Page images

which present a handled appearance. Affix a label to each plate, indicating its contents, and you will find that this arrangement will give the guests an opportunity of taking refreshments without being obliged to seat themselves at a table, from whence the ladies cannot rise without disordering their dresses, which to them is malter of far greater moment than the best supper in the world.'Than the best supper, certainly, but not than the best flirtation, for which a supper of the old school affords the prettiest opportunities, it being always understood that the sexes are to be intermingled as at a dinner party, and that it is a gross breach of the convenances for any lady—old or young, by word or look-to ask a gentleman for his place, when it is obvious that by surrendering it he will sacrifice the happiness of his voisine. But we beg M. Ude's pardon for this interruption. He proceeds :

* I have known balls where, the next day, in spite of the pillage of a pack of footmen, which was enormous, I have really seen twenty or thirty hams, one hundred and fifty or two hundred carved fowls, and forty or fifty tongues given away, jellies melted on all the tables, pastry, patés, aspics, and lobster salads—all these heaped up in the kitchen, and strewed about the passages, completely disfigured by the manner in which it was necessary to take them from the dishes in which they had been served! And this extravagance had been of use to no human being! for even the servants would not consider it a legitimate repast were they obliged to dine on the remains of a former day's bauquet! This class of persons assimilate no little to cats, enjoying what they can pilfer, but very difficult to please in what is given to them.'— Ude, p. 433.

Receipts are ill adapted for quotation, and we shall therefore merely call attention to one contained in the body of the work, and involving no less a subject than the skinning of eels :

• Take one or two live eels; throw them into the fire; as they are twisting about on all sides, lay hold of them with a towel in your hand, and skin them from head to tail. This method is the best, as it is the only method of drawing out all the oil, which is unpalatable and indigestible. Cut the eel in pieces without ripping the belly, then run your knife into the hollow part, and turn it round to take out the inside.

• Several reviewers (he adds in a note to this edition) have accused me of cruelty because I recommend in this work that eels should be burnt alive. As my knowledge in cookery is entirely devoted to the gratification of taste and the preservation of health, I consider it my duty to attend to what is essential to both. The blue skin and oil which remain, when the eels are skinned, render them highly indigestible. If any of these reviewers would make trial of both methods, they would find that the burnt eels are much healthier ; but it is, after all, left to their choice whether to burn or skin.'-Ude, p. 242. The argumentum ad gulam is here very happily applied, but

M. Ude

M. Ude might have taken higher ground, and urged not merely that the eel was used to skinning, * but gloried in it. It was only necessary for him to endow the eel with the same noble endurance that has been attributed to the goose. "To obtain these livers (the foies gras of Strasbourg) of the size required, it is necessary,' says a writer in the Almanach, 'to sacritice the person of the animal. Crammed with food, deprived of drink, and fixed near a great fire, before which it is nailed by its feet upon a plank, this goose passes, it must be owned, an uncomfortable life. The torment would indeed be altogether intolerable if the idea of the lot which awaits him did not serve as a consolation. But this perspective makes hiin endure his sufferings with courage; and when he reflects that his liver, bigger than himself, larded with truffles, and clothed in a scientific paté, will, through the instrumentality of M. Corcellet, diffuse all over Europe the glory of his name, he resigns himself to his destiny, and suffers not a tear to flow.'

Should it, notwithstanding, be thought that the conduct of M. Ude or M. Corcellet, as regards eels or geese, is indefensible, we may still say of them as Berchoux says of Nero,

• Je sais qu'il fut cruel, assassin, suborneur,

Mais de son estomac je distingue son coeur.' M. Ude has committed a few errors in judgment, however, which we defy his greatest admirers (and we profess ourselves to be of the number) to palliate. He has recommended purée aux truffes, the inherent impropriety of which has been already demonstrated ; and he has intrusted the task of translating (perhaps of editing) his book to some person or persons equally ignorant of the French language and of the culinary art. T'he following instances are extracted from bis Vocabulary of terms :

* Entremets—is the second course which comes between the roast meat and the dessert.

Sautez—is to mix or unite all the parts of a ragout by shaking it about.

Piqué-is to lard with a needle game, fowls, and all sorts of meat.

'Farce. This word is used in speaking of chopped meat, fish, or herbs, with which poultry and other things are stuffed before they are cooked.'

This word, M. Ude may depend upon it, will be applied to something else, if he suffers such glaring ignorance to remain much longer blot


his book. Neither do we at all like the mode of translating the names of dishes, which are really untranslate

* One of the most important services rendered by Mr. Benthain and his disciples to the world is a formal refutation of the common fallacy as to eels. No eel is used to be skinned successively by several persons; but one and the same person is used successively to skin several eels.' So says the sage in the last of his works, the pamphlet entitled Boa Constrictor, which he wrote to strangle Lord Brougham.


able; as Boudin à la Bourgeoise, Pudding Citizen's Wife's way; Matelotte à la Marinière, Sea-Wife's Matelot; à la Maitre d'Hótel, with Steward's Sauce, &c. In the Index also we found

Soup, au Lait d'Amant (the Lover's Soup).' Being somewhat puzzled to know what this could be, we turned to the recipe, (p. 55,) which is headed' Potage au Lait d'Almond-(the Lover's Soup).' Whether it stood Amant or Almond seems to have been a matter of indifference to the translator ; but he was resolved at all events that the soup should be dedicated to love. *

Art. VII.-1. Souvenirs, Impressions, Pensées et Paysages pen

dant un Voyage en Orient, 1832, 1833. Par M. Alphonse de

Lamartine. 4 vols. Paris. 1835. 2. A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, 8c. By Alphonse de La

inartine. 3 vols. London. 1835. IN our last Number we introduced an historian as a traveller in

the Holy Land and in other parts of the East :-we have now to pass over some of the same scenes as described by a poet. M. de Lamartine has obtained a high name in the modern French school of poetry. That school, like all revolutionists in taste, as in other matters, in attempting to burst through the rigid conventional forms established by the older Parisian critics, has, in many instances, rushed away into the wildest excess and extravagance—the breaking up of the ice has thrown the waters into the strangest eddies and maddest whirlpools. Yet it was long ago suspected, that if the French language could ever come to be animated to a high tone of poetry, it must have been previously set free by some such violent convulsion ;' that it could never flow in a high, full, and regular tide till its thraldom had been burst by some strong effort of nature, which for a time must, as at present, lash it into a condition of fierce and ungovernable fury. Even their drama, we would fain hope, will at length work itself clear, and retaining the strength and fulness, work off the pollutions of its present turbid course. The taste of Paris cannot, we trust, be completely and permanently vitiated down to its present state of raving for unnatural excitement. Victor Hugo and his followers may be but the Marlows of a higher race of dramatists ;-the Lucrece Borgia and the Marie Tudor' the Titus Andronicus' or the · Lust's Dominion,' of a stage-hereafter to produce works, we will not quite venture to say

• To rival all but Shakspeare's here below.' Since this article was written, we have been informed that a General History of Cookery, in ten portly volumes, 8vo., has just appeared at Leipsig; but we regret that we have not as yet been able to procure a copy.


To adduce a more modern illustration, they may be the representatives of that diablerie and overstrained passion which preceded the dawn of Schiller on the German stage, and which Schiller's earlier dramas eclipsed and ennobled. But from all these frenzies of the existing French dramatists, the poetry of M. de Lamartine has constantly kept at a sacred, a religious distance ; even where it has not raised the poet to a high place in our admiration, and we are far from insensible to its real beauties, it has always done honour to the man. Indeed, in reading the poetry of M. de Lamartine, and of most of his contemporaries, who have attempted to force the artificial French verse to the expression of more varied, picturesque, and natural imagery, of profounder and more impassioned sentiment, we have been constantly thrown back on the old but unexhausted question, whether the French language is indeed capable of poetry in its highest sense—whether it could have a Dante, a Milton, or a Shakspeare, or even a Byron or a Wordsworth ? M. de Lamartine acknowledges the trammels in which he is compelled to move :- Ah! si l'on avait une langue ! mais il n'y a pas de langue, surtout pour nous Français ; non, il n'y a pas de langue pour la philosophie, l'amour, la religion, la poësie ; les mathématiques sont la langue de ce peuple ; ses mots sont secs, précis, décolorés comme des chiffres-Allons dormir.'

Yet inadequate as the French language is, and as he feels it to be, to express the sublimest and most varied poetic emotions, it is the native tongue of M. de Lamartine, and we cannot but think that great injustice has been done to bis present work by the pub. lication of an English translation before the arrival of the original in this country. It is altogether a curious specimen of the European book-trade; and however flattering to the author as a testimony to his popularity, is not likely to be of advantage at least to the first impression which may be made by his work among English readers. The translation is ready to be published here simultaneously, if not rather before the French text in Paris; in the mean time, the activity of the Brusselles pirates is at work, and the first volume of the original reached us in a spurious edition from that quarter, before the Paris copy had made its appearance. The English translation, on the whole, considering the baste in which it has no doubt been made, is creditably executed. Many pages are rendered with spirit and fidelity. We might indeed point out some passages in which French words and idioms still linger and perplex the English style ; the translator, having been anxious to elude some difficulty in finding an equivalent expression, has left the turn of the sentence, and even the very words, in the original French. The part in which the language approaches nearest to poetry, as might be expected, is that in which the translator usually fails—sometimes in the descriptions of scenery, more often in the expression of the author's feelings and religious senti. ments; in the more prosaic, the narrative, and argumentative parts, the version flows in a much more natural and equable current. We regret to say, that we cannot extend this praise to the translation of the French verses scattered through the book. Whether from baste or carelessness (we cannot suppose, in an accomplished young lady, an imperfect knowledge of French), it must be acknowledged, that almost all the grace, the delicacy, the felicity of expression, which characterise M. de Lamartine's poetry, have evaporated in the translation; which is sometimes hard and literal -in general vague, loose, and unfaithful; sometimes, by rigidly adhering to the text, it stiffens into nonsense-sometimes it wanders away into words with little meaning, certainly not the meaning of the original. This is the more unfortunate, since the fair translatress has not in most cases trammelled herself with the difficul. ties of rhyme ; her translations are in general neither lyric stanzas nor blank verse—they are rhyming verses in their construction without the rhyme at the end. The editor, indeed, appears to have had some misgiving as to the success with which the poetical translation has been executed; he has subjoined, in justice to M. de Lamartine, the original French. The following pleasing stanzas would scarcely be recognized in the Euglish version.


Non, je laisse en pleurant, aur flancs d'une vallée,
Des arbres chargées d'ombre, un champ, une muison,
De tièdes souvenirs encor toute peuplée
Que maint regard ami salue à l'horizon.
J'ai sous l'abri des bois des paisibles asiles
ne retentit pas le bruit des factions,
je n'entends, au lieu des tempêtes civiles,

Que joie et bénédictions !
Un vieux père, entouré de nos douces images,
Y tressaille au bruit sourd du vent dans les créneaur,
Et prie, en se levant, le maître des orages
De mesurer la brise à l'aile des vaisseaux ;
Des pieux laboureurs, des serviteurs sans maître,
Cherchent du pied nos pas

absens sur le gazon,
Et mes chiens au soleil, couchés sous ma fenêtre,

Hurlent de tendresse à mon nom.'-
No! I leave, weeping in a valley's depths,
Trees heavy with green shadow, fields, a home
Yet warm with memory-peopled with the past,
That many a friendly eye looks round to bless.
I have a shelter deep in quiet woods,
Where party clamour is a sound unknown;
I only hear, instead of social strife,
The voice of joy and blessing.

• An

« PreviousContinue »