תמונות בעמוד

Before that altar I devoutly bowed,
And deepest love my all of being fillid;
Upon the ceiling heaven's image glow'd,
That golden glory every passion still’d.
But see, the arches of The dome are rent!
Up to the gates of God my eye is best.
The splendors of that mighty dwelling.place,
Those shining walls !—The crystal fountains there!
And wonders which a creature dares not trace!
But let them move the sinner's soul to pray'r.
Oh! ye to whom that solemn bell shall ring,

Take heed, and listen to its murmuring ! In reading Uhland's poetry, we often feel inclined to say, in the spirit of Jean Paul, that it is like the gradually declining tones of a bell, which, as the retreating waves, seemn to be finally lost at a great distance ; but, although every thing is hushed without, we yet discover a continued vibration of the tones in our own bosoms. Jean Paul's remark, it is true, refers to romantic poetry generally, in distinction from classical or ancient poetry, but this “Lost Church,” “The Passage,” and many other poems of Uhland, are deeply romantic, if we give to this term the peculiar sense in which the French, the German, and some of our own writers, have agreed to use it. It refers to a combination of the beautiful with the idea of the infinite, and belongs, therefore, emphatically to the spirit of christianity, by which this idea has been fully developed. A Venus inay be beautiful, but a Madonna can only, in this sense, be considered romantic. Christianity, to speak once more in the spirit of Jean Paul, overthrew the world of sense, with all its charms, and on this inmense pile of ruins, erected the redeeming cross, reaching into the heavens, even into a new world of spirits. The character of the romantic, therefore, must frequently bear a close relation to that of the sublime, which likewise expands into the idea of the infinite, from which, still oftener, it may be said to have originated. The sublime may come before our minds, directly through the organs of sight or of hearing; for instance, in gazing upon the wide-spread ocean, the losty mountaintop, or in listening to the peal of thunder. Or, it may spring from the deeper consciousness of our inmost feelings, wakened into life by reflection; and in such cases, the solemn, awful silence in the realms of nature, may be more sublime than the terrific display of a thunder-storin, or the fall of Niagara. A short parable of Krummacher, will best serve to illustrate our views on this point.

*Asaph, an admirable singer and harper, sat, at the midnight hour, in an upper room of his dwelling, and his countenance glowed with delight. For he thought of a hymn of praise in honor of the Lord, who created heaven and earth, and all that is therein. Thus Asaph sat meditating, and his barp resting before him.

Suddenly it occurred to him to ascend to the broad, Aat roof, and behold from thence the splendor of the starry heavens. My hymn, thought be, will then sound yet more delightfully.

He carried his harp upon the house-top, and gazing up into the heaTens, he there beheld Orion, with all the host of stars, which were silently moving over his head in eternal splendor. The holy city, with the surrounding valleys and mountains, lay beneath, glistening in the light of the moon, while all the inhabitants slept in the silence of midnight. The breath of midnight swept over his harp, and the chords trembled.

But Asaph could sing no more ; he leaned his head upon his harp in silence, and wept.

When the day appeared, and the people ascended the holy mountain, and the noise was heard of the multitude crowding together, Asaph rose and went down, and boldly struck his harp, and his spirit mounted on the wings of song, above the multitude around him.”

In reflecting on the character of the sublime, in this parable, we find that Asaph, whether weeping in the silence of the starry night, or soaring on the wings of song, reminds us of our eternal home, the only true home of the soul.

This delightful mode of instruction, by means of parables, has been successfully employed by Krummacher, by Herder, and by many other eminent writers in Germany. In most of them we recognize the features which characterize the parables of the old and new testaments. The leading thought is not so completely kept out of sight, as in the allegory, and is, therefore, less symbolical ; whilst it is distinguished from the fable, by the fact, that its circumstances may be supposed real. We advert with some emphasis to this subject, since it relates to a departinent in which English literature is strikingly deficient, though its cultivation might be of practical advantage. With regard to the formation of the female character, for instance, it is worthy particularly of the notice of our female writers. Imagine a young female, whose fondDess for dress, or for other trifles, prevent her from attending to more important interests. You have been invited by Lina, (supposing this her name,) to translate for her some beautiful parable of Krummacher. You choose the following :

"The angel who watches over the flowers, and in the silent night sheds upon them the dew, once fell asleep in the season of spring, and early in the morning, in the shade of a rose-bush. When he awoke, kindly smiling, he thus addressed the rose-bush. Loveliest of my children, I thank thee for thy exquisite fragrance, and for thy ample shade. Canst thou not ask of me some new gift? How gladly would I grant it thee! Adorn me, then, with some new charm, replied the spirit of the rose-bush; and the genius of flowers threw over her a robe of simple moss ! Behold the moss-rose, how modestly adorned, and yet the most beautiful of her species !'

Might not our Lina, realizing the force of the parable, be more

" *


likely to quit her spangled dress and glittering gems, and follow the directions of maternal nature? which is, “ when unadorned, adorned the most." Returning from this short digression, (if it is one,) we may observe, that even the fastidious taste of the German scholar would not object to the employment of female talent in this department; since, to excel in it, requires a high degree of feeling and refined taste, rather than an intimate acquaintance with the abstractions of philosophical science.

To the philosophical character of German literature, is it partly to be ascribed, that female authorship is so much discountenanced in Germany. Were we to count, in the work before us, the male and female authors, in German and English literature, the latter would be found, in proportion, far richer in this respect; nor do we know of any female writer in German literature, who enjoys so high and well-merited a reputation, as Maria Edgeworth, Hannah More, and many others whom we could name, both in England and in this country. We believe, with our German friends, that our females will never be greatly distinguished as metaphysicians ; that there never will be found among them a Leibnitz or a Kant, a Locke or an Edwards; but we are equally well convinced, that, in order to guard them against this extreme, their pens are not to be confined to treatises on the “ plastic art of fluids, similar subjects, merely. The want of success among their French neighbors, might be considered as a sufficient warning, as to any such danger. It is to be hoped, that the time is past, when Madame de Stael's Germany, is to be considered as a just representation of German literature. The translations in this work of her's, from the writings of Jean Paul, Goethe, and others, are as defective and inaccurate, as are her views of German philosophy. Of the character of her views of German philosophy, we may form some conception, when we hear her declare, with great naiveté, that she could not conceive, why philosophers laid so much stress upon reducing every thing to a single principle; whether one principle or two was admitted, she thought perfectly indifferent, since it could not explain the universe any better. Madame de Stael too often appears as a Parisian lady, of the ancienne regime, ever ready to gratisy her vanity by a bon mot, at the expense of truth. Her heart, indeed, is always in favor of Germany; but her taste is sadly influenced by the artificial principles of the French school. Kant did not throw himself, like a modern Curtius, into the abyss of abstraction, in order to close it forever, as she would have us believe. The hopes which he always cherished, and which cheered him on, proved deceitful as the mirage to the weary, spent, and thirsty traveler in the desert, when, on reaching his fancied lake, he finds

The art of cookery, according to certain aesthetic writers.

only new sandy plains, and a scorching sun. It is one of the most remarkable and touching events in the history of man, that this philosopher, after a course of reasoning, which has given to the age in which he lived, the name of the philosophical, came to the conclusion, that all human knowledge is vain. He sought not, indeed, for certainty of knowledge, where only it can be found. And it is melancholy to reflect, that the mantle of pride, which, in the tempest of condicting opinions, he had drawn but closer and closer around him, was not an insupportable burthen, which he gladly threw off, while experiencing the light and warmth of divine grace. Of the principles of morality, which Kant has drawn out in one of his works, we shall merely say, that bis scheme is undoubtedly more difficult in practice, than that of christianity ; since it refers only to a principle of duty,--a principle which, while it exists in the christian religion, yet is absorbed in the ever-springing and purer fountain of love. Kant, and his successors, Fichte and Schelling, looked upon the world in the pride of their own righteousness, and from a point of abstraction, which disabled them from regarding the nature of man in its true light. Like the Alpine hunter, on bis dangerous and giddy path, they had ascended above the mists which this world of sense creates; but, like him, on his rocky height, they beheld this world only through “a rent of clouds," as adorned with a beauty and loveliness, a softening of the picture, which was the effect, rather of their elevated situation, than the real state of things. “They have been unjustly compared," says Jean Paul, “ 10 the three eastern sages, who came to adore, and not to be adored."

When the copious terminology, which had been created by Kant, spread rapidly, togetber with his philosophy, many weak minds, who were incapable of following ibe pliilosopher, fell to playing with these new and fine-sounding words, and found

" Their notions fitting things so well,

That which was which they could not tell,
But oftentimes mistook the one

For t'other, as great clerks have done.” Others, again, dwelt with delight on the fact, that the remark of the royal sage, “that all human knowledge is vain,” was so happily confirmed by the profound philosopher of Konigsberg; and, like Plato's inhabitants of the cave, they sneered at those who spoke of the “light on earth.” It was, however, the fate of many of the most superior minds, to forget the ultimate end of their exertions, in rejoicing over the difficulties which they had surmounted. They remind us of a description of Plutarch, when speaking of the Eleusinian mysteries : “ As those,” he says, (we quote from memory,) who were to be initiated, at first assembled in a noisy and tumultuous manner, but when the sanctuary was un

folded to them, they at once shrunk back in fear and silence; so is there likewise much confusion and noise, when novices enter the road to science, but after they have approached the goal, their behavior changes, and they lose all marks of an irreverent and boisterous spirit.” The literary life of Schiller, furnishes us with a remarkable instance of this misapplication of the views of Kant; since one of his poems, at least, "Das Reich der Formen," not be understood without an intimate acquaintance with Kant's system.

“The young divines,” says Carlyle, from the best German authorities, in his life of Schiller, “came back from the university of Jena,* full of strange doctrines, which they explained to the examinators of the Weimar Consistorium, in phrases, that excited no idea in the heads of these reverend persons, but much horror in their hearts. Hence reprimands, and objurgations, and excessive bitterness, between the applicants for ordination, and those appointed to confer it. One young clergynian, at Weimar, shot himself on this account; heresy, and jarring, and unprofitable logic, were universal. Hence Herder'st vehement attacks on this “ pernicious quackery,-this delusive and destructive system of words.”

Let us listen, however, to Schiller's own account of the iniluence which his devotion to the philosophy of Kant bad produced upon himself; an account which he gave, years after he became first acquainted with the views of Kant, and their intoxicating influence had yielded to a calm review of his intellectual wanderings.

“Criticism,” he says, “must now make good to me the damage which she herself has done. And damaged me she has, most certainly; for the boldness, the living glow, which I felt before a single rule was known to me, have for several years been wanting. I now see myself create and form. I watch the play of inspiration ; and my fancy, knowing that she is not without witnesses of her movements, no longer moves with equal freedom. I hope, however, ultimately to advance so far, that art shall become a second nature, as polished manners are to well-bred men. Then imagination will regain her former freedom, and submit to no other than voluntary limitations."

Schiller was not disappointed in his expectations; and others, undoubtedly, who have earnestly and sincerely studied the works of Kant, have felt, that they have derived advantages,-advantages poorly gained, however, at such an expense,-analogous to those anticipated by the poet, however various the departments may have been, to which they have principally devoted their attention.

* Schiller, and other professors in that university, had embraced the views of Kant, with great zeal.

+ The president of the Consistorium.

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