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Oh! quand venait Marie, ou, lorsque le Dimanche,
, jeune amoureux;
Et l'ennui du présent fait-il votre beauté ?'—Vol. i. pp. 11, 12. Marie is not, however, a poem entirely devoted to the praises of the beloved maiden. It contains many charming little pieces addressed to Brizeux's mother, as well as on the love of one's country, on Brittany, on religion, on the Church, with all that is beautiful to the idea or to the eye, in its swinging censers, its kneeling crowds, its heaven-ascending music. The poems respectively entitled Les deux Statuaires,' 'La Noce,' 'Le Chemin du Pardon,'• Les Batelières de l'Odet,' and the last piece, addressed to his mother, 'A ma Mère' (vol. i. pp. 75–77), strike us as pre-eminently beautiful. In our account of Brizeux, we have alluded to the circumstances under which Marie
appeared, and how, in the midst of his Parisian life, his faith seems to have vacillated, and how his thoughts were perpetually occupied with the Brittany he had left. In one of the poems addressed to the Breton maiden, after significantly referring to the life he there led, he speaks of the innocence and childlike religious faith of his youth, and shows what hold the recollections of former days retained upon his mind :
* Aujourd'hui que mes pas négligent le saint lieu,
Aux marches de l'autel balancé l'encensoir.
Je m'anéantissais devant l'Immensité!'-Vol. i. pp. 17, 18. The two first lines contain a remarkable avowal. Many portions of Marie are the history of the poet's own life, of his fond recollections, and of the present doubts and perplexities, the cravings and aspirations of his soul. His mind, when he wrote it, was still agitated with many contending emotions, and he had not yet utterly emancipated himself from certain injurious influences, political and religious.
In Marie, with so much that is noble and heaven-inspired, occurs a short piece here and there, or a sentiment, which is by no means unobjectionable. The poem entitled 'Jésus' reminds one, as M. de Pontmartin justly remarks, of Leconte de Lisle's * Pâle Essénien' and Alfred de Musset's Rolla.' In the poem called · Le Doute,' we fear that the poet only speaks the truth of himself when he says
Souvent le front baissé, l'æil hagard, sur ma route,
. . Et moi, tel qu’un aveugle aux murs tendant la main,
A tâtons, dans la nuit, je cherchais mon chemin.'—Vol. i. p. 58. Neither do we particularly admire our poet's somewhat suspicious address to Liberty, coupled as it is with a certain sort of Equality :
* Liberté, dans nos murs, toujours la bienvenue,
Comme d'anciens amants nous t'avons reconnue,
Nous suivions au combat ta seur l'Egalité !'' Such aberrations, however, were only transitory; the teaching, both by precept and example, of Brizeux's mother and of the curé of Arzannô were not lost upon the poet; and religion soon reasserted her legitimate and undisturbed supremacy. In the Ecoliers de Vannes there is a magnificent apostrophe to
Liberty, which shows the true poet and the true Christian, as well as the enlightened politician and patriot.
Turn we now to the Bretons. All who wish for a true and graphic account of Brittany and its people, of Breton manners and customs, of Breton pardons, pilgrimages, and feasts of patron saints, of Breton weddings and funerals, of Breton legends and antiquities, of Breton religion, and, we must add also, of Breton superstition and fanaticism, and other things existing now only in Brittany, will do well to read Les Bretons. It in many respects not only contains the best description of Brittany that we are acquainted with, but the most correct portraiture of the peculiar character, costumes, and habits of its people. The poem is divided into twenty-four chants or parts.
In an article on Britanny which appeared in this Review some years ago, and which has been since reprinted with others, with the author's name, occurs the following passage :
' Breton religion, with its mixture of wildness and thought'fulness, its tenderness and sad resignation, has other sides. Faith, as of old, works in many ways.
It is a fearful thing, ‘ yet nothing new, that it can coexist, strong and all-pervading, with monstrous evil; it is compatible with violence, and hatred, and impurity..... At no distant time he [the Breton savage] made pilgrimages to obtain de bons naufrages ; nay,
by a distortion which is peculiar to his own stern character, and which, though less blasphemous, is almost more unnatural • than his fierce appeals to the justice of God, he transforms her
whom his Church regards as the type of unmingled tenderness, into a minister of unerring revenge. There is a chapel near
Tréguier, -50 says M. Souvestre, and there seems reason to disbelieve him,-consecrated to “ Notre Dame de la 'Haine," where men pray for vengeance, and believe that their ' prayer is never denied, at the shrine of her who is called the Mother of Mercies.''
If we recollect rightly (for we have not now their works at hand to refer to), the same statement is made by Trollope, Weld, and several others, in their respective works on Brittany. This assertion was formally denied by the Bishop of
1 Christian Remembrancer, vol. xi. p. 151. 2 Mr. Jephson, in his very interesting, but, in many places, singularly incorrect "Walking Tour in Brittany,' also refers to it:- A little beyond Kermartin, to the right, is the ruined church said to be called “Our Lady of Hatred,” and to be resorted to by peasants, who there invoke evil upon their enemies.'-6.81. What the writer, with characteristic inaccuracy, took for the chapel of Notre-Dame de la Haine, which is situated on the other side of the river, and a mile or two distant, is the ruined church of S. Michel ! Mr. Jephson adds guardedly, and with the most charming naïveté, * I will not vouch for the truth of the story. We should think not. This is not the only mistake into which the able writer has fallen, in his account of Tréguier and its neighbourhood.
S. Brieuc and by M. Urvoy, head of the ecclesiastical seminary at Tréguier, both of whose letters appeared in a subsequent number of this periodical. Both the prelate and the superior of the seminary seemed greatly astounded at such an assertion ever having been made, and the latter says, with beautiful simplicity :
Quel objet a pu lui donner le thème de sa burlesque histoire ? Il y a sur la rive opposée au quai de Tréguier un oratoire sous le titre de Saint-Yves de Vérité. L'amour de la justice dont le saint et savant magistrat était pénétré, le zèle et le dévouement avec lesquels il défendait les opprimés, sont demeurés tellement gravés dans les esprits, que, dans des cas d'injuste oppression ou de procès inique, on l'a invoqué spécialement dans ce lieu pour obtenir de Dieu par son entremise que la vérité fût connue et l'injustice condamnée. Voilà un culte et un oratoire qui sont connus ici. Mais pour la chapelle de Notre Dame de la Haine et sa bizarre superstition, elles sont de la création de M. E. Souvestre et réellement sorties de son imagination fantasque. Car ici on ne trouve rien de pareil, ni dans le passé, ni dans le présent.'
M. le Supérieur, who had then passed some thirty years of his life at Tréguier, ought long ago to have been informed that the facts mentioned by M. Souvestre are not altogether the creation of his imagination fantasque.' M. Urvoy is certainly right in the name by which the chapel goes—it is usually called SaintYves de la Vérité-re have also heard it called Notre Dame de la Vérité ; but this is a case in which there is nothing in a name. Many persons at Tréguier and elsewhere are aware that it is now appropriated to the by no means edifying purposes indicated by Souvestre; and if M. le Supérieur du petit séminaire de Tréguier has never, in the whole course of thirty years, heard of them, he must decidedly be living in a paradise of his own special creation. Brizeux's account of the place is far more accurate and comprehensive than M. Urvoy's :
• En face de Tréguier, sur les bords du Jaudi,
C'est la Haine aujourd'hui dont le culte est fété.
Mais, croyez-le, jamais il n'y va que des femmes.' »_Vol. i. p. 263. Will M. Urvoy here again assert that this is a récit de fantaisie et d'imagination ?' Whatever may have been the original object for which the chapel was built, there is no doubt that it is now frequently used for the infamous purpose mentioned by Souvestre, Brizeux, and others, and that one may say of it with perfect truth,
i Vol. xii. pp. 295—297.
C'est la Haine aujourd'hui dont le culte est fêté !' Having read of this chapel in several works, and seen M. Urvoy's formal denial of its being used for the object mentioned, we resolved, when at Tréguier, not very long ago, to investigate the subject for ourselves; and indeed we decided upon staying at Tréguier for that very purpose one day longer than we originally intended. What we saw and heard about the chapel we noted down immediately afterwards, and we will now take the liberty of extracting it from the journal we are preparing for publication :
'E. was not up to much exertion, and so she decided upon remaining quict at tlie hotel, while F. and myself proceeded to the spot, and investigated the whole matter. We found the little chapel, which is situated on the opposite side of the river; and, having obtained the key at a neighbouring house, we went into it, accompanied by the person who has charge of it. We came to thie conclusion that M. Souvestre and others are wrong in the name they gire the building, but that they are perfectly right in their account of the uses to which it is now appropriated. It is a wretched little chapel, and outwardly has not the slightest pretensions to anything ecclesiastical." Within, there is an altar rather shabbily and tawdrily decorated, and a box to collect alms to defray the expenses connected with it. On the right and left side of the altar, within two small niches, stand boxes containing the skulls of persons buried there, and on one I read the following inscription :
Requiescat in pace.' Dans cette chapelle git le corps d'Olivier Pierre de Clisson, pauvre pécheur, humble serriteur de la S. Vierge, ágé de xxi ans, et décédé le xeii Décembre MDCCXIX. “ Priez Dieu pour
repos de son âme." The woman who had charge of the chapel, and conducted us in, did not scem to understand much French, and we could not speak Breton, after some difficully, she told us that people still came liere, frequently at dead of night (throwing a few pieces of money into the river as they crossed in a boat.), to pray that God, in the case of those who had done them any offence, real or supposed, would make the truth manifest, and punish the evil-doer; that many a prayer was even now frequently offered at this shrine for judgment and vengeance on those who had wronged the petitioner. She added that, only the week before, the chapel had been visited by two ladies bent on this accursed errand, one of whom had come all the way from Nantes, and the other from S. Malo. One was an injured wife, the other an aggrieved daughter; and they had both undertaken the journey to invoke maledictions upon the head of those who, as they supposed, with or without good reason, had offended them. The woman allowed that such practices were opposed to the principles of Christianity, and that they were not countenanced by the clergy. I do not imagine for a moment that these abominable practices are connected with the actual teaching of the Roman Church; but why are they not absolutely pre
NO, CXIX, N.S.