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THREE MAIDEN SISTERS.
Facies non omnibus una, Nec diversa tamen, qualem decet esse sororum."-OVID.
Where the sun shines brightest
All the summer day,
Earliest blooms the May;
Notes at eve are heard
Calls her lover-bird,
Dwell three maids, the rarest
That your eyes may see,
Sisters are the three,
Yet by love disparts-
How to gain their hearts ?
Maud is tall and stately,
Pale browed, hair like coal,
Move the gazer's soul.
Gay and debonnair,
Fresh as mountain air.
Rose is like the morning,
With its ruddy dyes ;
To shun her beaming eyes.
On Walpurgis night,
Are those sisters bright.
Like, yet differing ever
As triple hues of light, Diverse while yet they sever,
But, joining, turned to white; Or, as three bell-tones, chiming,
Divergent till they meet, Blent in harmonious timing, Grow into concord sweet.
Would you know the dwelling
Where those sisters dwell ?
And I never tell.
At the morning's rise,
With bees and butterflies :
And when shadeless moonlight
Fills the aureat air
Of midsummer fair,
By bubbling fountain brims,
With wondrous pencil limns :
And when autumn daylight
Fades from out the sky,
Their flitting forms I spy.
Through the gloaming move, I dream of Christian graces
Of Faith and HOPE and LOVE.
John Francis WALLER.
A PARISIAN PAGAN.
At the time when Victor Hugo dynasty, and, having been an exile was young, literature in France for principle, is now wearing the seems to have begun an era that crown of honour without fear in will long remain remarkable for its his own land. energy in throwing off ancient But, in spite of the magnitude of shackles, its high vitality, and the shadow of Victor Hugo, we bright artistic effect. New slides cannot forget Théophile Gautier, are being inserted now in the magic poet, critic, and pagan. It may lantern of the Parisian Bohemia ; seem paradoxical to style a man and the old romantic figures are pagan who clung ever to a city. But fading in a soft dissolving view, Paris was Gautier's village; the all save Victor Hugo, who refuses joy of Paris was his joy; and, if to be effaced.
her life had any simplicity, it was Freedom, too, is not so rare an his too. Those who would study exotic nowadays as it was in Paris French literature of his period at the beginning of the period of cannot dispense with his aid. which we have spoken. The mind Be the monstrous humours and may move now with less constraint mystical grand
mystical grand absurdities of and in a larger air. The works Balzac the subject of consideration, that were the life drops of the Gautier has depicted them with struggling advocates of the out- sympathetic appreciation, and yet speaking minority of the Roman- with so perfect a faithfulness, tiques are become almost that not one ridiculous or pathetic classics. Paris prints them in the element is omitted. With him for most exquisite typography on our guide, we feel indeed as if we papier de Hollande or “Whatman," were eye-witnesses of actual life; byand they are sold at prices such standers, and not mere students at as are only obtained in England second-hand. Be it a morbid poet, through the neoteric offices of a like Baudelaire, concerning whon circulating library. Paris is as we would learn, Gautier has peneartistic in the external clothing of
trated the soul of his weaknesses, the choice productions of her sons and, with a hand like a woman's, as were those bright spirits who brings his nature into our view, first gave birth to the ideas in gently, so as not to wrong or hurt their exquisite poetic raiment.
him. Are we inquisitive with The living Victor Hugo naturally regard to Gérard de Nerval's . towers over the fading phantoms languors, or Madame de Girardin's who once were in such loving playfulness, or Henri Murger's brotherhood with him. He has eccentric pauperism, or concerning not brooked to remain in any Grub- the plots of the chief dramatists of street, however ästhetic, but has France, or the songs of her chief stood up eminent in la haute poli- poets ?-Gautier will be found to tique, has pitted himself against a have treated of them all with the
preciseness of a Sainte-Beuve, and fifteen only at the memorable date with a mother's insight and sym- of the appearance of Victor Hugo's pathy.
drama of “ Hernani.” It was the Gautier is at the best and highest representation of this play that level of his nature in criticism. In occasioned so fierce a strife between that branch of literature, which he the old classicists and the young persistently followed, although his Romantiques, amongst the latter of poetical nature at times rebelled, which Gautier enthusiastically he is always true and sincere; and ranged himself, raising a more his deficiency in moral sense does vigorous voice and shaking a more not affect him so injuriously there powerful fist than appertain to a boy as in writings which necessitate his of fifteen. Gautier came to Paris throwing more of himself into his
very young with his parents, and work. In criticism he is a mirror completed his studies at the College that by some magic means is a Charlemagne, where he met with spectrum as well, and divides the Gérard de Nerval, afterwards a qualities of those whom it reflects, fellow-worker of his. At school by hair breadths into the most the boy worked but little. Greek exquisite of nuances.
and Latin seemed to him to be Gautier is also a rare and refined superfluities in modern education; poet, a cultivated writer of travels, but, on the other hand, instead of and a gifted author of novels and performing his college exercises, novelettes. As in his criticism he he was wont to betake himself to is most serious and at his best, so the study of the older writers of in romance he is most brilliant and France, and to employ himself in at his worst.
tracing out the
and The news of his death, which strength of the language. He took place nearly six years ago, on a great boy, strong and the 23rd of October, 1872, touched
sensuous, enjoying a full supply with affectionate regret many who of health and vitality, of which bore the utmost objection to a large the due effect was produced in his part of his writings. But the after-life, in enabling his constituvariety and charm of his artistic tion to react from the peculiar conceptions, and the exquisite morbidness which affects so many finish of his style, had insensibly French poets of his time. A poet attracted them, while the gentle- he became-" by accident," it is ness of his criticism of his fellows, said. Carelessly neglecting his and his tender Greek-like ways, studies at the “Charlemagne," he disarmed the harshness of judg- was wont to repair to the museums ment upon his moral deficiencies to study plastic art, and there and the injuriousness of his literary would spend hours in gazing in influence.
fascination upon certain paintings, Théophile Gautier was born at and in swoons of admiration of Tarbes, a few miles north of the certain statues. His critics appear Pyrenees. Three dates of his birth
to have forgotten that while from are given by one of his biographers such contemplations
such contemplations might be -1808 as the really correct one; derived a poetic as well as an 1814 as the date usually stated, artistic stimulus, neither faculty and presumably under Gautier's could be thence derived. inspiration; and 1811 as the date
The youth soon began to attend which at length he came to avow an art school; and when the liteas the correct one, renouncing rary and artistic revolution to 1814, which would have made him which we have already referred
began to announce itself, he en- of his earlier productions, comrolled himself an intrepid poses and applies to himself, and partisan amongst the ranks of the delights in applying to those party of revolt, and burned with literary friends who are after his the utmost ardour to make himself
own heart, the lines : celebrated among them. But we are
J'en previens les mères de famille, told, by the ill-natured critic known
Ce que j'écris n'est pas pour les petites as Eugène de Mirecourt, he found filles, it easy enough to arrange violent Dont on coupe le pain en tartines-mes colours, but a very different matter to transport them adroitly to
Sont des vers de jeune homme. his canvas.
So he said to himself, The first critic to whom Gautier “Painting with the pen is more seriously submitted his poems was easy than with the brush ;' and Sainte-Beuve. This was just half painting with the pen is the métier a century ago. It is quite possible to which he has ever since adhered. that the decorous critic might not His sketches, romances, po have agreed with all the sentiments even his biographies
expressed, though he was about eminently word-paintings. He is that time something of an advocate a true artist in all his work, and of romanticism; but the strong endowed with marvellous know. mediæval language which the youth ledge and command of colour, had learned from Ronsard, Marot, form, and pictorial effect. We Sainte-Gelais, Malherbe, and other notice these powers especially when sixteenth-century minstrels and he re-tells old classical stories. writers, immediately arrested his Modern versions of these are gene- attention. He was charmed with rally in verse, as there is no the young man who had based his novelty to make the matter verse upon such sound traditions attractive, and the composer must of language, and turn, and rhyme. depend only on the charm of the “ Bravo !" said he; “ that is substyle. Gautier's written pictures, stantial poetry. Here is a man however, exquisite prose
who carves in granite, and not in poems; every word bears its due smoke.” And he promised to colour to his canvas, every sentence introduce him the next day to · has its due effect and relation to Victor Hugo, who was then the the whole. Those who would leader of the Romantiques. So object to copying M. Gautier in came about Gautier's adherence to his morals, his creed, or the matter the new school, as an apostle of of his poems and stories, might do whose doctrines his enormous fists, well to bestow some careful study we have said, were of much upon his manner. French story- service in inspiring meddling classitellers, as a rule, have a more cists with awe. These days were finished, if not more forcible, quite as uproarious as the days style than English, and Gautier, which we may remember better as far as regards that perfection of of the production of “Rabagas” form and completeness, is one of in Paris. The excitement in the the kings of French romancists latter case
was political, in the and poets. As to the matter of former it was literary and artistic his stories, all responsible critics only; but the ideas involved in are very properly careful to warn the contest went, perhaps, as deep off
young minds from their into the lives of the combatants as perusal; in this they but follow any political feeling could pene. M. Gautier himself, who, in one trate. From the time we have