Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

tity, but handled with skill, grace, and either sensations and feelings common to all, beauty. Here

"Divine and human laws, divine and human rights, are trampled upon with an ease and open shamelessness, which astonishes and often dis gusis. A most disgraceful mockery of wedded faith is the subject of the poem Tristan and Isolt. Out of the rude mass of colors transmitted to him by the British or French poet, he has created a psychological painting, which in truth and depth transcends all ever composed in a similar manner. But what does he describe-what soul does he breathe into the subject? It is earthly love, the glow of love consuming man, and represented as the sole object of life. He himself says the aim of the poem is the scope of love."

shared by each, and which have moved, and still move, in a similar manner, the hearts of all, are sung, which is the Volkslied-the song of the people; or the exclusive experiences of one, which, as they have moved the heart in varied change, now also sound forth in divers forms and deeply-stirring lays; they are the joyous notes of the happy and the glad, or they are the mournful melody of a sorrowing and solitary heart, which seeks after sympathy, and, through the pure form in which grief and gladness are portrayed in the lay, wins the sought-for sympathy. This is the lyric of art, which, like the epic in its various forms and grades, unfolds itself during the course of the thirteenth century among the Germans, with unusual richness, bearing the most lovely, delicate blossoms, of ever-varying love and fragrance: it is the minne poesie, (the poetry of love), the loveonce re-echoed like the nightingale's trill in the fresh verdure of the May woods, from every grove, on every heath, in every castle, through every town of our fatherland, in graceful lays from thousands of joyous and longing hearts."

After the notice of some antique poems, as Lamprecht's Alexander the Great, Vel-song of the glad spring of our poet-life, which dekin's Eneas, and others, follow sacred legends and narratives, also the tradition of the brute epic.

"The roots of this tradition lie in the harmless, natural simplicity of the oldest races-in the deep and affectionate feeling for nature experienced by a healthy, vigorous, natural people. As such a nature attaches itself with fervency, with impassioned sensibility to the appearances of natural objects as it exults with summer, mourns with autumn, and with winter feels itself bound in chains of heavy imprisonment; as it lends to these natural appearances its own form, own human sensations; and as it has cultivated these

The most remarkable of the Minne-singers was Walther von der Vogelweide, whose last songs were 1228. written about Scarcely less celebrated than his famed strophe in praise of woman, is one of his political songs, addressed to the Emperor Philip.

In the succeeding fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, we find German fidelity and Christian faith weak and trembling, and German poetry also, as resting mainly on those foundations.

[ocr errors]

personifications of natural elements into magnificent myths, clothed in forms, now of lovely kindness, now of fearful splendor, as in Sigfrid and Brunhild, thus does it closely attach itself to the brute world with which it is more nearly connected. And, further, not only attaches, but opens itself to In the fifteenth century began the so called reit, and draws it in to its own life, its own inter-awakening of letters, i e., the acqua ntance with course, as a constituent part of its being, given and the originals in Greek and Roman literature, and of necessary, not made, feigned, or invented. The necessity, beside these, our poetry made the most source of the narratives of brutes in the brute tra- wretched figure. Now with the poetry of our fatherdition and the brute epic, is in the pure, harmless land all was passed, passed our national feelingjoy of the natural man in inimals in their slen- our national consciousness. Henceforth nothing was der form, their sparkling eye, their bravery and valued, nothing read or practised, save Latin poetry. ferocity, their cunning and dexterity-it is the joy Scholars were now, in the strictest sense, ashamed in that which he perceives in brutes, and learns of their mother tongue, and were simple enough to from his intercourse with them." term themselves barbarians, men who had known, had been, nothing; capable of nothing, until the light of the Greek and Roman poetry broke in upon them! The ancient glory of the German emperor, the ancient glory of the German empire, were forgotten as though they never had existed. Philological poetry took its place upon the throne, and, three centuries long, ruled the world with fine phrases."

Concerning the Minne-song, which follows the fable and didactic poetry, we select an extract from the several pages devoted to it :

"The old heroic song, which sings the deeds of a whole nation, and by the mouth of that whole nation, is followed, among every people, by a song which, instead of issuing from the heart of the whole, proceeds only from individuals,—a poetry celebrating no longer deeds, but sensations and feelings which sings the grief and joy of one man, and of his own heart. This lyric, in the stricter sense, is, however, of a twofold nature

teenth century, Hans Sachs, Fischart, and After touching upon the epic of the sixothers, the first grand period of German literature closes with the prose of Luther and the sixteenth century. The new period commences in 1624 with Martin Opitz. It

is distinguished from the old by its striving to blend foreign poetic elements with the German, and as accomplishing its object in the height of the second classic period. From 1624 to 1720, was the interval in which German poetry suffered its greatest. deterioration. It then fell under the dominion of foreign elements. This last period was followed by a second classic period, as Dr. Vilmar styles it, "the blooming time of the New Period," extending from 1750

to 1832:

"Poetry now unfolds itself, not as in the Old Period, self-dependent, in the perfect tranquillity of a development of slumbering germs and buds, through a secure, firm, natural impulse, conscious of itself but out of protracted error, deep confusion, and coarse irregularity, it becomes formed on the basis of criticism, through strife and conflict."

Here follow some remarks upon the contest between Bodmer and Gottsched, which characterized the preparatory stages of this period. Noticing, among others, Gellert, Weisse, and Klopstock, Dr. Vilmar proceeds to remark on the genius and works of Lessing, whom he thus contrasts with his predecessor, Klopstock:

"Yonder is Klopstock, tranquil, gentle, retiring, confined within himself-here, Lessing, restless, acute, everywhere taking the most lively interest in the life of the world, going forth out of himself, and entering with conscious energy into the spirit of his time; there, a lyric strain of melting softness here, prose, with the most sober intellect, and the clearest, coolest, thoughtfulness; there, a yielding to matter which becomes subordination-here, a warding off of the same, and authoritative demands upon it; there, the good-natured-let it be, let it pass-here, a keen, sword-like criticism, and a scepticism reaching the highest point; there, a fervent union with Christianity and childlike faith-here, indifference toward revealed religion,, and a hostile position toward the church; there, almost all is German and Christian-here' almost all is antique and heathenish; there, the matter overflows the form-here the most rigid measure and narrow form holds the matter within strictest bounds. Klopstock and Lessing are the great contrast from which grew our new classic period."

[blocks in formation]

mental excitement which Goëthe produced has not yet sufficiently subsided to admit of anything purely historic and conclusive being arrived at in regard to him. Of this Dr. Vilmar makes us well aware, yet the pages upon Goethe's capabilities and performances are among the truest and ablest of the whole work, and bear the marks of far-reaching penetration, of sound judgment, and of careful and scholar-like reflection. A passage may be extracted from them :

"Goëthe was the poet who united in himself all that which Herder had been able prospectively to recognize, but was not himself able to attain; he was the genius who, with the fullest, strongest, immediate poetic perception, without books, without model, was capable of passing on to poetry out of life itself; who possessed the ability to lay felicitous hold on poetic matter in life, and power and gentleness enough to form the real into. the poetic; who sang, as in the old time, (whose oracle was Herder), not merely upon and for paper, but upon and for the heart, with and for the mouth's living voice. All that was known, made, and artistic, which had possessed its sway in past times, and from which even Klopstock was not altogether free, passed suddenly away. It was an immediate surrender; it was genius become reality, after which the time had hoped and waited in the firm consciousness of its necessity: The supremacy also of matter over the poet now disappeared; a supremacy yielded to by the first poet-genius, Klopstock. This power, on which so many contemporaries should yet founder, crouched down, before the daring, onward, cheerfully victorious energy of the youthful poet who conquered without battle." These qualities, the immediate truth and warmth of feeling, surrounded by clear, deep and spiritual peace; this free and rapid motion governed by the greatest inward tranquillity; this profound and perfect selfmerging in the poetic object, in order occasionally to draw the same back into that self, and to mould it according to sure forms and measures; this soft and mouldable objectiveness, and this self-conscious energetic subjectiveness; this ability to conquer in being overcome, and this enjoyment and denial in one act-these are the properties bestowed by nature upon our Goethe, and which constitute his them he takes his place beside the greatest poets inaccessible greatness and immortality. Through of all ages and nations-beside the Greeks, beside our greatest ancient singers, beside Shakspeare, step behind the national epic, the greatest poetic beside the national lyric-thus remaining but one creation of the human mind, unattainable to one individual.

Kotzebue, Jean Paul, Hoffman, and others, here follow, and give place to the successors of Goethe and Schiller, and to the romantic school, comprising the two Schlegels, Novalis, Tieck, Achim, von

Arnim, Clemens Brentano, Fouque, Hölderlin, Schulze, Chamisso, Uhland and Schwab, Kleist and Werner, and one or two beside. The romantic school was followed by the Fatherland poets, at the head of whom stands the aged Arndt, the last of these are Count August Platen, and Karl Zimmermann, whose Munchhaussen is the only romance known to the present time as of any artistic worth.

We think we have now said enough, and

extracted enough, to enable our readers to form their own judgment concerning Dr. Vilmar's publication. We know of no other book so fitted, on the whole, to instruct our countrymen on the interesting subject to which it relates, and we are happy to inform our readers that a translation of the work is nearly completed, and may be expected to appear early in the


From the Dublin University Magazine.

(Continued from the Eclectic Magazine for October.)



THE Chinese are a nation of the most industrious habits, and must be considered as as an agricultural people. They have most wisely established laws for the protection and encouragement of agriculture, and to such an extent is it carried, that the emperor does not think it derogatory to his dignity, once in every year, at the agricultural festival, to descend from his throne, clad as a husbandman, to set the laudable example to his subjects of tilling the earth; his family and courtiers, similarly habited with himself, attend him on the occasion. The appointed day having been previously proclaimed throughout the empire, the emperor goes forth and ploughs a particular field, and every farmer through his vast territories simultaneously turns up the earth. The produce of the field ploughed by the emperor is always most carefully preserved, being considered far superior to any other. The ancient laws are so particular upon the subject, that they even declare the peculiar manner in which the sovereign shall perform this ceremony. So essential do the Chinese consider agriculture to the prosperity of a

nation, in contradistinction to the many heavy blows and great discouragements inflicted upon it in Great Britain, by modern legislation. By another ancient law, all uncultivated or neglected lands are declared forfeited to the emperor, who grants them to farmers, on condition of their being kept in proper cultivation. The consequence of this is, that, in China there is not an uncultivated spot to be seen. A fifth, and in some instances, a fourth part, of all produce is reserved for the emperor, which is paid in kind to the principal mandarin of the prince, who farms the tax. There is one great peculiarity in Chinese agriculture, which, if adopted, might prove highly advantageous to British farmers. All seeds, previous to being sown, are steeped in liquid manure until they germinate, and to this, coupled with their system of irrigation, may be attributed the rich luxuriance and abundance of their various crops. Their ingenuity and perseverance may daily be witnessed in the terraces, built one above the other, up to the summit of a rocky mountain, where paddy is cultivated. They form reservoirs and dams on each platform, and the water having passed along one terrace, is received into the reservoir of the next below, and thus descends, step by step, in its irrigatory course. After the rainy season, when the water has been exhausted which was saved in these reservoirs, the water is carried both by hand and ingenuity, to the heights above. Their various modes of irrigation have been frequently described. Their methods of threshing rice or paddy are numerous.

can afford the expense of machinery, the use of a perambulating machine for the extraction of the juice, is contracted for by several adjoining farmers. A temporary building or bamboo shed for boiling is constructed in some central position; the proprietors of each plantation, with the assistance of their families, carry their canes to this building, and in like manner convey back the manufactured produce. There is nothing lost even here, for the canes, after the sugar has been extracted, are used for fuel.

I have seen them threshing with flails of bamboo, somewhat similar to ours in form, but shorter. I have also seen them or their oxen, tread out the corn, reminding me, in that heathen land, of the passage, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox which treadeth out the corn." Rice is the staff of life in China, from which grain they distil a spirit called sashoo, known in England as arrack. Here are we furnished with an example of the manner in which everything is turned by the Chinese to account, and nothing wasted. The grain forms their food, the straw thatches their houses, and out of In gravelly soils, where nothing else can it they construct coarse mats, and make pa- be cultivated, the farmer plants the bamboo, per. The husks are carefully collected, and of which there are several kinds. The apbeing mixed with a greasy substance, are pearance of the tree, with its tapering formed into cakes to feed the pigs. Orna- trunk, and leaves of most graceful form, ments are manufactured out of prepared something resembling, but larger, than rice, which is first pounded into paste, and those of the willow, of a brilliant, light then hardened by fire. I have seen very green color, is peculiarly elegant. I have pretty vases, and bottles of antique form of seen them growing from twenty to thirty this material. As they cultivate their hills feet in height. The yellow trunk and green to the summits, so do they make the mo- leaves of a bamboo plantation present a rasses subservient to the support of man. very agreeable contrast to the eye. The Bamboos, split longitudinally, are placed uses to which the bamboo is applied are upon the marsh, and over these are laid various; of the young sprouts a most delayers of earth. In this artificial soil vege- licious preserve is manufactured; a meditables and pot-herbs are raised to the cinal substance is extracted from the hollow greatest perfection. There is no plant, in of the tree. I am ignorant as to whether short, growing in China, which is not ren- this is known in England. Paper is manudered subservient to man's use. They ex-factured from the pulp; masts and spars tract oil, equal to the finest Florence, for are formed of the full grown tree, as well table use, from the kernels of apricots. as rafts, houses, and furniture. The poles Excellent oil is also extracted from various used by coolees for carrying burthens are seeds, such as the cotton and turnip, which made of bamboo, and the oxen are yoked is used for lamps, and by the lower orders with it. for culinary purposes. A most beautiful The fruits I have eaten in China are very black dye is prepared from the cup of the fine, but not equal to those of Singapore. acorn; and the finest scarlet is extracted The Chinese have the pine-apple, custardfrom the cactus. Should the crop of mul- apple, lee-chea, pomegranate, pumbelow, berry leaves prove insufficient for the sup- -a plum which comes from Chink-chew, port of the silk-worm, the leaves of the which is very delicious, not unlike our eggash-tree are made to supply the deficiency. plum, grapes-from which a weak wine is The sugar-cane plantations in China are made, used by the richer classes, resembling, allowed to be of a very superior quality, in flavor, bad Madeira-water-melons, and I have been induced to believe, from sweet-melons, apricots, guavas, plantains, the complaints made by West Indian plant- bananas, papaw, chesnuts, citrons, mangoes, ers, of the want of water, that to the su- and, though last not least, oranges. Many periority of Chinese irrigation, is due the of the fruits are dried, and also made into excellence of their canes. They conduct preserves and jellies. The orange plantawater through trenches from the large re- tions are truly beautiful, and their fragrance servoirs between each row of canes, and at almost overpowering, surpassing those of regular intervals allow it to flow through Italy and Spain. The size of the blossoms transverse trenches; these trenches are and flowers is most extraordinary. Their either closed or opened, as the canes in their beauty is peculiar to China. But the Orange, respective vicinities require moisture. As par excellence, of China, is the mandarin no farmer exclusively cultivates the sugar- orange. To be eaten in perfection, it must cane, as the farms are all small, and none be used immediately after it has been taken

from the tree, as it will not keep above two | trunk of the dwarf-tree, by which means or three days. They are of a flatter form insects are attracted, and thus the bark is than others, and somewhat smaller; the injured, and that knotted appearance is rind is the bright color of the Seville produced, peculiar to old trees. When it orange; although I cannot say, as a friend is proposed to give any particular form to a of mine did, that it was worth a voyage to tree, the branches are bent into shape, and China to taste it, yet it is a most delicious retained in it by means of pieces of bamboo. fruit. Although China does not abound in a redundancy of those large trees and forests, seen in other parts of Asia, still there is no paucity of timber or useful trees, excepting in the Ladrone Islands, of which HongKong is the worst specimen. The banyan or pagoda-tree, flourishes well, sending down its branches to root in the earth, and reproduce other trees, to be similarly multiplied, till innumerable arched trees, and cloistered alcoves, surround the enormous parent trunk. It is necessary to see this tree, to estimate its beauty, or the comfort afforded by its shade. It is needless to speak of the mulberry-trees which furnish food for the innumerable silkworms, whose silk forms so material an article in the ex

The dwarf vegetation of China is peculiar to that country. I have had in my possession an oak, two feet high, bearing acorns, and its trunk exhibiting all the external marks of an aged tree. I have also had orange and citron trees of the same size, bearing fruit of a very fine flavor. One of these orange-trees used to produce, at the same moment, incipient buds, blossoms in full flower, fruit newly set, and of full size, in a green state and ripe. But the greatest curiosity I had, was a bamboo-tree, two feet and a-half high, so distorted, as to represent a dragon with a boy seated on his back.

which is the size of our ash, the Chinese obtain a very valuable oil, which they employ for varnish; it is necessary, however, to be most careful in the use of this oil, for, if dropped on the skin, it produces a cutaneous disease, which it is difficult to cure. There is a particular tree, which I heard of, but did not see, in China, which attracts a bee, called the "white-wax bee," which

I had a very curious Camelia Japonica; I never heard of, or saw one like it in Chi-ports from China. From the lacker-tree, na. It was of a unique, bright purple color. The Chinese could not have dyed it, as it bloomed in my own possession. The flower was large, and its form was perfect. All these dwarfs of the vegetable world were the gift of a valued friend, who took some pains to procure them for me; but the air of Hong-Kong destroyed them, as it does everything else. I have seen a lu-chee tree, whose natural size is that of our full-feeds upon its blossoms; the natives fasten grown mulberry-tree, dwarfed into one of three feet; its trunk had all the appearance of old timber, and the branches tapered similar to those on a natural-sized tree. I have heard of an orange-tree being distorted into the form of a man's hand; but I did not see it. The mode of dwarfing is simple the branch of a full-grown tree is covered with mould, which is bound round with cloth or matting, and kept constantly wet; the fibres of the branch thus covered soon shoot into the mould, and then the branch is carefully cut from the tree, the bandage is removed, and it is planted in new earth. The fibres then become roots, and thus that which was previously a branch on the parent tree becomes a trunk, bearing flowers and fruit. The buds at the extremity of the branches, which are intended to be dwarfed, are torn off as soon as they appear, and by this means, the branches are arrested in their growth, and other buds and branches shoot out. After a certain time, sugar-juice is applied to the

nests in this tree, in which the bee deposits her wax, which is remarkably pure. The most curious tree in China is the tallowtree, from whose fruit is extracted a vegetable fat, from which candles are manufactured; and from the kernels an oil is prepared, which is used by the poorer classes. When the fruit is ripe, which in appearance is something like the elderberry, but much larger, the leaves are tinted with a most beautiful purple-scarlet hue. The only laurel known in China is the camphor-laurel, which grows to a great size, and is used in ship-building. The camphor is obtained by boiling the branches and leaves, when an oil is collected from the surface of the water, and is then passed through a variety of processes; but the camphor thus produced is not equal to that which is found in the trunk of the tree. I have been informed, that the Borneo camphor is much purer and far superior to the Chinese. There are whole forests of 'the camphor-tree there, which are cut down by the natives, solely

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »