Life of Chopin
Franz Liszt

Part 3 out of 3

had the right to anticipate. He left Vienna with the design of
going to London, but he came first to Paris, where he intended to
remain but a short time. Upon his passport drawn up for England,
he had caused to be inserted: "passing through Paris." These
words sealed his fate. Long years afterwards, when he seemed not
only acclimated, but naturalized in France, he would smilingly
say: I am "passing through Paris."

He gave several concerts after his arrival in Paris, where he was
immediately received and admired in the circles of the elite, as
well as welcomed by the young artists. We remember his first
appearance in the saloons of Pleyel, where the most enthusiastic
and redoubled applause seemed scarcely sufficient to express our
enchantment for the genius which had revealed new phases of
poetic feeling, and made such happy yet bold innovations in the
form of musical art.

Unlike the greater part of young debutants, he was not
intoxicated or dazzled for a moment by his triumph, but accepted
it without pride or false modesty, evincing none of the puerile
enjoyment of gratified vanity exhibited by the PARVENUS of
success. His countrymen who were then in Paris gave him a most
affectionate reception. He was intimate in the house of Prince
Czartoryski, of the Countess Plater, of Madame de Komar, and in
that of her daughters, the Princess de Beauveau and the Countess
Delphine Potocka, whose beauty, together with her indescribable
and spiritual grace, made her one of the most admired sovereigns
of the society of Paris. He dedicated to her his second Concerto,
which contains the Adagio we have already described. The ethereal
beauty of the Countess, her enchanting voice enchained him by a
fascination full of respectful admiration. Her voice was destined
to be the last which should vibrate upon the musician's heart.
Perhaps the sweetest sounds of earth accompanied the parting soul
until they blended in his ear with the first chords of the
angels' lyres.

He mingled much with the Polish circle in Paris; with Orda who
seemed born to command the future, and who was however killed in
Algiers at twenty years of age; with Counts Plater, Grzymala,
Ostrowski, Szembeck, with Prince Lubomirski, etc. etc. As the
Polish families who came afterwards to Paris were all anxious to
form acquaintance with him, he continued to mingle principally
with his own people. He remained through them not only AU COURANT
of all that was passing in his own country, but even in a kind of
musical correspondence with it. He liked those who visited Paris
to show him the airs or new songs they had brought with them, and
when the words of these airs pleased him, he frequently wrote a
new melody for them, thus popularizing them rapidly in his
country although the name of their author was often unknown. The
number of these melodies, due to the inspiration of the heart
alone, having become considerable, he often thought of collecting
them for publication. But he thought of it too late, and they
remain scattered and dispersed, like the perfume of the scented
flowers blessing the wilderness and sweetening the "desert air"
around some wandering traveller, whom chance may have led upon
their secluded track. During our stay in Poland we heard some of
the melodies which are attributed to him, and which are truly
worthy of him; but who would now dare to make an uncertain
selection between the inspirations of the national poet, and the
dreams of his people?

Chopin kept for a long time aloof from the celebrities of Paris;
their glittering train repelled him. As his character and habits
had more true originality than apparent eccentricity, he inspired
less curiosity than they did. Besides he had sharp repartees for
those who imprudently wished to force him into a display of his
musical abilities. Upon one occasion after he had just left the
dining-room, an indiscreet host, who had had the simplicity to
promise his guests some piece executed by him as a rare dessert,
pointed to him an open piano. He should have remembered that in
counting without the host, it is necessary to count twice. Chopin
at first refused, but wearied at last by continued persecution,
assuming, to sharpen the sting of his words, a stifled and
languid tone of voice, he exclaimed: "Ah, sir, I have scarcely


Madame Sand--Lelia--Visit to Majorca--Exclusive Ideals.

In 1836 Madame Sand had not only published INDIANA, VALENTINE,
and JACQUES, but also LELIA, that prose poem of which she
afterwards said: "If I regret having written it, it is because I
could not now write it. Were I in the same state of mind now as
when it was written, it would indeed be a great consolation to me
to be able to commence it." The mere painting of romances in cold
water colors must have seemed, without doubt, dull to Madame
Sand, after having handled the hammer and chisel of the sculptor
so boldly, in modeling the grand lines of that semi-colossal
statue, in cutting those sinewy muscles, which even in their
statuesque immobility, are full of bewildering and seductive
charm. Should we continue long to gaze upon it, it excites the
most painful emotion. In strong contrast to the miracle of
Pygmalion, Lelia seems a living Galatea, rich in feeling, full of
love, whom the deeply enamored artist has tried to bury alive in
his exquisitely sculptured marble, stifling the palpitating
breath, and congealing the warm blood in the vain hope of
elevating and immortalizing the beauty he adores. In the presence
of this vivid nature petrified by art, we cannot feel that
admiration is kindled into love, but, saddened and chilled, we
are forced to acknowledge that love may be frozen into mere

Brown and olive-hued Lelia! Dark as Lara, despairing as Manfred,
rebellious as Cain, thou hast ranged through the depths of
solitude! But thou art more ferocious, more savage, more
inconsolable than they, because thou hast never found a man's
heart sufficiently feminine to love thee as they were loved, to
pay the homage of a confiding and blind submission to thy virile
charms, to offer thee a mute yet ardent devotion, to suffer its
obedience to be protected by thy Amazonian force! Woman-hero!
Like the Amazons, thou hast been valiant and eager for combats;
like them thou hast not feared to expose the exquisite loveliness
of thy face to the fierceness of the summer's sun, or the sharp
blasts of winter! Thou hast hardened thy fragile limbs by the
endurance of fatigue, thus robbing them of the subtle power of
their weakness! Thou hast covered thy palpitating breast with a
heavy cuirass, which has pressed and torn it, dyeing its snow in
blood;--that gentle woman's bosom, charming as life, discreet as
the grave, which is always adored by man when his heart is
permitted to form its sole, its impenetrable buckler!

After having blunted her chisel in polishing this statue, which,
by its majesty, its haughty disdain, its look of hopeless
anguish, shadowed by the frowning of the pure brows and by the
long loose locks shivering with electric life, reminds us of
those antique cameos on which we still admire the perfect
features, the beautiful yet fatal brow, the haughty smile of the
Medusa, whose gaze paralyzed and stopped the pulses of the human
heart;--Madame Sand in vain sought another form for the
expression of the emotions which tortured her insatiate soul.
After having draped this figure with the highest art,
accumulating every species of masculine greatness upon it in
order to compensate for the highest of all qualities which she
repudiated for it, the grandeur of, "utter self-abnegation for
love," which the many-sided poet has placed in the empyrean and
called "the Eternal Feminine," (DAS EWIGWEIBLICHE,)--a greatness
which is love existing before any of its joys, surviving all its
sorrows;--after having caused Don Juan to be cursed, and a divine
hymn to be chanted to Desire by Lelia, who, as well as Don Juan,
had repulsed the only delight which crowns desire, the luxury of
self-abnegation,--after having fully revenged Elvira by the
creation of Stenio,--after having scorned man more than Don Juan
had degraded woman,--Madame Sand, in her LETTRES D'UN VOYAGEUR,
depicts the shivering palsy, the painful lethargy which seizes
the artist, when, having incorporated the emotion which inspired
him in his work, his imagination still remains under the
domination of the insatiate idea without being able to find
another form in which to incarnate it. Such poetic sufferings
were well understood by Byron, when he makes Tasso shed his most
bitter tears, not for his chains, not for his physical
sufferings, not for the ignominy heaped upon him, but for his
finished Epic, for the ideal world created by his thought and now
about to close its doors upon him, and by thus expelling him from
its enchanted realm, rendering him at last sensible of the gloomy
realities around him:--

"But this is o'er--my pleasant task is done:--
My long-sustaining friend of many years:
If I do blot thy final page with tears,
Know that my sorrows have wrung from me none.
But thou, my young creation! my soul's child!
Which ever playing round me came and smiled,
And woo'd me from myself with thy sweet sight,
Thou too art gone--and so is my delight."


At this epoch, Madame Sand often heard a musician, one of the
friends who had greeted Chopin with the most enthusiastic joy
upon his arrival at Paris, speak of him. She heard him praise his
poetic genius even more than his artistic talent. She was
acquainted with his compositions, and admired their graceful
tenderness. She was struck by the amount of emotion displayed in
his poems, with the effusions of a heart so noble and dignified.
Some of the countrymen of Chopin spoke to her of the women of
their country, with the enthusiasm natural to them upon that
subject, an enthusiasm then very much increased by a remembrance
of the sublime sacrifices made by them during the last war.
Through their recitals and the poetic inspiration of the Polish
artist, she perceived an ideal of love which took the form of
worship for woman. She thought that guaranteed from dependence,
preserved from inferiority, her role might be like the fairy
power of the Peri, that ethereal intelligence and friend of man.
Perhaps she did not fully understand what innumerable links of
suffering, of silence, of patience, of gentleness, of indulgence,
of courageous perseverance, had been necessary for the formation
of the worship for this imperious but resigned ideal, beautiful
indeed, but sad to behold, like those plants with the rose-
colored corollas, whose stems, intertwining and interlacing in a
network of long and numerous branches, give life to ruins;
destined ever to embellish decay, growing upon old walls and
hiding only tottering stones! Beautiful veils woven by beneficent
Nature, in her ingenious and inexhaustible richness, to cover the
constant decay of human things!

As Madame Sand perceived that this artist, in place of giving
body to his phantasy in porphyry and marble, or defining his
thoughts by the creation of massive caryatides, rather effaced
the contour of his works, and, had it been necessary, could have
elevated his architecture itself from the soil, to suspend it,
like the floating palaces of the Fata Morgana, in the fleecy
clouds, through his aerial forms of almost impalpable buoyancy,
she was more and more attracted by that mystic ideal which she
perceived glowing within them. Though her arm was powerful enough
to have sculptured the round shield, her hand was delicate enough
to have traced those light relievos where the shadows of
ineffaceable profiles have been thrown upon and trusted to a
stone scarcely raised from its level plane. She was no stranger
in the supernatural world, she to whom Nature, as to a favored
child, had unloosed her girdle and unveiled all the caprices, the
attractions, the delights, which she can lend to beauty. She was
not ignorant of the lightest graces; she whose eye could embrace
such vast proportions, had stooped to study the glowing
illuminations painted upon the wings of the fragile butterfly.
She had traced the symmetrical and marvellous network which the
fern extends as a canopy over the wood strawberry; she had
listened to the murmuring of streams through the long reeds and
stems of the water-grass, where the hissing of the "amorous
viper" may be heard; she had followed the wild leaps of the Will-
with-a-wisp as it bounds over the surface of the meadows and
marshes; she had pictured to herself the chimerical dwelling-
places toward which it perfidiously attracts the benighted
traveller; she had listened to the concerts given by the Cicada
and their friends in the stubble of the fields; she had learned
the names of the inhabitants of the winged republics of the woods
which she could distinguish as well by their plumaged robes, as
by their jeering roulades or plaintive cries. She knew the secret
tenderness of the lily in the splendor of its tints; she had
listened to the sighs of Genevieve, [Footnote: ANDRE] the maiden
enamored of flowers.

She was visited in her dreams by those "unknown friends" who came
to rejoin her "when she was seized with distress upon a desolate
shore," brought by a "rapid large and full
bark"...upon which she mounted to leave the unknown shores, "the
country of chimeras which make real life appear like a dream half
effaced to those, who enamored from their infancy of large shells
of pearl, mount them to land in those isles where all are young
and beautiful...where the men and women are crowned with flowers,
with their long locks floating upon their shoulders...holding
vases and harps of a strange form...having songs and voices not
of this world...all loving each other equally with a divine
love...where crystal fountains of perfumed waters play in basins
of silver...where blue roses bloom in vases of alabaster...where
the perspectives are all enchanted...where they walk with naked
feet upon the thick green moss, soft as carpets of velvet...where
all sing as they wander among the fragrant groves." [Footnote:

She knew these unknown friends so well that after having again
seen them, "she could not dream of them without palpitations of
the heart during the whole day." She was initiated into the
Hoffmannic world--"she who had surprised such ineffable smiles
upon the portraits of the dead;" [Footnote: SPIRIDSON] who had
seen the rays of the sun falling through the stained glass of a
Gothic window form a halo round loved heads, like the arm of God,
luminous and impalpable, surrounded by a vortex of atoms;--she
who had known such glorious apparitions, clothed with the purple
and golden glories of the setting sun. The realm of fantasy had
no myth with whose secret she was not familiar!

Thus she was naturally anxious to become acquainted with one who
had with rapid wing flown "to those scenes which it is impossible
to describe, but which must exist somewhere, either upon the
earth, or in some of the planets, whose light we love to gaze
upon in the forests when the moon has set." [Footnote: LETTRES
D'UN VOYAGEUR] Such scenes she had prayed never to be forced to
desert--never desiring to bring her heart and imagination back to
this dreary world, too like the gloomy coasts of Finland, where
the slime and miry slough can only be escaped by scaling the
naked granite of the solitary rocks. Fatigued with the massive
statue she had sculptured, the Amazonian Lelia; wearied with the
grandeur of an Ideal which it is impossible to mould from the
gross materials of this earth; she was desirous to form an
acquaintance with the artist "the lover of an impossible so
shadowy"--so near the starry regions. Alas! if these regions are
exempt from the poisonous miasmas of our atmosphere, they are not
free from its desolating melancholy! Perhaps those who are
transported there may adore the shining of new suns--but there
are others not less dear whose light they must see extinguished!
Will not the most glorious among the beloved constellation of the
Pleiades there disappear? Like drops of luminous dew the stars
fall one by one into the nothingness of a yawning abyss, whose
bottomless depths no plummet has ever sounded, while the soul,
contemplating these fields of ether, this blue Sahara with its
wandering and perishing oases,--is stricken by a grief so
hopeless, so profound, that neither enthusiasm nor love can ever
soothe it more. It ingulfs and absorbs all emotions, being no
more agitated by them than the sleeping waters of some tranquil
lake, reflecting the moving images thronging its banks from its
polished surface, are by the varied motions and eager life of the
many objects mirrored upon its glassy bosom. The drowsy waters
cannot thus be wakened from their icy lethargy. This melancholy
saddens even the highest joy. "Through the exhaustion always
accompanying such tension, when the soul is strained above the
region which it naturally inhabits...the insufficiency of speech
is felt for the first time by those who have studied it so much,
and used it so well--we are borne from all active, from all
militant instincts--to travel through boundless space--to be lost
in the immensity of adventurous courses far, far above the
clouds...where we no longer see that the earth is beautiful,
because our gaze is riveted upon the skies...where reality is no
longer poetically draped, as has been so skilfully done by the
author of Waverley, but where, in idealizing poetry itself, the
infinite is peopled with the spirits belonging only to its mystic
realm, as has been done by Byron in his Manfred."

Could Madame Sand have divined the incurable melancholy, the will
which cannot blend with that of others, the imperious
exclusiveness, which invariably seize upon imaginations
delighting in the pursuit of dreams whose realities are nowhere
to be found, or at least never in the matter-of-fact world in
which the dreamers are constrained to dwell? Had she foreseen the
form which devoted attachment assumes for such dreamers; had she
measured the entire and absolute absorption which they will alone
accept as the synonyme of tenderness? It is necessary to be in
some degree shy, shrinking, and secretive as they themselves are,
to be able to understand the hidden depths of characters so
concentrated. Like those susceptible flowers which close their
sensitive petals before the first breath of the North wind, they
too veil their exacting souls in the shrouds of self
concentration, unfolding themselves only under the warming rays
of a propitious sun. Such natures have been called "rich by
exclusiveness;" in opposition to those which are "rich by
expansiveness." "If these differing temperaments should meet and
approach each other, they can never mingle or melt the one into
the other," (says the writer whom we have so often quoted) "but
the one must consume the other, leaving nothing but ashes
behind." Alas! it is the natures like that of the fragile
musician whose days we commemorate, which, consuming themselves,
perish; not wishing, not indeed being able, to live any life but
one in conformity with their own exclusive Ideal.

Chopin seemed to dread Madame Sand more than any other woman, the
modern Sibyl, who, like the Pythoness of old, had said so many
things that others of her sex neither knew nor dared to say. He
avoided and put off all introduction to her. Madame Sand was
ignorant of this. In consequence of that captivating simplicity,
which is one of her noblest charms, she did not divine his fear
of the Delphic priestess. At last she was presented to him, and
an acquaintance with her soon dissipated the prejudices which he
had obstinately nourished against female authors.

In the fall of 1837, Chopin was attacked by an alarming illness,
which left him almost without force to support life. Dangerous
symptoms forced him to go South to avoid the rigor of winter.
Madame Sand, always so watchful over those whom she loved, so
full of compassion for their sufferings, would not permit him,
when his health required so much care, to set out alone, and
determined to accompany him. They selected the island of Majorca
for their residence because the air of the sea, joined to the
mild climate which prevails there, is especially salubrious for
those who are suffering from affections of the lungs. Though he
was so weak when he left Paris that we had no hope of his ever
returning; though after his arrival in Majorca he was long and
dangerously ill; yet so much was he benefited by the change that
big health was improved during several years.

Was it the effect of the balmy climate alone which recalled him
to health? Was it not rather because his life was full of bliss
that he found strength to live? Did he not regain strength only
because he now wished to live? Who can tell how far the influence
of the will extends over the body? Who knows what internal subtle
aroma it has the power of disengaging to preserve the sinking
frame from decay; what vital force it can breathe into the
debilitated organs? Who can say where the dominion of mind over
matter ceases? Who knows how far our senses are under the
dominion of the imagination, to what extent their powers may be
increased, or their extinction accelerated, by its influence? It
matters not how the imagination gains its strange extension of
power, whether through long and bitter exercise, or, whether
spontaneously collecting its forgotten strength, it concentrates
its force in some new and decisive moment of destiny: as when the
rays of the sun are able to kindle a flame of celestial origin
when concentrated in the focus of the burning glass, brittle and
fragile though the medium be.

All the long scattered rays of happiness were collected within
this epoch of the life of Chopin; is it then surprising that they
should have rekindled the flame of life, and that it should have
burned at this time with the most vivid lustre? The solitude
surrounded by the blue waves of the Mediterranean and shaded by
groves of orange, seemed fitted in its exceeding loveliness for
the ardent vows of youthful lovers, still believing in their
naive and sweet illusions, sighing for happiness in "some desert
isle." He breathed there that air for which natures unsuited for
the world, and never feeling themselves happy in it, long with
such a painful home-sickness; that air which may be found
everywhere if we can find the sympathetic souls to breathe it
with us, and which is to be met nowhere without them; that air of
the land of our dreams; and which in spite of all obstacles, of
the bitter real, is easily discovered when sought by two! It is
the air of the country of the ideal to which we gladly entice the
being we cherish, repeating with poor Mignon: DAHIN!

As long as his sickness lasted, Madame Sand never left the pillow
of him who loved her even to death, with an attachment which in
losing all its joys, did not lose its intensity, which remained
faithful to her even after all its memories had turned to pain:
"for it seemed as if this fragile being was absorbed and consumed
by the strength of his affection....Others seek happiness in
their attachments; when they no longer find it, the attachment
gently vanishes. In this they resemble the rest of the world. But
he loved for the sake of loving. No amount of suffering was
sufficient to discourage him. He could enter upon a new phase,
that of woe; but the phase of coldness he could never arrive at.
It would have been indeed a phase of physical agony--for his love
was his life--and delicious or bitter, he had not the power of
withdrawing himself a single moment from its domination."
[Footnote: LUCRESIA FLORIANA] Madame Sand never ceased to be for
Chopin that being of magic spells who had snatched him from the
valley of the shadow of death, whose power had changed his
physical agony into the delicious languor of love. To save him
from death, to bring him back to life, she struggled courageously
with his disease. She surrounded him with those divining and
instinctive cares which are a thousand times more efficacious
than the material remedies known to science. While engaged in
nursing him, she felt no fatigue, no weariness, no
discouragement. Neither her strength, nor her patience, yielded
before the task. Like the mothers in robust health, who appear to
communicate a part of their own strength to the sickly infant
who, constantly requiring their care, have also their preference,
she nursed the precious charge into new life. The disease
yielded: "the funereal oppression which secretly undermined the
spirit of Chopin, destroying and corroding all contentment,
gradually vanished. He permitted the amiable character, the
cheerful serenity of his friend to chase sad thoughts and
mournful presentiments away, and to breathe new force into his
intellectual being."

Happiness succeeded to gloomy fears, like the gradual progression
of a beautiful day after a night full of obscurity and terror,
when so dense and heavy is the vault of darkness which weighs
upon us from above, that we are prepared for a sudden and fatal
catastrophe, we do not even dare to dream of deliverance, when
the despairing eye suddenly catches a bright spot where the mists
clear, and the clouds open like flocks of heavy wool yielding,
even while the edges thicken under the pressure of the hand which
rends them. At this moment, the first ray of hope penetrates the
soul. We breathe more freely like those who lost in the windings
of a dark cavern at last think they see a light, though indeed
its existence is still doubtful. This faint light is the day
dawn, though so colorless are its rays, that it is more like the
extinction of the dying twilight,--the fall of the night-shroud
upon the earth. But it is indeed the dawn; we know it by the
vivid and pure breath of the young zephyrs which it sends forth,
like avant-coureurs, to bear us the assurance of morn and safety.
The balm of flowers fills the air, like the thrilling of an
encouraged hope. A stray bird accidentally commences his song
earlier than usual, it soothes the heart like a distant
consolation, and is accepted as a promise for the future. As the
imperceptibly progressive but sure indications multiply, we are
convinced that in this struggle of light and darkness it is the
shadows of night which are to yield. Raising our eyes to the Dome
of lead above us, we feel that it weighs less heavily upon us,
that it has already lost its fatal stability.

Little by little the long gray lines of light increase, they
stretch themselves along the horizon like fissures into a
brighter world. They suddenly enlarge, they gain upon their dark
boundaries, now they break through them, as the waters bounding
the edge of a lake inundate in irregular pools the arid banks.
Then a fierce opposition begins, banks and long dikes accumulate
to arrest the progress. The clouds are oiled like ridges of sand,
tossing and surging to present obstructions, but like the
impetuous raging of irresistible waters, the light breaks through
them, demolishes them, devours them, and as the rays ascend, the
rolling waves of purple mist glow into crimson. At this moment
the young dawn shines with a timid yet victorious grace, while
the knee bends in admiration and gratitude before it, for the
last terror has vanished, and we feel as if new born.

Fresh objects strike upon the view, as if just called from chaos.
A veil of uniform rose-color covers them all, but as the light
augments in intensity, the thin gauze drapes and folds in shades
of pale carnation, while the advancing plains grow clear in white
and dazzling splendor.

The brilliant sun delays no longer to invade the firmament,
gaining new glory as he rises. The vapors surge and crowd
together, rolling themselves from right to left, like the heavy
drapery of a curtain moved by the wind. Then all breathes, moves,
lives, hums, sings; the sounds mingle, cross, meet, and melt into
each other. Inertia gives place to motion, it spreads,
accelerates and circulates. The waves of the lake undulate and
swell like a bosom touched by love. The tears of the dew,
motionless as those of tenderness, grow more and more
perceptible, one after another they are seen glittering on the
humid herbs, diamonds waiting for the sun to paint with rainbow-
tints their vivid scintillations. The gigantic fan of light in
the East is ever opening larger and wider. Spangles of silver,
borders of scarlet, violet fringes, bars of gold, cover it with
fantastic broidery. Light bands of reddish brown feather its
branches. The brightest scarlet at its centre has the glowing
transparency of the ruby; shading into orange like a burning
coal, it widens like a torch, spreads like a bouquet of flames,
which glows and glows from fervor to fervor, ever more

At last the god of day appears! His blazing front is adorned with
luminous locks of long floating hair. Slowly he seems to rise--
but scarcely has he fully unveiled himself, than he starts
forward, disengages himself from all around him, and, leaving the
earth far below him, takes instantaneous possession of the
vaulted heavens..............

The memory of the days passed in the lovely isle of Majorca, like
the remembrance of an entrancing ecstasy, which fate grants but
once in life even to the most favored of her children, remained
always dear to the heart of Chopin. "He [Footnote: Lucrezia
Fioriani] was no longer upon this earth, he was in an empyrean of
golden clouds and perfumes, his imagination, so full of exquisite
beauty, seemed engaged in a monologue with God himself; and if
upon the radiant prism in whose contemplation he forgot all else,
the magic-lantern of the outer world would even cast its
disturbing shadow, he felt deeply pained, as if in the midst of a
sublime concert, a shrieking old woman should blend her shrill
yet broken tones, her vulgar musical motivo, with the divine
thoughts of the great masters." He always spoke of this period
with deep emotion, profound gratitude, as if its happiness had
been sufficient for a life-time, without hoping that it would
ever be possible again to find a felicity in which the fight of
time was only marked by the tenderness of woman's love, and the
brilliant flashes of true genius. Thus did the clock of Linnaeus
mark the course of time, indicating the hours by the successive
waking and sleeping of the flowers, marking each by a different
perfume, and a display of ever varying beauties, as each
variegated calyx opened in ever changing yet ever lovely form!

The beauties of the countries through which the Poet and Musician
travelled together, struck with more distinctness the imagination
of the former. The loveliness of nature impressed Chopin in a
manner less definite, though not less strong. His soul was
touched, and immediately harmonized with the external
enchantment, yet his intellect did not feel the necessity of
analyzing or classifying it. His heart vibrated in unison with
the exquisite scenery around him, although he was not able at the
moment to assign the precise source of his blissful tranquillity.
Like a true musician, he was satisfied to seize the sentiment of
the scenes he visited, while he seemed to give but little
attention to the plastic material, the picturesque frame, which
did not assimilate with the form of his art, nor belong to his
more spiritualized sphere. However, (a fact that has been often
remarked in organizations such as his,) as he was removed in time
and distance from the scenes in which emotion had obscured his
senses, as the clouds from the burning incense envelope the
censer, the more vividly the forms and beauties of such scenes
stood out in his memory. In the succeeding years, he frequently
spoke of them, as though the remembrance was full of pleasure to
him. But when so entirely happy, he made no inventory of his
bliss. He enjoyed it simply, as we all do in the sweet years of
childhood, when we are deeply impressed by the scenery
surrounding us without ever thinking of its details, yet finding,
long after, the exact image of each object in our memory, though
we are only able to describe its forms when we have ceased to
behold them.

Besides, why should he have tasked himself to scrutinize the
beautiful sites in Spain which formed the appropriate setting of
his poetic happiness? Could he not always find them again through
the descriptions of his inspired companion? As all objects, even
the atmosphere itself, become flame-colored when seen through a
glass dyed in crimson, so he might contemplate these delicious
sites in the glowing hues cast around them by the impassioned
genius of the woman he loved. The nurse of his sick- room--was
she not also a great artist? Rare and beautiful union! If to the
depths of tenderness and devotion, in which the true and
irresistible empire of woman must commence, and deprived of which
she is only an enigma without a possible solution, nature should
unite the most brilliant gifts of genius,--the miraculous
spectacle of the Greek firs would be renewed,--the glittering
flames would again sport over the abysses of the ocean without
being extinguished or submerged in the chilling depths, adding,
as the living hues were thrown upon the surging waves, the
glowing dyes of the purple fire to the celestial blue of the
heaven-reflecting sea!

Has genius ever attained that utter self-abnegation, that sublime
humility of heart which gives the power to make those strange
sacrifices of the entire Past, of the whole Future; those
immolations, as courageous as mysterious; those mystic and utter
holocausts of self, not temporary and changing, but monotonous
and constant,--through whose might alone tenderness may justly
claim the higher name, devotion? Has not the force of genius its
own exclusive and legitimate exactions, and does not the force of
woman consist in the abdication of all exactions? Can the royal
purple and burning flames of genius ever float upon the
immaculate azure of woman's destiny?...


Disappointment--Ill Health--Visit to England--Devotion of
Friends--Last Sacraments--Delphina Potocka--Louise--M. Gutman--

FROM the date of 1840, the health of Chopin, affected by so many
changes, visibly declined. During some years, his most tranquil
hours were spent at Nohant, where he seemed to suffer less than
elsewhere. He composed there, with pleasure, bringing with him
every year to Paris several new compositions, but every winter
caused him an increase of suffering. Motion became at first
difficult, and soon almost impossible to him. From 1846 to 1847,
he scarcely walked at all; he could not ascend the staircase
without the most painful sensation of suffocation, and his life
was only prolonged through continual care and the greatest

Towards the Spring of 1847, as his health grew more precarious
from day to day, he was attacked by an illness from which it was
thought he could never recover. He was saved for the last time;
but this epoch was marked by an event so agonizing to his heart
that he immediately called it mortal. Indeed, he did not long
survive the rupture of his friendship with Madame Sand, which
took place at this date. Madame de Stael, who, in spite of her
generous and impassioned heart, her subtle and vivid intellect,
fell sometimes into the fault of making her sentences heavy
through a species of pedantry which robbed them of the grace of
"abandon,"--remarked on one of those occasions when the strength
of her feelings made her forget the solemnity of her Genevese
stiffness: "In affection, there are only beginnings!"

This exclamation was based upon the bitter experience of the
insufficiency of the human heart to accomplish the beautiful and
blissful dreams of the imagination. Ah! if some blessed examples
of human devotion did not sometimes occur to contradict the
melancholy words of Madame de Stael, which so many illustrious as
well as obscure facts seem to prove, our suspicions might lead us
to be guilty of much ingratitude and want of trust; we might be
led to doubt the sincerity of the hearts which surround us, and
see but the allegorical symbols of human affections in the
antique train of the beautiful Canephoroe, who carried the
fragile and perfumed flowers to adorn some hapless victim for the

Chopin spoke frequently and almost by preference of Madame Sand,
without bitterness or recrimination. Tears always filled his eyes
when he named her; but with a kind of bitter sweetness he gave
himself up to the memories of past days, alas, now. He stripped
of their manifold significance! In spite of the many subterfuges
employed by his friends to entice him from dwelling upon
remembrances which always brought dangerous excitement with them,
he loved to return to them; as if through the same feelings which
had once reanimated his life, he now wished to destroy it,
sedulously stifling its powers through the vapor of this subtle
poison. His last pleasure seemed to be the memory of the blasting
of his last hope; he treasured the bitter knowledge that under
this fatal spell his life was ebbing fast away. All attempts to
fix his attention upon other objects were made in vain, he
refused to be comforted and would constantly speak of the one
engrossing subject. Even if he had ceased to speak of it, would
he not always have thought of it? He seemed to inhale the poison
rapidly and eagerly, that he might thus shorten the time in which
he would be forced to breathe it!

Although the exceeding fragility of his physical constitution
might not have allowed him, under any circumstances, to have
lingered long on earth, yet at least he might have been spared
the bitter sufferings which clouded his last hours! With a tender
and ardent soul, though exacting through its fastidiousness and
excessive delicacy, he could not live unless surrounded by the
radiant phantoms he had himself evoked; he could not expel the
profound sorrow which his heart cherished as the sole remaining
fragment of the happy past. He was another great and illustrious
victim to the transitory attachments occurring between persons of
different character, who, experiencing a surprise full of delight
in their first sudden meeting, mistake it for a durable feeling,
and build hopes and illusions upon it which can never be
realized. It is always the nature the most deeply moved, the most
absolute in its hopes and attachments, for which all
transplantation is impossible, which is destroyed and mined in
the painful awakening from the absorbing dream! Terrible power
exercised over man by the most exquisite gifts which he
possesses! Like the coursers of the sun, when the hand of
Phaeton, in place of guiding their beneficent career, permits
them to wander at random, disordering the beautiful structure of
the celestial spheres, they bring devastation and flames in their
train! Chopin felt and often repeated that the sundering of this
long friendship, the rupture of this strong tie, broke all the
chords which bound him to life.

During this attack his life was despaired of for several days. M.
Gutman, his most distinguished pupil, and during the last years
of his life, his most intimate friend, lavished upon him every
proof of tender attachment. His cares, his attentions, were the
most agreeable to him. With the timidity natural to invalids, and
with the tender delicacy peculiar to himself, he once asked the
Princess Czartoryska, who visited him every day, often fearing
that on the morrow he would no longer be among the living: "if
Gutman was not very much fatigued? If she thought he would be
able to continue his care of him;" adding, "that his presence was
dearer to him than that of any other person." His convalescence
was very slow and painful, leaving him indeed but the semblance
of life. At this epoch he changed so much in appearance that he
could scarcely be recognized The next summer brought him that
deceptive decrease of suffering which it sometimes grants to
those who are dying. He refused to quit Paris, and thus deprived
himself of the pure air of the country, and the benefit of this
vivifying element.

The winter of 1847 to 1848 was filled with a painful and
continual succession of improvements and relapses.
Notwithstanding this, he resolved in the spring to accomplish his
old project of visiting London. When the revolution of February
broke out, he was still confined to bed, but with a melancholy
effort, he seemed to try to interest himself in the events of the
day, and spoke of them more than usual. M. Gutman continued his
most intimate and constant visitor. He accepted through
preference his cares until the close of his life.

Feeling better in the month of April, he thought of realizing his
contemplated journey, of visiting that country to which he had
intended to go when youth and life opened in bright perspective
before him. He set out for England, where his works had already
found an intelligent public, and were generally known and

[Footnote: The compositions of Chopin were, even at that time,
known and very much liked in England. The most distinguished
virtuosi frequently executed them. In a pamphlet published in
London by Messrs. Wessel and Stappletou, under the title of AN
ESSAY ON THE WORKS OF F.CHOPIN, we find some lines marked by just
criticism. The epigraph of this little pamphlet is ingeniously
chosen, and the two lines from Shelley could scarcely be better
applied than to Chopin:

"He was a mighty poet--and
A subtle-souled Psychologist."

The author of this pamphlet speaks with enthusiasm of the
"originative genius untrammeled by conventionalities, unfettered
by pedantry;...of the outpourings of an unworldly and tristful
soul--those musical floods of tears, and gushes of pure
joyfulness--those exquisite embodiments of fugitive thoughts--
those infinitesimal delicacies, which give so much value to the
lightest sketch of Chopin." The English author again says: "One
thing is certain, viz.: to play with proper feeling and correct
execution, the PRELUDES and STUDIES of Chopin, is to be neither
more nor less than a finished pianist, and moreover to comprehend
them thoroughly, to give a life and tongue to their infinite and
most eloquent subtleties of expression, involves the necessity of
being in no less a degree a poet than a pianist, a thinker than a
musician. Commonplace is instinctively avoided in all the works
of Chopin; a stale cadence or a trite progression, a humdrum
subject or a hackneyed sequence, a vulgar twist of the melody or
a worn-out passage, a meagre harmony or an unskillful
counterpoint, may in vain be looked for throughout the entire
range of his compositions; the prevailing characteristics of
which, are, a feeling as uncommon as beautiful, a treatment as
original as felicitous, a melody and a harmony as new, fresh,
vigorous, and striking, as they are utterly unexpected and out of
the common track. In taking up one of the works of Chopin, you
are entering, as it were, a fairyland, untrodden by human
footsteps, a path hitherto unfrequented but by the great composer
himself; and a faith, a devotion, a desire to appreciate and a
determination to understand are absolutely necessary, to do it
any thing like adequate justice.... Chopin in his POLONAISES and
in his MAZOURKAS has aimed at those characteristics, which
distinguish the national music of his country so markedly from,
that of all others, that quaint idiosyncrasy, that identical
wildness and fantasticality, that delicious mingling of the sad
and cheerful, which invariably and forcibly individualize the
music of those Northern nations, whose language delights in
combinations of consonants...."]

He left France in that mood of mind which the English call "low
spirits." The transitory interest which he had endeavored to take
in political changes, soon disappeared. He became more taciturn
than ever. If through absence of mind, a few words would escape
him. They were only exclamations of regret. His affection for the
limited number of persons whom he continued to see, was filled
with that heart-rending emotion which precedes eternal farewells!
Art alone always retained its absolute power over him. Music
absorbed him during the time, now constantly shortening, in which
he was able to occupy himself with it, as completely as during
the days when he was full of life and hope. Before he left Paris,
he gave a concert in the saloon of M. Pleyel, one of the friends
with whom his relations had been the most constant, the most
frequent, and the most affectionate; who is now rendering a
worthy homage to his memory, occupying himself with zeal and
activity in the execution of a monument for his tomb. At this
concert, his chosen and faithful audience heard him for the last

He was received in London with an eagerness which had some effect
in aiding him to shake off his sadness, to dissipate his mournful
depression. Perhaps he dreamed, by burying all his former habits
in oblivion, he could succeed in dissipating, his melancholy! He
neglected the prescriptions of his physicians, with all the
precautions which reminded him of his wretched health. He played
twice in public, and many times in private concerts. He mingled
much in society, sat up late at night, and exposed himself to
considerable fatigue, without permitting himself to be deterred
by any consideration for his health. He was presented to the
Queen by the Duchess of Sutherland, and the most distinguished
society sought the pleasure of his acquaintance. He went to
Edinburgh, where the climate was particularly injurious to him.
He was much debilitated upon his return from Scotland; his
physicians wished him to leave England immediately, but he
delayed for some time his departure. Who can read the feelings
which caused this delay!...He played again at a concert given for
the Poles. It was the last mark of love sent to his beloved
country--the last look--the last sigh--the last regret! He was
feted, applauded, and surrounded by his own people. He bade them
all adieu,--they did not know it was an eternal Farewell! What
thoughts must have filled his sad soul as he crossed the sea to
return to Paris! That Paris so different now for him from that
which he had found without seeking in 1831!

He was met upon his arrival by a surprise as painful as
unexpected. Dr. Molin, whose advice and intelligent prescriptions
had saved his life in the winter of 1847, to whom alone he
believed himself indebted for the prolongation of his life, was
dead. He felt his loss painfully, nay, it brought a profound
discouragement with it; at a time when the mind exercises so much
influence over the progress of the disease, he persuaded himself
that no one could replace the trusted physician, and he had no
confidence in any other. Dissatisfied with them all, without any
hope from their skill, he changed them constantly. A kind of
superstitious depression seized him. No tie stronger than life,
no more powerful as death, came now to struggle against this
bitter apathy! From the winter of 1848, Chopin had been in no
condition to labor continuously. From time to time he retouched
some scattered leaves, without succeeding in arranging his
thoughts in accordance with his designs. A respectful care of his
fame dictated to him the wish that these sketches should be
destroyed to prevent the possibility of their being mutilated,
disfigured, and transformed into posthumous works unworthy of his

He left no finished manuscripts, except a very short WALTZ, and a
last NOCTURNE, as parting memories. In the later period of his
life he thought of writing a method for the Piano, in which he
intended to give his ideas upon the theory and technicality of
his art, the results of his long and patient studies, his happy
innovations, and his intelligent experience. The task was a
difficult one, demanding redoubled application even from one who
labored as assiduously as Chopin. Perhaps he wished to avoid the
emotions of art, (affecting those who reproduce them in serenity
of soul so differently from those who repeat in them their own
desolation of heart,) by taking refuge in a region so barren. He
sought in this employment only an absorbing and uniform
occupation, he only asked from it what Manfred demanded in vain
from the powers of magic: "forgetfulness!" Forgetfulness--granted
neither by the gayety of amusement, nor the lethargy of torpor!
On the contrary, with venomous guile, they always compensate in
the renewed intensity of woe, for the time they may have
succeeded in benumbing it. In the daily labor which "charms the
storms of the soul," (DER SEELE STURM BESCHWORT,) he sought
without doubt forgetfulness, which occupation, by rendering the
memory torpid, may sometimes procure, though it cannot destroy
the sense of pain. At the close of that fine elegy which he names
"The Ideal," a poet, who was also the victim of an inconsolable
melancholy, appeals to labor as a consolation when a prey to
bitter regret; while expecting an early death, he invokes
occupation as the last resource against the incessant anguish of

"And thou, so pleated, with her uniting,
To charm the soul-storm into peace,
Sweet toil, in toil itself delighting,
That more it labored, less could cease,
Though but by grains thou aidest the pile
The vast eternity uprears,
At least thou strikest from TIME the while
Life's debt--the minutes--days--and years."

Bulwer's translation of SCHILLER'S "Ideal."

Beschoeftigung, die nie ermattet
Die langsam schafft, doch nie zerstoert,
Die zu dem Bau der Ewigkeiten
Zwar Sandkorn nur, fuer Sandkorn reicht,
Doch von der grossen Schuld der Zeiten
Minute, Tage, Jahre streicht.

Die Ideale--SHILLER.

The strength of Chopin was not sufficient for the execution of
his intention. The occupation was too abstract, too fatiguing. He
contemplated the form of his project, he spoke of it at different
times, but its execution had become impossible. He wrote but a
few pages of it, which were destroyed with the rest.

At last the disease augmented so visibly, that the fears of his
friends assumed the hue of despair. He scarcely ever left his
bed, and spoke but rarely. His sister, upon receiving this
intelligence, came from Warsaw to take her place at his pillow,
which she left no more. He witnessed the anguish, the
presentiments, the redoubled sadness around him, without showing
what impression they made upon him. He thought of death with
Christian calm and resignation, yet he did not cease to prepare
for the morrow. The fancy he had for changing his residence was
once more manifested, he took another lodging, disposed the
furnishing of it anew, and occupied himself in its most minute
details. As he had taken no measures to recall the orders he had
given for its arrangement, they were transporting his furniture
to the apartments he was destined never to inhabit, upon the very
day of his death!

Did he fear that death would not fulfil his plighted promise! Did
he dread, that after having touched him with his icy hand, he
would still suffer him to linger upon earth? Did he feel that
life would be almost unendurable with its fondest ties broken,
its closest links dissevered? There is a double influence often
felt by gifted temperaments when upon the eve of some event which
is to decide their fate. The eager heart, urged on by a desire to
unravel the mystic secrets of the unknown Future, contradicts the
colder, the more timid intellect, which fears to plunge into the
uncertain abyss of the coming fate! This want of harmony between
the simultaneous previsions of the mind and heart, often causes
the firmest spirits to make assertions which their actions seem
to contradict; yet actions and assertions both flow from the
differing sources of an equal conviction. Did Chopin suffer from
this inevitable dissimilarity between the prophetic whispers of
the heart, and the thronging doubts of the questioning mind?

From week to week, and soon from day to day, the cold shadow of
death gained upon him. His end was rapidly approaching; his
sufferings became more and more intense; his crises grew more
frequent, and at each accelerated occurrence, resembled more and
more a mortal agony. He retained his presence of mind, his vivid
will upon their intermission, until the last; neither losing the
precision of his ideas, nor the clear perception of his
intentions. The wishes which he expressed in his short moments of
respite, evinced the calm solemnity with which he contemplated
the approach of death. He desired to be buried by the side of
Bellini, with whom, during the time of Bellini's residence in
Paris, he had been intimately acquainted. The grave of Bellini is
in the cemetery of Pere LaChaise, next to that of Cherubini. The
desire of forming an acquaintance with this great master whom he
had been brought up to admire, was one of the motives which, when
he left Vienna in 1831 to go to London, induced him, without
foreseeing that his destiny would fix him there, to pass through
Paris. Chopin now sleeps between Bellini and Cherubini, men of
very dissimilar genius, and yet to both of whom he was in an
equal degree allied, as he attached as much value to the respect
he felt for the science of the one, as to the sympathy he
acknowledged for the creations of the other. Like the author of
NORMA, he was full of melodic feeling, yet he was ambitions of
attaining the harmonic depth of the learned old master; desiring
to unite, in a great and elevated style, the dreamy vagueness of
spontaneous emotion with the erudition of the most consummate

Continuing the reserve of his manners to the very last, he did
not request to see. any one for the last time; but he evinced the
most touching gratitude to all who approached him. The first days
of October left neither doubt nor hope. The fatal moment drew
near. The next day, the next hour, could no longer be relied
upon. M. Gutman and his sister were in constant attendance upon
him, never for a single moment leaving him. The Countess Delphine
Potocka, who was then absent from Paris, returned as soon as she
was informed of his imminent danger. None of those who approached
the dying artist, could tear themselves from the spectacle of
this great and gifted soul in its hours of mortal anguish.

However violent or frivolous the passions may be which agitate
our hearts, whatever strength or indifference may be displayed in
meeting unforeseen or sudden accidents, which would seem
necessarily overwhelming in their effects, it is impossible to
escape the impression made by the imposing majesty of a lingering
and beautiful death, which touches, softens, fascinates and
elevates even the souls the least prepared for such holy and
sublime emotions. The lingering and gradual departure of one
among us for those unknown shores, the mysterious solemnity of
his secret dreams, his commemoration of past facts and passing
ideas when still breathing upon the narrow strait which separates
time from eternity, affect us more deeply than any thing else in
this world. Sudden catastrophes, the dreadful alternations forced
upon the shuddering fragile ship, tossed like a toy by the wild
breath of the tempest; the blood of the battle-field, with the
gloomy smoke of artillery; the horrible charnel-house into which
our own habitation is converted by a contagious plague;
conflagrations which wrap whole cities in their glittering
flames; fathomless abysses which open at our feet;--remove us
less sensibly from all the fleeting attachments "which pass,
which can be broken, which cease," than the prolonged view of a
soul conscious of its own position, silently contemplating the
multiform aspects of time and the mute door of eternity! The
courage, the resignation, the elevation, the emotion, which
reconcile it with that inevitable dissolution so repugnant to all
our instincts, certainly impress the bystanders more profoundly
than the most frightful catastrophes, which, in the confusion
they create, rob the scene of its still anguish, its solemn

The parlor adjoining the chamber of Chopin was constantly
occupied by some of his friends, who, one by one, in turn,
approached him to receive a sign of recognition, a look of
affection, when he was no longer able to address them in words.
On Sunday, the 15th of October, his attacks were more violent and
more frequent--lasting for several hours in succession. He
endured them with patience and great strength of mind. The
Countess Delphine Potocka, who was present, was much distressed;
her tears were flowing fast when he observed her standing at the
foot of his bed, tall, slight, draped in white, resembling the
beautiful angels created by the imagination of the most devout
among the painters. Without doubt, he supposed her to be a
celestial apparition; and when the crisis left him a moment in
repose, he requested her to sing; they deemed him at first seized
with delirium, but he eagerly repeated his request. Who could
have ventured--to oppose his wish? The piano was rolled from his
parlor to the door of his chamber, while, with sobs in her voice,
and tears streaming down her cheeks, his gifted countrywoman
sang. Certainly, this delightful voice had never before attained
an expression so full of profound pathos. He seemed to suffer
less as he listened. She sang that famous Canticle to the Virgin,
which, it is said, once saved the life of Stradella. "How
beautiful it is!" he exclaimed. "My God, how very beautiful!
Again--again!" Though overwhelmed with emotion, the Countess had
the noble courage to comply with the last wish of a friend, a
compatriot; she again took a seat at the piano, and sung a hymn
from Marcello. Chopin again feeling worse, everybody was seized
with fright--by a spontaneous impulse all who were present threw
themselves upon their knees--no one ventured to speak; the sacred
silence was only broken by the voice of the Countess, floating,
like a melody from heaven, above the sighs and sobs which formed
its heavy and mournful earth-accompaniment. It was the haunted
hour of twilight; a dying light lent its mysterious shadows to
this sad scene--the sister of Chopin prostrated near his bed,
wept and prayed--and never quitted this attitude of supplication
while the life of the brother she had so cherished lasted.

His condition altered for the worse during the night, but he felt
more tranquil upon Monday morning, and as if he had known in
advance the appointed and propitious moment, he asked to receive
immediately the last sacraments. In the absence of the Abbe * *
*, with whom he had been very intimate since their common
expatriation, he requested that the Abbe Jelowicki, one of the
most distinguished men of the Polish emigration, should be sent
for. When the holy Viaticum was administered to him, he received
it, surrounded by those who loved him, with great devotion. He
called his friends a short time afterwards, one by one, to his
bedside, to give each of them his last earnest blessing; calling
down the grace of God fervently upon themselves, their
affections, and their hopes,--every knee bent--every head bowed--
all eyes were heavy with tears--every heart was sad and
oppressed--every soul elevated.

Attacks more and more painful, returned and continued during the
day; from Monday night until Tuesday, he did not utter a single
word. He did not seem able to distinguish the persons who were
around him. About eleven o'clock on Tuesday evening, he appeared
to revive a little. The Abbe Jelowicki had never left him. Hardly
had he recovered the power of speech, than he requested him to
recite with him the prayers and litanies for the dying. He was
able to accompany the Abbe in an audible and intelligible voice.
From this moment until his death, he held his head constantly
supported upon the shoulder of M. Gutman, who, during the whole
course of this sickness, had devoted his days and nights to him.

A convulsive sleep lasted until the 17th of October, 1849. The
final agony commenced about two o'clock; a cold sweat ran
profusely from his brow; after a short drowsiness, he asked, in a
voice scarcely audible: "Who is near me?" Being answered, he bent
his head to kiss the hand of M. Gutman, who still supported it--
while giving this last tender proof of love and gratitude, the
soul of the artist left its fragile clay. He died as he had
lived--in loving.

When the doors of the parlor were opened, his friends threw
themselves around the loved corpse, not able to suppress the gush
of tears.

His love for flowers being well known, they were brought in such
quantities the next day, that the bed in which they had placed
them, and indeed the whole room, almost disappeared, hidden by
their varied and brilliant hues. He seemed to repose in a garden
of roses. His face regained its early beauty, its purity of
expression, its long unwonted serenity. Calmly--with his youthful
loveliness, so long dimmed by bitter suffering, restored by
death, he slept among the flowers he loved, the last long and
dreamless sleep!

M. Clesinger reproduced the delicate traits, to which death had
rendered their early beauty, in a sketch which he immediately
modeled, and which he afterwards executed in marble for his tomb.

The respectful admiration which Chopin felt for the genius of
Mozart, had induced him to request that his Requiem should be
performed at his obsequies; this wish was complied with. The
funeral ceremonies took place in the Madeleine Church, the 30th
of October, 1849. They had been delayed until this date, in order
that the execution of this great work should be worthy of the
master and his disciple. The principal artists in Paris were
anxious to take part in it. The FUNERAL MARCH of Chopin, arranged
for the instruments for this occasion by M. Reber, was introduced
at the Introit. At the Offertory, M. Lefebure Vely executed his
admirable PRELUDES in SI and MI MINOR upon the organ. The solos
of the REQUIEM were claimed by Madame Viardot and Madame
Castellan. Lablache, who had sung the TUBA MIRUM of this REQUIEM
at the burial of Beethoven in 1827, again sung it upon this
occasion. M. Meyerbeer, with Prince Adam Czartoryski, led the
train of mourners. The pall was borne by M. Delacroix, M.
Franchomme, M. Gutman, and Prince Alexander Czartorvski.--However
insufficient these pages may be to speak of Chopin as we would
have desired, we hope that the attraction which so justly
surrounds his name, will compensate for much that may be wanting
in them. If to these lines, consecrated to the commemoration of
his works and to all that he held dear, which the sincere esteem,
enthusiastic regard, and intense sorrow for his loss, can alone
gift with persuasive and sympathetic power, it were necessary to
add some of the thoughts awakened in every man when death robs
him of the loved contemporaries of his youth, thus breaking the
first ties linked by the confiding and deluded heart with so much
the greater pain if they were strong enough to survive that
bright period of young life, we would say that in the same--year
we have lost the two dearest friends we have known on earth. One
of them perished in the wild course of civil war. Unfortunate and
valiant hero! He fell with his burning courage unsubdued, his
intrepid calmness undisturbed, his chivalric temerity unabated,
through the endurance of the horrible tortures of a fearful
death. He was a Prince of rare intelligence, of great activity,
of eminent faculties, through whose veins the young blood
circulated with the glittering ardor of a subtle gas. By his own
indefatigable energy he had just succeeded in removing the
difficulties which obstructed his path, in creating an arena in
which his faculties might hare displayed themselves with as much
success in debates and the management of civil affairs, as they
had already done in brilliant feats in arms. The other, Chopin,
died slowly, consuming himself in the flames of his own genius.
His life, unconnected with public events, was like some fact
which has never been incorporated in a material body. The traces
of his existence are only to be found in the works which he has
left. He ended his days upon a foreign soil, which he never
considered as his country, remaining faithful in the devotion of
his affections to the eternal widowhood of his own. He was a Poet
of a mournful soul, full of reserve and complicated mystery, and
familiar with the stern face of sorrow.

The immediate interest which we felt in the movements of the
parties to which the life of Prince Felix Lichnowsky was bound,
was broken by his death: the death of Chopin has robbed us of all
the consolations of an intelligent and comprehensive friendship.
The affectionate sympathy with our feelings, with our manner of
understanding art, of which this exclusive artist has given us so
many proofs, would have softened the disappointment and weariness
which yet await us, and have strengthened is in our earliest
tendencies, confirmed us in our first essays.

Since it has fallen to our lot to survive them, we wish at least
to express the sincere regret we feel for their loss. We deem
ourselves bound to offer the homage of our deep and respectful
sorrow upon the grave of the remarkable musician who has just
passed from among us. Music is at present receiving such great
and general development, that it reminds us of that which took
place in painting in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Even
the artists who limited the productions of their genius to the
margins of parchments, painted their miniatures with an
inspiration so happy, that having broken through the Byzantine
stiffness, they left the most exquisite types, which the
Francias, the Peruginos, and the Raphaels to come were to
transport to their frescos, and introduce upon their canvas.


There have been people among whom, in order to preserve the
memory of their great men or the signal events of their history,
it was the custom to form pyramids composed of the stones which
each passer-by was expected to bring to the pile, which gradually
increased to an unlooked-for height from the anonymous
contributions of all. Monuments are still in our days erected by
an analogous proceeding, but in place of building only a rude and
unformed hillock, in consequence of a fortunate combination the
contribution of all concurs in the creation of some work of art,
which is not only destined to perpetuate the mute remembrance
which they wish to honor, but which may have the power to awaken
in future ages the feelings which gave birth to such creation,
the emotions of the contemporaries which called it into being. The
subscriptions which are opened to raise statues and noble
memorials to those who have rendered their epoch or country
illustrious, originate in this design. Immediately after the
death of Chopin, M. Camille Pleyel conceived a project of this
kind. He commenced a subscription, (which conformably to the
general expectation rapidly amounted to a considerable sum,) to
have the monument modeled by M. Clesinger, executed in marble and
placed in the Pere La-Chaise. In thinking over our long
friendship with Chopin; on the exceptional admiration which we
have always felt for him ever since his appearance in the musical
world; remembering that, artist like himself, we have been the
frequent interpreter of his inspirations, an interpreter, we may
safely venture to say, loved and chosen by himself; that we have
more frequently than others received from his own lips the spirit
of his style; that we were in some degree identified with his
creations in art, and with the feelings which he confided to it,
through that long and constant assimilation which obtains between
a writer and his translator;--we have fondly thought that these
connective circumstances imposed upon us a higher and nearer duty
than that of merely adding an unformed and anonymous stone to the
growing pyramid of homage which his contemporaries are elevating
to him. We believed that the claims of a tender friendship for
our illustrious colleague, exacted from us a more particular
expression of our profound regret, of our high admiration. It
appeared to us that we would not be true to ourselves, did we not
court the honor of inscribing our name, our deep affliction, upon
his sepulchral stone! This should be granted to those who never
hope to fill the void in their hearts left by an irreparable


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