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La guerre est ma patrio,

Mon harnois ma maison,

Et en toute saison
Combattre c'est ma vie.

INTRODUCTION -(1831.) the Evil Principle something which elevates and

dignifies his wickedness; a sustained and unconThe scene of this romance is laid in the fifteenth querable resistance against Omnipotence itself -- a century, when the feudal system, which had been lofty scorn of suffering compared with submission, the sinews and nerves of national defence, and the and all those points of attraction in the Author of spirit of chivalry, by which, as by a vivifying soul, Evil, which have induced Burns and others to conthat system was animated, began to be innovated sider him as the Hero of the Paradise Lost. The upoa and abandoned by those grosser characters, great German poet has, on the contrary, rendered who centred their sum of happiness in procuring his seducing spirit a being who, otherwise totally the personal objects on which they had fixed their unimpassioned, seems only to have existed for the own exclusive attachment. The same egotism had purpose of increasing, by his persuasions and tempindeed displayed itself even in more primitive ages; tations, the mass of moral evil, and who calls forth but it was now for the first time openly avowed by his seductious those slumbering passions which as a professed principle of action. The spirit of otherwise might have allowed the human being chivalry had in it this point of excellence, that who was the object of the Evil Spirit's operations however overstrained and fantastic many of its to pass the tenor of his life in tranquillity. For doctrines may appear to us, they were all founded this purpose Mephistophiles is, like Louis XI., enon generosity and self-denial, of which if the earth dowed with an acute and depreciating spirit of were deprived, it would be difficult to conceive the caustic wit, which is employed incessantly in underexistence of virtue among the human race. valuing and vilifying all actions, the consequences

Among those who were the first to ridicule and of which do not lead certainly and directly to selfabandon the self-denying principles in which the gratification. young knight was instructed, and to which he was Even an author of works of mere amusement may so carefully trained up, Louis the XIth of France be permitted to be serious for a moment, in order was the chief. That Sovereign was of a character to reprobate all policy, whether of a public or private so purely selfish — so guiltless of entertaining any character, which rests its basis upon the principles purpose unconnected with his ambition, covetous- of Machiavel, or the practice of Louis XI. ness, and desire of selfish enjoyment, that he almost The cruelties, the perjuries, the suspicions of seems an incarnation of the devil himself, per- this prince, were rendered more detestable, rather mitted to do his utmost to corrupt our ideas of than amended, by the gross and debasing superhonour in its very source. Nor is it to be for- stition which he constantly practised. The devogotten that Louis possessed to a great extent that tion to the heavenly saints, of which he made such canstie wit which can turn into ridicule all that a a parade, was upon the miserable principle of some man does for any other person's advantage but his deputy in office, who endeavours to hide or atone own, and was, therefore, peculiarly qualified to play for the malversations of which he is conscious, by the part of a cold-hearted and sneering friend. liberal gifts to those whose duty it is to observe his

In this point of view, Goethe's conception of the conduct, and endeavours to support a system of character and reasoning of Mephistophiles, the fraud, by an attempt to corrupt the incorruptible. tempting spirit in the singular play of Faust, ap- In no other light can we regard his creating the pears to me more happy than that which has been Virgin Mary a countess and colonel of his guards, formed by Byron, and even than the Satan of or the cunning that admitted to one or two peculiar Milton. These last great authors have given to forms of oath the force of a binding obligation, VOL. IV.

1 No. CLXI.

which he denied to all other, strictly preserving the ready mercenary soldier, and persuaded his subsecret, which mode of swearing he really accounted jects, among whom the mercantile class began to obligatory, as one of the most valuable of state make a figure, that it was better to leave to mermysteries.

cenaries the risks and labours of war, and to supply To a total want of scruple, or, it would appear, the Crown with the means of paying them, than to of any sense whatever of moral obligation, Louis peril themselves in defence of their own substance. XI. added great natural firmness and sagacity of The merchants were easily persuaded by this reacharacter, with a system of policy so highly re- soning. The hour did not arrive, in the days of fined, considering the times he lived in, that he Louis XI., when the landed gentry and nobles could sometimes overreached himself by giving way to its be in like manner excluded from the ranks of war; dictates.

but the wily monarch commenced that system, Probably there is no portrait so dark as to be which, acted upon by his successors, at length without its softer shades. He understood the inte threw the whole military defence of the state into rests of France, and faithfully pursued them so the hands of the Crown. long as he could identify them with his own. He He was equally forward in altering the principles carried the country safe through the dangerous which were wont to regulate the intercourse of the crisis of the war termed " for the public good;" sexes. The doctrines of chivalry had established, in thus disuniting and dispersing this grand and in theory at least, a system in which Beauty was dangerous alliance of the great crown vassals of the governing and remanerating divinity-Valour France against the Sovereign, a King of a less her slave, who caught his courage from her eye, cautious and temporizing character, and of a more and gave his life for her slightest service. It is bold and less crafty disposition than Louis XI., true, the system here, as in other branches, was would, in all probability, have failed. Louis had stretched to fantastic extravagance, and cases of also some personal accomplishments not incon- scandal not unfrequently arose. Still they were sistent with his public character. He was cheerful generally such as those mentioned by Burke, where and witty in society ; caressed his victim like the frailty was deprived of half its guilt, by being puricat, which can fawn when about to deal the most fied from all its grossness. In Louis XIth’s practice, bitter wound; and none was better able to sustain it was far otherwise He was a low voluptuary, and extol the superiority of the coarse and selfish seeking pleasure without sentiment, and despising reasons by which he endeavoured to supply those the sex from whom he desired to obtain it; his nobler motives for exertion, which his predecessors mistresses were of inferior rank, as little to be comhad derived from the high spirit of chivalry. pared with the elevated though faulty character of

In fact, that system was now becoming ancient, Agnes Sorel, as Louis was to his heroic father, who and had, even while in its perfection, something so freed France from the threatened yoke of England. overstrained and fantastic in its principles, as ren- In like manner, by selecting his favourites and dered it peculiarly the object of ridicule, whenever, ministers from among the dregs of the people, like other old fashions, it began to fall out of re- Louis shewed the slight regard which he paid to pute, and the weapons of raillery could be employed eminent station and high birth; and although this against it, without exciting the disgust and horror might be not only excusable but meritorious, where with which they would have been rejected at an the monarch's fiat promoted obscure talent, or called early period, as a species of blasphemy. In the forth modest worth, it was very different when the fourteenth century a tribe of scoffers had arisen, King made his favourite associates of such men who pretended to supply what was naturally useful as Tristan l'Hermite, the Chief of his Marshalsea, in chivalry by other resources, and threw ridicule or police ; and it was evident that such a prince upon the extravagant and exclusive principles of could no longer be, as his descendant Francis elehonour and virtue, which were openly treated as gantly designed himself, “the first gentleman in absurd, because, in fact, they were cast in a mould his dominions." of perfection too lofty for the practice of fallible Nor were Louis's sayings and actions in private beings. If an ingenuous and high-spirited youth or public, of a kind which could redeem such gross proposed to frame himself on his father's principles offences against the character of a man of honour. of honour, he was vulgarly derided as if he had His word, generally accounted the most sacred test brought to the field the good old knight's Du- of a man's character, and the least impeachment rindarte or two-handed sword, ridiculous from its of which is a capital offence by the code of honour, antique make and fashion, although its blade might was forfeited without scruple on the slightest occabe the Ebro's temper, and its ornaments of pure sion, and often accompanied by the perpetration of gold.

the most enormous crimes. If he broke his own In like manner, the principles of chivalry were personal and plighted faith, he did not treat that of cast aside, and their aid supplied by baser stimu- the public with more ceremony. His sending an lants. Instead of the high spirit which pressed inferior person disguised as a herald to Edward IV., every man forward in the defence of his country, was in those days, when heralds were esteemed the Louis XI. substituted the exertions of the ever sacred depositaries of public and national faith, a daring imposition, of which few save this unscru- desire of life, he sent to Italy for supposed relics, pulous prince would have been guilty."

and the yet more extraordinary importation of an Jo short, the manners, sentiments, and actions ignorant crack-brained peasant, who, from laziness of Louis XI. were such as were inconsistent with probably, had shut himself up in a cave, and rethe principles of chivalry, and his caustic wit was nounced flesh, fish, eggs, or the produce of the dairy. sufficiently disposed to ridicule a system adopted on This man, who did not possess the slightest tincture what he considered as the most absurd of all bases, of letters, Louis reverenced as if he had been the since it was founded on the principle of devoting Pope himself, and to gain his good-will founded two toil, talents, and time, to the accomplishment of cloisters. objects, from which no personal advantage could, It was not the least singular circumstance of this in the nature of things, be obtained.

course of superstition, that bodily health and terresIt is more than probable that, in thus renouncing trial felicity seemed to be his only object. Making almost openly the ties of religion, honour, and mo- any mention of his sins when talking on the state of rality, by which mankind at large feel theniselves his health, was strictly prohibited ; and when at influenced, Louis sought to obtain great advan- his command a priest recited a prayer to Saint tages in his negotiations with parties who might Eutropius, in which he recommended the King's esteem themselves bound, while he himself enjoyed welfare both in body and soul, Louis caused the two liberty. He started from the goal, he might sup- last words to be omitted, saying it was not prudent pose, like the racer who has got rid of the weights to importune the blessed saint by too many requests with which his competitors are still encumbered, at once. Perhaps he thought by being silent on and expects to succeed of course. But Providence his crimes, he might suffer them to pass out of the seems always to unite the existence of peculiar recollection of the celestial patrons, whose aid he danger, with some circumstance which may put invoked for his body. those exposed to the peril upon their guard. The So great were the well-merited tortures of this constant suspicion attached to any public person tyrant's deathbed, that Philip des Comines enters who becomes badly eminent for breach of faith, is into a regular comparison between them and the to him what the rattle is to the poisonous serpent; numerous cruelties inflicted on others by his order ; and men come at last to calculate, not so much on and considering both, comes to express an opinion, what their antagonist says, as upon that which he that the worldly pangs and agony suffered by Louis is likely to do; a degree of mistrust which tends to were such as might compensate the crimes he had counteract the intrigues of such a faithless charac-committed, and that, after a reasonable quarantine ter, more than his freedom from the scruples of in purgatory, he might in mercy be found duly conscientious men can afford him advantage. The qualified for the superior regions. example of Louis XI. raised disgust and suspicion Fénelon also has left his testimony against this rather than a desire of imitation among other na- prince, whose mode of living and governing he has tions in Europe, and the circumstance of his out- described in the following remarkable passage : witting more than one of his contemporaries, ope- “ Pygmalion, tourmenté par une soif insatiable rated to put others on their guard. Even the des richesses, se rend de plus en plus misérable et system of chivalry, though much less generally odieux à ses sujets. C'est un crime à Tyr que extended than heretofore, survived this profligate d'avoir de grands biens ; l'avarice le rend défiant, monarch's reign, who did so much to sully its lustre, soupçonneux, cruel ; il persécute les riches, et il and long after the death of Louis XI. it inspired craint les pauvres. the Knight without Fear and Reproach, and the “ C'est un crime encore plus grand à Tyr d'avoir gallant Francis I.

de la vertu ; car Pygmalion suppose que les bons Indeed, although the reign of Louis had been as ne peuvent souffrir ses injustices et ses infamies ; successful in a political point of view as he himself la vertu le condamne, il s'aigrit et s'irrite contre could have desired, the spectacle of his deathbed elle. Tout l'agite, l'inquiète, le ronge ; il a peur might of itself be a warning-piece against the seduc- de son ombre ; il ne dort ni nuit ni jour ; les Dieux, tion of his example. Jealous of every one, but pour le confondre, l'accablent de trésors dont il chiefly of his own son, he immured himself in his n'ose jouir. Ce qu'il cherche pour être heureux Castle of Plessis, intrusting his person exclusively est précisément ce qui l'empêche de l'être. Il to the doubtful faith of his Scottish mercenaries. regrette tout ce qu'il donne, et craint toujours de He never stirred from his chamber; he admitted perdre ; il se tourmente pour gagner. no one into it, and wearied Heaven and every saint « On ne le voit presque jamais ; il est seul, triste, with prayers, not for the forgiveness of his sins, but abattu, au fond de son palais ; ses amis mêmes for the prolongation of his life. With a poverty of n'osent l'aborder, de peur de lui devenir suspects. Epirit totally inconsistent with his shrewd worldly Une garde terrible tient toujours des épées nues et sagacity, he importuned his physicians, until they des piques levées autour de sa maison. Trente insulted as well as plundered him. In his extreme chambres qui communiquent les unes aux autres,

et dont chacune a une porte de fer avec six gros 1 See Note X. Disguised Herald.

verroux, sont le lieu où il se renferme ; on ne sait

jamais dans laquelle de ces chambres il couche ; et the more woodland districts of Flanders, the Duke of on assure qu'il ne couche jamais deux nuits de suite Gueldres, and William de la Marck, called from his dans la même, de peur d'y être égorgé. Il ne ferocity the Wild Boar of Ardennes, were throwing connoît ni les doux plaisirs, ni l'amitié encore plus off the habits of knights and gentlemen, to practise douce. Si on lui parle de chercher la joie, il sent the violences and brutalities of common bandits. qu'elle fuit loin de lui, et qu'elle refuse d'entrer A hundred secret combinations existed in the dans son cœur. Ses yeux creux sont pleins d'un different provinces of France and Flanders ; numefeu âpre et farouche ; ils sont sans cesse errans rous private emissaries of the restless Louis, Bode tous cotés ; il prête l'oreille au moindre bruit, hemians, pilgrims, beggars, or agents disguised as et se sent tout ému ; il est påle, défait, et les noirs such, were every where spreading the discontent soucis sont peints sur son visage toujours ridé. Il which it was his policy to maintain in the dominions se tait, il soupire, il tire de son coeur de profonds of Burgundy. gémissemens, il ne peut cacher les remords qui Amidst so great an abundance of materials, it déchirent ses entrailles. Les mets les plus exquis was difficult to select such as should be most intelle dégoûtent. Ses enfans, loin d'être son espérance, ligible and interesting to the reader ; and the author sont le sujet de sa terreur : il en a fait ses plus had to regret, that though he made liberal use of dangereux ennemis. Il n'a eu toute sa vie aucun the power of departing from the reality of history, moment d'assuré : il ne se conserve qu'à force de he felt by no means confident of having brought his répandre le sang de tous ceux qu'il craint. In- story into a pleasing, compact, and sufficiently insensé, qui ne voit pas que sa cruauté, à laquelle il telligible form. The main-spring of the plot is that se confie, le fera périr ! Quelqu'un de ses domes which all who know the least of the feudal system tiques, aussi défiant que lui, se hâtera de délivrer le can easily understand, though the facts are absomonde de ce monstre.”

lutely fictitious. The right of a feudal superior The instructive, but appalling scene of this ty- was in nothing more universally acknowledged than rant's sufferings, was at length closed by death, in his power to interfere in the marriage of a female 30th August, 1485.

vassal. This may appear to exist as a contradiction The selection of this remarkable person as the both of the civil and canon law, which declare that principal character in the romance — for it will be marriage shall be free, while the feudal or municipal easily comprehended, that the little love intrigue of jurisprudence, in case of a fief passing to a female, Quentin is only employed as the means of bringing acknowledges an interest in the superior of the fief out the story - afforded considerable facilities to to dictate the choice of her companion in marriage. the author. The whole of Europe was, during the This is accounted for on the principle that the supefifteenth century, convulsed with dissentions from rior was, by his bounty, the original granter of the such various causes, that it would have required fief, and is still interested that the marriage of the almost a dissertation to have brought the English vassal shall place no one there who may be inimical reader with a mind perfectly alive and prepared to his liege lord. On the other hand, it might be to admit the possibility of the strange scenes to reasonably pleaded that this right of dictating to which he was introduced.

the vassal to a certain extent in the choice of a husIn Louis XIth's time, extraordinary commotions band, is only competent to the superior, from whom existed throughout all Europe. England's civil the fief is originally derived. There is therefore no wars were ended rather in appearance than reality, violent improbability in a vassal of Burgundy flying by the short-lived ascendency of the House of York. to the protection of the King of France, to whom Switzerland was asserting that freedom which was the Duke of Burgundy himself was vassal ; nor is afterwards so bravely defended. In the Empire, it a great stretch of probability to affirm, that Louis, and in France, the great vassals of the crown were unscrupulous as he was, should have formed the endeavouring to emancipate themselves from its design of betraying the fugitive into some alliance control, while Charles of Burgundy by main force, which might prove inconvenient, if not dangerous, and Louis more artfully by indirec tmeans, laboured to his formidable kinsman and vassal of Burgundy. to subject them to subservience to their respective I may add, that the romance of QUENTIN DURsovereignties. Louis, while with one hand he cir- Wand, which acquired a popularity at home more cumvented and subdued his own rebellious vassals, extensive than some of its predecessors, found also laboured secretly with the other to aid and encou- unusual success on the continent, where the hisrage the large trading towns of Flanders to rebel torical allusions awakened more familiar ideas. against the Duke of Burgundy, to which their wealth and irritability naturally disposed them. In

ABBOTSFORD, Ist December, 1831.



And one who hath had losses - go to.

Much Ado About Nothing.

When honest Dogberry sums up and recites all of his funds; and my kind and intelligent physician the claims which he had to respectability, and which, assures me, that it is a rare thing with those afflicted as he opined, ought to have exempted him from the with a good rousing fever, or any such active disinjurious appellation conferred on him by Master order, which Gentleman Conrade, it is remarkable that he lays

With mortal crisis doth portend not more emphasis even upon his double gown, (a

His life to appropinque an end, matter of some importance in a certain ci-devant make their agonies the subject of amusing concapital which I wot of,) or upon his being “ a pretty versation. piece of flesh as any in Messina,” or even upon the Having deeply considered all these things, I am conclusive argument of his being “a rich fellow no longer able to disguise from my readers, that I enough," than upon his being one that hath had am neither so unpopular nor so low in fortune, as losses.

not to have my share in the distresses which at preIndeed, I have always observed your children of sent afflict the moneyed and landed interests of these prosperity, whether by way of hiding their full glow realms. Your authors who live upon a mutton-chop of splendour from those whom fortune has treated may rejoice that it has fallen to threepence per more harshly, or whether that to have risen in spite pound, and, if they have children, gratulate themof calamity is as honourable to their fortune as it is selves that the peck-loaf may be had for sixpence; to a fortress to have undergone a siege, - however but we who belong to the tribe which is ruined by this be, I have observed that such persons never fail peace and plenty-we who have lands and beeves, to entertain you with an account of the damage they and sell what these poor gleaners must buy — we sustain by the hardness of the times. You seldom are driven to despair by the very events which dine at a well-supplied table, but the intervals would make all Grub Street illuminate its attics, between the champagne, the burgundy, and the if Grub Street could spare candle-ends for the hock, are filled, if your entertainer be a moneyed purpose. I therefore put in my proud claim to man, with the fall of interest and the difficulty of share in the distresses which only affect the wealthy; finding investments for cash, which is therefore and write myself down, with Dogberry, “a rich lying idle on his hands; or, if he be a landed pro- fellow enough,” but still “one who hath had losses." prietor, with a woful detail of arrears and diminished With the same generous spirit of emulation, I rents. This hath its effects. The guests sigh and have had lately recourse to the universal remedy shake their heads in cadence with their landlord, for the brief impecuniosity of which I complain look on the sideboard loaded with plate, sip once a brief residence in a southern climate, by which more the rich wines which flow around them in I have not only saved many cart-loads of coals, quick circulation, and think of the genuine benevo- but have also had the pleasure to excite general lence, which, thus stinted of its means, still lavishes sympathy for my decayed circumstances among all that it yet possesses on hospitality; and, what is those, who, if my revenue had continued to be spent yet more flattering, on the wealth, which, undimi- among them, would have cared little if I had been nished by these losses, still continues, like the hanged. Thus, while I drink my vin ordinaire, my inexhaustible hoard of the generous Aboulcasem, brewer finds the sale of his small-beer diminished to sustain, without impoverishment, such copious while I discuss my flask of cinq francs, my modrains.

dicum of port hangs on my wine-merchant's hands This querulous humour, however, hath its limits, — while my côtelette à-la-Maintenon is smoking like to the conning of grievances, which all vale- on my plate, the mighty sirloin hangs on its peg in tudinarians know is a most fascinating pastime, so the shop of my blue-aproned friend in the village. long as there is nothing to complain of but chronic Whatever, in short, I spend here, is missed at complaints. But I never heard a man whose credit home; and the few sous gained by the garçon perruwas actually verging to decay talk of the diminution quier, nay, the very crust I give to his little bare

* It is scarcely necessary to say, that all that follows is imaginary.

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