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less dangerous than the serious. It remains faithful to the rules of its art, in avoiding the tone of tragedy, although it approaches it very near; and, at the same time, it is more moral. It is upon this point that we insist, and, for that purpose, we will take the liberty of making a supposition. We will suppose that, in our days, an author has to treat of the situation which Moliere has invented in The Miser. A father wishes to marry a young girl, who is also loved by his son; he suspects the love of his son, and, by some contrivance, he obtains his son's confession; and, when he has made this confession, he orders him to renounce his love. The situation is piquant and dramatic; it may become terrible. The modern author would not fail, in such a subject, to aim at creating serious emotions; he would not fail to declaim loudly against paternal tyranny: "Paternal authority!" the Cleanthe of the modern drama would exclaim, "but do you believe, then, that it must extinguish the rights of love and nature? Ah! my father, I beg you, do not compel me to disobey you: I will do it!" To which, we imagine, that the father would reply by a romantic and sentimental tirade, not wishing, perhaps, to pride himself too much upon his paternal authority, which would be in bad taste, according to our ideas: "Ah! why should I not love this young girl? Does the heart grow old? My soul becomes young when my eyes behold her," &c.

Cleanthe (walking with long strides across the stage). My father! My father!... Take care, I still repeat these sacred words; but I begin no longer to understand the sense of them!

Father. And me! What signifies this name of son? Son! Son! What does that mean? Ah! a rival rather! That is the word which I understand and hate.

Son. Ah, well then, rival! I am your rival, and wish to be! I take this young girl for my wife, while you are present, my father; do you understand? Oh, it shall not be said that my father has not been present at my marriage!

Father. Wretch! I curse you!

Son (gravely). You have no right to do it. To curse! Is that the duty of a father? You are my rival. To curse! Is that the duty of a priest; but where are the signs of priesthood, the passions conquered and anger subdued? You are neither father nor priest. (With solemnity) I do not accept your malediction!

This, in the style of the modern drama, is the interpretation of the phrase: "I care nothing about your gifts."

Which of these two expressions is the most corrupting? Which is the one that brings most into dispute the mystery of the paternal authority? The serious of the drama is so much the more dangerous, as it corrupts the understanding, by sophistry, and the heart by emotion. Comedy jokes, the drama reasons; comedy touches casually the delicate idea of the limits of paternal power, and the rights, always specious, of love. The drama stops with the design: it loves to develope this point, which touches all the passions, for all love revolt. Let us not say, then, with J. J. Rousseau, that the comedy of Moliere is a school of depravity. It is bad comedy and the drama which deform the heart, because they pretend to preach and to instruct; because they enervate the soul by sentimentality, and corrupt the mind by sophistry. Good comedy amuses at the expense of the vices which it places in opposition to each other; but it does not recommend or extol any of them.




WE have considered the different expressions of paternal love, and have seen how this sentiment has by degrees become less pure and elevated, under the pretext of becoming more tender and passionate. We have seen how paternal tenderness in the dramas of the eighteenth century, has taken the tone of sensibility, and commenced to become materialized, until in our days it has degenerated into a kind of instinct in the Triboulet of Victor Hugo, and into a sort of monomania in the Father Goriot of De Balzac.

We propose to make similar reflections upon maternal love. We wish to show this sentiment, represented first with all the purity, and all the energy which belong to it, then by degrees becoming exaggerated in such a manner as to be no more than a blind and violent affection, which seems to have lost that delicacy of emotion, which is peculiar to maternal tenderness.

We will take for the first subject of the remarks which we propose to make, the character of Andromache; because the character of Andromache, painted by the three great masters of the art, Homer, Euripides, and Racine, enables us to see how maternal love changes its expression, according to times, without changing its basis.

One of the charms of the antique literature, is what we may with propriety denominate, the stability of their characters. Their characters are consecrated by tradition, and it is not lawful to alter them. Phædra, Clytemnestra, Hecuba, Medea, Penelope, Andromache, are the invariable models which their poets reproduce with fidelity; the most they can do is to make one of the features of these traditional

countenances stand out in bolder relief than another. This is all the difference. We might almost say, if we did not fear to make too profane an approximation, that they are in this respect heroic personages of the antique poetry, like the divine and sacred personages in modern painting. The countenances of the Saviour, of the Virgin, of St. John the Baptist, and the chief Apostles, are countenances consecrated by tradition, and which the painters are careful about altering. Each one only gives them an expression, and a particular countenance: it is in this that consists the originality of the painter. For our part, we are persuaded that the respect for the consecrated models, far from restraining the antique poets and painters of modern times, has aided their genius; for their imagination, restrained by this fundamental law of the art, is applied entirely to the expression of the characters and countenances. They aimed at the beautiful rather than the


In Homer, Andromache is the model of conjugal and maternal love; she is the wife and mother, such as antiquity conceived it; modest, reserved, faithful to the domestic roof and to the labors of her sex, loving her husband with an admirable mixture of ardor and respect, and her son with a profound and sweet tenderness, mingled, in Adromache, with sad and gloomy presentiments, which were unfortunately too soon fulfilled. See this beautiful scene of the parting, when Hector is about to go to combat the Greeks. It is not yet his last and fatal combat with Achilles; but what grief already, and what tenderness, in the adieus of Andromache!

"Hector was about to leave the gates of Scea, when Andromache advanced to meet him; behind her walked a slave, who carried in her arms his son Astyanax. On seeing his son, Hector calmly smiled, but said nothing. Andromache then took his hand, and said weeping: 'Hector, your rashness will be your destruction, and you do not take pity upon your son, who is in the cradle, and upon me, who will soon become your disconsolate widow; for the Greeks will kill you by all uniting against you.Alas! when I will have lost you, it wlll be better that I should die myself. I have no other joy and consolation but you, and if you at last meet your fate, I will have nothing but sorrow to expect, after you are gone. I have, as you

know, neither father nor mother. Achilles has killed my father, and ruined my country; I had seven brothers, who were the pride of my father's house, all of whom perished on the same day, and always under the strokes of Achilles; my mother, also, has in her turn fallen by the arrows of Diana. Hector, you are my father, my mother, my brothers; you are my husband, and the companion of my bed. I beg you, take pity upon me; do not make your son an orphan, and your wife a widow ! Assemble the army near this wild figtree; for it is at that point that the city is accessible, and the wall can be scaled; it is there you must remain to defend Troy; for three times already have the most valiant of the Greeks made an effort on this side, the two Ajax, the brave Idomeneus, the two sons of Atreus, and the valiant sons of Tydides, either because a deity had directed them to this spot, or that their courage and their skill impelled them there.' Hector replied: Yes, I will take care to defend the city on this side; but do not try to retain me. What would the Trojans, and even the long-robed matrons of Troy, say, if they were to see me basely withdraw from the combat? My heart has not the desire of flight, for I have always braved the perils, and combatted among the first of the Trojans, to defend the glory of my father, and my own. My soul well knows that there will come a day, when will perish the sacred city of Troy and Priam, and the people of Priam. But believe me, I pity the fate of the Trojans, of Hecuba, of Priam, and of my brothers, so numerous and so brave-all of whom will be levelled with the dust, under the strokes of the enemy. It is upon you, especially, Andromache, that I take pity, when I think that some warrior of Argos will seize you weeping and trembling, and lead you captive into his country, and that you will be compelled to weave cloth under the orders of a mistress, or go to bring water from the public fountains, suffering and indignant, but forced to yield to the hard necessity; and then seeing you pass all in tears, they will say, 'There is the wife of Hector, who knew so well how to fight among the Trojans, when the Greeks besieged Troy.' It is thus they will say as you pass by, and it will be to you a new chagrin, when you think of the husband you will have lost, and who could have kept far from you the day of servitude. Ah! may I be dead, and the earth heaped over me, before I hear your groans and see your servitude.""

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