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A. DE LAMARTINE:
Il regarde, et le jour se peint dans sa paupière ;
“YES! poetry of the heart, of the imaginationpoets of profound thought-aspiring, delicate, fanciful-drawing their recollections from remote epochs,-gilding the past with the venerable hues of romantic association,-painting the future in the brightest colours of hope and tenderness." The critique from which the foregoing is extracted appeared in the talented pages of the Foreign Quarterly Review, being only one of many which have been devoted, in the same and other periodicals, to the review and celebration of modern poetic talent in France: and it is principally owing, indeed, to these exertions, that that talent is now more generally appreciated. It must be acknowledged, that the introducers of these writings to the English reader, might be compared to the early navigators, telling of strange things and newly discovered worlds to their incredulous countrymen; for prejudice ran as high in the one case as in the other, and so little did we believe that the poetry of France could assume the features——those features of universal beauty—of the fairy Muse of our own romantic land, that, like those discoverers of new realms, who to obtain belief were obliged to produce their treasures,-it was well for our critics that they too were able to display the fair fruits of their discoveries.
Englishmen travel on the Continent- they linger unsatiated in its delicious scenes—and imbibe poetical associations sufficient to brighten many a gloomy day in after life-yet we are told that they will not listen to him who sings of those scenes with the additional inspiration of their being of his native country,-in his fatherland. The English have taste and feeling to admire foreign monuments of art and valour, and the memorials " which times past have left to times present of their existence, but they are said to place little faith in the inspiration of the people to whom they owe their gratification ! England has been indefatigable in her efforts to be Italian; consequently this observation more especially applies to France: for French Literature has been neglected, because once it was, too generally, unsatisfactory to our feelings and discordant in our ears. It should be remembered, however, that in every great nation, each age brings its offering of novelty to the shrine of time. We may no longer complain with Akenside of “the lame pace of Gallic rhymes.” There is a new school; both form and character are more assimilated to English taste ; and if any extraneous incentive were wanting to the perusal of poetry of such merit as that now before the reader, it might be found in the reflec
tion, that its authors, deserting the cramping and stilted style of their forefathers, have, so to speak, boldly entered into the inexhausted field of poetry in which the English have luxuriated for centuries, under the satire of the more classic wits of France. These modern writers have invoked the workings of nature, and their own hearts, for their inspiration; and, while they have pursued the track of the first poets of England and Germany, their genius has raised them far, very far, above the reproach of imitation. Young eagles, they followed their bold instructors in their first flights, -but, be it remembered, it was upon their own wing that they rose.
The homage of their genius, then, is a triumph for the English muse; and nothing but the scattering of all old prejudices in France, could have wrought the change. The soil has been upturned deeply—not once, but twice: and from its unfailing bosom, though shadowed beneath many weeds, a bright and fresh array of flowers has arisen.
These latter it has been our task to gather together, while toiling over many a weary path and unsightly track,—though, as we sometimes see the lap of the peasant girl overflowing with the flowers of June, so in some spots beauties have escaped, in their abundance, from the overcharged hand.
But this great revolution in France, while it turned the current of thought and taste, taught al!