times a distinct worthlessness. Mr. Taylor has made no conscience of clearing those unfortunate performances even from their gross blunders. Thus, in that 'excellent version " by Miss Plumtre,' we find this statement: • Professor Mül. ler could not utter a period without introducing the words with under, whether they had business there or not;' which statement, were it only on the ground that Professor Müller was not sent to Bedlam, there to utter periods, we venture to deny. Doubtless his besetting sin was mitunter, which indeed means at the same time, or the like (etymologically, with among), but nowise with under. One other instance we shall give, from a much more important subject. Mr. Taylor admits that he does not make much of Faust : however, he inserts Shelley's version of the Mayday Night ; and another

evidently rendered by quite a different artist. In this latter, Margaret is in the Cathedral during High-Mass, but her whole thoughts are turned inwards on a secret shame and sorrow : an Evil Spirit is whispering in her ear; the Choir chaunt fragments of the Dies iræ ; she is like to choke and sink. In the original, this passage is in verse ; and, we presume, in the translation also, founding on the capital letters. The concluding lines are these :

[ocr errors][merged small]

Where wilt thou lie concealed? for sin and shame
Remain not hidden woe is coming down.

[blocks in formation]


Quid sum miser tum dicturus?


Neighbour, your -Your what?— Angels and ministers of grace defend us !Your Drambottle.' Will Mr. Taylor have us understand, then, that “the noble German nation, more especially the fairer half thereof (for the Neighbour' is Nachbarin, Neighbouress), goes to church with a decanter of brạndy in its pocket ? Or would he not rather, even forcibly, interpret Fläschchen by vinaigrette, by volatile-salts ? — The world has no notice that this passage is a borrowed one, but will, notwithstanding, as the more charitable theory, hope and believe so.

We have now done with Mr. Taylor ; and would fain, after all that has come and gone, part with him in goodnature and good-will. He has spoken freely ; we have answered freely. Far as we differ from him in regard to German Literature, and to the much more important subjects here connected with it; deeply as we feel convinced that his convictions are wrong and dangerous, are but half true, and, if taken for the whole truth, wholly false and fatal, we have nowise blinded ourselves to his vigorous talent, to his varied learning, his sincerity, his manful independence and self-support. Neither is it for speaking out plainly that we blame him. A man's honest, earnest opinion is the most precious of all he possesses : let him communicate this, if he is to communicate anything. There is, doubtless, a time to speak, and a time to keep silence; yet Fontenelle's celebrated aphorism, I might have my hand full of truth, and would open only my little finger, may be practised also to excess, and the little finger itself kept closed. That reserve, and knowing silence, long so universal among us, is less the fruit of active benevolence, of philosophic tolerance, than of indifference and weak conviction. Honest Scepticism, honest Atheism, is better than that withered lifeless Dilettanteism


and amateur Eclecticism, which merely toys with all opinions ; or than that wicked Machiavelism, which in thought denying everything, except that Power is Power, in words, for its own wise purposes, loudly believes everything : of both which miserable habitudes the day, even in England, is wellnigh over. That Mr. Taylor belongs not, and at no time belonged, to either of these classes, we account a true praise. Of his Historic Survey we have endeavoured to point out the faults and the merits : should he reach a second edition, which we hope, perhaps he may profit by some of our hints, and render the work less unworthy of himself and of his subject. In its present state and shape, this English Temple of Fame can content no one. A huge, anomalous, heterogeneous mass, no section of it like another, oriel-window alternating with rabbit-hole, wrought capital on pillar of dried mud; heaped together out of marble, loose earth, rude boulder-stone ; bastily roofed-in with shingles : such is the Temple of Fame; uninhabitable either for priest or statue, and which nothing but a continued suspension of the laws of gravity can keep from rushing erelong into a chaos of stone and dust. For the English worshipper, who in the mean while has no other temple, we search out the least dangerous apartments; for the future builder, the materials that will be valuable.

And now, in washing our hands of this all-too sordid but not unnecessary task, one word on a more momentous object. Does not the existence of such a Book, do not many other indications, traceable in France, in Germany, as well as here, betoken that a new era in the spiritual intercourse of Europe is approaching ; that instead of isolated, mutually repulsive National Literature, a World Literature may one day be looked for? The better minds of all countries begin to understand each other; and, which follows naturally, to love each other, and help each other ; by whom ultimately, all countries in all their proceedings are governed.

Late in man's history, yet clearly at length, it becomes manifest to the dullest, that mind is stronger than matter, that mind is the creator and shaper of matter; that not brute Force, but only Persuasion and Faith is the king of this world. The true Poet, who is but the inspired Thinker, is still an Orpheus whose Lyre tames the savage beasts, and evokes the dead rocks to fashion themselves into palaces and stately inhabited cities. It has been said, and may be repeated, that Literature is fast becoming all in all to us; our Church, our Senate, our whole Social Constitution. The true Pope of Christendom is not that feeble old man in Rome; nor is its Autocrat the Napoleon, the Nicholas, with his half million even of obedient bayonets : such Autocrat is himself but a more cunningly-devised bayonet and military engine in the hands of a mightier than he. The true Autocrat and Pope is that man, the real or seeming Wisest of the past age; crowned after death ; who finds his Hierarchy of gifted Authors, his Clergy of assiduous Journalists ; whose Decretals, written not on parchment, but on the living souls of men, it were an inversion of the Laws of Nature to disobey. In these times of ours, all Intellect has fused itself into Literature : Literature, Printed Thought, is the molten sea and wonder-bearing chaos, into which mind after mind casts forth its opinion, its feeling, to be molten into the general mass, and to work there ; Interest after Interest is engulfed in it, or embarked on it : higher, higher it rises round all the Edifices of Existence; they must all be molten into it, and anew bodied forth from it, or stand unconsumed among its fiery surges. Woe to him whose Edifice is not built of true Asbest, and on the everlasting Rock; but on the false sand, and of the drift-wood of Accident, and the paper

and parchment of antiquated Habit! For the power, or powers, exist not on our Earth, that can say to that sea, Roll back, or bid its proud waves be still.

What form so omnipotent an element will assume ; how long it will welter to and fro as a wild Democracy, a wild Anarchy ; what Constitution and Organisation it will fashion for itself, and for what depends on it, in the depths of Time, is a subject for prophetic conjecture, wherein brightest hope is not unmingled with fearful apprehension and awe at the boundless unknown. The more cheering is this one thing which we do see and know: That its tendency is to a universal European Commonweal; that the wisest in all nations will communicate and coöperate; whereby Europe will again have its true Sacred College, and Council of Amphictyons ; wars will become rarer, less inhuman, and in the course of centuries such delirious ferocity in nations, as in individuals it already is, may be proscribed, and become obsolete for


« ͹˹Թõ