferons demain décidera.t-il de notre fort ; peutêtre bier avons-nous dit un mot que rien ne peut racheter. . Quand notre esprit s'élève aux plus hautes pensées, nous sentons, comme au sommet des édifices élevés, un vertige qui confond tous les objets à nos regards; mais alors même la douleur, la terrible douleur, ne fe perd point dans les nuages, elle les fillonne, elle les entr'ouvre. O mon Dieu, que veut-elle nous annoncer ?...” Vol. II, 336–339.

It is remarked, that the Neapolitans were surprised with the melancholy strain of this song; they admired the harmony and beauty of the poetry, but they wished that the verses had been inspired by a disposition less sad. The English, on the other hand, who were present and heard Corinna, were filled with unmixt admiration.

Madame de Staël, as appears from almost every part of this work, has studied with great care the character and manners of the English. She has done so also with singular success; and, though all her notions may not be perfectly correct, we believe that hardly any foreigner, who has not resided long in England, ever approached so near to the truth. The residence of Corinna, at her father's house in Northumberland, affords an opportunity of entering into the minutiæ of some parts of English manners. The representation of them is not very favourable: the long dinners - the free use of the bottle—the almost total separation of the male from the female part of the society that is the necessary consequence – the dullness of the latter during the long interval from dinner to tea,- all these are noted with consider


able truth, though, perhaps, with a little of that involuntary exaggeration that mere contrast can hardly fail to produce. The coldness of manner in the English ladies, their reserve and want of animation, are painted too harshly, even though a large share of understanding and accomplishment is allowed them. Mad. de Staël at the same time entertains' a high opinion of the men, and is aware of the superiority that they derive from having some object in active life, and some concern in the government of their country. In 'what respects conversation, however, and cultivation of mind, we must be permitted to say, that we believe the women are often superior to the men. The very circumstance of not being destined for active or public life, renders their conversation more intellectual, more connected with general principles, and more allied to philosophic speculation. Their taste, ale so, is often more cultivated ; and we have known instances, where the daughters of a family could relish the beauties of Racine and Metastasio, while the sons could not converse on any thing but hunting, horse-racing, or those methods of training, by which the talents of men and of horses are brought as near as possible to an equality.

During the residence of Corinna in Northumberland, though her mind revolted against the formal rules of the dull and common-place people that surrounded her, yet she found herself gradually subdued by them, and insensibly tied down by their opinions, as Gulliver was by the threads of the Lilliputians. It is in vain' says she, that you say this man is not a proper judge of me; that woman has no comprehension of what I am about. The human countenance ever exercises a great power over the human heart; and when you read on the faces of those around you, a disapprobation of your conduct, it disquiets you in spite of yourself. The circle you live in always comes to conceal from you the rest of the world ; the smallest atom, placed near the eye, hides from it the body of the sun ; and it is the same with the little coterie in which you live. Neither the voice of Europe, nor of posterity, can niake you insensible to the noise of your neighbour's family; and therefore, whoever would live happily, and give scope to his genius, must first of all choose carefully the atmosphere with which he is to be immediately surrounded.' (Vol. II. p. 377.) These reflections are very just; but one who would apply them to his own case, must be careful not to mistake the suggestions of levity and caprice for the inspiration of genius and talent; for the same power which adjusts all to the mediocrity of the vulgar, and which may so unhappily fetter the two latter, often furnishes a salutary restraint to the two former. Much is said through the whole book, of the effect of climate ; and the • VOL. XI. NO. 21.


place people mainst the forinna in North

sun of Italy is never mentioned but with an enthusiasm, that we believe arises from the author having really felt all that she describes. We are persuaded, however, that she has ascribed too much to physical causes, and that she does not sufficiently allow for the circumstances, moral and political, by which they are often overruled. The climate of Italy is not probably very different now from what it was in ancient times; and yet, what a difference between the antient Romans and the modern Italians ? We are persuaded we shall not, even by Mad. de Staël, be accused of any immodcrate partiality in favour of our countrymen, when we say that an Englishman bears a much greater resemblance to a Roman, than an Italian of the present day. Here, therefore, the posses: sion of liberty and laws, and, above all, the superiority which a man derives from having a share in the government of his country, has, in opposition to climate and situation, produced a greater resemblance of character, than the latter was able to do, when counteracted by the former.

On the whole, notwithstanding some such imperfections as we have now pointed out; notwithstanding also, that in the analysis of feeling, which is usually managed with great skill, some fanciful reflections now and then occur,--some false refinements, and some sentiments brought from tco great a distance,- we cair have no hesitation to say, that those bleinishes are very inconsis derable, compared with the general execution of the work-with the imagination, the feeling, and the eloquence displayed in it.

Sene of the writings of Madame de Staël have been censured, thou, perhaps without due consideration, as having an immoral tunidency. This, we think, cannot, on any pretence, be alleg. ed of the work before us: From the history and fate of the amiable and accomplished Corinna, the reader may learn to watch over a passion which, if left to itself, may become one of the worst distempers of the mind, blasting and consuming even the noblest faculties. One may learn, too, the necessity of conforming to those rules that restrain the intercourse of the sexes, and that are not to be rashly dispensed with, even where no imme-diate danger is apprehended.

The example of Lord Nelvil is calculated to show the danger of irresolution, especially when the interest of another is concerna ed; and to remind us, that a man, by the fear of doing what is not perfectly correct, may be led, if he is not on his guard, to the commission of what is highly criminal. The fear of impropriety might have been consulted, when the mutual attachment of Corinna and himself was in its commencement; but it was mere selfishness and want of feeling to be afterwards guided by such a fear, in opposition to the best sentiments of the heart,


and one of the greatest and most imperious of all moral oblja gations:

Art. XIII. The Code of Health and Longevity; or a Concise View

of the Principles calculated for the Preservation of Health, and the Attainment of Long Life: Being an Attempt to prove the Practicability of condensing, within a narrow Compass, the most material Information hitherto accumulated, regarding the different Arts and Sciences, or any particular Branch thereof. By Sir John Sinclair, Bart. 8vo. 4 vol. Constable & Co. Edinburgh.

Cadell & Davies, and J. Murray, London. 1807: W t have studied this long title-page with great diligence;

without being able to make even a probable conjecture as to the meaning of the greater part of it; and indeed have receive ed no distinct impression from it whatever, except that it is a very improper title to stand at the head of four goodly octavo volumes, each containing about 800 pages of very close printing. It would require a greater share of health and longevity, than we can presume to reckon on, to carry us fairly through every part of their contents; but from what we have been able to examine, as well as from à distant view of the remainder, we think ourselves justified in saying, that this concise view of the principles of health and longevity,--this proof of the practicability of condensing within a narrow compass the essence of the arts and sciences, is the most diffuse, clumsy, and unsatisfactory compilaa tion that has ever fallen under our notice..

The first volume consists of a vast indigested and injudicious abstract of all that the author had been able to find written uponi the subject of which he was to treat; in which no attempt is made to separate truth from falsehood, to reconcile contradictions, or even to distinguish what is profound or importarit, from what is most trivial and obvious. The book, therefore, is chiefly occupied with rules and statements, which are perfectly familiar, not only to every individual who has had occasion but once in his life to consult an apothecary, but to every one almost who has merely existed about twelve or fifteen years in this great lazarhouse of a world. If we add to this, the blundering indistinctness of the worthy Baronet's divisions, the incredible credulity.maa nifested in many of his statements,-the masses of mawkish morality with which the whole olio is seasoned,—the marvellous ignorance that is occasionally betrayed on the subjects which lay properly in his way, and the still more insufferable display of su



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