תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

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 1843. 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 flre,
GREECE.

Hope and joy still dwelt in every breast,

Like the golden fruit, youth's sweet desire Had we met on Athens' sacred ground, 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 proud 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-methinks 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 unbeeded 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 heroes-they alone- But finds 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 l 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 mentioned 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 them 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 acquaintauce of Mde. 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 him 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 himself 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.

SONG OF THE BLACK JAGER. And every drop of blood! oh! sell it dearly, On to the field! spirits of vengeance move us,

There's freedom in the tomb. On Germans bold and free !

Still do we wear the funeral garb of sorrow, On to the field-our standard waves aboveus, For our departed fame, On-death or victory!

And do ye ask what means the huewe borror

Vengeance, that is its name.
Small is our band; but strong 18 our reliance
Upon a righteous Lord.

God to our side-our righteous cause To every art of Hell we bid defiance ;

victorious, He is our shield and sword.

The star of peace shall shine,

And we will plant the standard proud and No quarter, friends! High wield your glorious weapons ! cheerly!

Beside our own free Rhine ! Death be the invader's doom,

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 wbich the influence of the Reformation changed for a time, the public taste of the age. Hymns, serioas, 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 attiring Christian or German incidents and manners, with the garb of Greece and Rome. Ramler formed a transition between the love of French models, and the imitation of Grecian classics. He snmmoned gods and goddesses to his aid in unravelling the intricacies of modern situations. Wieland was overcome by the "plastic beauty" of Grecian forms, the purity of her philosophy, and the graces of Athenian manners. This amiable, refined, and witty nature, allowed itself to be decoyed into a heterogeneous species of romanticism, wherein the epicurean philosophy reigned supreme. Vo-s had an ex. travagant idea of the plasticity of the German language; he imagined that it might be made to follow the Greek, almost syllable for syllable, in metre and verse. This led him into the strangest absurdities of poetry; his translations, though curious specimens of labour, are not intelligible, on account of their involved nature. All those various tastes combined together to form the mixed talent of Goethe and Schiller, who rendered themselves superior to all the other poets of their country, by not confining themselves to any particular form, imitating all, and yet being original in their new Romanticism. The most recent authors have plunged into an abyss of mysticism, and transcendentalism, combining the philosophy of Kant, Böhme, with the extravagance of sentimentalism. Unfortunately, all true simplicity and symmetry, is lost sight of in these wild fancies; nothing but vagueness, unsubstantial forms of visionary beings, reign throughout their airy pages.

We will say a few words about Mme. Pontés' performance. It is a work of considerable merit, and shews a large acquaintance, not only with the numerous authors treated of, but also with the various critical works, which have teemed in Germany for a series of years, on this subject. Many of her translations are well worthy of the originals, reproducing faithfully their fire or pathos. We do not, however, mean to praise her undeservedly, this would be unworthy and suspicious. She is somewhat given to the romantic in ber biographies, the poet's wires are all lovely, angelic beings; she is not sufficiently severe on many of the authors themselves. Her criticisms are not always sufficiently particular, nor are her extracts always long enough to cause the poet's style to be properly understood ; with these slight defects, we think this book which is written with ease and grace, to be very entertaining and instructive.

Art. IX-THE ADULT AND YOUNG OF THE

POOR-HOUSE.
Irish Waste Land Settlements, versus Emigration and Foreign

Wild Land Settlements. Specially addressed to the Poor
Law Guardians of Ireland. By James Hayes, C.E.

Dublin : W. B. Kelly, 1858. Forty years ago Sir Walter Scott wrote—“ The time will come when the whole land will be hypothecated to the poor, and by the strangest and most unexpected of revolutions, the labourers in the country will be substantially in possession of the whole rental of that soil in wbich participation is now refused them."-And now, after this lapse of time, we find that in this instance, as in many others, Sir Walter was truly “The Wizard of the North.” The whole land is “hypothecated to the poor;" the whole social state of Ireland is altered, and through the results of the famine, and under the cruel confis. cations of the Incumbered Estates' Court, this generation has witnessed “the strangest and most unexpected of revolutions, and it sees the labourers and paupers of the country" in possession of the whole rental of that suil in which participation was refused them.” In the old days of potatoes and pigs, the pig was "the gintleman that paid the rint;" things are now changed; the rate-payer is the pig, who not alone pays the rent of the poor-house, but supplies board and clothing into the bargain.

That the poor of a country have the first claim upon its resources, none will deny; but unfortunately, in Ireland, it is considered a matter about which there can be no question or dispute, that because a man or a woman is a pauper, he or she has a consequent right to rot out life in idleness, in sloth, and, too often, in vice. One rarely hears the term Workhouse, in Ireland; in ordinary conversation the Union Mansion is invariably called the Poor-house, and with great propriety; it is certainly a house for the poor, a house at which boards meet and squabble, occasionally job, and sometimes “cook the elective franchise :” but it is not a house in which steady, useful, and continuous work is made a portion of the every-day duty of the lives of all able-bodied, or healthy inmates; it is not a house in which self-dependence and self-respect are shown to spring from bonest labor.

« הקודםהמשך »