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Conscrits, au pas.
Ne pleurez pas.
Marchez au pas.
Au pas, au pas, au pas, au pas!
These men pronounced the chorus: Conscrits au pas. Ne pleurez pas... Marchez au pas, au pas, au pas, in a tone so manly, and so pathetic, that tears started into my eyes. Marking the step themselves, as they drew out their hemp, they seemed to be spinning the last moment of the Vieux Caporal. Who had taught them this ballad? Assuredly not literature, not criticism, not taught admiration, all that is subservient to reputation and renown, but a genuine accent from some quarter or other had reached their humble minds. I cannot express all that there was in this glory peculiar to Beranger, in this glory thus solitarily revealed by two sailors, singing at sun-set, in sight of the sea, the death of a soldier.
BURNS, Mason, Cowper, died during my emigration to London, before and in 1800; they concluded the century: I began the new one. Darwin and Beattie died two years after my return from exile.
Beattie had announced the new era of the lyre. "The Minstrel, or the Progress of Genius," delineates the first effects of the Muse on a young bard, who is yet a stranger to the spirit by which he is tormented. Sometimes the future poet seats himself on the margin of the sea during a storm; sometimes he quits the village sports to listen alone and at a distance to the sound of the bagpige. The poem is written in the Spenserian
The rolls of fame I will not now explore;
While from his bending shoulder decent hung His harp the sole companion of his way, Which to the whistling wind responsive rung: And ever as he went some merry lay he sung.
The wight whose tale these artless lines unfold,
There lived in Gothic days, as legends tell,
But he, I ween, was of the north countrie;
A nation fam'd for song and beauty's charms; Zealous, yet modest; innocent, though free; Patient of toil, serene amidst alarms; Inflexible in faith, invincible in arms.
Poor Edwin was no vulgar boy,
Some deem'd him wond'rous wise, and some believ'd him mad.
But why should I his childish feats display?
Lo! where the stripling, wrapt in wonder, roves
And oft he traced the uplands to survey,
And oft the craggy cliff he loved to climb, When all in mist the world below was lost, What dreadful pleasure! there to stand sublime, Like shipwreck'd mariner on desert coast, And view th' enormous waste of vapour, tost In billows, lengthening to th' horizon round, Now coop'd in gulfs, with mountains now emboss'd! And hear the voice of song and mirth rebound, Flocks, herds, and waterfalls, along the hoar profound!
See in the rear of the warm summer shower
For now the storm of summer rain is o'er
When the long-sounding curfew from afar
And ghosts that to the charnel-dungeon throng,
Or blast that shrieks by fits the shuddering aisles along
Or when the setting moon in crimson dyed
To haunted stream, remote from man, he hied,
The dream is filed
Even now his eyes with smiles of rapture glow,
But who the melodies of morn can tell?
The wild brook babbling down the mountain side;
And the full choir that wakes the universal grove.
The cottage curs at early pilgrim bark;
Crown'd with her pail the tripping milkmaid sings; The whistling ploughman stalks afield, and, hark! Down the rough slope the ponderous waggon rings; Through rustling corn the hare astonish'd springs; Slow tolls the village clock the drowsy hour; The partridge bursts away on whirring wings: Deep mourns the turtle in sequester'd bower, And shrill lark carols clear from her aërial tower.