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true, and at the same time, so calculated to impart the balm of consolation in the hour of affliction. It was of Gastric fever of fourteen days duration my sweet child died; and for the last two or three days, we had but slender hopes of her recovery:
“Requesting you will present my sincerest regards to your good lady, and again thanking you for your very kind sympathy,
I remain with grateful esteem,
My Dear Sir, Ever yoursmost faithfull y,
STEPHEN COPPINGER. To William John Fitzpatrick, Esq.,
Stillorgan.” Mr. Coppinger is reported by the Freeman as having been amongst those who paid the last tribute of respect to the remains of Mr. John O'Connell at Glasnevin Cemetery on Friday, May 28th. On the same day he attended the meeting of the Prospect and Golden Bridge Cemetery Board al 17, Usher's
quay, and the expression of his face betokened such internal decay and debility that Mr. Matthias J. O'Kelly bired a covered car in which he brought his suffering friend home. In a few hours after he was dead. Diabetes-the wasting disease which so suddenly carried off the late Judge Jackson had been fatally at work.
Mr. Coppinger having been through life a practical religionist there was no need for a hurried death-bed repentance, and he died calmly and happily. How expressively true are Landor's words : “ Heaven is not to be won by short hard work at the last, as some of us take a degree at the University after much irregularity and negligence. I prefer a steady pace from the outset to the end, coming in cool, and dismounting quietly.'
ART. VIII.-POETS AND POETRY OF GERMANY. Poets and Poetry of Germany-Biographical and Critical
Notices, by Madame L. Davésiés De Pontés.-2 Vois.
London, Chapman and Hall, 1858. The poetry of every people undergoes with the nation to which it belongs, certain changes or phases dependant on the growth of taste, intellect, wealth or power. At first the rudeness of barbarism or tribe-life, produces war songs, or metrical accounts of the achievements of heroes, sung perhaps extemporaneously to excite the followers of chiefs to glorious deeds in battle. Mingled with these, the superstitions of heathenism, whose influence on the mind of man in a savage state is greater than that of any earthly power, are introduced to terrify the wavering or cowardly into the observance of the duties they owe their fellow men, by the idea of unseen agents watching their actions. When the nation has settled down to pastoral life, and abandoned the roving, marauding, or conquering phase, the bucolic era arises, when the delights of country life are sung, the woodland deities are invoked, and a host of kind, beneficient fairies, elves, and nymphs, who protect and watch over the husbandman, are invented. The gathering of men into towns, the building of fortalices, and the consequent strife for dominion, give rise to romances, songs celebrating feats of arms, ladies' love, and a more advanced form of religious superstition, founded on the more agreeable part of the creed of the nation. These forms of poetry alternate with each other until the popular element has gained the upper hand, when songs of the affections, high class lyrics, epics and dramas, in varied order, bring the language to its highest state of perfection.
Among some people the first phase partakes more of the heroic than of the mythological, as among the Greeks and Romans, whose mortals were kept separate and inferior to the deities. In others, as the Scandinavians and Teutons, mythology prevails almost exclusively, or the heroes themselves are turned into Gods. Odin, originally a mere mortal, peoples the Walhalla with his paladins and followers. Thor, the god of battles, seems to have been originally conceived as a blacksmith, with his huge hammer by wbich he vanquished giants. The second phase is almost completely wanting among the relics of the Teutonic tribes, the only evidence of its having once existed being the legendary lays of gnomes, cobolds, nixes, dwarfs, and other inhabitants of the words and fields, who play a very large part in the pages of early German romance. The third phase is by far the most prolific, reproduced at various intervals from the 8th to the 16th century, alternating with the lyrics of minne-singers, the songs and hymns of the meistersänger, and the legendary tales of wizards, witches, and goblins. When all these had died out, and the wars engendered by the reformation had spent their strength throughout the land, the revival of letters in the rest of Europe produced a chastening influence on the literature of Germany. Bodmer and others, by their influence as professers in many of the universities, fashioned taste of the people and them to a due appreciation of the merits of composition. They commenced the era of modern poetry, which has been brought on by various stages of perfection to the writings of Lessing, Klopstock, Wieland, Schiller and Goethe. Whether the German language has yet attained it greatest degree of perfectibility, is a question not yet decided, and probably will not be finally settled for another half ceutury. But the most reasonable theory is, that it being a language, which in its present forın has not been fashioned and shaped into general use, for a long time after the principal tongues of Europe had been so, it may still require a vast deal of developement. Certain it is that its literature within very recent times has advanced with giant strides.
German writers generally distinguish three marked periods of their national poetry. The first or heathen extends from the earliest times, when the achievements of Odin and his fellow deities were celebrated in the Edda, down to the twelfth cen. tury, when the Hohenstauffen dynasty ascended the imperial throne. The second or Schwabian period comes down to the times of Wieland and Goethe, whose age formed the third epoch, soinetimes called after Charles Augustus, Duke of Weimar, a celebrated revivor and patron of letters. The beathen division cannot be said to be properly named, as it includes not only many Saga, dating from before the spread of Christianity in the north, but also many metrical ballads and poems of the middle ages, in which are introduced the superstitions and chivalry of the new religion. This classification is however very convenient, as the poetic power of the German people did not during that great lapse of time, undergo any considerable increase of strength or perfection.
The earliest recorded writer in German prose or verse is Ovid, who states that when he was exiled among the Getae, he attempted to compose a book in their barbarous language.
Ah! pudet ! et Getico scripsi serinone libellum.
Structaque sunt nostris barbara verba modis. It does not appear however what was the nature of the tongue in which he composed, most probably Gothic, resembling very little in structure the modern German. He chose for subject the decease and apotheosis of Augustus, no doubt in order to gain some favor with the emperor and shorten his exile.
From what period the Edda dates cannot at present be satisfactorily ascertained. No doubt it has been added to, and enlarged at various times. The collection of the present poems under that name is chiefly due to Charlemagne. They treat of the achievements of Odin or Wodin, and his heroes of the Walhalla, and indicate a great analogy between the ancient mythology of Greece and Rome, and that of Scandinavia or the Teutonic races. Some doubt has been thrown upon the identity of the divinities of the Scandinavians and Teutons, but we find that the Anglo-Saxons of Britain had the very same deities and traditions respecting them, before the introduction of Christianity, as are mentioned in the Edda. Odin appears to be the Jove although some consider him more resembling Mercury ; Thor's "giant strength and redoubtable hammer" have a great affinity with the attributes of Hercules. gests the idea of the gentle Apollo; and Hertha, who drives through the land in a car drawn by white oxen, disarming warriors, causing the flowers and fruits of the earth to spring forth at her touch, recalls at once the benignant reign of Ceres. Mixed up with the actions of these deities are many legends concerning remarkable personages, the most striking of which, that of Wieland or Veland Smith, brings to mind at once certain superstitions formerly existing in parts of England, and the Grecian fable of Icarus, the Cretan, who gave his name to a part of the sea. Wieland was a cunning forger of metal, who having married one of the Valkyres, or maidens presiding over the carnage of battle, is deserted by her at the sound of a truinpet. She flies away from him by means of a robe of feathers which he endeavours to imitate. The King of Sweden seizes him, and compels him to work night and day, having cut his ham-strings in order to prevent his escape. "Wieland revenges
himself by slaying the king's two sons, making drinking-cups of their sculls, and breast-clasps of their teeth, as a present for the parents. He flies away afterwards with the king's daughter, having discovered the secret of the robe of feathers, and mocks the king in the distance with an account of his revenge.
Attached to this mythology is a goodly array of spirits of a minor order, Elves, Dwarfs, Gnomes, Cobolds, and Nixes, who peopled the woods, fields, and rocky caverns, in the same manner as the Fauns, and Nymphs did among the Greeks and Romans, and interfered in the affairs of men. The stories of thein and their good or evil propensities are innumerable, but the most remarkable are those of the white women, denoting a transition from Paganism to the rites of Christianity.
There are the white women who often appear at early dawn, or dewy evening, with their pale sad faces and shadowy forms; these are the goddesses of ancient Paganism condemned to wander through ages to expiate the guilt of having received divine worship, and sentenced at length to eternal punishment unless redeemed by mor. tal aid. At certain times they are permitted to appear to human view to seek that which alone can procure them salvation. A fisherman in the neighbourhood of Fieben, suddenly beheld a white woman standing before him ; “Home, home !" she cried, “ thy wife has brought a boy into the world, carry it hither, let me kiss it that I may be redeemed." The fisherman amazed, hastened to his cottage and found all as the white woman had said; but fearing very naturally to trust his new born infant into the hands of this unearthly being till protected by the holy rite of baptism, he had this ceremony performed, and then bore it to the sea shore where he found the white woman weeping bitterly, for the condition attached to her salvation was, that the child should not be baptized! and still at times does she appear upon the sea shore sighing and lamenting.
The goddess Hertha, mentioned by Tacitus, designated in the middle ages by the nanie of Perchta, plays a most conspicuous part in these legends. She had been spouse to Odin, and watched over certain districts of the country with beneficent sway, having the privilege of appearing on the feast of the three kings to the inhabitants of upper earth. In consequence however of a slight put upon her and her attendant dwarfs, she withdrew from the neighbourhood, which soon lost its fertility, and became lone and desolate. Some of those fables indicate the influence which the first seeds of Christianity had among the people, and the way in which the priests endeavoured to turn these superstitions to the advantage of the new creed.