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diplomatic service of Austria, and in his later days he held an official post of some importance at Vienna. Considering these circumstances, and the equally undoubted facts, that he did precede Augustus both in the general theory of criticism, and in the Sanscrit researches, and that none of the undisturbed professor's original lucubrations can be said to be more happily designed, or more exquisitely finished, than the busy secretary's Lectures on the History of Literature, we are inclined to think that the latter was, on the whole, the more extraordinary man of the two.
We are pleased to observe that even Heine seems disposed to give Frederick Schlegel credit for sincerity in his conversion to the faith of the Romish church: and, strange and melancholy as such an event in the history of such a man must always appear to us, we see much to account for, if not to excuse it, in the recent cir. cumstances of the north of Germany—especially in the endless and hopeless labyrinth of idle controversies which, about the time when Schlegel's mind attained maturity, had reduced the academical protestantism of his country to a hardly-veiled deism. He found that those soi-disant disciples of Luther and Calvin had, in Hegel's not unjust pbraseology, ' united on a basis of nullity.' Everything lofty, and everything tender, was alike smoothed away and obliterated ; and the Bible had become in the hands of these Christian commentators a mere Minstrelsy of the Jewish Border -a patchwork of wild old ballads, connected by extracts from barbarous chronicles, antiquarian notes, and editorial excursus. He turned with disgust from their false and presumptuous dog, matism-and sick and weary, and unable to find a true clue for himself, with the rashness of an imaginative man, he threw himself headlong and blindfold into the arms of the old unchanging church, for whose fanciful legends his long study of the middle ages had already inspired him with a regretful affection. We may lament all this and it is indeed very lamentable--and its effects have been and continue to be most injurious—for such an example taught and still teaches too many of the German youth to conclude that there is in truth, for a sane mind, no middle point between absolute submission to the authority of Rome and the wanton license of the mock-rationalists ;—but we can discover no ground for impeaching the sincerity of Frederick Schlegel, or of the many other eminent German authors and artists who have in these days taken the same or a similar course; among the rest Haller, Müller, Count Stolberg, and last not least, Schelling who, as we have seen, flew to catholicism, not from perverted, and perplexed, and emasculated protestantism, but from the most audacious extreme of Heine's own pantheism. As for the malicious anecdotes which Heine gives of Frederick's
own domestic life, we can only say that they are new to us; and that their introduction, even if they were true in fact, which we much doubt, could have added not one tittle to the strength of Heine's argument. In a biographical sketch prefixed to a very good translation of F. Schlegel's • Lectures on the Philosophy of History,' which has just been published in London, and to which we may probably devote an article in a future Number, the closing scene of his life is described as having been eminently pious and serene—as remote as possible from what Heine insinuates. His dwelling at all upon a single licentious juvenile romance, when reviewing the career of a great author whose maturer writings were wholly free from such stains, appears to us scarcely less unworthy of Mr. Heine; and solely to be accounted for by his personal spleen against a man who never did him an injury-who very probably never heard of his name. · But Augustus William Schlegel is now, as on former occasions, the chief object of Heine's hatred; and it must be owned that he vituperates him in a style which carries one back to the fiercest feuds of the seventeenth century. We should like to know what the personal relations of these two literators had really been: it is obvious, we think, that there had been some early connexion of a friendly sort between them--how and when was it broken?
'I must now speak of the elder brother, Augustus William. If it were in Germany that I at this day undertook to discuss him, they would stare at me. Who speaks now in Paris of the giraffe?
"In reviewing his literary career, one ought to begin with his translations, for by these he really did us a great service. His version of Shakspeare is above all an incomparable masterpiece. Perhaps, with the exceptions of Gries and Count de Platen, Schlegel is the first metrist in Germany. In all his other labours it is impossible to assign him more than a second or even a third-rate place. In æsthetical criticism he wants a groundwork of philosophy, and in this field his contemporaries, especially Solger, have gone far beyond him. In the study of the old German language, Schlegel is infinitely below Jacob Grimm, who put an end, by his “ Grammar,” to those superficial theories by means of which the brothers explained the monuments of our tongue. Perhaps Schlegel might have gone farther in the study of our own old language if he had not been drawn off to the Sanscrit; but the ancient German was no longer in fashion, and the Sanscrit might excite a new sensation. Even in this, however, he remained a sort of dilettante- the initiative of his thoughts here also he owed to his brother Frederick; and whatever there appears of real and scientific in his Sanscrit researches, we owe, as all the world knows, 'to his learned colleague, Lassen. In historical science, Schlegel once tried to clamber up on the fame of Niebuhr, whom he
attacked; attacked; but to compare him with that great critic, with a Müller or a Heeren, or any one really worthy of the name of a historian, would now-a-days be too ridiculous.'
We are not likely to be surprised by any specimen, however extravagant, of our author's inalice against Schlegel—but we cannot help being amused with this one. Anywhere out of Bonn, which little town was so long split into two parties, with Niebühr and Schlegel for their respective heads and watchwords,-anywhere beyond the narrow sphere of that poor village-bigotry, is it possible that a man of Heine's capacity can expect to be considered as speaking in good faith, when he gravely asserts the intellectual superiority of Niebühr over A. W. Schlegel ? Their tempers and manners were very different, and their general political principles were also different—and it was a thousand pities that they could not live decently together as brother professorsand nothing could be more absurd than the extent to wbich the society about them allowed itself to be disturbed by their animosities. But now that Niebühr is gone, who can seriously deny that Schlegel's criticism on Niebühr's greatest work was an excellent performance, and forced the author himself to alter many of his original positions ? As for talking of them as rival historians nothing can be more ridiculous. Neither of these learned men ever had any solid claim to that character. Niebühr was a clever and erudite critic and antiquarian, and he called a very able, but in many points rash and mistaken disquisition on the Roman Historians, by the name of a Roman History: but this was a gross misnomer. Schlegel, again, wrote another able disquisition on that of Niebühr, exposed many of his errors, and reduced his merits to their just dimensions ; but he never published any work pretending either to the name or character of a history of any sort. Considered as scholars, the range of Niebühr was no doubt quite as extensive as that of Schlegel. Considered as authors, the former was dry, obscure, and sterile—the other will ever, as Heine himself is obliged to confess, be honoured as one of the most various, elegant, and clear writers of his mother-tongue. .
• It remains to inquire what is his rank as a poet, and this point is hard to determine. The violin-player Salomons, who gave lessons to King George III. of England, said one day to his august pupil, " Fiddlers may be divided iuto three classes : to the first belong those who can't play at all; to the second those who play badly; and to the third those who play well. Your Majesty has already ascended to the second of these classes.” Does A. W. Schlegel belong to the first or to the second class of poets? One set of critics maintain that he is no poet at all, another set are of opinion that he is a bad one. All I am sure of is, that he is no Paganini.'
We believe A. W. Schlegel himself attaches no great importance to his original verses : but had Heine no fear of a tu quoque when he penned the next paragraph ?
Augustus William Schlegel owed his celebrity to nothing but the unheard-of assurance with which he attacked the literary authorities then in yogue. He plucked off crowns of laurel which reposed upon oid periwigs, and in the course of the operation made a good deal of powder fly into the eyes of the public. His Fame was a natural daughter of Scandal.'
And now for Schlegel as a critic:
• When we recover from the astonishment excited by the man's audacity, we are surprised at the absolute hollowness of his criticism. Thus, when he wishes to pull down the poet Bürger, he compares his ballads with the old English ones collected by Bishop Percy, and triumphantly points out how much more simple these are, how much more Gothic, by consequence how much more stamped with poetry. Schlegel has sufficiently understood the spirit of the past, above all of the middle ages, and he succeeds extremely well in tracing that spirit in ancient productions, and explaining their beauties in that point of view. But of all that belongs to the present, he could comprehend nothing—at least, he could only seize some exterior traits of the physiognomy of our own time, in general not the most beautiful ones; and, feeling nothing of the spirit which animates our modern life, he sees nothing in it but dull prosework. For the most part, it belongs only to a great poet to seize the poetry of the thought of the present time; that of a past age is divined more easily, and far more easily is it made sensible to others. And thus Schlegel succeeded in making the multitude admire and exalt the poetry of other days at the expense of that in which our modern epoch lives and breathes. The Relics of Ancient Poetry express the spirit of their time just as Bürger's poems do the spirit of his; and, if Schlegel had understood that spirit, he would never have mistaken the enthusiasm which bursts forth in the poetry of Bürger for the hoarse note of a rude schoolmaster, but have recognised the potent cry of sorrow put forth by a Titan who was groaning in torture beneath an aristocracy of provincial lordlings and the academic pe. dants of Hanover. Such was the hard fate of the poor author of Lenora, and of many another man of genius, who vegetated painfully at Göttingen in the functions of a petty professorship, and who died in indigence and destitution. How should the superb Chevalier A. G. de Schlegel, protected by superb patrons, a placeman, bebaroned and be-ribboned-how should he comprehend the verses in which Bürger exclaims, with rage and anger, “ A man of honour, sooner than stoop for the favours of the great, will let himself be torn from this earth by hunger"?'-vol. ii. p. 16. .
The truth is that Bürger, influenced very probably by the straitened circumstances of his own external position, was all over a discontented man, a spurner at the world and the world's law, and,
* as far forth as any writer could venture in those days to express
such views, a German revolutionist. The Essay in which Schlegel i discussed Bürger made no allusion to the man's political predilec
tions; but after doing, as we think, ample and generous justice to the beauty of many of his poems, it entered into a calin examination of those general principles of poetical criticism which were announced in Bürger's prefaces, and which principles were, no doubt, connected intimately with Bürger's fundamental democratism. Now Heine, in place of his fiery invective above quoted, ought, if he meddled with this affair at all, to have cited Schlegel's praise of Bürger's genius in the first place, and examined in his turn, not merely vituperated, the great critic's analysis of the poet's canons. But Heine, being himself a true and powerful, but by do means a popular poet' in Bürger's sense of that term, could not have performed this last office without finding himself obliged
to part company with Bürger, and take the side of Schlegel. - Bürger's axiom was that ' popularity of style,' which he explains
as meaning perfect clearness and universal intelligibility,' is the
proof of perfection ;' and he asserted that all great poets have been (in this sense) popular poets, and that what they did not write popularly (still in the same sense) was almost forgotten in their lifetime, or never received into the imagination or memory of their readers. Schlegel replied, that Bürger confounds the general requisites of poetry with those of that particular species of poetry in which he himself so successfully laboured ; i. e., 'poetry expressly adapted for the lower and uninstructed classes ;'admitting that such poetry, being good of its kind, would of course be agreeable to readers of all classes, he maintained that this by no means disproved the possibility of far higher genius than
Bürger's choosing to display itself in a style altogether incompre- hensible to the common mass of mankind. What such a genius
loses in quantity and effect will be amply compensated to him,' says Schlegel, . by its quality. How narrow would be the sphere of poetry—what magnificent images would be rendered unavailable, were Bürger's position universally acknowledged !'- And, again, and going still deeper, Our existence,' says the critic, ' rests on the incomprehensible, and the aim of poetry, springing as it does out of this fathomless profound, cannot be to solve or get rid of all mysteries.' As to Bürger's historical assertion, Schlegel says, among other things, 'Dante and Petrarch, the two great fathers of modern poetry, are, in every sense of the word, by their knowledge and genius, as unpopular as it is possible to be; and Shakspeare and Cervantes appear to be popular only because they satisfy the many with strong emotions and bright images, and delude them with a superficial intelligibility, while the deeper sense, and