Изображения страниц
[blocks in formation]

ladame de Staël.
s de Littérature et de Politique.—Par M. BENJA-
CONSTANT. 8vo. Paris. 1829.

a variety of interesting articles contained in this e find an Essay upon the Life and Writings of e Staël Holstein. Although so much has already ind written concerning the works of this celebrated r character is so remarkably and entirely apart from il disposition of the period, that every thing which

hrow light upon it, is deserving of attention. M. can. from his intimate relations with Madame de Staël, as well as from his own literary talents, had at once abundant opportunities and the necessary qualifications for judging of her both in her private character as a woman, and in her public capacity as an author.

His treatise is indeed little more than the eulogium of her life,—and his remarks upon her works are chiefly made with the view of pointing out their beauties, and of confuting the criticisms which had been passed upon them.

• It is not a biography,' he says, “that I write; I do not collect anecdotes; I allow my thoughts to wander, as chance may direct them, over recollections which will remain for ever engraved in the minds of all those, who have had the happiness of knowing and of understanding Madame de Staël.' VOL. XXXVII.—NO. 80.


Time is the touch-stone of genius. Centuries have passed away, and the Apollo Belvedere still remains a study for the connoisseur and the admiration of the unlearned. Centuries will

pass away, and every fresh anecdote that is collected of Napoleon Bonaparte will be hailed with interest. Great works and mighty names cannot be obliterated even by the torrent of ages. On the contrary, as years pass on, and we find how little occurs in the progress of events that is worthy of more than a passing observation, we turn with increasing interest to those incidents and characters, which seem to connect our lowly human destiny with a nobler sphere.

These golden letters in time's calendar are few and far between. Some persons are elevated to a transient glory by popular favor or conformity to the predominant passion of the age,-but their memory soon decays, and they leave no permanent traces in history. There are others, who, in poverty and blindness and neglect, have produced works which will endure till time itself shall be lost in eternity. The age does them no justice, but posterity avenges them, when the tyrant circumstance has lost his transient but despotic power.

Notwithstanding the various opinions which have been formed of the works of Madame de Staël, and the variety of judgments which have been pronounced upon them, it is proÞable that an impartial portrait of her has never yet been traced. As friendship or envy has held the pencil, the various features of her character have been by turns embellished or distorted. • The latest posterity,' says Lord Byron, 'for to the latest posterity they will assuredly descend, will have to pronounce upon her various productions; and the longer the vista through which they are seen, the more accurately minute will be the object, the more certain the justice of the decision.' Truth is the offspring of time; and the public voice never fails to become correct in its judgments, when the violence of party spirit has passed away, and when individuals have ceased to find an echo in the multitude.

Dante, driven ignominiously from his native city, and even condemned to be burned alive for his attachment to a defeated party, and still more for his freedom of speech and haughtiness of manners,' was, half a century after, the object of almost divine honors; and it was not until the lapse of two centuries had sobered the national judgment, that the Divine Comedy was permitted by the Italians to be classed among human productions.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »