this creed of work. To have contemplated the saint, the artist, the peasant and the craftsman as workmen is to have made the mystical and overwhelming conception of the community of saints a reality; it is also, in intention at least, to have annihilated modern society, to have seen, in the city of men, the vision of the city of God.

Visions, says the man of practice, are visionary. They do not work. They are all very well, but they are only dreams, and those who indulge in them are only dreamers. But is it only a dream that men should seek the truth of their own impulse and obey it, that they should guard themselves from the contagion of the lie in the soul, that they should make their work a true and integral part of themselves? These dreamers are the doers. Art and sainthood are only a more perfect work.

'Car les politiques se rattrapent, croient se rattraper, en disant qu'au moins ils sont pratiques et que nous ne le sommes pas. Ici même ils se trompent. Et ils trompent.

Nous ne leur accorderons pas même cela. Ce sont les mystiques qui sont même pratiques et ce sont les politiques qui ne le sont pas. C'est nous qui sommes pratiques, qui faisons quelque chose; et c'est eux qui ne le sont pas, qui ne font rien. C'est nous qui amassons et c'est eux qui pillent. C'est nous, qui bâtissons, c'est nous qui fondons, et c'est eux qui démolissent. C'est nous qui nourissons et c'est eux qui parasitent. C'est nous qui faisons les œuvres et les hommes, les peuples et les races. Et c'est eux qui ruinent.'

Only that is created which is born of the unflinching and incessant adjustment of the act to the intention. The obedience is to be paid to the soul, not to the exigencies of the external world. Shift this allegiance from the one side to the other, and you have, not an organic creation but a mechanical assemblage without the breath of life in it, which will dissolve in a day. To learn how to give this exact and uncompromising allegiance, to discover to what to give it, and so devotedly to fulfil the mystique of his own life, to reach the impersonal bedrock of personality and to build upon it congruously-this was Péguy's destiny. By his conformity to this universal plan, he proved himself a poet of humanity. He followed out the roots of his being to their final contact with the native earth, and, subduing

himself to France, earned the right to demand that France should subdue herself to him, not as to Charles Péguy the man, but to Péguy the representative of ideal France. His prophetic beginnings were justified. The instinct that had moved him to commence author, as we say, by constructing a drama of 750 pages upon Jeanne d'Arc, was refined and strengthened to a conscious artistic purpose. He apprehended all the magnificence of his chosen symbol; he knew that he was marked out to be its interpreter. He had in his long struggles with the unworthiness of his age discovered the true significance of his peasant stock: he was a peasant still.

'Moi, vous le savez bien. Les tenaces aïeux, paysans, vignerons, les vieux hommes de Vennécy et de Saint-Jean-deBraye, et de Chécy et de Bou et de Mardié, les patients aïeux qui sur les arbres et les buissons de la forêt d'Orléans et sur les sables de la Loire conquirent tant d'arpents de bonne vigne, n'ont pas été longs, les vieux, ils n'ont pas tardé; ils n'en ont pas eu pour longtemps à reconquérir sur le monde bourgeois, sur la société bourgeoise, leur petit-fils indigne, buveur d'eau, en bouteilles. Les ancêtres au pied pertinent, les hommes noueux comme les ceps, enroulés comme les vrilles de la vigne, fins comme les sarments et qui comme les sarments sont retournés en cendre. Et les femmes au battoir, les gros paquets de linge bien gonflés roulant dans les brouettes, les femmes qui lavaient la lessive à la rivière. Ma grand'mère qui gardait les vaches, qui ne savait pas lire et écrire, ou, comme on dit à l'école primaire, qui ne savait ni lire ni écrire, à qui je dois tout, à qui je dois, de qui je tiens tout ce que je suis; Halévy, votre grand'mère ne gardait pas les vaches; et elle savait lire et écrire ; je n'ajoute pas et compter. Ma grand'mère aussi savait compter. Elle comptait comme on compte au marché, elle comptait de tête, par cœur. . . . J'ai beau faire ; j'ai eu beau me défendre. En moi, autour de moi, dessus moi, sans me demander mon avis tout conspire, au-dessus de moi, tout concourt à faire de moi un paysan non point du Danube, ce qui serait de la littérature encore, mais simplement de la vallée de la Loire, un bûcheron d'un forêt qui n'est pas même l'immortelle forêt de Gastine, puisque c'était le périssable forêt d'Orléans, un vígneron des côtes et des sables de Loire. . . .'

What had he to do with the elegances of the Sorbonne? he asked. For him they could at most be a

whetstone to sharpen the edge of his own consciousness, which was no rapier blade, but a weapon of old France, a tool of peace no less than a weapon of war. Peremptory voices had spoken to him from the depths of his own being, telling him that he must suffer himself wholly to become the peasant that he was. He above all men should obey the voice.

'Je serais un grand sot de ne pas me laisser faire, de ne pas me laisser redevenir, reconquérir paysan. Plus que tout autre je serais un grand sot. Plus que jamais en ce moment même je serais un grand sot. Cette année même il m'a été donné en plein ce que je demandais, en vain, depuis dix ans et plus, ce qui m'avait été donné une fois, une première fois. Il m'a été donné de commencer, de mettre tout ce qu'un homme peut mettre de son être à réprésenter les quatorze ou quinze mystères, le mystère unique de la vie et de la vocation et de la saintété et du martyre de la plus grande sainte, je crois, qu'il y ait jamais eu . . . Je me priverais moimême, je m'enlèverais mon principal, mon seul atout, temporel. Pensez, mon cher Halévy, n'est-il pas effrayant de penser que son père et sa mère, son oncle Durand Lassois, ses trois frères, sa grande sœur, ses amies, Mengette, Hauviette, Madame Gervaise étaient des gens comme nous en avons tant connus étant petits, comme nous eussions été nous-mêmes, comme nous allions être nous-mêmes (or si nous pouvions tranquillement le redevenir!), étaient exactement, étaient identiquement des gens comme tous ceux où nous avons vécu étant petits. Et que toute cette grande histoire est sortie de là.'


In the three Mystères de Jeanne d'Arc' (1910-12) which Péguy lived to write we have, therefore, but a fragment of his plan; yet so compelling is the sense of the organic unity in Péguy's life and work that the fragment leaves us with the satisfaction of fulfilment. It is not merely a patriotic figure of speech to say that the twelve mysteries which Péguy did not live to write with a pen upon paper were inscribed by him eternally in his death. That is no more than the exact truth, and to those who find it a hard and incomprehensible saying a full understanding of Péguy is denied. He has been named 'The Chaplain of the Republic'; but that, after all, is only a timid approximation to the truth. He was the saint of the Republic, and there has been no other.

He was shaped of the substance and according to the design of the Maid whom he glorified.

Because this essay purports to give no more than an indication of the inward rhythm of Péguy's achievement, I am spared the ungrateful task of summarising the three books of his Jeanne d'Arc.' If they were of another kind than the rest of his work, the omission would be inconceivable; but they are of the same kind. 'Jeanne d'Arc' is, as it were, a natural and inevitable growth of the vital principle which I have endeavoured to define. It is not even Péguy's poetry as opposed to Péguy's prose. There is no firm dividing line between even literary kinds in his work. It is one throughout. The hammer-beat of the short sentences, with which each successive theme is finally exhausted, the strong nervous language with its peasant tang, the astonishing simplicity and fearlessness of his approach to holy things, the sense of his assurance that he is a citizen of no mean city, of the republic of men and God-these qualities of his 'Jeanne d'Arc' are common to all his work; and its unity is manifested beyond doubt in the strange and convincing propriety with which he makes those mediaval French women, and not least the Maid herself, speak his own language. There is the evidence of his conviction that he was one with them, their spokesman to the modern world, and not their spokesman only.

'C'est embêtant, dit Dieu. Quand il n'y aura plus ces Français. Il y a des choses que je fais, il n'y aura plus personne pour les comprendre.

Peuple, les peuples de la terre te disent léger,
Parceque tu es un peuple prompt.

Les peuples pharisiens te disent léger,

Parceque tu es un peuple vite.

Tu es arrivé avant que les autres soient partis.

Mais moi je t'ai pesé, dit Dieu, et je ne t'ai point trouvé léger.

O Peuple inventeur de la cathédrale, je ne t'ai point trouvé léger en foi.

O Peuple inventeur de la croisade, je ne t'ai point trouvé léger en charité.

Quant à l'espérance, il vaut mieux ne pas en parler; il n'y en a que pour eux.'

Here is again that ring of prophecy which lifts Péguy into another realm than that of his contemporaries. Here is the mighty murmur of France itself, the strange tremendous sound that breaks suddenly upon our ears at vast distances in French literature, that gathered strength and terror in the caves and holes of the earth under the ancien régime, finding a spiritual embodiment in the drama of Corneille, breaking in one sudden unforgettable paragraph through the austere repressions of La Bruyère, thenceforward lost in literature but rushing, like a mighty wind, forth to the Crusade of the Revolution-a reality hidden from the eyes of the French themselves. It is an elemental force, rebellious to all discipline but its own.

And this strong wind blows incessantly through the work of Péguy's annus mirabilis, 1910. In that year besides the first Mystère' and 'Notre Jeunesse' he published also 'Victor Marie, Comte Hugo,' which is the complete inscription of the man. From it is taken the passage, already quoted (p. 102), wherein he discovers himself a peasant. It is stern and witty, sublime and supple, mordant and full of charity, moving in obedience to a profound and personal rhythm. Nothing in French literature or in Péguy's own work is comparable to this.

All his strength gathered into one effort. He had always, he wrote in the superb description of the activity of writing which 'Victor-Marie' contains, been impelled not to revise his old writings, but to correct one work in another.' Victor-Marie, Comte Hugo' is the re-creation, the final correction of all his works. In it he achieves the purpose which he proclaims, and follows the very outline of the reality.' But the reality he follows is his own soul in all its aspirations, instincts, impulses, and achievements; and the language which he shapes upon it is that which he learned from his grandmother, and forged into an instrument of so great strength and precision. Il faut pourtant bien que je déclare que nous, les gars de la Loire, c'est nous qui parlons le fin langage français.'

The theme of this wonderful cahier, like that of all great works of literature, changes with the level of apprehension. At one it is Hugo himself, at another friendship, at yet another-and this the highest and most

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