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for this terrible couple. Blood and lust were the principles of the religion. Let us ask ourselves if the same faith could have produced the noble sentences which indicate the nature of Brahm?
Art. II.-1. Galerie des contemporaines illustres. DE LOMÉNIE.
Paris. 2. Portraits littéraires. Par CHARLES-Aug. SAINTE-BEUVE. 3. Histoire de Port-Royal. St. BEUVE. 4. Vie, Poésies et Pensées de Joseph Delorme. Sr. Beuve. 5. Galerie des Gens de Lettres au Dirneuvième siècle. Ch. Robin. 6. Nouveaur Portraits littéraires. GUSTAVE PLANCHE. 7. Ouvres complètes de VICTOR HUGO. Paris.
Madame de Girardin, daughter of the accomplished Sophie Gay, and spouse deceased of the present editor of the Liberté newspaper of Paris, invented, in years gone by, a cruel simile touching the breaking of the bond of friendship between Victor Hugoanl Sainte-Beuve, when both were at the threshold of their literary lives. “Siinte-Beuve était un poêle ou Victor Hugo mettait du bois,” said the sarcastic authoress of "Le Vicomte de Launay,” and added, with the accent of doom forecast : “ Victor Hugo n'en met plus.” Although she did not live to witness the serene triumph of Sainte-Beuve's later years, Madame de Girardin realised before she died the failure of her implied prediction ; for the reputation of him who was one day to write the “Causeries de Lundi," continued to develop itself after his separation from Hugo, and at the time of his demise he was regarded as the foremost of that renowned and cultivated craft, the literary critics of France.
Charles Auguste Sainte-Beuve was born, and for the first fourteen years of his life resided, in Boulogne, that old, ugly, Anglo-French town; that cheery haven which so many seaworn travellers to the Continent have reached with rapturous relief, to leave it behind them in their flight toward Paris, with, quite possibly, that same unconcerned delight in which Sainte-Beuve quitted it half a century ago. He never re
visited his native place, which does not appear to have been for him an over-hallowed spot, nor one of rosy reminiscences. Boulogne meant his infancy, and his infancy meant poverty in a dreary sea-side city, where he was reared by his mother and aunt, who were English calvinists; his father, a government clerk on a moderate salary, having died while the future critic was yet unborn. Educated with all the rigor of calvinistic principles, the child-fanatic, who sometimes rose in the night to iterate his prayers, nevertheless became the sceptic who, in 1868, so eloquently and sturdily defended Renan and his works. The young puritan was promptly made acquainted with some of the English poets, for whom he evinced a great fondness, particularly Wordsworth and Crabbe, and he terminated his ancient classics, carrying off prizes for Latin verse, at the Bourbon and Charlemagne colleges. Upon leaving college he walked the Paris hospitals, and studied medicine, which first unsettled the religious teaching received at maternal hands, and his subsequent reading of the encyclopedists undermined it more completely. Locke, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Condillac, and others, were his favorite masters, and while yet but a youth, his enthusiasm for them, and the calling of un homme de lettres, was such that he cast aside the surgeon's knife for the gray goose-quill of the journalist, in which capacity he commenced his remarkable career on the Paris “ Globe.”
Victor Hugo had already written the “Odes et Ballades," and if not then the lyric king that he was ecstatically styled by his admirers of a later era, he had acquired a lustre and a repute which placed him at the head of a literary clique, consisting of Barthélemy, Méry, Alf 'de Musset, de Vigny, and others, who called themselves the romanesques, and who, in 1823-6, made vigorous war upon the classiques, for the empire of lettered France. Forced to elect, Sainte-Beuve decided for the latter, and his onslaught upon the “Odes et Ballades" is recited to this day by those envious of Hugo, whilst it procured for its author, at the time, the advances of the poet, glad to welcome so clever an adversary to his house, and the celebrated réunions intimes de la rue Notre-Dame-desChamps. During his intimacy with Hugo, and his school,
Sainte-Beuve published (1828) his “ Tableau de la Poésie Française du Seizième Siècle," which was undertaken with a view to compete for the prize offered by the French Academy for a work on that subject. His original design grew into a larger plan, and the term set for the prize was passed, but France gained thereby a much more elaborate treatise. In 1829 the “ Poésies et vie de Joseph Delorme ” made its appearance, being an autobiography purporting to have been written by a medical student, who had died of consumption. The eccentricity and exaggeration of the phrase, and the motif of this latter publication, excited equivocal remark, if not downright disesteem. In the autobiography SainteBeuve adverts to the indications in himself of the germs of the very disease of which he died forty years later, and foreshadows coolly his own fate. “Les Consolations" (verse), which came out in 1830, were pretty much of the extravagant complexion of the “ Poésies Delorme,” but served to keep the neophyte before the public, as did his quarrel with Victor Hugo, which took place about this time. More or less scandal was mixed up with the account of the sudden estrangement, the truth of which has, in reality, never been known. But he of “the eagle's eye and the heart of the hare," as Cousin, innocently enough, once described his friend, quitted the sanctuary of Hugo and the romanesques, of which up to this time he had been an assiduous frequenter, never to put foot there again; and denying from that moment his whilom gods, he pointed a series of newspaper articles, disdainful and irreverent, for them and their temples.
Whatever the cause, the bad blood in the hearts of both Hugo and Sainte-Beuve lasted bitter to the end. At the public ceremony of induction to the chair, at the French Academy, so thronged by the literary and fashionable worlds of Paris, by a singular fortune, in 1845, it was upon Victor Hugo that the duty fell of replying to the admission speech of the honored and now radiant Sainte-Beuve ; and, as was and is the complimentary custom, in that reply, to review with genial nicety and more or less emotion, the chief efforts of the freshman which had won him academical distinction. Hugo's
chance and memory, upon this occasion, were only too good. In his florid and impressive style he spoke at length of almost everything and everybody, yet managed, blandly but utterly, to ignore the literary labors of the recipiendaire, the frown and flutter of his dismayed friends who were come to hear him complimented, down even to the diminished presence and clouded aureola of the ireful new member.
It was in reference to this severance, and Saint-Beuve's manifestoes of hostility, above alluded to, that. Madame de Girardin spoke the words quoted at the commencement of this paper; and though pestered and exasperated by the continued ridicule and rebuke of members of the Hugo set, among whom such adepts as Alphonse Karr were not the least pertinacious, Sainte-Beuve continued, and with great distinction, his avocation in the “Revue de Paris," and the scholarly and brilliant “Revue des Deux Mondes."
In 1830 he contributed to the “National” newspaper, and shortly after was an intimate friend of Lammenais, under the influence of which profound but mystical thinker, he published, when not far from thirty, his novel, “ Volupté,” a wild and crude, if clever painting, of the spiritual experience of Lacordaire.
Notwithstanding that he had been one of the most earnest of the staff of the Democratic “National" at a previous epoch, M. Sainte-Beuve deprecated the events of 1848, in which the soi disant protector of his youth, Victor Hugo, glorified; yet, like that protector, he became reconciled to the revolution and the presidency of Louis Napoleon, and, in all sober conscience, clung to Napoleon III. and the empire, which Hugo, outwitted and disgusted, has so irrationally and obstinately assailed. Capricious and vacillating, Sainte-Beuve had undoubtedly proved himself to be, yet, as the other has never claimed to be celestial, otherwise than in a lyrical way, how one-sided a pretext, if it be the reason why, ever since their rupture and the days of the salon rue Notre-Dame des Champs, Hugo's steady and dazzling literary fame has been persistently put forward to dwarf, by contrast, that more modest but most estimable field of letters, in which Sainte-Beuve served and shone. Be it that, however, or the critic's relative
failure as a poet-let the reason be what it may—the fact of this perpetual confrontation is notorious; hence the junction of these two names at the heading of this article, and hence, of necessity, a few cursory remarks upon Sainte-Beuve's great contemporary, the author of the “ Chatiments" and the "Misérables."
The other is senior by only about two years, but more precocious. Hugo's prestige as a poet is of earlier date, and the Academy of Toulouse crowned him for his“ Moise sur le Nil," in 1820, when he was but eighteen. His massive reputation of to-day, however, is not a universal one, far-reaching though it be. Let those of his extollers, old or new, whounable to topple the eminent French critic from his pedestalinveighed against the religious, the political, and the literary turpitudes of the writer of “ Volupté,” seemed to rely upon a general belief in the infallibility of their great republican model, the voluntary exile of Guernsey. For all that, the immortal sonneteer is anything but free from politicalblemish, if flawless and resplendent otherwise.
“L'Evénement” newspaper, which made its first appearance on the 31st of July, 1848, was known from the start as the Hugo paper, and to have been created to sustain Victor Hugo, in a possible contingency, as head of the state. If not an out-and-out Orleanist at its birth, it was, at all events, devoted to the election of Orleanist candidates for the chamber. Proudhon, the socialist, was contemned in its columns as “a miserable advocate of the people,” which possibly might have been owing to the fact that the quaint philosopher, who admired Boileau, was no rhapsodist for Victor Hugo.* The last-named had sung, the year before, in bewitching verse his adulation of Charles X., and, after the fall of Louis Phillipe, the "Evénement” became a beacon light for the mob, and, eventually, a supporter of Louis Napoleont for the presidency, and waged doughty war for Bonapartism. In its
* Proudhon declared that a Rhine boatman, whom he heard rhyming and whistling at his work, improvised Hugo's Orientales.
+ The introduction of its new conviction in the Evénement has the true Hugo ring: “La gloire de son nom est une lettre de change qu'il fout qu'il acquitte. M. Cavagnac (an opponent), lui c'est un inconnu, M. Louis Bonaparte, on sait par on le prendre; on peut le saisir par son nom ei le manier !"