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of truth, in every age and nation. They wish to have tragedy, which shall be neither Greek nor Roman, but French; in short, they desire pictures of nature on the model of Shakspeare, and not of something neither ancient nor modern, a Gallico-Latin medley, to preserve the servility of which, originality and nature must be sacrificed,—they want high-wrought passion and high feeling in simple language. The exclusive character of classic, as an imitation of the ancients, with which the French Academy dignifies such writings, is clearly a misnomer. Those writers alone are the classics of a nation whose works, sanctioned by public approbation, have established a lasting fame. Shakspeare is as much an English classic, in the national sense of the term, as the author of Cato-Burns as Pope. Whether a writer be an imitator of the ancients, or be an original, if the labours of his genius obtain for him lasting celebrity, he is a classic of his country: But the French Academy, adopting the style of literature of countries in which the manners and language were different from their own, in place of fostering a literature adapted to the language and feeling of the people, claim to be exclusively classic, while a national literature must be the expression of society.
Great things arise from small beginnings. He must be blind indeed, who does not perceive, in the present dispute, the dawn of a new era of literature in France. The writers who have come forth in battle order against the Academy (or Sorbonne, as it is now dubbed) are men of zeal and genius ; they have the public on their side, and the Government and Academy against them,-this alone helps their cause. The ministry is an object of dislike, and its measures are regarded with just suspicion by the people. The public taste on literary subjects might have been influenced before the revolution, but that time is gone by. Literature is no longer the tool of the government, but belongs to the nation. The present contest will be decided in the theatres; the structure of the drama will be changed, and the innovations first introduced will make the impression irresistible.
MM. Stendhal (Beyle), Soumet, Ancelot, Nodier, &c. &c. have openly appeared as advocates of a free national literature, or on the side of the “ Romantics :" they possess talent sufficient to keep the subject alive, and promote the abrogation of the decrees that have enchained French literature, if not by the peculiar excellence of their writings, yet by their novelty, and the interest they excite in the public mind. They are aided by translations from the English and German writers of the “Romantic school ;” and other writers will, no doubt, appear in France, who, giving the rein to imagination, and finding themselves free from their former bondage, will give their country a new and more exalted literature than it has ever yet known.
Horace Walpole says of Lord Chatham, that he not only wished to see his country free, but also other nations,-a desire in which he probably stood alone among the statesmen of his country. Let us cherish a similar spirit in regard to French literature : let us rejoice to see it emancipated from the shackles of tyrants and courtiers, and follow the line of truth and nature. In its renovated state it may furnish an object of rivalry to our men of genius, instead of chilling them
with its affectation, fatiguing them with its monotony,
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.
“ Hâc in re scilicet una Multum dissimiles."-Hor.
In a visit which we paid some time ago to our wor. thy contributor, Morris Gowan, we became acquainted with two characters ; upon whom, as they afford a perfect counterpart to Messrs.“ Rhyme and Reason,” recorded in No. I., we have bestowed the names of Sense and Sensibility.
The Misses Lowrie, of whom we are about to give our readers an account, are both young, both handsome, both amiable: nature made the outline of their characters the same; but education has varied the colouring, Their mother died almost before they were able to profit by her example or instruction. Emily, the eldest of the sisters, was brought up under the immediate care of her father. He was a man of strong and temperate judgment, obliging to his neighbours, and affectionate to his children; but certainly rather calculated to educate a son than a daughter. Emily profited abundantly by his assistance, as far as moral duties, or literary accomplishments, were concerned; but for all the lesser agrémens of society, she had nothing to depend upon but the suggestions of a kind heart, and a quiet temper. Matilda, on the contrary, spent her childhood in England, at the house of a relation ; who, having imbibed her notions of propriety at a fashionable boarding-school, and made a lovematch very early in life, was but ill prepared to regulate a warm disposition, and check a natural tendency to romance. The consequence has been such as might have been expected. Matilda pities the distressed, and Emily relieves them: Matilda has more of the love of the neighbourhood, although Emily is more entitled to its gratitude; Matilda is very agreeable, while Emily is very useful ; and two or three old ladies, who talk scandal over their tea, and murder grammar and reputations together, consider Matilda a practised heroine, and laugh at Emily as an inveterate blue.
The incident which first introduced us to them, afforded us a tolerable specimen of their different qualities. While on a long pedestrian excursion with Morris, we met the two ladies returning from their walk; and, as our companion had already the privileges of an intimate acquaintance, we became their companions. An accurate observer of human manners, knows well how decisively character is marked by trifles, and how wide is the distinction which is frequently made by circumstances apparently the most insignificant. In spite, therefore, of the similarity of age
person which existed between the two sisters, the first glance at their dress and manner, the first tones of their voice, were sufficient to distinguish the one from theother. It was whimsical enough to observe how every object which attracted our attention, exhibited their respective peculiarities in a new and entertaining light. Sense entered into a learned discussion on the nature of a plant, while Sensibility talked enchantingly of the fading of its flower. From Matilda we had a rapturous eulogium upon the surrounding scenery ; from Emily we derived much information relative to the state of its cultivation. When we listened to the one, we seemed to be reading a novel, but a clever and an interesting novel; when we turned to the other, we found only real life, but real life in its most pleasant and engaging form.
Suddenly one of those rapid storms, which so frequently disturb for a time the tranquillity of the finest weather, appeared to be gathering over our heads. Dark clouds were driven impetuously over the clear sky, and the refreshing coolness of the atmosphere was changed to a close and overpowering heat. Matilda looked up in admiration, Emily in alarm: Sensibility was thinking of a landscape, Sense of a wet pelisse. “This would make a fine sketch,” said the first; “ We had better make haste," said the second. The tempest continued to grow gloomier above us: we passed a ruined hut, which had been long deserted by its inhabitants. “ Suppose we take refuge here for the evening,” said Morris ; “ It would be very romantic,” said Sensibility; “ It would be very disagreeable, ” said Sense: “ How it would astonish my father!” said the Heroine; “ How it would alarm him!” said her