« AnteriorContinuar »
Subsequently, for a short time, Bohlen was in the employment of Admiral L'Hermite; but on the restoration of peace in 1814, the youthful German preferred service in his native country, and he obtained an engagement in a mercantile house in Hamburg, one of the partners of which was an Englishman. Here Bohlen learned English, and wrote German poetry, translating from Burns and other English authors. At the age of twenty he took private lessons in Latin, and was shortly afterwards admitted as a free scholar into the Hamburg Grammar School, where he pursued a regular course of education for three years, under the care of the excellent master, Gurlitt, whom Bohlen in after years described as having been not only his preceptor, but his “friend and fatherly benefactor.”
Mr. Mellish, the English Consul at Hamburg, presented Bohlen with a copy of Sir William Jones's Works; and some of the principal merchants of that city invited him to their tables, and entrusted him with the education of their children.
Bohlen devoted much of his attention to theology, studying Hebrew and Arabic, to which, with his natural taste for Oriental languages, he soon added Persian. For six months he held the office of Assistant Librarian at the City Library, which aided his intellectual progress; and his Hamburg friends generously assisted in defraying the expenses of his University education under Gesenius and other Oriental and theological professors at Halle. · Gurlitt and Gesenius both recommended Bohlen to the
Privy Councillor, Dr. Schulze, for State assistance. In 1822, Baron Von Altenstein, the Prussian Minister of Education, acceded to their request, and a moderate stipend was granted to Von Bohlen from the treasury, and continued · to him in Halle, Bonn, Berlin, and Königsberg. Schulze at the same time informed Bohlen that the University of Königsberg alone presented a suitable sphere of activity for his talents, as the other Prussian Universities were already sufficiently provided with teachers in the department of Oriental literature.
At Bonn, Von Bohlen studied Arabic under Freytag, and Sanscrit with Schlegel; his talents and industry soon enabled him to become a teacher of the latter language in that city to two English boys, one a son of Sir Alexander Johnstone, and the other a son of the celebrated Orientalist, Colebrooke.
Hengstenberg was one of Von Bohlen's fellow-students in the Arabic class at Bonn, and was remarkable for his acquaintance with Aristotelian philosophy.
Babette, the daughter of Von Bohlen's landlord, Von Martial, at Bonn, had married an unfeeling husband, who had deserted her; her sorrows and noble conduct excited the pity and admiration of the enthusiastic Oriental scholar. A divorce was subsequently obtained, and in 1827 Babette became the wife of Von Bohlen.
From Bonn, in 1824, Bohlen proceeded to the University of Berlin, where he attended Bopp and other eminent professors; and from thence, in the following year, he
removed to Königsberg: at first as a private teacher under Government, with a salary of £60 a year; and then in 1826 as an extraordinary professor. In 1828 he became an ordinary professor of Oriental languages and literature, with an addition of £15 a year to his salary.
Unfortunately the cold and variable climate of Königsberg did not suit either Professor Von Bohlen or his lady, and the state of his health enabled him to obtain leave of absence for a journey. His eager and poetic spirit often led him to wish for Oriental travel; but the hard circumstances of his life prevented the realization of such a project.
“Over land and sea to India,
Dreaming of the call of honour,
Von Bohlen's principal literary works are his ‘Ancient India,' published in 1830; and his ‘Genesis,' which appeared in 1835. His minor publications, chiefly on Oriental subjects, are numerous, including essays, translations from the Sanscrit and other languages, contributions to reviews and periodicals, and articles for encyclopædias ; among the last of which are several for the London 'Penny Cyclopædia.
“Träumend von dem Ruf der Ehre,
His friend Professor Bopp thus writes to him on receiving a copy of the ‘Ancient India':
“ Berlin, 18th November, 1830. “Before all, my dear friend, my most sincere thanks to you for your Ancient India, and more especially for the favour you have shown me in your very flattering Dedication. Having but just returned from a holiday tour at the end of October, I have not yet been able to read your valuable Work completely through ; but what I have read of it has pleased me much, as well in reference to its contents as to its beautifully vivid style. The Work will prove very useful to every Indian philologist, owing to the judicious and critical application of a very extensive reading. The rest of the copies are gone to their destination. It has rejoiced me much to learn that you have received an acknowledgment on the part of the Ministry for your meritorious and unwearied exertions in the cause of knowledge.
“Herewith you will receive a little present in return for your great one. The entire verbal translation is especially calculated for the first commencement of those who have not oral instruction, or who may hereafter wish to labour independently. I hope you will perfectly reconcile yourself to the division of the words, as more books will appear in this dress. The European apostrophe I never employ as a sign of the cæsura, but merely for the flowing of one word into another, according to the principles which I have laid down separately in the Latin edition of my Grammar.
“We shall be much delighted to see your wife here next summer, and we beg you will remember us most kindly to her. You still go on well? Fare you well! and accept the assurance of the sincerest friendship of your most devoted,
In January, 1832, a copy of the ‘Ancient India' was presented to the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, and in the same year Professor Von Bohlen was elected one of its foreign members. The Council of this Society, in 1840, noticed the work, on account of the extensive reading and judicious investigation which it displayed. In their Report for that year, they state that “as a summary view of the history, religious institutes, monuments, literature, and sciences of the Hindus, the ‘Alte Indien,' is at once a comprehensive and concise authority, to which we have yet nothing in our own language to be compared*.”
The remarks of Von Bohlen on the Week, from his 'Ancient India,' are translated in the Appendix to the present volume (p. 323).
It was a source of satisfaction to Dr. Gurlitt, the preceptor of Von Bohlen, that his pupil remained true to rational theology; that he regarded the Bible as composed of books written by religious and inspired men, who nevertheless were not free from the opinions of their age; and that he consequently explained the Scriptures like other human books of antiquity, and according to the same lawst.
De Wette regards the compilers of the Pentateuch as under the influence of the religious imagination natural to their countrymen, and desirous to kindle among the Hebrew people an inspiration for their religion and their country,-in a word, for their theocracy.
* Report of the Council of the Royal Asiatic Society, May, 1840, p. 4. + Letter from Dr. Gurlitt to Von Bohlen, from Hamburg, June 29, 1825. -Voigt's Autobiography of Von Bohlen.