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nary transaction which M. Grimm has recorded with regard to the final publication of the celebrated Encyclopedie. The redaction of this great work, it is known, was ultimately confided to Diderot ; who thought it best, after the disturbances that had been excited by the separate publication of some of the earlier volumes, to keep up the whole of the last ten till the printing was finished ; and then to put forth the complete work at once. A bookseller of the name of Breton, who was a joint proprietor of the work, had the charge of the mechanical part of the concern; but, being wholly illiterate, and indeed without pretensions to literature, had of course no concern with the correction, or even the perusal of the text. This person, however, who had heard of the clamours and threatened prosecutions which were excited by the freedom of some articles in the earlier volumes, took it into his head, that the value and security of the property might be improved, by a prudent castigation of the remaining parts ; and accordingly, after receiving from Diderot the last proofs and revises of the different articles, took them home, and, with the assistance of another tradesman, scored out, altered and suppressed, at their own discretion, all the passages which they, in their wisdom, apprehended might give offence to the court, or the church, or any other persons in authority-giving themselves, for the most part, no sort of trouble to connect the disjointed passages that were left after these mutilations-and sometimes soldering them together with masses of their own stupid vulgarity. After these precious ameliorations were completed, they threw off the full impression; and, to make all sure and irremediable, consigned both the manuscript and the original proofs to the flames ! Such, says M. Grimm, is the true explanation of that mass of impertinences, contradictions and incoherences, with which all the world has been struck, in the last ten volumes of this great compilation. It was not discovered till the very eve of the publicaticn; when Diderot having a desire to look back to one of his own articles, printed some years before, with difficulty obtained a copy of the sheets containing it from the varehouse of M. Breton--and found, to his horror and consternation, that it had been garbled and mutilated, in the manner we have just stated. His rage and vexation on the discovery, are well expressed in a long letter to Breton, which M. Grimm has engrossed in his register. The mischief however was irremediable, without an intolerable delay and expense; and as it was impossible for the Editor to take any steps to bring Breton to punishment for this “ horrible forfait,' without openly avowing the intended publication of a work which the court only tolerat.
ed by affecting ignorance of its existence, it was at last résolved, with many tears of rage and vexation, to keep the abomination secret-at least till it was proclaimed by the indignant denunciations of the respective authors whose works had been subjected to such cruc) mutilation. The most surprising part of the story however is, that none of these authors ever made any complaint about the matter. Whether the number of years that had elapsod since the time when most of them had furnished their papers, had made them insensible of the alterations--whether they believed the change effected by the base hand of Breton to have originated with Diderot, their legal censor-or that, in fact, the alterations were chiefly in the articles of the said Diderot himself, we cannot pretend to say ; but M. Grimm assures us, that, to his astonishment and that of Diderot, the mutilated publication, when it at last made its appearance, was very quietly received by the injured anthors as their authentic production, and apologies humbly made, by some of them, for imperfections that had been created by the Beast of a publisher.
There are many curious and original anecdotes of the Empréss of Russia in this book; and as she always appeared to advantage where munificence and clemency to individuals were concerned, they are certainly calculated to give us a very favourable impression of that extraordinary woman.
We can only afford room now for one, which characterizes the nation as well as its sovereign. A popular poet of the name of Sumarokoff, had quarrelled with the leading actress at Moscow, and protested that she should never again have the honour to perform in any of his tragedies. The Governor of Moscow, however, not being aware of this theatrical feud, thought fit to order one of Sumarokoff's tragedies for representation, and also to command the services of the offending actress on the occasion. Sumarokoff did not venture to take any step against his Excellency the Governor; but when the heroine advanced in full Muscovite costume on the stage, the indignant poet rushed forward from behind the scenes, seized her reluctantly by the collar and waist, and tossed her furiously from the boards. He then went home, and indited two querulous and sublime epistles to the Empress. Catharine, in the midst of her gigantic schemes of conquest and improvement, had the patience to sit down and address the following good humoured and sensible exhortation to the disordered bard.
“ Monsieur Sumarokoff, j'ai été fort étonnée de votre lettre du 28 Janvier, et encore plus de celle du premier Février. Toutes deux contiennent, à ce qu'il me semble, des plaintes contre la Belmontia qui pourtant n'a fait que suivre les ordres du comte Soltikof. Le
feld-maréchal a désiré de voir représenter votre tragédie ; cela vous fait honneur. Il était convenable de vous conformer au désir de l'a première personne en autorité à Moscou ; mais si elle a jugé à propos d'ordonner que cette pièce fût représentée, il fallait exécuter sa volonté sans contestation. Je crois que vous savez mieux que per'. sonne combien de respect méritent des hommes qui ont servi avec gloire, et dont la tête est couverte de cheveux blancs ; c'est pourquoi je vous conseille d'éviter de pareilles disputes à l'avenir. Par ce moyen vous conserverez la tranquillité d'âme qui est nécessaire pour vos ouvrages, et il me sera toujours plus agréable de voir les passions représentées dans vos drames que de les lire dans vos lettres.
“ Au surplus, je suis votre affectionnée. Signé CATHERINE.
* Je conseille' adds M. Grimm' à tout ministre chargé du département des lettres de cachet, d'enregistrer ce formulaire à son greffe, et à tout hasard de n'en jamais délivrer d'autres aux poetes et à tout ce qui a droit d'être du genre irritable, c'est-à-dire enfant et fou par état. Après cette lettre qui mérite peut-être autant l'immortalité
que les monumens de la sagesse et de la gloire du règne actuel de la Russie, je meurs de pear de m'affermir dans la pensée hérétique que l'esprit ne gâte jamais rien, même sur le trône.'
But it is at last necessary to close these entertaining volumes, though we have not been able to furnish our readers with anything like a fair specimen of their various and miscellaneous contents. Whoever wishes to see the Economists wittily abused—to read a full and picturesque account of the tragical rejoicings that filled Paris with mourning at the marriage of the late King—to learn how Paul Jones was a writer of pastorals and love songs—or how they made carriages of leather, and evaporated diamonds in 1772 --to trace the debt of Mad. de Staël as an author at the
of twelve, in the year !-to understand M. Grimm's notions on suicide and happiness—to know in what the unique charm of Madlle Thevenin consisted--and in what manner the dispute between the patrons of the French and the Italian music was conducted-will do well to peruse the five thick volumes, in which these, and innumerable other matters of equal importance are discussed, with the talent and vivacity with which the reader must have been struck, in the least of the foregoing extracts.
We add but one trivial remark, which is forced upon us, indeed, at almost every page of this correspondence. The profession of literature must be much wholsomer in France than in any other country :-for though the volumes before us may be regarded as a great literary obituary, and record the deaths, we suppose, of more than an hundred persons of some note in the world of letters, we scarcely meet with an individual who is less than seventy or eighty years of age--and no very small proportion actually last till near ninety or an hundred--although the greater part of them seem neither to have lodged so high, nor lived so low, as their more active and abstemious brethren in other cities. M. Grimm observes that, by a remarkable fatality, Europe was deprived, in the course of little more than six months, of the splendid and commanding talents of Rousseau, Voltaire, HaHer, Linnæus, Heidegger, Lord Chatham, and Le Kain--a constellation of genius, he adds, that when it set to us, must have carried a dazzling light into the domains of the King of Terrors, and excited no small alarm in his ministers
if they bear any resemblance to the ministers of other sovereigns.
Art. II. The Giaour, a Fragment of a Turkish Tale. By
Lord Byron. 8vo. pp. 41. London. 1813. This, we think, is very beautiful--or, at all events, full of
spirit, character, and originality ;-nor can we think that we have any reason to envy the Turkish auditors of the entire tale, while we have its fragments thus served up by a restaurateur of such taste as Lord Byron. Since the increasing levity of the present age, indeed, has rendered it impatient of the long stories that used to delight our ancestors, the taste for fragments, we suspect, has become very general; and the greater part of polite readers would now no more think of sitting down to a whole Epic, than to a whole ox:-And truly, when we consider how few long poems there are, out of which we should not wish very long passages to have been omitted, we will confess, that it is a taste which we are rather inclined to patronize-notwithstanding the obscurity it may occasionally produce, and the havoc it must necessarily make, among the proportions, developments, and callida juncture of the critics. The truth is, we suspect, that after we once know what it contains, no long poem is ever read, but in fragments;—and that the connecting passages, which are always skipped after the first reading, are often so tedious as to deter us from thinking of a second ;--and in very many cases so awkwardly and imperfectly brought out, that it is infinitely less laborious to guess at the author's principle of combination, than to follow out his full explanation of it.
In the present instance, however, we do not think that we are driven upon such an alternative; for though we have heard that some persons of slender sagacity, or small poetical experience, have been at a loss to make out the thread of the story, át certainly appears to us to be as free from obscurity as any poem tical narrative with which we are acquainted--and is plain and elementary in the highest degree, when compared with the lyric compositions either of the Greeks, or of the Orientals. For the sake of such humble readers, however, as are liable to be perplexed by an ellipsis, we şubjoin the following brief outline, -by the help of which they will easily be able to connect the detached fragments from which it is faithfully deduced,
Giaour is the Turkish word for Infidel; and signifies, upon this occasion, a daring and amorous youth, who, in one of his rambles into Turkey, had been smitten with the charms of the favourite of a rich Emir; and had succeeded not only in winning her affections, but in finding opportunities for the indulgence of their mutual passion. By and by, however, Hassan discovers their secret intercourse; and in a frenzy of jealous rage, sews the beauteous Leila up in a sheet-rows her out, in a calm evening, to a still and deep part of the channel--and plunges her into the dark and shuddering flood. The Giaour speedily comes to the knowledge of this inhuman vengeance; and, mad with grief and resentment, joins himself to a band of plundering Arnauts, and watches the steps of the cruel Hassan, who, after giving out that Leila had eloped from his Serai, proceeds, in a few days, with a gorgeous and armed train, to woo a richer and more noble beauty. The Giaour sets upon him as he is issuing from a rocky defile, and after a sanguinary contest, immolates him to the shade of the murdered Leila. Then, perturbed in spirit, and perpetually haunted by the vision of that lovely victim, he returns to his own country, and takes refuge in a convent of Anchorets ;--not, however, to pray or repent, but merely for the solitude and congenial gloom of that lonely retreat, Worn out with the agony of his recollections, and the constant visitation of his stormy passions, he there dies at the end of a few miserable years; and discloses to the pious priest whom pity and duty had brought to the side of his couch, as much of his character and history as the noble author has thought fit to make known to his readers.
Such is the simple outline of this tale, --which Turk or Christian might have conceived as we have given it, without any great waste of invention-but to which we do not think any other but Lord Byron himself could have imparted the force and the character which are conspicuous in the fragments that are now before us. What the noble author has most strongly conceived and most happily expressed, is the character of the Giaour ;--of which, though some of the clements are sufficiently familiar in poetry, the sketch which is here given appears to us in the highest degree striking and original. The