the stage, Dutch dairies in pictures, and Swiss scenes on the plate at dinner; nay they want gods more than they do God, whom, indeed, it is art that first raises to the rank of the gods. High sentiments and deep emotions, which the court at supper must scruple to express as real, can speak out loud and frankly on the court-theatre a little while before. Besides, what is not to be slighted, by a moderated indifference and aversion to true feelings, there is opened the freer room and variety for the representation and show thereof; as we may say, the Emperor Constantine first abolished the punishment of the cross, but on all hands loaded churches and statues with the figure of it.

Here too is another advantage, which whoever likes can reckon in: That certain higher and purer emotions do service to the true earthly ones in the way of foil; as haply, — if a similitude much fitter for a satire than for a review may be permitted, — the thick ham by its tender flowers, or the boar's-head by the citrons in its snout, rather gains than loses.

And though all this went for nothing, still must the religious enthusiasm of our Authoress affect the Parisian and man of the world with a second charm ; namely, with the genuine material which lies therein, as well as in any tragedy, for conversational parody. Indeed, those same religious, oldfashioned, sentimental dispositions must, as the persiflage thereof has already grown somewhat thread. bare and meritless, – they must, if jesting on them is to betoken spirit, be from time to time warmed up anew by some writer, or, still better, by some writeress, of genius.

With the charm of sensibility our gifted eulogist combines, as hinted above, another advantage which may well gain the Parisians for her; namely, the advantage of a true French, - not German, -taste in poetry.

She must, the Reviewer hopes, have satisfied the impartial Parisian by this general sentence, were there nothing more.)

"Le grand avantage qu'on peut tirer de l'étude de la littérature allemande, c'est le mouvement d'émulation qu'elle donne; il faut y chercher des forces pour composer soi-même plutôt que des ouvrages tout fait, qu'on puisse transporter ailleurs.'

This ught, which ? she has more briefly expressed :

. Ce sera presque toujours un chef-d'œuvre qu'une invention étrangère arrangée par un Français,' she demonstrates 8 by the words : On ne sait pas faire un livre en Allemagne; rarement on y met l'ordre 1 Tom. iv. p. 86.

? Page 45.

3 Page 11.

et la méthode qui classent les idées dans la tête du lecteur; et ce n'est point parceque les Français sont impatiens, mais parcequ'ils ont l'esprit juste, qu'ils se fatiguent de ce défaut: les fictions ne sont pas dessinées dans les poésies allemandes avec ces contours fermes et précis qui en assurent l'effet; et le vague de l'imagination correspond à l'obscurité de la pensée.'

In short, our Muses’-hill, as also the other Muses’-hills, the English, the Greek, the Roman, the Spanish, are simply, — what no Frenchman can question, — so many mountain-stairs and terraces, fashioned on various slopes, whereby the Gallic Olympus-Parnassus may, from this side and that, be conveniently reached. As to us Germans in particular, she might express herself so : German works of art can be employed as colour-sheds, and German poets as colourgrinders, by the French pictorial school ; as, indeed, from of old our learned lights have been by the French, not adored like light-stars, but stuck into like light-chaters, as people carry those of Surinam, spitted through, for lighting of roads. Frankly will the Frenchman forgive our Authoress her German or British heart, when he finds, in the chapters on the 'classical' and 'romantic' art of poetry, how little this has corrupted or cooled her taste, to the prejudice of the Gallic art of writing. After simply saying,

* La nation française, la plus cultivée des nations latines, penche vers la poésie imitée des Grecs et des Romains,' she expresses this a much better and more distinctly in these words :

• La poésie française étant la plus classique de toutes les poésies modernes, elle est la seule qui ne soit pas répandue parmi le peuple.'

Now Tasso, Calderon, Camoens, Shakspeare, Goethe, continues she, are sung by their respective peoples, even by the lowest classes ; whereas it is to be lamented that, indeed,


• Nos poètes français sont admirés par tout ce qu'il y a d'esprits cultivés chez nous et dans le RESTE de l'Europe; mais ils sont tout-à-fait inconnus aux gens de peuple, et aux bourgeois même des villes, parceque les arts en France ne sont pas, conime ailleurs, natifs du pays même où leurs beautés se développent.'

And there is no Frenchman but will readily subscribe this confession. The Reviewer too, though a German, allows the French a similarity to the Greek and Latin classics ; nay a greater than any exist ing people can exhibit; and recognises them willingly as the newest Ancients. He even goes so far, that he equals their Literature, using a quite peculiar and inverse principle of precedency among the classii Tom. ii. p. 60.

2 Page 63.


cal ages, to the best age of Greek and Latin Literature, namely, the iron. For as the figurative names, 'golden,' 'iron age,' of themselves signify, considering that gold, a very ductile rather than a useful metal, is found everywhere, and on the surface, even in rivers, and without labour; whereas the firm iron, serviceable not as a symbol and for its splendour, is rare in gold-countries, and gained only in depths and with toil, and seldom in a metallic state : so likewise, among literary ages, an iron one designates the practical utility and laborious nature of the work done, as well as the cunning workmanship bestowed on it; whereby it is clear, that not till the golden and silver ages are done, can the iron one come to maturity. Always one age produces and fashions the next : on the golden stands the silver; this forms the brass; and on the shoulders of all stands the iron. Thus too, our Authoress 1 testifies that the elder French, Montaigne and the rest, were so very like the present Germans, while the younger had not yet grown actually classical; as it were, the end-flourishes and cadences of the past. On which grounds the French classics cannot, without injustice, be paralleled to any earlier Greek classics than to those of the Alexandrian school. Among the Latin classics their best prototypes may be such as Ovid, Pliny the younger, Martial, the two Senecas, Lucan, — though he, more by date than spirit, has been reckoned under our earlier periods ; inasmuch as these Romans do, as it were by anticipation, arm and adorn themselves with the brass and iron, not yet come into universal use. A Rousseau would sound in Latin as silvery as a Seneca ; Seneca would sound in French as golden as a Rousseau.

Nevertheless, it is an almost universal error in persons who speak of French critics, to imagine that a Géoffroy, or a Laharpe, in equalling his countrymen to the ancient classics, means the classics of the so-called golden age. But what real French classic would take it as praise if you told him that he wrote quite like Homer, like Æschylus, like Aristophanes, like Plato, like Cicero? Without vanity, he might give you to understand, that some small difference would surely be found between those same golden classics and him, which, indeed, was to be referred rather to the higher culture of the time than to his own; whereby he might hope that in regard to various longueurs, instances of tastelessness, coarseness, he had less to answer for than many an Ancient. A French tragedy-writer might say, for example, that he fattered himself, if he could not altogether equal the so-named tragic Seven Stars of Alexandria, he still differed a little from the Seven of Æschylus. Indeed, Voltaire and others, in their letters, tell us plainly enough, that the writers of the ancient golden age are nowise like them, or specially to their mind.

1 Tom. iv. p. 80.

• The same thing Jean Paul had long ago remarked in his Vorschule, book iii. sec. 779, of the Second Edition.

The genuine French taste of our Authoress displays itself also in detached manifestations ; for example, in the armed neutrality which, in common with the French and people of the world, she maintains towards the middle ranks. Peasants and Swiss, indeed, make their appearance, idyl-wise, in French Literature ; and a shepherd is as good as a shepherdess. Artists too are admitted by these people : partly as the sort of undefined comets that gyrate equally through suns, earths and satellites ; partly as the individual servants of their luxury; and an actress in person is often as dear to them as the part she plays. But as to the middle rank, - excepting perhaps the clergyman, who in the pulpit belongs to the artist guild, and in Catholic countries, without rank of his own, traverses all ranks, — not only are handicraftsmen incapable of poetic garniture, but the entire class of men of business, your Commerce-Raths, Legation, Justice, and other Raths, and two-thirds of the whole Address-calendar. In short, French human nature produces and sets forth, in its works of art, nothing worse than princes, heroes and nobility : no ground-work and side-work of people; as the trees about Naples shade you, when sitting under them, simply with blossoms, not with leaves, because they have none. This air of pedigree, without which the French Parnassus receiveth no one, Madame de Staël also appears to require, and, by her unfavourable sentence, to feel the want of in Voss's Luise, in his Idyls, in Goethe's Dorothea, in Meister and Faust. There is too little gentility in them. Tieck's Sternbald finds favour, perhaps not less for its treating of artists, than by reason of its unpoetical yet pleasing generalities ; for the book is rather a wish of art, than a work of art.

The theatre is, as it were, the ichnography (ground-plan) of a people; the prompter's hole (souffleur) is the speaking-trumpet of its peculiarities. Our Authoress, in exalting the Gallic coulisses, and stagecurtains, and candle-snuffers, and souffleurs of their tragic and comic ware, above all foreign theatres, gives the French another and gratifying proof of her taste being similar to theirs.

After so many preliminaries, the reader will doubtless expect the conclusion that our Authoress does prove the wished-for mediatrix between us and France, and in the end procures us a literary general pardon from the latter ; nay, that the French are even a little obliged to her for this approximation. But quite the contrary is the Reviewer's opinion.

On the whole, he cannot help sympathising with the French, whom such diluted, filtered extracts and versions from the German must delude into belief of a certain regularity in us, whereof there is no trace extant. Thus, for example, our Authoress begins Faust with this passage :

"C'est à nous de nous plonger dans le tumulte de l'activité, dans ces vagues éternelles de la vie, que la naissance et la mort élèvent et précipitent, repoussent et ramènent: nous sommes faits pour travailler à l'æuvre que Dieu nous recommande, et dont le tems accomplit la trâme. Mais toi, qui ne peux concevoir que toi-même, toi, qui trembles en approfondissant ta destinée, et que mon souffle fait tressaillir, laisse-moi, ne me rappelle plus.'

How shall a Frenchman, persuaded perhaps by such smooth samples to study German, guess, that before this passage could become arable, the following tangle grew on it :

In Lebensfluthen, im Thatensturm
Wall' ich auf und ab,
Wehe hin und her!
Geburt und Grab
Ein ewiges Meer,
Ein wechselnd Weben,
Ein glühend Leben,
So schaff'ich am sausenden Webstuhl der Zeit,
Und wirke der Gottheit lebendiges Kleid.


Der du die weite Welt umschweifst,
Geschäftiger Geist, wie nah’ fühl’ich mich dir !


Du gleichst dem Geist, den du begreifst,
Nicht mir !'1

1 Here is an English version, as literal as we can make it :



In Existence' floods, in Action's storm,
I walk and work, above, beneath,
Work and weave, in endless motion !
Birth and death,
An infinite ocean,
A seizing and giving
The fire of living:
• Tis thus at the roaring Loom of Time I ply,
And weave for God the Garment thou seest him by.

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