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broken his heart, and though she, in some degree, succeeds in dispelling his suspicions, he soon after expires.
The grief of the princess is inexpressible. Meanwhile the duke of Nemours in many ways testifies the most timid, and respectful, and violent love. An interview and admirable conversation take place, in which the princess, after confessing her attachment, persists in the resolution of remaining unmarried ; in the first place, because she must always consider the duke as in some degree the destroyer of her husband; and, secondly, because his love was so essential to her happiness, that she feared lest by marriage she might put an end to it, and, finally, be tormented by his jealousy or coldness. She retires from court to her estates near the Pyrenees, where she falls into a long sickness. On her recovery she persists in the resolution of never again seeing the duke, or of hearing from him, and spends her time in exercises of devotion and charity.-"Elle passoit une partie de l'année dans cette maison Religieuse, et l'autre chez elle; mais dans une retraite et dans des occupations plus saintes que celles des Convents les plus austeres, et sa vie, qui fut assez courte, laissa des exemples de vertu inimitables."
It will not perhaps, be possible to find in any other production a more exact delineation of love than in the romance of which this is the outline. The circumstance of a married woman being the object of it, would render the work exceptionable, were not this, in some degree, necessary to the nature and plan of the composition, and in order to show the triumph of reason and virtue over passion. The purity of heart and dignified conduct of the princess of Cleves are admirably delineated, and form a striking contrast to the gallantry and laxity in manners of those by whom she is surrounded. Had the author of this work lived at a different period, probably no exceptionable sentiment would have been admitted, but in the age of Lewis XIV., that monarch was considered as a model of perfection, and the faults and vices of his character were rendered fashionable. Some examples of this mode of thinking are exhibited in this work, and in particular a royal mistress seems to be regarded as a respectable and dignified character. For instance, the proud and virtuous Madame de Chartres speaks to her daughter in the following manner of the passion of Henry II, for the duchess of Valentinois :-“ Il est vray que ce n'est ni le merite, ni la fidelité, de Madame de Valentinois, qui a fait naitre la passion du Roy, ni qui l'a conservée, et c'est aussi en quoy il n'est pas excusable ; car si cette femme avoit eü de a jeunesse et de la beauté jointe à sa naissance ; qu'elle eust eu le merite de n’ avoir jamais rien aimé ; qu'elle eust aimé le Roy avec une fidelité exacte ; qu'elle l'eust aimé par raport à sa seule personne, sans interest de grandeur, ni de fortune, et sans se servir de son pouvoir que pour des choses honnestes ou agreables au Roy meme; il faut avouer qu'on auroit eü de la peine a s' empescher de louer ce Prince du grand attachement qu'il a pour elle.” Notwithstanding this laxity with regard to royal gallantry, and which must have had its effect in private life, there is in the whole composition, in the sentiments and language of this romance, a certain chivalrous grandeur, joined to a certain delicacy of feeling and sentiment, which is extremely interesting. The historical details are usually correct, and the episodes are introduced with great art, and never disturb the effect of the main story. In short, this admirable work has all the dignity of the old romance, without its prolixity or ridiculous inflation, and unites all the delicacy and minuteness of delineation of the modern novel to a certain feudal stateliness and majesty,
such as, in a higher path of literature, appears in the works of Bossuet and Corneille.
Madame La Fayette is also author of Zayde, a novel of considerable beauty and interest, and of a description resembling the Princess of Cleves, though, unfortunately, partaking somewhat more of the old school of fiction in its incidents and characters.
Gonsalvo, a Spanish grandee, disgusted with the treatment he had received at the court of Leon, the ingratitude of his prince, the treachery of a friend, and the infidelity of a mistress, retires into the wilds of Catalonia. He is accidentally received in the house of Alphonso, a grandee of Navarre, who was in retirement, on account of the misery he had occasioned himself, and those he most tenderly loved, by an extravagant and groundless jealousy. A community of wretchedness cements the friendship of Gonsalvo and Alphonso. They resolve to be unhappy together, and this residence gives the author an opportunity of contrasting the effects and force of the misery which results from the conduct of others, with that which is the consequence of our own.
One day, during his stay with Alphonso, Gonsalvo, while walking near the shore, perceives the wreck of a vessel, and at no great distance a woman lying insensible on the sand. She is conducted to the habitation of Alphonso, and soon after recovers. Between Gonsalvo and this lady, who proves to be Zayde, a Moorish princess, and the heroine of the romance, a mutual passion arises. Residing on a desert shore, and ignorant of each other's language, their situation gives an opportunity for a singular painting of the emotions and intelligence of passion, which is infinitely more interesting than the subsequent adventures of the romance.
The story of Zayde is somewhat inferior to that of the princess of Cleves, but these two works united may justly be regarded as forming a new æra in fiction, and as effecting the most fortunate revolution we have witnessed in the course of our survey. The novels of Mad. La Fayette were, according to the expression of Voltaire, “ Les premiers ou l'on vit les moeurs des honnetes gens et des aventures naturelles decrites avec grace. Avant elle on ecrivoit d'un style empoulé des choses peu vraisemblables.” Accordingly, we shall find that henceforth the old romance was com. pletely exploded. Writers of fictitious narratives were now precluded from the machinery of the chivalrous, and the expedients of the heroic romance. They could no longer employ giants or