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DELAVIGNE, JEAN FRANÇOIS CASIMIR, a French lyric and dramatic poet, born at Havre, April 4, 1793; died at Lyons, December 11, 1844. He was the son of a merchant, and was educated at the Napoleon Lyceum at Paris. He early showed a marked taste for poetry. Andrieux, to whom some of his pieces were shown, at first endeavored to dissuade him from writing; but on seeing his dithyramb On the Birth of the King of Rome, written in 1811, encouraged him to continue poetical effort. This poem also produced for Delavigne the patronage of the Count of Nantes. In 1814 the young poet competed for a prize offered by the French Academy. His poem Charles XII. à Narva received honorable mention, and a poem presented the next year, Sur la Découverte de la Vaccine, obtained a secondary prize. The humiliation of France in 1815 gave Delavigne a stirring subject. He wrote two poems, Waterloo and La Dévastation du Musée, to which he added a third poem, Sur le Besoin de s'unir après le Départ des Étrangers, and published the three in 1818 under the title of Trois Messéniennes, in allusion to the songs of the Messenians. In these poems he bewailed the misfortunes and humiliation of France, and exhorted his countrymen to patriotism and union. They had an immense success, and their author received an appointment as Librarian of

the Chancery. He next wrote two Elegies sur la Vie et la Morte de Jeanne d'Arc; and in 1819 produced his tragedy Les Vêpres Siciliennes, which was received with great favor. This was followed in 1820 by Les Comédiens, and in 1821 by La Paria. Several new Messéniennes appeared between 1821 and 1823, and in the latter year, L'École des Vieillards. For this drama he was awarded a place in the French Academy (1825). He produced La Princesse Aurélie (1828); Marino Faliero (1829); during the Revolution of 1830, La Parisienne, a lyric, was as enthusiastically received as the Marsellaise had been. Another tragedy, Les Enfants d'Edouard, was produced in 1833; Don Juan d'Autriche, in 1835; Une Famille au Temps de Luther, in 1836; La Popularité, a comedy, in 1838; La Fille du Cid, a tragedy, in 1839; and Le Conseiller Rapporteur, a comedy, in prose, in 1841. Delavigne was engaged upon a tragedy, Mélusine, when failing health obliged him to leave Paris. He reached Lyons, where he died after a few days' illness.


They breathe no longer let their ashes rest!
Clamor unjust and calumny

They stooped not to confute; but flung their breast
Against the legions of your enemy,

And thus avenged themselves: for you they die.

Woe to you, woe! if those inhuman eyes

Can spare no drops to mourn your country's weal;

Shrinking before your selfish miseries;

Against the common sorrow hard as steel; Tremble! the hand of death upon you lies;

You may be forced yourselves to feel.

But no-what son of France has spared his tears
For her defenders, dying in their fame;

Though kings return, desired through lengthening years,
What old man's cheek is tinged not with her shame?
What veteran, who their fortune's treason hears,

Feels not the quickening spark of his old youthful flame?

Great Heaven! what lessons mark that one day's page!
What ghastly figures that might crowd an age!
How shall the historic Muse record the day,
Nor, starting, cast the trembling pen away?
Hide from me, hide those soldiers overborne,

Broken with toil, with death-bolts crushed and torn

Those quivering limbs with dust defiled,
And bloody corses upon corses piled;
Veil from mine eyes that monument
Of nation against nation spent

In struggling rage that pants for breath,
Spare us the bands thou sparedst, Death!
O Varus! where the warriors thou hast led?
Restore our legions !—give us back the dead!

I see the broken squadrons reel ;

The steeds plunge wide with spurning heel;
Our eagles trod in miry gore ;

The leopard standards swooping o'er;
The wounded on their slow cars dying,
The route disordered, waving, flying;
Tortured with struggles vain, the throng

Sway, shock, and drag their shattered mass along,
And leave behind their long array

Wrecks, corses, blood-the foot-marks of their way.

Through whirlwind smoke and flashing flame-
O grief!—what sight appalls mine eye?
The sacred band, with generous shame.
Sole 'gainst an army pause-to die!
Struck with the rare devotion, 'tis in vain.
The foes at gaze their blades restrain,

And, proud to conquer hem them round: the cry
Returns, "The guard surrender not!-they die !"


'Tis said, that, when in dust they saw them lie,
A reverend sorrow for their brave career
Smote on the foe: they fixed the pensive eye,
And first beheld them undisturbed with fear.

See, then, these heroes, long invincible,

Whose threatening features still their conquerors brave;

Frozen in death, those eyes are terrible;

Feats of the past their deep-scarred brows engrave:

For these are they who bore Italia's sun,

Who o'er Castilia's mountain-barrier passed; The North beheld them o'er the rampart run, Which frosts of ages round her Russia cast: All sank subdued before them, and the date

Of combats owed this guerdon to their glory, Seldom to Franks denied-to fall elate

On some proud day that should survive in story.

Let us no longer mourn them; for the palm
Unwithering shades their features stern and calm :
Franks! mourn we for ourselves—our land's disgrace-
The proud, mean passions that divide her race.
What age so rank in treasons! to our blood
The love is alien of the common good;
Friendship, no more unbosomed, hides her tears,
And man shuns man, and each his fellow fears,
Scared from her sanctuary, Faith shuddering flies
The din of oaths, the vaunt of perjuries.
O cursed delirium! jars deplored

That yield our home-hearths to the stranger's sword!
Our faithless hands but draw the gleaming blade
To wound the bosom which its point should aid.

The strangers raze our fenced walls;
The castle stoops, the city falls;
Insulting foes their truce forget;
The unsparing war-bolt thunders yet;
Flames glare our ravaged hamlets o'er,
And funerals darken every door;

Drained provinces their greedy prefects rue,

Beneath the lilied or the triple hue;

And Franks, disputing for the choice of power,
Dethrone a banner, or proscribe a flower.
France! to our fierce intolerance we owe
The ills that from these sad divisions flow;
'Tis time the sacrifice were made to thee
Of our suspicious pride, our civic enmity:
Haste-quench the torches of intestine war;
Heaven points the lily as our army's star;
Hoist, then, the banner of the white-some tears
May bathe the thrice-dyed flag which Austerlitz en-

France! France! awake, with one indignant mind!
With new-born hosts the throne's dread precinct bind !
Disarmed, divided, conquerors o'er us stand;
Present the olive, but the sword in hand.
And thou, O people, flushed with our defeat,
To whom the mourning of our land is sweet,
Thou witness of the death-blow of our brave!
Dream not that France is vanquished to a slave;
Gall not with pride the avengers yet to come :
Heaven may remit the chastening of our doom;
A new Germanicus may yet demand

Those eagles wrested from our Varus's hand.
-Trois Messéniennes.

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