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close affinity to the Italian. But this " light of song," however gratifying to the lover of early literature, was but a sort of crepuscular brightening, to herald in that full dawn of true taste and knowledge which broke forth at the appearance of Francis I. and Leo X. Then it was that Europe's modern minstrels, forming their lyric effusions on the imperishable models of classical antiquity, produced, for the bower and the banquet, for the court and the camp,
strains of unparalleled sweetness and power. I have already enriched my papers with a specimen of the love-ditties which the amour of Francis and the unfortunate Comtesse de Chateaubriand
gave birth to. The royal lover has himself recorded his chivalrous attachment to that lady in a song which is preserved among the MSS. of the Duke of Buckingham, in the Bibliothèque du Roi. It begins thus :
“Ores que je la tiens sous ma loy,
Adieu, visages de cour," &c. &c. Of the songs of Henri Quatre, addressed to Gabrielle d'Etrées, and of the ballads of Mary Stuart, it were almost superfluous to say a word; but in a professed essay on so interesting a subject, it would be an unpardonable omission not to mention two such illustrious contributors to the minstrelsy of France.
From crowned heads the transition to Maître Adam (the poetic carpenter) is rather abrupt; but he deserves most honourable rank' among the tuneful brotherhood. Without quitting his humble profession of a joiner, he published a volume of songs (Rheims, 1650) under the modest title of “Dry Chips and Oak Shavings from the Workshop of Adam Billaud.” Many of his staves are right well put out of hand. But he had been preceded by Clement Marôt, a most cultivated poet, who had given the tone to French versification. Malherbe was also a capital lyric writer in the grandiose style, and at times pathetic. Then there was Ronsard and Panard. Jean de Meun, who, with Guillaume de Lorris, concocted the “Roman de la Rose:” Villon, Charles d'Orléans, Gringoire, Alain Chartier, Bertaut, and sundry others of the old school, deservedly challenge the antiquary and critic's commendation. The subsequent glories of Voiture,
Scuderi, Dorat, Boufflers, Florian, Racan, and Chalieu, would claim their due share of notice, if the modern lyrics of Lamartine, Victor Hugo, André Chenier, Chateaubriand, and Delavigne, like the rod of the prophet, had not swallowed up the inferior spells of the magicians who preceded them. But I cannot for a moment longer repress my enthusiastic admiration of one who has arisen in our days, to strike in France, with a master-hand, the lyre of the troubadour, and to fling into the shade all the triumphs of bygone minstrelsy. Need I designate Béranger, who has created for himself a style of transcendent vigour and originality, and who has bung
of war, love, and wine, in strains far excelling those of Blondel, Tyrtæus, Pindar, or the Teïan bard. He is now the genuine representative of Gallic poesy in her convivial, ber amatory, her warlike, and her philosophic mood : and the plenitude of the inspiration that dwelt successively in the souls of all the songsters of ancient France seems to have transmigrated into Béranger, and found a fit recipient in his capacious and liberal mind :
“As some bright river, that, from fall to fall
In one full lake of light it rests at last.”—Lalla Rookh. Let me open the small volume of his chansons, and take at venture the first that offers. Good! it is about the grape. Wine is the grand topic with all poets (after the ladies); hear then his account of the introduction of the grape into Burgundy and Champagne, effected through the instrumentality of Brennus.
The Song of Brennus, Ou la Vigne plantée dans les Or the Introduction of the Grape Gaule&.
TUNE—“The Night before Larry.” Brennus disait aux bons Gaulois, When Brennus came back here from
“ Célébrez un triomphe insigne ! Rome, Les champs de Rome ont payé mes These words he is said to have exploits,
spoken : Et j'en rapporte un cep de vigne ; “We have conquered, my boys! Privés de son jus tout-puissant, and brought home
A sprig of the vine for a token!
Nous avons raincu pour en Cheer, my hearties ! and welcome boire;
to Gaul Sur nos coteaux que le pampre na- This plant, which we won from issant
the foeman ; Serve à couronner la victoire. 'Tis enough to repay us for all
Our trouble in beating the Ro
luck to the geese! Un jour, par ce raisin vermeil O! take care to treat well the fair Des peuples vous serez l'envie ;
guest, Dans son nectar plein des feux du From the blasts of the north to soleil
protect her ; Tous les arts puiseront la vie. Of your hillocks, the sunniest and Quittant nos bords favorisés,
best Mille vaisseaux iront sur l'onde Make them hers, for the sake of Chargés de vins et de fleurs pa
her nectar. voises,
She shall nurse your young Gauls Porter la joie autour du monde.
with her juice ; Give life to the arts' in liba
tions ; While your ships round the globe
shall produce Her goblet of joy for all nations
E'en the foeman shall
taste of our cup. Bacchus ! embellis nos destins ! The exile who flies to our hearth
Un people hospitalier te prie, She shall soothe, all his sorrows Fais qu'un proscrit, assis à nos redressing ; festins,
For the vine is the parent of mirth, Oublie un moment sa patrie.” And to sit in its shade is a blessBrennus alors bennit les Cieux,
ing." Creuse la terre avec sa lance, So the soil Brennus dug with his Plante la vigne et les Gaulois lance, joyeux
'Mid the crowd of Gaul's warDans l'avenir ont vu
riors and sages ; France !"
And our forefathers grim, of gay
And it gladdened the
hearts of the Gauls ! Such is the classical and genial range of thought in which Béranger loves to indulge, amid the unpretending effusions of a professed drinking song; embodying his noble and patriotic aspirations in the simple form of an historical anecdote, or a light and fanciful allegory. He abounds in