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appear a presumptuous one, namely, that Klopstock’s remarks on the venerable sage of Königsburg are to my own knowledge injurious and mistaken ; and so far is it from being true that his system is now given up, that throughout the Universities of Germany there is not a single professor who is not either a Kantean or a disciple of Fichte, whose system is built on the Kantean, and presupposes its truth; or lastly who, though an antagonist of Kant, as to his theoretical work, has not embraced wholly or in part his moral system, and adopted part of his nomenclature. “ Klopstock having wished to see the CALVARY of Cumberland, and asked what was thought of it in England, I went to Remnant's (the English bookseller) where I procured the Analytical Review, in which is contained the review of Cumberland's CALVARY. I remembered to have read there some specimens of a blank verse translation of THE MESSIAH. I had mentioned this to Klopstock, and he had a great desire to see them. I walked over to his house and put the book into his hands. On adverting to his own poem, he told me he began The MESSIAH when he was seventeen: he devoted three entire years to the plan without composing a single line. He was greatly at a loss in what manner to execute his work. There were no successful specimens of versification in the German language before this time. The first three cantos he wrote in a species of measured or numerous prose. This, though done with much labor and some success, was far from satisfying him. He had composed hexameters both Latin and Greek as a school exercise, and there had been also in the German language attempts in that style of versification. These were only of very moderate merit. One day he was struck with the idea of what could be done in this way–he kept his room a whole day, even went without his dinner, and found that in the evening he had written twenty-three hexameters, versifying a part of what he had before written in prose. From that time, pleased with his efforts, he composed no more in prose. To-day he informed me that he had finished his plan before he read Milton. He was enchanted to see an author who before him had trod the same path. This is a contradiction of what he said before. He did not wish to speak of his poem to any one till it was finished : but some of his friends who had

seen what he had finished, tormented him till he had consented to publish a few books in a journal. He was then, I believe, very young, about twenty-five. The rest was printed at different periods, four books at a time. The reception given to the first specimens was highly flattering. He was nearly thirty years in finishing the whole poem, but of these thirty years not more than two were employed in the composition. He only composed in favorable moments ; besides, he had other occupations. He values himself upon the plan of his odes, and accuses the modern lyrical writers of gross deficiency in this respect. I laid the same accusation against Horace : he would not hear of it—but waived the discussion. He called Rousseau's ODE TO FORTUNE a moral dissertation in stanzas. I spoke of Dryden's

5 [A la Fortune. Liv. ii., ode vi. Euvres de Jean Baptiste Rousseau, p. 121, edit. 1820. One of the latter strophes of this ode concludes with two lines, which, as the editor observes, have become a proverb, and of which the thought and expression are borrowed from Lucretius : eripitur persona, manet res : iii., v. 58.

Montrez nous, guerriers magnanimes,
Votre vertu dans tout son jour :
Voyons comment vos cæurs sublimes
Du sort soutiendront le retour.
Tant que sa faveur vous seconde,
Vous êtes les maîtres du monde,
Votre gloire nous éblouit :
Mais au moindre revers funeste,
Le masque tombe, l'homme reste,

Et le héros s'évanouit. Horace, says the Editor, en traitant ce même sujet, liv. X., ode xxxv., et Pindare en l'esquissant à grands traits, au commencement de sa douzième Olympique, n'avoient laissé à leurs successeurs que son côté moral à envisager, et c'est le parti que prit Rousseau. The general sentiment of the ode is handled with great dignity in Paradise Regained. Bk. iii., l. 43–157 -a passage which, as Thyer says, contains the quintessence of the subject. Dante has some noble lines on Fortune in the viith canto of the Inferno,lines worthy of a great mystic poet. After referring to the vain complaints and maledictions of men against this Power, he beautifully concludes :

Ma ella s'è beata e cio non ode :
Con l'altre prime creature lieta
Volve sua spera, e beata si gode.

St. Cecilia ; but he did not seem familiar with our writers. He wished to know the distinctions between our dramatic and epic blank verse. He recommended me to read his HERMANN before I read either THE MESSIAH or the odes. He flattered himself that some time or other his dramatic poems would be known in England. He had not heard of Cowper. He thought that Voss in his translation of The ILIAD had done violence to the idiom of the Germans, and had sacrificed it to the Greeks, not remembering sufficiently that each language has its particu. lar spirit and genius. He said Lessing was the first of their

J. B. Rousseau was born in 1669, began his career at the close of the age of Louis Quatorze, died at Brussels, March 17, 1741. He had been banished from France, by an intrigue, on a false charge, as now seems clear, of having composed and distributed defamatory verses, in 1712; and it was engraved upon his tomb that he was “ thirty years an object of envy and thirty of compassion.” Belonging to the classical school of the 17th century, of which he was the last survivor, he came somewhat into conflict with the spirit of the 18th, which was preparing a new vintage, and would have none but new wine in new bottles. Rousseau, however, was a very finished writer in his way, and has been compared to Pindar, Horace, Anacreon, and Malherbe. His ode to M. le Comte de Luc is as fine an example as I know of the modern classical style. This is quite different from that which is exemplified in Mr. Wordsworth's Laodamia and Serjeant Talfourd's Ion ; for in them the subjects only are ancient, while both the form and spirit are modern; whereas in the odes of Rousseau a modern subject is treated, as far as difference of times and language will allow, in the manner and tone of the Ancients. Samson Agonistes and Goethe's Iphigenia in Tauris are conformed to ancient modes of thought, but in them the subject also is taken from antiquity. Rousseau's works consist of Odes, Epistles in verse, Cantatas, Epigrams, &c., &c. He wrote for the stage at the beginning of his literary life, but with no great success. S. C.]

6 [Voss, who lived from Feb. 20, 1751, to March, 1826, was author of the Luise, “a rural epopæa of simple structure divided into three idyls, which relate the betrothment and marriage of the heroine.” This is a pleasing and very peculiar poem, composed in hexameter verse. “ The charm of the narrative,” says Mr. T., “ consists in the minute description of the local domestic manners of the personages.” The charm consists, I think, in the blending of these manners with the beauty of nature, and the ease and suitability of the versification. Voss's translation of the Odyssey is praised for being so perfect an imitation of the original. The Greek has been rendered, “ with a fidelity and imitative harmony so admirable, that it suggests to the scholar the original wording, and reflects, as from a mirror, every beauty and every blemish of the ancient poem.” Hist. Survey, pp. 61-68. S. c.

dramatic writers. I complained of NATHAN as tedious. He said there was not enough of action in it; but that Lessing was the most chaste of their writers. He spoke favorably of Goethe ; but said that his SORROWS OF WERTER was his best work, better than any of his dramas : he preferred the first written to the rest of Goethe's dramas. Schiller's ROBBERS he found so extravagant, that he could not read it. I spoke of the scene of the setting sun. He did not know it. He said Schiller could not live. He thought Don Carlos the best of his dramas; but said that the plot was inextricable. It was evident he knew little of Schiller's works : indeed, he said, he could not read them. Bürger, he said, was a true poet, and would live; that Schiller, on the contrary, must soon be forgotten; that he gave him. self up to the imitation of Shakspeare, who often was extravagant, but that Schiller was ten thousand times more so.' He

7 [Act III., Sc. 2. The night scene, which is the 5th of Act iv., is fine too in a frantic way. The songs it contains are very spirited. That sung by the Robbers is worthy of a Thug : it goes beyond our notions of any European bandit, and transports us to the land of Jaggernat. S. C.]

8 [The works of Bürger, who was born on the first day of 1748, died June 8, 1794, consist of Poems (2 vols.), Macbeth altered from Shakspeare (pronounced by Taylor,-no good judge of Shakspeare,-in some respects superior to the original), Munch aüzen's Travels; Translations (of the six first books of the Iliad, and some others) ; Papers philological and political. His fame rests chiefly on three ballads, The Wild Hunter, The Parson's Daughter, and Lenore. The powerful diction and admirable harmony, rhythm, sound, rhyme of these compositions, Mr. Taylor describes as the result of laborious art; it strikes me, from the outline which he has given of Bürger's history, that the violent feelings, the life-like expression of which constitutes their power and value, may have been partly the reflex of the poet's own mind. His seems to have been a life of misma. nagement from youth till middle age. Like Milton, he lost a beloved second wife by childbed in the first year of marriage; like him, he married a third time, but without his special necessity-blindness and uukind daughters. He wedded a lady who had fallen in love with his poetry, or perhaps his poetical reputation : an union, founded, as it appears, in vanity, ended in vexation of spirit : and as Death, which had deprived him of two wives, did not release him from a third, he obtained his freedom, at the end of little more than three years, from a court of justice. Why did Klopstock undervalue, by preference of such a poet, the lofty-minded Schiller—the dearest to England of all German bards? Perhaps because the author of Wallenstein was a philosopher, and had many things in his philosophy which the author of The Messiah could not find in his heaven and earth. S. C.)

spoke very slightingly of Kotzebue, as an immoral author in the first place, and next, as deficient in power. At Vienna, said he, they are transported with him ; but we do not reckon the people of Vienna either the wisest or the wittiest people of Germany. He said Wieland was a charming author, and a sovereign master of his own language : that in this respect Goethe could not be compared to him, nor indeed could anybody else. He said that his fault was to be fertile to exuberance. I told him the OBERON had just been translated into English. He asked me if I was not delighted with the poem. I answered, that I thought the story began to flag about the seventh or eighth book; and observed, that it was unworthy of a man of genius to make the interest of a long poem turn entirely upon animal gratification. He seemed at first disposed to excuse this by saying, that there are different subjects for poetry, and that poets are not willing to be restricted in their choice. I answered, that I thought the passion of love as well suited to the purposes of poetry as any other passion; but that it was a cheap way of pleasing to fix the attention of the reader through a long poem on the mere appetite. Well ! but, said he, you see, that such poems please everybody. I answered, that it was the province of a great poet to raise people up to his own level, not to descend to theirs. He agreed, and confessed, that on no account whatsoever would he have written a work like the OBERON. He spoke in raptures of Wieland's style, and pointed out the passage where Retzia is delivered of her child, as exquisitely beautiful. I said that I did


9 [Oberon, canto viii., stanzas 69-80. The little touch about the newborn babe's returning its mother's kiss is very romantic : though put mo. destly in the form of a query:

-Und scheint nicht jeden Kuss Sein kleiner mund dem ihren zu entsaugen ?

The word entsaugen (suck off) is expressive-it very naturally characterizes the kiss of an infant five minutes of age. Wieland had great nursery experience. “My sweetest hours,” says he, in a letter quoted in the Survey, “ are those in which I see about me, in all their glee of childhood, my whole posse of little half-way things between apes and angels.”

Mr. Sotheby's translation of the Oberon made the poem popular in this country. The original first appeared in 1780. S. C.]

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