No doubt his service was great to French letters as a whole, since the movement that he stood for prepared those qualities which give French literature of the classic period its distinction. But these qualities are those of a highly objective and impersonal expression, seeking perfection in conformity to the general consensus of reasonable and intelligent minds, not of an intensely subjective expression, concerned in the first place with being true to the promptings of an individual temperament; and lyric expression is essentially of the latter kind. MALHERBE, therefore, in repressing the liberty of the individual temperament, sealed the springs of lyric poetry, which the Renaissance had opened, and they were not again set running till a new emancipation of the individual had come with the Revolution. Between MALHERBE and CHATEAUBRIAND, that is for almost two hundred years, poetry that breathes the true lyric spirit is practically absent from French literature. There were indeed the chansonniers, who
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