« PredošláPokračovať »
ever written; but it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a man at once sufficiently impartial and sufficiently well informed to execute such a task. The few sentences which follow give us a lively idea of the feelings with which our author entered this metropolis of philosophy, poetry and science.
“ It is not easy to conceive the imposing effect which the intellectual fermentations that agitate Europe have on the Northman in his remote home. The distant rumours sound so strangely in his ear; every name is surrounded with a nimbus of light; the petty disgusting altercations are lost in the great whole which floats before his eyes. An enthusiastic German can hardly visit Italy or Greece with higher and more longing expectations than 1, in my then frame of mind, visited Germany."
His way lay over the Hartz, which, as might be expected, appeared flat and tame to an eye familiar with the savage cliffs and gorges of Norway.
“ The whole mountain,” says he, " is become only a pretty group of rocks in a large park. There is no room left for the witches. Where we thought to lose ourselves in wild glens, we met parties of gentlemen and ladies in litters and on donkeys, tourists from every land, noisy artisans and joyous students. Where we expected to encounter mountain spirits, we were greeted by waiters, and the multitude of people seemed to tread the mountain flat.'
Steffens's description of the habits and manners of the Jena students at that time is extremely repulsive, and he felt them to be so. They are now, we doubt not, infinitely less coarse and brutal, and we hope no Englishman will get hold of the book, and ' warm up' (to use the German phrase) this picture of past days as a true and lively representation of our youthful contemporaries. The manners of young gentlemen all over the world leave a tolerable margin for emendations.
At Jena and Weimar, then intellectually one, he found Schiller, Goethe, Fichte, Schelling, Schlegel, Jacobi, Bauder, Hufeland, Ritter, etc. we need not add to the list. Steffens was present at the first representation of Wallenstein,' and sat in Schiller's box. There are a few striking and we think just remarks on Schiller as a dramatic poet. Steffens thinks there was then a tendency to undervalue him; but he adds, that Schiller's talent for declamation had been injurious to German art; not only as destroying strong individuality in the persons and actions of the drama, but as affecting every kind of ora
nd Weiman Colerable man of young c
tory, from the pulpit to the school-boy's theme. The same declamatory element, he remarks, now pervades art; he traces it in painting, and still more in music. In the former, figures bearing the stamp of individual life-in the latter, melodies having a profound and original character-have almost disappeared.
In the spring of 1799 Steffens left Jena with regret, and set out for Berlin; it was not without repugnance that he entered the Prussian territory. The intellectual tone of Berlin was, he knew, disliked by Goethe, who never would go there, and · Berliner Auf klärung' was held in little esteem at Jena. As a Danish subject, he had a horror of a censorship; “ as an individual, he had never been in a subservient condi“tion, never asked favours; he had known poverty and friend“ lessness, but never subjection. He had lived in large trading “ towns and in universities; he had never felt oppressed by the “ preponderance of wealth; he had stood on an equal footing “ with men of letters, and the gradations of ranks had never “ galled him.” At Halle he met Malte Brun, fleeing from Danish tyranny to French freedom, and from him he heard such an account of the abject condition of the Prussian people, that, he says, he could hardly breathe as he approached the frontier. Little did he think that Prussia was to be his future home, the country of his adoption.
The physical and moral aspect of Berlin was then widely different from what it now exhibits. “ Only six-and-twenty 6 years had passed since the seven years' war; only as many “ as lie between the war in which I took part and the moment « in which I write these lines." Here he accidentally became acquainted with Tieck, whom he had long admired. “ He “ was a handsome man, of a slender person, his clear eye “ full of fire, his countenance intelligent, his judgement, ex6 pressed with brevity and precision, full of matter and mean“ ing.” After seeing several other remarkable men, he proceeded through“ delightful Dresden" to melancholy, barren Freiberg, where he intended to pursue his mineralogical studies. Freiberg and Werner were then at the summit of their reputation. Steffens found students from all parts of the world, among them Mitchell from Ireland, and Jameson from Scotland, respecting whom, and the intellectual character of
After seeing chtful Dresden" his mineralogic
Englishmen generally, there are some curious remarks. The description of Werner is, like all our author's, long and minute, but forms an interesting portrait. Steffens assumed the miner's dress, the short black blouse ornamented with the pickaxe and hammer, with which all travellers on that road must be familiar, and went underground assiduously. His description of the effect his subterranean wanderings produced on him is rather that of a poet than of a practical miner or a mineralogist. But even he sees how purely fictitious is all that play of the imagination, those poetical superstitions, which it has been the fashion to ascribe to German miners. “The “ pressing poverty, the ceaseless care for the morrow, permits “ neither joy nor sorrow, hope nor fear, to assume a poetical “ garb, whether gay or melancholy.” If that was the case then, what is it now, when the life of that desert-looking region is declining, and it exhibits the most fearful of spectacles, a population surviving the demand for labour which called it into existence, struggling against inevitable decay, and fighting every inch of ground with starvation! The decline had indeed begun when Steffens was there, and he describes in few but touching words the often cheated hopes, the vain efforts and unrequited sacrifices of which he was witness.
After passing some time at Freiberg our author returned to Dresden, where the society of Tieck had the greatest attraction for him. He gives an extraordinary example of the poet's quick and fertile invention and great dramatic powers. One evening Steffens suggested to him a drama, the hero of which should be an orang-outang, caught and civilized by some English philanthropists and introduced into European society. Tieck went out of the room for half an hour, came back, and then and there composed and acted a piece of considerable length and intricacy of plot, sustaining all the characters himself, “ all of whom,” says Steffens, “ stood living before us. “ The stream of conversation was never interrupted. The “ persons were transformed and multiplied with the rapidity 6 of thought. The wit was as profound as it was exuberant. “ Any of our modern play-writers might be glad if they could “ furnish as much in a whole play as he poured forth in a sin“ gle scene.” Anybody who knows the peculiar turn of Tieck's mind, and the subjects against which his wit has ge
irected,—the hum to form some in that Mr. Peace
nerally been directed,—the humbugs, hypocrisies and affectation of the world—will be able to form some faint idea of this singular improvisation. It is curious enough that Mr. Peacock has worked up the same subject into a novel, though we have no doubt he is perfectly innocent of plagiarism.
With the exception of a short digression to Weimar, where he was present at the masquerade given by the court to usher in the century, and ended the night in the company of Schiller, Goethe and Schelling, Steffens passed the remainder of the winter in study and retirement in the beautiful little town of Tharand, near Dresden. A project was then entertained for founding a school of mines in Ireland, and he received, through his friend Mitchell, an offer of a chair in it, with a considerable salary; but he had determined to carry home to his native land all the intellectual treasures he had collected in Germany. In Halle he became the affianced husband of the lady he afterwards married, and having secured the promise of her hand, at the end of a year hastened to Copenhagen.
Here the fourth volume closes. The extremely small progress we have made in time will enable our readers to judge in some degree of the prolixity of the book, and the vast quantity of speculative matter it contains. Even in Germany it is called long; in England it would not be read. It is precisely for this reason that we have given such copious extracts from it. Spite of its longueurs we have found it very interesting. It has an air of sincerity and earnestness which commands confidence and respect; and we rise from the perusal of it with the impression that the writer is a man of considerable and varied powers, humane and elevated sentiments, pure affections and perfect probity.
The Kingdom of Christ, delineated in Two Essays. By
RICHARD WHATELY, D.D., Archbishop of Dublin. What is the Church, and what is its relation to the State, are questions which were asked centuries ago, and are still asked as anxiously as ever. The existence of the Christian church is incomparably the most important fact in the history of modern Europe : it is and has been infinitely the most influential element in its civilization ; it has modified the opinions of men for many ages beyond every other power, and so has determined the course of human action and human fortune with immensely greater effect than any other assignable cause : and yet what the Church is, what are its essential nature and constitution, what its relations to the other established powers of human life, are matters still involved in endless debate. Indeed it would seem that it is the very greatness of its power that has mainly prevented a final and scientific determination of the questions regarding its origin and nature. Whatever answers may be given to them, they so directly act on human life, and so energetically modify the opinions and conduct of men, that each succeeding age feels itself irresistibly impelled to search into the foundations and authority of this immense power, with whose mighty operation the whole of life is filled. Each new development of human thought and knowledge, each revolution in the political constitution of the world, each epoch in the progress of civilization, has subjected to fresh inquiry the rights and powers of the church.
No doubt the same remarks may in some measure be made of civil government. The origin and foundation of the right to rule have been warmly debated and with various conclusions; but there are some circumstances peculiar to the church which have made it the subject of more frequent and more contested inquiry. Human society cannot exist without government. Every established government therefore is a practical answer to speculative researches into its nature;