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We recommend, by the way, to any one who likes a hearty laugh, Mr. Taaffe's elaborate commentary on the story of Francesca and Paolo. He spends about twenty pages in proving that Dante's account has been all along misunderstood—that the poet never meant to insinuate that they had been guilty of any criminal actquel giorno-on the day of the doloroso passo! The coinmentator never asks himself in what company has Dante placed thembeside Paris and Helen, Tristrem and Yseulte, &c. - no, nor why, unless they had erred at least as deeply as Launcelot and Queen Guinever, they should talk of the romance being their
Galeotto !' Even this nonsense, however, is scarcely worse than Rossetti's gloss on cotanto amante. Dante, it seems, was not thinking of the deep love of Launcelot, but of the love of so great a man—such a hero as one of the Knights of the Round Table. And this is brought in by the poet, that the example talis tanti. que viri may suggest an apology for Paolo's kiss!
We presume most of our readers will agree with us in thinking that though Cary's version might be essentially improved by such a revision as the author's health will yet we hope permit him to bestow on it, he has performed bis task so well that it is a very idle business for any one else to set about a complete English Dante. In Mr. Wright's case, it certainly is our opinion that what little advantage may have been gained as to manner (and it is really but a little), is counterbalanced by losses on the side of matter; in frequent contortion of phrase, and transposition of images, and, above all, in the introduction of expletives merely for the sake of rhyme.
And after all, Mr. Wright's rhymes are too often not very good ones-e. g. word and appeared; sire and heir; God and loud ; throng and stung; hour and shore; down and stone; down and soon; then and lean ; then and began (p. 271); hole and cowl ; crust and post ; vice and lies ; again and mien; passed and possessed; flaunt and mount; hour and sure; grief and LIFE ; tuil and fell; two and thou; hedge and rage; east and west; waged and be-sieged ; up and troop; not and shout; it and sight; forsooth and mouth; news and woes (p. 259); here and prayer; DUN and DONE (p. 261); Lie and Ita-ly (p. 248); War and DRAW (ibid.); short and wrought p. 232); QUEST and first (p. 144). Mr. Wright's ear seems to be at once Scotch, Irish, and Cockney. What is to be said to such lines and rhymes as
• Incontinence and bestiality
Is less offensive to the Deity.'-p. 98. - Justice divine inflicteth there its wrath
On Sestus; and for ever draweth forth,' &c.—p. 109.
or— ' Then spake my guide with greater vehemence,
O Capaneus, in that thou dost not quench.'—p. 126.
Is to his bosom a deserved reward.'—p. 126. or 'Not long ago rain'd down from Tuscany
I came to this dire gullet, he replied,
Mule that I was—my name was Vanni Fucci.'—p. 222. The book swarms with barbarities equally offensive. We have given Mr. Wright no small advantage, in taking our extracts from the most celebrated passages.
This gentleman has, however, done quite enough to convince us that, if he would take up some poet as yet untranslated, or only badly translated, he might render yeoman's service. He is evidently possessed of considerable talents and accomplishments -- and he might easily learn to rhyme; and there is one point on which we cannot but compare him, greatly to his advantage, with too many of those who have lately been before the public in the capacity of poetical translators. • These,' said Mad. de Sevigné,“ remind me of domestics, whose business it is to carry their master's message, and who too often contrive to make him say the reverse of what he meant.' To this Voltaire adds, " There is another point of resemblance: they are very apt to give themselves the airs of being masters themselves. To this last reproach Mr. Wright has never exposed himself. His notes are in general shrewd and sensible—always modest.
Art. VI.—Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire de la Révolution de
1830. Par M. Alex. Mazas, Secrétaire du dernier Président du Conseil des Ministres, nommé par le Roi Charles X.
Paris. 8vo. 1832. THIS 'HIS is a very curious work, and, though in a light and gossip
ing form, one, in our opinion, of the most important that has been published on the subject of the revolution of July. Our readers are well aware how highly we estimate M. Bermond de Vachères' account of the Military Events of the Three Days; and we are far from placing this work above his, either as to the importance of the individual facts related, or as to the abilities and judgment of the narrator. But though M. Bermond accidentally gave us some insight into the policy-or rather the want of all policyof the king and his civil servants at that important crisis, his chief object was the defence of the Royal Guard, and an exposition of the series of military blunders by which, rather than by any efforts of their own, the triumph of the revolutionists was accomplished.
M. Mazas opens a still more instructive scene of the same drama. He shows us the king, the cabinet, and the court in a state not merely of confusion, but of imbecility--not committing blunders, but doing nothing-in the condition not even of men who were playing a great stake with bad cards and worse skill, but of mere children looking over a game of which they did not understand the play, nor foresee the consequences.
No wonder that the movement of the hands and arms was feeble and uncertain, when the head that should have guided them was palsied. Perhaps no circumstance in the book shows this in a stronger light than the very fact that M. Mazas has had occasion to write it. M. Mazas was a kind of occasional tutor to the young Duke of Bordeaux, to whom he used to give lessons in French history two or three times a week. Happening to be in the palace of St. Cloud on Thursday the 29th of July, when the king as a last resource named as his prime minister the Duke de Mortmart, who also happened to be on duty at St. Cloud as Captain of the Guard—and there being, as it would seem, no one else in the château who could hold a pen—this tutor was, on the sudden, appointed Secretary to the Premier, and in this capacity drew up the royal ordonnances which repealed those of M. de Polignac, and nominated the last cabinet of Charles X. On the strength of this unexpected appointment, M. Mazas has undertaken to write the history of that less than ephemeral ministry to which he was attached; and we think that the very circumstance of the king's being in such a state of utter abandonment as to be obliged to make, extempore, a captain of his guard prime-minister and his grandson's reading-master secretary, is as extraordinary and as pregnant with moral considerations as any fact of that eventful period. We shall not now meddle with the causes which left the king thus destitute of advice and assistance; we here mention the fact itself as explanatory of the origin of the work, and coufirmatory of our former opinion that no ministerial combinations had been formed, and no preparation, civil or military, made for carrying into effect the fatal Ordonnances--that the king and his cabinet may be charged with unpardonable negligence, but must be acquitted of any premeditated design against the charter and liberties of the country.
We shall now proceed to give a summary of the narrative of the tutor-secretary, premising ihat there is in his story an air of simplicity and candour which convinces us of the literal truth of every syllable of it: he affects no fine writing ; he indulges in no sentimental flourishes, and is sparing of speculative commentaries; he deals in facts, and gives them great and small as they occurred, and as they at the moment affected him. Nor is it
always always the smaller details that we read with the least pleasure, or with the least advantage. Our readers will see that many of the slightest occurrences are indicative of the bigher and more remote springs of action.
On Sunday, the 25th of July, M. Mazas dined at St. Cloud. After dinner, M. de Damas, the governor of the Duke of Bordeaux, said, “ You need not return till Thursday. This was an unusual interval. Did M. de Damas foresee that circumstances calculated to interrupt the studies of his pupil might occur ? Before M. Mazas retired, he followed the young Prince into his private apartments, where he observed, placed on a chair, a very rich frame containing a very indifferent drawing : while he was examining with some surprise the contrast between the frame and the work, the little Duke approached him and said, with a gravity very unusual with him, " "Tis all I have left me of him.' Of whom?'
Of my father,' he replied, in a very low whisper, and ran immediately away. It turned out that this was a drawing made by the Duke de Berri when he was only twelve years old, which had been lately found in an old trunk and presented to his son. When we recollect how soon the poor child was to be bereft of all that he should have inherited from his father, this little anecdote is interesting.
Next day, Monday the 26th, appeared the Ordonnances, but they seemed to produce little or no effect on the capital; indeed, says M. de Mazas, it was the fair of La Villette, one of the villages in the neighbourhood of Paris, which the lower orders of the great city are most fond of frequenting ; and with the Parisian populace pleasure supersedes even politics. M. Mazas expected no riot, and if there had been any such disposition, he had no doubt that the ministers had 50,000 men in the neighbourhood to repress it: we now know that they had not 5000, the garrison being rather smaller than usual.
On Tuesday morning, the 27th, M. Mazas visited the Palais Royal, and was reading the papers, when, about ten o'clock, some noise was heard, and a group was formed, in the midst of which a young man got up on a chair and read, with a loud voice and the gesticulations of a madman, the protest of the journalists agaiost the Ordonnances. The gendarmes soon appeared, and with some difficulty dispersed the crowd. While this was going on, Mazas observed a little old man, all in black, who, looking at the orator, said, 'Just so it began in 1789! Mazas says, that since the events have so wofully justified that prediction, the visage of the little black old man often presents itself to his memory. At the time, however, he felt no uneasiness—he went about his usual business, (he was librarian at the Arsenal,) and in the evening was about to
pay pay some visits, when at six o'clock he fell in with a party of gendarmes who were retreating before a mob—the shops were suddenly shut—the lamps were extensively broken. There was firing on the right or north bank of the Seine-which, indeed, was the chief scene of this revolt, as it had been of the worse scenes of the old revolution. The left bank is more thinly peopled, and seems to have been generally more peaceably disposed.
On Wednesday the 28th, Mazas, through skirmishes, and during a heavy cannonade, made his way to the residence of M. Hennequin, the celebrated advocate. He found him surrounded by bis terrified family, and in a state of great excitement.
" What can be done ?' asked M. Hennequin. Since yesterday I have been inquiring where the friends of the government should rendezvous-in vain: we are ready to die for the king, but there is no one to direct us: there seems to have been no preparation—no one knows what to do, and we are left to exhaust ourselves in idle and impotent regret.' This, says M. Mazas, is the best reply to the epigrammatic question which was so much in vogue after the Three Days, -Pray, can you tell me where were the royalists on the 27th, 28th, and 29th July ?' Here we must differ from M. Mazas. M. Hennequin's complaint would be, we think, a very imperfect reply to this famous and very silly question. If there had been no king-no army-no ministers-no constituted authorities, the individual friends of the monarchy and of good order might, and would probably, have felt it a duty to array themselves to repress an insurrection ; but where there is a government, or the semblance of a government, the well-disposed trust to it for defending itself and them-individuals, undisciplined, unarmed, unauthorized, have neither the right nor the duty of intervening between the public force and the rioters. Who doubts that, in the great London riots, or more recently in the Bristol case, the innumerable majority of the citizens looked at the mob with abhorrence ? and would the triumph of the handful of ruffians on these occasions have justified any one's supposing that the great body of the inhabitants of London or Bristol partook of their insanity and countenanced their outrages? This is a very serious, and may again become a very important consideration; and we fear that as it hitherto has been, so it will hereafter always be, found that public order in times of sedition can only be maintained or restored by the public force-by the vigour of the magistrates and the decision of the government. If there be not a sufficient public force at hand, the loyal and well-disposed may, if they have been previously organized, be called out to check the insurgents; but without some previous concert and discipline, the collection of such a body, however well disposed they might be, would probably only com