« 上一頁繼續 »
and even of the battle that ensued, as set forth in the romance, we must content ourselves with the closing scene. The reader is to understand, however, that the Knight of Heurlée, by whose hand the Flemish regent is made to fall, has been a busy character throughout the second part of the romance; that he is a traitor double-dyed in infamy—who had on a former occasion broken his parole to D'Artevelde, and been, in consequence, disgraced and dishonoured in the then chivalrous court of France. Stung with shame and remorse, he deserts from the French camp at dawn of day, and offers his services to the man whom he had before outraged. Philip receives him with calm contempt-and, maddened with hopeless contumely, the deserter assassinates him in the course of the battle on the fatal bridge of the dream. The stage direction now gives—
A PART OF THE FIELD ON THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE LIS. It is strewn with the dead and wounded, and other wreck of the battle.
In front is the body of Van ARTEVELDE. ELENA is kneeling beside it. Van Ryk and one of Van ARTEVELDE's Pages are standing
near. Trumpets are heard from time to time at a distance,
She will not stir.
Or will not seem to hear.
Leave her to me.
That I should take you hence to Ghent by Olsen.
No, lady, no,
Let me but take you hence. I pray you, come.
The enemy is near
Enter Duke of Burgundy.
What are ye? Flemings? Who art thou, old sir?
Into the upper sky? Speak.
What I am,
* We question if any poet has ever surpassed this exclamation. The speech of Burgundy is not unworthy to follow it,
Yourself have spoken. I am, as you said,
Is but a little grief.
Well said, old man.
Sir, she is not a Fleming.
reant of Heurlée, the Constable, Tristram of Lestovet, the Lord of Coucy, and many other Lords and Knights, with Guards and
I cannot make them tell.
Come on! come on!
For Artevelde's dead body.
Sire, for that
God's me! how sad a sight!
But are you sure?
Which clothed the spirit of Van Artevelde
(Drawing his dagger) As is imbrued with blood denotes the depth. King. Oh me! how sad and terrible he looks!
He hath a princely countenance. Alas !
Upon the better side!
And who is she?
(Elena raises her head from the body.) Duke of Bourbon. That I can answer: she's a traitress vile!
The villain's paramour.
Beseech you, sir,
think. She did affect him, but in no such sort
As you impute, which she can promptly prove. * [mour. Elena (springing upon her feet). 'Tis false! thou liest! I was his paraDuke of Bourbon. Oh, shameless harlot! dost thou boast thy sin ? * The rea
recollects that Sir Fleureant had visited the regent's camp on an earlier occasion, before the close connexion between Philip and Elena took place; hence this speech in which the lost man believes himself to be saying the truth.
Ay, down upon the carrion once again!
I spit upon and spurn it.
Ay, dost baulk me! there-
(Stabs Sir Fleureant, who falls dead.) Duke of Burgundy. Seize her! secure her! tie her hand and foot!
What! routed we a hundred thousand men,
(The guards rush upon Elena; Van Ryk interposes
for her defence; after some struggle, both are
struck down and slain.) Dulce of Bourbon. So! curst untoward vermin! are they dead ?
His very corse breeds maggots of despite !
First we've to fight the foe, and then the captives !
Let it have Christian burial. As for his,
Where all the host may see it.
So valiant, so renowned! Sirs, pass we on,
-vol. ii. pp. 264-272. We have perhaps some reason to apologise for the length of these extracts. We can only repeat what we alleged at the outset-namely, that years and years have passed since it came in the way of our office to call attention to the appearance of a new English poem at once of such pretensions and such execution. If Mr. Taylor should devote himself to dramatic composition with a view to the stage, he must learn to brace his dialogue somewhat more tightly, and to indulge less in discursive reflection ; but he has already done enough to secure himself a place among the real artists of his time.
We have not thought it worth our while to point attention to the numberless passages in which Mr. Taylor's fiction speaks home to the feelings and facts of our own day. He is not, we can perceive, of our own school as to politics ; indeed, in spite of his motto, and, although, by taking Philip van Artevelde, whose father had rebelled while he was in infancy, for his hero, he has escaped most of the difficulties which would naturally have attached to the choice of a rebel-hero, he has, we cannot but feel, indicated his own sympathy with the movement cause in general. But still, being a true poet, and, therefore, a sagacious man, he has let fall many things which are by no means likely to gratify the powers that be-or rather, indeed, we ought to say, the powers that seem. His account of the ministers of Philip van Artevelde -of the versatile orator De Vaux, in particular, (vol. ii. p. 24)appears to us to be little else than a bitter contemporary satire,
Art. IV.--Souvenirs de la Marquise de Créqui, 1710 à 1800.
Tomes premier et second, Paris. 1834. IN NFINITE are the shapes of falsehood, and depuis feu Protée,
as Madame du Deffand pleasantly says, nothing can equal the versatility of a Parisian manufacturer of memoirs. One day he is a dramatist-the next a bishop-by and by a monarch-then a jacobin—and in succession, a minister of state, and a thief-taker-a damsel of the Palais Royal, and a duchess of the Louvre. That there was a Madame de Créqui, who lived to a great old age, and was
remarkable for a lively youth and an aimable vieillesse, is very well known; but that she wrote these volumes is, we confidently believe to be, the most insigne mensonge that ever was propounded. The fabricators are hard pushed; they find that the memoirs of men, and particularly of men of the present, or even of the last, generation, are liable to be tried, and, if false, detected, by tests which no ingenuity can elude. A man is either a statesman or a soldier~a cleric or a commis—a lawyer or a littérateur-and the sayings and doings of such men leave traces in their several walks of life which can neither be imitated nor obliterated. A forgery is in such cases easily detected, and the trade, instead of being profitable, becomes a losing concern. They have now, therefore, thought it prudent to try what they can do in female attire. The commérage of an old lady deals little in that class of facts or dates which, being preserved in authentic history, afford the best test of the authenticity of memoirs; and they are now trying how far the public may be deluded by that trivial gossip, as to the truth or falsehood of which few care, and still fewer examine.
Some of these manufacturers, looking about for a subject proper for their purpose, have lighted upon Madame de Créqui, a lady who-as the Biographies tell us and them- died at a very advanced age in 1803; who was remarkable for social and conversational talents; and who left behind her several manuscripts.' . Upon that hint they speak;' and this, we believe, is all that the author of this work knows of the lady, in whose name and character he writes. He found, in two or three authentic works, notices of a Madame de Créqui-stated to have been born under Louis XIV., and to have died under Napoleon; and he therefore adopted her life as a canvass on which he might fearlessly spread all the anecdotic colours which he could collect from Dangeau, St. Simon, Bachaumont, Marmontel, Walpole, and Mesdames de Sévigné, Maintenon, De Staël, and Du Deffand.
The French critics believe-(it is wonderful how credulous French critics are prior to a detection, and how clear-sighted they become when a forgery is proved)—the French critics, we say, affect to believe that there is a petit noyeau de vérité which is swelled into its present bulk by a vast deal of supposititious matter: in short, that some scattered manuscripts of Madame de Créqui have fallen into the hands of the editor, who has diluted her spirit into the gallons of washy stuff which fill these two octavos, and which are destined if the public will but consent to be duped to fill ten or a dozen similar tomes. This theory we absolutely disbelieve. We do not think that there is one genuine drop of Madame de Créqui in the whole publication; we are confident, and shall prove, that the • Mémoires'