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Still from yon sky they smile on lovers down,
SCENE V.-THEKLA. MAX PICCOLOMINI.
Is't possible ?
They have an end in view.
An end ! But what?
But why conceal it longer
Ah! 'tis thou
Thou hast known him but to-day,
like a god-his way
[Taking him tenderly by the hand.
Follow but me--
And for the rest rely on our own hearts. Even those who are unacquainted with German, must be familiar with the name of Schiller, and be desirous of learning the nature of those writings which have procured for him so splendid and so deserved a reputation. To them we pledge ourselves, that the volumes before us will give a very accurate idea both of his merits and defects, making due allowance for the difference which must always exist between the translation and the original, where not the greatest care can prevent the poetry from being sometimes sacrificed to fidelity. The degree of pleasure which it will afford, will
depend materially upon the construction of the reader's mind; and with all our admiration of Schiller's genius, we think, that if these volumes fail to become popular, the true cause will be found to be inherent in Wallenstein itself. We are inclined to think, that in this country, the original series of plays founded on this subject, would now be extensively popular. They would be read, admired, and resorted to by those of refined feelings and vigorous imaginationsby those who love to have their emotions excited through the medium of their reasons—and who are capable of appreciating the merits of a lofty tenor of metaphysical poetry, which is totally inapplicable to the persons in whose mouths it is placed. But we cannot conceal from ourselves, that argue as we will, we cannot make the Wallenstein to be otherwise than essentially dull. It appeals more to the fancy than to the heart-to the understanding than to the passionsand considering it either as a drama, a oem, or an historical ro. mance, there still remains in it the same vital defectma deficiency of incident. We never felt this more strongly, than by the very
unfortunate juxta-position into which the clumsy Reviewer before-mentioned has forced Wallenstein with Quentin Durward. Allowing that Wallenstein“ may be better considered in the light of a romance “ than as a drama ;" that it is cast in “ too philosophical a mould," he yet says, that he does injustice to the author of Waverly, by subjecting one of his inferior works to a comparison with a production « of such elaborate merits on Wallenstein." Did it never strike the ingenious critic, who evidently piques himself not a little upon the institution of a comparison between two works which are essentially unlike, that, exclusive of its poetry, Wallenstein cannot for a moment come into competition in the point of merit with this inferior production of the modern Shakspeare? In few words, Quentin Durward is superior to Wallenstein, even in the very circumstance upon which the admirers of Schiller would rest his reputation--the art displayed in its construction. If there be any thing in the meauing of the word art, distinct from genius, it is surely to be found in the construction of the plot-in the connection of scenes one with another —and the tendency of all to bring on the catastrophe, and at the same time the degree of interest which attaches to every successive event as it passes before us. In this particular, the Wallenstein, without being deficient, can certainly not bear a moment's comparison with the spirit-stirring-exciting rapidity of events and incidents in Quentin Durward. Should the critic throw himself back upon the “ adherence to nature" in the two authors, his own words supply bim with the refutation; and we have risen from a perusal of his remarks perfectly satisfied of what perhaps we might have remained in doubt, that Scott is still the master-genius of modern times; and that however eminent may be Schiller as a poet, that he was deficient in the extent of mind which should alone give him success as a dramatist, or as a romance writer. His genius was lyrical-reflective, and not creative-it could sport in the borders which separate the material from the immaterial world, and lead the spirit of his
reader into a train of grander and lofty speculations upon the mysteries of the spiritual universe, than his own meditations might have led him to- it could draw forth fresh sources of thought for the thoughtful-new trains of imagination for the imaginative: this power, combined with a perfect knowledge of the mechanism of his art, unparalleled skill in wielding the resources of his beautiful language, and moulding it to the most beautiful and harmonious combinations, have made Schiller's name a bright one among the stars of modern literature. As a poet, he is of the highest order; but we think it is only exposing him to unnecessary severity of remark, to force him into a comparison with one, who alone since the days of Shakspeare has grasped the whole breathing world within the vision of his mind; re-moulded its opinions, forms, and substances into a thousand new and beautiful variations, and called into life a host of beings, who seem to be more alive to us than those whose particulars history has preserved; and who from that assimilation, that kindred with our nature, must always more deeply affect the feelings and arouse the interests of mankind, than all the abstractions which, what we must here call mere poetry, could ever create.
The Living and the Dead. By a Country Curate. Charles Knight.
We should have liked this book much better, without having been made acquainted with the profession of the author, who professes to be a “ Country Curate.” It consists of a series of sketches of some of the scenes and feelings incident to the sacred calling of the priesthood, intermingled with others common to every other situation in life-some of a grave—some of a gay-and not a few of a more gossiping nature. It is to this mixture that we particularly object. It is unbecoming the author's character to pass so lightly as he does from the description of the agonies of a despairing mother over sons who have perished by the justice of their country, to the flimsy ridicule of the peculiarities of two “old maids." This mode of mingling together the sublime and the ridiculous, the pathetic with the humorous, is at all times reprehensible; but it becomes doubly so when the name of the Creator, and the duties of a Christian Pastor, are implicated in the narrative. The oratorios, as they are called, are bad enough from this juxta-position of the sacred and the profane; but it is seldom that we have been so offended with a sensation so like disgust as came over us in reading the pages now under our review. The following extract will justify our censure, and show at the same time the misapplied talents of the author :
“Sunday, Sept. 17.---' But,' said she to me this morning, the doctrine of ;
the Resurrection is so wonderful, so surprising, so unaccountable, so unnatural !' • There are many operations of nature,' was my reply, 'quite as wonderful, as • surprising, as unaccountable, and as unnatural. It is the frequency of their
occurrence which deprives them of their force, Look here,' said I, and pointed to a beautiful Bignonia, which was blowing luxuriantly in the window; that very • Power shall teach you a lesson. To me it appears so striking and so lovely a
symbol of the change that awaits the Christian, that I never can look at it without
gladness of heart. A few months since it was a small, dry, shrivelled root, without taste or smell, no bigger than a nut. Who, viewing it for the first time, would imagine it possible that such a dusky, diminutive particle, would produce a • Power ? By and by a leaf appears, another follows ; then comes a stall, its bulk • increases rapidly; a shoot is visible, another, and another; at length the stem, then • the flower is developed, and blooms in wild luxuriance. It is now at its meridian. • It will shortly shed its Bowers, and droop, and wither, and gradually die away : .but only to undergo the same mysterious operation, and revive with increased • beauty in a succeeding spring. Turn to an egg. Who would conceive, to that
simple unpretending-looking object, by the simple operation of heat, vitality could be communicated; or from that smooth surface would burst an animal fledged and • formed, furnished with all the appliances of existence ---and instinct with life and 'motion? These are, in my opinion, operations of the Deity but little inferior to • the resurrection of the dead; as wonderful, as surprising, as unaccountable, Why, 'then, should we doubt that the Power which bas performed the one can perform • the other? Inspect nature herself. She is an annual resurrection. Year after year does she typify to man his own frail fleeting existence, his maturity, his decay,
his decease, his immortality. Winter is the death of nature : the woods are • silent; the trees are divested of their foliage ; the meadows are no longer green--• no blossom, no flower appears ;---look where we will, all is desolation and decay. • It is nature in her sepulchre. Anon she bursts the cearments of the tomb; the · Divinity breathes upon her face; the gales of spring awake her to existence ; • and welcome sunbeams, and budding Powers, and smiling skies proclaim the • resurrection of the year! Such is the magnificent spectacle constantly presented to ' man---cold, heartless, insensible man. And with such striking proofs of the • resurrection of nature; O ! how can we, for one moment, doubt the truth of our own ?'
“ Monday, Sept. 25.---' I have been diverted this morning almost against my will. A poor woman came to me from Trowbridge to request my interference with the Secretary of a Benefit Club to which her husband belonged, and from which, though disabled by disease, he could obtain no relief. After some preliminary conversation, 1 observed, ' You are very fortunate at Trowbridge, in having for your • Minister so celebrated and so gifted an individual as Mr. Crabbe.' • It's in what " that I'm fortunate ?' asked she, with her sharp, blue, interrogatory nose. • In the 'ministry of a man so justly famed as Mr. Crabbe.' Ah! Mr. Crabbe! You've • heard of him, I dare say, he's a great Pote. Perhaps you've read his books of 'verses ? I never did ; I haven't time. Thoy say he's made a mint of money by
hiş Potery. I'm sure it's more than he'll ever make by his sermons. They are so • very d------y; and she pursed up her thin, spare, skinny lips till her mouth was like the top of a vinegar cruet. • Besides he is so stiff and solemn; no life in him.'
"" Well, but that does not affect the matter of his sermons.'
""O! ah! He's a great scholar, I dare say. Too much learning by far for me; for I can't understand him half my time. There was a sermon he preached us, all about the Queen of Sheba--- very fine, I make no doubt---I'm sure there was'nt one word in ten that I ever heard before! Then it's nothing but question and answer. Quite provoking! I said to him one day, it's a shame for your reverence to stand up in the pulpit and put question after question, when you know it's an unpossible thing for any poor creature to get up and give an answer to ye. It's all on one side, as a body may say. You have made it all your own way.---Ay---ay, it's very well for the great folks in London : but poor creatures so illiterate about their future state as I am, would'nt care if they was never to hear again one of your Pote Parsons.' ”.
In addition to this, we cannot but think it a breach of that confidence which is necessarily entrusted to the priesthood, to make the characters and the peculiarities which its members learn during