Зображення сторінки

extraordinary powers, where there are no guage is the only one which, like the peodifficulties, revenge, love, and honour, and ple, shuns nothing, but grasps at every other noble emotions, do not deviate from thing, and will not, out of excessive chas. their ordinary sphere, and man remains tity, become consumptive. It is the only that common animal which in every day life language of Europe which is spoken by we wish him to be. Such occasions, in the people at the same time that it is writ. which great difficulties are to be conquered, ten. It stands fast in its own nourishing do not occur to us Germans. The state, soil; while our written language is gather. under the protection of a standing army, ed as it were from its pative spot, and now pursues its steady march with a machine- withers and dries. Written languages are like pace. We seek honour in service or merely conventional signs of courts or of in learning, and know nothing of the learned men, and the German which we higher aims to which service and learning use is as little the dialect of Meissen as of ought to be subservient. Our fair ones are Frankfort. It is a selection of expressions rather attached to common than heroic necessary for our books. As new truths feelings. The custom of duelling, which are inserted in them it extends itself, and is fortunately yet preserved, reconciles ene- that it is richer now than it was in the time mies, and prevents the lust to murder of Gottsched, is a certain proof that more which revenge inspires. Or if an occur. truths have entered into the common cir. rence important to mankind happens, it culation of the learned.” does not interest us so powerfully as it would other nations. The history of the. There can be no doubt that many miller Arnold would have set all the par. of the defects of German literature a. liaments of France and all the parties of rose fiɔm the written and spoken lanEngland in commotion. But in Germany guages being different. Since then, it has only been spoken of as an agreeable however, so many of the words of novelty. No man has sounded the alarm conversation have been taken into of danger to be apprehended to the state, writing and

language from the cabinet deciding the processes writing, and the written

has, in its turn, become so generalwhich arise among subjects; and no flat

ly adopted in conversation, except aterer has ventured to say the King has once hurled his thunder in his wrath, and in

mongst the lower classes, that this altering the administration of justice, shat cause is fast disappearing. There are tered a rock, and laid bare a mine of gold.” many excellent papers in Moeser's mis

cellaneous writings which we pass Moeser is a steady advocate for the over, because want of space does not Germans following their own modes allow us to do justice to them. of thinking, and avoiding a servile The two other volumes contain the imitation of the French, or Italian, most celebrated work of Mæser. It or classical authors. He liked Enga is called Patriotische Phantasieen, lish better than French literature, (Patriotical Fancies,) and is a collecbut above every thing recommended tion of papers which were published the Germans not to fetcer themselves somewhat in imitation of the British with any system. In the few obserEssayists, weekly at Osnabrück. For vations already quoted, he seems to sixteen years, from 1766 to 1782, Mæus to have selected the chief cause of ser was editor of the Osnabrückischen the want of national energy in Ger- Intelligenzblatter, and in this journal man literature. In the few which he published an article weekly on a follow he has remarked a conspicuous great variety of subjects. His princidifference between the German and pal object was to make his countryEnglish languages, which, at present, men acquainted with the constitution owing to the very rapid cultivation of and laws of their country, and to prothe German, and the extension of cure a readier acceptance for acknoweducation, is much less than when he ledged truths, by clothing them in a wrote.

pleasant garment. He had it further

in view to promote frugality, and a - Now, a few words on our language better taste among all classes. which the king regards as so inferior to the best of these papers were afterwards

The French, reproaching it both as poor and

u selected by his daughter, and presente harsh. Although much improved since the days of Gottsched, it is, I admit, .yet

ed to the world in their present form. poor, but this is a faust of all written'lan. The range of subjects which Moser guages, and above all of the French ; which embraced was much more comprehenis so polished and purified, that you can- sive than that of the British Essayists. not express a masculine idea in it, without As early as 1773 he was the enlightoffending its propriety. The English lan ened advocate of a free trade in corn, His observations on the causes of the ter, and not regard the lying invoices of decay of the commerce of Germany, the carriers, as if they were pure truth? particularly of the Hanse Towns, are “ Yes, Sir ; but people must live ; still referred to as good authority.

and, according to the proverb'No man more closely examined than

"• No but, if you please, friend, and, he did the origin of the personal ser

above all, no proverbs, even if they are tavitude of the peasantry, and the conse

ken from this year's calendar. I hate them

worse than attornies' quibbles, and you quences to which it led. But these and know, from experience, they are of no va. many other papers on similar weighty lue in paying tolls.' subjects, are not those which are read "Just as you please, Sir. I only say, with most pleasure. There are a if he opens his cyes, the carriers close their thousand little tales, and histories, purses, and the man cannot live on his and observations, all tending to a mo- hundred thalers &-year.' ral end, which are told in a manner

666 What, again? I am afraid you do that would not disgrace Addison. not know what living is, John. It is We shall quote two of the shortest

not to live which is difficult, but to live specimens we have met with, but are

after a certain manner. The prince comquite unable to give them the naivété

plains he cannot live-the field-marshal

cannot live the minister, the toll-clerk, they have in the original.

cannot live-and perhaps you cannot live

on the ten thalers I give you yearly. Every Rules are always valuable.

man concludes, that, because he cannot live " At the end of a certain village in after a certain manner, he must be a cheat. Westphalia, a high post stretching out an

If I were to promote you to be toll-clerk, iron hand had pointed out for many years

you also would not be able to live.' the best road to the city. A rope-dancer

66. Perhaps not, Sir; but I should then once met the village bailiff near this post,

have a better opportunity of exercising my and asked him what had persuaded him to senses than at present. If I should only direct all travellers the same road 2-if

close my eyes once a-day, I should be betevery person was not at liberty to choose

ter off than I am in your honour's service,

ter ont, than I am m your no his own ?--and if he could affirm that though I keep them open night and day. there were any such thing as right roads ?

8 To be sure, one must live like others; if He (the rope-dancer) could not only reach

the superintendent's wife has a silk gown, the city quicker by jumping over 'hedges my beloved must have a lustre. and ditches, but every body would gape at

"So I should think, friend John, though him with wonder. Our post, said the

Mrs Superintendent lights the candle at bailiff, only points out the most common,

both ends, your wife may still be reasonthe safest, and the most level road, and

able enough to cut her coat according to but for it, nobody would know how much

uch her cloth. But, if you are wise, you will shorter another might be found.

not marry yet. The women bring the men .“ In the mean time, a young man came

to Bridewell, and you may easily go there, gallopping up on a fiery horse, and, leap

should you close your eyes too often.' ing over every obstacle, pursued a straight

" " When the King, your honour, gives course to the city. See,' said the bailiff,

a man a place, he gives him also a salary * this youth will make shorter work of it that enables him to live. Justice and the than you, and will cause as much astonish

King's own interest demand this; for whoment. What would you think if we were ever does not pay well is ill served.' to place the finger-post so as to direct every

" Enough, enough. Your brother is body to follow him?

sexton, and rings the bell threc times a6. You are a simpleton,' answered the

e week. This is an office, and I suppose he rope-dancer; you would break a good



also must live by his salary. It is right many necks if you did.'_ Even so,' said that servants who devote all the hours of the bailiff; and we therefore point out a

the day, and many of the night, to their safe and sure road to travellers, without masters, should be supported according to troubling ourselves about that which may

their condition ; but it would be intolerable be taken by rope-dancers and fearless horse

if the shoemaker who makes a dozen pairs men.' A philosopher, who had listened to

of shoes yearly for one person should exthe conversation, observed, that • common

pect to live by them. However, you may roads or rules are always neceszary, though

go to the toll-clerk, and tell him the King men of genius do not follow them.'”

is pleased to dispense with his services, and

to appoint you in his place.' John could not live,--an every-day

66 Who was now happier than John ?

He was toll-clerk, but soon found he could Occurrence.

not live. He married his lady's maid, but 16 « Did you tell the toll-clerk at the he was now less able to live. He shut his gate, John, that he must open his eyes bet, eyes twice a day, and still could not pay VOL. VII.

3 p

for all the shawls and lustres of his wife. wrote, were little known to his counShe was unfaithful to him, but even that trymen. His style is clear, animated, did not enable her to live. They were and unencumbered, rich in Germanboth at length sent to Bridewell, and now isms, and quite free from that affectthey can live.”

ed etymological purity of phraseology Many other pieces, though they which distinguishes the writings of would furnish us more favourable spe- living German authors, and renders cimens, are too long to be quoted; them difficult to be understood by and these may, probably, suffice to those who acquired the German langive the reader an idea of the writings guage a quarter of a century ago. We of Maser. Although there is some- are of those who think the Germans thing in their homeliness and bon- do not improve in prose writing.hommie which appears peculiarly Ger. When we turn back to the plain and man, yet there may be traced in most energetic style of the period at which of them a partiality to our authors, Moser lived, and compare it with the and very often imitations of them. crazy, in voluted writings of the preSome of the pieces are, indeed, trans- sent day, we grieve to think that they lations from our essayists. We will are constantly straying still further not argue the question, which of all from that beautiful simplicity which the nations of Europe has had the is the crown of good writing. Mæser most influence on modern literature ; had not a lofty, but an equal and combut every Briton may be delighted to prehensive mind. He made no discosee his countrymen leading the way in veries, and invented no hypotheses; almost every branch of useful know- but contented himself with enforcing ledge. It was the fate of the Greeks, known truths. His course was steady while living, but conquered, to givelaws and equal, shedding a pure and brilto the taste of Rome. Rome herself had liant light till his death. He labourdisappeared as an empire before her edas, perhaps, all wise men ought productions were adopted by admir- --to dispense instruction to his iming posterity. Italy and France have, mediate neighbours, convinced, appain their turn, enjoyed the honour of rently, that those precepts are most being imitated by less cultivated na- effectual which are supported by extions ;-but, at present, it seems as if ample. He wrote more for his counBritain is the instructress of the world trymen than for the world, which, in the art of writing as well as of go- perhaps, is the reason why his fame verning. Even France has not dis- has scarcely extended beyond Gerdained to borrow from us. Nearly many. He effected no revolution in all the additions she has made to her what is miscalled philosophy, because tragic drama, in modern times, have he never advocated any absurd theory, been taken from Shakespeare, though He founded no sect, and excited no his spreading natural oaks have been parties to a war of words, by soundclipped like a garden yew to fit them ing any of the numerous trumpets of to the French stage. The influence mysticism; but he enlarged the knowof our national productions is, per- ledge and the enjoyments of his gratehaps, more conspicuous in modern ful countrymen. If we may judge German literature than in any other; from the reputation which some of and, extending over the world, ought his contemporaries—the authors of to be more gratifying to the self-love useless theories—have acquired, it of Britons than the most splendid tri- would have been wise in Mæser, had umph of our arms. A history of our he been desirous of fame, to have wars may soothe our pride, but it propagated some new system. For must ever excite mingled sensations of the world-or, at least, for the learn. regret and exultation : but a history ed world, which bestows literary hoof the influence we have exerted on the nour-such doctrines have a greater mind of Europe would pour on the charm than the rational and useful reader one unmingled stream of satis- writings of Mæser. Abounding in faction.

good sense, and quite free from that Mæser is distinguished for a great affectation of French phrases which deal of patient research--for an acute may be observed in the comedies of lively manner of setting forth his opi- Iffland, and in the writings of other nions, and a plain fearlessness in ex- contemporaries of Moser; and free alpressing them—which, at the time he so from that affectation of purity,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

which, never allowing a modern au- Ricordati di me; che son la Pia ; thor to use a word not etymologically Sienna mi fe, disfecemi Maremma. German, has created a new language,

Salsi colui che inannellata pria the writings of Mæser may be safely

Disposando m'avea con la sua gemma.” recommended to students of the Ger.

Purgat. Cant. 5th.

man as fair models of style, and as
containing nothing to corrupt the

heart, seduce the fancy, or mystify
the understanding.

Mais elle etait du monde, ou les plus belles


Ont le pire destin ;

Et Rose elle a vécu ce que vivent les roses,

L'espace d'un Matin.
The following little Tale, written

some time ago, was intended to have
been enlarged by the introduction of THERE are bright scenes beneath Italian
other characters and incidents, and

skies, afterwards published separately; but

Where glowing suns their purest light dif

fuse, a poem on the same subject, by a wri

Uncultured flowers in wild profusion rise, ter of considerable celebrity, having And nature lavishes her warmest hues ; recently made its appearance, the But trust thou not her smile, her balmy Author of the “ Maremma" has, in breath, consequence, given up the idea of its Away! her charms are but the pomp of publication in any other mode than

Death! the present.

He in the vine-clad bowers, unseen is dwel. 66 THE history of Desdemona has a pa- Where the cool shade its freshness round rallel in the following passage of Dante. thee throws, Nello Della Pietra had espoused a lady of His voice, in every perfumed zephyr swel. noble family at Sienna, named Madonna Pia. Her beauty was the admiration of With gentlest whisper lures thee to repose, Tuscany, and excited in the heart of her And the soft sounds that thro' the foliage husband a jealousy, which, exasperated by

sigh, false reports and groundless suspicions, at But woo thee still to slumber and to die. length drove him to the desperate resolution of Othello. It is difficult to decide Mysterious danger lurks, a Syren, there, whether the lady was quite innocent, but Not robed in terrors, or announced in so Dante represents her. Her husband

gloom, brought her into the Maremma, which, But stealing o'er thee in the scented air, then as now, was a district destructive to And veiled in flowers, that smile to deck health. He never told his unfortunate

thy tomb : wife the reason of her banishment to so How may we deem, amidst their bright dangerous a country. He did not deign

array, to utter complaint or accusation. He lived That heaven and earth but flatter to bewith her alone, in cold silence, without an

tray ? swering her questions, or listening to her remonstrances. He patiently waited till Sunshine, and bloom, and verdure ! can it the pestilential air should destroy the health

be, of this young lady. In a few months she That these but charm us with destructive died. Some chroniclers, indeed, tell us, wiles ? that Nello used the dagger to hasten her where shall we turn, O Nature ! if in thee death. It is certain that he survived her, Danger is masked in beauty_death in plunged in sadness and perpetual silence.

smiles ? Dante had, in this incident, all the mate. Oh! still the Circe of that fatal shore, rials of an an ple and very poetical narra. Where she, the sun's bright daughter, tive. But he bestows on it only four ver dwelt of yore! ses. He meets in Purgatory three spirits ; one was a captain, who fell fighting on the There, year by year, that secret peril same side with him in the battle of Cam

spreads, paldino ; the second, a gentleman assassi. Disguised in loveliness, its baleful reign, nated by the treachery of the House of And viewless blights o'er many a landscape Este ; the third was a woman unknown to

sheds, the poet, and who, after the others had Gay with the riches of the south, in vain, spoken, turned towards him with these O'er fairy bowers, and palaces of state, words:

Passing unseen, to leave them desolate,


And pillared halls, whose airy colonades, But is she blest?-for sometimes o'er her Were formed to echo music's choral tone,

smile Are silent now, amidst deserted shades, * A soft sweet shade of pensiveness is cast, Peopled by sculpture's graceful forms And in her liquid glance there seems alone;

awhile, And fountains dash, unheard by lone al. To dwell some thought whose soul is with coves,

the past. Neglected temples, and forsaken groves. Yet soon ii flies a cloud that leaves do

trace And there, where marble nymphs, in beau. On the sky's azure of its dwelling-place.

ty gleaming, Midst the deep shades of plane and cypress Perchance, at times, within her heart may

rise By wave or grot might Fancy linger, Remembrance of some early love or woe, dreaming

Faded, yet scarce forgotten-in her eyes, Of old Arcadia's woodland deities.

Wakening the half-formed tear that may Wild visions ! there no sylvan powers

not flow. convene,

Yet radiant seems her lot as aught on Death reigns the genius of the Elysian

earth, scene.

Where still some pining thought comes

darkly o'er our mirth. Ye, too, illustrious hills of Rome ! that bear

The world before her smiles its changeful Traces of mightier beings on your brow,

gaze O’er you that subtle spirit of the air, She hath not proved as yet-ber path Extends the desert of his empire now ;

seems gay Broods o'er the wrecks of altar, fane, and with flowers and sunshine--and the voice dome,

of praise And makes the Cæsars' ruined halls his Is still the joyous herald of her way; home. . .

And beauty's light around her dwells, to

throw, Youth, valour, beauty, oft have felt his

O’er every scene, its own resplendent glow. power, His crowned and chosen victims o’er their

Such is the young Bianca--graced with all lot Hath fond affection wept-each blighted

That nature, fortune, youth, at once can

give; flower In turn was loved and mourned, and is Pure in their loveliness her looks recall

Such dreams, as ne'er life's early bloom forgot.

survive ; But one who perished, left a tale of woe,

And when she speaks, each thrilling tone Meet for as deep a sigh as pity can be. A

is fraught stow.

With sweetness, born of high and beaven. A voice of music, from Sienpa's walls,

ly thought. Is floating joyous on the summer air, And there are banquets in her stately balls, And he, to whom are breath'd her vows And graceful revels of the gay and fair,

of faith And brilliant wreaths the altar have ar. Is brave, and noble-Child of high descent, rayed,

He hath stood fearless in the ranks of Where meet her noblest youth, and love ..

death, liest maid.

'Mid slaughtered heaps, the warrior's mo

nument : To that young bride each grace hath Na- and proudly marshalled his Carroccio's ture given,

way, Which glows on Art's divinest dream,,her Amidst the wildest wreck of war's array.

eye Hath a pure sunbeam of her native hea. And his the chivalrous, commanding mien, ven

Where high-born grandeur blends with Her cheek a tinge of morning's richest dye ; courtly grace ; Pair as that daughter of the south, whose form

picture of his wife Mona Lisa, supposed to Still breathes and charms, in Vinci's co

be the most perfect imitation of Nature lours warm. t

ever exhibited in painting. See Vasari in

his Lives of the Painters. • See Madame de Stael's fine descrip- * See the description of this sort of con. tion, in her Corinne, of the Villa Borghese, secrated war-chariot in Sismondi's Histoire deserted on account of the Mal'aria. des Republiques Italiennes, &c. Vol. I.

+ An allusion to Leonardo da Vinci's p. 394.

« НазадПродовжити »