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his individuality; that told him that he was which many of the clergy, both secular and a free agent; that he had an immortal and regular, and also some nuns, applied theminvaluable soul; that he lay under a respon- selves, and which exhibits some interesting sibility towards his Creator, a responsibili- productions. For this branch of informaty unknown to the ancients; that he was tion we might refer our readers to the comamenable to a higher and very different prehensive sketch given by Mr. Dunham, tribunal than that of his country, or Cæsar's in his excellent History of the Germanic or men's opinion. These solemn truths Empire, (Lardner's Cyclopedia,) Book II. imparted a new and healthy freedom to On the religious and intellectual History man's mind; they inspired the Christian of the German Church during the Middle convert, whether freeman or bondsman, Ages. with a sense of his own dignity; they gave Under the Emperors of the Franconian eloquence to the apostle, firmness to the con- dynasty, Germany distracted by the great fessor, and holy resignation to the martyr. struggle between ihe throne and the altar, This spiritual individuality easily allied it- produced but few specimens of literary taself to the old personal freedom of the Ger- lent. Even the stirring period of the first man nations,—a freedom founded upon in- Crusades could hardly rouse the German dividual strength, and a nomade state of so- mind from its torpor. With the Swabian ciety; and from the two together, the modern dynasty in the latter half of the twelfth cenEuropean notion of liberty has sprung. In tury, appear the Minnesånger, "singers of this distinction between classical and indi- love," very different, however, from the vidual liberty between the liberty of men, as Troubadours of the South, to whom they enlightened moral agents, or the mere poli- have been compared. The Troubadour is tical sovereignty of the uninformed masses, gay, thoughtless, and licentious; the Minwhich is but another form of despotism, lies nesänger is tender and plaintive, spiritual much of the solution of the political, reli- and lofty. The former sings of love and gious, and social problems of our own times. chivalry, and of the various incidents of war
In Chapter II. our author treats of the and courtoisie; the latter, although many era of Charlemagne, himself a son of Ger- Minnesanger had been with the Crusades many, whose long reign throws a streak of to Palestine, seldom if ever alludes to the lighi across the darkness of the ages which adventures of chivalry and romance ; he intervened between the fall of the Roman dwells chiefly upon the inward feelings of empire and the time of the Crusades. With the soul, upon the refined sentiments and Charlemagne the literary history of Ger- pang of the tender passion ; his strains are many may be said to begin.
chaste and melancholy, they are marked by German literature is supposed, by many a disdain of sensuality, and of the corrupforeigners, to be of very recent creation, be- tions of the world, with allusions to the conbecause it was only in the last century that temporary history of Germany, and occait became familiar to the rest of Europe. sional aspirations after the purer joys of anThis, however, is a mistake, for, without go- other world, and the sublime visions of etering back to the ancient war-songs of the nity. German bards, recorded by Tacitus, or to The series of the most celebrated MinneUlphilas' Translation of the Scriptures, we sänger begins with Henry_of Waldeck, find poems written in the Teutonic dialects who was contemporary with Frederic Barin the age of Charlemagne, such as Hilde- barossa, and ends with Hadsloub under Rubrant and Hathubrant, which was repub- dolf of Hadsburg, towards the end of the lished by the Grimms, in 1811; the war-thirteenth century. Our author gives spesong on the victory of Louis III. of France, cimens of some of their compositions, espeover the Normans; the paraphrasis of the cially from Walter von der Wogelweide, Gospel in high German, by Ottfried, of who is one of the most interesting of the Weissemburg, in the 9th century, with an- whole series.—p. 187—202. other contemporary version in low Saxon; The epic muse followed close
upon the Anuals of the Saxons, by the monk lyric effusions of the Minnesänger. Its first Witikind, and those of the Emperors of Ger- essays in Germany were borrowed from the many, by. Dittmar, Bishop of Merseburg, then prevailing romances of Arthur and his both of the beginning of the 11th century, Peers, and of the St. Graal. Wolfram of as well as the Chronicle of Lambert of As- Eschenbach, whom Schlegel has greatly chaffenburg, and the noble hymn in praise praised, wrote Tiurel and Perceval, and the of St. Anno, Archbishop of Cologne.“ Our Lohengrinn, or Lorrainer; and Godfrey of author gives extracts of these various pro- Strasburg wrote Tristan and Iseult. But ductions. He leaves out the Latin litera- the German poets soon turned to national ture of Germany of the same period, to subjects, and produced the " Book of He
roes," which treats of the exploits of the ed by a monotonous hollow tune, resemGoths and other races, and the Niebelungen, bling the moaning of the wave striking which is less historical and more romantic, against the shore; that of the hunter is but in which a gigantic historical figure shrill and wild; that of the shepherd soft towers above the mists of fiction; this is and calm. The songs of the husbandman Etzel or Attila, the scourge of God.” are varied, some for each season, adapted The author of the Niebelungen is not ascer- to the various works of the field. In sevetained. This poem has been styled the ral towns and villages in Germany, 10Iliad of Germany, as that of Gudruna bas wards the beginning of the spring, winter, been called its Odyssey. Then came Ro- represented by a Jack Straw, is driven out ther, or the Red King, which relates to the by the children, amidst joyous clamors. wars of the Lombards with the Greeks in The vinedresser's song is like those of old, Italy, Otnit, Hugh Dietrich, and Wolf satirical, and somewhat licentious. The Dietrich, which are full of sorcery and ma- miner's lays are among the best ; they are gical wonders. These poems are of the marked by a sort of religious awe; as his age of the Hohenstauffen, a brilliant epoch labor is among the mysteries of the subterfor German chivalry and romance. raneous creation; they tell of sylphs and
The Meistersänger are another class of other genii which guard the treasures conpoets peculiar to Germany. The epoch cealed in the bowels of the earth. when they flourished was about the time of Among the warlike songs of Gerinany, the decline of the Minnesänger. The lat. those of the Swiss on the occasion of their ter were the bards of the aristocracy, they wars with Charles the Rash, Duke of Burwere chiefly knights themselves; the mas gundy, deserve a distinguished place. Veit ter-singers were the poets of the municipal Weber is the most celebrated among these towns and corporations, burgesses, trades. martial bards of Helvetia; he was present people, and artizans, who formed musical at the baule of Morat, in 1476, and deand literary societies or schools, in which scribes with fearful truth the rout and cara sort of apprenticeship was required; they nage of the Burgundians. had competitions or trials of skill, had cer. Of the satirical compositions of those tain fixed rules of composition, and had times, Reynard the Fox, and the Ship of their judges of poetical merit. The schools Fools, the latter by Sebastian Brand, a Dorof Mainz, Strasburg, Colmar, Frankfort, tor of Laws at Strasburg, were the most and Wurtzburg, were the most celebrated popular. The former is more of a politiin the fourteenth century; those of Nürn-cal and religious satire; it lashes the vices berg and Augsburg in the fifteenth; those and gross corruption of the clergy and of Ratisbon, Ulm, Münich, and Breslau, in monks of those tines, which must certain. the sixteenth; and that of Basel in the se- ly have been very great, for chroniclers venteenth. Many of their effusions were and poets, novelists and moralists, in every satires on the vices of society; others were country of Christian Europe, Jaymen and religious, such as paraphrases of the Scrip- clergy men themselves, doctors of the tures, hymns, &c. At the time of the Re. Church, and even Popes, have all expressformation the master-singers proved a pow-ed their reprobation of them. The Ship of erful auxiliary to Luther and his col. Fools is a more general satire on the folleagues, with whom many of them were lies and vices of all classes; the poet lashes connected, and whose cause they embraced. the various manias of the times, biblioma
Germany was at the same time rich in nia, melomania, dansomania, &c.; he atpopular songs and ballads. They were of tacks fops, drunkards, gluttons, upstarts, many sorts; religious songs, which are sensualists: who are all shipped together marked by a feeling of sincere piety, free in the author's vessel, in which he also, from coarse superstition, a feeling more with great good humour, takes his passage. prevalent perhaps in Germany than in other The gloomy but powerful verses which accountries during the middle ages; they had company the well-known series of painthymns upon the great mysteries of the ings which were seen at Basel, and other Christian faith, upon eternity, future life, towns of Germany and Switzerland, and &c., which are truly sublime in the simpli- which were called by the name of the city of their expression. There were also Dance of Death, may also be reckoned ballads for the different trades and callings among the satirical effusions of Germany of life, such as the fisherman's, the hunter's, in the middle ages. the shepherd's, the husbandman's, of which The middle ages conclude with the Rethe melody as well as the words are imita- formation, and the Reformation boasts as its tive of the sounds and scenes familiar 10 champion one of the most powerful minds each. The fisherman's song is distnguish-Ithat Germany has ever produced, Martin
Luther. In our own times a disposition It is not, however, our author's object to has shown itself in various quarters, to un- consider Luther as a great theologian and dervalue that great man. The truth is, controversialist, but only to advert to the inthat unless a man feels strongly the impor. fluence of his writings upon the German tance of religion, and at the same time the mind and literature. Few foreigners are value of mental freedom, he cannot have aware of Luther's services in this particusympathy for such a mind as Luther's. lar. It was he who gave that impulse toLuther considered religion as the most im- wards spiritual philosophy, that thirst for portant business of man, and it is because he education, that soundness of logic, which considered it as such, that he wished to have made the Germans one of the most take it at its very source, unalloyed by tra- generally instructed, most rational and modition and human authority. He fought ral, and most intellectual nations of Europe. for the right of every man to consult the Being convinced that education is the natugreat book of the law, the Scripture, in or- ral ally of religion and morality, Luther der that his reason may be enlightened, and pleaded, unceasingly, for that of the labothat his faith may not be the offspring of rious classes, boldly telling the princes and mere servility. He fought for liberty of rulers, how dangerous, as well as unjust, it reason, not for licentiousness; for the li- was to keep their subjects in ignorance and berty of Christians, not for that of infidels; mental degradation. His catechisms for with the latter he had nothing to do. The children are masterpieces in their simpliciquestion between Luther and his antago- ty; the moral precepts which they contain nists is of material importance only to are exactly adapted to the tender capacities Christians. To those who do not believe of the readers. His explanations of the in Christianity it seems of little conse- Psalms, and of passages taken from the Old quence what Christians do believe, and and New Testaments, his sermons, and how and whence they derive their belief. other works, are all full of useful moral To such men the various communions and precepts; they all bear testimony to the sects of Christianity appear but as human profound religious conviction of the author; contrivances, but even they, were they logi- they all exhibit his admiration for the works cal in their reasoning, might at least allow of the creation, and his deep sense of the that, in a social point of view also, it is bet- perfections of the Creator. His penetrating ter for men to exercise their own judgment, eye dives into the abyss of the human heart, and to be able to give reasons why they be- and discovers its darkest recesses. But he lieve certain dogmas, and follow certain is no gloomy ascetic, no contemplative virules of morality, than merely to say that sionary satisfied with deploring evil, or seethey were told so by another man, who had ing no remedy but in extremes; his precepts himself been told so by another, and so on. are all practicable, his morality is social And then observe the result of these two and his faith is cheered by hope and charity ways of believing, upon human actions.
To Luther the German language is inOne will believe only what is consistent debted for much of its improvement, for its yyith the text book; the other may be made clearness and loftiness, and for that flexito believe anything, and to act accordingly. bility which distinguishes the works of laAt the time of the Reformation in Switzer- ter writers. The style of Luther is vigorous, land, a plain-spoken abbot, alluding to the straight-forward, and comprehensive; it is state of subjection in which the peasantry not the style of a conceited sceptic, who were kept by the clergy, observed that, doubts because he is ignorant, and who " had the system continued much longer, renders us as weak and undecided as himwe should at last have persuaded the peo- self; it is the style of a sacred orator, who ple to feed upon straw.” But it is unne affirms because he himself believes, and who cessary to proceed further with this argu- believes in obedience to the inspiration of ment. One has only to read the history of his conscience, and to that divine light the times which preceded the Reformation, which the Gospel displays before him. He in order to see the state to which Christiani. employs, at the same time, all the resources ty was reduced. Catholic writers have of polemical rhetoric to move and to conacknowledged the deplorable corruption of vince; he appeals to the heart, as well as the Church in that age, and it is not one of to reason; he mixes passion with dialecthe least important results of Luther's mis. tics; sometimes even he descends to a vul. sion, that the clergy of the Roman Church gar jocularity of manner; he mixes bad have since become much more exemplary taste with genius; and the German idiom, in their conduct, more studious and better which was still cramped and unmanageinformed, and more temperate in their senti- able, comes from his pen more ductile and ments, than they werein the fifteenth century. I fashioned, though not disfigured, by his ge
nius. Luther's version of the Scriptures, order to encourage the Strasburgers to join
the cultivation of literature in Germany. Luther's table-talk and his familiar let. Opiz was, however, a remarkable excepters, are enlivened by imagination, a grace- tion; he wrote many poetical compositions, ful turn of thought, and often by a harm. and a treatise on German prosody, whence less and pleasing hilarity of manner, which he has been styled the father of German denote that the mind of the writer was hap- poetry. The most distinguished disciples py and satisfied with itself. His religious of his school were Flemming and Gryphihymns, on the other hand, have much pow. us. Flemming is known for the romantic er of expression, and considerable poetical adventures of his “Mission to Persia," merit.
whither he was sent by the Duke of SlesUlrich von Hütten, a poet and a warrior, wig. He died young, soon after his return was a contemporary of Luther's. He is home, and left a collection of short poems, best known for an anonymous Latin pam- which abound in tender and impassioned phlet, styled Letters of some Obscure feelings, and with recollections of the Men," which had as much success at the strange regions he had visited. Gryphius time, as Pascal's celebrated “ Provinciales," was chiefly a dramatic poet; some of his two centuries afterwards. It is a series of dramas are not destitute of merit, and one letters attributed to the pedantic supporters of his farces is still popular in Germany, of the scholastic method, which then reign- for being a caricature of the boastful milied paramount in the colleges and universi- tary jargon which prevailed in that counties of Europe, exposing their ridiculous try towards the end of the thirty years' style, their Beotian ignorance, their hatred war. The principal character, Captain of innovation, their intolerance, presump- Horribilicriblifax, is a type of military fantion, and religious hypocrisy. The corres- faronnade. But with these few exceptions, pondence was considered for a time as ge- the 17th century may be considered as a nuine, and the scholastics themselves were barren period in German literature and deceived. But when the trick was disco- taste, and with it M. Peschier closes the vered, anathemas fell on every side on first volume of his work, which will, perHütten's head, and his book was formally haps, prove the most acceptable to readers excommunicated by Rome. He wandered in general, because it treats of the least about to avoid persecution, and at last died known part of the literary history of Gerin 1523, in a little island on the lake of Zü- many. In the 18th century, German literich, which is still known by his name-rature appears full grown, but it did not “ Hütten's Grab,” or Hütten's Grave. come forth so at once, like Minerva out of
Thomas Murner, a Franciscan monk, Jupiter's head, as some people seem to have and a determinea but conscientious adver- supposed. sary of the Reformation, ranks high among We can afford but little space to our au. the German writers of the 16th century. thor's second volume, which treats of the Although a champion of Catholicism, he 18th century, a ground much better known, did not spare, in his honest indignation, the and which has been already trodden by vices of his clergy, which he lashed, like our predecessors in several articles of this those of all the other classes in his satirical Review. After speaking of the influence poems, and especially in his “ Corporation of French taste upon German literature, in of Rogues."
the earlier part of the 18th century, of Fischart translated, or rather imitated, which influence the critic Gottsched, of Rabelais, but the keenness of his humor whom Göthe, in his Dichtung und Wahrexceeded even that of his model. Thetitle heit, gives such a curious portrait, was the alone of the German work is a full speci- chief supporter, and of the national reaction men of the writer's eccentricity. He also effected by Bodmer and Breitinger, our auwrote an heroic-comic poem on the expedi- thor speaks of Klopstock and Lessing as tion of the Zürichers, in a boat, by the the reformers of German taste, and the Limmat and the Rhine, to Strasburg, where champions of a national literature, as they presented the citizens of the latter city Winckelmann was the restorer of taste in with an enormous kettle of millet soup, the fine arts. which was still warm on their arrival, in The ivfluence of France extended to the
sentiments and opinions, as well as to the been reared at so fearful a cost of time, style and manner of literary composition. labor, and blood, and new and varied The Berlin Academy, the philosophical co- forms of existence sprung up from among teries favoured by Frederic, the influence
the scattered ruins. It is thus that of Voltaire, and the French encyclopedists, through the history of ages, without
we follow the wanderings of mankind all united to propagate among the Germans knowing what will be the termination of a contempt for the past, by sneering at no- these strange visissitudes, and when the bility, feudal recollections, and old national weary traveller will at last behold the pinsongs and romance. Engel, the philoso- nacles of his native Ithaca." pher, Nicolai, the bookseller, and Bahrdt, The theologian, were among the coryphæi
Lichtenberg was a disciple of Lessing, of this coterie, which, in the name of tole- and shared his metaphysical opinions, rance, exercised the most intolerant sway which led to a sort of spiritual pantheism, over the literature of Germany. But they very different, however, from the materialfound a stout resistance. Klopstock, Ha- ism of the Paris and Berlin eoteries. Lichmann, Claudius, Jacobi, Lavater, Herder, tenberg was a natural philosopher, a moGöthe, formed a powerful opposition against ralist, and a satirist; he was the father of the efforts of scepticism and sensualism the humourist school of writers, of which Herder was especially the object of the at- Jean Paul Richter became afterwards the tacks of the Berlin philosophers; he was a most finished specimen. nian profoundly impressed with the feeling
Our author bestows a long chapter on of religion, and had a genuine enthusiasm Göthe, which is well worth perusal; but for the beautiful, in nature and poetry. He as this subject has been repeatedly treated collected the popular songs of the different in our journal, we will not dwell' upon it. nations, which he classes into two catego- He next treats of Wieland, Schiller, Bürger, ries, "Songs of the North," and " Songs of Holtz, Frederic Stolberg, Hebel, Mathisson, the South," and which form a sort of uni- and Salis; he then passes in review the versal history of the different races of man- dramatic writers, Werner, Grillparzer, Iffkind. But his most important work is, land, Kotzebue, Kleist, Müllner, &c. Of “ Thoughts on the Philosophy of the His- the historians he notices Schlazer, Spittler, tory of Mankind." His prevalent idea is, Müller; and among the novelists, Tieck, that this world is only a preparation for Jean Paul Richter, Hoffmann, Lamotte another existence; that human life is only Fouqué, and Musæus. the bud of a flower, which will open here The fifth and last chapter of the wcafter. The whole history of humanity, ac-treats of the German literature of the ninecording to him, is a struggle for spiritual teenth century, that is to say, of the writers freedom against the material world by which who have appeared first in the present age, man is fettered—for the triumph of the inf. and although, as our author observes, there nite over the finite, for the emancipation is no Schiller or Göthe amongst them, still of the mind, the reign of the soul. Man is we think that he might have devoted to continually struggling against sensual forms them more space than a score of pages. -he is continually changing the objects of He will probably make up for it by adding his worship; at every step the world seems a third volume to a new edition of his work. to constrain and embarrass him. He feels He has entirely omitted to notice, with the the want of a purer and wider sphere to single and most honorable exception of breathe in.
Niebuhr, a most numerous and most meri.
torious class of German literati,—the emi"In vain the ancient East, slumbering nent scholars, critics, archaiologists, and ilon the faith of its symbols, thought of ha- lustrators of the works of antiquity, a class ving chained man forever by mysterious for which Germany stands by far the fore. allegories: on the opposite shore an in
most in Europe. Classical scholars and fant people arose, which laughed at its
commentators coustitute a branch of literaenigmas, and triumphed over its apathy. In vain Roman selfishness, watching the lure as much as the historians, and many of various forms of religion and society, them, like Heeren, Böttiger, O'Müller, availed itself of them to enthral the whole; | Boeckh, &c., may be called historians likein the midst of the silence of the mighty wise. Several ihousands of new works empire, a hollow murmur was heard from appear now annually in Germany, but most among the forests of the North, which, of them resemble in taste the ephemeral growing louder and nearer, scared away productions with which France is also inthe legions that vainly pretended to place urdated, and serve to feed that craving, not an eternal boundary to progress change; the stream poured in, destroyed for instruction, but for fictitious and transithat fabric of unity and slavery which had I tory emotions, that idle curiosity, that rest.