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[1254] calm were possible to France; could not believe that she could lead any life but one of conquest.

As De Vigny was gradually undeceived, he says: ‘Loaded with an ennui which I did not dream of in a life I had so ardently desired, it became a necessity to me to detach myself by night from the vain and tiresome tumult of military days. From these nights, in which I enlarged in silence the knowledge I had acquired from our public and tumultuous studies, proceeded my poems and books. From these days, there remain to me these recollections, whose chief traits I here assemble around one idea. For, not reckoning for the glory of arms, either on the present or future, I sought it in the souvenirs of my comrades. My own little adventures will not serve, except as frame to those pictures of the military life, and of the manners of our armies, all whose traits are by no means known.’

And thus springs up, in the most natural manner, this little book on the army.

It has the truth, the delicacy, and the healthiness of a production native to the soil; the merit of love-letters, journals, lyric poems, &c., written without any formal intention of turning life into a book, but because the writer could not help it. What, more than anything else, engaged the attention of De Vigny, was the false position of two beings towards a factitious society: the soldier, now that standing armies are the mode, and the poet, now that Olympic games or pastimes are not the mode. He has treated the first best, because with profounder connoissance du fait. For De Vigny is not a poet; he has only an eye to perceive the existence of these birds of heaven. But in few ways, except

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