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than a whole French decade will produce. French wit, reflection-wit (Reviewer here perfectly coincides with Jean Paul in his divisions of wit), surprises with one light resemblance, and with its prompt visibility, like a French garden, only once : British and German wit treats us with the comparison of resemblances reflecting one another, and with the continuous enjoyment of an English garden. For the reperusal of Lichtenberg, Reviewer commonly waits a year; for the reperusal of Voltaire ten years ; for the reperusal of French Journalists sixty years; for that of Hamann as many minutes. The German of spirit is almost ashamed to be so light-witted as a Frenchman; and must make an effort not to make an effort. If he do not grudge the labour, he can heap up, like Weisse in his Satires, more antitheses in a page than a Frenchman in a book. Men of the world, who in German are merely smooth and correct, glitter in French with witty turns; it is will, therefore, that chooses here, not inability. One may say, not this and that Frenchman, but the whole French people, has wit: but so common a wit can, even for that reason, be no deep

one.

may be

What farther was to be said against our want of French skill in talking, Reviewer leaves to the English, Spaniards, Italians, who all share it with us.

The following passage I may reconcile the French with our Authoress : En France la plupart des lecteurs ne veulent jamais être émus, ni même s'amuser aux dépens de leur conscience littéraire ; le scrupule s'est réfugié .' In p. 13, she makes Hans Sachs compose before the Reformation; and in p. 14, Luther translate the Psalms and the Bible. This to a Frenchman, who would show literar detrimental, if he repeats it. In p. 17, she finds a likeness between Wieland's prose and Voltaire's. Give her or give him Voltaire's wit, conciseness, lightness, pliancy, there can be nothing liker. Reviewer has a comfort in having Wieland called at once, by this class of admirers, the German Voltaire, and by that other, the German Greek : he needs not, in that case, reflect and confute, but simply leaves the speakers to their reciprocal annihilation. For the rest, the whole of this chapter, as well as the twelfth, lends and robs the good Wieland so lavishly, that we rather beg to omit it altogether. His Comic Tales are, in her view,2 imitées du Grec; so that most of the French painters, their subjects being mythological, must also be imitators of the Greeks. In p. 62, she must either have misunderstood some Germans, or these must have misunderstood the Greeks, when she says of Fate, in contradistinction to Providence, · Le sort (the Greek Fate) ne compte pour rien les sentimens des hommes.' Sophocles seven times says no to this; and as often Æschylus. Nay, so inexorably 1 Tom. ii. p. 2.

2 Page 67.

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does Fate pursue every immorality, especially audacious immorality, that (unlike Providence) it inflicts the punishment, even under repentance and reform. In p. 90, she calls Klopstock's Ode to his Future Love a sujet maniéré :

• Klopstock est moins heureux quand il écrit sur l'amour: il a, comme Dorat, adressé des vers à sa maîtresse future, et ce sujet maniéré n'a pas bien inspiré sa muse: il faut n'avoir pas souffert, pour se jouer avec le sentiment; et quand une personne sérieuse essaie un semblable jeu, toujours une contrainte secrète l'empêche de s'y montrer naturelle.'

How could her soul, that elsewhere responds to all pure-toned chords of love, mistake the yet unloved longing, wherewith the unloved and yet loving youth looks into his future heart, as with a coming home-sickness? Does even the prosaic young man paint him an ideal, why shall not the poetical incorporate and draw nearer to him the dear form that is glancing for him, though as yet unseen? It is true, this holds only of the first love; for a poem on a second, third and future love, would doubtless merit the blame, which, indeed, she probably so meant.

The long passage from Voss's Louisel seems introduced to bring even the German reader, by the bald translation, into a state of yawning; and the happier French one into snoring and even snorting. Quite as unexpectedly has she extracted from Maria Stuart, instead of bright lyric altar-fire, the long farewell of Maria, too long even for German readers, and only for the epos not too short; and rendered it moreover in prose.

To Goethe she does justice where she admires him, but less where she estimates him. His poems she judges more justly than she does his plays. Everywhere, indeed, her taste borders more on the German when applied to short pieces than to long ones'; above all, than to theatrical ones; for here the French curtain shrouds up every foreign one. With her opinion of Goethe as a literary man, the Germans, since the appearance of his Autobiography, may readily enough. dispense.

Of ch. 15, de l'art dramatique, Reviewer could undertake to say nothing, except something ill, did time permit.

Shakspeare, in whose child-like and poetic serene soul (as it were, a poetic Christ-child) she celebrates an ironie presque Machiavellique in delineating character, she ought to praise less on hearsay, since neither hearsay nor her own feeling can teach her how to praise Goethe's Faust. It is probable she knows only the French (un-souled and un-hearted) Shakspeare, and so values the man; but for Goethe's Faust too, she should have waited for a French version and perver

1 Tom. ii. p. 82.

sion, to give him somewliat better commendation than that she sends him to France with.

If a translation is always but an inverted, pale, secondary rainbow of the original splendour, Madame de Staël’s, as in general any French translation of Faust, is but a gray, cold, mock-sun to Goethe's real flaming Sun in Leo. At times, in place of a pallid translation, she gives a quite new speech; for example, she makes the Devil say of Faust, . Cet homme ne sera jamais qu'à demi pervers, et c'est en * vain qu'il se flatte de parvenir à l'être entièrement.' In the original appears no word of this, but merely the long, good, quite different passage, • Verachte nur Vernunft und Wissenschaft,' g'c. That weighty omissions have prevented light translations in her work, is happy for the work of Goethe. This (like Dante's Divine Comedy) Diabolic Tragedy, in which whole spiritual universes act and fall, she has contracted and extracted into a love-tale. Of this sole and last zo. diacal light which the set sun of Shakspeare has cast up over Germany, our lady Authoress wishes heartilyo that another such, or more such, may not be written. Reviewer ventures to give her hope of fulfilment herein, and pledges himself for all Frenchmen. Consider only :3

• Il ne faut y chercher ni le goût, ni le mesure, ni l'art qui choisit et qui termine; mais si l'imagination pouvait se figurer un chaos intellectuel tel qu'on a souvent décrit le chaos matériel, le Faust de Goethe devrait avoir été composé à cette époque.'

Readeresses, why will every one of you insist on thinking herself a reader ?

Her hard judgment on Faust, Madame had beforehand softened * by the praise she bestowed on Götz von Berlichingen : 'il y a des traits de génie ça et , not only here but there also, dans son drame.' Less warmly 5 does she praise the Natural Daughter ; because the personages therein, like shades in Odin's Palace, lead only an imaged life; inasmuch as they bear no real Christian Directory-names, but are merely designated as King, Father, Daughter, &c. As for this last defect, Reviewer fancies he could remedy it, were he but to turn up his French history and pick out at random the words Louis, Orleans, &c. and therewith christen the general titles, father, daughter; for, in the structure of the work, Madame de Staël will confess there are as firm, determinate, beheading machines, arsenic-hats, poison-pills, steel-traps, oubliettes, spring-guns, introduced, as could be required of any court, whither the scene of the piece might be transferred. There is one censure from our Authoress, however, which Re1 Tom. iii. p. 137.

2 Page 160.

3 Page 127. 4 Tom. iii. p. 402.

5 Page 125.

viewer himself must countersign, though it touches the sweet orangeflower garland, Goethe's Tasso. Reviewer had been pleased to notice, in this piece, which cannot be acted in any larger space than within the chambers of the brain, no downcome, save the outcome, or end; where the moral knot, which can only be loosed in Tasso's heart, is, by cutting of the material knot, by banishment from court, left unloosed to accompany him in exile ; and can at any hour raise up a second fifth-act. This want, indeed, is not felt in reading the work so much as after reading it. Our Authoress, however, points out 1 another want, which, in the piece itself, has a cooling, at least a shadowing influence : that, namely, in the first place, Princess Leonora is drawn not according to the warm climate, but rather as a German maiden ; and so thinks and ponders about her love, instead of either sacrificing herself to it or it to herself; and that, secondly, the Poet Tasso acts not like an Italian accustomed to outward movement and business, but like a solitary German, and unskilfully entangles himself in the perplexities of life.

For the rest, her whole praise of Goethe will, in the sour head of a Frenchman, run to sheer censure; and her censure again will remain censure, and get a little sourer, moreover.

Perhaps the kindliest and justest of all her portraitures is that of Schiller. Not only is she, in her poetry, many times a sister of Schiller; but he also, in his intellectual pomp and reflex splendour, is now and then a distant though beatified relation of Corneille and Crebillon. Hence his half-fortune with the French : for, in consideration of a certain likeness to themselves, some unlikeness and greatness will be pardoned. If Gallic tragedy is often a centaur, begotten by an Ixion with a cloud, Schiller also, at times, has confounded a sun-horse and thunder-horse with the horse of the Muses, and mounted and driven the one instead of the other.

The Donau-Nymphe (Nymph of the Danube) obtains 2 the honour of an extract, and the praise,

• Le sujet de cette pièce semble plus ingénieux que populaire; mais les scènes merveilleuses y sont mêlées et variées avec tant d'art, qu'elle amuse également tous les spectateurs.'

Reviewer has heard Herder, more in earnest than in jest, call the Zauberflöte the only good opera the Germans had.

After sufficiently misunderstanding and faint-praising Goethe's Meister and Ottilie, she ventures, though a lady, and a French one,

1 Tom. iii. p. 122.

2 Tom. iv. p. 36. 3 She finds Ottilie not moving enough; – the Reviewer again finds that Ottilie not only moves the heart, but crushes it. This more than female Werter excites deeper interest for her love than the male one; and, in an earlier time, would have intoxicated all hearts with tears. But what always obstructs a heroine with the female reading world, is the circumstance that she is not the hero.

to let fall this and the other remark about humeur ; and, as it were, to utter a judgment (here Reviewer founds on the printed words) concerning Swift and Sterne. Sterne's humour, in Tristram, she imputes to phraseology ;? nay, to phrases, not to ideas; and infers that Sterne is not translatable, and Swift is. Nevertheless, both of them have found very pretty lodgings in this country with Bode and Waser. Thereafter, in the same chapter on Romances, she makes Asmus, who has written no romance, the drawbridge for a sally against Jean Paul.

Her shallow sentence, as one more passed on him, may, among so many, — some friendlier, some more hostile, – pass on with the rest; till the right one appear, which shall exaggerate neither praise nor blame ; for hitherto, as well the various pricking-girdles (cilices) in which he was to do penance, have been so wide for his body that they slipped to his feet, as in like wise the laurel-wreaths so large for his head that they fell upon his shoulders. Our Authoress dexterously unites both ; and every period consists, in front, of a pleasant commendation, and behind of a fatal mais; and the left hand of the conclusion never knows what the right hand of the premises doeth. Reviewer can figure this jester comically enough, when he thinks how his face must, above fifteen times, have cheerfully thawed at the first clauses, and then suddenly frozen again at the latter. Those mais are his bitterest enemies. Our Authoress blames him for overdoing the pathetic; which blame she herself unduly shares with him in her Corinne, as Reviewer, in his long-past critique thereof, in these very Jahrbücher, hopes to have proved; and, it may be, had that review of Corinne met her eye, she would rather have left various things against J. P. unsaid. In p. 79, she writes, that he knows the human heart only from little German towns, and (hence) 'Il y a souvent dans la peinture de ces maurs quelque chose de trop INNOCENT pour notre siècle.' Now, it is a question whether J. P. could not, if not altogether disprove, yet uncommonly weaken, this charge of innocence, — by stating that many of his works were written in Leipzig, Weimar, Berlin, &c.; and that, consequently, his alleged innocence was not his blame, but that of those cities. He might also set forth how, in Titan, he has collected so much polished courtcorruption, recklessness, and refined sin of all sorts, that it is a hardship for him, - saying nothing of those capital cities, – to be implicated in any such guilt as that of innocence.

However, to excuse her half and quarter judgment, let it not be concealed that scarcely have two of his works (Hesperus and Sieben

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79.

1 Tom. iv. p.

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