His temperament is as modern as that of Verlaine. He is the realization of the type foreshadowed, with certain gross limitations, by Rousseau in the Confessions, Emile, and La Nouvelle Héloïse,--the type of the lonely, self-analytical soul that sees all the world through the darkened glass of its own moods. He is so intensely individual that the only characters in his fictions which really live are faithful reflections of his own personality; the rest are the shadows of shades. Though he has left hardly any verse, he had in a supreme degree the sensitive imagination of the poet; any one who has studied his work carefully will be astonished, when he reads modern French poetry, to find so great a part of it apparently consisting of Chateaubriand rendered in verse. He is the pioneer of the Romantic movement; his deep sense of man's unity with nature is echoed in Lamartine's Le Lac, as clearly as his wonderful descriptive power is reflected in Leconte de Lisle's Sommeil du Condor, in Les Éléphants, and in a hundred other `pictorial' poems. In Vigny and Musset we find something of his haunting sense of the lacrymae rerum, and in the latter, at any rate, the same luxury of regret; and his idea of the epic of Christianity and his historical method are distinctly traceable in Hugo's Légende des Siècles. He is the genius, as we said, of the revolt against the classical tradition, which had dwindled at the beginning of the nineteenth century to a mere lifeless mimicry of forms that were themselves essentially derivative. He represents, too, the revolt against pagan mythology; he is weary, as he says somewhere, of a nature that is peopled with a crowd of undignified gods, and he extols the finer conception of a single soul pervading all natural things. His point of view is distinctly aesthetic; it is the imaginative beauty of Christianity that appeals to him,--another modern characteristic. Above all, he has the sense of composition, of literary structure;--a sense, which France, of all countries, is the least likely to lose, but one which had grown very feeble at the end of the eighteenth century. He was a consummate artist. He, and not Chénier, whose works he read some time before their publication in 1822, is the protagonist of modern French poetry.

Another and earlier writer of prose shares with Chateaubriand the honour of being a founder of the Romantic tradition. In La Littérature considérée dans ses rapports avec les Institutions Sociales Madame de Staël had expounded her theory of the distinction between the Northern and Southern literary temperaments, and in a subsequent work, De l'Allemagne, she developed this theory further, insisting on the importance of the Northern literature, and revealing to France two elements from which her poetry had long been estranged, the grotesque and the macabre. It is after the publication of these books that the influence of other European literatures, which we find in Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, begins to assume an extreme importance. Shakespeare becomes more than a mere name; Byron and Walter Scott are regarded as the high priests of sentiment and local colour, and the cult of the `Gothic Age', that phantasmagoria of wicked barons and snow-pale princesses, of grim donjons and sinister forests where all the devils lurk, becomes a fever:--

Voilà que de partout, des eaux, des monts, des bois,
Les larves, les dragons, les vampires, les gnomes,
Des monstres dont l'enfer rêve seul les fantômes,
La sorcière, échappée aux sépulcres déserts,
Volant sur le bouleau qui siffle dans les airs,
Les nécromants, parés de tiares mystiques
Où brillent flamboyants des mots cabalistiques,
Et les graves démons, et les lutins rusés,
Tous par les toits rompus, par les portails brisés,
Par les vitraux détruits que mille éclairs sillonnent,
Entrent dans le vieux cloître où leurs flots tourbillonnent.

But all this fustian of ogres and broomsticks was only the first wild exuberance of the romantic spirit, the excessive delight of a poetry that found itself free at last from the galling chain of rule and convention. A great part of it was polemical: when Gautier writes Albertus, `he only does it to annoy' the prim personages who still try to floor the youth of 1830 with the classical cudgel; and the careless insolence of some of Musset's early poems has the same end in view. The true value of the Romantic movement lies, not in its couleur locale, its Gothic pinnacles and Spanish balconies, but in its ultimate return to genuine personal expression instead of rhetoric, in the new richness and lyrical quality of its language, and the new variety of its poetical forms.

For the first twenty years of the century the little bad poets of the Empire--Millevoye, Chênedollé, and the rest--continued to perpetrate their amiable nothings, until, in 1820, the appearance of Lamartine's Méditations inaugurated the great period of French lyrical verse. The book was welcomed with intense enthusiasm; here at last, it seemed, was the poet of the new France, the singer whose voice was exquisite with all the

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