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poetic autobiography, composed and group. | happy round the table, forgot their distress. ed into little pictures with consummate art. Jasmin alone was thoughtful, and sought to The above incidents are from the first por divine the meaning of that sad smile upon tion of the poem ; the second commences by his poor mother's face. She took the knife a pitiful inventory of his mean dwelling, and to carve the tiny bit of mutton, and he cast a picture of the miserable condition of the a glance at her finger ;-ah! the secret was nine persons belonging to the poor household. out! she had sold her wedding-ring! At last, great was the joy one happy day!! Here ends the second part of Jasmin's His mother came in with a bright face, and little history. The third transports us to said, “ To school, to school, my son !” | the attic of a house, with a sky-blue front, “What,” said the little boy, “have we be where Jasmin, now an apprentice to a barber, come rich, then ?" "No, poor little thing; watches by night the rustling leaves of a but you are to go for nothing !" So the neighboring linden-tree. There, under the child applied himself: in six months he tiles, he passed a part of every night in could read; six months after he went to reading, in reverie, and in versification. He mass ; six months after, among the singers read “Florian" with delight, and in his picin the choir, he chanted the Tantum ergo; tures, all misery is forgotten; the hospital, and, finally, in another six months he en the beggar's wallet, the mother's ring : these tered the seminary grutis. But he staid had now all vanished from his memory. there only six months ; nevertheless, he had The singer of Gardon (Ducray-Dumesnil) already begun to distinguish himself. He especially bewitched him, and he tried his had obtained one prize, and this prize was own hand at composing verses in the sweet an old worn-out cassock, which was trimmed patois, which he spoke so well. Meanwhile up for his wearing, though he felt some he kept his razor going, and scraped many shame at donning so old-fashioned a piece chins, with his head full of poetry. Love, of goods. But he was not to wear it long. too, that blessed drop in the cup of life, Wicked little Jasmin was turned out of illuminated his lot; and, with an eye to the school in consequence of a rather ticklish future, he shortly opened a little barber's trick which he played to a certain girl named shop on his own account, on the Gravier Jeanneton, mounted on a ladder, and whose promenade, where he cut, curled, and shaved, details Jasmin describes in his “ Souvenirs” to their hearts' content, a “discerning public." with considerable gusto. He was locked up He got on slowly at first; then quicker ; in one of the canon's rooms; and what should then his little shop got well filled, and he he there do—what sweeter task could he prospered; as the proverb says, “it never undertake-than that of testing the quality rains but it pours." In short, curls, scissors, of the monk's sweetmeats and preserves ? and razors, diligently handled, did their He was found out—a second fault-and work in time; and, besides, there were Jasdriven forth from the seminary. Home ran min's songs, which soon sent a silver tide of the poor little Jasmin to his mother's house good fortune into his shop; so much so that, in the old street. It was Shrove-Tuesday. in a fit of poetic ardor, Jasmin broke in The table was set for dinner, and there was pieces the old redoubted chair in which all a morsel of mutton just cooked, about to be his fathers had been carried to the hospital. served up. Jasmin enters, tells his story, He, in place of going to the hospital, went and excites general consternation. “ Then to a notary; and, finally, the first of his we shall have no more," said the distressed family, he saw his name emblazoned in the mother, sobbing. “We shall have no more ?" lists of the tax-collector. What an honor asked little Jasmin—" of what ?" The mother for the Jasmin stock ! explained: it was of miche-white bread His wife, born in nearly the same rank of which she daily used to get a portion of at life as himself, is a woman of good sense, Jasmin's seminary; a terrible loss for the some imagination, and of a very picturesque poor family! But suddenly an idea seemed style of speaking, in her native patois, to strike the mother; and, going out, she bid which comes quite gracefully from her lips. the hungry children wait a moment, and At first she was a sworn enemy of versehope. She soon returned, bringing a bit of writing, and used to hide Jasmin's pens and bread in her hand; and the children, now paper ; but since she learnt the market value
of her husband's rhymes, she handed him should I change my lot ?" he said to a rich in the most gracious manner, the nicest pen gentleman of Toulouse, who wanted him to and the prettiest paper she could get. go there. “In my town, where every body “ Courage !" she would say to him ; "each works, leave me as I am. In summer, hapverse is another tile for our house-roof." pier than a king, I glean provision enough And all the family joined in the cry—“make for the coming winter, and after I have sung verses ! make verses !" So things went hap-away like a chaffinch under the shade of a pily and prosperously with Jasmin, and be poplar or ash tree, how happy shall I be to fore long he was enabled to buy the house grow white-haired in the place that has givhe lived in, tiles and all.
en me birth. When the young sparrow Jasmin published his first poem in 1825 ; hears in the summer time, the sweet zigo it was called “ The Charivari," and was a ziou, ziou, of the tripping grasshopper, it burlesque account of an old widow, who springs out and leaves the nest where the dreams of remarrying. It is prefaced by a feathers of its wings have been growing. fine ode addressed to M. Dupront, an advo- | But the wise man acts not so." Jasmin has, cate of Agen, and who was himself a poet. however, visited Paris and been welcomOther works followed, the most important ed there by many kind friends and admiof which are “ The Papillotes,” (or curl- rers. Writing afterwards to a friend whom papers, showing that he was not ashamed of he had visited, he said “ You have quite his craft ;) “ The Blind Girl of Castél-Cuillé;" salonized me.” But he returned to his native and “My Recollections,” (Mous Soubenis.) | Agen, enjoying the fame of his muse and The “ Blind Girl” has been admirably trans- the esteem of all his town's folks. lated by Longfellow, and is to be found in Miss Costello, in her interesting book on the last edition of his poems, to which we “ Bearn and the Pyrenees," has given a have pleasure in referring the reader. Jas charming description of Jasmin and his min's best pieces are written in his native home. She found his shop by the prominent patois; when he writes in classical French, announcement of “Jasmin, Coiffeur," (hairit is clear that he is writing in an acquired dresser,) in large gold letters over the door. language, into which he has to translate the The poet was dressing a customer's hair poetic color, the image, and the idea, that when the visitor entered, but his wife, a come to him in his native dialect. There is smiling, dark-eyed woman, invited her into a beautiful naïveté about the writings of Jas the back-parlor, when she took pride in exmin. They are simple, quaint, and full of hibiting the laurel crown of gold from Tou. nature. Yet they are artfully elaborated louse, the gold cup from the citizens of Auch, too, and Jasmin does not spare pains in the and numerous other choice offerings to her elaboration of his poetic thoughts. Some- husband's muse. times his simple force rises to the sublime,
1 “ When we had become nearly tired," as in his “ Oiseaux Voyageurs." His mean-says Miss Costello, “ of looking over these ing is always obvious, never ambiguous; tributes to his genius, the door opened, and and his verse is as clear and flowing as the the poet himself appeared. His manner was waters of the limped Adour. “ The Faithful free and unembarrassed, well-bred, and Agenaise" of Jasmin is one of his most pop
| lively; he received our compliments natu
rally, and like one accustomed to homage ; ular romances in his own district, and as
said he was ill, and unfortunately too boarse well known over a wide country as the to read any thing to us, or should have been " Charmante Gabrielle," of Henri IV. Had delighted to do so. He spoke with a broad he lived in a former age, Jasmin had been Gascon dialect, and very rapidly and elothe most famous of the troubadour minstrels.
quently ; ran over the story of his successes,
told us that his grandfather had been a As it is, he sings with taste, and plays the
beggar, and all his family very poor ; that guitar and flageolet, with his performance
he was now as rich as he wished to be; his on which he sometimes amuses his visitors. son placed in a good position in Nantes ;
Jasmin has been invited to Paris, to settle then showed us his son's picture, and spoke of there; many kind friends have thus tempted
his disposition, to which his brisk little wife
added, that though no fool, he had not his him; but Jasmin is true to his trade, which
father's genius, to which truth Jasmin assenthe will not give up, and faithful to his na- ed as a matter of course.” The visitor tive town, which he will not leave. “Why praised some of the poet's writings, mention
ing them by name; and then Jasmin, for- / which would be heavy, were they allowed a getting his hoarseness, proposed to read her moment's repose from the continual play of something of his much better those she had the facial muscles, sending a never-ending named. He read“ Franconette," a touching series of varying expressions across the poem. “He began in a rich, soft voice, and dark, swarthy visage. Two sentences of as he advanced, the surprise of Hamlet on his conversation were quite sufficient to hearing the player king recite the disasters stamp his individuality. The first thing of Hecuba was but a type of ours, to find which struck me was the utter absence of ourselves carried away by the spell of his all the mock-modesty, and the pretended enthusiasm. His eyes swam in tears; he self-underrating, conventionally assumed by became pale and red; he trembled; he persons expecting to be complimented upon recovered himself; his face was now joyous, their sayings and doings. Jasmin seemed now exulting, gay, jocose, in fact, he was thoroughly to despise all such flimsy hypoctwenty actors in one; he rang the changes risy. 'God only made four Frenchmen from Rachel to Bouffé; and he finished by poets,' he out with, and their names are, delighting us, besides beguiling us of our Corneille, Lafontaine, Beranger, and Jasmin!' tears, and overwhelming us with astonish- Talking with the most impassioned vehement. He would have been a treasure on mence, and the most redundant energy of the stage ; for he is still
, though his first gesture, he went on to declaim against the youth is past, remarkably good-looking and influences of civilization upon language and striking ; with black, sparkling eyes, of in- manners, as being fatal to all real poetry. tense expression ; a fine, ruddy complexion; If the true inspiration yet existed upon a countenance of wondrous mobility; a good earth, it burned in the hearts and brains of figure, and action full of fire and grace; he men far removed from cities, salons, and the has handsome hands, which he uses with clash and din of social influences. Your infinite effect; and, on the whole, he is the only true poets were the unlettered peasants, best actor of the kind I ever saw.”
who poured forth their hearts in song—not Jasmin is still living and thriving; and because they wished to make poetry, but
Col. not long since he published another new
because they were joyous and true. poem which is pronounced equal to any of schools of literature, and all such institu
leges, academies, and schools of learning, his former efforts.
tions, Jasmin denounced as the curse and Since the above article was in type, an the bane of true poetry. They had spoiled, interesting account of Jasmin, from the pen he said, the very French language. You of the Morning Chronicle Commissaire, now
could no more write poetry in French pow in France, came under our notice, from which language bad been licked, and kneaded, and
than you could in arithmetical figures. The we take the following extract:
tricked out, and plumed, and dandified, and “I paused before the lintel of the modest | scented, and minced, and ruled square, and shop inscribed, Jasmin, Perruquier, Coitjeur chipped—I am trying to give an idea of the de jeunes Gens. A little brass basin dangled strange flood of epithets he used)-and above the threshold ; and, looking through pranked out, and polished, and muscadined the glass, I saw the master of the establish--until, for all honest purposes of true high ment shaving a fat-faced neighbor. Now, I poetry, it was mere unavailable and conhad come to see, and pay my compliments temptible jargon. It might do for cheating to a poet, and there did appear to me to be agents de change on the Bourse—for squabsomething strangely awkward and irresist bling politicians in the Chambers—for minibly ludicrous in having to address, to some cing dandies in the salons—for the sarcasm extent, in a literary and complimentary of Scribe-ish comedies, or the coarse drolvein, an individual actually engaged in so leries of Palais Royal farces, but for poetry excessively prosaic and unelevated a species the French language was extinct. AL of performance. I retreated, uncertain what modern poets who used it were faiseurs de to do, and waited outside until the shop phrase-thinking about words and not feelwas clear.
Three words explained the ings. “No, no, my Troubadour continued, nature of my visit, and Jasmin received me to write poetry, you must get the language with a species of warm courtesy, which was of a rural people-a language talked among very peculiar and very charming, dashing fields, and trees, and by rivers and mounat once, with the most clattering volubility tains—a language never minced or disfigured and fiery speed of tongue, into a sort of by academies, and dictionary-makers, and rbapsodical discourse upon poetry in general, journalists; you must have a language like and the patois of it, spoken in Languedoc, that which your own Burns—whom I read Provence, and Gascony in particular. Jasmin of in Chateaubriand-used; or like the is a well-built and strongly-limbed man, of brave, old, mellow tongue-unchanged for about fifty, with a large, massive head, and centuries-stuffed with the strangest, quainta broad pile of forehead, overhanging two est, richest, raciest idioms and odd solemn piercingly bright black eyes, and features words, full of shifting meanings and associa
tions, at once pathetic and familiar, homely 1 “There is," he adds, “a feature about and graceful—ihe language which I write in these recitations which is still more extraorand which has never yet been defiled by dinary than the uncontrollable fits of popucalculating men of science, or jack-a-dandy lar enthusiasm which they produce. The littérateurs.' The above sentences may be last entertainment of the kind, given by taken as a specimen of the ideas with which Jasmin, in one of the Pyrenean cities-I Jasmin seemed to be actually overflowing forget which produced 2,000 francs. Every from every pore in his body--go rapid, vehe- sou of this went to the public charities. ment, and loud was his enunciation of them.”
Moud was his enunciation of them.” | Jasmin will not accept a stíver of money so Jasmin is in the practice of devoting his
earned. With a species of perhaps unre
strained, but certainly exalted chivalric talents in public, to the service of his
feeling, he declines to appear before an humbler fellow.creatures. He has a wonder- audience to exhibit, for money, the gifts with ful power of recitation, and gives his enter which nature has endowed him. After pertainments before immense audiences in the
haps a brilliant tour through the south of towns around Auch. The Chronicle corre
France, delighting vast audiences in every
city, and flinging many thousands of francs spondent says :
into every poor-box which he passes, the “ The raptures of the New Yorkers or poet contentedly returns to his humble Bostonians with Jenny Lind are weak and occupation, and to the little shop where he cold compared with the ovations which earns his bread by his daily toil, as a barber Jasmin has received. At al late recitation and hair-dresser. It will be generally adat Auch, the ladies present actually tore mitted, that the man capable of self-denial, the flowers and feathers out of their bonnets, of so truly heroic a nature as this, is no wove them into extempore garlands, and ordinary poetaster. One would be puzzled flung them in showers upon the panting to find a similar instance of perfect and minstrel; while the editors of the local absolute disinterestedness in the roll of papers next morning assured him, in floods minstrels, from Homer downwards; and to of flattering epigrams, that humble as he tell the truth, there does seem a spice of was now, future ages would acknowledge Quixotism mingled with, and tinging the the 'divinity' of Jasmin!
pure fervor of the enthusiast."
OUR PHANTOM SHIP AMONG THE ICE. YONDER is the coast of Norway; we | northwest, to Behring Straits, and take the shall soon be at Spitzbergen. The “ Phan- South Pole on her passage home. Just tom” is fitted out for Arctic exploration, now, we steer due north, and yonder is the with instructions to find her way, by the coast of Norway. From that coast parted
Hugh Willoughby, three hundred years ago ; | their victims left a journal, which describes the first of our countrymen who wrought his suffering and that of his companions. an ice-bound highway to Cathay. Two Their mouths, he says, became so sore that, years afterwards his ships were found, in if they had food, they could not eat; their the haven of Arzina, in Lapland, by some limbs were swollen and disabled with excruRussian fishermen ; near and about them ciating pain ; they died of scurvy. Those Willoughby and his companions—seventy who died first were coffined by their dying dead men. The ships were freighted with friends; a row of coffins was found, in the their frozen crews, and sailed for England ; spring, each with a man in it; two men but," being unstanch, as it is supposed, by uncoffined, side by side, were dead upon the their two years' wintering in Lapland, sunk, floor. The journal told, how once the traces by the way, with their dead, and them also of a bear excited their hope of fresh meat that brought them."
and amended health; how, with a lantern, Ice floats about us now, and here is a two or three had limped upon the track, whale blowing; a whale, too, very near until the light became extinguished, and Spitzbergen. When first Spitzbergen was they came back in despair to die. We discovered, in the good old times, there might speak, also, of eight English sailors, were whales here in abundance; then a left, by accident, upon Spitzbergen, who hundred Dutch ships, in a crowd, might go lived to return and tell their winter's tale; to work, and boats might jostle with each but a long journey is before us, and we must other, and the only thing deficient would be not linger on the way. As for our whalers stowage room for all the produce of the it need scarcely be related that the multifishery. Now one ship may have the whole tude of whales diminished as the slaughterfield to itself, and travel home with an im- ing went on, until it was no longer possible perfect cargo. It was fine fun in the good to keep the coppers full. The whales had old times; there was no need to cruise. to be searched for by the vessels, and there. Coppers and boilers were fitted on the is after it was not worth while to take the land, and little colonies about them, in the blubber to Spitzbergen to be boiled; and fishing season, had nothing to do but tow the different nations, having carried home the whales in, with a boat, as fast as they their coppers, left the apparatus of those were wanted by the copper. No wonder fishing stations to decay. that so enviable a Tom Tidler's ground was! Take heed. There is a noise like thunclaimed by all who had a love for gold and der, and a mountain snaps in two. The upsilver. The English called it theirs, for they per half comes, crashing, grinding, down into first fished; the Dutch said, nay, but the the sea, and loosened streams of water fol. Island was of their discovery ; Danes, Ham- low it. The sea is displaced before the burghers, Biscayans, Spaniards, and French mighty heap; it boils and scatters up a put in their claims, and at length, it was cloud of spray; it rushes back, and violentagreed to make partitions. The numerous ly beats upon the shore. The mountain bays and harbors which indent the coast rises from its bath, sways to and fro, while were divided among the rival nations; and, water pours along its mighty sides; now it to this day, many of them bear, accordingly, is tolerably quiet, letting crackers off as such names as English Bay, Danes Bay, and air escapes out of its cavities. That is an 60 forth. One bay there is, with graves in iceberg, and in that way are all icebergs it, named Sorrow. For it seemed to the formed. Mountains of ice formed by rain fishers most desirable, if possible, to plant and snow-grand Arctic glaciers, underupon this island permanent establishments, mined by the sea or by accumulation overand condemned convicts were offered, by the balanced—topple down upon the slightest Russians, life and pardon, if they would provocation, (moved by a shout, perhaps,) winter in Spitzbergen. They agreed; but, and where they float, as this black-looking when they saw the icy mountains and the fellow does, they need deep water. This stormy sea, repented, and went back, to berg in height is about ninety feet, and a meet a death exempt from torture. The due balance requires that a mass nine times Dutch tempted free men, by high rewards, as large as the part visible should be subto try the dangerous experiment. One of merged. Icebergs are seen about us now