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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.) Duke of Bourbon. So! curst untoward vermin! are they dead?
His very corse breeds maggots of despite !
We could not else come near them.
Uncle, lo! The Knight of Heurlée, too, stone dead! Sanxere.
By Heaven, This is the strangest battle I have known!
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 lias 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 Arteveldeof 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. INFINITE 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-takera 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 bint 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' are, in every point of view, a complete forgery—the grossest and most impudent of impostures; for not only are the facts false, and the work spurious, but the very person to whom they are attributed is a phuntom created by the ignorance of the fabricator, who, having very ridiculously mistaken one lady of the family of Créqui for another, builds his whole edifice on this fundamental blunder. This seems incredible, but we think we can put it beyond all doubt. The account the editor gives of his author is as follows:
* Renée Charlotte Victoire de Froulay de Tessé, Marchioness of Crequy, of Heymont, of Canaples, &c., was one of the women of her day the most remarkable for superiority and originality of mind. She died at the age of near an hundred. She had been presented to Louis XIV. in 1713, and had had an audience of the First Consul in the twelfth year of the republic (1804).'-Prospectus.
The date of her birth is not given; but as she was only near an hundred when she died, and as she was presented to the First Consul in September, 1804, she must have been born, at soonest, in 1705, and must therefore have been presented to Louis XIV. when she was eight years old. This little difficulty, however, was discovered between the publication of the Prospectus and that of the work itself; and in the latter she is made to palliate the inconsistency by saying that she is not sure whether she was born in 1699 or in 1700, or in 1701–that she left her convent in Brittany, and came to Paris in the last days of 1713—that she saw Louis twice or thrice between that period and his death in 1715—that she was married during or immediately after the mourning for that prince —and that her interview with Buonaparte was on Septidi de la troisième décade de Vendémiaire, an xi (27th Sept. 1803), so that, instead of being near an hundred, as the Prospectus announced, she was by her own account, at least one hundred and two, or perhaps one hundred and four.
But little interested as we feel in the private history of the Froulay family, we are enabled to remove a considerable portion of the uncertainty under which the lady is represented as labouring as to the
her mother died an hour before she was born—that her father was then at the head of his regiment on the frontiers of Germany—that he was soon after made prisoner by the enemy, and remained so for seventeen months, and never heard of her birth nor of her mother's death till his arrival at Versailles, where his uncle, the Maréchal de Tessé, informed him of these events, and obliged him to put himself into mourning. Now it happens to be known (Mémoires de Tessé,' t. i. p. 182) that the Count de Tessé (he was not Maréchal till 1703) left Versailles on the 4th December, 1700, for
Italy, where he remained for some years in command of the French army, so that it was not later than the 3d December, 1700, that he could have seen at Versailles Madame de Créqui's fatherwho was not, soit dit en passant, his nephew. Deduct the seventeen months of captivity from that date, and we are brought back to July, 1699, as the latest possible day for the birth of our heroine -she was, therefore, thirteen and a half when she left her convent -fourteen or fifteen when she was presented to Louis XIV., and near seventeen at her marriage-all much more credible than the other story; but then 'incidit in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charibdim,' she must have been not near an hundred, but above one hundred and four at her interview with Buonaparte, if it took place An XI.-as she says--and above one hundred and five, if it took place, as the editor originally announced, An XII. Imagine a lady writing her memoirs at one hundred and four! But it may be said that she only added a few notes at this very advanced age, and that the great body of the Memoirs was written some years before. They were written, she says, for the instruction of ber grandson; and the editor tells us that he died long before his grandmother-very well—but if this were so, why, when she was correcting and adding notes to her Memoirs in 1803, did she leave untouched the Dedication to her grandson, who had been long dead; and why, in the very note which records her interview with Buonaparte, does she still talk, as if to her grandson, of the consul's promise to restore to them our forfeited estates ?' for, after this grandson's death, there was no one to whom she could have designated the estates as ours. And why does she, in a passage, which must, as appears from the context, have been written subsequent to 1793, address her grandson as a child-je vous conterai une histoire de voleur, mon petit prince—(vol. ii. p. 65)
- when we see from another passage (vol. i. p. 137) that the petit prince (who never was a prince at all) must have been born prior to 1756 ?
But every page of the work proves, by its style and topics, that it is of very recent composition. This, if it were worth while to enter into such details, we think we could prove, from the idiom and orthography; nay, we are convinced by several political allusions, that it has been wholly written since the revolution of July. But such an examination would be, as our readers will see presently, a perfect waste of time in so flagrant a case as this. We shall content ourselves with two or three instances, which will prove that they are of too recent date to be the production of the imputed author. In many passages of the work, the author quotes and frequently