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the idea, that his reputation was en- hle a sovereign, and enjoyed almost sitirely exempt from criticism, immediately milar honours; for his anti-chamber was changed from the excess of contidence to crowded every morning with strangers, the excess of discouragement, and now who repaired'thither merely to see him, renounced all hopes troin the theatre. In and were enraptured if lie but deigned to consequence of this resolution, he de- open liis mouth. voted more of his time to general litera It was at this court, the first which any ture, which seemed to be, at this period, poet had ever formed around him, that his favourite element.
M. and Madame de la Harpe now arThe academic institutions, so common rived. Voltaire had erected a theatre, at this period in most of the cities of on which his earlier tragedies were actFrance, presented an opportunity for ed, and by its means he also formed a young men to distinguish themselves, and notion of such as he had recently comalso procured for them, if they were so posed. His new guests immediately fortunate as to obtain a prize, consider- formed part of the drumatis persona; and able pecuniary resources. The French as they possessed good figures, and were Academy had introduced the custom of accustomed to declaim, they soon united proposing either the eulogies of great all the suffrages in their favour. ien, or the solution of some great ques It was precisely at this period that the tion, either moral or philosophical
. M. subject of the present memoir began to de la Harpe entered into this career, in conceive hopes of being admitted into the which Thomas bad already distinguished French Acadeiny. His claims consisted himself; and it is allowed by all, that bis of a tragedy, which had become a stockacademic discourses possessed a certain piece at the theatre, together with two degree of dignity, wbich is rarely to be discourses which had been crowned. found in those of his rivals.
D'Alembert, and even Marmontel, conBeing now resolved to marry, he se- sidered his pretensions to be well foundlected a young woman for his wife, whose ed, and did every thing in their power parents had been very poor, but who, to pave the way for his reception; but notwithstanding this, had received an ex- Dorat, then in great vogue at Paris, had cellent education. He was at pains to been offended by some of his criticisms, inspire her with a taste for literature, and and having become his enemy, prevented appeared, above all, solicitous that she his success. should be able to converse with him, re His distress at this period was so great, lative to those objects which occupied his that he had at one time nearly consented attention. This lady, who had frequent- to repair to the Court of St. Petersburgh; ed the Theatre Français, was soon ca but he was prevented by the remonstranpable of declaiming; and by repeating ces of Voltaire, with whom he had now the speeches composed by hier busband, resided for the space of thirteen months. was thus enabled to afford him an idea, During this visit, he had written some as it were, by anticipation, in what man scenes of his tragedy of “ Baremecides," ner they would be received on the stage. and also, “ La Reponse à l'Epitre de But after the misadventure that occurred l’Abbé de Rancé.” to " Gustave," this proved of but little A new epoch in his life now occurred. service, and the young couple were soon On his return to the capital, he betook reduced to great distress.
himself, as before, to criticism, and had On this, Voltaire, with his accustomed the good fortune, as he then deenied it, generosity, interposed, and expressed a to be associated with Lacombe, at that wish that they should remain with bin at period the proprietor and the editor of Ferney, until the complete re-establish the “ Mercure.” On this, that journal ment of their affairs.' The residence of assumed a new appearance; for, by this kind patron was, at this period, the means of his pen and his talents, it soon centre of the correspondence of all the acquired an uncommon degree of circuphilosophers of Europe, while he himselflation and celebrity. was looked up to as their patriarch. Men M. Dupati having, nearly at the same of rank, courtiers, magistrates, and even time, proposed the Elogy of Henry IV. trades-people, imposed on themselves the on the part of the Academy of Rochelle, obligation of performing a pilgrimage to La Harpe became a candidate for the the Pay de Gex, in which lis little domain prize; but he only obtained the accessit. was situate. Accustomed to correspond He was also introduced, by means of and converse familiarly with princes and Voltaire, to the Duc de Choiseul, and even kings, he himself seemed to resem soon acquired the friendship or that inje MONTHLY MAG., No. 159.
nister, who entertained a bigh respect acter of Bossuet. As D'Alembert was for his merit. When the French Premier now in high credit with this body, he was was weary of public affairs, he conversed at length certain that he would be ad. with hin on the subject of literature; mitted a member, and this considerativa and, on all occasions," he expressed his supported and enabled him to continue opinions with a degree of frankness which bis labours. the other had bitbierto been but little ac On the accession of Louis XVI. N. customed to. It was to please him that Turgot, become one of the new ministers, he translated Suetonius into French, took every opportunity of exhibiting a which was begun and compieted in the high degree of regard for the subject of space of two months. We lament to add, this meinoir, who was now busily occuthat it was immediately published, while pied about :hree diferent dramatic works, still in an imperfect state; and as he which were to point at three different obbad, by this time, increased the number jects. In the “ Bareinecides," he ene of his enemies, in consequence of the deavoured to describe heroism and geneLoldness and severity of his criticisms, rosity; in “ Jeanne de Naples," the fathey took care to point out all its faults, tal eifects of the passions; and in " Menand that too with an unexampled degree zikoff,” the disyrace of a powerful miniof bitterness. La Harpe, on the other ster, a disgrace the better calculated 10 band, adınitted all the errors attributed obtain interest avd attention, by being to him, with a degree of frankuess which accompanied with a degree of resignation was but little expected, and this contri- alınost without a parallel in bistry. The buted not a little to obtain his pardon last of these attracted such applause, that with the public.
young Queen became desirous to be In addition to this, he now added present at the representation; and such greatly to his former reputation by means was t'ie effect of this trifling circumstance of a drama, enti:led “ Melanie," re. in a despotic country, that it put the adspecting which Voltaire, D'Alembert, vcrsaries of the author to silence! and most of the celebrated men of that Nearly at the same time, be obtained age, had already raised the curiosity of the long-expected chair of the French the public. The moral of it was wholly Academy, baring succeeded Colardeau. directed against monastic institutions, Froin this inoment his enemies became and vows made at a period when the con more reserved in their attacks, and be tracting party was incapable of judying in his censures. M. Necker also, on his as to the solemnity and extent of the en advancement to a high situation in the gagement. The poet of Ferney wrote management of the finances, evinced the to him as follows on this subject : “ You greatest respect for La Harpe: but it have all the philosophers and the ladies was to Calonne, with whom he had 00 on your side, and, with such a recom manner of connexion, tisat he was iomendation, it is impossible to fail." debted, about this period, for a penge
This prophecy was fully confirmed hy After having distinguished himself by the event; but, in the very zenith of his his criticisins in three different hiterary reputation, be was in danger of being journals, all of which be rendered cele sent to the Bastile, in consequence of brated, M. de la llarpe at length, suter some satirical verses against the Duke de mined to conuinence a " Cours de Litte Richelieu, a nobleman celebrated for his rature” at the Lyceum. In the capacity gallantries and debaucheries of all kinds, of a Professor, he accordingly read i Wilt whose influence at the court of Louis course of lectures to the Parisiaus, buh XV. a prince of a similar temperament, male and female, who were so capuiva.ed was such, as to have shiut up one huil of with his taste and talents, that this the men of letters in Paris, on bure sus amusement not only beca ne fashionale, pirion, lad he been so inclined! Voltaire but he hiinseli obiained the appellation on this, as on every other occasion, in of " The French Quintilian." terpored his ægis, and preserved his When the Revolution occurred, motfriend.
witheading the less of his pension, cur Mieanwhile:lic Ilogy of Fenelon, which author for some time adopted the price obtained the prize at the French Acade- ciples of the reformers. During two mv, conferred new reputation on the la- whole years, he remained firm to che bours of La llarpe, and he pleased the party that then triuaphed: lot be 109 philosophical party, by whom he had sooner imagined that they had veest been enstantly protected, in conse- ped ihe boundaries at which they wat quence of soune siy attacks on the clia- to bave stopped, thou lie wrote açanes
them in the “ Mercure." On this lie was ample recantation, of his former opidenounced, and obliged in some degree nions; but he was twice proscribed, and to retract, and that circumstance after- obliged to tly. During the latter of those wards furnished a pretext for the most persecutions, he obtained an asylum at a odious calumnies on the part of his ene house but a few loagues distant from wies. In 1793, he was at length arrest- Paris, by the interposition of the pious ed, and imprisoned in the Luxembourg. female wlio liad been the incans of proBy this time, a large proportion of those ducing the altcration in his religious opiwith whom he had been intimately con- nions, while imprisoned at the Luxemnected had lost their lives on the scaffold, bourg; and Juring this period of bis lite, and the same fate appeared to be re he composed his celebrated pamphlet, served for himself. La Harpe now be entitled '" Le Canaiistue dans la Langue came inelancholy, and was ready to fall revolutionnaire," which was read with an into despair: on this he, who had hither extraordinary degree of avidity, but, ac to distinguished himself as a man of let- the same time added not a little to the ters, and an academician, without paving fury of his enemies. any attention to the prevailing spimons After this, he entirely occupied his relative to religion, determined to taste time with, “ l'Apologie de la liclyion," of the consolations of Christianity. and perused and studied the Lives of the
A pinus female, with whoin he had Saints, and other boly boobs, for the exgot acquainted during his confinement, press purpose of deriving arguments from is said in bave tirst inspired bim with these sources, against the Philosophers this idea; wid having advised him to and their writings. On this occasion he seek for consulation in the Palinis oi' Da- must be allowed to have possessed olie vid, he was so charmed with them, that advantage, not enjoyed before by any of he immediaiely commenced a literary lis predecessors, as he knew both the commentary, in which he pointed out weak and the strong points of the doce their learlies. This was afterwards con- trine he now combated; and indeed, acveried to a Preliminary Discourse to cording to his own expression, he had the Translation of the Psalios, the tirst spent "nearly the wbole of his life in the work in which lie announccu bis con- enemy's camp." version.
M. de la llarpe had always been inThat event occasioned some noise; dustrious in his literary labours, and his more especially as lie 1..torms his readers aptitude for application appears to have in one of the notes, that he was accus- increased Juring the period of his protomed to obtain comfort in liis aifliciion, scription. The chamber occupied by him hy opening the Psalms, its if by accident, overlooked a garden surrounded with and looking at the first passage which very high walls, where he could walks occurred. In this, he at one particular whenever he was so disposed. During pevod, not only found great consolation, the whole of the morning, he was accuse but he says that he received from it a tomed to write at a table near the wine solution of ali bis dificulties.
dow; and in the afternoon, he took the On being released frons confinement, only recreation hic permitted bimself to De la Harpe entered the world quite a enjoy: this consisted solely in a solitary different man from what he was hetire, walk. being now determined to support that On his return to his apartment, he cause with jutrcpidity, which he had em resined himself to pious exercises, and braced with so much arduur. He ac- concluded the evening by reading works cordingly resolved thenceforward to de- analayous to those he was engaged on. dicate bis literary harangues, which were This uniforin and sedentary life did not originally intended to form ihe taste of in the least tire him; all the activity his auditors, to the detence of religion. of his mind was occupied in thai canse Great labour and much attenijun were to which he had devoted himself; and the required, to give this direction to his continual dangers to which he remained “cours de littérature:" but notwithstand- expused, could not in the lcast alter that ing the multitude of obstacles that inter- inental tranquillity so eininently enjoyed posed, lie in the space of : sery tew years by bim. He was often accustomed, icompleted that vast Circle of Literature, deed, to remark, that the epoch of his in which both ancients and moderns are proscription proved the happiest portion judyed and appreciated.
of his life: his bealth, indeed, seemed to Do his reassuming the chair at the improve, and his friends dattered diemLyceumu, be made a full, public, and selves that his career would still prove
long and brilliant: but they were disap- and was still capable of conversing with pointed!
his friends. His eyes, bowever, could nu No sooner were the apprehensions of longer bear the light, and he was kept M. de la Harpe dissipated, and he had constantly shut up within the curtains of returned to mix with the world, than all his bed. In this position he heard and the flattering appearances of longevity understood every word that was uttered, were immediately dissipated. A number and sometimes he himself would mention of infirmities, to which he had hitherto to his friends the consolations which be been a stranger, now shewed themselves; derived from religion. and he himself began to anticipate the One of them remarks on this occamelancholy catastrophe. Firmly convinced sion," that no affectation of courage wis in his own inind, that he could never bet- observable in his discourse, which was ter repair his former errors, than by a characterized by an humble resignawork calculated to enlighten the incre tion. The philosophers," adds he,“ dulous, he laboured with additional ar deavour to die in a theatrical manner; dour at his Apology for Religion, in which but Christians, on the other hand, are he had embraced a vast and extensive filed with retlexious of a nature superior plan. He was often accustomed to ob to all human vanities." serve, when speaking on this subject, M. de la Harpe resigned his life Fethat he could die without regret, pro- bruary 11, 1803, in the 6th year of vided he were but able to finish this bis age. work.
His will, which was made at the beginLa Harpe had no occasion for ning of his illness, contains a rarely these warnings to prepare himself for of legacies to his relations and the death, for he not only fulfilled all the poor, its well as his best wisbes for the duties of religion with the most minute prosperity of France. On the evening exactitude, but even expiated his former before his demise, he made the following mistakes, by means of a most rigorous declaration, which we shall here trane penance. Several of his surviving friends scribe, without any commentary *
whatso have beheld him at times, when he did ever, leaving it entirely to the reader to not think himself observed, lying with decide relative to the religious opinions his face towards the earth, and exhibit- of this very extraordinary man: ing the most lively signs of a sincere re “ Having yesterday enjoyed the happentance.
piness," says be, “ of receiving the bols His last illness, which exhibited a com communion for the second time, I deein plication of diseases, announced itself in it my duty once more to make the last à manner so as to demonstrate from the declaration of those sentiments which I very first, that the termination would be have publicly manifested during the last fatal. No sooner did he perceive death in- nine years, and in which I still persevere. evitable, than his resignation, amidst the A Christian by the grace of God, and most cruel sufferings, became equally in- professing the catholic apostolical and structive and affecting to those who sur Roman religion, in which I have had the rounded him. His friends were astonished happiness to be born and educated, and that,notwithstanding the impetuosityof his in which it is my concluding wish both characier, he was able to support the to live and to die, I declare, that I firmly agonies of dissolution without a groan, believe in whatsoever is believed and But what still surprised them more, was taught by the Roman church, the only the indifference which he affected for his church founded by Jesus Christ. own works; an indifference which not “ That I condemn with my heart god only extended to his literary, but eren spirit all that she condemns, and that his religious productions. During the approve all that she approves. whole of his illness, he never once men In consequence of which, I retract tioned his “ Apologie de la Religion," to all that I have written and printed, or which he had before attached such im- that has been printed under my name, portance, but contented himself with which may be contrary to the catholic inerely exclaiming, a few days before his faith, or to good morals; hereby disavowdissolution, “ God has not permitted me ing the same, and as much as lies in my to repair the evil I have committed." power condemning und dissuading the
At the approach of death, his agonies publication of them, as well as the reseemed to be somewhat alleviated; he printing, and representation on the theatre also preserved his usual presence of inind, *I also bereby equally retract word
condemn every erroneous proposition and enlightened judge. Whether or not that may hare escaped from me in these he has found out the boundaries of the different writings. I likewise exhort ail true theory of music as here pretended, my countrymen to entertain sentiments still remains to be proved; but it is eviof peace and of concord; I ask pardon dent that he is a complete courtier, for he of all those who think they have a right terins the union of instrumental sounds to complain of me; and I, myself, at the with the human voice, the “ monarchical same time, in like manner, most sincere unity;" and seems to think, that every ly pardon all those of whom I have a thing “ democratical," " aristocratical," right to complain."
directorial,” or “ republican,” is in die The works of M. de la Harpe are vo rect opposition to “harmony.' luminous; an edition of thein was pub “ Pericles: De l'Influence des Beaux lished in 1771; and in 1806 a new one Arts sur la Félicité publique ; nouvelle Eappeared under the title of “ (Euvres dition, revue & corrigée par l'Auteur."Choisies & Posthumes," in 4 vols. cur- Pericles, or the I Muence of the Fine Arts rected with his own hand.
on the public Happiness; a new edition, Vol. I. contains Le Comte de War- revised and corrected. wick, Melanie, Jeanne de Naples, Phi The author of this work is a sovereign locrete, Coriolan & Virginie.
prince, although he is content to deVol. II. bis Moliere "a la nouvelle signate himselt simply in the title-page Salle," with extracts of Gusiave, Timo as “ Charles d'Alberg, a foreign associate leon, Pharamond, Menzicoffc, les Bare of the Institute of France." It consists mecides, Barnevel, les Muses Rivales, of seven dialogues, in which an attempt les Brames, Polynexe, Vengeance d'A- is made, by the adoption of the dramatic chille, Aboulcasem, Jerusalemn Delivrée, form, to give animation to philosophic & la Pharsalie.
truths respecting the fine arts; and these Vol. III. his “ Discours en l'ers,” his are here contemplated rather in respect “Poesies Legeres,” his “ Epitres & Pieces to their utility chan their elegance. By Diverses," and his “ Discours Acade- the elevation of genius, and the inmiques."
citement to virtue, they are, in fine, reVol. IV. consists of “Précis Historique garded as influencing private as well as sur le Prince Menzicoft," and "Fragmens public happiness, in no common degree. d'Apologie de la Religion ;" containing, The first dialogue takes place between
1. Philosophical Prolegomena, or a de- Anaxagoras and Euripides, on leaving the monstration of the essential connexion theatre after the representation of the between Man and God.
tragedy of Helen. This serves as a pre2. The certainty of the mission of Jesus face to the whole; for, after the poet Christ and the Apostles.
had detailed his reasons for writing for 3. Of Miracles.
the stage, the philosopher animadverts on 4. Of Mysteries and the Propbecies. the connexion between the drama, and
And, 5. Imitations in verse, of two architecture, painting, sculpture, and muPsalms.
sic. lle at the same time announces his MISCELLANEOUS.
design to engage Pericles to patronise and “ Cours complet d'Harmonie et de encourage all these arts. Composition, d'après une Théorie non The second dialogue is between Anaxvelle; par J. J. De Momigny. Trois vol. agoras and Pericles, in the square where in 8vo.”—A complete Course of Harmony the latter has just harangued the people. and Composition, after a new Theory; This statesinan, although fully sensible of by J. J. de Momigny.
the einotions which the fine arts confer, M. de Momigny has on this occasion at first resists all the insinuations and all endeavoured to present a series of musical the counsels of the pbilosopher. compositions in every point of view; and “ How is Greece interested,” says he, he now appeals to the judgmeat of those “in respect to the einbellishments of who have occupied their attention with Athens? She desires that the empire of this charming art. Quintilian observes, the laws may preserve her alike from that it would be fortunate if such only despotism and anarchy: this is the only were to decide: “ Felices essent artes si object of all her vows.” de illis soli artifices judicarent."
Anaxagoras, on the other hand, reThe Author is allowed, by some of the marks, that, provided Athens should becritics, to possess a brilliant imagination, come 'a school in which distinguished abounding with novelty; and is at the talents of every kind took up their abode, wame time considered as a competeut great advantages would necessarily accrue