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his sojourn was not entirely without its bright side. He promptly fell in love with his beautiful cousin, Amalie, and this gave to the Hamburg life the one element that made it bearable. By and by the good uncle saw that the nephew was not fitted for commerce, and tried to qualify him for the law. Heinrich was sent successively to the Universities of Bonn, Göttingen and Berlin. In the last place he spent two years that were clouded only by news of the marriage of Amalie.
The young man had been writing with much zeal and with fine disregard of his manifest duty to the law. At Berlin he brought out his first volume— The Book of Songs (1822.) These poems met with much appreciation. They were modelled upon the lines dear to romanticists. They are marked by the "Weltschmerz" which Byron had made so popular, and deal largely with medieval subjects. Under the influence of Sir Walter Scott, at that time strong in Berlin, he wrote two tragedies, but they were not important. About this time he composed the beautiful lines which follow:
A Pine-tree standeth lonely
It slumbereth, while around it
And of a Palm it dreameth,
In 1823 he left Berlin. His family was in money difficulties and he himself was suffering from illhealth. He went to Cuxhaven, a port on the shore of the wild North Sea.
Here he remained long enough to imbibe a deep love of the sea. To this period belong such poems as Thou Lovely Fisher Maiden :—
Come, fairest fisher maiden, here,
Oh, lay thy head upon my heart,
My heart is like the sea, it hath
In the same year he visited Goethe at Weimar— a visit which was not altogether successful. Shortly afterwards, in order to escape the disabilities to which Jews were then liable, he embraced Christianity. Next he spent a summer in a small island called Norderney, off the coast of Holland. Here he wrote a fine collection of poems-The North Sea. Returning to Hamburg, he essayed to practise his profession-for he was now a Doctor of Laws. This he did not do; but he met a publisher who appreciated his work sufficiently to bring out a volume
called Pictures of Travel, in 1826. This was the first of several volumes which appeared between 1826 and 1831. It contained simply notes on travel, interspersed with lyrics and satirical sketches. The book showed both beauty and power and was very successful. Typical is the poem called Questions:
By the sea, the dreary nocturnal sea,
Standeth a stripling,
His breast full of sorrow, his head full of doubt,
"Oh, solve me the Riddle of Life,
That harrowing, world-old riddle,
Whereon many heads have pondered and brooded ;
Tell me what signifies Man!
Whence has he come? And whither goes he?
The waves they murmur their endless babble,
Heine was haunted through his whole life by the mystery of the sea. "I love it as my own soul," he says. "I often feel as if the sea must be my soul." The North Sea poems are " filled, as it were, with the robust harmonies which conveyed the unembodied song-breaths to the poet as he wandered by the wave-swept shores of Norderney."
About this time he definitely decided to abandon the law as a means of livelihood. In the spring of 1827 he made a visit to England; his impressions of which were not flattering. The same year he pub
lished a second volume of Pictures of Travel. It was singularly outspoken for those days of press supervision, and there was an attempt made to suppress it throughout the North German Stateswhich, naturally enough, gave it all the wider vogue. Next he made a trip to Italy (1828), visiting Genoa, Leghorn, the Baths of Lucca-where Shelley had rested ten years before-and Florence. In 1830, the third, and last, book of travel pictures appeared. These sketches aroused much discussion; they were called entertaining, witty, immoral, coarse, atheistic. With all their faults they contain a good deal that is charming.
The French Revolution of 1830 made a turningpoint in his life. He thought, with many other enthusiasts, that the "Three Days" would fan into flame the spirit of the German people. Full of excitement Heine returned to Hamburg, where he was effectually disenchanted. The process was rendered more complete by an attack upon the Jewish quarter, while he was in the city. He determined to leave a country where his race suffered persecution, and where, moreover, the cause of liberty had fallen so low. "The wind of the Paris Revolution," he writes, in disgust, "caused the candles to flicker a little in the dark night of Germany, so that the red curtains of a German throne or two caught fire; but the old watchmen who act as police for the German Kingdom are already bringing out their fire engines and will keep the
candles better snuffed for the future. Poor, fastbound German people, lose not all heart in thy bonds!" At last he took the irrevocable step, and in May, 1831, arrived at Paris, the city of his hope.
He had many and valuable introductions, and he met all the prominent writers of the day-Victor Hugo, Balzac, George Sand, Théophile Gautier, Alfred de Musset, and many more. Unfortunately, he lived not wisely but too well, and three months in Paris undermined his constitution. Never very robust, his health steadily grew worse until he became a confirmed invalid. Nay, for the last eight years of his life he was a physical wreck who, from a pitiful "mattress-grave," looked out upon the world. During all these wretched years he was cared for by his Parisian wife, who was the angel of his darkened existence. In February, 1856, he died, after a fight with pain and sorrow that is among the bravest records of literary history. Oddly enough, the years of his greatest suffering at Paris were the years of his greatest literary production. Some of the later lyrics are unsurpassed in German literature for the beauty of their unconscious art. The New Poems (1844) and the Romances (1850-1) contain the bulk of his work at the time.
There are few men so difficult to characterize as Heine. It is difficult to imagine any one whose personality would present more contradictions. He was at once" cruel and tender, naïf and perfidious, sceptical and credulous, lyrical and prosaic . . .