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count of the failure of which at Weimar he challenged Goethe, under whose direction it had been brought out. In 1807 he was arrested by the French at the gates of Berlin as a spy, and sent to Fort de Joux and afterwards to Chalons-sur-Seine. He afterwards settled at Dresden, where he produced his “ Katchen von Heilbunn," and “Prince of Homburg," the first a drama of the middle ages, the second dating in the 30 years war. The crowning tragedy of his life arose from his intimacy with a young lady, Henrietta who imagined that she had some incurable disease, which preyed on her mind. This produced a morbid melancholy, chiming in with the temper of the poet, and ending in the following dreadful scene as related by Mme. de Pontés :
Kleist was passionately fond of music, and Henrietta had a voice of unusual power and sweetness. One day when she had sung more enchantingly than usual, Kleist exclaimed: “ That is beautiful enough to shoot one's self for.” " Schön zum Todtschiessen." She looked at him earnestly, but made no reply. Some little time afterwards she enquired if he remembered a promise he had made to render her a great service if she desired it ? He replied in the affirmative. “Well then,” she exclaimed impetuously,” fulfil it now. Kill me ; my sufferings render life insupportable. But no, you will
There are no more men of honour on earth.” - You are mis. taken," replied Kleist, “I am a man of honour, and will do as I have said."
Everything was arranged between the unhappy pair with a calm. ness, a deliberation which would make us doubt the fact of the insanity which darkened the intellects of both, did we not know that madness, too, has its method. On the morning of the 20th November, 1811, they set off together from Berlin, without, it seems, attracting any particular attention, and drove for a while on the road to Potsdam. They stopped at a little country inn, where they spent the rest of the day and the following morn in apparent cheerfulness. Towards the afternoon they set out on foot for a walk, as they said, and proceeded towards a wood some little distance from the inn. A few hours later a forester heard two shots following each other with strange rapidity. He hastened to the spot whence they came, and found Henrietta lying lifeless beneath an old and blasted tree, her hands clasped on her bosom, whilst Kleist knelt before her_his head had fallen on his shoulder-he had shot himself through the temple. Such was the terrible end of this gifted and ill-fated
Grillparzer has become famous in Germany by his play of the " Ahnfrau," or "Ancestress," more wild and extravagant in fancy and language than any of Werner's or the "Robbers”
of Schiller. The plot consists in the heroine being compelled to wander over the earth, on account of an early crime, until the last scion of her race is extinct. This occurs a robber chief stabbing his own father to the heart, and his sister and himself then immolating themselves. Sappho,” by the same author, is a poem of considerable lyric beauty, much adinired by Lord Byron, when translated into Italian.
Rauppach had endeavoured to produce on the stage sonje of the historical glories of the ancient rulers of Germany. The “ Hohenstauffen” relates the principal events in the career of that noble house. The “Nibelungen Hort," is a representation of the principal passages of the celebrated romance of that name. They are however sadly deficient in rapid action, distinctness of character, and harmony of arrangement. He spent the greater part of his life in some of the most dreary parts of Russia, and died in 1829. Since that period have arisen numerous dramatic authors, Grabbe, Kebbel, Mosen, &c., all of whom belong to the romantic school. Their productions, however, are such a mass of "extraordinary situations, exaggerated sentiments, or physiological curiosities," that confusion alone is their distinguishing feature. The romantic school has now run into the wildest extreme, and requires a Lessing or Goethe to start up, in order to reduce it to some of the rules or order of classicality.
There reinaing to be considered a class of lyric poets of the romantic school, the varied subjects of whose muse were not confined to ancient classicality, or modern romanticisin. They brought out songs of sentiment, convivial, martial and patriotic lays, stirring the hearts of the German people, and making their authors almost the idols of the people. This phase deuotes the rise of the democratic element, not yet brought to its perfection, but ere long calculated to produce its full effect.
Hoelderlin was one of those poets who endeavoured to mingle the spirit of classicality with the fancy of romanticism, the rules of antiquity with the wild fancy of the middle ages. His life was one of mental inisfortune, notwithstanding the great friendship which Schiller conceived for him on account of his amiable manners. He was a tutor in the family of Mme. von Kalb, with whom Schiller had been in the same capacity, and afterwards in that of a wealthy bunker at Frankfort. He was obliged however to leave this place account of the jealousy of the husband, who was stimulated thereto by
a young companion of bis wife. This event threw a strong shade of melancholy over his character, which ended by making it necessary to place him under medical restraint. In this state he lingered during six and thirty years, with a few lucid intervals, until he died in 1849. He was a great favourite with Goethe, Schiller, and other contemporaries. The following verses will give a good idea of his style.
Ah! in Athens, like the immortal fire,
Hope and joy still dwelt in every breast,
Like the golden fruit, youth's sweet desire Had we met on Athens' sacred groand, Still was fresh and beautiful and blest.
Where ambition fired the soul of youth, If amid those proud and happy plains Where mid clustering flowers the illyssus Destiny had placed thy prjud career,-wound,
She was worthy thy inspiring strains, Where Socrates won all hearts to truth,
They are useless, worse than useless, here. Where Aspasia roved mid myrtle bow'rs,
In those better days so bright, so fleet, Where the blithesome sounds of joy and
We had formed a proud and patriot band. mirth
Not in vain that noble heart had beat From the Agora, marked the rapid hours, For the freedom of thy native land.
Where Plato formed a Paradise on earth; Pause awhile-metbinks the hour arrives, Where from Inspiration's sparkling fountain When the etherial spark may burn anew
Flowed the hymn of harinony divine, Perish not a single hope survives; Where on blue-eyed Pallas sacred mountain
This is not thy sphere, thou brave and true! Pilgrims bent before the goddess' shrine, Attica ! alas ! the giant falls, Where the hours unheeded glided by
Where the sons of gods and heroes sleep ; Wrapt in dreams so beautiful, so fair. Rent and ruined are the marble halls ; In those realms of bliss to live-to die
Silence broods there, silence-stern and Ah ! my friend, had I but met thee there !
deep. Nobler themes had then thy song inspired, Smiling spring descends with balmy gale, Marathon- its h: roes—they alone
But inds neither flower, nor leaf, nor tree. And my soul with kindred ardour fired,
Cold and barren is that sacred vale Had been a worthy minstrel of thine own. Where the llyssus once flowed bright and Then all burning from the glorious strife, free.
With the laurel round thy youthful brow, Oh ! I long to quit this land of gloom Ne'er beneath the weary load of life
For Alcæus or Anacreon. Had I seen that lofty spirit bow !
Gladly would I sleep within the tomb, Is the star of love for ever banished
With the holy ones of Marathon. To a fairer sky, a brighter clime?
Be these tears my eyes so often shed And those golden hours are they too vanished
For thy land, oh I sacred Greece! the last. Whose soft wings concealed the flight of Fates, in mercy, cut my mingled thread; time ?
For my heart belongeth to the past.
A simpler, less imaginative, but at the same time, less transcendental writer than the Romancist before inentioned was Chamisso, a Frenchman by birth, from the plains of Champagne. Two of his brothers were in the Gardes du Corps of Louis XVI., and one of the received a sword from the unfortuuate monarch after the eventful 10th August. The family was obliged to emigrate into Germany, where young Chamisso pursued his studies at Würtzburg, and became more than half a German. He joined in the war of Prussia against France, but afterwards returned to his native country, where he made the acquaintance of Nde. de Staël, whom he praises very highly, and to whom he attached himself even during her exile at Coppet. His first work which brought him into notice, was the strange, fantastic story of “ Peter Schlemihl ; or, the Man who had
lost his Shadow." This has been translated three or four times into English, and into every language in Europe. In 1815 he joined an expedition to the North Pole, which lasted during a good portion of three years, and gave bim ample opportunity for developing his talent for poetry, up to that time dormant. On his return he married, and shortly after received an indemnity as an old emigrant from the restored Bourbons, of 100,000 francs. His poems, collected by him. self in 1827, caused a considerable sensation in Germany, and earned for him a membership of the Academy of Sciences, at Berlin. Notwithstanding his former emigration he rejoiced in 1830, at the expulsion of the elder Bourbons. Mme. Pontés gives translations from three of his best pieces, “ The Three Sisters," “Abdallah," and "The Old Washerwoman," which last was the final effort of poetic fire. Written for the subject of it, the proceeds were sufficient to insure her some comfort in her old age. His style is pure and clear, neither partaking of the romantic fancies of Tieck, or the classicalities of Hoelderlin.
Descriptive poetry in German has been the peculiar province of Matthisson, Salis, and Kosegarten. There is nothing very striking or bold in their works; they consist rather of simple delineations of scenery, natural descriptions, and the soft emotions and feelings which those are calculated to produce.
The martial and patriotic school is represented by Körner and Arndt, whose verses served most powerfully to rouse the Prussian population to resist France, in the war of freedom. The former was stricken down upon the battle field, and has had a monument erected to his poetic genius and courage by his fellow-countrymen. The greater number of their songs have been translated into English ; the most celebrated, “ Lyre and Sword,” “The Prussian Eagle,” and “Where is the German fatherland," are too well known to need reproduction here. Mde. Pontés' version of the “ Song of the black Jäger" is so spirited, that it deserves to be put before our readers.
And every drop of blood! oh! sell it dearly,
There's freedom in the tomb. On to the field! spirits of vengeance move us,
Still do wo wear the funeral garb of sorrow, On to the field-our standard waves above us, For our departed fame, On--death or victory!
And do ye ask what means the hue we borrow
Vengeance, that is its name.
our side-our righteous cause To every art of Hell we bid defiance ;
The star of peace shall shine,
And we will plant the standard proud and No quarter, friends! High wield your weapons ! cheerly!
Beside our own free Rhine! Death be the invader's doom,
SONG OF THE BLACK JAGER.
On Germans bold and free !
He is our shield and sword.
The list of Poets and Poetry given here, is by no means complete, especially among the modern and contemporary, whom we do not at present mean to criticize further than this, that idealism, mysticism, and the extreme of the romantic, is their prevailing characteristic. Many of their names are well known, and famous; those of Uhland, Freiligrath, Rückart, Kerner, Geibel, &c., are very popular in the Fatherland. It is very strange, that from the days of the nun Broswitha, before recorded, until the present time, there has been no striking instance of a female German writer of verses. Many have distinguished themselves in the province of prose fiction, but scarcely any attempted to invoke the muse.
The prevailing feature of German poetry in all ages, has been the romantic. In fact this specics of composition, as opposed to the classical, may be said to have originated, like the Gothic architecture, among the Teutonic races, and from them propagated to the rest of Europe. After the Edda, the ballad epics of the Nibelungen, Gudrune, Walter of Aquitaine, &c., directed the taste of the middle ages, towards tales of chivalry, and heroes ancient and modern. Then came the minne-singers, whose lyrics tended towards the same end. The meister-sänger only fill up a hiatus, after which the influence of the Reformation changed for a time, the public taste of the age. Hymns, serious, patriotic, and martial songs, came into vogue, poetry declined into a transition state, to be revived by Opitz, Bodmer, &c. Several schools with various tendencies, were now originated ; the Silesian, Köingsberg, Nuremburg, and Zurich. Bodmer's admiration for the “ Paradise Lost," originated the last, and opened the way to a complete regeneration. Here commences the real era of Modern Poetry, which has been said by Menzel to have gone from the lyric, through the dramatic to the epic. In this, we cannot at all agree ; on the contrary, it commenced with a species of epic by Bodmer, imitations of pieces in other languages, Hymns of Gellert, and Idyls of Gessner ; through the higher epic of Klopstock to the dramas of Lessing, the romances of Wieland, Herder, &c., to the mixture of all tastes, in our own day. After the revival consequent on the Reformation, imitations of the French masters were considered the most perfect; this inay be called the period of Gallomania, which extended to the time of Klopstock. He united a certain taste for following English authors and subjects, along with a mixture of classicality; he thought also, that the highest perfection was in