Translated by M. Jules Cambon
it seems laden with the fresh perfume of the fields and furrows.
Racine himself, the most penetrating and the most psychological of poets, is too well versed in the human soul not to have felt its intimate union with Nature. His magnificent verse in Phedre,
"Ah, que ne suis-je assise a l'ombre des forets!"
is but the cry of despair, the appeal, filled with anguish, of a heart that is troubled and which oft has sought peace and alleviation amid the cold indifference of inanimate things. The small place given to Nature in the French literature of the seventeenth century is not to be ascribed to the language nor explained by a lack of sensibility on the part of the race. The true cause is to be found in the spirit of that period; for investigation will disclose that the very same condition then characterized the literatures of England, of Spain, and of Italy.
We must bear in mind that, owing to an almost unique combination of circumstances, there never has been a period when man was m