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Title: Chips From A German Workshop. Vol. III. - Essays on Literature, Biography, and Antiquities
Author: Müller, F. Max (Friedrich Max), 1823-1900
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chips From A German Workshop. Vol. III. - Essays on Literature, Biography, and Antiquities" ***

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                       CHIPS FROM A GERMAN WORKSHOP

                                    BY

                          F. MAX MÜLLER, M. A.,

               FOREIGN MEMBER OF THE FRENCH INSTITUTE, ETC.

                               VOLUME III.

            ESSAYS ON LITERATURE, BIOGRAPHY, AND ANTIQUITIES.

                                NEW YORK:

                      CHARLES SCRIBNER AND COMPANY.

                                  1871.



CONTENTS


DEDICATION.
I. GERMAN LITERATURE.
   LIST OF EXTRACTS FOR ILLUSTRATING THE HISTORY OF GERMAN LITERATURE.
II. OLD GERMAN LOVE-SONGS.
III. YE SCHYPPE OF FOOLES.
IV. LIFE OF SCHILLER.
V. WILHELM MÜLLER. 1794-1827.
VI. ON THE LANGUAGE AND POETRY OF SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN.
VII. JOINVILLE.
VIII. THE JOURNAL DES SAVANTS AND THE JOURNAL DE TRÉVOUX.
IX. CHASOT.
X. SHAKESPEARE.
XI. BACON IN GERMANY.
XII. A GERMAN TRAVELLER IN ENGLAND.
XIII. CORNISH ANTIQUITIES.
XIV. ARE THERE JEWS IN CORNWALL?
XV. THE INSULATION OF ST. MICHAEL’S MOUNT.
XVI. BUNSEN.
   LETTERS FROM BUNSEN TO MAX MÜLLER IN THE YEARS 1848 TO 1859.
Footnotes



DEDICATION.


TO
FRANCIS TURNER PALGRAVE,

IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE OF KIND HELP

GIVEN TO ME

IN MY FIRST ATTEMPTS AT WRITING IN ENGLISH,

AND AS A MEMORIAL

OF MANY YEARS OF FAITHFUL FRIENDSHIP.



I. GERMAN LITERATURE.(1)


There is no country where so much interest is taken in the literature of
Germany as in England, and there is no country where the literature of
England is so much appreciated as in Germany. Some of our modern classics,
whether poets or philosophers, are read by Englishmen with the same
attention as their own; and the historians, the novel-writers, and the
poets of England have exercised, and continue to exercise, a most powerful
and beneficial influence on the people of Germany. In recent times, the
literature of the two countries has almost grown into one. Lord Macaulay’s
History has not only been translated into German, but reprinted at Leipzig
in the original; and it is said to have had a larger sale in Germany than
the work of any German historian. Baron Humboldt and Baron Bunsen address
their writings to the English as much as to the German public. The novels
of Dickens and Thackeray are expected with the same impatience at Leipzig
and Berlin as in London. The two great German classics, Schiller and
Goethe, have found their most successful biographers in Carlyle and Lewes;
and several works of German scholarship have met with more attentive and
thoughtful readers in the colleges of England than in the universities of
Germany. Goethe’s idea of a world-literature has, to a certain extent,
been realized; and the strong feeling of sympathy between the best classes
in both countries holds out a hope that, for many years to come, the
supremacy of the Teutonic race, not only in Europe, but over all the
world, will be maintained in common by the two champions of political
freedom and of the liberty of thought,—Protestant England and Protestant
Germany.

The interest, however, which Englishmen take in German literature has
hitherto been confined almost exclusively to the literature of the last
fifty years, and very little is known of those fourteen centuries during
which the German language had been growing up and gathering strength for
the great triumphs which were achieved by Lessing, Schiller, and Goethe.
Nor is this to be wondered at. The number of people in England, who take
any interest in the early history of their own literature, is extremely
small, and there is as yet no history of English literature worthy of that
name. It cannot be expected, therefore, that in England many people will
care to read in the original the ancient epic poems of the “Nibelunge” or
“Gudrun,” or acquire a grammatical knowledge of the Gothic of Ulfilas and
the Old High-German of Otfried. Gothic, Old High-German, and Middle
High-German are three distinct languages, each possessing its own grammar,
each differing from the others and from Modern German more materially than
the Greek of Homer differs from the Greek of Demosthenes. Even in Germany
these languages are studied only by professional antiquarians and
scholars, and they do not form part of the general system of instruction
in public schools and universities. The study of Gothic grammar alone
(where we still find a dual in addition to the singular and plural, and
where some tenses of the passive are still formed, as in Greek and Latin,
without auxiliary verbs), would require as much time as the study of Greek
grammar, though it would not offer the key to a literature like that of
Greece. Old High-German, again, is as difficult a language to a German as
Anglo-Saxon is to an Englishman; and the Middle High-German of the
“Nibelunge,” of Wolfram, and Walther, nay even of Eckhart and Tauler, is
more remote from the language of Goethe than Chaucer is from Tennyson.

But, without acquiring a grammatical knowledge of these ancient languages,
there are, I believe, not a few people who wish to know something of the
history of German literature. Nor is this, if properly taught, a subject
of narrow or merely antiquarian interest. The history of literature
reflects and helps us to interpret the political history of a country. It
contains, as it were, the confession which every generation, before it
passed away, has made to posterity. “Without Literary History,” as Lord
Bacon says, “the History of the World seemeth to be as the Statue of
Polyphemus with his eye out; that part being wanting which doth most shew
the spirit and life of the person.” From this point of view the historian
of literature learns to value what to the critic would seem unmeaning and
tedious, and he is loath to miss the works even of mediocre poets, where
they throw light on the times in which they lived, and serve to connect
the otherwise disjointed productions of men of the highest genius,
separated, as these necessarily are, by long intervals in the annals of
every country.

Although there exists no literature to reward the student of Gothic, yet
every one who cares for the history of Germany and of German thought
should know something of Ulfilas, the great Bishop of the Goths, who
anticipated the work of Luther by more than a thousand years, and who, at
a time when Greek and Latin were the only two respectable and orthodox
languages of Europe, dared for the first time to translate the Bible into
the vulgar tongue of Barbarians, as if foreseeing with a prophetic eye the
destiny of these Teutonic tribes, whose language, after Greek and Latin
had died away, was to become the life-spring of the Gospel over the whole
civilized world. He ought to know something of those early missionaries
and martyrs, most of them sent from Ireland and England to preach the
Gospel in the dark forests of Germany,—men like St. Gall (died 638), St.
Kilian (died 689), and St. Boniface (died 755), who were not content with
felling the sacred oak-trees and baptizing unconverted multitudes, but
founded missionary stations, and schools, and monasteries; working hard
themselves in order to acquire a knowledge of the language and the
character of the people, and drawing up those curious lists of barbarous
words, with their no less barbarous equivalents in Latin, which we still
possess, though copied by a later hand. He ought to know the gradual
progress of Christianity and civilization in Germany, previous to the time
of Charlemagne; for we see from the German translations of the Rules of
the Benedictine monks, of ancient Latin hymns, the Creeds, the Lord’s
Prayer, and portions of the New Testament, that the good sense of the
national clergy had led them to do what Charlemagne had afterwards to
enjoin by repeated Capitularia.(2) It is in the history of German
literature that we learn what Charlemagne really was. Though claimed as a
saint by the Church of Rome, and styled _Empereur Français_ by modern
French historians, Karl was really and truly a German king, proud, no
doubt, of his Roman subjects, and of his title of Emperor, and anxious to
give to his uncouth Germans the benefit of Italian and English teachers,
but fondly attached in his heart to his own mother tongue, to the lays and
laws of his fatherland: feelings displayed in his own attempt to compose a
German grammar, and in his collection of old national songs, fragments of
which may have been preserved to us in the ballads of Hildebrand and
Hadubrand.

After the death of Charlemagne, and under the reign of the good but weak
King Ludwig, the prospects of a national literature in Germany became
darkened. In one instance, indeed, the king was the patron of a German
poet; for he encouraged the author of the “Heliand” to write that poem for
the benefit of his newly converted countrymen. But he would hardly have
approved of the thoroughly German and almost heathen spirit which pervades
that Saxon epic of the New Testament, and he expressed his disgust at the
old German poems which his great father had taught him in his youth. The
seed, however, which Charlemagne had sown had fallen on healthy soil, and
grew up even without the sunshine of royal favor. The monastery of Fulda,
under Hrabanus Maurus, the pupil of Alcuin, became the seminary of a truly
national clergy. Here it was that Otfried, the author of the rhymed
“Gospel-book” was brought up. In the mean time, the heterogeneous elements
of the Carlovingian Empire broke asunder. Germany, by losing its French
and Italian provinces, became Germany once more. Ludwig the German was
King of Germany, Hrabanus Maurus Archbishop of Mayence; and the spirit of
Charlemagne, Alcuin, and Eginhard was revived at Aachen, Fulda, and many
other places, such as St. Gall, Weissenburg, and Corvey, where schools
were founded on the model of that of Tours. The translation of the
“Harmony of the Gospels,” gives us a specimen of the quiet studies of
those monasteries, whereas the lay on the victory of Louis III. over the
Normans, in 881, reminds us of the dangers that threatened Germany from
the West at the same time that the Hungarians began their inroads from the
East. The Saxon Emperors had hard battles to fight against these invaders,
and there were few places in Germany where the peaceful pursuits of the
monasteries and schools could be carried on without interruption. St. Gall
is the one bright star in the approaching gloom of the next centuries. Not
only was the Bible read, and translated, and commented upon in German at
St. Gall, as formerly at Fulda, but Greek and Roman classics were copied
and studied for educational purposes. Notker Teutonicus is the great
representative of that school, which continued to maintain its reputation
for theological and classical learning, and for a careful cultivation of
the national language, nearly to the close of the eleventh century. At the
court of the Saxon Emperors, though their policy was thoroughly German,
there was little taste for German poetry. The Queen of Otto I. was a
Lombard, the Queen of Otto II. a Greek lady; and their influence was not
favorable to the rude poetry of national bards. If some traces of their
work have been preserved to us, we owe it again to the more national taste
of the monks of St. Gall and Passau. They translate some of the German
epics into Latin verse, such as the poem of the “Nibelunge,” of “Walther
of Aquitain,” and of “Ruodlieb.” The first is lost; but the other two have
been preserved and published.(3) The stories of the Fox and the Bear, and
the other animals,—a branch of poetry so peculiar to Germany, and epic
rather than didactic in its origin,—attracted the attention of the monks;
and it is owing again to their Latin translations that the existence of
this curious style of poetry can be traced back so far as the tenth
century.(4) As these poems are written in Latin, they could not find a
place in a German reading-book; but they, as well as the unduly suspected
Latin plays of the nun Hrosvitha, throw much light on the state of German
civilization during the tenth and eleventh centuries.

The eleventh century presents almost an entire blank in the history of
literature. Under the Frankish or Salic dynasty, Germany had either to
defend herself against the inroads of Hungarian and Slavonic armies, or it
was the battle-field of violent feuds between the Emperors and their
vassals. The second half of that century was filled with the struggles
between Henry IV. and Pope Gregory VII. The clergy, hitherto the chief
support of German literature, became estranged from the German people; and
the insecurity of the times was unfavorable to literary pursuits.
Williram’s German had lost the classical correctness of Notker’s language,
and the “Merigarto,” and similar works, are written in a hybrid style,
which is neither prose nor poetry. The Old High-German had become a
literary language chiefly through the efforts of the clergy, and the
character of the whole Old High-German literature is preëminently
clerical. The Crusades put an end to the preponderance of the clerical
element in the literature of Germany. They were, no doubt, the work of the
clergy. By using to the utmost the influence which they had gradually
gained and carefully fomented, the priests were able to rouse a whole
nation to a pitch of religious enthusiasm never known before or after. But
the Crusades were the last triumph of the clergy; and with their failure
the predominant influence of the clerical element in German society is
checked and extinguished.

From the first beginning of the Crusades the interest of the people was
with the knight,—no longer with the priest. The chivalrous Emperors of the
Hohenstaufen dynasty formed a new rallying point for all national
sympathies. Their courts, and the castles of their vassals, offered a new
and more genial home to the poets of Germany than the monasteries of Fulda
and St. Gall. Poetry changed hands. The poets took their inspirations from
real life, though they borrowed their models from the romantic cycles of
Brittany and Provence. Middle High-German, the language of the Swabian
court, became the language of poetry. The earliest compositions in that
language continue for a while to bear the stamp of the clerical poetry of
a former age. The first Middle High-German poems are written by a nun; and
the poetical translation of the Books of Moses, the poem on Anno, Bishop
of Cologne, and the “Chronicle of the Roman Emperors,” all continue to
breathe the spirit of cloisters and cathedral towns. And when a new taste
for chivalrous romances was awakened in Germany; when the stories of
Arthur and his knights, of Charlemagne and his champions, of Achilles,
Æneas, and Alexander, in their modern dress, were imported by French and
Provençal knights, who, on their way to Jerusalem, came to stay at the
castles of their German allies, the first poets who ventured to imitate
these motley compositions were priests, not laymen. A few short extracts
from Konrad’s “Roland” and Lamprecht’s “Alexander” are sufficient to mark
this period of transition. Like Charlemagne, who had been changed into a
legendary hero by French poets before he became again the subject of
German poetry, another German worthy returned at the same time to his
native home, though but slightly changed by his foreign travels, “Reinhard
the Fox.” The influence of Provence and of Flanders is seen in every
branch of German poetry at that time; and yet nothing can be more
different than the same subject, as treated by French and German poets.
The German Minnesänger in particular were far from being imitators of the
Trouvères or Troubadours. There are a few solitary instances of lyric
poems translated from Provençal into German;(5) as there is, on the other
hand, one poem translated from German into Italian,(6) early in the
thirteenth century. But the great mass of German lyrics are of purely
German growth. Neither the Romans, nor the lineal descendants of the
Romans, the Italians, the Provençals, the Spaniards, can claim that poetry
as their own. It is Teutonic, purely Teutonic in its heart and soul,
though its utterance, its rhyme and metre, its grace and imagery, have
been touched by the more genial rays of the brilliant sun of a more
southern sky. The same applies to the great romantic poems of that period.
The first impulse came from abroad. The subjects were borrowed from a
foreign source, and the earlier poems, such as Heinrich von Veldecke’s
“Æneid,” might occasionally paraphrase the sentiments of French poets. But
in the works of Hartmann von Aue, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and Gottfried
von Strassburg, we breathe again the pure German air; and we cannot but
regret that these men should have taken the subjects of their poems, with
their unpronounceable names, extravagant conceits, and licentious manners,
from foreign sources, while they had at home their grand mythology, their
heroic traditions, their kings and saints, which would have been more
worthy subjects than Tristan and Isold, Schionatulander and Sigune. There
were new thoughts stirring in the hearts and minds of those men of the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries. A hundred years before Dante, the German
poets had gazed with their eyes wide open into that infinite reality which
underlies our short existence on earth. To Wolfram, and to many a poet of
his time, the human tragedy of this world presented the same unreal,
transitory, and transparent aspect which we find again in Dante’s “Divine
Comedy.” Everything points to another world. Beauty, love, virtue,
happiness,—everything, in fact, that moves the heart of the poet,—has a
hidden reference to something higher than this life; and the highest
object of the highest poetry seems to be to transfer the mind to those
regions where men feel the presence of a Divine power and a Divine love,
and are lost in blissful adoration. The beginning of the thirteenth
century is as great an era in the history of German literature as the
beginning of the nineteenth. The German mind was completely regenerated.
Old words, old thoughts, old metres, old fashions, were swept away, and a
new spring dawned over Germany. The various branches of the Teutonic race
which, after their inroads into the seats of Roman civilization, had for a
time become separated, were beginning to assume a national
independence,—when suddenly a new age of migration threatened to set in.
The knights of France and Flanders, of England, Lombardy, and Sicily, left
their brilliant castles. They marched to the East, carrying along with
them the less polished, but equally enthusiastic, nobility of Germany.
From the very first the spirit of the Roman towns in Italy and Gaul had
exercised a more civilizing influence on the Barbarians who had crossed
the Alps and the Rhine, whereas the Germans of Germany proper had been
left to their own resources, assisted only by the lessons of the Roman
clergy. Now, at the beginning of the Crusades, the various divisions of
the German race met again, but they met as strangers; no longer with the
impetuosity of Franks and Goths, but with the polished reserve of a
Godefroy of Bouillon and the chivalrous bearing of a Frederick Barbarossa.
The German Emperors and nobles opened their courts to receive their guests
with brilliant hospitality. Their festivals, the splendor and beauty of
their tournaments, attracted crowds from great distances, and foremost
among them poets and singers. It was at such festivals as Heinrich von
Veldecke describes at Mayence, in 1184, under Frederick I., that French
and German poetry were brought face to face. It was here that high-born
German poets learnt from French poets the subjects of their own romantic
compositions. German ladies became the patrons of German poets; and the
etiquette of French chivalry was imitated at the castles of German
knights. Poets made bold for the first time to express their own feelings,
their joys and sufferings, and epic poetry had to share its honors with
lyric songs. Not only France and Germany, but England and Northern Italy
were drawn into this gay society. Henry II. married Eleanor of Poitou, and
her grace and beauty found eloquent admirers in the army of the Crusaders.
Their daughter Mathilde was married to Henry the Lion, of Saxony, and one
of the Provençal poets has celebrated her loveliness. Frenchmen became the
tutors of the sons of the German nobility. French manners, dresses,
dishes, and dances were the fashion everywhere. The poetry which
flourished at the castles was soon adopted by the lower ranks. Travelling
poets and jesters are frequently mentioned, and the poems of the
“Nibelunge” and “Gudrun,” such as we now possess them, were composed at
that time by poets who took their subjects, their best thoughts and
expressions, from the people, but imitated the language, the metre, and
the manners of the court poets. The most famous courts to which the German
poets resorted, and where they were entertained with generous hospitality,
were the court of Leopold, Duke of Austria (1198-1230), and of his son
Frederick II.; of Hermann, Landgrave of Thuringia, who resided at the
Wartburg, near Eisenach (1190-1215); of Berthold, Duke of Zähringen
(1186-1218); and of the Swabian Emperors in general. At the present day,
when not only the language, but even the thoughts of these poets have
become to most of us unintelligible and strange, we cannot claim for their
poetry more than an historical interest. But if we wish to know the men
who took a leading part in the Crusades, who fought with the Emperors
against the Pope, or with the Pope against the Emperors, who lived in
magnificent castles like that of the Wartburg, and founded cathedrals like
that of Cologne (1248), we must read the poetry which they admired, which
they composed or patronized. The subjects of their Romances cannot gain
our sympathy. They are artificial, unreal, with little of humanity, and
still less of nationality in them. But the mind of a poet like Wolfram von
Eschenbach rises above all these difficulties. He has thoughts of his own,
truly human, deeply religious, and thoroughly national; and there are
expressions and comparisons in his poetry which had never been used
before. His style, however, is lengthy, his descriptions tiresome, and his
characters somewhat vague and unearthly. As critics, we should have to
bestow on Wolfram von Eschenbach, on Gottfried von Strassburg, even on
Hartman von Aue and Walther von der Vogelweide, as much of blame as of
praise. But as historians, we cannot value them too highly. If we measure
them with the poets that preceded and those that followed them, they tower
above all like giants. From the deep marks which they left behind, we
discover that they were men of creative genius, men who had looked at life
with their own eyes, and were able to express what they had seen and
thought and felt in a language which fascinated their contemporaries, and
which even now holds its charm over all who can bring themselves to study
their works in the same spirit in which they read the tragedies of
Æschylus, or the “Divina Commedia” of Dante.

But the heyday of German chivalry and chivalrous poetry was of short
duration. Toward the end of the thirteenth century we begin to feel that
the age is no longer aspiring, and hoping, and growing. The world assumes
a different aspect. Its youth and vigor seem spent; and the children of a
new generation begin to be wiser and sadder than their fathers. The
Crusades languish. Their object, like the object of many a youthful hope,
has proved unattainable. The Knights no longer take the Cross “because God
wills it;” but because the Pope commands a Crusade, bargains for
subsidies, and the Emperor cannot decline his commands. Walther von der
Vogelweide already is most bitter in his attacks on Rome. Walther was the
friend of Frederick II. (1215-50), an Emperor who reminds us, in several
respects, of his namesake of Prussia. He was a sovereign of literary
tastes,—himself a poet and a philosopher. Harassed by the Pope, he
retaliated most fiercely, and was at last accused of a design to extirpate
the Christian religion. The ban was published against him, and his own son
rose in rebellion. Germany remained faithful to her Emperor, and the
Emperor was successful against his son. But he soon died in disappointment
and despair. With him the star of the Swabian dynasty had set, and the
sweet sounds of the Swabian lyre died away with the last breath of
Corradino, the last of the Hohenstaufen, on the scaffold at Naples, in
1268. Germany was breaking down under heavy burdens. It was visited by the
papal interdict, by famine, by pestilence. Sometimes there was no Emperor,
sometimes there were two or three. Rebellion could not be kept under, nor
could crime be punished. The only law was the “Law of the Fist.” The
Church was deeply demoralized. Who was to listen to romantic poetry? There
was no lack of poets or of poetry. Rudolf von Ems, a poet called Der
Stricker, and Konrad von Würzburg, all of them living in the middle of the
thirteenth century, were more fertile than Hartmann von Aue and Gottfried
von Strassburg. They complain, however, that no one took notice of them,
and they are evidently conscious themselves of their inferiority. Lyric
poetry continued to flourish for a time, but it degenerated into an
unworthy idolatry of ladies, and affected sentimentality. There is but one
branch of poetry in which we find a certain originality, the didactic and
satiric. The first beginnings of this new kind of poetry carry us back to
the age of Walther von der Vogelweide. Many of his verses are satirical,
political, and didactic; and it is supposed, on very good authority, that
Walther was the author of an anonymous didactic poem, “Freidank’s
Bescheidenheit.” By Thomasin von Zerclar, or Tommasino di Circlaria, we
have a metrical composition on manners, the “Italian Guest,” which
likewise belongs to the beginning of the thirteenth century.(7) Somewhat
later we meet, in the works of the Stricker, with the broader satire of
the middle classes; and toward the close of the century, Hugo von
Trimberg, in his “Renner,” addresses himself to the lower ranks of German
society, and no longer to princes, knights, and ladies.

How is this to be accounted for? Poetry was evidently changing hands
again. The Crusades had made the princes and knights the representatives
and leaders of the whole nation; and during the contest between the
imperial and the papal powers, the destinies of Germany were chiefly in
the hands of the hereditary nobility. The literature, which before that
time was entirely clerical, had then become worldly and chivalrous. But
now, when the power of the emperors began to decline, when the clergy was
driven into taking a decidedly anti-national position, when the unity of
the empire was well-nigh destroyed, and princes and prelates were
asserting their independence by plunder and by warfare, a new element of
society rose to the surface,—the middle classes,—the burghers of the free
towns of Germany. They were forced to hold together, in order to protect
themselves against their former protectors. They fortified their cities,
formed corporations, watched over law and morality, and founded those
powerful leagues, the first of which, the Hansa, dates from 1241. Poetry
also took refuge behind the walls of free towns; and at the fireside of
the worthy citizen had to exchange her gay, chivalrous, and romantic
strains, for themes more subdued, practical, and homely. This accounts for
such works as Hugo von Trimberg’s “Renner,” as well as for the general
character of the poetry of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Poetry
became a trade like any other. Guilds were formed, consisting of
master-singers and their apprentices. Heinrich Frauenlob is called the
first Meistersänger; and during the fourteenth, the fifteenth, and even
the sixteenth centuries, new guilds or schools sprang up in all the
principal towns of Germany. After order had been restored by the first
Hapsburg dynasty, the intellectual and literary activity of Germany
retained its centre of gravitation in the middle classes. Rudolf von
Hapsburg was not gifted with a poetical nature, and contemporaneous poets
complain of his want of liberality. Attempts were made to revive the
chivalrous poetry of the Crusades by Hugo von Montfort and Oswald von
Wolkenstein in the beginning of the fifteenth century, and again at the
end of the same century by the “Last of the German Knights,” the Emperor
Maximilian. But these attempts could not but fail. The age of chivalry was
gone, and there was nothing great or inspiring in the wars which the
Emperors had to wage during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries against
their vassals, against the Pope, against the precursors of the
Reformation, the Hussites, and against the Turks. In Fritsche Closener’s
“Chronicle” there is a description of the citizens of Strassburg defending
themselves against their bishop in 1312; in Twinger’s “Chronicle” a
picture of the processions of the Flagellants and the religious enthusiasm
of that time (1349). The poems of Suchenwirt and Halbsuter represent the
wars of Austria against Switzerland (1386), and Niclas von Weyl’s
translation gives us a glimpse into the Council of Constance (1414) and
the Hussite wars, which were soon to follow. The poetry of those two
centuries, which was written by and for the people, is interesting
historically, but, with few exceptions, without any further worth. The
poets wish to amuse or to instruct their humble patrons, and they do this,
either by giving them the dry bones of the romantic poetry of former ages,
or by telling them fables and the quaint stories of the “Seven Wise
Masters.” What beauty there was in a Meistergesang may be fairly seen from
the poem of Michael Beheim; and the Easter play by no means shows the
lowest ebb of good taste in the popular literature of that time.

It might seem, indeed, as if all the high and noble aspirations of the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries had been lost and forgotten during the
fourteenth and fifteenth. And yet it was not quite so. There was one class
of men on whom the spirit of true nobility had descended, and whose works
form a connecting chain between the great era of the Crusades and the
still greater era of the Reformation. These are the so-called
Mystics,—true Crusaders, true knights of the Spirit, many of whom
sacrificed their lives for the cause of truth, and who at last conquered
from the hands of the infidels that Holy Sepulchre in which the true
Christian faith had been lying buried for centuries. The name of Mystics,
which has been given to these men, is apt to mislead. Their writings are
not dark or unintelligible, and those who call them so must find
Christianity itself unintelligible and dark. There is more broad daylight
in Eckhart and Tauler than in the works of all the Thomists and Scotists.
Eckhart was not a dreamer. He had been a pupil of Thomas Aquinas, and his
own style is sometimes painfully scholastic. But there is a fresh breeze
of thought in his works, and in the works of his disciples. They knew that
whenever the problems of man’s relation to God, the creation of the world,
the origin of evil, and the hope of salvation come to be discussed, the
sharpest edge of logical reasoning will turn, and the best defined terms
of metaphysics die away into mere music. They knew that the hard and
narrow categories of the schoolmen do greater violence to the highest
truths of religion than the soft, and vague, and vanishing tones with
which they tried to shadow forth in the vulgar language of the people the
distant objects which transcend the horizon of human understanding. They
did not handle the truths of Christianity as if they should or could be
proved by the syllogisms of our human reasoning. Nevertheless these
Mystics were hard and honest thinkers, and never played with words and
phrases. Their faith is to them as clear and as real as sunshine; and
instead of throwing scholastic dust into the eyes of the people, they
boldly told them to open their eyes and to look at the mysteries all
around them, and to feel the presence of God within and without, which the
priests had veiled by the very revelation which they had preached. For a
true appreciation of the times in which they lived, the works of these
Reformers of the Faith are invaluable. Without them we should try in vain
to explain how a nation which, to judge from its literature, seemed to
have lost all vigor and virtue, could suddenly rise and dare the work of a
reformation of the Church. With them we learn how that same nation, after
groaning for centuries under the yoke of superstition and hypocrisy, found
in its very prostration the source of an irresistible strength. The higher
clergy contributed hardly anything to the literature of these two
centuries; and what they wrote would better have remained unwritten. At
St. Gall, toward the end of the thirteenth century, the monks, the
successors of Notker, were unable to sign their names. The Abbot was a
nobleman who composed love-songs, a branch of poetry at all events out of
place in the monastery founded by St. Gall. It is only among the lower
clergy that we find the traces of genuine Christian piety and intellectual
activity, though frequently branded by obese prelates and obtuse
magistrates with the names of mysticism and heresy. The orders of the
Franciscans and Dominicans, founded in 1208 and 1215, and intended to act
as clerical spies and confessors, began to fraternize in many parts of
Germany with the people against the higher clergy. The people were hungry
and thirsty after religious teaching. They had been systematically
starved, or fed with stones. Part of the Bible had been translated for the
people, but what Ulfilas was free to do in the fourth century, was
condemned by the prelates assembled at the Synod of Trier in 1231. Nor
were the sermons of the itinerant friars in towns and villages always to
the taste of bishops and abbots. We possess collections of these
discourses, preached by Franciscans and Dominicans under the trees of
cemeteries, and from the church-towers of the villages. Brother Berthold,
who died in 1272, was a Franciscan. He travelled about the country, and
was revered by the poor like a saint and prophet. The doctrine he
preached, though it was the old teaching of the Apostles, was as new to
the peasants who came to hear him, as it had been to the citizens of
Athens who came to hear St. Paul. The saying of St Chrysostom that
Christianity had turned many a peasant into a philosopher, came true again
in the time of Eckhart and Tauler. Men who called themselves Christians
had been taught, and had brought themselves to believe, that to read the
writings of the Apostles was a deadly sin. Yet in secret they were
yearning after that forbidden Bible. They knew that there were
translations, and though these translations had been condemned by popes
and synods, the people could not resist the temptation of reading them. In
1373, we find the first complete version of the Bible into German, by
Matthias of Beheim. Several are mentioned after this. The new religious
fervor that had been kindled among the inferior clergy, and among the
lower and middle classes of the laity, became stronger; and, though it
sometimes degenerated into wild fanaticism, the sacred spark was kept in
safe hands by such men as Eckhart (died 1329), Tauler (died 1361), and the
author of the German Theology. Men like these are sure to conquer; they
are persecuted justly or unjustly; they suffer and die, and all they
thought and said and did seems for a time to have been in vain. But
suddenly their work, long marked as dangerous in the smooth current of
society, rises above the surface like the coral reefs in the Pacific, and
it remains for centuries the firm foundation of a new world of thought and
faith. Without the labors of these Reformers of the Faith, the Reformers
of the Church would never have found a whole nation waiting to receive,
and ready to support them.

There are two other events which prepared the way of the German Reformers
of the sixteenth century: the foundation of universities, and the
invention of printing. Their importance is the same in the literary and in
the political history of Germany. The intellectual and moral character of
a nation is formed in schools and universities; and those who educate a
people have always been its real masters, though they may go by a more
modest name. Under the Roman Empire public schools had been supported by
the government, both at Rome and in the chief towns of the Provinces. We
know of their existence in Gaul and parts of Germany. With the decline of
the central authority, the salaries of the grammarians and rhetors in the
Provinces ceased to be paid, and the pagan gymnasia were succeeded by
Christian schools, attached to episcopal sees and monasteries. Whilst the
clergy retained their vigor and efficiency, their schools were powerful
engines for spreading a half clerical and half classical culture in
Germany. During the Crusades, when ecclesiastical activity and learning
declined very rapidly, we hear of French tutors at the castles of the
nobility, and classical learning gave way to the superficial polish of a
chivalrous age. And when the nobility likewise relapsed into a state of
savage barbarism, new schools were wanted, and they were founded by the
towns, the only places where, during the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, we see any evidence of a healthy political life. The first town
schools are mentioned in the beginning of the fourteenth century, and they
were soon followed by the high schools and universities. The University of
Prague was founded in 1348; Vienna, 1366; Heidelberg, 1386; Erfurt, 1392;
Leipzig, 1408; Basle, 1460; Tübingen, 1477; Mainz, 1482. These
universities are a novel feature in the history of German and of European
civilization. They are not ecclesiastical seminaries, not restricted to
any particular class of society; they are national institutions, open to
the rich and the poor, to the knight, the clerk, the citizen. They are
real universities of learning: they profess to teach all branches of
knowledge,—theology and law, medicine and philosophy. They contain the
first practical acknowledgment of the right of every subject to the
highest education, and through it to the highest offices in Church and
State. Neither Greece nor Rome had known such institutions: neither the
Church nor the nobility, during the days of their political supremacy,
were sufficiently impressed with the duty which they owed to the nation at
large to provide such places of liberal education. It was the nation
itself, when forsaken by its clergy and harassed by its nobility, which
called these schools into life; and it is in these schools and
universities that the great men who inaugurate the next period of
literature—the champions of political liberty and religious freedom—were
fostered and formed.

The invention of printing was in itself a reformation, and its benefits
were chiefly felt by the great masses of the people. The clergy possessed
their libraries, where they might read and study if they chose; the
castles contained collections of MSS., sacred and profane, illuminated
with the most exquisite taste; while the citizen, the poor layman, though
he might be able to read and to write, was debarred from the use of books,
and had to satisfy his literary tastes with the sermons of travelling
Franciscans, or the songs of blind beggars and peddlers. The art of
printing admitted that large class to the same privileges which had
hitherto been enjoyed almost exclusively by clergy and nobility: it placed
in the hands of the third estate arms more powerful than the swords of the
knights, and the thunderbolts of the priests: it was a revolution in the
history of literature more eventful than any in the history of mankind.
Poets and philosophers addressed themselves no longer to emperors and
noblemen, to knights and ladies, but to the people at large, and
especially to the middle classes, in which henceforth the chief strength
of the nation resides.

The years from 1450 to 1500 form a period of preparation for the great
struggle that was to inaugurate the beginning of the sixteenth century. It
was an age “rich in scholars, copious in pedants, but poor in genius, and
barren of strong thinkers.” One of the few interesting men in whose life
and writings the history of that preliminary age may be studied, is
Sebastian Brant, the famous author of the famous “Ship of Fools.”

With the sixteenth century, we enter upon the modern history and the
modern literature of Germany. We shall here pass on more rapidly, dwelling
only on the men in whose writings the political and social changes of
Germany can best be studied.

With Luther, the literary language of Germany became New High-German. A
change of language invariably betokens a change in the social constitution
of a country. In Germany, at the time of the Reformation, the change of
language marks the rise of a new aristocracy, which is henceforth to
reside in the universities. Literature leaves its former homes. It speaks
no longer the language of the towns. It addresses itself no longer to a
few citizens, nor to imperial patrons, such as Maximilian I. It indulges
no longer in moral saws, didactic verses, and prose novels, nor is it
content with mystic philosophy and the secret outpourings of religious
fervor. For a time, though but for a short time, German literature becomes
national. Poets and writers wish to be heard beyond the walls of their
monasteries and cities. They speak to the whole nation; nay, they desire
to be heard beyond the frontiers of their country. Luther and the
Reformers belonged to no class,—they belonged to the people. The voice of
the people, which during the preceding periods of literature could only be
heard like the rolling of distant thunder, had now become articulate and
distinct, and for a time one thought seemed to unite all
classes,—emperors, kings, nobles, and citizens, clergy and laity, high and
low, old and young. This is a novel sight in the history of Germany. We
have seen in the first period the gradual growth of the clergy, from the
time when the first missionaries were massacred in the marshes of
Friesland to the time when the Emperor stood penitent before the gates of
Canossa. We have seen the rise of the nobility, from the time when the
barbarian chiefs preferred living outside the walls of cities to the time
when they rivaled the French cavaliers in courtly bearing and chivalrous
bravery. Nor were the representatives of these two orders, the Pope and
the Emperor, less powerful at the beginning of the sixteenth century than
they had been before. Charles V. was the most powerful sovereign whom
Europe had seen since the days of Charlemagne, and the papal see had
recovered by diplomatic intrigue much of the influence which it had lost
by moral depravity. Let us think, then, of these two ancient powers: the
Emperor with his armies, recruited in Austria, Spain, Naples, Sicily, and
Burgundy, and with his treasures brought from Mexico and Peru; and the
Pope with his armies of priests and monks, recruited from all parts of the
Christian world, and armed with the weapons of the Inquisition and the
thunderbolts of excommunication: let us think of their former victories,
their confidence in their own strength, their belief in their divine
right: and let us then turn our eyes to the small University of
Wittenberg, and into the bleak study of a poor Augustine monk, and see
that monk step out of his study with no weapon in his hand but the
Bible,—with no armies and no treasures,—and yet defying with his clear and
manly voice both Pope and Emperor, both clergy and nobility: there is no
grander sight in history; and the longer we allow our eyes to dwell on it,
the more we feel that history is not without God, and that at every
decisive battle the divine right of truth asserts its supremacy over the
divine right of Popes and Emperors, and overthrows with one breath both
empires and hierarchies. We call the Reformation the work of Luther; but
Luther stood not alone, and no really great man ever stood alone. The
secret of their greatness lies in their understanding the spirit of the
age in which they live, and in giving expression with the full power of
faith and conviction to the secret thoughts of millions. Luther was but
lending words to the silent soul of suffering Germany, and no one should
call himself a Protestant who is not a Lutheran with Luther at the Diet of
Worms, and able to say with him in the face of princes and prelates, “Here
I stand; I can not do otherwise; God help me: Amen.”

As the Emperor was the representative of the nobility, as the Pope was the
representative of the clergy, Luther was the head and leader of the
people, which through him and through his fellow-workers claimed now, for
the first time, an equality with the two old estates of the realm. If this
national struggle took at first an aspect chiefly religious, it was
because the German nation had freedom of thought and of belief more at
heart than political freedom. But political rights also were soon
demanded, and demanded with such violence, that during his own life-time
Luther had to repress the excesses of enthusiastic theorists and of a
violent peasantry. Luther’s great influence on the literature of Germany,
and the gradual adoption of his dialect as the literary language, were
owing in a great measure to this, that whatever there was of literature
during the sixteenth century, was chiefly in the hands of one class of
men. After the Reformation, nearly all eminent men in Germany—poets,
philosophers, and historians—belonged to the Protestant party, and resided
chiefly in the universities.

The universities were what the monasteries had been under Charlemagne, the
castles under Frederick Barbarossa,—the centres of gravitation for the
intellectual and political life of the country. The true nobility of
Germany was no longer to be found among the priests,—Alcuin, Hrabanus
Maurus, Notker Teutonicus; nor among the knights,—Walther von der
Vogelweide, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and their patrons, Frederick II.,
Hermann von Thüringen, and Leopold of Austria. The intellectual sceptre of
Germany was wielded by a new nobility,—a nobility that had risen from the
ranks, like the priests and the knights, but which, for a time at least,
kept itself from becoming a caste, and from cutting away those roots
through which it imbibed its vigor and sustained its strength. It had its
castles in the universities, its tournaments in the diets of Worms and
Augsburg, and it counted among its members, dukes and peasants, divines
and soldiers, lawyers and artists. This was not, indeed, an hereditary
nobility, but on that very ground it is a nobility which can never become
extinct. The danger, however, which threatens all aristocracies, whether
martial, clerical, or municipal, was not averted from the intellectual
aristocracy of Germany. The rising spirit of caste deprived the second
generation of that power which men like Luther had gained at the beginning
of the Reformation. The moral influence of the universities in Germany was
great, and it is great at the present day. But it would have been greater
and more beneficial if the conceit of caste had not separated the leaders
of the nation from the ranks whence they themselves had arisen, and to
which alone they owed their position and their influence. It was the same
with the priests, who would rather form a hierarchy than be merged in the
laity. It was the same with the knights, who would rather form a select
society than live among the gentry. Both cut away the ground under their
feet; and the Reformers of the sixteenth century fell into the same snare
before they were aware of it. We wonder at the eccentricities of the
priesthood, at the conceit of the hereditary nobility, at the affectation
of majestic stateliness inherent in royalty. But the pedantic display of
learning, the disregard of the real wants of the people, the contempt of
all knowledge which does not wear the academic garb, show the same foible,
the same conceit, the same spirit of caste among those who, from the
sixteenth century to the present day, have occupied the most prominent
rank in the society of Germany. Professorial knight-errantry still waits
for its Cervantes. Nowhere have the objects of learning been so completely
sacrificed to the means of learning, nowhere has that Dulcinea,—knowledge
for its own sake,—with her dark veil and her barren heart, numbered so
many admirers; nowhere have so many windmills been fought, and so many
real enemies been left unhurt, as in Germany, particularly during the last
two centuries. New universities have been founded: Marburg, in 1527;
Königsberg, in 1547; Jena, in 1558; Helmstädt, in 1575; Giessen, in 1607.
And the more the number and the power of the professors increased, the
more they forgot that they and their learning, their universities and
their libraries, were for the benefit of the people; that a professor
might be very learned, and very accurate, and very laborious, yet worse
than useless as a member of our toiling society. It was considered more
learned and respectable to teach in Latin, and all lectures at the
universities were given in that language. Luther was sneered at because of
his little German tracts which “any village clerk might have written.”
Some of the best poets in the sixteenth century were men such as Eoban
Hessius (1540), who composed their poetry in Latin. National poems, for
instance, Brant’s “Ship of Fools,” were translated into Latin in order to
induce the German professors to read them. The learned doctors were
ashamed of their honest native names. Schwarzerd must needs call himself
Melancthon; Meissel Celtes, Schnitter Agricola; Hausschein, Œcolampadius!
All this might look very learned, and professorial, and imposing; but it
separated the professors from the people at large; it retarded the
progress of national education, and blighted the prospects of a national
policy in Germany. Everything promised well at the time of the
Reformation; and a new Germany might have risen before a new France, if,
like Luther, the leaders of the nation had remained true to their calling.
But when to speak Latin was considered more learned than to speak German,
when to amass vast information was considered more creditable than to
digest and to use it, when popularity became the same bugbear to the
professors which profanity had been to the clergy, and vulgarity to the
knights, Luther’s work was undone; and two more centuries had to be spent
in pedantic controversies, theological disputes, sectarian squabbles, and
political prostration, before a new national spirit could rise again in
men like Lessing, and Schiller, and Fichte, and Stein. Ambitious princes
and quarrelsome divines continued the rulers of Germany, and, towards the
end of the sixteenth century, everything seemed drifting back into the
Middle Ages. Then came the Thirty Years’ War, a most disastrous war for
Germany, which is felt in its results to the present day. If, as a civil
and religious contest, it had been fought out between the two parties,—the
Protestants and Roman Catholics of Germany,—it would have left, as in
England, one side victorious; it would have been brought to an end before
both were utterly exhausted. But the Protestants, weakened by their own
dissensions, had to call in foreign aid. First Denmark, then Sweden,
poured their armies into Germany, and even France—Roman Catholic
France—gave her support to Gustavus Adolphus and the Protestant cause.
England, the true ally of Germany, was too weak at home to make her
influence felt abroad. At the close of the war, the Protestants received
indeed the same rights as the Roman Catholics; but the nation was so
completely demoralized that it hardly cared for the liberties guaranteed
by the treaty of Westphalia. The physical and moral vigor of the nation
was broken. The population of Germany is said to have been reduced by one
half. Thousands of villages and towns had been burnt to the ground. The
schools, the churches, the universities, were deserted. A whole generation
had grown up during the war, particularly among the lower classes, with no
education at all. The merchants of Germany, who formerly, as Æneas Sylvius
said, lived more handsomely than the Kings of Scotland, were reduced to
small traders. The Hansa was broken up. Holland, England, and Sweden had
taken the wind out of her sails. In the Eastern provinces, commerce was
suspended by the inroads of the Turks; whilst the discovery of America,
and of the new passage to the East Indies, had reduced the importance of
the mercantile navy of Germany and Italy in the Mediterranean. Where there
was any national feeling left, it was a feeling of shame and despair, and
the Emperor and the small princes of Germany might have governed even more
selfishly than they did, without rousing opposition among the people.

What can we expect of the literature of such times? Popular poetry
preserved some of its indestructible charms. The Meistersänger went on
composing according to the rules of their guilds, but we look in vain for
the raciness and honest simplicity of Hans Sachs. Some of the professors
wrote plays in the style of Terence, or after English models, and fables
became fashionable in the style of Phædrus. But there was no trace
anywhere of originality, truth, taste, or feeling, except in that branch
which, like the palm-tree, thrives best in the desert,—sacred poetry. Paul
Gerhard is still without an equal as a poet of sacred songs; and many of
the best hymns which are heard in the Protestant churches of Germany date
from the seventeenth century. Soon, however, this class of poetry also
degenerated on one side into dry theological phraseology, on the other
into sentimental and almost erotic affectation.

There was no hope of a regeneration in German literature, unless either
great political and social events should rouse the national mind from its
languor, or the classical models of pure taste and true art should be
studied again in a different spirit from that of professorial pedantry.
Now, after the Thirty Years’ War, there was no war in Germany in which the
nation took any warm interest. The policy pursued in France during the
long reign of Louis XIV. (1643-1708) had its chief aim in weakening the
house of Hapsburg. When the Protestants would no longer fight his battles,
Louis roused the Turks. Vienna was nearly taken, and Austria owed its
delivery to Johann Sobiesky. By the treaty of Ryswick (1697), all the
country on the left side of the Rhine was ceded to France, and German
soldiers fought under the banners of the Great Monarch. The only German
prince who dared to uphold the honor of the empire, and to withstand the
encroachments of Louis, was Frederick William, the great Elector of
Prussia (1670-88). He checked the arrogance of the Swedish court, opened
his towns to French Protestant refugees, and raised the house of
Brandenburg to a European importance. In the same year in which his
successor, Frederick III., assumed the royal title as Frederick I., the
King of Spain, Charles I., died; and Louis XIV., whilst trying to add the
Spanish crown to his monarchy, was at last checked in his grasping policy
by an alliance between England and Germany. Prince Eugene and Marlborough
restored the peace and the political equilibrium of Europe. In England,
the different parties in Parliament, the frequenters of the clubs and
coffee-houses, were then watching every move on the political chess-board
of Europe, and criticising the victories of their generals and the
treaties of their ambassadors. In Germany, the nation took but a passive
part. It was excluded from all real share in the great questions of the
day; and, if it showed any sympathies, they were confined to the simple
admiration of a great general, such as Prince Eugene.

While the policy of Louis XIV. was undermining the political independence
of Germany, the literature of his court exercised an influence hardly less
detrimental on the literature of Germany. No doubt, the literature of
France stood far higher at that time than that of Germany. “Poet” was
amongst us a term of abuse, while in France the Great Monarch himself did
homage to his great poets. But the professorial poets who had failed to
learn the lessons of good taste from the Greek and Roman classics, were
not likely to profit by an imitation of the spurious classicality of
French literature. They heard the great stars of the court of Louis XIV.
praised by their royal and princely patrons, as they returned from their
travels in France and Italy, full of admiration for everything that was
not German. They were delighted to hear that in France, in Holland, and in
Italy, it was respectable to write poetry in the modern vernacular, and
set to work in good earnest. After the model of the literary academies in
Italy, academies were founded at the small courts of Germany. Men like
Opitz would hardly have thought it dignified to write verses in their
native tongue had it not been for the moral support which they received
from these academies and their princely patrons. His first poems were
written in Latin, but he afterwards devoted himself completely to German
poetry. He became a member of the “Order of the Palm-tree,” and the
founder of what is called the _First Silesian School_. Opitz is the true
representative of the classical poetry of the seventeenth century. He was
a scholar and a gentleman; most correct in his language and versification;
never venturing on ground that had not been trodden before by some
classical poet, whether of Greece, Rome, France, Holland, or Italy. In him
we also see the first traces of that baneful alliance between princes and
poets which has deprived the German nation of so many of her best sons.
But the charge of mean motives has been unjustly brought against Opitz by
many historians. Poets require an audience, and at his time there was no
class of people willing to listen to poetry, except the inmates of the
small German courts. After the Thirty Years’ War the power of these
princes was greater than ever. They divided the spoil, and there was
neither a nobility, nor a clergy, nor a national party to control or
resist them. In England, the royal power had, at that time, been brought
back to its proper limits, and it has thus been able to hold ever since,
with but short interruptions, its dignified position, supported by the
self-respect of a free and powerful nation. In France it assumed the most
enormous proportions during the long reign of Louis XIV., but its
appalling rise was followed, after a century, by a fall equally appalling,
and it has not yet regained its proper position in the political system of
that country. In Germany the royal power was less imposing, its
prerogatives being divided between the Emperor and a number of small but
almost independent vassals, remnants of that feudal system of the Middle
Ages which in France and England had been absorbed by the rise of national
monarchies. These small principalities explain the weakness of Germany in
her relation with foreign powers, and the instability of her political
constitution. Continental wars gave an excuse for keeping up large
standing armies, and these standing armies stood between the nation and
her sovereigns, and made any moral pressure of the one upon the other
impossible. The third estate could never gain that share in the government
which it had obtained, by its united action, in other countries; and no
form of government can be stable which is deprived of the support and the
active coöperation of the middle classes. Constitutions have been granted
by enlightened sovereigns, such as Joseph II. and Frederick William IV.,
and barricades have been raised by the people at Vienna and at Berlin; but
both have failed to restore the political health of the country. There is
no longer a German nobility in the usual sense of the word. Its vigor was
exhausted when the powerful vassals of the empire became powerless
sovereigns with the titles of king or duke, while what remained of the
landed nobility became more reduced with every generation, owing to the
absence of the system of primogeniture. There is no longer a clergy as a
powerful body in the state. This was broken up at the time of the
Reformation; and it hardly had time to recover and to constitute itself on
a new basis, when the Thirty Years’ War deprived it of all social
influence, and left it no alternative but to become a salaried class of
servants of the crown. No third estate exists powerful enough to defend
the interests of the commonwealth against the encroachments of the
sovereign; and public opinion, though it may pronounce itself within
certain limits, has no means of legal opposition, and must choose, at
every critical moment, between submission to the royal will and rebellion.

Thus, during the whole modern history of Germany, the political and
intellectual supremacy is divided. The former is monopolized by the
sovereigns, the latter belongs to a small class of learned men. These two
soon begin to attract each other. The kings seek the society, the advice,
and support of literary men; whilst literary men court the patronage of
kings, and acquire powerful influence by governing those who govern the
people. From the time of Opitz there have been few men of eminence in
literature or science who have not been drawn toward one of the larger or
smaller courts of Germany; and the whole of our modern literature bears
the marks of this union between princes and poets. It has been said that
the existence of these numerous centres of civilization has proved
beneficial to the growth of literature; and it has been pointed out that
some of the smallest courts, such as Weimar, have raised the greatest men
in poetry and science. Goethe himself gives expression to this opinion.
“What has made Germany great,” he says, “but the culture which is spread
through the whole country in such a marvelous manner, and pervades equally
all parts of the realm? And this culture, does it not emanate from the
numerous courts which grant it support and patronage? Suppose we had had
in Germany for centuries but two capitals, Vienna and Berlin, or but one;
I should like to know how it would have fared with German civilization, or
even with that general well-being which goes hand in hand with true
civilization.” In these words we hear Goethe, the minister of the petty
court of Weimar, not the great poet of a great nation. Has France had more
than one capital? Has England had more than one court? Great men have
risen to eminence in great monarchies like France, and they have risen to
eminence in a great commonwealth such as England, without the patronage of
courts, by the support, the sympathy, the love of a great nation. Truly
national poetry exists only where there is a truly national life; and the
poet who, in creating his works, thinks of a whole nation which will
listen to him and be proud of him, is inspired by a nobler passion than he
who looks to his royal master, or the applause even of the most refined
audience of the _dames de la cour_. In a free country, the sovereign is
the highest and most honored representative of the national will, and he
honors himself by honoring those who have well deserved of his country.
There a poet laureate may hold an independent and dignified position,
conscious of his own worth, and of the support of the nation. But in
despotic countries, the favor even of the most enlightened sovereign is
dangerous. Germany never had a more enlightened king than Frederick the
Great; and yet, when he speaks of the Queen receiving Leibnitz at court,
he says, “She believed that it was not unworthy of a queen to show honor
to a philosopher; and as those who have received from heaven a privileged
soul rise to the level of sovereigns, she admitted Leibnitz into her
familiar society.”

The seventeenth century saw the rise and fall of the first and the second
Silesian schools. The first is represented by men like Opitz and
Weckherlin, and it exercised an influence in the North of Germany on Simon
Dach, Paul Flemming, and a number of less gifted poets, who are generally
known by the name of the _Königsberg School_. Its character is
pseudo-classical. All these poets endeavored to write correctly, sedately,
and eloquently. Some of them aimed at a certain simplicity and sincerity,
which we admire particularly in Flemming. But it would be difficult to
find in all their writings one single thought, one single expression, that
had not been used before. The second Silesian school is more ambitious;
but its poetic flights are more disappointing even than the honest prose
of Opitz. The “Shepherds of the Pegnitz” had tried to imitate the
brilliant diction of the Italian poets; but the modern Meistersänger of
the old town of Nürnberg had produced nothing but wordy jingle.
Hoffmannswaldau and Lohenstein, the chief heroes of the second Silesian
school, followed in their track, and did not succeed better. Their
compositions are bombastic and full of metaphors. It is a poetry of
adjectives, without substance, truth, or taste. Yet their poetry was
admired, praised not less than Goethe and Schiller were praised by their
contemporaries, and it lived beyond the seventeenth century. There were
but few men during that time who kept aloof from the spirit of these two
Silesian schools, and were not influenced by either Opitz or
Hoffmannswaldau. Among these independent poets we have to mention
Friedrich von Logau, Andreas Gryphius, and Moscherosch. Beside these,
there were some prose writers whose works are not exactly works of art,
but works of original thought, and of great importance to us in tracing
the progress of science and literature during the dreariest period of
German history. We can only mention the “Simplicissimus,” a novel full of
clever miniature drawing, and giving a truthful picture of German life
during the Thirty Years’ War; the patriotic writings of Professor Schupp;
the historical works of Professor Pufendorf (1631-94); the pietistic
sermons of Spener, and of Professor Franke (1663-1727), the founder of the
Orphan School at Halle; Professor Arnold’s (1666-1714) Ecclesiastical
History; the first political pamphlets by Professor Thomasius (1655-1728);
and among philosophers, Jacob Böhme at the beginning, and Leibnitz at the
end of the seventeenth century.

The second Silesian school was defeated by Gottsched, professor at
Leipzig. He exercised, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the
same dictatorship as a poet and a critic which Opitz had exercised at the
beginning of the seventeenth. Gottsched was the advocate of French models
in art and poetry, and he used his wide-spread influence in recommending
the correct and so-called classical style of the poets of the time. After
having rendered good service in putting down the senseless extravagance of
the school of Lohenstein, he became himself a pedantic and arrogant
critic; and it was through the opposition which he roused by his
“Gallomania” that German poetry was delivered at last from the trammels of
that foreign school. Then followed a long literary warfare; Gottsched and
his followers at Leipzig defended the French, Bodmer and his friends in
Switzerland the English style of literature. The former insisted on
classical form and traditional rules; the latter on natural sentiment and
spontaneous expression. The question was, whether poets should imitate the
works of the classics, or imitate the classics who had become classics by
imitating nobody. A German professor wields an immense power by means of
his journals. He is the editor; he writes in them himself, and allows
others to write; he praises his friends, who are to laud him in turn; he
patronizes his pupils, who are to call him master; he abuses his
adversaries, and asks his allies to do the same. It was in this that
Professor Gottsched triumphed for a long time over Bodmer and his party,
till at last public opinion became too strong, and the dictator died the
laughing-stock of Germany. It was in the very thick of this literary
struggle that the great heroes of German poetry grew up,—Klopstock,
Lessing, Wieland, Herder, Goethe, and Schiller. Goethe, who knew both
Gottsched and Bodmer, has described that period of fermentation and
transition in which his own mind was formed, and his extracts may be read
as a commentary on the poetical productions of the first half of the
eighteenth century. He does justice to Günther, and more than justice to
Liscow. He shows the influence which men like Brockes, Hagedorn, and
Haller exercised in making poetry respectable. He points out the new
national life which, like an electric spark, flew through the whole
country when Frederick the Great said, “_J’ai jeté le bonnet pardessus les
moulins_;” and defied, like a man, the political popery of Austria. The
estimate which Goethe forms of the poets of the time, of Gleim and Uz, of
Gessner and Rabener, and more especially of Klopstock, Lessing, and
Wieland, should be read in the original, as likewise Herder’s “Rhapsody on
Shakspeare.” The latter contains the key to many of the secrets of that
new period of literature, which was inaugurated by Goethe himself and by
those who like him could dare to be classical by being true to nature and
to themselves.

My object in taking this rapid survey of German literature has been to
show that the extracts which I have collected in my “German Classics” have
not been chosen at random, and that, if properly used, they can be read as
a running commentary on the political and social history of Germany. The
history of literature is but an applied history of civilization. As in the
history of civilization we watch the play of the three constituent classes
of society,—clergy, nobility, and commoners,—we can see, in the history of
literature, how that class which is supreme politically shows for the time
being its supremacy in the literary productions of the age, and impresses
its mark on the works of poets and philosophers.

Speaking very generally, we might say that, during the first period of
German history, the really moving, civilizing, and ruling class was the
clergy; and in the whole of German literature, nearly to the time of the
Crusades, the clerical element predominates. The second period is marked
by the Crusades, and the triumph of Teutonic and Romantic chivalry, and
the literature of that period is of a strictly correspondent tone. After
the Crusades, and during the political anarchy that followed, the sole
principle of order and progress is found in the towns, and in the towns
the poetry of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries finds its new home.
At last, at the time of the Reformation, when the political life of the
country assumed for a time a national character, German literature also is
for a short time national. The hopes, however, which had been raised of a
national policy and of a national literature were soon blighted, and, from
the Thirty Years’ War to the present day, the inheritance of the nation
has been divided between princes and professors. There have been moments
when the princes had to appeal to the nation at large, and to forget for a
while their royal pretensions; and these times of national enthusiasm, as
during the wars of Frederick the Great, and during the wars against
Napoleon, have not failed to tell on the literature of Germany. They
produced a national spirit, free from professorial narrowness, such as we
find in the writings of Lessing and Fichte. But with the exception of
these short lucid intervals, Germany has always been under the absolute
despotism of a number of small sovereigns and great professors, and her
literature has been throughout in the hands of court poets and academic
critics. Klopstock, Lessing, and Schiller are most free from either
influence, and most impressed with the duties which a poet owes, before
all, to the nation to which he belongs. Klopstock’s national enthusiasm
borders sometimes on the fantastic; for, as his own times could not
inspire him, he borrowed the themes of his national panegyrics from the
distant past of Arminius and the German bards. Lessing looked more to his
own age, but he looked in vain for national heroes. “Pity the
extraordinary man,” says Goethe, “who had to live in such miserable times,
which offered him no better subjects than those which he takes for his
works. Pity him, that in his ‘Minna von Barnhelm,’ he had to take part in
the quarrel between the Saxons and the Prussians, because he found nothing
better. It was owing to the rottenness of his time that he always took,
and was forced to take, a polemical position. In his ‘Emilia Galotti,’ he
shows his _pique_ against the princes; in ‘Nathan,’ against the priests.”
But, although the subjects of these works of Lessing were small, his
object in writing was always great and national. He never condescended to
amuse a provincial court by masquerades and comedies, nor did he degrade
his genius by pandering, like Wieland, to the taste of a profligate
nobility. Schiller, again, was a poet truly national and truly liberal;
and although a man of aspirations rather than of actions, he has left a
deeper impress on the kernel of the nation than either Wieland or Goethe.
These considerations, however, must not interfere with our appreciation of
the greatness of Goethe. On the contrary, when we see the small sphere in
which he moved at Weimar, we admire the more the height to which he grew,
and the freedom of his genius. And it is, perhaps, owing to this very
absence of a strongly marked national feeling, that in Germany the first
idea of a world-literature was conceived. “National literature,” Goethe
says, “is of little importance: the age of a world-literature is at hand,
and every one ought to work in order to accelerate this new era.” Perhaps
Goethe felt that the true poet belonged to the whole of mankind, and that
he must be intelligible beyond the frontiers of his own country. And, from
this point of view, his idea of a world-literature has been realized, and
his own works have gained their place side by side with the works of
Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Shakespeare. But, so long as there are different
languages and different nations, let each poet think and work and write
for his own people, without caring for the applause of other countries.
Science and philosophy are cosmopolitan; poetry and art are national: and
those who would deprive the Muses of their home-sprung character, would
deprive them of much of their native charms.



LIST OF EXTRACTS FOR ILLUSTRATING THE HISTORY OF GERMAN LITERATURE.


                       FOURTH CENTURY AFTER CHRIST.

_Gothic:_—

Ulfilas, Translation of the Bible; the Lord’s Prayer.

                             SEVENTH CENTURY.

_Old High-German:_—

Vocabulary of St. Gall.

                             EIGHTH CENTURY.

_Old High-German:_—

Interlinear Translation of the Benedictine Rules.
Translation of the Gospel of St. Matthew.
Exhortation addressed to the Christian Laity.
Literal Translations of the Hymns of the Old Church:—
1. Deus qui cordi lumen es.
2. Aurora lucis rutilat.
3. Te Deum laudamus.
The Song of Hildebrand and his son Hadubrand,—in alliterative metre.
The Prayer from the Monastery of Wessobrun,—in alliterative metre.
The Apostolic Creed.

                              NINTH CENTURY.

_Old High-German:_—

From Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne,—the German names of the Months and the
            Winds fixed by the Emperor.
Muspilli, or on the Last Judgment,—alliterative poem.
The Oaths of Lewis the German and Charles the Bald,
and their armies at Strassburg, 842, in Old
Frankish and Old French; from the History of
Nithard, the grandson of Charlemagne.
The Heliand, or the Saviour,—old Saxon poem, in alliterative metre.
The Krist, or the Gospel-book,—poem in rhyme by Otfried, the pupil of
            Hrabanus Maurus, dedicated to Lewis the German.
Translation of a Harmony of the Gospels.
Lay on St. Peter.
Song on the Victory gained by King Lewis III. at Saucourt, in 881, over
            the Normans.

                              TENTH CENTURY.

_Old High-German:_—

Notker Teutonicus of St. Gall,—
1. Translation of the Psalms.
2. Treatise on Syllogisms.
3. Translation of Aristotle.
4. Translation of Boëthius de Consolatione.

                            ELEVENTH CENTURY.

_Old High-German:_—

Williram’s Explanation of the Song of Solomon.
Merigarto, or the Earth,—fragment of a geographical poem.

                             TWELFTH CENTURY.

_Middle High-German:_—

The Life of Jesus,—poem by the Nun Ava.
Poetical Translation of the Books of Moses.
Historical Poem on Anno, Bishop of Cologne.
Poetical Chronicle of the Roman Emperors.
Nortperti Tractatus de Virtutibus, translated.
The poem of Roland, by Konrad the Priest.
The poem of Alexander, by Lamprecht the Priest.
Poem of Reinhart the Fox.
Dietmar von Aist,—lyrics.
The Spervogel,—lyrics.
The Kürenberger,—lyrics.
The Eneid, by Heinrich von Veldecke.

                           THIRTEENTH CENTURY.

_Middle High-German:_—

Hartmann von Aue; extracts from his “Iwein,”—a heroic poem.
The Old Reinmar,—lyrics.
Walther von der Vogelweide,—lyrics.
Freidank’s Bescheidenheit,—didactic poem.
Wolfram von Eschenbach,—
1. Extracts from his “Parcival,”—a heroic poem.
2. Extracts from his “Titurel,”—a heroic poem.
Gottfried von Strassburg; extracts from his “Tristan,”—a heroic poem.
The poem of the “Nibelunge,”—epic poem.
Thomasin von Zerclar; extracts from his poem on manners, called “The
            Italian Guest.”
Neidhart von Reuenthal,—lyrics.
Otto von Botenlaube,—lyrics.
Gudrun,—epic poem.
The Stricker,—extract from his satirical poem, “Amis the Priest.”
Rudolf von Ems,—extract from his “Wilhelm von Orleans.”
Christian von Hamle,—lyrics.
Gottfried von Neifen,—lyrics.
Ulrich von Lichtenstein,—lyrics.
Sermon of Friar Berthold of Regensburg.
Reinmar von Zweter,—lyrics.
Master Stolle,—satire.
The Marner,—lyrics.
Master Konrad of Würzburg,—
1. Poem.
2. Extract from the Trojan War.
Anonymous poet,—extract from the life of St. Elizabeth.
Herman der Damen.
Anonymous poet,—extract from the “Wartburg Krieg.”
Marcgrave Otto von Brandenburg,—lyrics.
Heinrich, Duke of Breslau,—lyrics.
Hugo von Trimberg,—extract from the “Renner.”

                           FOURTEENTH CENTURY.

_Middle High-German:_—

Heinrich Frauenlob,—lyrics.
Master Johann Hadlaub,—lyrics.
The Great Rosegarden,—popular epic poem.
Master Eckhart,—homily.
Hermann von Fritzlar,—life of St. Elizabeth.
Dr. Johann Tauler,—sermon.
Heinrich Suso.
Heinrich der Teichner,—fable.
Peter Suchenwirt,—on the death of Leopold, Duke of Austria, 1386.
Halbsuter’s poem on the Battle of Sempach, 1386.
Fritsche Closener’s Strassburg Chronicle.
Jacob Twinger’s Chronicle,—on the Flagellants.

                            FIFTEENTH CENTURY.

_Middle High-German:_—

Hugo von Montfort,—lyrics.
Oswald von Wolkenstein,—lyrics.
Muscatblüt,—lyrics.
Hans von Bühel’s Life of Diocletian, or The Seven Wise Masters.
Popular Songs.
Sacred Songs.
The Soul’s Comfort,—didactic prose.
Michael Beheim,—Meistergesang.
An Easter Mystery.
Popular Rhymes.
Caspar von der Roen’s Heldenbuch,—Hildebrand and his Son.
Niclas von Weyl’s Translations,—Hieronymus at the Council of Constance.
Veit Weber’s poem on the Victory of Murten, 1476.
Heinrich Steinhöwel’s Fables.
Sebastian Brant’s “Ship of Fools.”
Johann Geiler von Kaisersberg,—sermon.
Emperor Maximilian,—extract from the “Theuerdank.”

                            SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

_Modern High-German:_—

Martin Luther,—
1. Sacred Song.
2. Letter on the Diet of the Jackdaws and Crows.
3. His Last Sermon.
Ulrich Zwingle:—
1. A Poem on his Illness.
2. Criticism on Luther.
Philipp Nicolai,—sacred songs.
Justus Jonas,—sacred songs.
Ulrich von Hutten,—
1. Letter to Franz von Sickingen.
2. Political poem.
Sebastian Frank,—
1. Preface to his Germania.
2. Rudolf von Hapsburg.
3. Maximilian der Erste.
4. Fables.
Burkard Waldis,—fables.
Hans Sachs,—
1. Sacred Song.
2. Poem on the Death of Martin Luther.
3. Poem on the War.
Petermann Etterlin’s Chronicle,—William Tell and Rudolf von Hapsburg.
Ægidius Tschudi’s Chronicle,—William Tell.
Paulus Melissus Schede.
Johann Fischart,—
1. Exhortation addressed to the German people.
2. Das glückhafte Schiff.
Georg Rollenhagen,—fable.
Popular Books,—
1. Tyll Eulenspiegel.
2. Dr. Faust.
Popular Songs.

                           SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

_Modern High-German:_—

Martin Opitz, and the First Silesian School.
Georg Rudolf Weckherlin.
Anonymous Poem,—“O Ewigkeit.”
Michael Altenburg’s Camp-song (Gustavus Adolphus).
Johannes Heermann,—sacred song.
Popular Songs.
Johann Arndt,—
1. Sacred Song.
2. On the Power and Necessity of Prayer.
Jacob Böhme, Mysterium Magnum.
Johann Valentin Andreæ.
Friedrich Spee.
Julius Wilhelm Zinegreff.
Friedrich von Logau.
Simon Dach and the Königsberg School.
Paul Flemming.
Paul Gerhard.
Georg Philipp Harsdörffer and the Nürnberg School.
Johannes Rist.
Andreas Gryphius,—
1. Sonnets.
2. From the Tragedy “Cardenio and Celinde.”
Joachim Rachel,—satire.
Johann Michael Moscherosch,—satires.
Christoph von Grimmelshausen, Simplicissimus,—novel.
Johann Balthasar Schupp,—on the German Language.
Angelus Silesius.
Hoffmannswaldau and Lohenstein,—Second Silesian School.
Abraham a Santa Clara,—sermon.
Philipp Jacob Spener,—on Luther.
Gottfried Arnold,—sacred poem.
Christian Weise.
Hans Assmann von Abschatz.
Friedrich R. L. von Canitz.
Christian Wernicke.
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz,—on the German Language.

                           EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.

_Modern High-German:_—

Johann Christoph Gottsched,—Cato.
Johann Jacob Bodmer,—Character of German Poetry.
Barthold Heinrich Brockes.
Johann Christian Günther.
Nicolaus Ludwig Graf von Zinzendorf.
Christian Ludwig Liscow.
Friedrich von Hagedorn.
Albrecht von Haller.
Gottlieb Wilhelm Rabener.
Ewald Christian von Kleist.
Christian Fürchtegott Gellert.
Johann Ludwig Gleim.
Johann Peter Uz.
Justus Möser.
Klopstock. See below.
Salomon Gessner.
Johann Winckelmann.
Lessing. See below.
Johann Georg Hamann.
Immanuel Kant.
Johann August Musæus.
Wieland. See below.
Gottlieb Konrad Pfeffel.
Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart.
Matthias Claudius.
Johann Caspar Lavater.
Herder. See below.
Heinrich Jung, Stilling.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg.
Gottfried August Bürger.
Johann Heinrich Voss.
Friedrich Leopold und Christian Grafen zu Stollberg.
Das Siebengestirn der Dichter des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts,—
1. Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock.
2. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.
3. Christoph Martin Wieland.
4. Johann Gottfried von Herder.
5. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
6. Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller.
7. Jean Paul Friedrich Richter.



II. OLD GERMAN LOVE-SONGS.(8)


Seven hundred years ago! What a long time it seems! Philip Augustus, King
of France; Henry II., King of England; Frederic I., the famous Barbarossa,
Emperor of Germany! When we read of their times, the times of the
Crusades, we feel as the Greeks felt when reading of the War of Troy. We
listen, we admire, but we do not compare the heroes of St. Jean d’Acre
with the great generals of the nineteenth century. They seem a different
race of men from those who are now living, and poetry and tradition have
lent to their royal frames such colossal proportions that we hardly dare
to criticise the legendary history of their chivalrous achievements. It
was a time of heroes, of saints, of martyrs, of miracles! Thomas à Becket
was murdered at Canterbury, but for more than three hundred years his name
lived on, and his bones were working miracles, and his soul seemed as it
were embodied and petrified in the lofty pillars that surround the spot of
his martyrdom. Abelard was persecuted and imprisoned, but his spirit
revived in the Reformers of the sixteenth century, and the shrine of
Abelard and Héloise in the Père La Chaise is still decorated every year
with garlands of _immortelles_. Barbarossa was drowned in the same river
in which Alexander the Great had bathed his royal limbs, but his fame
lived on in every cottage of Germany, and the peasant near the Kyffhäuser
still believes that some day the mighty Emperor will awake from his long
slumber, and rouse the people of Germany from their fatal dreams. We dare
not hold communion with such stately heroes as Frederick the Red-beard and
Richard the Lion-heart; they seem half to belong to the realm of fable. We
feel from our very school-days as if we could shake hands with a
Themistocles and sit down in the company of a Julius Cæsar, but we are
awed by the presence of those tall and silent knights, with their hands
folded and their legs crossed, as we see them reposing in full armor on
the tombs of our cathedrals.

And yet, however different in all other respects, these men, if they once
lift their steel beaver and unbuckle their rich armor, are wonderfully
like ourselves. Let us read the poetry which they either wrote themselves,
or to which they liked to listen in their castles on the Rhine or under
their tents in Palestine, and we find it is poetry which a Tennyson or a
Moore, a Goethe or Heine, might have written. Neither Julius Cæsar nor
Themistocles would know what was meant by such poetry. It is modern
poetry,—poetry unknown to the ancient world,—and who invented it nobody
can tell. It is sometimes called Romantic, but this is a strange misnomer.
Neither the Romans, nor the lineal descendants of the Romans, the
Italians, the Provençals, the Spaniards, can claim that poetry as their
own. It is Teutonic poetry,—purely Teutonic in its heart and soul, though
its utterance, its rhyme and metre, its grace and imagery, show the marks
of a warmer clime. It is called sentimental poetry, the poetry of the
heart rather than of the head, the picture of the inward rather than of
the outward world. It is subjective, as distinguished from objective
poetry, as the German critics, in their scholastic language, are fond of
expressing it. It is Gothic, as contrasted with classical poetry. The one,
it is said, sublimizes nature, the other bodies forth spirit; the one
deifies the human, the other humanizes the divine; the one is ethnic, the
other Christian. But all these are but names, and their true meaning must
be discovered in the works of art themselves, and in the history of the
times which produced the artists, the poets, and their ideals. We shall
perceive the difference between these two hemispheres of the Beautiful
better if we think of Homer’s “Helena” and Dante’s “Beatrice,” if we look
at the “Venus of Milo” and a “Madonna” of Francia, than in reading the
profoundest systems of æsthetics.

The work which has caused these reflections is a volume of German poetry,
just published by Lachmann and Haupt. It is called “Des Minnesangs
Frühling,”—“the Spring of the Songs of Love;” and it contains a collection
of the poems of twenty German poets, all of whom lived during the period
of the Crusades, under the Hohenstaufen Emperors, from about 1170 to 1230.
This period may well be called the spring of German poetry, though the
summer that followed was but of short duration, and the autumn was cheated
of the rich harvest which the spring had promised. Tieck, one of the first
who gathered the flowers of that forgotten spring, describes it in glowing
language. “At that time,” he says, “believers sang of faith, lovers of
love, knights described knightly actions and battles; and loving,
believing knights were their chief audience. The spring, beauty, gayety,
were objects that could never tire: great duels and deeds of arms carried
away every hearer, the more surely, the stronger they were painted; and as
the pillars and dome of the church encircle the flock, so did religion, as
the highest, encircle poetry and reality; and every heart, in equal love,
humbled itself before her.” Carlyle, too, has listened with delight to
those merry songs of spring. “Then truly,” he says, “was the time of
singing come; for princes and prelates, emperors and squires, the wise and
the simple, men, women, and children, all sang and rhymed, or delighted in
hearing it done. It was a universal noise of song, as if the spring of
manhood had arrived, and warblings from every spray—not, indeed, without
infinite twitterings also, which, except their gladness, had no music—were
bidding it welcome.” And yet it was not all gladness; and it is strange
that Carlyle, who has so keen an ear for the silent melancholy of the
human heart, should not have heard that tone of sorrow and fateful boding
which breaks, like a suppressed sigh, through the free and light music of
that Swabian era. The brightest sky of spring is not without its clouds in
Germany, and the German heart is never happy without some sadness. Whether
we listen to a short ditty, or to the epic ballads of the “Nibelunge,” or
to Wolfram’s grand poems of the “Parcival” and the “Holy Grail,” it is the
same everywhere. There is always a mingling of light and shade,—in joy a
fear of sorrow, in sorrow a ray of hope, and throughout the whole, a
silent wondering at this strange world. Here is a specimen of an anonymous
poem; and anonymous poetry is an invention peculiarly Teutonic. It was
written before the twelfth century; its language is strangely simple, and
sometimes uncouth. But there is truth in it; and it is truth after all,
and not fiction, that is the secret of all poetry:—

“It has pained me in the heart,
Full many a time,
That I yearned after that
Which I may not have,
Nor ever shall win.
It is very grievous.
I do not mean gold or silver;
It is more like a human heart.

“I trained me a falcon,
More than a year.
When I had tamed him,
As I would have him,
And had well tied his feathers
With golden chains,
He soared up very high,
And flew into other lands.

“I saw the falcon since,
Flying happily;
He carried on his foot
Silken straps,
And his plumage was
All red of gold....
May God send them together,
Who would fain be loved.”

The key-note of the whole poem of the “Nibelunge,” such as it was written
down at the end of the twelfth, or the beginning of the thirteenth
century, is “Sorrow after Joy.” This is the fatal spell against which all
the heroes are fighting, and fighting in vain. And as Hagen dashes the
Chaplain into the waves, in order to belie the prophecy of the Mermaids,
but the Chaplain rises, and Hagen rushes headlong into destruction, so
Chriemhilt is bargaining and playing with the same inevitable fate,
cautiously guarding her young heart against the happiness of love, that
she may escape the sorrows of a broken heart. She, too, has been dreaming
“of a wild young falcon that she trained for many a day, till two fierce
eagles tore it.” And she rushes to her mother Ute, that she may read the
dream for her; and her mother tells her what it means. And then the coy
maiden answers:—

              “No more, no more, dear mother, say,
From many a woman’s fortune this truth is clear as day,
That falsely smiling Pleasure with Pain requites us ever.
I from both will keep me, and thus will sorrow never.”

But Siegfried comes, and Chriemhilt’s heart does no longer cast up the
bright and the dark days of life. To Siegfried she belongs; for him she
lives, and for him, when “two fierce eagles tore him,” she dies. A still
wilder tragedy lies hidden in the songs of the “Edda,” the most ancient
fragments of truly Teutonic poetry. Wolfram’s poetry is of the same sombre
cast. He wrote his “Parcival” about the time when the songs of the
“Nibelunge” were written down. The subject was taken by him from a French
source. It belonged originally to the British cycle of Arthur and his
knights. But Wolfram took the story merely as a skeleton, to which he
himself gave a new body and soul. The glory and happiness which this world
can give is to him but a shadow,—the crown for which his hero fights is
that of the Holy Grail.

Faith, Love, and Honor are the chief subjects of the so-called
Minnesänger. They are not what we should call erotic poets. _Minne_ means
love in the old German language, but it means, originally, not so much
passion and desire, as thoughtfulness, reverence, and remembrance. In
English _Minne_ would be “Minding,” and it is different therefore from the
Greek _Eros_, the Roman Amor, and the French Amour. It is different also
from the German _Liebe_, which means originally desire, not love. Most of
the poems of the “Minnesänger” are sad rather than joyful,—joyful in
sorrow, sorrowful in joy. The same feelings have since been so often
repeated by poets in all the modern languages of Europe, that much of what
we read in the “Minnesänger” of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries
sounds stale to our ears. Yet there is a simplicity about these old songs,
a want of effort, an entire absence of any attempt to please or to
surprise; and we listen to them as we listen to a friend who tells us his
sufferings in broken and homely words, and whose truthful prose appeals to
our heart more strongly than the most elaborate poetry of a Lamartine or a
Heine. It is extremely difficult to translate these poems from the
language in which they are written, the so-called Middle High-German, into
Modern German,—much more so to render them into English. But translation
is at the same time the best test of the true poetical value of any poem,
and we believe that many of the poems of the Minnesängers can bear that
test. Here is another poem, very much in the style of the one quoted
above, but written by a poet whose name is known,—Dietmar von Eist:—

“A lady stood alone,
And gazed across the heath,
And gazed for her love.
She saw a falcon flying.
“O happy falcon that thou art,
Thou fliest wherever thou likest;
Thou choosest in the forest
A tree that pleases thee.
Thus I too had done.
I chose myself a man:
Him my eyes selected.
Beautiful ladies envy me for it.
Alas! why will they not leave me my love?
I did not desire the beloved of any one of them.
Now woe to thee, joy of summer!
The song of birds is gone;
So are the leaves of the lime-tree:
Henceforth, my pretty eyes too
Will be overcast.
My love, thou shouldst take leave
Of other ladies;
Yes, my hero, thou shouldst avoid them.
When thou sawest me first,
I seemed to thee in truth
Right lovely made:
I remind thee of it, dear man!’ ”

These poems, simple and homely as they may seem to us, were loved and
admired by the people for whom they were written. They were copied and
preserved with the greatest care in the albums of kings and queens, and
some of them were translated into foreign languages. The poem which we
quoted first was translated as an Italian sonnet in the thirteenth
century, and has been published in Franc Trucchi’s “Poesie Italiane
Inedite:”—

“Tapina me, che amava uno sparviero;
amaval tanto ch’io me ne moria:
a lo richiamo ben m’era maniero
ed unque troppo pascer no’ l dovia.
or è montato e salito sì altero,
assai più altero che far non solia;
ed è assiso dentro a un verziero,
e un’altra donna l’averà in balìa.
isparvier mio, ch’io t’avea nodrito;
sonaglio d’oro ti facea portare,
perchè nell’uccellar fossi più ardito.
or sei salito siccome lo mare,
ed hai rotti li getti, e seì fuggito
quando eri fermo nel tuo uccellare.”

One of the most original and thoughtful of the “Minnesänger” is the old
Reinmar. His poems are given now for the first time in a correct and
readable text by Lachmann and Haupt, and many a difficult passage has been
elucidated by their notes. His poems, however, are not easy to read, and
we should have been thankful for some more help than the editors have
given us in their notes. The following is a specimen of Reinmar’s poetry:—

“High as the sun stands my heart;
That is because of a lady who can be without change
In her grace, wherever she be.
She makes me free from all sorrow.

“I have nothing to give her, but my own life,
That belongs to her: the beautiful woman gives me always
Joy, and a high mind,
If I think of it, what she does for me.

“Well is it for me that I found her so true!
Wherever she dwell, she alone makes every land dear to me;
If she went across the wild sea,
There I should go; I long so much for her.

“If I had the wisdom of a thousand men, it would be well
That I keep her, whom I should serve:
May she take care right well,
That nothing sad may ever befall me through her.

“I was never quite blessed, but through her:
Whatever I wish to her, may she allow it to me!
It was a blessed thing for me
That she, the Beautiful, received me into her grace.”

Carlyle, no doubt, is right when he says that, among all this warbling of
love, there are infinite twitterings which, except their gladness, have
little to charm us. Yet we like to read them as part of the bright history
of those by-gone days. One poet sings:—

“If the whole world was mine,
From the Sea to the Rhine,
I would gladly give it all,
That the Queen of England
Lay in my arms,” etc.

Who was the impertinent German that dared to fall in love with a Queen of
England? We do not know. But there can be no doubt that the Queen of
England whom he adored was the gay and beautiful Eleanor of Poitou, the
Queen of Henry II., who filled the heart of many a Crusader with unholy
thoughts. Her daughter, too, Mathilde, who was married to Henry the Lion
of Saxony, inspired many a poet of those days. Her beauty was celebrated
by the Provençal Troubadours; and at the court of her husband, she
encouraged several of her German vassals to follow the example of the
French and Norman knights, and sing the love of Tristan and Isolt, and the
adventures of the knights of Charlemagne. They must have been happy times,
those times of the Crusades! Nor have they passed away without leaving
their impress on the hearts and minds of the nations of Europe. The Holy
Sepulchre, it is true, is still in the hands of the Infidels, and the
bones of the Crusaders lie buried in unhallowed soil, and their deeds of
valor are well-nigh forgotten, and their chivalrous Tournaments and their
Courts of Love are smiled at by a wiser generation. But much that is noble
and heroic in the feelings of the nineteenth century has its hidden roots
in the thirteenth. Gothic architecture and Gothic poetry are the children
of the same mother; and if the true but unadorned language of the heart,
the aspirations of a real faith, the sorrow and joy of a true love, are
still listened to by the nations of Europe; and if what is called the
Romantic school is strong enough to hold its ground against the classical
taste and its royal patrons, such as Louis XIV., Charles II., and
Frederick the Great,—we owe it to those chivalrous poets who dared for the
first time to be what they were, and to say what they felt, and to whom
Faith, Love, and Honor were worthy subjects of poetry, though they lacked
the sanction of the Periclean and Augustan ages.

The new edition of the Poems of the “Minnesänger” is a masterpiece of
German scholarship. It was commenced by Lachmann, the greatest critic,
after Wolf, that Germany has produced. Lachmann died before the work was
finished, and Professor Haupt, his successor at Berlin, undertook to
finish it. His share in the edition, particularly in the notes, is greater
than that of Lachmann; and the accuracy with which the text has been
restored from more than twenty MSS., is worthy of the great pupil of that
great master.

1858.



III. YE SCHYPPE OF FOOLES.(9)


The critical periods in the history of the world are best studied in the
lives of a few representative men. The history of the German Reformation
assumes a living, intelligible, and human character in the biographies of
the Reformers; and no historian would imagine that he understood the
secret springs of that mighty revolution in Germany without having read
the works of Hutten, the table-talk of Luther, the letters of Melancthon,
and the sermons of Zwingle. But although it is easy to single out
representative men in the great decisive struggles of history, they are
more difficult to find during the preparatory periods. The years from 1450
to 1500 are as important as the years from 1500 to 1550,—nay, to the
thoughtful historian, that silent period of incubation is perhaps of
deeper interest than the violent outburst of the sixteenth century. But
where, during those years, are the men of sufficient eminence to represent
the age in which they lived? It was an age of transition and preparation,
of dissatisfaction and hesitation. Like the whole of the fifteenth
century, “It was rich in scholars, copious in pedants, but poor in genius,
and barren of strong thinkers.” We must not look for heroes in so unheroic
an age, but be satisfied with men if they be but a head taller than their
contemporaries.

One of the most interesting men in whose life and writings the history of
the preliminary age of the German Reformation may be studied, is Sebastian
Brant, the famous author of the famous “Ship of Fools.” He was born in the
year 1457. The Council of Basle had failed to fulfill the hopes of the
German laity as to a _reformatio ecclesiæ in capite et membris_. In the
very year of Brant’s birth, Martin Meyer, the Chancellor of Mayence, had
addressed his letter to his former friend, Æneas Sylvius,—a national
manifesto, in boldness and vigor only surpassed by the powerful pamphlet
of Luther, “To the Nobility of the German Nation.” Germany seemed to
awaken at last to her position, and to see the dangers that threatened her
political and religious freedom. The new movement which had taken place in
Italy in classical learning, supported chiefly by Greek refugees, began to
extend its quickening influence beyond the Alps. Æneas Sylvius, afterwards
Pope Pius II., 1458, writes in one of his letters, that poets were held in
no estimation in Germany, though he admits that their poetry is less to be
blamed for this than their patrons, the princes, who care far more for any
trifles than for poetry. The Germans, he says, do not care for science nor
for a knowledge of classical literature, and they have hardly heard the
name of Cicero or any other orator. In the eyes of the Italians, the
Germans were barbarians; and when Constantine Lascaris saw the first
specimen of printing, he was told by the Italian priests that this
invention had lately been made _apud barbaros in urbe __ Germaniæ_. They
were dangerous neighbors—these barbarians, who could make such discoveries
as the art of printing; and Brant lived to see the time when Joh. Cæsarius
was able to write to a friend of his: “At this moment, Germany, if she
does not surpass Italy, at least need not, and will not, yield to her, not
so much on account of her empire, as for her wonderful fecundity in
learned men, and the almost incredible growth of learning.”

This period of slow but steady progress, from the invention of printing to
the Council of Worms, is bridged over by the life of Sebastian Brant, who
lived from 1457 to 1521. Brant was very early the friend of Peter Schott,
and through him had been brought in contact with a circle of learned men,
who were busily engaged in founding one of the first schools of classical
learning at Schlettstadt. Men like Jac. Wimpheling, Joh. Torrentinus,
Florentius Hundius, and Johannes Hugo, belonged to that society. Brant
afterwards went to Basle to study law. Basle was then a young university.
It had only been founded in 1459, but it was already a successful rival of
Heidelberg. The struggle between the Realists and Nominalists was then
raging all over Europe, and it divided the University of Basle into two
parties, each of them trying to gain influence and adherents among the
young students. It has been usual to look upon the Realists as the
Conservative, and upon the Nominalists as the Liberal party of the
fifteenth century. But although at times this was the case, philosophical
opinions, on which the differences between these two parties were founded,
were not of sufficient strength to determine for any length of time the
political and religious bias of either school. The Realists were chiefly
supported by the Dominicans, the Nominalists by the Franciscans; and there
is always a more gentle expression beaming in the eyes of the followers of
the seraphic Doctor, particularly if contrasted with the stern frown of
the Dominican. Ockam himself was a Franciscan, and those who thought with
him were called _doctores renovatores_ and _sophistæ._ Suddenly, however,
the tables were turned. At Oxford, the Realists, in following out their
principles in a more independent spirit, had arrived at results dangerous
to the peace of the Church. As philosophers, they began to carry out the
doctrines of Plato in good earnest; as reformers, they looked wistfully to
the early centuries of the Christian Church. The same liberal and
independent spirit reached from Oxford to Prague, and the expulsion of the
German nation from that university may be traced to the same movement. The
Realists were at that time no longer in the good odor of orthodoxy; and,
at the Council of Constanz, the Nominalists, such as Joh. Gerson and
Petrus de Alliaco, gained triumphs which seemed for a time to make them
the arbiters of public opinion in Germany, and to give them the means of
securing the Church against the attacks of Huss on one side, and against
the more dangerous encroachments of the Pope and the monks on the other.
This triumph, however, was of short duration. All the rights which the
Germans seemed to have conquered at the Councils of Constanz and Basle
were sacrificed by their own Emperor. No one dared to say again what
Gregory von Heimburg had said to the Italian clergy,—“Quid fines alienos
invaditis? quid falcem vestram in messem alienam extenditis?” Under Æneas
Sylvius, the power of the Pope in Germany was as absolute as ever. The
Nominalist party lost all the ground which it had gained before. It was
looked upon with suspicion by Pope and Emperor. It was banished from
courts and universities, and the disciples of the Realistic school began a
complete crusade against the followers of Ockam.

Johannes Heynlin a Lapide, a former head of a house in Paris, migrated to
Basle, in order to lend his influence and authority to the Realist party
in that rising university. Trithemius says of him: “Hic doctrinam eorum
Parisiensium qui reales appellantur primus ad Basiliensium universitatem
transtulit, ibidemque plantavit, roboravit et auxit.” This Johannes
Heynlin a Lapide, however, though a violent champion of the then
victorious Realist party, was by no means a man without liberal
sentiments. On many points the Realists were more tolerant, or at least
more enlightened, than the Nominalists. They counted among themselves
better scholars than the adherents of Ockam. They were the first and
foremost to point out the uselessness of the dry scholastic system of
teaching grammar and logic, and nothing else. And though they cherished
their own ideas as to the supreme authority of the Pope, the divine right
of the Emperor, or the immaculate conception of the Virgin (a dogma denied
by the Dominicans, and defended by the Franciscans), they were always
ready to point out abuses and to suggest reforms. The age in which they
lived was not an age of decisive thought or decisive action. There was a
want of character in individuals as well as in parties; and the points in
which they differed were of small importance, though they masked
differences of greater weight. At Basle, the men who were gathered round
Johannes a Lapide were what we should call Liberal Conservatives, and it
is among them that we find Sebastian Brant. Basle could then boast of some
of the most eminent men of the time. Besides Agricola, and Wimpheling, and
Geiler von Kaisersberg, and Trithemius, Reuchlin was there for a time, and
Wessel, and the Greek Kontablacos. Sebastian Brant, though on friendly
terms with most of these men, was their junior; and, among his
contemporaries, a new generation grew up, more independent and more
free-spoken than their masters, though as yet very far from any
revolutionary views in matters of Church or State. Feuds broke out very
soon between the old and the young schools. Locher, the friend of
Brant,—the poet who had turned his “Ship of Fools” into Latin
verse,—published a poem, in which he attacked rather petulantly the
scholastic philosophy and theology. Wimpheling, at the request of Geiler
of Kaisersberg, had to punish him for this audacity, and he did it in a
pamphlet full of the most vulgar abuse. Reuchlin also had given offense,
and was attacked and persecuted; but his party retaliated by the “Epistolæ
Obscurorum Virorum.” Thus the Conservative, or Realistic party became
divided; and when, at the beginning of a new century and a new era in the
history of the world, Luther raised his voice in defense of national and
religious freedom, he was joined not only by the more advanced descendants
of the Nominalistic school, but by all the vigor, the talent, and the
intellect of the old Conservatives.

Brant himself, though he lived at Strassburg up to 1521, did not join the
standard of the Reformation. He had learned to grumble, to find fault, to
abuse, and to condemn; but his time was gone when the moment for action
arrived. And yet he helped toward the success of the Reformation in
Germany. He had been one of the first, after the discovery of printing, to
use the German language for political purposes. His fly-sheets, his
illustrated editions, had given useful hints how to address the large
masses of the people. If he looked upon the world, as it then was, as a
ship of fools, and represented every weakness, vice, and wickedness under
the milder color of foolery, the people who read his poems singled out
some of his fools, and called them knaves. The great work of Sebastian
Brant was his “Narrenschiff.” It was first published in 1497, at Basle,
and the first edition, though on account of its wood-cuts it could not
have been a very cheap book, was sold off at once. Edition after edition
followed, and translations were published in Latin, in Low-German, in
Dutch, in French, and English. Sermons were preached on the
“Narrenschiff;” Trithemius calls it _Divina Satira_, Locher compares Brant
with Dante, Hutten calls him the new lawgiver of German poetry. The
“Narrenschiff” is a work which we may still read with pleasure, though it
is difficult to account for its immense success at the time of its
publication. Some historians ascribe it to the wood-cuts. They are
certainly very clever, and there is reason to suppose that most of them
were, if not actually drawn, at least suggested by Brant himself. Yet even
a Turner has failed to render mediocre poetry popular by his
illustrations, and there is nothing to show that the caricatures of Brant
were preferred to his satires. Now his satires, it is true, are not very
powerful, nor pungent, nor original. But his style is free and easy. Brant
is not a ponderous poet. He writes in short chapters, and mixes his fools
in such a manner that we always meet with a variety of new faces. It is
true that all this would hardly be sufficient to secure a decided success
for a work like his at the present day. But then we must remember the time
in which he wrote. What had the poor people of Germany to read toward the
end of the fifteenth century? Printing had been invented, and books were
published and sold with great rapidity. People were not only fond, but
proud, of reading books. Reading was fashionable, and the first fool who
enters Brant’s ship is the man who buys books. But what were the books
that were offered for sale? We find among the early prints of the
fifteenth century religious, theological, and classical works in great
abundance, and we know that the respectable and wealthy burghers of
Augsburg and Strassburg were proud to fill their shelves with these portly
volumes. But then German aldermen had wives, and daughters, and sons, and
what were they to read during the long winter evenings? The poetry of the
thirteenth century was no longer intelligible, and the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries had produced very little that would be to the taste of
young ladies and gentlemen. The poetry of the “Meistersänger” was not very
exhilarating. The romances of “The Book of Heroes” had lost all their
native charms under the rough treatment they had experienced at the hand
of their latest editor, Casper von der Roen. The so-called “Misteries”
(not mysteries) might be very well as Christmas pantomimes once a year,
but they could not be read for their own sake, like the dramatic
literature of later times. The light literature of the day consisted
entirely in novels; and in spite of their miserable character, their
popularity was immense. Besides the “Gesta Romanorum,” which were turned
into German verse and prose, we meet with French novels, such as “Lother
and Maler,” translated by a Countess of Nassau in 1437, and printed in
1514; “Pontus and Sidonia,” translated from the French by Eleanor of
Scotland, the wife of Sigismund of Austria, published 1498; “Melusina,”
equally from the French, published 1477. The old epic poems of “Tristan,”
and “Lancelot,” and “Wigalois,” were too long and tedious. People did not
care any longer for the deep thoughts of Wolfram von Eschenbach, and the
beautiful poetry of Gottfried von Strassburg. They wanted only the plot,
the story, the dry bones; and these were dished up in the prose novels of
the fifteenth century, and afterwards collected in the so-called “Book of
Love.” There was room, therefore, at that time for a work like the “Ship
of Fools.” It was the first printed book that treated of contemporaneous
events and living persons, instead of old German battles and French
knights. People are always fond of reading the history of their own times.
If the good qualities of their age are brought out, they think of
themselves or their friends; if the dark features of their contemporaries
are exhibited, they think of their neighbors and enemies. Now, the “Ship
of Fools” is just such a satire which ordinary people would read, and read
with pleasure. They might feel a slight twinge now and then, but they
would put down the book at the end, and thank God that they were not like
other men. There is a chapter on Misers,—and who would not gladly give a
penny to a beggar? There is a chapter on Gluttony,—and who was ever more
than a little exhilarated after dinner? There is a chapter on
Church-goers,—and who ever went to church for respectability’s sake, or to
show off a gaudy dress, or a fine dog, or a new hawk? There is a chapter
on Dancing,—and who ever danced except for the sake of exercise? There is
a chapter on Adultery,—and who ever did more than flirt with his
neighbor’s wife? We sometimes wish that Brant’s satire had been a little
more searching, and that, instead of his many allusions to classical fools
(for his book is full of scholarship), he had given us a little more of
the _chronique scandaleuse_ of his own time. But he was too good a man to
do this, and his contemporaries no doubt were grateful to him for his
forbearance.

Brant’s poem is not easy to read. Though he was a contemporary of Luther,
his language differs much more from modern German than Luther’s
translation of the Bible. His “Ship of Fools” wanted a commentary, and
this want has been supplied by one of the most learned and industrious
scholars of Germany, Professor Zarncke, in his lately published edition of
the “Narrenschiff.” This must have been a work of many years of hard
labor. Nothing that is worth knowing about Brant and his works has been
omitted, and we hardly know of any commentary on Aristophanes or Juvenal
in which every difficulty is so honestly met as in Professor Zarncke’s
notes on the German satirist. The editor is a most minute and painstaking
critic. He tries to reëstablish the correct reading of every word, and he
enters upon his work with as much zeal as if the world could not be saved
till every tittle of Brant’s poem had been restored. He is, however, not
only a critic, but a sensible and honest man. He knows what is worth
knowing and what is not, and he does not allow himself to be carried away
by a desire to display his own superior acquirements,—a weakness which
makes so many of his colleagues forgetful of the real ends of knowledge,
and the real duties of the scholar and the historian.

We have to say a few words on the English translation of Brant’s “Ship of
Fools.” It was not made from the original, but from Locher’s Latin
translation. It reproduces the matter, but not the manner of the original
satire. Some portions are added by the translator, Alexander Barclay, and
in some parts his translation is an improvement on the original. It was
printed in 1508, published 1509, and went through several editions.

The following may serve as a specimen of Barclay’s translation, and of his
original contributions to Brant’s “Navis Stultifera:”—

“Here beginneth the ‘Ship of Fooles,’ and first of unprofitable books:—

“I am the first foole of all the whole navie,
To keep the Pompe, the Helme, and eke the Sayle:
For this is my minde, this one pleasure have I,
Of bookes to have great plentie and apparayle.
I take no wisdome by them, not yet avayle,
Nor them perceave not, and then I them despise:
Thus am I a foole, and all that sue that guise.

“That in this Ship the chiefe place I governe,
By this wide Sea with fooles wandring,
The cause is plaine and easy to discerne,
Still am I busy, bookes assembling,
For to have plentie it is a pleasant thing
In my conceyt, and to have them ay in hande:
But what they meane do I not understande.

“But yet I have them in great reverence
And honoure, saving them from filth and ordure,
By often brusshing and much diligence,
Full goodly bounde in pleasant coverture,
Of Damas, Sattin, or els of Velvet pure:
I keepe them sure, fearing least they should be lost,
For in them is the cunning wherein I me boast.

“But if it fortune that any learned men
Within my house fall to disputation,
I drawe the curtaynes to shewe my bokes then,
That they of my cunning should make probation:
I kepe not to fall in alterication,
And while they comment, my bookes I turne and winde,
For all is in them, and nothing in my minde.”

In the fourth chapter, “Of newe fassions and disguised garmentes,” there
is at the end what is called “The Lenvoy of Alexander Barclay,” and in it
an allusion to Henry VIII.:—

“But ye proude galants that thus your selfe disguise,
Be ye ashamed, beholde unto your prince:
Consider his sadness, his honestie devise,
His clothing expresseth his inwarde prudence,
Ye see no example of such inconvenience
In his highness, but godly wit and gravitie,
Ensue him, and sorrowe for your enormitie.”



IV. LIFE OF SCHILLER.(10)


The hundredth anniversary of the birthday of Schiller, which, according to
the accounts published in the German newspapers, seems to have been
celebrated in most parts of the civilized, nay, even the uncivilized
world, is an event in some respects unprecedented in the literary annals
of the human race. A nation honors herself by honoring her sons, and it is
but natural that in Germany every town and village should have vied in
doing honor to the memory of one of their greatest poets. The letters
which have reached us from every German capital relate no more than what
we expected. There were meetings and feastings, balls and theatrical
representations. The veteran philologist, Jacob Grimm, addressed the
Berlin Academy on the occasion in a soul-stirring oration; the directors
of the Imperial Press at Vienna seized the opportunity to publish a
splendid album, or “Schillerbuch,” in honor of the poet; unlimited
eloquence was poured forth by professors and academicians; school children
recited Schiller’s ballads; the German students shouted the most popular
of his songs; nor did the ladies of Germany fail in paying their tribute
of gratitude to him who, since the days of the Minnesängers, had been the
most eloquent herald of female grace and dignity. In the evening torch
processions might be seen marching through the streets, bonfires were
lighted on the neighboring hills, houses were illuminated, and even the
solitary darkness of the windows of the Papal Nuncio at Vienna added to
the lustre of the day.(11) In every place where Schiller had spent some
years of his life, local recollections were revived and perpetuated by
tablets and monuments. The most touching account of all came from the
small village of Cleversulzbach. On the village cemetery, or, as it is
called in German, the “God’s-acre,” there stands a tombstone, and on it
the simple inscription, “Schiller’s Mother.” On the morning of her son’s
birthday the poor people of the village were gathered together round that
grave, singing one of their sacred hymns, and planting a lime-tree in the
soil which covers the heart that loved him best.

But the commemoration of Schiller’s birthday was not confined to his
native country. We have seen, in the German papers, letters from St.
Petersburg and Lisbon, from Venice, Rome, and Florence, from Amsterdam,
Stockholm, and Christiana, from Warsaw and Odessa, from Jassy and
Bucharest, from Constantinople, Algiers, and Smyrna, and lately from
America and Australia, all describing the festive gatherings which were
suggested, no doubt, by Schiller’s cosmopolitan countrymen, but joined in
most cheerfully by all the nations of the globe. Poets of higher rank than
Schiller—Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe—have never aroused such world-wide
sympathies; and it is not without interest to inquire into the causes
which have secured to Schiller this universal popularity. However
superlative the praises which have lately been heaped on Schiller’s poetry
by those who cannot praise except in superlatives, we believe that it was
not the poet, but the man, to whom the world has paid this unprecedented
tribute of love and admiration. After reading Schiller’s works we must
read Schiller’s life,—the greatest of all his works. It is a life not
unknown to the English public, for it has been written by Carlyle. The
last festivities, however, have given birth to several new biographies.
Palleske’s “Life of Schiller” has met with such success in Germany that it
well deserved the honor which it has lately received at the hands of Lady
Wallace, and under the special patronage of the Queen, of being translated
into English. Another very careful and lucid account of the poet’s life is
due to the pen of a member of the French Institute, M. A. Regnier, the
distinguished tutor of the Comte de Paris.

In reading these lives, together with the voluminous literature which is
intended to illustrate the character of the German poet, we frequently
felt inclined to ask one question, to which none of Schiller’s biographers
has returned a satisfactory answer: “What were the peculiar circumstances
which brought out in Germany, and in the second half of the eighteenth
century, a man of the moral character, and a poet of the creative genius,
of Schiller?” Granted that he was endowed by nature with the highest
talents, how did he grow to be a poet, such as we know him, different from
all other German poets, and yet in thought, feeling, and language the most
truly German of all the poets of Germany? Are we reduced to appeal to the
mysterious working of an unknown power, if we wish to explain to ourselves
why, in the same country and at the same time, poetical genius assumed
such different forms as are seen in the writings of Schiller and Goethe?
Is it to be ascribed to what is called individuality, a word which in
truth explains nothing; or is it possible for the historian and
psychologist to discover the hidden influences which act on the growing
mind, and produce that striking variety of poetical genius which we admire
in the works of contemporaneous poets, such as Schiller and Goethe in
Germany, or Wordsworth and Byron in England? Men grow not only from
within, but also from without. We know that a poet is born,—_poeta
nascitur_,—but we also know that his character must be formed; the seed is
given, but the furrow must be ploughed in which it is to grow; and the
same grain which, if thrown on cultivated soil, springs into fullness and
vigor, will dwindle away, stunted and broken, if cast upon shallow and
untilled land. There are certain events in the life of every man which
fashion and stamp his character; they may seem small and unimportant in
themselves, but they are great and important to each of us; they mark that
slight bend where two lines which had been running parallel begin to
diverge, never to meet again. The Greeks call such events _epochs_, _i.e._
halts.

We halt for a moment, we look about and wonder, and then choose our
further way in life. It is the duty of biographers to discover such
epochs, such halting-points, in the lives of their heroes; and we shall
endeavor to do the same in the life of Schiller by watching the various
influences which determined the direction of his genius at different
periods of his poetical career.

The period of Schiller’s childhood is generally described with great
detail by his biographers. We are told who his ancestors were. I believe
they were bakers. We are informed that his mother possessed in her
_trousseau_, among other things, four pairs of stockings,—three of cotton,
one of wool. There are also long discussions on the exact date of his
birth. We hear a great deal of early signs of genius, or rather, we should
say, of things done and said by most children, but invested with
extraordinary significance if remembered of the childhood of great men. To
tell the truth, we can find nothing very important in what we thus learn
of the early years of Schiller, nor does the poet himself in later years
dwell much on the recollections of his dawning mind. If we must look for
some determinating influences during the childhood of Schiller, they are
chiefly to be found in the character of his father. The father was not
what we should call a well-educated man. He had been brought up as a
barber and surgeon; had joined a Bavarian regiment in 1745, during the
Austrian war of succession; and had acted as a non-commissioned officer,
and, when occasion required, as a chaplain. After the peace of
Aix-la-Chapelle he had married the daughter of an innkeeper. He was a
brave man, a God-fearing man, and, as is not unfrequently the case with
half-educated people, a man very fond of reading. What he had failed to
attain himself, he wished to see realized in his only son. The following
prayer was found among the papers of the father: “And Thou, Being of all
beings, I have asked Thee after the birth of my only son, that Thou
wouldst add to his powers of intellect what I from deficient instruction
was unable to attain. Thou hast heard me. Thanks be to Thee, bounteous
Being, that Thou heedest the prayers of mortals.” A man of this stamp of
mind would be sure to exercise his own peculiar influence on his children.
He would make them look on life, not as a mere profession, where the son
has only to follow in the steps of his father; his children would early
become familiar with such ideas as “_making_ one’s way in life,” and would
look forward to a steep path rather than to a beaten track. Their thoughts
would dwell on the future at a time when other children live in the
present only, and an adventurous spirit would be roused, without which no
great work has ever been conceived and carried out.

When his children, young Frederick and his sisters, were growing up, their
father read to them their morning and evening prayers; and so fond was the
boy of the Old and New Testament stories that he would often leave his
games in order to be present at his father’s readings. In 1765 the family
left Marbach on the Neckar. The father was ordered by the Duke of
Wurtemberg to Lorch, a place on the frontier, where he had to act as
recruiting officer. His son received his education in the house of a
clergyman, began Latin at six, Greek at seven; and as far as we are able
to see, he neither seems to have considered himself, nor to have been
considered by his masters, as very superior to other boys. He was a good
boy, tenderly attached to his parents, fond of games, and regular at
school. There are but two marked features which we have an opportunity of
watching in him as a boy. He knew no fear, and he was full of the warmest
sympathy for others. The first quality secured him the respect, the second
the love, of those with whom he came in contact. His parents, who were
poor, had great difficulty in restraining his generosity. He would give
away his school-books and the very buckles off his shoes. Both his
fearlessness and universal sympathy are remarkable through the whole of
his after-life. Not even his enemies could point out one trait of
cowardice or selfishness in anything he ever did, or said, or wrote. There
are some pertinent remarks on the combination of these two qualities,
sympathy with others and courage, by the author of “Friends in Council.”


    “If greatness,” he writes, “can be shut up in qualities, it will
    be found to consist in courage and in openness of mind and soul.
    These qualities may not seem at first to be so potent. But see
    what _growth_ there is in them. The education of a man of open
    mind is never ended. Then with openness of soul a man sees some
    way into all other souls that come near him, feels with them, has
    their experience, is in himself a people. Sympathy is the
    universal solvent. Nothing is understood without it.... Add
    courage to this openness, and you have a man who can own himself
    in the wrong, can forgive, can trust, can adventure, can, in
    short, use all the means that insight and sympathy endow him
    with.”


A plucky and warm-hearted boy, under the care of an honest, brave, and
intelligent father and a tender and religious mother,—this is all we know
and care to know about Schiller during the first ten years of his life. In
the year 1768 there begins a new period in the life of Schiller. His
father was settled at Ludwigsburg, the ordinary residence of the reigning
Duke of Wurtemberg, the Duke Charles. This man was destined to exercise a
decisive influence on Schiller’s character. Like many German sovereigns in
the middle of the last century, Duke Charles of Wurtemberg had felt the
influence of those liberal ideas which had found so powerful an utterance
in the works of the French and English philosophers of the eighteenth
century. The philosophy which in France was smiled at by kings and
statesmen, while it roused the people to insurrection and regicide,
produced in Germany a deeper impression on the minds of the sovereigns and
ruling classes than of the people. In the time of Frederick the Great and
Joseph II. it became fashionable among sovereigns to profess Liberalism,
and to work for the enlightenment of the human race. It is true that this
liberal policy was generally carried out in a rather despotic way, and
people were emancipated and enlightened very much as the ancient Saxons
were converted by Charlemagne. We have an instance of this in the case of
Schiller. Duke Charles had founded an institution where orphans and the
sons of poor officers were educated free of expense. He had been informed
that young Schiller was a promising boy, and likely to reflect credit on
his new institution, and he proceeded without further inquiry to place him
on the list of his _protégés_, assigning to him a place at his military
school. It was useless for the father to remonstrate, and explain to the
Duke that his son had a decided inclination for the Church. Schiller was
sent to the Academy in 1773, and ordered to study law. The young student
could not but see that an injustice had been done him, and the irritation
which it caused was felt by him all the more deeply because it would have
been dangerous to give expression to his feelings. The result was that he
made no progress in the subjects which he had been commanded to study. In
1775 he was allowed to give up law, not, however, to return to theology,
but to begin the study of medicine. But medicine, though at first it
seemed more attractive, failed, like law, to call forth his full energies.
In the mean time another interference on the part of the Duke proved even
more abortive, and to a certain extent determined the path which
Schiller’s genius was to take in life. The Duke had prohibited all German
classics at his Academy; the boys, nevertheless, succeeded in forming a
secret library, and Schiller read the works of Klopstock, Klinger,
Lessing, Goethe, and Wieland’s translations of Shakespeare with rapture,
no doubt somewhat increased by the dangers he braved in gaining access to
these treasures. In 1780, the same year in which he passed his examination
and received the appointment of regimental surgeon, Schiller wrote his
first tragedy, “The Robbers.” His taste for dramatic poetry had been
roused partly by Goethe’s “Goetz von Berlichingen” and Shakespeare’s
plays, partly by his visits to the theatre, which, under the patronage of
the Duke, was then in a very flourishing state. The choice of the subject
of his first dramatic composition was influenced by the circumstances of
his youth. His poetical sympathy for a character such as Karl Moor, a man
who sets at defiance all the laws of God and man, can only be accounted
for by the revulsion of feeling produced on his boyish mind by the strict
military discipline to which all the pupils at the Academy were subjected.
His sense of right and wrong was strong enough to make him paint his hero
as a monster, and to make him inflict on him the punishment he merited.
But the young poet could not resist the temptation of throwing a brighter
light on the redeeming points in the character of a robber and murderer by
pointedly placing him in contrast with the even darker shades of
hypocritical respectability and saintliness in the picture of his brother
Franz. The language in which Schiller paints his characters is powerful,
but it is often wild and even coarse. The Duke did not approve of his
former _protégé_; the very title-page of “The Robbers” was enough to
offend his Serene Highness,—it contained a rising lion, with the motto
“_In tyrannos_.” The Duke gave a warning to the young military surgeon,
and when, soon after, he heard of his going secretly to Mannheim to be
present at the first performance of his play, he ordered him to be put
under military arrest. All these vexations Schiller endured, because he
knew full well there was no escape from the favors of his royal protector.
But when at last he was ordered never to publish again except on medical
subjects, and to submit all his poetical compositions to the Duke’s
censorship, this proved too much for our young poet. His ambition had been
roused. He had sat at Mannheim a young man of twenty, unknown, amid an
audience of men and women who listened with rapturous applause to his own
thoughts and words. That evening at the theatre of Mannheim had been a
decisive evening,—it was an epoch in the history of his life; he had felt
his power and the calling of his genius; he had perceived, though in a dim
distance, the course he had to run and the laurels he had to gain. When he
saw that the humor of the Duke was not likely to improve, he fled from a
place where his wings were clipped and his voice silenced. Now, this
flight from one small German town to another may seem a matter of very
little consequence at present. But in Schiller’s time it was a matter of
life and death. German sovereigns were accustomed to look upon their
subjects as their property. Without even the show of a trial the poet
Schubart had been condemned to life-long confinement by this same Duke
Charles. Schiller, in fleeing his benefactor’s dominions, had not only
thrown away all his chances in life, but he had placed his safety and the
safety of his family in extreme danger. It was a bold, perhaps a reckless
step. But whatever we may think of it in a moral point of view, as
historians we must look upon it as the Hegira in the life of the poet.

Schiller was now a man of one or two and twenty, thrown upon the world
penniless, with nothing to depend on but his brains. The next ten years
were hard years for him; they were years of unsettledness, sometimes of
penury and despair, sometimes of extravagance and folly. This third period
in Schiller’s life is not marked by any great literary achievements. It
would be almost a blank were it not for the “Don Carlos,” which he wrote
during his stay near Dresden, between 1785-87. His “Fiesco” and “Cabale
und Liebe,” though they came out after his flight from Stuttgard, had been
conceived before, and they were only repeated protests, in the form of
tragedies, against the tyranny of rulers and the despotism of society.
They show no advance in the growth of Schiller’s mind. Yet that mind,
though less productive than might have been expected, was growing as every
mind grows between the years of twenty and thirty; and it was growing
chiefly through contact with men. We must make full allowance for the
powerful influence exercised at that time by the literature of the day (by
the writings of Herder, Lessing, and Goethe), and by political events,
such as the French Revolution. But if we watch Schiller’s career
carefully, we see that his character was chiefly moulded by his
intercourse with men. His life was rich in friendships, and what mainly
upheld him in his struggles and dangers was the sympathy of several
high-born and high-minded persons, in whom the ideals of his own mind
seemed to have found their fullest realization.

Next to our faith in God, there is nothing so essential to the healthy
growth of our whole being as an unshaken faith in man. This faith in man
is the great feature in Schiller’s character, and he owes it to a kind
Providence which brought him in contact with such noble natures as Frau
von Wolzogen, Körner, Dalberg; in later years with his wife; with the Duke
of Weimar, the Prince of Augustenburg, and lastly with Goethe. There was
at that time a powerful tension in the minds of men, and particularly of
the higher classes, which led them to do things which at other times men
only aspire to do. The impulses of a most exalted morality—a morality
which is so apt to end in mere declamation and deceit—were not only felt
by them, but obeyed and carried out. Frau von Wolzogen, knowing nothing of
Schiller except that he had been at the same school with her son, received
the exiled poet, though fully aware that by doing so she might have
displeased the Duke and blasted her fortunes and those of her children.
Schiller preserved the tenderest attachment to this motherly friend
through life, and his letters to her display a most charming innocence and
purity of mind.

Another friend was Körner, a young lawyer living at Leipzig, and
afterwards at Dresden—a man who had himself to earn his bread. He had
learned to love Schiller from his writings; he received him at his house,
a perfect stranger, and shared with the poor poet his moderate income with
a generosity worthy of a prince. He, too, remained his friend through
life; his son was Theodore Körner, the poet of “Lyre and Sword,” who fell
fighting as a volunteer for his country against French invaders.

A third friend and patron of Schiller was Dalberg. He was the coadjutor,
and was to have been the successor, of the Elector of Hesse, then an
ecclesiastical Electorate. His rank was that of a reigning prince, and he
was made afterwards by Napoleon Fürst-Primas—Prince Primate—of the
Confederation of the Rhine. But it was not his station, his wealth, and
influence, it was his mind and heart which made him the friend of
Schiller, Goethe, Herder, Wieland, Jean Paul, and all the most eminent
intellects of his time. It is refreshing to read the letters of this
Prince. Though they belong to a later period of Schiller’s life, a few
passages may here be quoted in order to characterize his friend and
patron. Dalberg had promised Schiller a pension of 4,000 florins (not
4,000 thalers, as M. Regnier asserts) as soon as he should succeed to the
Electorate, and Schiller in return had asked him for some hints with
regard to his own future literary occupations. The Prince answers: “Your
letter has delighted me. To be remembered by a man of your heart and mind
is a true joy to me. I do not venture to determine what Schiller’s
comprehensive and vivifying genius is to undertake. But may I be allowed
to humbly express a wish that spirits endowed with the powers of giants
should ask themselves, ‘How can I be most useful to mankind?’ This
inquiry, I think, leads most surely to immortality, and the rewards of a
peaceful conscience. May you enjoy the purest happiness, and think
sometimes of your friend and servant, Dalberg.” When Schiller was
hesitating between history and dramatic poetry, Dalberg’s keen eye
discovered at once that the stage was Schiller’s calling, and that there
his influence would be most beneficial. Schiller seemed to think that a
professorial chair in a German university was a more honorable position
than that of a poet. Dalberg writes: “Influence on mankind” (for this he
knew to be Schiller’s highest ambition) “depends on the vigor and strength
which a man throws into his works. Thucydides and Xenophon would not deny
that poets like Sophocles and Horace have had at least as much influence
on the world as they themselves.” When the French invasion threatened the
ruin of Germany and the downfall of the German sovereigns, Dalberg writes
again, in 1796, with perfect serenity: “True courage must never fail! The
friends of virtue and truth ought now to act and speak all the more
vigorously and straightforwardly. In the end, what you, excellent friend,
have so beautifully said in your ‘Ideals’ remains true: ‘The diligence of
the righteous works slowly but surely, and friendship is soothing comfort.
It is only when I hope to be hereafter of assistance to my friends that I
wish for a better fate.’ ” The society and friendship of such men, who are
rare in all countries and in all ages, served to keep up in Schiller’s
mind those ideal notions of mankind which he had first imbibed from his
own heart, and from the works of philosophers. They find expression in all
his writings, but are most eloquently described in his “Don Carlos.” We
should like to give some extracts from the dialogue between King Philip
and the Marquis Posa; but our space is precious, and hardly allows us to
do more than just to glance at those other friends and companions whose
nobility of mind and generosity of heart left so deep an impress on the
poet’s soul.

The name of Karl August, the Duke of Weimar, has acquired such a
world-wide celebrity as the friend of Goethe and Schiller that we need not
dwell long on his relation to our poet. As early as 1784 Schiller was
introduced to him at Darmstadt, where he was invited to court to read some
scenes of his “Don Carlos.” The Duke gave him then the title of “Rath,”
and from the year 1787, when Schiller first settled at Weimar, to the time
of his death, in 1804, he remained his firm friend. The friendship of the
Prince was returned by the poet, who, in the days of his glory, declined
several advantageous offers from Vienna and other places, and remained at
the court of Weimar, satisfied with the small salary which that great Duke
was able to give him.

There was but one other Prince whose bounty Schiller accepted, and his
name deserves to be mentioned, not so much for his act of generosity as
for the sentiment which prompted it. In 1792, when Schiller was ill and
unable to write, he received a letter from the Hereditary Prince of
Holstein-Augustenburg and from Count Schimmelmann. We quote from the
letter:—


    “Your shattered health, we hear, requires rest, but your
    circumstances do not allow it. Will you grudge us the pleasure of
    enabling you to enjoy that rest? We offer you for three years an
    annual present of 1,000 thalers. Accept this offer, noble man. Let
    not our titles induce you to decline it. We know what they are
    worth; we know no pride but that of being men, citizens of that
    great republic which comprises more than the life of single
    generations, more than the limits of this globe. You have to deal
    with men,—your brothers,—not with proud princes, who, by this
    employment of their wealth, would fain indulge but in a more
    refined kind of pride.”


No conditions were attached to this present, though a situation in Denmark
was offered if Schiller should wish to go there. Schiller accepted the
gift so nobly offered, but he never saw his unknown friends.(12) We owe to
them, humanly speaking, the last years of Schiller’s life, and with them
the master-works of his genius, from “Wallenstein” to “William Tell.” As
long as these works are read and admired, the names of these noble
benefactors will be remembered and revered.

The name of her whom we mentioned next among Schiller’s noble friends and
companions,—we mean his wife,—reminds us that we have anticipated events,
and that we left Schiller after his flight in 1782, at the very beginning
of his most trying years. His hopes of success at Mannheim had failed. The
director of the Mannheim theatre, also a Dalberg, declined to assist him.
He spent the winter in great solitude at the country-house of Frau von
Wolzogen, finishing “Cabale und Liebe,” and writing “Fiesco.” In the
summer of 1783 he returned to Mannheim, where he received an appointment
in connection with the theatre of about £40 a year. Here he stayed till
1785, when he went to Leipzig, and afterwards to Dresden, living chiefly
at the expense of his friend Körner. This unsettled kind of life continued
till 1787, and produced, as we saw, little more than his tragedy of “Don
Carlos.” In the mean time, however, his taste for history had been
developed. He had been reading more systematically at Dresden, and after
he had gone to Weimar in 1787 he was able to publish, in 1788, his
“History of the Revolt of the Netherlands.” On the strength of this he was
appointed professor at Jena in 1789, first without a salary, afterwards
with about £30 a year. He tells us himself how hard he had to work: “Every
day,” he says, “I must compose a whole lecture and write it out,—nearly
two sheets of printed matter, not to mention the time occupied in
delivering the lecture and making extracts.” However, he had now gained a
position, and his literary works began to be better paid. In 1790 he was
enabled to marry a lady of rank, who was proud to become the wife of the
poor poet, and was worthy to be the “wife of Schiller.” Schiller was now
chiefly engaged in historical researches. He wrote his “History of the
Thirty Years’ War” in 1791-92, and it was his ambition to be recognized as
a German professor rather than as a German poet. He had to work hard in
order to make up for lost time, and under the weight of excessive labor
his health broke down. He was unable to lecture, unable to write. It was
then that the generous present of the Duke of Augustenburg freed him for a
time from the most pressing cares, and enabled him to recover his health.

The years of thirty to thirty-five were a period of transition and
preparation in Schiller’s life, to be followed by another ten years of
work and triumph. These intermediate years were chiefly spent in reading
history and studying philosophy, more especially the then reigning
philosophy of Kant. Numerous essays on philosophy, chiefly on the Good,
the Beautiful, and the Sublime, were published during this interval. But
what is more important, Schiller’s mind was enlarged, enriched, and
invigorated; his poetical genius, by lying fallow for a time, gave promise
of a richer harvest to come; his position in the world became more
honorable, and his confidence in himself was strengthened by the
confidence placed in him by all around him. A curious compliment was paid
him by the Legislative Assembly then sitting at Paris. On the 26th of
August, 1792, a decree was passed, conferring the title of _Citoyen
Français_ on eighteen persons belonging to various countries, friends of
liberty and universal brotherhood. In the same list with Schiller were the
names of Klopstock, Campe, Washington, Kosciusko, and Wilberforce. The
decree was signed by Roland, Minister of the Interior, and countersigned
by Danton. It did not reach Schiller till after the enthusiasm which he
too had shared for the early heroes of the French Revolution had given way
to disappointment and horror. In the month of December of the very year in
which he had been thus honored by the Legislative Assembly, Schiller was
on the point of writing an appeal to the French nation in defense of Louis
XVI. The King’s head, however, had fallen before this defense was begun.
Schiller, a true friend of true liberty, never ceased to express his
aversion to the violent proceedings of the French revolutionists. “It is
the work of passion,” he said, “and not of that wisdom which alone can
lead to real liberty.” He admitted that many important ideas, which
formerly existed in books only or in the heads of a few enlightened
people, had become more generally current through the French Revolution.
But he maintained that the real principles which ought to form the basis
of a truly happy political constitution were still hidden from view.
Pointing to a volume of Kant’s “Criticism of Pure Reason,” he said, “There
they are, and nowhere else; the French republic will fall as rapidly as it
has risen; the republican government will lapse into anarchy, and sooner
or later a man of genius will appear (he may come from any place) who will
make himself not only master of France, but perhaps also of a great part
of Europe.” This was a remarkable prophecy for a young professor of
history.

The last decisive event in Schiller’s life was his friendship with Goethe.
It dates from 1794, and with this year begins the great and crowning
period of Schiller’s life. To this period belong his “Wallenstein,” his
“Song of the Bell,” his Ballads (1797-98), his “Mary Stuart” (1800), the
“Maid of Orleans” (1801), the “Bride of Messina” (1803), and “William
Tell;” in fact, all the works which have made Schiller a national poet and
gained for him a worldwide reputation and an immortal name.

Goethe’s character was in many respects diametrically opposed to
Schiller’s, and for many years it seemed impossible that there should ever
be a community of thought and feeling between the two. Attempts to bring
together these great rivals were repeatedly made by their mutual friends.
Schiller had long felt himself drawn by the powerful genius of Goethe, and
Goethe had long felt that Schiller was the only poet who could claim to be
his peer. After an early interview with Goethe, Schiller writes, “On the
whole, this meeting has not at all diminished the idea, great as it was,
which I had previously formed of Goethe; but I doubt if we shall ever come
into close communication with each other. Much that interests me has
already had its epoch with him; his world is not my world.” Goethe had
expressed the same feeling. He saw Schiller occupying the very position
which he himself had given up as untenable; he saw his powerful genius
carrying out triumphantly “those very paradoxes, moral and dramatic, from
which he was struggling to get liberated.” “No union,” as Goethe writes,
“was to be dreamt of. Between two spiritual antipodes there was more
intervening than a simple diameter of the spheres. Antipodes of that sort
act as a kind of poles, which can never coalesce.” How the first approach
between these two opposite poles took place Goethe has himself described,
in a paper entitled “Happy Incidents.” But no happy incident could have
led to that glorious friendship, which stands alone in the literary
history of the whole world, if there had not been on the part of Schiller
his warm sympathy for all that is great and noble, and on the part of
Goethe a deep interest in every manifestation of natural genius. Their
differences on almost every point of art, philosophy, and religion, which
at first seemed to separate them forever, only drew them more closely
together, when they discovered in each other those completing elements
which produced true harmony of souls. Nor is it right to say that Schiller
owes more to Goethe than Goethe to Schiller. If Schiller received from
Goethe the higher rules of art and a deeper insight into human nature,
Goethe drank from the soul of his friend the youth and vigor, the purity
and simplicity, which we never find in any of Goethe’s works before his
“Hermann and Dorothea.” And, as in most friendships, it was not so much
Goethe as he was, but Goethe as reflected in his friend’s soul, who
henceforth became Schiller’s guide and guardian. Schiller possessed the
art of admiring, an art so much more rare than the art of criticising. His
eye was so absorbed in all that was great, and noble, and pure, and high
in Goethe’s mind, that he could not, or would not, see the defects in his
character. And Goethe was to Schiller what he was to no one else. He was
what Schiller believed him to be; afraid to fall below his friend’s ideal,
he rose beyond himself until that high ideal was reached, which only a
Schiller could have formed. Without this regenerating friendship it is
doubtful whether some of the most perfect creations of Goethe and Schiller
would ever have been called into existence.

We saw Schiller gradually sinking into a German professor, the sphere of
his sympathies narrowed, the aim of his ambition lowered. His energies
were absorbed in collecting materials and elaborating his “History of the
Thirty Years’ War,” which was published in 1792. The conception of his
great dramatic Trilogy, the “Wallenstein,” which dates from 1791, was
allowed to languish until it was taken up again for Goethe, and finished
for Goethe in 1799. Goethe knew how to admire and encourage, but he also
knew how to criticise and advise. Schiller, by nature meditative rather
than observant, had been most powerfully attracted by Kant’s ideal
philosophy. Next to his historical researches, most of his time at Jena
was given to metaphysical studies. Not only his mind, but his language
suffered from the attenuating influences of that rarefied atmosphere which
pervades the higher regions of metaphysical thought. His mind was
attracted by the general and the ideal, and lost all interest in the
individual and the real. This was not a right frame of mind, either for an
historian or a dramatic poet. In Goethe, too, the philosophical element
was strong, but it was kept under by the practical tendencies of his mind.
Schiller looked for his ideal beyond the real world; and, like the
pictures of a Raphael, his conceptions seemed to surpass in purity and
harmony all that human eye had ever seen. Goethe had discovered that the
truest ideal lies hidden in real life; and like the master-works of a
Michael Angelo, his poetry reflected that highest beauty which is revealed
in the endless variety of creation, and must there be discovered by the
artist and the poet. In Schiller’s early works every character was the
personification of an idea. In his “Wallenstein” we meet for the first
time with real men and real life. In his “Don Carlos,” Schiller, under
various disguises more or less transparent, acts every part himself. In
“Wallenstein” the heroes of the “Thirty Years’ War” maintain their own
individuality, and are not forced to discuss the social problems of
Rousseau, or the metaphysical theories of Kant. Schiller was himself aware
of this change, though he was hardly conscious of its full bearing. While
engaged in composing his “Wallenstein,” he writes to a friend:—


    “I do my business very differently from what I used to do. The
    subject seems to be so much outside me that I can hardly get up
    any feeling for it. The subject I treat leaves me cold and
    indifferent, and yet I am full of enthusiasm for my work. With the
    exception of two characters to which I feel attached, Max
    Piccolomini and Thekla, I treat all the rest, and particularly the
    principal character of the play, only with the pure love of the
    artist. But I can promise you that they will not suffer from this.
    I look to history for limitation, in order to give, through
    surrounding circumstances, a stricter form and reality to my
    ideals. I feel sure that the historical will not draw me down or
    cripple me. I only desire through it to impart life to my
    characters and their actions. The life and soul must come from
    another source, through that power which I have already perhaps
    shown elsewhere, and without which even the first conception of
    this work would, of course, have been impossible.”


How different is this from what Schiller felt in former years! In writing
“Don Carlos,” he laid down as a principle, that the poet must not be the
painter but the lover of his heroes, and in his early days he found it
intolerable in Shakespeare’s dreams that he could nowhere lay his hand on
the poet himself. He was then, as he himself expresses it, unable to
understand nature, except at second-hand.

Goethe was Schiller’s friend, but he was also Schiller’s rival. There is a
perilous period in the lives of great men, namely, the time when they
begin to feel that their position is made, that they have no more rivals
to fear. Goethe was feeling this at the time when he met Schiller. He was
satiated with applause, and his bearing towards the public at large became
careless and offensive. In order to find men with whom he might measure
himself, he began to write on the history of Art, and to devote himself to
natural philosophy. Schiller, too, had gained his laurels chiefly as a
dramatic poet; and though he still valued the applause of the public, yet
his ambition as a poet was satisfied; he was prouder of his “Thirty Years’
War” than of his “Robbers” and “Don Carlos.” When Goethe became intimate
with Schiller, and discovered in him those powers which as yet were hidden
to others, he felt that there was a man with whom even he might run a
race. Goethe was never jealous of Schiller. He felt conscious of his own
great powers, and he was glad to have those powers again called out by one
who would be more difficult to conquer than all his former rivals.
Schiller, on the other hand, perceived in Goethe the true dignity of a
poet. At Jena his ambition was to have the title of Professor of History;
at Weimar he saw that it was a greater honor to be called a poet, and the
friend of Goethe. When he saw that Goethe treated him as his friend, and
that the Duke and his brilliant court looked upon him as his equal,
Schiller, too modest to suppose he had earned such favors, was filled with
a new zeal, and his poetical genius displayed for a time an almost
inexhaustible energy. Scarcely had his “Wallenstein” been finished, in
1799, when he began his “Mary Stuart.” This play was finished in the
summer of 1800, and a new one was taken in hand in the same year,—the
“Maid of Orleans.” In the spring of 1801 the “Maid of Orleans” appeared on
the stage, to be followed in 1803 by the “Bride of Messina,” and in 1804
by his last great work, his “William Tell.” During the same time Schiller
composed his best ballads, his “Song of the Bell,” his epigrams, and his
beautiful Elegy, not to mention his translations and adaptations of
English and French plays for the theatre at Weimar. After his “William
Tell” Schiller could feel that he no longer owed his place by the side of
Goethe to favor and friendship, but to his own work and worth. His race
was run, his laurels gained. His health, however, was broken, and his
bodily frame too weak to support the strain of his mighty spirit. Death
came to his relief, giving rest to his mind, and immortality to his name.

Let us look back once more on the life of Schiller. The lives of great men
are the lives of martyrs; we cannot regard them as examples to follow, but
rather as types of human excellence to study and to admire. The life of
Schiller was not one which many of us would envy; it was a life of toil
and suffering, of aspiration rather than of fulfillment, a long battle
with scarcely a moment of rest for the conqueror to enjoy his hard-won
triumphs. To an ambitious man the last ten years of the poet’s life might
seem an ample reward for the thirty years’ war of life which he had to
fight single-handed. But Schiller was too great a man to be ambitious.
Fame with him was a means, never an object. There was a higher, a nobler
aim in his life, which upheld him in all his struggles. From the very
beginning of his career Schiller seems to have felt that his life was not
his. He never lived for himself; he lived and worked for mankind. He
discovered within himself how much there was of the good, the noble, and
the beautiful in human nature; he had never been deceived in his friends.
And such was his sympathy with the world at large that he could not bear
to see in any rank of life the image of man, created in the likeness of
God, distorted by cunning, pride, and selfishness. His whole poetry may be
said to be written on the simple text, “Be true, be good, be noble!” It
may seem a short text, but truth is very short, and the work of the
greatest teachers of mankind has always consisted in the unflinching
inculcation of these short truths. There is in Schiller’s works a kernel
full of immortal growth, which will endure long after the brilliant colors
of his poetry have faded away. That kernel is the man, and without it
Schiller’s poetry, like all other poetry, is but the song of sirens.
Schiller’s character has been subjected to that painful scrutiny to which,
in modern times, the characters of great men are subjected; everything he
ever did, or said, or thought, has been published; and yet it would be
difficult, in the whole course of his life, to point out one act, one
word, one thought, that could be called mean, untrue, or selfish. From the
beginning to the end Schiller remained true to himself; he never acted a
part, he never bargained with the world. We may differ from him on many
points of politics, ethics, and religion; but though we differ, we must
always respect and admire. His life is the best commentary on his poetry;
there is never a discrepancy between the two. As mere critics, we may be
able to admire a poet without admiring the man; but poetry, it should be
remembered, was not meant for critics only, and its highest purpose is
never fulfilled, except where, as with Schiller, we can listen to the poet
and look up to the man.

1859.



V. WILHELM MÜLLER.(13) 1794-1827.


Seldom has a poet in a short life of thirty years engraven his name so
deeply on the memorial tablets of the history of German poetry as Wilhelm
Müller. Although the youthful efforts of a poet may be appreciated by
those few who are able to admire what is good and beautiful, even though
it has never before been admired by others, yet in order permanently to
win the ear and heart of his people, a poet must live with the people, and
take part in the movements and struggles of his age. Thus only can he hope
to stir and mould the thoughts of his contemporaries, and to remain a
permanent living power in the recollections of his countrymen. Wilhelm
Müller died at the very moment when the rich blossoms of his poetic genius
were forming fruit; and after he had warmed and quickened the hearts of
the youth of Germany with the lyric songs of his own youth, only a short
span of time was granted him to show the world, as he did more especially
in his “Greek Songs” and “Epigrams,” the higher goal toward which he
aspired. In these his last works one readily perceives that his poetry
would not have reflected the happy dreams of youth only, but that he could
perceive the poetry of life in its sorrows as clearly as in its joys, and
depict it in true and vivid colors.

One may, I think, divide the friends and admirers of Wilhelm Müller into
two classes: those who rejoice and delight in his fresh and joyous songs,
and those who admire the nobleness and force of his character as shown in
the poems celebrating the war of Greek independence, and in his epigrams.
All poetry is not for every one, nor for every one at all times. There are
critics and historians of literature who cannot tolerate songs of youth,
of love, and of wine; they always ask “why?” and “wherefore?” and they
demand in all poetry, before anything else, high or deep thoughts. No
doubt there can be no poetry without thought, but there are thoughts which
are poetical without being drawn from the deepest depths of the heart and
brain, nay, which are poetical just because they are as simple and true
and natural as the flowers of the field or the stars of heaven. There is a
poetry for the old, but there is also a poetry for the young. The young
demand in poetry an interpretation of their own youthful feelings, and
first learn truly to understand themselves through those poets who speak
for them as they would speak for themselves, had nature endowed them with
melody of thought and harmony of diction. Youth is and will remain the
majority of the world, and will let no gloomy brow rob it of its poetic
enthusiasm for young love and old wine. True, youth is not over-critical;
true, it does not know how to speak or write in learned phrases of the
merits of its favorite poets. But for all that, where is the poet who
would not rather live in the warm recollection of the never-dying youth of
his nation than in voluminous encyclopædias, or even in the marble
Walhallas of Germany? The story and the songs of a miller’s man who loves
his master’s daughter, and of a miller’s daughter who loves a huntsman
better, may seem very trivial, commonplace, and unpoetical to many a man
of forty or fifty. But there are men of forty and fifty who have never
lost sight of the bright but now far-off days of their own youth, who can
still rejoice with those that rejoice, and weep with those that weep, and
love with those that love,—aye, who can still fill their glasses with old
and young, and in whose eyes every-day life has not destroyed the poetic
bloom that rests everywhere on life so long as it is lived with warm and
natural feelings. Songs which, like the “Beautiful Miller’s Daughter” and
the “Winter Journey,” could so penetrate and again spring forth from the
soul of Franz Schubert, may well stir the very depths of our own hearts,
without the need of fearing the wise looks of those who possess the art of
saying nothing in many words. Why should poetry be less free than painting
to seek for what is beautiful wherever a human eye can discover, wherever
human art can imitate it? No one blames the painter if, instead of giddy
peaks or towering waves, he delineates on his canvas a quiet narrow
valley, filled with a green mist, and enlivened only by a gray mill and a
dark brown mill-wheel, from which the spray rises like silver dust, and
then floats away, and vanishes in the rays of the sun. Is what is not too
common for the painter, too common for the poet? Is an idyl in the truest,
warmest, softest colors of the soul, like the “Beautiful Miller’s
Daughter,” less a work of art than a landscape by Ruysdael? And observe in
these songs how the execution suits the subject; their tone is thoroughly
popular, and reminds many of us, perhaps too much, of the popular songs
collected by Arnim and Brentano in “Des Knaben Wunderhorn.” But this could
not be helped. Theocritus could not write his idyls in grand Attic Greek;
he needed the homeliness of the Bœotian dialect. It was the same with
Wilhelm Müller, who must not be blamed for expressions which now perhaps,
more than formerly, may sound, to fastidious ears, too homely or
commonplace.

His simple and natural conception of nature is shown most beautifully in
the “Wanderer’s Songs,” and in the “Spring Wreath from the Plauen Valley.”
Nowhere do we find a labored thought or a labored word. The lovely spring
world is depicted exactly as it is, but over all is thrown the life and
inspiration of a poet’s eye and a poet’s mind, which perceives and gives
utterance to what others fail to see, and silent nature cannot utter. It
is this recognition of the beautiful in what is insignificant, of
greatness in what is small, of the marvelous in ordinary life,—yes, this
perception of the divine in every earthly enjoyment,—which gives its own
charm to each of Wilhelm Müller’s smallest poems, and endears them so
truly to those who, amidst the hurry of life, have not forgotten the
delight of absorption in nature, who have never lost their faith in the
mystery of the divine presence in all that is beautiful, good, and true on
earth. We need only read the “Frühlingsmahl,” or “Pfingsten” to see how a
whole world, aye, a whole heaven, may be mirrored in the tiniest drop of
dew.

And as enjoyment of nature finds so clear an echo in the poetry of Wilhelm
Müller, so also does the delight which man should have in man. Drinking
songs and table songs do not belong to the highest flights of poetry; but
if the delights of friendly meetings and greetings belong to some of the
brightest moments of human happiness, why should a poet hold them to be
beneath his muse? There is something especially German in all drinking
songs, and no other nation has held its wine in such honor. Can one
imagine English poems on port and sherry? or has a Frenchman much to tell
us of his Bordeaux, or even of his Burgundy? The reason that the poetry of
wine is unknown in England and France is, that in these countries people
know nothing of what lends its poetry to wine, namely, the joyous
consciousness of mutual pleasure, the outpouring of hearts, the feeling of
common brotherhood, which makes learned professors and divines, generals
and ministers, men once more at the sound of the ringing glasses. This
purely human delight in the enjoyment of life, in the flavor of the German
wine, and in the yet higher flavor of the German Symposium, finds it
happiest expression in the drinking songs of Wilhelm Müller. They have
often been set to music by the best masters, and have long been sung by
the happy and joyous. The name of the poet is often forgotten, whilst many
of his songs have become popular songs, just because they were sung from
the heart and soul of the German people, as the people were fifty years
ago, and as the best of them still are, in spite of many changes in the
Fatherland.

It is easy to see that a serious tone is not wanting even in the drinking
songs. The wine was good, but the times were bad. Those who, like Wilhelm
Müller, had shared in the great sufferings and the great hopes of the
German people, and who then saw that after all the sacrifices that had
been made, all was in vain, all was again as bad or even worse than
before, could with difficulty conceal their disaffection, however helpless
they felt themselves against the brutalities of those in power. Many, who
like Wilhelm Müller had labored to reanimate German popular feeling; who
like him had left the university to sacrifice as common soldiers their
life and life’s happiness to the freedom of the Fatherland, and who then
saw how the terror felt by the scarcely rescued princes of their
deliverers, and the fear of foreign nations of a united and strong
Germany, joined hand in hand to destroy the precious seed sown in blood
and tears,—could not always suppress their gloomy anger at such
faint-hearted, weak-minded policy. On the first of January, 1820, Wilhelm
Müller wrote thus, in the dedication of the second part of his “Letters
from Rome” to his friend Atterbom, the Swedish poet, with whom he had but
a short time before passed the Carnival time in Italy joyously and
carelessly: “And thus I greet you in your old sacred Fatherland, not
jokingly and merrily, like the book, whose writer seems to have become a
stranger to me, but earnestly and briefly; for the great fast of the
European world, expecting the passion, and waiting for deliverance, can
endure no indifferent shrug of the shoulders and no hollow compromises and
excuses. He who cannot act at this time, can yet rest and mourn.” For such
words, veiled as they were, resigned as they were, the fortress of Mayence
was at that time the usual answer.

“Deutsch und frei und stark und lauter
  In dem deutschen Land
Ist der Wein allein geblieben
  An der Rheines Strand.
Ist _der_ nicht ein Demagoge,
  Wer soll einer sein?
Mainz, du stolze Bundesfeste,
  Sperr ihn nur nicht ein.”(14)

That Wilhelm Müller escaped the petty and annoying persecutions of the
then police system, he owed partly to the retired life he led in his
little native country, partly to his own good spirits, which prevented him
from entirely sinking the man in the politician. He had some enemies in
the little court, whose Duke and Duchess were personally so attached to
him. A prosperous life such as his could not fail to attract envy, and his
frank, guileless character gave plenty of occasion for suspicion. But the
only answer which he vouchsafed to his detractors was:—

“Und lasst mir doch mein volles Glass,
Und lasst mir meinen guten Spass,
Mit unsrer schlechten Zeit!
Wer bei dem Weine singt und lacht,
Den thut, ihr Herrn, nicht in die Acht!
Ein Kind ist Fröhligkeit.”(15)

Wilhelm Müller evidently felt that when words are not deeds, or do not
lead to deeds, silence is more worthy of a man than speech. He never
became a political poet, at least never in his own country. But when the
rising of the Greeks appealed to those human sympathies of Christian
nations which can never be quite extinguished, and when here, too, the
faint-hearted policy of the great powers played and bargained over the
great events in the east of Europe instead of trusting to those principles
which alone can secure the true and lasting well-being of states, as well
as of individuals, then the long accumulated wrath of the poet and of the
man burst forth and found utterance in the songs on the Greek war of
independence. Human, Christian, political, and classical sympathies
stirred his heart, and breathed that life into his poems, which most of
them still possess. It is astonishing how a young man in a small isolated
town like Dessau, almost shut out from intercourse with the great world,
could have followed step by step the events of the Greek revolution,
seizing on all the right, the beauty, the grandeur of the struggle, making
himself intimately acquainted with the dominant characters, whilst he at
the same time mastered the peculiar local coloring of the passing events.
Wilhelm Müller was not only a poet, but he was intimately acquainted with
classic antiquity. He _knew_ the Greeks and the Romans. And just as during
his stay in Rome he recognized at all points the old in what was new, and
everywhere sought to find what was eternal in the eternal city, so now
with him the modern Greeks were inseparably joined with the ancient. A
knowledge of the modern Greek language appeared to him the natural
completion of the study of old Greek; and it was his acquaintance with the
popular songs of modern as well as of ancient Hellas that gave the color
which imparted such a vivid expression of truth and naturalness to his own
Greek songs. It was thus that the “Griechen Lieder” arose, which appeared
in separate but rapid numbers, and found great favor with the people. But
even these “Griechen Lieder” caused anxiety to the paternal governments of
those days:—

“Ruh und Friede will Europa—warum hast du sie gestört?
Warum mit dem Wahn der Freiheit eigenmächtig dich bethört?
Hoff’ auf keines Herren Hülfe gegen eines Herren Frohn:
Auch des Türkenkaisers Polster nennt Europa einen Thron.”(16)

His last poems were suppressed by the Censor, as well as his “Hymn on the
Death of Raphael Riego.” Some of these were first published long after his
death; others must have been lost whilst in the Censor’s hands.

Two of the Greek songs, “Mark Bozzaris,” and “Song before Battle,” may
help the English reader to form his own opinion both of the poetical
genius and of the character of Wilhelm Müller:—

MARK BOZZARI.(17)

Oeffne deine hohen Thore, Missolunghi, Stadt der Ehren,
Wo der Helden Leichen ruhen, die uns fröhlich sterben lehren,
Oeffne deine hohen Thore, öffne deine tiefen Grüfte,
Auf, und streue Lorberreiser auf den Pfad und in die Lüfte;
Mark Bozzari’s edlen Leib bringen wir zu dir getragen.
Mark Bozzari’s! Wer darf’s wagen, solchen Helden zu beklagen?
Willst zuerst du seine Wunden oder seine Siege zählen?
Keinem Sieg wird eine Wunde, keiner Wund’ ein Sieg hier fehlen.
Sieh auf unsern Lanzenspitzen sich die Turbanhäupter drehen,
Sieh, wie über seiner Bahre die Osmanenfahnen wehen,
Sieh, o sieh die letzten Werke, die vollbracht des Helden Rechte
In dem Feld von Karpinissi, wo sein Stahl im Blute zechte!
In der schwarzen Geisterstunde rief er unsre Schar zusammen.
Funken sprühten unsre Augen durch die Racht wie Wetterflammen,
Uebers Knie zerbrachen wir jauchzend unsrer Schwerter Scheiden,
Um mit Sensen einzumähen in die feisten Türkenweiden;
Und wir drückten uns die Hände, und wir strichen uns die Bärte,
Und der stampfte mit dem Fusze, und der rieb an seinem Schwerte.
Da erscholl Bozzari’s Stimme: “Auf, ins Lager der Barbaren!
Auf, mir nach! Verirrt euch nicht, Brüder, in der Feinde Scharen!
Sucht ihr mich, im Zelt des Paschas werdet ihr mich sicher finden.
Auf, mit Gott! Er hilft die Feinde, hilft den Tod auch überwinden!
Auf!” Und die Trompete risz er hastig aus des Bläsers Händen
Und stiesz selbst hinein so hell, dasz es von den Felsenwänden
Heller stets und heller muszte sich verdoppelnd widerhallen;
Aber heller widerhallt’ es doch in unsern Herzen allen.
Wie des Herren Blitz und Donner aus der Wolkenburg der Nächte,
Also traf das Schwert der Freien die Tyrannen und die Knechte;
Wie die Tuba des Gerichtes wird dereinst die Sünder wecken,
Also scholl durchs Türkenlager brausend dieser Ruf der Schrecken:
“Mark Bozzari! Mark Bozzari! Sulioten! Sulioten!”
Solch ein guter Morgengrusz ward den Schläfern da entboten.
Und sie rüttelten sich auf, und gleich hirtenlosen Schafen
Rannten sie durch alle Gassen, bis sie aneinander trafen
Und, bethört von Todesengeln, die durch ihre Schwärme gingen,
Brüder sich in blinder Wuth stürzten in der Brüder Klingen.
Frag’ die Nacht nach unsern Thaten; sie hat uns im Kampf gesehen—
Aber wird der Tag es glauben, was in dieser Nacht geschehen?
Hundert Griechen, tausend Türken: also war die Saat zu schauen
Auf dem Feld von Karpinissi, als das Licht begann zu grauen.
Mark Bozzari, Mark Bozzari, und dich haben wir gefunden—
Kenntlich nur an deinem Schwerte, kenntlich nur an deinen Wunden,
An den Wunden, die du schlugest, und an denen, die dich trafen—
Wie du es verheiszen hattest, in dem Zelt des Paschas schlafen.

Oeffne deine hohen Thore, Missolunghi, Stadt der Ehren,
Wo der Helden Leichen ruhen, die uns fröhlich sterben lehren,
Oeffne deine tiefen Grüfte, dasz wir in den heil’gen Stätten
Neben Helden unsern Helden zu dem langen Schlafe betten!—
Schlafe bei dem deutschen Grafen, Grafen Normann, Fels der Ehren,
Bis die Stimmen des Gerichtes alle Gräber werden leeren.

MARK BOZZARIS.

Open wide, proud Missolonghi, open wide thy portals high,
Where repose the bones of heroes, teach us cheerfully to die!
Open wide thy lofty portals, open wide thy vaults profound;
Up, and scatter laurel garlands to the breeze and on the ground!
Mark Bozzaris’ noble body is the freight to thee we bear,—
Mark Bozzaris’! Who for hero great as he to weep will dare?
Tell his wounds, his victories over! Which in number greatest be?
Every victory has its wound, and every wound its victory!
See, a turbaned head is grimly set on all our lances here!
See, how the Osmanli’s banner swathes in purple folds his bier!
See, O see the latest trophies, which our hero’s glory sealed,
When his glaive with gore was drunken on great Karpinissi’s field!
In the murkiest hour of midnight did we at his call arise;
Through the gloom like lightning-flashes flashed the fury from our eyes;
With a shout, across our knees we snapped the scabbards of our swords,
Better down to mow the harvest of the mellow Turkish hordes;
And we clasped our hands together, and each warrior stroked his beard,
And one stamped the sward, another rubbed his blade, and vowed its wierd.
Then Bozzaris’ voice resounded: “On, to the barbarian’s lair!
On, and follow me, my brothers, see you keep together there!
Should you miss me, you will find me surely in the Pasha’s tent!
On, with God! Through Him our foemen, death itself through Him is shent!
On!” And swift he snatched the bugle from the hands of him that blew,
And himself awoke a summons that o’er dale and mountain flew,
Till each rock and cliff made answer clear and clearer to the call,
But a clearer echo sounded in the bosom of us all!
As from midnight’s battlemented keep the lightnings of the Lord
Sweep, so swept our swords, and smote the tyrants and their slavish horde;
As the trump of doom shall waken sinners in their graves that lie,
So through all the Turkish leaguer thundered his appalling cry:
“Mark Bozzaris! Mark Bozzaris! Suliotes, smite them in their lair!”
Such the goodly morning greeting that we gave the sleepers there.
And they staggered from their slumber, and they ran from street to street,
Ran like sheep without a shepherd, striking wild at all they meet;
Ran, and frenzied by Death’s angels, who amidst their myriads strayed,
Brother, in bewildered fury, dashed and fell on brother’s blade.
Ask the night of our achievements! It beheld us in the fight,
But the day will never credit what we did in yonder night.
Greeks by hundreds, Turks by thousands, there like scattered seed they
            lay,
On the field of Karpinissi, when the morning broke in gray.
Mark Bozarris, Mark Bozarris, and we found thee gashed and mown
By thy sword alone we knew thee, knew thee by thy wounds alone;
By the wounds thy hand had cloven, by the wounds that seamed thy breast,
Lying, as thou hadst foretold us, in the Pasha’s tent at rest!

Open wide, proud Missolonghi, open wide thy portals high,
Where repose the bones of heroes, teach us cheerfully to die!
Open wide thy vaults! Within their holy bounds a couch we’d make,
Where our hero, laid with heroes, may his last long slumber take!
Rest beside that Rock of Honor, brave Count Normann, rest thy head,
Till, at the archangel’s trumpet, all the graves give up their dead!

LIED VOR DER SCHLACHT.

Wer für die Freiheit kampft und fällt, desz Ruhm wird blühend stehn,
Solange frei die Winde noch durch freie Lüfte wehn,
Solange frei der Bäume Laub noch rauscht im grünen Wald,
Solang’ des Stromes Woge noch frei nach dem Meere wallt,
Solang’ des Adlers Fittich frei noch durch die Wolken fleugt,
Solang’ ein freier Odem noch aus freiem Herzen steigt.

Wer für die Freiheit kämpft und fällt, desz Ruhm wird blühend stehn,
Solange freie Geister noch durch Erd’ und Himmel gehn.
Durch Erd’ und Himmel schwebt er noch, der Helden Schattenreihn,
Und rauscht um uns in stiller Nacht, in hellem Sonnenschein,
Im Sturm, der stolze Tannen bricht, und in dem Lüftchen auch,
Das durch das Gras auf Gräbern spielt mit seinem leisen Hauch,
In ferner Enkel Hause noch um alle Wiegen kreist
Auf Hellas’ heldenreicher Flur der freien Ahnen Geist;
Der haucht in Wunderträumen schon den zarten Säugling an
Und weiht in seinem ersten Schlaf das Kind zu einem Mann;
Den Jüngling lockt sein Ruf hinaus mit nie gefühlter Lust
Zur Stätte, wo ein Freier fiel; da greift er in die Brust
Dem Zitternden, und Schauer ziehn ihm durch das tiefe Herz,
Er weisz nicht, ob es Wonne sei, ob es der erste Schmerz.
Herab, du heil’ge Geisterschar, schwell’ unsre Fahnen auf,
Beflügle unsrer Herzen Schlag und unsrer Füse Lauf;
Wir ziehen nach der Freiheit aus, die Waffen in der Hand,
Wir ziehen aus auf Kampf und Tod für Gott, fürs Vaterland!
Ihr seid mit uns, ihr rauscht um uns, eu’r Geisterodem zieht
Mit zauberischen Tönen hin durch unser Jubellied;
Ihr seid mit uns, ihr schwebt daher, ihr aus Thermopylä,
Ihr aus dem grünen Marathon, ihr von der blauen See,
Am Wolkenfelsen Mykale, am Salaminerstrand,
Ihr all’ aus Wald, Feld, Berg und Thal im weiten Griechenland!

Wer für die Freiheit kampft und fällt, desz Ruhm wird blühend stehn,
Solange frei die Winde noch durch freie Lüfte wehn,
Solange frei der Bäume Laub noch rauscht im grünen Wald,
Solang’ des Stromes Woge noch frei nach dem Meere wallt,
Solang’ des Adlers Fittich frei noch durch die Wolken fleugt,
Solang’ ein freier Odem noch aus freiem Herzen steigt.

SONG BEFORE BATTLE.

Whoe’er for freedom fights and falls, his fame no blight shall know,
As long as through heaven’s free expanse the breezes freely blow,
As long as in the forest wild the green leaves flutter free,
As long as rivers, mountain-born, roll freely to the sea,
As long as free the eagle’s wing exulting cleaves the skies,
As long as from a freeman’s heart a freeman’s breath doth rise.

Whoe’er for freedom fights and falls, his fame no blight shall know,
As long as spirits of the free through earth and air shall go;
Through earth and air a spirit-band of heroes moves always,
’Tis near us at the dead of night, and in the noontide’s blaze,
In the storm that levels towering pines, and in the breeze that waves
With low and gentle breath the grass upon our fathers’ graves.
There’s not a cradle in the bounds of Hellas broad and fair,
But the spirit of our free-born sires is surely hovering there.
It breathes in dreams of fairy-land upon the infant’s brain,
And in his first sleep dedicates the child to manhood’s pain;
Its summons lures the youth to stand, with new-born joy possessed,
Where once a freeman fell, and there it fires his thrilling breast,
And a shudder runs through all his frame; he knows not if it be
A throb of rapture, or the first sharp pang of agony.
Come, swell our banners on the breeze, thou sacred spirit-band,
Give wings to every warrior’s foot, and nerve to every hand.
We go to strike for freedom, to break the oppressor’s rod,
We go to battle and to death for our country and our God.
Ye are with us, we hear your wings, we hear in magic tone
Your spirit-voice the pæan swell, and mingle with our own.
Ye are with us, ye throng around,—you from Thermopylæ,
You from the verdant Marathon, you from the azure sea,
By the cloud-capped rocks of Mykale, at Salamis,—all you
From field and forest, mount and glen, the land of Hellas through!

Whoe’er for freedom fights and falls, his fame no blight shall know,
As long as through heaven’s free expanse the breezes freely blow,
As long as in the forest wild the green leaves flutter free,
As long as rivers, mountain-born, roll freely to the sea,
As long as free the eagle’s wing exulting cleaves the skies,
As long as from a freeman’s heart a freeman’s breath doth rise.

When we remember all that was compressed into this short life, we might
well believe that this ceaseless acquiring and creating must have tired
and weakened and injured both body and mind. Such, however, was not the
case. All who knew the poet agree in stating that he never overworked
himself, and that he accomplished all he did with the most perfect ease
and enjoyment. Let us only remember how his life as a student was broken
into by his service during the war, how his journey to Italy occupied
several years of his life, how later in Dessau he had to follow his
profession as teacher and librarian, and then let us turn our thoughts to
all the work of his hands and the creations of his mind, and we are
astonished, not only at the amount of work done, but still more at the
finished form which distinguishes all his works. He was one of the first
who with Zeune, Von der Hagen, and the brothers Grimm, labored to reawaken
an interest in ancient and mediæval German literature. He was a favorite
pupil of Wolf, and his “Homerische Vorschule” did more than any other work
at that time to propagate the ideas of Wolf. He had explored the modern
languages of Europe,—French, Italian, English, and Spanish; and his
critiques in all these fields of literature show how intimately acquainted
he was with the best authors of these nations. Besides all this, he worked
regularly for journals and encyclopædias, and was engaged co-editor of the
great “Encyclopædia of Arts and Sciences,” by Ersch and Gruber. He also
undertook the publication of a “Library of the German Poets of the
Seventeenth Century,” and all this, without mentioning his poems and
novels, in the short space of a life of thirty-three years.

I almost forget that I am speaking of my father; for indeed I hardly knew
him, and when his scientific and poetic activity reached its end, he was
far younger than I am now. I do not believe, however, that a natural
affection and veneration for the poet deprives us of the right of judging.
It is well said that love is blind, but love also strengthens and sharpens
the dull eye, so that it sees beauty where thousands pass by unmoved. If
one reads most of our critical writings, it would almost appear as if the
chief duty of the reviewer were to find out the weak points and faults of
every work of art. Nothing has so injured the art of criticism as this
prejudice. A critic is a judge; but a judge, though he is no advocate,
should also be no prosecutor. The weak points of any work of art betray
themselves only too soon; but in order to discover its beauties, not only
a sharp, but an experienced eye is needed; and love and sympathy are
necessary above anything else. It is the heart that makes the critic, not
the nose. It is well known how many of the most beautiful spots in
Scotland, and Wales, and Cornwall, were not many years ago described as
wastes and wildernesses. Richmond and Hampton Court were admired, people
travelled also to Versailles, and admired the often admired blue sky of
Italy. But poets such as Walter Scott and Wordsworth discovered the
beauties of their native land. Where others had only lamented over bare
and wearisome hills, they saw the battle-fields and burial-places of the
primeval Titan struggles of nature. Where others saw nothing but barren
moors full of heather and broom, the land in their eyes was covered as
with a carpet softer and more variegated than the most precious loom of
Turkey. Where others lost their temper at the gray cold fog, they marveled
at the silver veil of the bride of the morning, and the gold illumination
of the departing sun. Now every cockney can admire the smallest lake in
Westmoreland or the barest moor in the Highlands. Why is this? Because few
eyes are so dull that they cannot see what is beautiful after it has been
pointed out to them, and when they know that they need not feel ashamed of
admiring it. It is the same with the beauties of poetry, as with the
beauties of nature. We must first discover what is beautiful in poetry,
and, when it is discovered, communicate it; otherwise the authors of
Scotch ballads are but strolling singers, and the Niebelungen songs are,
as Frederick the Great said, not worth powder and shot. The trade of
fault-finding is quickly learnt; the art of admiration is a difficult art,
at least for little minds, narrow hearts, and timid souls, who prefer
treading broad and safe paths. Thus many critics and literary historians
have rushed by the poems of Wilhelm Müller, just like travellers, who go
on in the beaten track, passing by on the right hand and on the left the
most beautiful scenes of nature, and who only stand still and open both
eyes and mouth when their “Murray” tells them there is something they
ought to admire. Should an old man who is at home here meet them on their
way, and counsel the travellers to turn for a moment from the high road in
order to accompany him through a shady path to a mill, many may feel at
first full of uneasiness and distrust. But when they have refreshed
themselves in the dark green valley with its lively mill stream and
delicious wood fragrance, they no longer blame their guide for having
called somewhat loudly to them to pause in their journey. It is such a
pause that I have tried in these few introductory lines to enforce on the
reader, and I believe that I too may reckon on pardon, if not on thanks,
from those who have followed my sudden call.

1858



VI. ON THE LANGUAGE AND POETRY OF SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN.


After all that has been written about the Schleswig-Holstein question, how
little is known about those whom that question chiefly concerns,—the
Schleswig-Holsteiners! There may be a vague recollection that, during the
general turmoil of 1848, the German inhabitants of the Duchies rose
against the Danes; that they fought bravely, and at last succumbed, not to
the valor, but to the diplomacy of Denmark. But, after the treaty of
London in 1852 had disposed of them as the treaty of Vienna had disposed
of other brave people, they sank below the horizon of European interests,
never to rise again, it was fondly hoped, till the present generation had
passed away.

Yet these Schleswig-Holsteiners have an interest of their own, quite apart
from the political clouds that have lately gathered round their country.
Ever since we know anything of the history of Northern Europe, we find
Saxon races established as the inhabitants of that northern peninsula
which was then called the _Cimbric Chersonese_. The first writer who ever
mentions the name of Saxons is Ptolemy,(18) and he speaks of them as
settled in what is now called Schleswig-Holstein.(19) At the time of
Charlemagne the Saxon race is described to us as consisting of three
tribes: the _Ostfalai_, _Westfalai_, and _Angrarii_. The _Westphalians_
were settled near the Rhine, the _Eastphalians_ near the Elbe, and the
intermediate country, washed by the Weser, was held by the _Angrarii_.(20)
The name of Westphalia is still in existence; that of Eastphalia has
disappeared, but its memory survives in the English _sterling_.
Eastphalian traders, the ancestors of the merchant princes of Hamburg,
were known in England by the name of _Easterlings_; and their money being
of the purest quality, _easterling_, in Latin esterlingus, shortened to
_sterling_, became the general name of pure or sterling money. The name of
the third tribe, the _Angrarii_, continued through the Middle Ages as the
name of a people; and to the present day, my own sovereign, the Duke of
Anhalt, calls himself Duke of “_Sachsen_, _Engern_, und _Westphalen_.” But
the name of the Angrarii was meant to fulfill another and more glorious
destiny. The name _Angrarii_ or _Angarii_(21) is a corruption of the older
name, _Angrivarii_, the famous German race mentioned by Tacitus as the
neighbors of the _Cherusci_. These _Angrivarii_ are in later documents
called _Anglevarii_. The termination _varii_(22) represents the same word
which exists in A.-S. as _ware_; for instance, in _Cant-ware_, inhabitants
of Kent, or _Cant-ware-burh_, Canterbury; _burh-ware_, inhabitants of a
town, burghers. It is derived from _werian_, to defend, to hold, and may
be connected with _wer_, a man. The same termination is found in
_Ansivarii_ or _Ampsivarii_; probably also in _Teutonoarii_ instead of
_Teutoni_, _Chattuari_ instead of _Chatti_.

The principal seats of these _Angrarii_ were, as we saw, between the Rhine
and Elbe, but Tacitus(23) knows of _Anglii_, _i.e._ _Angrii_, east of the
Elbe; and an offshoot of the same Saxon tribe is found very early in
possession of that famous peninsula between the Schlei and the Bay of
Flensburg on the eastern coast of Schleswig,(24) which by Latin writers
was called _Anglia_, _i.e._ _Angria_. To derive the name of _Anglia_ from
the Latin _angulus_,(25) corner, is about as good an etymology as the
kind-hearted remark of St. Gregory, who interpreted the name of _Angli_ by
_angeli_. From that Anglia, the _Angli_, together with the _Saxons_ and
_Juts_, migrated to the British Isles in the fifth century, and the name
of the _Angli_, as that of the most numerous tribe, became in time the
name of _Englaland_.(26) In the Latin laws ascribed to King Edward the
Confessor, a curious supplement is found, which states “that the _Juts_
(_Guti_) came formerly from the noble blood of the _Angli_, namely, from
the state of _Engra_, and that the English came from the same blood. The
Juts, therefore like the Angli of Germany, should always be received in
England as brothers, and as citizens of the realm, because the Angli of
England and Germany had always intermarried, and had fought together
against the Danes.”(27)

Like the Angli of Anglia, the principal tribes clustering round the base
of the Cimbric peninsula, and known by the general name of _Northalbingi_
or _Transalbiani_, also _Nordleudi_, were all offshoots of the Saxon stem.
Adam of Bremen (2, 15) divides them into _Tedmarsgoi_, _Holcetae_, and
_Sturmarii_. In these it is easy to recognize the modern names of
_Dithmarschen_, _Holtseten_ or _Holsten_, and _Stormarn_. It would require
more space than we can afford, were we to enter into the arguments by
which Grimm has endeavored to identify the _Dithmarschen_ with the
_Teutoni_, the _Stormarn_ with the _Cimbri_, and the _Holsten_ with the
_Harudes_. His arguments, if not convincing, are at least highly
ingenious, and may be examined by those interested in these matters, in
his “History of the German Language,” pp. 633-640.

For many centuries the Saxon inhabitants of those regions have had to bear
the brunt of the battle between the Scandinavian and the German races.
From the days when the German Emperor Otho I. (died 973) hurled his swift
spear from the northernmost promontory of Jutland into the German Ocean to
mark the true frontier of his empire, to the day when Christian IX. put
his unwilling pen to that Danish constitution which was to incorporate all
the country north of the Eider with Denmark, they have had to share in all
the triumphs and all the humiliations of the German race, to which they
are linked by the strong ties of a common blood and a common language.

Such constant trials and vicissitudes have told on the character of these
German borderers, and have made them what they are, a hardy and
determined, yet careful and cautious race. Their constant watchings and
struggles against the slow encroachments or sudden inroads of an enemy
more inveterate even than the Danes,—namely, the sea,—had imparted to them
from the earliest times somewhat of that wariness and perseverance which
we perceive in the national character of the Dutch and the Venetians. But
the fresh breezes of the German Ocean and the Baltic kept their nerves
well braced and their hearts buoyant; and for muscular development the
arms of these sturdy ploughers of the sea and the land can vie with those
of any of their neighbors on the isles or on the Continent.
_Holsten-treue_, _i.e._ Holstein-truth, is proverbial throughout Germany,
and it has stood the test of long and fearful trials.

There is but one way of gaining an insight into the real character of a
people, unless we can actually live among them for years; and that is to
examine their language and literature. Now it is true that the language
spoken in Schleswig-Holstein is not German,—at least not in the ordinary
sense of the word,—and one may well understand how travellers and
correspondents of newspapers, who have picked up their German phrases from
Ollendorf, and who, on the strength of this, try to enter into a
conversation with Holstein peasants, should arrive at the conclusion that
these peasants speak Danish, or, at all events, that they do not speak
German.

The Germans of Schleswig-Holstein are Saxons, and all true Saxons speak
Low-German, and Low-German is more different from High-German than English
is from Lowland Scotch. Low-German, however, is not to be mistaken for
vulgar German. It is the German which from time immemorial was spoken in
the low countries and along the northern sea-coast of Germany, as opposed
to the German of the high country, of Swabia, Thuringia, Bavaria, and
Austria. These two dialects differ from each other like Doric and Ionic;
neither can be considered as a corruption of the other; and however far
back we trace these two branches of living speech, we never arrive at a
point when they diverge from one common source. The Gothic of the fourth
century, preserved in the translation of the Bible by Ulfilas, is not, as
has been so often said, the mother both of High and Low German. It is to
all intents and purposes Low-German, only Low-German in its most primitive
form, and more primitive therefore in its grammatical framework than the
earliest specimens of High-German also, which date only from the seventh
or eighth century. This Gothic, which was spoken in the east of Germany,
has become extinct. The Saxon, spoken in the north of Germany, continues
its manifold existence to the present day in the Low-German dialects, in
Frisian, in Dutch, and in English. The rest of Germany was and is occupied
by High-German. In the West the ancient High-German dialect of the Franks
has been absorbed in French, while the German spoken from the earliest
times in the centre and south of Germany has supplied the basis of what is
now called the literary and classical language of Germany.

Although the literature of Germany is chiefly High-German, there are a few
literary compositions, both ancient and modern, in the different spoken
dialects of the country, sufficient to enable scholars to distinguish at
least nine distinct grammatical settlements; in the Low-German branch,
_Gothic_, _Saxon_, _Anglo-Saxon_, _Frisian_, and _Dutch_; in the
High-German branch, _Thuringian_, _Frankish_, _Bavarian_, and
_Alemannish_. Professor Weinhold is engaged at present in publishing
separate grammars of six of these dialects, namely, of _Alemannish_,
_Bavarian_, _Frankish_, _Thuringian_, _Saxon_, and _Frisian_: and in his
great German Grammar Jacob Grimm has been able to treat these, together
with the Scandinavian tongues, as so many varieties of one common,
primitive type of Teutonic speech.

But although, in the early days of German life, the Low and High German
dialects were on terms of perfect equality, Low-German has fallen back in
the race, while High-German has pressed forward with double speed.
High-German has become the language of literature and good society. It is
taught in schools, preached in church, pleaded at the bar; and, even in
places where ordinary conversation is still carried on in Low-German,
High-German is clearly intended to be the language of the future. At the
time of Charlemagne this was not so; and one of the earliest literary
monuments of the German language, the “Heliand,” _i.e._ the Saviour, is
written in Saxon or Low-German. The Saxon Emperors, however, did little
for German literature, while the Swabian Emperors were proud of being the
patrons of art and poetry. The language spoken at their court being
High-German, the ascendency of that dialect may be said to date from their
days, though it was not secured till the time of the Reformation, when the
translation of the Bible by Luther put a firm and lasting stamp on what
has since become the literary speech of Germany.

But language, even though deprived of literary cultivation, does not
easily die. Though at present people write the same language all over
Germany, the towns and villages teem everywhere with dialects, both High
and Low. In Hanover, Brunswick, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, the Free Towns,
and in Schleswig-Holstein, the lower orders speak their own German,
generally called _Platt-Deutsch_, and in many parts of Mecklenburg,
Oldenburg, Ostfriesland, and Holstein, the higher ranks too cling in their
every-day conversation to this more homely dialect.(28) Children
frequently speak two languages: High-German at school, Low-German at their
games. The clergyman speaks High-German when he stands in the pulpit; but
when he visits the poor, he must address them in their own peculiar
_Platt_. The lawyer pleads in the language of Schiller and Goethe; but
when he examines his witnesses he has frequently to condescend to the
vulgar tongue. That vulgar tongue is constantly receding from the towns;
it is frightened away by railways, it is ashamed to show itself in
parliament. But it is loved all the more by the people; it appeals to
their hearts, and it comes back naturally to all who have ever talked it
together in their youth. It is the same with the local patois of
High-German. Even where at school the correct High-German is taught and
spoken, as in Bavaria and Austria, each town still keeps its own patois,
and the people fall back on it as soon as they are among themselves. When
Maria Theresa went to the Burgtheater to announce to the people of Vienna
the birth of a son and heir, she did not address them in high-flown
literary German. She bent forward from her box, and called out: “_Hörts!
der Leopold hot án Buebá_”: “Hear! Leopold has a boy.” In German comedies,
characters from Berlin, Leipzig, and Vienna are constantly introduced
speaking their own local dialects. In Bavaria, Styria, and the Tyrol, much
of the poetry of the people is written in their patois; and in some parts
of Germany sermons even, and other religious tracts, continue to be
published in the local vernaculars.

There are here and there a few enthusiastic champions of dialects,
particularly of Low-German, who still cherish a hope that High-German may
be thrown back, and Low-German restored to its rights and former dominion.
Yet, whatever may be thought of the relative excellences of High and Low
German,—and in several points, no doubt, Low-German has the advantage of
High-German,—yet, practically, the battle between the two is decided, and
cannot now be renewed. The national language of Germany, whether in the
South or the North, will always be the German of Luther, Lessing,
Schiller, and Goethe. This, however, is no reason why the dialects,
whether of Low or High German, should be despised or banished. Dialects
are everywhere the natural feeders of literary languages; and an attempt
to destroy them, if it could succeed, would be like shutting up the
tributaries of great rivers.

After these remarks it will be clear that, if people say that the
inhabitants of Schleswig-Holstein do not speak German, there is some truth
in such a statement, at least just enough of truth to conceal the truth.
It might be said, with equal correctness, that the people of Lancashire do
not speak English. But, if from this a conclusion is to be drawn that the
Schleswig-Holsteiners, speaking this dialect, which is neither German nor
Danish, might as well be taught in Danish as in German, this is not quite
correct, and would deceive few if it were adduced as an argument for
introducing French instead of English in the national schools of
Lancashire.

The Schleswig-Holsteiners have their own dialect, and cling to it as they
cling to many things which, in other parts of Germany, have been discarded
as old-fashioned and useless. “_Oll Knust hölt Hus_,”—“Stale bread lasts
longest,”—is one of their proverbs. But they read their Bible in
High-German; they write their newspapers in High-German, and it is in
High-German that their children are taught, and their sermons preached in
every town and in every village. It is but lately that Low-German has been
taken up again by Schleswig-Holstein poets; and some of their poems,
though intended originally for their own people only, have been read with
delight, even by those who had to spell them out with the help of a
dictionary and a grammar. This kind of homespun poetry is a sign of
healthy national life. Like the songs of Burns in Scotland, the poems of
Klaus Groth and others reveal to us, more than anything else, the real
thoughts and feelings, the every-day cares and occupations, of the people
whom they represent, and to whose approval alone they appeal. But as
Scotland, proud though she well may be of her Burns, has produced some of
the best writers of English, Schleswig-Holstein, too, small as it is in
comparison with Scotland, counts among its sons some illustrious names in
German literature. Niebuhr, the great traveller, and Niebuhr, the great
historian, were both Schleswig-Holsteiners, though during their lifetime
that name had not yet assumed the political meaning in which it is now
used. Karsten Niebuhr, the traveller, was a Hanoverian by birth; but,
having early entered the Danish service, he was attached to a scientific
mission sent by King Frederick V. to Egypt, Arabia, and Palestine, in
1760. All the other members of that mission having died, it was left to
Niebuhr, after his return in 1767, to publish the results of his own
observations and of those of his companions. His “Description of Arabia,”
and his “Travels in Arabia and the Adjoining Countries,” though published
nearly a hundred years ago, are still quoted with respect, and their
accuracy has hardly ever been challenged. Niebuhr spent the rest of his
life as a kind of collector and magistrate at Meldorf, a small town of
between two and three thousand inhabitants, in Dithmarschen. He is
described as a square and powerful man, who lived to a good old age, and
who, even when he had lost his eyesight, used to delight his family and a
large circle of friends by telling them of the adventures in his Oriental
travels, of the starry nights of the desert, and of the bright moonlight
of Egypt, where, riding on his camel, he could, from his saddle, recognize
every plant that was growing on the ground. Nor were the listeners that
gathered round him unworthy of the old traveller. Like many a small German
town, Meldorf, the home of Niebuhr, had a society consisting of a few
government officials, clergymen, and masters at the public school; most of
them men of cultivated mind, and quite capable of appreciating a man of
Niebuhr’s powers. Even the peasants there were not the mere clods of other
parts of Germany. They were a well-to-do race, and by no means illiterate.
Their sons received at the Gymnasium of Meldorf a classical education, and
they were able to mix with ease and freedom in the society of their
betters. The most hospitable house at Meldorf was that of Boie, the High
Sheriff of Dithmarschen. He had formerly, at Göttingen, been the life and
soul of a circle of friends who have become famous in the history of
German literature, under the name of “Hainbund.” That “Hainbund,” or
Grove-club, included Bürger, the author of “Lenore;” Voss, the translator
of Homer; the Counts Stolberg, Hölty, and others. With Goethe, too, Boie
had been on terms of intimacy, and when, in after life, he settled down at
Meldorf, many of his old friends, his brother-in-law Voss, Count Stolberg,
Claudius, and others, came to see him and his illustrious townsman,
Niebuhr. Many a seed was sown there, many small germs began to ripen in
that remote town of Meldorf, which are yielding fruit at the present day,
not in Germany only, but here in England. The sons of Boie, fired by the
descriptions of the old, blind traveller, followed his example, and became
distinguished as explorers and discoverers in natural history. Niebuhr’s
son, young Barthold, soon attracted the attention of all who came to see
his father, particularly of Voss; and he was enabled by their help and
advice, to lay, in early youth, that foundation of solid learning which
fitted him, in the intervals of his checkered life, to become the founder
of a new era in the study of Ancient History. And how curious the threads
which bind together the destinies of men! how marvelous the rays of light
which, emanating from the most distant centres, cross each other in their
onward course, and give their own peculiar coloring to characters
apparently original and independent! We have read, of late, in the
Confessions of a modern St. Augustine, how the last stroke that severed
his connection with the Church of England was the establishment of the
Jerusalem bishopric. But for that event, Dr. Newman might now be a bishop,
and his friends a strong party in the Church of England. Well, that
Jerusalem bishopric owes something to Meldorf. The young schoolboy of
Meldorf was afterwards the private tutor and personal friend of the
Crown-Prince of Prussia, and he thus exercised an influence both on the
political and the religious views of King Frederick William IV. He was
likewise Prussian Ambassador at Rome, when Bunsen was there as a young
scholar, full of schemes, and planning his own journey to the East.
Niebuhr became the friend and patron of Bunsen, and Bunsen became his
successor in the Prussian embassy at Rome. It is well known that the
Jerusalem bishopric was a long-cherished plan of the King of Prussia,
Niebuhr’s pupil, and that the bill for the establishment of a Protestant
bishopric at Jerusalem was carried chiefly through the personal influence
of Bunsen, the friend of Niebuhr. Thus we see how all things are working
together for good or for evil, though we little know of the grains of dust
that are carried along from all quarters of the globe, to tell like
infinitesimal weights in the scales that decide hereafter the judgment of
individuals and the fate of nations.

If Holstein, and more particularly Dithmarschen, of which Meldorf had in
former days been the capital, may claim some share in Niebuhr the
historian,—if he himself, as the readers of his history are well aware, is
fond of explaining the social and political institutions of Rome by
references to what he had seen or heard of the little republic of
Dithmarschen,—it is certainly a curious coincidence that the only worthy
successor of Niebuhr, in the field of Roman history, Theodore Mommsen, is
likewise a native of Schleswig. His History of Rome, though it did not
produce so complete a revolution as the work of Niebuhr, stands higher as
a work of art. It contains the results of Niebuhr’s critical researches,
sifted and carried on by a most careful and thoughtful disciple. It is, in
many respects, a most remarkable work, particularly in Germany. The fact
that it is readable, and has become a popular book, has excited the wrath
of many critics, who evidently consider it beneath the dignity of a
learned professor that he should digest his knowledge, and give to the
world, not all and everything he has accumulated in his note-books, but
only what he considers really important and worth knowing. The fact,
again, that he does not load his pages with references and learned notes
has been treated like a _crimen lœsæ majestatis;_ and yet, with all the
clamor and clatter that has been raised, few authors have had so little to
alter or rectify in their later editions as Mommsen. To have produced two
such scholars, historians, and statesmen as Niebuhr and Mommsen, would be
an honor to any kingdom in Germany: how much more to the small duchy of
Schleswig-Holstein, in which we have been told so often that nothing is
spoken but Danish and some vulgar dialects of Low-German!

Well, even those vulgar dialects of Low-German, and the poems and novels
that have been written in them by true Schleswig-Holsteiners, are well
worth a moment’s consideration. In looking at their language, an
Englishman at once discovers a number of old acquaintances: words which we
would look for in vain in Schiller or Goethe. We shall mention a few.

_Black_ means black; in High-German it would be _schwarz_. _De black_ is
the black horse; _black up wit_ is black on white; _gif mek kil un blak_,
give me quill and ink. _Blid_ is _blithe_, instead of the High-German
_mild_. _Bottervogel_, or _botterhahn_, or _botterhex, is __butterfly__,
instead of __schmetterling__. It is a common superstition in_ the North of
Germany, that one ought to mark the first butterfly one sees in spring. A
white one betokens mourning, a yellow one a christening, a variegated one
a wedding. _Bregen_ or _brehm_ is used instead of the High-German
_gehirn_; it is the English _brain_. People say of a very foolish person,
that his brain is frozen, _de brehm is em verfrorn_. The peculiar English
but, which has given so much trouble to grammarians and etymologists,
exists in the Holstein _buten_, literally outside, the Dutch _buiten_, the
Old-Saxon _bi-ûtan_. _Buten_ in German is a regular contraction, just as
_binnen_, which means inside, within, during. _Heben_ is the English
heaven, while the common German name is _Himmel_. _Hückup_ is a sigh, and
no doubt the English _hiccough_. _Düsig_ is dizzy; _talkig_ is talkative.

There are some curious words which, though they have a Low-German look,
are not to be found in English or Anglo-Saxon. Thus _plitsch_, which is
used in Holstein in the sense of clever, turns out to be a corruption of
_politisch_, _i.e._ political. _Krüdsch_ means particular or over nice; it
is a corruption of _kritisch_, critical. _Katolsch_ means angry, mad, and
is a corruption of _catholic_, _i.e._ Roman Catholic. _Kränsch_ means
plucky, and stands for _courageux_. _Fränksch_, _i.e._ Frankish, means
strange; _Flämsch_, _i.e._ Flemish, means sulky, and is used to form
superlatives; _Polsch_, _i.e._ Polish, means wild. _Forsch_ means strong
and strength, and comes from the French _force_. _Klür_ is a corruption of
_couleur_, and _Kunkelfusen_ stands for confusion or fibs.

Some idiomatic and proverbial expressions, too, deserve to be noted.
Instead of saying, “The sun has set,” the Holsteiners, fond as they are of
their beer, particularly in the evening after a hard day’s work, say, “_De
Sünn geiht to Beer_,” “The sun goes to beer.” If you ask in the country
how far it is to some town or village, a peasant will answer, “_’n
Hunnblaff_,” “A dog’s bark,” if it is quite close; or “_’n Pip Toback_,”
“A pipe of tobacco,” meaning about half an hour. Of a conceited fellow
they say, “_Hê hört de Flégn hosten_,” “He hears the flies coughing.” If a
man is full of great schemes, he is told, “_In Gedanken fört de Bur ôk
in’t Kutsch_.” “In thought the peasant, too, drives in a coach.” A man who
boasts is asked, “_Pracher! häst ôk Lüs, oder schuppst di man so?_”
“Braggart! have you really lice, or do you only scratch yourself as if you
had?”

“_Holstein singt nicht_,” “Holstein does not sing,” is a curious proverb;
and if it is meant to express the absence of popular poetry in that
country, it would be easy to convict it of falsehood by a list of poets
whose works, though unknown to fame beyond the limits of their own
country, are cherished, and deservedly cherished, by their own countrymen.
The best known among the Holstein poets is Klaus Groth, whose poems,
published under the title of “Quickborn,” _i.e._ quick bourn, or living
spring, show that there is a well of true poetical feeling in that
country, and that its strains are all the more delicious and refreshing if
they bubble up in the native accent of the country. Klaus Groth was born
in 1819. He was the son of a miller; and, though he was sent to school, he
had frequently to work in the field in summer, and make himself generally
useful. Like many Schleswig-Holsteiners, he showed a decided talent for
mathematics; but, before he was sixteen, he had to earn his bread, and
work as a clerk in the office of a local magistrate. His leisure hours
were devoted to various studies: German, Danish, music, psychology,
successively engaged his attention. In his nineteenth year he went to the
seminary at Tondern to prepare himself to become a schoolmaster. There he
studied Latin, French, Swedish; and, after three years, was appointed
teacher at a girls’ school. Though he had to give forty-three lessons a
week, he found time to continue his own reading, and he acquired a
knowledge of English, Dutch, Icelandic, and Italian. At last, however, his
health gave way, and in 1847 he was obliged to resign his place. During
his illness his poetical talent, which he himself had never trusted,
became a source of comfort to himself and to his friends, and the warm
reception which greeted the first edition of his “Quickborn” made him what
he was meant to be,—the poet of Schleswig-Holstein.

His political poems are few; and, though a true Schleswig-Holsteiner at
heart, he has always declined to fight with his pen when he could not
fight with his sword. In the beginning of this year, however, he published
“Five Songs for Singing and Praying,” which, though they fail to give an
adequate idea of his power as a poet, may be of interest as showing the
deep feelings of the people in their struggle for independence. The text
will be easily intelligible with the help of a literal English
translation.

DUTSCHE EHR AND DUTSCHE EER.

I.

_Frühling_, 1848.

Dar keemn Soldaten æwer de Elf,
Hurah, hurah, na’t Norn!
Se keemn so dicht as Wagg an Wagg,
Un as en Koppel vull Korn.

Gundag, Soldaten! wo kamt jü her?
Vun alle Bargen de Krüz un Quer,
Ut dütschen Landen na’t dütsche Meer—
So wannert un treckt dat Heer.

Wat liggt so eben as weert de See?
Wat schint so gel as Gold?
Dat is de Marschen er Saat un Staat,
Dat is de Holsten er Stoet.

Gundag jü Holsten op dütsche Eer!
Gundag jü Friesen ant dütsche Meer!
To leben un starben vær dütsche Ehr
So wannert un treckt dat Heer.

German Honor and German Earth.

_Spring_, 1848.

There came soldiers across the Elbe,
Hurrah, hurrah, to the North!
They came as thick as wave on wave,
And like a field full of corn.

Good day, soldiers! whence do you come?
From all the hills on the right and left,
From German lands to the German sea,—
Thus wanders and marches the host.

What lies so still as it were the sea?
What shines so yellow as gold?
The splendid fields of the Marshes they are,
The pride of the Holsten race.

Good day, ye Holsten on German soil!
Good day, ye Friesians, on the German sea
To live and to die for German honor,—
Thus wanders and marches the host.

II.

_Sommer_, 1851.

Dat treckt so trurig æwer de Elf,
In Tritt un Schritt so swar—
De Swalw de wannert, de Hatbar treckt—
Se kamt wedder to tokum Jahr.

Ade, ade, du dütsches Heer!
“Ade, ade, du Holsten meer!
Ade op Hoffen un Wiederkehr!”
Wi truert alleen ant Meer.

De Storch kumt wedder, de Swalw de singt
So fröhlich as all tovær—
Wann kumt de dütsche Adler un bringt
Di wedder, du dütsche Ehr?

Wak op du Floth, wak op du Meer!
Wak op du Dunner, un week de Eer!
Wi sitt op Hæpen un Wedderkehr—
Wi truert alleen ant Meer.

_Summer_, 1851.

They march so sad across the Elbe,
So heavy, step by step,—
The swallow wanders, the stork departs,—
They come back in the year to come.

Adieu, adieu, thou German host!
“Adieu, adieu, thou Holsten sea!
Adieu, in hope, and to meet again!”
We mourn alone by the sea.

The stork comes back, the swallow sings
As blithe as ever before,—
When will the German eagle return,
And bring thee back, thou German honor!

Wake up, thou flood! wake up, thou sea!
Wake up, thou thunder, and rouse the land!
We are sitting in hope to meet again,—
We mourn alone by the sea.

III.

_Winter_, 1863.

Dar kumt en Brusen as Værjahswind,
Dat dræhnt as wær dat de Floth,—
Will’t Fröhjahr kamen to Wihnachtstid?
Hölpt Gott uns sülb’n inne Noth?

Vun alle Bargen de Krüz un Quer
Dar is dat wedder dat dütsche Heer!
Dat gelt op Nu oder Nimmermehr!
So rett se, de dütsche Ehr!

Wi hört den Adler, he kumt, he kumt!
Noch eenmal hæpt wi un harrt!
Is’t Friheit endlich, de he uns bringt?
ls’t Wahrheit, wat der ut ward?

Sunst hölp uns Himmel, nu geit’t ni mehr!
Hölp du, un bring uns den Herzog her!
Denn wüllt wi starben vær dütsche Ehr!
Denn begravt uns in dütsche Eer!

30 _December_, 1863.

_Winter_, 1863.

There comes a blast like winter storm;
It roars as it were the flood.
Is the spring coming at Christmas-tide?
Does God himself help us in our need?

From all the hills on the right and left,
There again comes the German host!
It is to be now or never!
O, save the German honor!

We hear the eagle, he comes, he comes!
Once more we hope and wait!
Is it freedom at last he brings to us?
Is it truth what comes from thence?

Else Heaven help us, now it goes no more!
Help thou, and bring us our Duke!
Then will we die for German honor!
Then bury us in German earth!

_December_ 30, 1863.

It is not, however, in war songs or political invective that the poetical
genius of Klaus Groth shows to advantage. His proper sphere is the quiet
idyl, a truthful and thoughtful description of nature, a reproduction of
the simplest and deepest feelings of the human heart, and all this in the
homely, honest, and heartfelt language of his own “Platt Deutsch.” That
the example of Burns has told on Groth, that the poetry of the Scotch poet
has inspired and inspirited the poet of Schleswig-Holstein, is not to be
denied. But to imitate Burns, and to imitate him successfully, is no mean
achievement, and Groth would be the last man to disown his master. The
poem “Min Jehann” might have been written by Burns. I shall give a free
metrical translation of it, but should advise the reader to try to spell
out the original; for much of its charm lies in its native form, and to
turn Groth even into High-German destroys his beauty as much as when Burns
is translated into English.

MIN JEHANN.

Ik wull, wi weern noch kleen, Jehann,
  Do weer de Welt so grot!
We seten op den Steen, Jehann,
  Weest noch? by Nawers Sot.
    An Heben sell de stille Maan,
    Wi segen, wa he leep,
    Un snacken, wa de Himmel hoch,
    Un wa de Sot wul deep.

Weest noch, wa still dat weer, Jehann?
  Dar röhr keen Blatt an Bom.
So is dat nu ni mehr, Jehann,
  As höchstens noch in Drom.
    Och ne, wenn do de Scheper sung—
    Alleen in’t wide Feld:
    Ni wahr, Jehann? dat weer en Ton—
    De eenzige op de Welt.

Mitünner inne Schummerntid
  Denn ward mi so to Mod,
Denn löppt mi’t langs den Rügg so hitt,
  As domals bi den Sot.
    Den dreih ik mi so hasti um,
    As weer ik nich alleen:
    Doch Allens, wat ik finn, Jehann,
    Dat is—ik stah un ween.

MY JOHN.

I wish we still were little, John,
  The world was then so wide!
When on the stone by neighbor’s bourn
  We rested side by side.
    We saw the moon in silver veiled
    Sail silent through the sky;
    Our thoughts were deeper than the bourn,
    And as the heavens high.

You know how still it was then, John;
  All nature seemed at rest;
So is it now no longer, John,
  Or in our dreams at best!
    Think when the shepherd boy then sang
    Alone o’er all the plain,
    Aye, John, you know, that was a sound
    We ne’er shall hear again.

Sometimes now, John, the eventides
  The self-same feelings bring,
My pulses beat as loud and strong
  As then beside the spring.
    And then I turn affrighted round,
    Some stranger to descry;
    But nothing can I see, my John,—
    I am alone and cry.

The next poem is a little popular ballad, relating to a tradition, very
common on the northern coast of Germany, both east and west of the
peninsula, of islands swallowed by the sea, their spires, pinnacles, and
roofs being on certain days still visible, and their bells audible, below
the waves. One of these islands was called _Büsen_, or _Old Büsum_, and is
supposed to have been situated opposite the village now called Büsen, on
the west coast of Dithmarschen. Strange to say, the inhabitants of that
island, in spite of their tragic fate, are represented rather in a comical
light, as the Bœotians of Holstein.

WAT SIK DAT VOLK VERTELLT.

_Ol Büsum._

Ol Büsen hggt int wille Haff,
De Floth de keem un wöhl en Graff.
De Floth de keem un spöl un spöl,
Bet se de Insel ünner wöhl.
Dar blev keen Steen, dar blev keen Pahl,
Dat Water schæl dat all hendal.
Dar weer keen Beest, dar weer keen Hund,
De ligt nu all in depen Grund.
Un Allens, wat der lev un lach,
Dat deck de See mit depe Nach.
Mitünner in de holle Ebb
So süht man vunne Hüs’ de Köpp.
Denn dukt de Thorn herut ut Sand,
As weert en Finger vun en Hand.
Denn hört man sach de Klocken klingn,
Denn hört man sach de Kanter singn;
Denn geit dat lisen dær de Luft:
“Begrabt den Leib in seine Gruft.”

WHAT THE PEOPLE TELL.

_Old Büsum._

Old Büsen sank into the waves;
The sea has made full many graves;
The flood came near and washed around,
Until the rock to dust was ground.
No stone remained, no belfry steep;
All sank into the waters deep.
There was no beast, there was no hound;
They all were carried to the ground.
And all that lived and laughed around
The sea now holds in gloom profound.
At times, when low the water falls,
The sailor sees the broken walls;
The church tower peeps from out the sand,
Like to the finger of a hand.
Then hears one low the church bells ringing
Then hears one low the sexton singing;
A chant is carried by the gust:
“Give earth to earth, and dust to dust.”

In the Baltic, too, similar traditions are current of sunken islands and
towns buried in the sea, which are believed to be visible at certain
times. The most famous tradition is that of the ancient town of
Vineta,—once, it is said, the greatest emporium in the north of
Europe,—several times destroyed and built up again, till, in 1183, it was
upheaved by an earthquake and swallowed by a flood. The ruins of Vineta
are believed to be visible between the coast of Pomerania and the island
of Rügen. This tradition has suggested one of Wilhelm Müller’s—my
father’s—lyrical songs, published in his “Stones and Shells from the
Island of Rügen,” 1825, of which I am able to give a translation by Mr. J.
A. Froude.

VINETA.

I.

Aus des Meeres tiefem, tiefem Grunde
  Klingen Abendglocken dumpf und matt,
Uns zu geben wunderbare Kunde
  Von der schönen alten Wunderstadt.

II.

In der Fluthen Sehooss hinabgesunken
  Blieben unten ihre Trümmer stehn,
Ihre Zinnen lassen goldne Funken
  Wiederscheinend auf dem Spiegel sehn.

III.

Und der Schiffer, der den Zauberschimmer
  Einmal sah im hellen Abendroth,
Nach derselben Stelle schifft er immer,
  Ob auch rings umher die Klippe droht.

IV.

Aus des Herzens tiefem, tiefem Grunde
  Klingt es mir, wie Glocken, dumpf und matt:
Ach, sie geben wunderbare Kunde
  Von der Liebe, die geliebt es hat.

V.

Eine schöne Welt ist da versunken,
  Ihre Trümmer blieben unten stehn,
Lassen sich als goldne Himmelsfunken
  Oft im Spiegel meiner Träume sehn.

VI.

Und dann möcht’ ich tauchen in die Tiefen,
  Mich versenken in den Wiederschein,
Und mir ist als ob mich Engel riefen
  In die alte Wunderstadt herein.

VINETA.

I.

From the sea’s deep hollow faintly pealing,
  Far off evening bells come sad and slow;
Faintly rise, the wondrous tale revealing
  Of the old enchanted town below.

II.

On the bosom of the flood reclining,
  Ruined arch and wall and broken spire,
Down beneath the watery mirror shining,
  Gleam and flash in flakes of golden fire.

III.

And the boatman who at twilight hour
  Once that magic vision shall have seen,
Heedless how the crags may round him lour,
  Evermore will haunt the charméd scene.

IV.

From the heart’s deep hollow faintly pealing,
  Far I hear them, bell-notes sad and slow,
Ah, a wild and wondrous tale revealing
  Of the drownéd wreck of love below.

V.

There a world, in loveliness decaying,
  Lingers yet in beauty ere it die;
Phantom forms, across my senses playing,
  Flash like golden fire-flakes from the sky.

VI.

Lights are gleaming, fairy bells are ringing,
  And I long to plunge and wander free,
Where I hear the angel-voices singing
  In those ancient towers below the sea.

I give a few more specimens of Klaus Groth’s poetry, which I have ventured
to turn into English verse, in the hope that my translations, though very
imperfect, may, perhaps on account of their very imperfection, excite
among some of my readers a desire to become acquainted with the originals.

HE SÄ MI SO VEL.

I.

He sä mi so vel, un ik sä em keen Wort,
Un all wat ik sä, weer: Jehann, ik mutt fort!

II.

He sä mi vun Lev un vun Himmel un Eer,
He sä mi vun allens—ik weet ni mal mehr!

III.

He sä mi so vel, un ik sä em keen Wort,
Un all wat ik sä, weer: Jehann, ik mutt fort!

IV.

He heeld mi de Hann, un he be mi so dull,
Ik schull em doch gut wen, un ob ik ni wull?

V.

Ik weer je ni bös, awer sä doch keen Wort,
Un all wat ik sä, weer: Jehann, ik mutt fort!

VI.

Nu sitt ik un denk, un denk jümmer deran
Mi düch, ik muss seggt hebbn: Wa geern, min Jehann!

VII.

Un doch, kumt dat wedder, so segg ik keen Wort,
Un hollt he mi, segg ik: Jehann, ik mutt fort!

HE TOLD ME SO MUCH.

I.

Though he told me so much, I had nothing to say,
And all that I said was, John, I must away!

II.

He spoke of his true love, and spoke of all that,
Of honor and heaven,—I hardly know what.

III.

Though he told me so much, I had nothing to say,
And all that I said was, John, I must away!

IV.

He held me, and asked me, as hard as he could,
That I too should love him, and whether I would?

V.

I never was wrath, but had nothing to say,
And all that I said was, John, I must away!

VI.

I sit now alone, and I think on and on,
Why did I not say then, How gladly, my John!

VII.

Yet even the next time, O what shall I say,
If he holds me and asks me?—John, I must away!

TÖF MAL!

Se is doch de stillste vun alle to Kark!
Se is doch de schönste vun alle to Mark!
So weekli, so bleekli, un de Ogen so grot,
So blau as en Heben un deep as en Sot.

Wer kikt wul int Water, un denkt ni sin Deel?
Wer kikt wul nan Himmel, un wünscht sik ne vel?
Wer süht er in Ogen, so blau un so fram,
Un denkt ni an Engeln, un allerhand Kram?

I.

In church she is surely the stillest of all,
She steps through the market so fair and so tall,

II.

So softly, so lightly, with wondering eyes,
As deep as the sea, and as blue as the skies.

III.

Who thinks not a deal when he looks on the main?
Who looks to the skies, and sighs not again?

IV.

Who looks in her eyes, so blue and so true,
And thinks not of angels and other things too?

KEEN GRAFF IS SO BRUT.

I.

Keen Graff is so brut un keen Müer so hoch,
Wenn Twe sik man gut sünd, so drapt se sik doch.

II.

Keen Wedder so gruli, so düster keen Nacht,
Wenn Twe sik man sehn wüllt, so seht se sik sacht.

III.

Dat gif wul en Maanschin, dar schint wul en Steern,
Dat gift noch en Licht oder Lücht un Lantern.

IV.

Dar fiunt sik en Ledder, en Stegelsch un Steg:
Wenn Twe sik man leef hebbt—keen Sorg vaer den Weg.

I.

No ditch is so deep, and no wall is so high,
If two love each other, they’ll meet by and by.

II.

No storm is so wild, and no night is so black,
If two wish to meet, they will soon find a track.

III.

There is surely the moon, or the stars shining bright,
Or a torch, or a lantern, or some sort of light;

IV.

There is surely a ladder, a step, or a stile,
If two love each other, they’ll meet ere long while.

JEHANN, NU SPANN DE SCHIMMELS AN!

I.

Jehann, nu spann de Schimmels an!
Nu fahr wi na de Brut!
Un hebbt wi nix as brune Per,
Jehann, so is’t ok gut!

II.

Un hebbt wi nix as swarte Per,
Jehann, so is’t ok recht!
Un bün ik nich uns Weerth sin Sœn,
So bün’k sin jüngste Knecht!

III.

Un hebbt wi gar keen Per un Wag’,
So hebbt wi junge Been!
Un de so glückli is as ik,
Jehann, dat wüll wi sehn!

MAKE HASTE, MY JOHN, PUT TO THE GRAYS.

I.

Make haste, my John, put to the grays,
We’ll go and fetch the bride,
And if we have but two brown hacks,
They’ll do as well to ride.

II.

And if we’ve but a pair of blacks,
We still can bear our doom,
And if I’m not my master’s son,
I’m still his youngest groom.

III.

And have we neither horse nor cart,
Still strong young legs have we,—
And any happier man than I,
John, I should like to see.

DE JUNGE WETFRU.

Wenn Abends roth de Wulken treckt,
So denk ik och! an di!
So trock verbi dat ganze Heer,
Un du weerst mit derbi.

Wenn ut de Böm de Blaeder fallt,
So denk ik glik an di:
So full so menni brawe Jung,
Un du weerst mit derbi.

Denn sett ik mi so truri hin,
Un denk so vel an di,
Ik et alleen min Abendbrot—
Un du büst nich derbi.

THE SOLDIER’S WIDOW.

When ruddy clouds are driving past,
’Tis more than I can bear;
Thus did the soldiers all march by,
And thou, too, thou wert there.

When leaves are falling on the ground,
’Tis more than I can bear;
Thus fell full many a valiant lad,
And thou, too, thou wert there.

And now I sit so still and sad,
’Tis more than I can bear;
My evening meal I eat alone,
For thou, thou art not there.

I wish I could add one of Klaus Groth’s tales (“Vertellen,” as he calls
them), which give the most truthful description of all the minute details
of life in Dithmarschen, and bring the peculiar character of the country
and of its inhabitants vividly before the eyes of the reader. But, short
as they are, even the shortest of them would fill more pages than could
here be spared for Schleswig-Holstein. I shall, therefore, conclude this
sketch with a tale which has no author,—a simple tale from one of the
local Holstein newspapers. It came to me in a heap of other papers,
fly-sheets, pamphlets, and books, but it shone like a diamond in a heap of
rubbish; and, as the tale of “The Old Woman of Schleswig-Holstein,” it may
help to give to many who have been unjust to the inhabitants of the
Duchies some truer idea of the stuff there is in that strong and staunch
and sterling race to which England owes its language, its best blood, and
its honored name.

“When the war against Denmark began again in the winter of 1863, offices
were opened in the principal towns of Germany for collecting charitable
contributions. At Hamburg, Messrs. L. and K. had set apart a large room
for receiving lint, linen, and warm clothing, or small sums of money. One
day, about Christmas, a poorly clad woman from the country stepped in and
inquired, in the pure Holstein dialect, whether contributions were
received here for Schleswig-Holstein. The clerk showed her to a table
covered with linen rags and such like articles. But she turned away and
pulled out an old leather purse, and, taking out pieces of money, began to
count aloud on the counter: ‘One mark, two marks, three marks,’ till she
had finished her ten marks. ‘That makes ten marks,’ she said, and shoved
the little pile away. The clerk, who had watched the poor old woman while
she was arranging her small copper and silver coins, asked her,—‘From whom
does the money come?’

“ ‘From me,’ she said, and began counting again, ‘One mark, two marks,
three marks.’ Thus she went on emptying her purse, till she had counted
out ten small heaps of coin, of ten marks each. Then, counting each heap
once over again, she said: ‘These are my hundred marks for
Schleswig-Holstein; be so good as to send them to the soldiers.’

“While the old peasant woman was doing her sums, several persons had
gathered round her; and, as she was leaving the shop, she was asked again
in a tone of surprise from whom the money came.

“ ‘From me,’ she said; and, observing that she was closely scanned, she
turned back, and looking the man full in the face, she added, smiling: ‘It
is all honest money; it won’t hurt the good cause.’

“The clerk assured her that no one had doubted her honesty, but that she
herself had, no doubt, often known want, and that it was hardly right to
let her contribute so large a sum, probably the whole of her savings.

“The old woman remained silent for a time, but, after she had quietly
scanned the faces of all present, she said: ‘Surely it concerns no one how
I got the money. Many a thought passed through my heart while I was
counting that money. You would not ask me to tell you all? But you are
kind gentlemen, and you take much trouble for us poor people. So I’ll tell
you whence the money came. Yes, I have known want; food has been scarce
with me many a day, and it will be so again, as I grow older. But our
gracious Lord watches over us. He has helped me to bear the troubles which
He sent. He will never forsake me. My husband has been dead this many and
many a year. I had one only son; and my John was a fine stout fellow, and
he worked hard, and he would not leave his old mother. He made my home
snug and comfortable. Then came the war with the Danes. All his friends
joined the army; but the only son of a widow, you know, is free. So he
remained at home, and no one said to him, “Come along with us,” for they
knew that he was a brave boy, and that it broke his very heart to stay
behind. I knew it all. I watched him when the people talked of the war, or
when the schoolmaster brought the newspaper. Ah, how he turned pale and
red, and how he looked away, and thought his old mother did not see it!
But he said nothing to me, and I said nothing to him, Gracious God, who
could have thought that it was so hard to drive our oppressors out of the
land? Then came the news from Fredericia! That was a dreadful night. We
sat in silence opposite each other. We knew what was in our hearts, and we
hardly dared to look at each other. Suddenly he rose and took my hand, and
said, “Mother!”—God be praised, I had strength in that moment—“John,” I
said, “our time has come; go in God’s name. I know how thou lovest me, and
what thou hast suffered. God knows what will become of me if I am left
quite alone, but our Lord Jesus Christ will forsake neither thee nor me.”
John enlisted as a volunteer. The day of parting came. Ah, I am making a
long story of it all! John stood before me in his new uniform. “Mother,”
he said, “one request before we part—if it is to be”—“John,” I said to
him, “I know what thou meanest,—O, I shall weep, I shall weep very much
when I am alone; but my time will come, and we shall meet again in the day
of our Lord, John! and the land shall be free, John! the land shall be
free!” ’

“Heavy tears stood in the poor old woman’s eyes as she repeated her sad
tale; but she soon collected herself, and continued: ‘I did not think then
it would be so hard. The heart always hopes even against hope. But for all
that’—and here the old woman drew herself up, and looked at us like a
queen—‘I have never regretted that I bade him go. Then came dreadful days;
but the most dreadful of all was when we read that the Germans had
betrayed the land, and that they had given up our land with all our dead
to the Danes! Then I called on the Lord and said, “O Lord, my God, how is
that possible? Why lettest Thou the wicked triumph and allowest the just
to perish?” And I was told that the Germans were sorry for what they had
done, but that they could not help it. But that, gentlemen, I could never
understand. We should never do wrong, nor allow wrong to be done. And,
therefore, I thought, it cannot always remain so; our good Lord knows his
own good time, and in his own good time He will come and deliver us. And I
prayed every evening that our gracious Lord would permit me to see that
day when the land should be free, and our dear dead should sleep no more
in Danish soil. And, as I had no other son against that day, I saved every
year what I could save, and on every Christmas Eve I placed it before me
on a table, where, in former years, I had always placed a small present
for my John, and I said in my heart, The war will come again, and the land
will be free, and thou shalt sleep in a free grave, my only son, my John!
And now, gentlemen, the poor old woman has been told that the day has
come, and that her prayer has been heard, and that the war will begin
again; and that is why she has brought her money, the money she saved for
her son. Good morning, gentlemen,’ she said, and was going quickly away.

“But, before she had left the room, an old gentleman said, loud enough for
her to hear, ‘Poor body! I hope she may not be deceived.’

“ ‘Ah,’ said the old woman, turning back, ‘I know what you mean; I have
been told all is not right yet. But have faith, men! the wicked cannot
prevail against the just; man cannot prevail against the Lord. Hold to
that, gentlemen; hold fast together, gentlemen! This very day I—begin to
save up again.’

“Bless her, good old soul! And, if Odin were still looking out of his
window in the sky as of yore, when he granted victory to the women of the
Lombards, might he not say even now:—

“ ‘When women are heroes,
What must the men be like?
Theirs is the victory;
No need of me.’ ”

1864.



VII. JOINVILLE.(29)


Our attention was attracted a few months ago by a review published in the
“Journal des Débats,” in which a new translation of Joinville’s “Histoire
de Saint Louis,” by M. Natalis de Wailly, a distinguished member of the
French Institute, was warmly recommended to the French public. After
pointing out the merits of M. de Wailly’s new rendering of Joinville’s
text, and the usefulness of such a book for enabling boys at school to
gain an insight into the hearts and minds of the Crusaders, and to form to
themselves a living conception of the manners and customs of the people of
the thirteenth century, the reviewer, whose name is well known in this
country as well as in France by his valuable contributions to the history
of medicine, dwelt chiefly on the fact that through the whole of
Joinville’s “Mémoires” there is no mention whatever of surgeons or
physicians. Nearly the whole French army is annihilated, the King and his
companions lie prostrate from wounds and disease, Joinville himself is
several times on the point of death; yet nowhere, according to the French
reviewer, does the chronicler refer to a medical staff attached to the
army or to the person of the King. Being somewhat startled at this remark,
we resolved to peruse once more the charming pages of Joinville’s History;
nor had we to read far before we found that one passage at least had been
overlooked, a passage which establishes beyond the possibility of doubt
the presence of surgeons and physicians in the camp of the French
Crusaders. On page 78 of M. de Wailly’s spirited translation, in the
account of the death of Gautier d’Autrèche, we read that when that brave
knight was carried back to his tent nearly dying, “several of the surgeons
and physicians of the camp came to see him, and not perceiving that he was
dangerously injured, they bled him on both his arms.” The result was what
might be expected: Gautier d’Autrèche soon breathed his last.

Having once opened the “Mémoires” of Joinville, we could not but go on to
the end, for there are few books that carry on the reader more pleasantly,
whether we read them in the quaint French of the fourteenth century, or in
the more modern French in which they have just been clothed by M. Natalis
de Wailly. So vividly does the easy gossip of the old soldier bring before
our eyes the days of St. Louis and Henry III., that we forget that we are
reading an old chronicle, and holding converse with the heroes of the
thirteenth century. The fates both of Joinville’s “Mémoires” and of
Joinville himself suggest in fact many reflections apart from mere
mediæval history; and a few of them may here be given in the hope of
reviving the impressions left on the minds of many by their first
acquaintance with the old Crusader, or of inviting others to the perusal
of a work which no one who takes an interest in man, whether past or
present, can read without real pleasure and real benefit.

It is interesting to watch the history of books, and to gain some kind of
insight into the various circumstances which contribute to form the
reputation of poets, philosophers, or historians. Joinville, whose name is
now familiar to the student of French history, as well as to the lover of
French literature, might fairly have expected that his memory would live
by his acts of prowess, and by his loyal devotion and sufferings when
following the King of France, St. Louis, on his unfortunate crusade. When,
previous to his departure for the Holy Land, the young Sénéchal de
Champagne, then about twenty-four years of age, had made his confession to
the Abbot of Cheminon; when, barefoot and in a white sheet, he was
performing his pilgrimages to Blehecourt (Blechicourt), St. Urbain, and
other sacred shrines in his neighborhood, and when on passing his own
domain he would not once turn his eyes back on the castle of Joinville,
“_pour ce que li cuers ne me attendrisist dou biau chastel que je lessoie
et de mes dous enfans_” (“that the heart might not make me pine after the
beautiful castle which I left behind, and after my two children”), he must
have felt that, happen what might to himself, the name of his family would
live, and his descendants would reside from century to century in those
strong towers where he left his young wife, Alix de Grandpré, and his son
and heir Jean, then but a few months old. After five years he returned
from his crusade, full of honors and full of wounds. He held one of the
highest positions that a French nobleman could hold. He was Sénéchal de
Champagne, as his ancestors had been before him. Several members of his
family had distinguished themselves in former crusades, and the services
of his uncle Geoffroi had been so highly appreciated by Richard Cœur de
Lion that he was allowed by that King to quarter the arms of England with
his own. Both at the court of the Comtes de Champagne, who were Kings of
Navarre, and at the court of Louis IX., King of France, Joinville was a
welcome guest. He witnessed the reigns of six kings,—of Louis VIII.,
1223-26; Louis IX., or St. Louis, 1226-70; Philip III., le Hardi, 1270-85
; Philip IV., le Bel, 1285-1314; Louis X., le Hutin, 1314-16 ; and Philip
V., le Long, 1316-22. Though later in life Joinville declined to follow
his beloved King on his last and fatal crusade in 1270, he tells us
himself how, on the day on which he took leave of him, he carried his
royal friend, then really on the brink of death, in his arms from the
residence of the Comte d’Auxerre to the house of the Cordeliers. In 1282
he was one of the principal witnesses when, previous to the canonization
of the King, an inquest was held to establish the purity of his life, the
sincerity of his religious professions, and the genuineness of his
self-sacrificing devotion in the cause of Christendom. When the daughter
of his own liege lord, the Comte de Champagne, Jeanne de Navarre, married
Philip le Bel, and became Queen of France, she made Joinville Governor of
Champagne, which she had brought as her dowry to the grandson of St.
Louis. Surely, then, when the old Crusader, the friend and counselor of
many kings, closed his earthly career, at the good age of ninety-five, he
might have looked forward to an honored grave in the Church of St.
Laurent, and to an eminent place in the annals of his country, which were
then being written in more or less elegant Latin by the monks of St.
Denis.

But what has happened? The monkish chroniclers, no doubt, have assigned
him his proper place in their tedious volumes, and there his memory would
have lived with that kind of life which belongs to the memory of Geoffroi,
his illustrious uncle, the friend of Philip Augustus, the companion of
Richard Cœur de Lion, whose arms were to be seen in the Church of St.
Laurent, at Joinville, quartered with the royal arms of England. Such
parchment or hatchment glory might have been his, and many a knight, as
good as he, has received no better, no more lasting reward for his loyalty
and bravery. His family became extinct in his grandson. Henri de
Joinville, his grandson, had no sons; and his daughter, being a wealthy
heiress, was married to one of the Dukes of Lorraine. The Dukes of
Lorraine were buried for centuries in the same Church of St. Laurent where
Joinville reposed, and where he had founded a chapel dedicated to his
companion in arms, Louis IX., the Royal Saint of France; and when, at the
time of the French Revolution, the tombs of St. Denis were broken open by
an infuriated people, and their ashes scattered abroad, the vaults of the
church at Joinville, too, shared the same fate, and the remains of the
brave Crusader suffered the same indignity as the remains of his sainted
King. It is true that there were some sparks of loyalty and self-respect
left in the hearts of the citizens of Joinville. They had the bones of the
old warrior and of the Dukes of Lorraine reinterred in the public
cemetery; and there they now rest, mingled with the dust of their faithful
lieges and subjects. But the Church of St. Laurent, with its tombs and
tombstones, is gone. The property of the Joinvilles descended from the
Dukes of Lorraine to the Dukes of Guise, and, lastly, to the family of
Orleans. The famous Duke of Orleans, Egalité, sold Joinville in 1790, and
stipulated that the old castle should be demolished. Poplars and fir-trees
now cover the ground of the ancient castle, and the name of Joinville is
borne by a royal prince, the son of a dethroned king, the grandson of
Louis Egalité, who died on the guillotine.

Neither his noble birth, nor his noble deeds, nor the friendship of kings
and princes, would have saved Joinville from that inevitable oblivion
which has blotted from the memory of living men the names of his more
eminent companions,—Robert, Count of Artois; Alphonse, Count of Poitiers;
Charles, Count of Anjou; Hugue, Duke of Burgundy; William, Count of
Flanders, and many more. A little book which the old warrior wrote or
dictated,—for it is very doubtful whether he could have written it
himself,—a book which for many years attracted nobody’s attention, and
which even now we do not possess in the original language of the
thirteenth or the beginning of the fourteenth centuries—has secured to the
name of Jean de Joinville a living immortality, and a fame that will last
long after the bronze statue which was erected in his native place in 1853
shall have shared the fate of his castle, of his church, and of his tomb.
Nothing could have been further from the mind of the old nobleman when, at
the age of eighty-five, he began the history of his royal comrade, St.
Louis, than the hope of literary fame. He would have scouted it. That kind
of fame might have been good enough for monks and abbots, but it would
never at that time have roused the ambition of a man of Joinville’s stamp.
How the book came to be written he tells us himself in his dedication,
dated in the year 1309, and addressed to Louis le Hutin, then only King of
Navarre and Count of Champagne, but afterwards King of France. His mother,
Jeanne of Navarre, the daughter of Joinville’s former liege lord, the last
of the Counts of Champagne, who was married to Philip le Bel, the grandson
of St. Louis, had asked him “to have a book made for her, containing the
sacred words and good actions of our King, St. Looys.” She died before the
book was finished, and Joinville, therefore, sent it to her son. How it
was received by him we do not know; nor is there any reason to suppose
that there were more than a few copies made of a work which was intended
chiefly for members of the royal family of France and of his own family.
It is never quoted by historical writers of that time; and the first
historian who refers to it is said to be Pierre le Baud, who, toward the
end of the fifteenth century, wrote his “Histoire de Bretagne.” It has
been proved that for a long time no mention of the dedication copy occurs
in the inventories of the private libraries of the Kings of France. At the
death of Louis le Hutin his library consisted of twenty-nine volumes, and
among them the History of St. Louis does not occur. There is, indeed, one
entry, “Quatre caiers de Saint Looys;” but this could not be meant for the
work of Joinville, which was in one volume. These four _cahiers_ or quires
of paper were more likely manuscript notes of St. Louis himself. His
confessor, Geoffroy de Beaulieu, relates that the King, before his last
illness, wrote down with his own hand some salutary counsels in French, of
which he, the confessor, procured a copy before the King’s death, and
which he translated from French into Latin.

Again, the widow of Louis X. left at her death a collection of forty-one
volumes, and the widow of Charles le Bel a collection of twenty volumes;
but in neither of them is there any mention of Joinville’s History.

It is not till we come to the reign of Charles V. (1364-80) that
Joinville’s book occurs in the inventory of the royal library, drawn up in
1373 by the King’s valet de chambre, Gilles Mallet. It is entered as “La
vie de Saint Loys, et les fais de son voyage d’outre mer;” and in the
margin of the catalogue there is a note, “Le Roy l’a par devers soy,”—“The
King has it by him.” At the time of his death the volume had not yet been
returned to its proper place in the first hall of the Louvre; but in the
inventory drawn up in 1411 it appears again, with the following
description:(30)—


    “Une grant partie de la vie et des fais de Monseigneur Saint Loys
    que fist faire le Seigneur de Joinville; très-bien escript et
    historié. Convert de cuir rouge, à empreintes, à deux fermoirs
    d’argent. Escript de lettres de forme en françois à deux
    coulombes; commençant au deuxième folio ‘et porceque,’ et au
    derrenier ‘en tele maniere.’ ”


This means, “A great portion of the life and actions of St. Louis which
the Seigneur de Joinville had made, very well written and illuminated.
Bound in red leather, tooled, with two silver clasps. Written in formal
letters in French, in two columns, beginning on the second folio with the
words ‘_et porceque_,’ and on the last with ‘_en tele maniere_.’ ”

During the Middle Ages and before the discovery of printing, the task of
having a literary work published, or rather of having it copied, rested
chiefly with the author; and as Joinville himself, at his time of life,
and in the position which he occupied, had no interest in what we should
call “pushing” his book, this alone is quite sufficient to explain its
almost total neglect. But other causes, too, have been assigned by M.
Paulin Paris and others for what seems at first sight so very strange,—the
entire neglect of Joinville’s work. From the beginning of the twelfth
century the monks of St. Denis were the recognized historians of France.
They at first collected the most important historical works of former
centuries, such as Gregory of Tours, Eginhard, the so-called Archbishop
Turpin, Nithard, and William of Jumièges. But beginning with the first
year of Philip I., 1060-1108, the monks became themselves the chroniclers
of passing events. The famous Abbot Suger, the contemporary of Abelard and
St. Bernard, wrote the life of Louis le Gros; Rigord and Guillaume de
Nangis followed with the history of his successors. Thus the official
history of St. Louis had been written by Guillaume de Nangis long before
Joinville thought of dictating his personal recollections of the King.
Besides the work of Guillaume de Nangis, there was the “History of the
Crusades,” including that of St. Louis, written by Guillaume, Archbishop
of Tyre, and translated into French, so that even the ground which
Joinville had more especially selected as his own was preoccupied by a
popular and authoritative writer. Lastly, when Joinville’s History
appeared, the chivalrous King, whose sayings and doings his old brother in
arms undertook to describe in his homely and truthful style, had ceased to
be an ordinary mortal. He had become a saint, and what people were anxious
to know of him were legends rather than history. With all the sincere
admiration which Joinville entertained for his King, he could not compete
with such writers as Geoffroy de Beaulieu (Gaufridus de Belloloco), the
confessor of St. Louis, Guillaume de Chartres (Guillelmus Carnotensis),
his chaplain, or the confessor of his daughter Blanche, each of whom had
written a life of the royal saint. Their works were copied over and over
again, and numerous MSS. have been preserved of them in public and private
libraries. Of Joinville one early MS. only was saved, and even that not
altogether a faithful copy of the original.

The first edition of Joinville was printed at Poitiers in 1547, and
dedicated to François I. The editor, Pierre Antoine de Rieux, tells us
that when, in 1542, he examined some old documents at Beaufort en Valée,
in Anjou, he found among the MSS. the Chronicle of King Louis, written by
a Seigneur de Joinville, Sénéchal de Champagne, who lived at that time,
and had accompanied the said St. Louis in all his wars. But because it was
badly arranged or written in a very rude language, he had it polished and
put in better order, a proceeding of which he is evidently very proud, as
we may gather from a remark of his friend Guillaume de Perrière, that “it
is no smaller praise to polish a diamond than to find it quite raw”
(_toute brute_).

This text, which could hardly be called Joinville’s, remained for a time
the received text. It was reproduced in 1595, in 1596, and in 1609.

In 1617 a new edition was published by Claude Menard. He states that he
found at Laval a heap of old papers, which had escaped the ravages
committed by the Protestants in some of the monasteries at Anjou. When he
compared the MS. of Joinville with the edition of Pierre Antoine de Rieux,
he found that the ancient style of Joinville had been greatly changed. He
therefore undertook a new edition, more faithful to the original.
Unfortunately, however, his original MS. was but a modern copy, and his
edition, though an improvement on that of 1547, was still very far from
the style and language of the beginning of the fourteenth century.

The learned Du Cange searched in vain for more trustworthy materials for
restoring the text of Joinville. Invaluable as are the dissertations which
he wrote on Joinville, his own text of the History, published in 1668,
could only be based on the two editions that had preceded his own.

It was not till 1761 that real progress was made in restoring the text of
Joinville. An ancient MS. had been brought from Brussels by the Maréchal
Maurice de Saxe. It was carefully edited by M. Capperonnier, and it has
served, with few exceptions, as the foundation of all later editions. It
is now in the Imperial Library. The editors of the “Recueil des Historiens
de France” express their belief that the MS. might actually be the
original. At the end of it are the words, “Ce fu escript en l’an de grâce
mil CCC et IX, on moys d’octovre.” This, however, is no real proof of the
date of the MS. Transcribers of MSS., it is well known, were in the habit
of mechanically copying all they saw in the original, and hence we find
very commonly the date of an old MS. repeated over and over again in
modern copies.

The arguments by which in 1839 M. Paulin Paris proved that this, the
oldest MS. of Joinville, belongs not to the beginning, but to the end of
the fourteenth century, seem unanswerable, though they failed to convince
M. Daunou, who, in the twentieth volume of the “Historiens de France,”
published in 1840, still looks upon this MS. as written in 1309, or at
least during Joinville’s life-time. M. Paulin Paris establishes, first of
all, that this MS. cannot be the same as that which was so carefully
described in the catalogue of Charles V. What became of that MS. once
belonging to the private library of the Kings of France, no one knows, but
there is no reason, even now, why it should not still be recovered. The
MS. of Joinville, which now belongs to the Imperial Library, is written by
the same scribe who wrote another MS. of “La Vie et les Miracles de Saint
Louis.” Now, this MS. of “La Vie et les Miracles” is a copy of an older
MS., which likewise exists at Paris. This more ancient MS., probably the
original, and written, therefore, in the beginning of the fourteenth
century, had been carefully revised before it served as the model for the
later copy, executed by the same scribe who, as we saw, wrote the old MS.
of Joinville. A number of letters were scratched out, words erased, and
sometimes whole sentences altered or suppressed, a red line being drawn
across the words which had to be omitted. It looks, in fact, like a
manuscript prepared for the printer. Now, if the same copyist who copied
this MS. copied likewise the MS. of Joinville, it follows that he was
separated from the original of Joinville by the same interval which
separates the corrected MSS. of “La Vie et les Miracles” from their
original, or from the beginning of the fourteenth century. This line of
argument seems to establish satisfactorily the approximate date of the
oldest MS. of Joinville as belonging to the end of the fourteenth century.

Another MS. was discovered at Lucca. As it had belonged to the Dukes of
Guise, great expectations were at one time entertained of its value. It
was bought by the Royal Library at Paris in 1741 for 360 livres, but it
was soon proved not to be older than about 1500, representing the language
of the time of François I. rather than of St. Louis, but nevertheless
preserving occasionally a more ancient spelling than the other MS. which
was copied two hundred years before. This MS. bears the arms of the
Princess Antoinette de Bourbon and of her husband, Claude de Lorraine, who
was “Duc de Guise, Comte d’Aumale, Marquis de Mayence et d’Elbeuf, and
Baron de Joinville.” Their marriage took place in 1513; he died in 1550,
she in 1583.

There is a third MS. which has lately been discovered. It belonged to M.
Brissart-Binet of Rheims, became known to M. Paulin Paris, and was lent to
M. de Wailly for his new edition of Joinville. It seems to be a copy of
the so-called MS. of Lucca, the MS. belonging to the Princess Antoinette
de Bourbon, and it is most likely the very copy which that Princess
ordered to be made for Louis Lasséré, canon of St. Martin of Tours who
published an abridgment of it in 1541. By a most fortunate accident it
supplies the passages from page 88 to 112, and from page 126 to 139, which
are wanting in the MS. of Lucca.

It must be admitted, therefore, that for an accurate study of the
historical growth of the French language, the work of Joinville is of less
importance than it would have been if it had been preserved in its
original orthography, and with all the grammatical peculiarities which
mark the French of the thirteenth and the beginning of the fourteenth
century. There may be no more than a distance of not quite a hundred years
between the original of Joinville and the earliest MS. which we possess.
But in those hundred years the French language did not remain stationary.
Even as late as the time of Montaigne, when French has assumed a far
greater literary steadiness, that writer complains of its constant change.
“I wrote my book,” he says in a memorable passage (“Essais,” liv. 3, c.
9)—


    “For few people and for a few years. If it had been a subject that
    ought to last, it should have been committed to a more stable
    language (_Latin_). After the continual variation which has
    followed our speech to the present day, who can hope that its
    present form will be used fifty years hence? It glides from our
    hands every day, and since I have lived it has been half changed.
    We say that at present it is perfect, but every century says the
    same of its own. I do not wish to hold it back, if it will fly
    away and go on deteriorating as it does. It belongs to good and
    useful writers to nail the language to themselves” (_de le clouer
    à eux_).


On the other hand, we must guard against forming an exaggerated notion of
the changes that could have taken place in the French language within the
space of less than a century. They refer chiefly to the spelling of words,
to the use of some antiquated words and expressions, and to the less
careful observation of the rules by which in ancient French the nominative
is distinguished from the oblique cases, both in the singular and the
plural. That the changes do not amount to more than this can be proved by
a comparison of other documents which clearly preserve the actual language
of Joinville. There is a letter of his which is preserved at the Imperial
Library at Paris, addressed to Louis X. in 1315. It was first published by
Du Cange, afterwards by M. Daunou, in the twentieth volume of the
“Historiens de France,” and again by M. de Wailly. There are, likewise,
some charters of Joinville, written in his _chancellerie_, and in some
cases with additions from his own hand. Lastly, there is Joinville’s
“Credo,” containing his notes on the Apostolic Creed, preserved in a
manuscript of the thirteenth century. This was published in the
“Collection des Bibliophiles Français,” unfortunately printed in
twenty-five copies only. The MS. of the “Credo,” which formerly belonged
to the public library of Paris, disappeared from it about twenty years
ago; and it now forms No. 75 of a collection of MSS. bought in 1849 by
Lord Ashburnham from M. Barrois. By comparing the language of these
thirteenth century documents with that of the earliest MS. of Joinville’s
History, it is easy to see that although we have lost something, we have
not lost very much, and that, at all events, we need not suspect in the
earliest MS. any changes that could in any way affect the historical
authenticity of Joinville’s work.(31)

To the historian of the French language, the language of Joinville, even
though it gives us only a picture of the French spoken at the time of
Charles V. or contemporaneously with Froissart, is still full of interest.
That language is separated from the French of the present day by nearly
five centuries, and we may be allowed to give a few instances to show the
curious changes both of form and meaning which many words have undergone
during that interval.

Instead of _sœur_, sister, Joinville still uses _sereur_, which was the
right form of the oblique case, but was afterwards replaced by the
nominative _suer_ or _sœur_. Thus, p. 424 E, we read, _quant nous menames
la serour le roy_, _i.e._ _quand nous menâmes la sœur du roi_; but p. 466
A, _l’abbaïe que sa suer fonda_, _i.e._ _l’abbaïe que sa sœur fonda_.
Instead of _ange_, angel, he has both _angle_ and _angre_, where the _r_
stands for the final _l_ of _angele_, the more ancient French form of
_angelus_. The same transition of final _l_ into _r_ may be observed in
_apôtre_ for _apostolus_, _chapitre_ for _capitulum_, _chartre_ for
_cartula_, _esclandre_ for _scandalum_. Instead of _vieux_, old, Joinville
uses _veil_ or _veel_ (p. 132 C, _le veil le fil au veil_, _i.e._ _le
vieux fils du vieux_); but in the nom. sing., _viex_, which is the Latin
_vetulus_ (p. 302 A, _li Viex de __ la Montaingne_, _i.e._ _le Vieux de la
Montagne_; but p. 304 A, _li messaige le Vieil_, _i.e._ _les messagers du
Vieux_.) Instead of _coude_, m., elbow, we find _coute_, which is nearer
to the Latin _cubitus_, cubit. The Latin _t_ in words like _cubitus_ was
generally softened in old French, and was afterwards dropped altogether.
As in _coude_, the _d_ is preserved in _aider_ for _adjutare_, in _fade_
for _fatuus_. In other words, such as _chaîne_ for _catena_, _roue_ for
_rota_, _épée_ for _spatha_, _aimêe_ for _amata_, it has disappeared
altogether. _True_ is _voir_, the regular modification of _verum_, like
_soir_ of _serum_, instead of the modern French _vrai_; _e.g._, p. 524 B,
_et sachiez que voirs estait_, _i.e._ _et sachez que c’était vrai_. We
still find _ester_, to stand (“_Et ne pooit ester sur ses pieds_,” “He
could not stand on his legs”). At present the French have no single word
for “standing,” which has often been pointed out as a real defect of the
language. “To stand” is _ester_, in Joinville; “to be” is _estre_.

In the grammatical system of the language of Joinville we find the
connecting link between the case terminations of the classical Latin and
the prepositions and articles of modern French. It is generally supposed
that the terminations of the Latin declension were lost in French, and
that the relations of the cases were expressed by prepositions, while the
_s_ as the sign of the plural was explained by the _s_ in the nom. plur.
of nouns of the third declension. But languages do not thus advance _per
saltum_. They change slowly and gradually, and we can generally discover
in what is, some traces of what has been.

Now the fact is that in ancient French, and likewise in Provençal, there
is still a system of declension more or less independent of prepositions.
There are, so to say, three declensions in old French, of which the second
is the most important and the most interesting. If we take a Latin word
like _annus_, we find in old French two forms in the singular, and two in
the plural. We find sing. _an-s_, _an_, plur. _an_, _ans_. If _an_ occurs
in the nom. sing. or as the subject, it is always _ans_; if it occur as a
gen., dat., or acc., it is always _an_. In the plural, on the contrary, we
find in the nom. _an_, and in all the oblique cases _ans_. The origin of
this system is clear enough, and it is extraordinary that attempts should
have been made to derive it from German or even from Celtic, when the
explanation could be found so much nearer home. The nom. sing. has the
_s_, because it was there in Latin; the nom. plur. has no _s_, because
there was no _s_ there in Latin. The oblique cases in the singular have no
_s_, because the accusative in Latin, and likewise the gen., dat., and
abl., ended either in vowels, which became mute, or in _m_, which was
dropped. The oblique cases in the plural had the _s_, because it was there
in the acc. plur., which became the general oblique case, and likewise in
the dat. and abl. By means of these fragments of the Latin declension, it
was possible to express many things without prepositions which in modern
French can no longer be thus expressed. _Le fils Roi_ was clearly the son
of the King; _il fil Roi_, the sons of the King. Again we find _li roys_,
the King, but _au roy_, to the King. Pierre Sarrasin begins his letter on
the crusade of St. Louis by _A seigneur Nicolas Arode, Jehan-s Sarrasin,
chambrelen-s le roy de France, salut et bonne amour_.

But if we apply the same principle to nouns of the first declension, we
shall see at once that they could not have lent themselves to the same
contrivance. Words like _corona_ have no _s_ in the nom. sing., nor in any
of the oblique cases; it would therefore be in French _corone_ throughout.
In the plural indeed there might have been a distinction between the nom.
and the acc. The nom. ought to have been without an _s_, and the acc. with
an _s_. But with the exception of some doubtful passages, where a nom.
plur. is supposed to occur in old French documents without an _s_, we find
throughout, both in the nom. and the other cases, the _s_ of the
accusative as the sign of the plural.

Nearly the same applies to certain words of the third declension. Here we
find indeed a distinction between the nom. and the oblique cases of the
singular, such as _flor-s_, the flower, with _flor_, of the flower; but
the plural is _flor-s_ throughout. This form is chiefly confined to
feminine nouns of the third declension.

There is another very curious contrivance by which the ancient French
distinguished the nom. from the acc. sing., and which shows us again how
the consciousness of the Latin grammar was by no means entirely lost in
the formation of modern French. There are many words in Latin which change
their accent in the oblique cases from what it was in the nominative. For
instance, _cantátor_, a singer, becomes _cantatórem_, in the accusative.
Now in ancient French the nom., corresponding to _cantator_, is
_chántere_, but the gen. _chanteór_, and thus again a distinction is
established of great importance for grammatical purposes. Most of these
words followed the analogy of the second declension, and added an _s_ in
the nom. sing., dropped it in the nom. plur., and added it again in the
oblique cases of the plural. Thus we get—

SINGULAR.                         PLURAL.
Nom.             Oblique Cases.   Nom.         Oblique Cases.
_chántere_       _chanteór_       _chanteór_   _chanteórs_
From _baro,      _baron_          _baron_      _barons_
baronis_
(O. Fr. _ber_)
_latro,          _larron_         _larron_     _larrons_
latronis_
(O. Fr.
_lierre_)
_senior,         _seignor_        _seignor_    _seignors_
senioris_
(O. Fr.
_sendre_)
(sire)

Thus we read in the beginning of Joinville’s History:—

_A son bon signour Looys, Jehans sires de Joinville salut et amour;_

and immediately afterwards, _Chiers sire_, not _Chiers seigneur_.

If we compare this old French declension with the grammar of modern
French, we find that the accusative or the oblique form has become the
only recognized form, both in the singular and plural. Hence—

[Corone]    [Ans]   [Flors]   [Chántere] le
                              chantre.
Corone      An      Flor      Chanteór le
                              chanteur.
[Corones]   [An]    [Flors]   [Chanteór].
Corones     Ans     Flors     Chanteórs.

A few traces only of the old system remain in such words as _fils_,
_bras_, _Charles_, _Jacques_, etc.

Not less curious than the changes of form are the changes of meaning which
have taken place in the French language since the days of Joinville. Thus,
_la viande_, which now only means meat, is used by Joinville in its
original and more general sense of _victuals_, the Latin _vivenda_. For
instance (p. 248 D), “_Et nous requeismes que en nous donnast la viande_,”
“And we asked that one might give us something to eat.” And soon after,
“_Les viandes que il nous donnèrent, ce furent begniet de fourmaiges qui
estoient roti au soliel, pour ce que li ver n’i venissent, et oef dur __
cuit de quatre jours ou de cinc_,” “And the viands which they gave us were
cheese-cakes roasted in the sun, that the worms might not get at them, and
hard eggs boiled four or five days ago.”

_Payer_, to pay, is still used in its original sense of pacifying or
satisfying, the Latin _pacare_. Thus a priest who has received from his
bishop an explanation of some difficulty and other ghostly comfort “_se
tint bin pour paié_” (p. 34 C), he “considered himself well satisfied.”
When the King objected to certain words in the oath which he had to take,
Joinville says that he does not know how the oath was finally arranged,
but he adds, “_Li amiral se tindrent lien apaié_,” “The admirals
considered themselves satisfied” (p. 242 C). The same word, however, is
likewise used in the usual sense of paying.

_Noise_, a word which has almost disappeared from modern French, occurs
several times in Joinville; and we can watch in different passages the
growth of its various meanings. In one passage Joinville relates (p. 198)
that one of his knights had been killed, and was lying on a bier in his
chapel. While the priest was performing his office, six other knights were
talking very loud, and “_Faisoient noise au prestre_,” “They annoyed or
disturbed the priest; they caused him annoyance.” Here _noise_ has still
the same sense as the Latin _nausea_, from which it is derived. In another
passage, however, Joinville uses _noise_ as synonymous with _bruit_ (p.
152 A), _Vint li roys à toute sa bataille, à grant noyse et à grant bruit
de trompes et nacaires_, _i.e._ _vint le roi avec tout son corps de
bataille, à grand cris et à grand bruit de trompettes et de timbales._
Here _noise_ may still mean an annoying noise, but we can see the easy
transition from that to noise in general.

Another English word, “to purchase,” finds its explanation in Joinville.
Originally _pourchasser_ meant to hunt after a thing, to pursue it.
Joinville frequently uses the expression “_par son pourchas_” (p. 458 E)
in the sense of “by his endeavors.” When the King had reconciled two
adversaries, peace is said to have been made _par son pourchas_.
“_Pourchasser_” afterwards took the sense of “procuring,” “catering,” and
lastly, in English, of “buying.”

To return to Joinville’s History, the scarcity of MSS. is very instructive
from an historical point of view. As far as we know at present, his great
work existed for centuries in two copies only, one preserved in his own
castle, the other in the library of the Kings of France. We can hardly say
that it was published, even in the restricted sense which that word had
during the fourteenth century, and there certainly is no evidence that it
was read by any one except by members of the royal family of France, and
possibly by descendants of Joinville. It exercised no influence; and if
two or three copies had not luckily escaped (one of them, it must be
confessed, clearly showing the traces of mice’s teeth), we should have
known very little indeed either of the military or of the literary
achievements of one who is now ranked among the chief historians of
France, or even of Europe. After Joinville’s History had once emerged from
its obscurity, it soon became the fashion to praise it, and to praise it
somewhat indiscriminately. Joinville became a general favorite both in and
out of France; and after all had been said in his praise that might be
truly and properly said, each successive admirer tried to add a little
more, till at last, as a matter of course, he was compared to Thucydides,
and lauded for the graces of his style, the vigor of his language, the
subtlety of his mind, and his worship of the harmonious and the beautiful,
in such a manner that the old bluff soldier would have been highly
perplexed and disgusted, could he have listened to the praises of his
admirers. Well might M. Paulin Paris say, “I shall not stop to praise what
everybody has praised before me; to recall the graceful _naïveté_ of the
good Sénéchal, would it not be, as the English poet said, ‘to gild the
gold and paint the lily white?’ ”

It is surprising to find in the large crowd of indiscriminate admirers a
man so accurate in his thoughts and in his words as the late Sir James
Stephen. Considering how little Joinville’s History was noticed by his
contemporaries, how little it was read by the people before it was printed
during the reign of François I., it must seem more than doubtful whether
Joinville really deserved a place in a series of lectures, “On the Power
of the Pen in France.” But, waiving that point, is it quite exact to say,
as Sir James Stephen does, “that three writers only retain, and probably
they alone deserve, at this day the admiration which greeted them in their
own,—I refer to Joinville, Froissart, and to Philippe de Comines?” And is
the following a sober and correct description of Joinville’s style?—


    “Over the whole picture the genial spirit of France glows with all
    the natural warmth which we seek in vain among the dry bones of
    earlier chroniclers. Without the use of any didactic forms of
    speech, Joinville teaches the highest of all wisdom—the wisdom of
    love. Without the pedantry of the schools, he occasionally
    exhibits an eager thirst of knowledge, and a graceful facility of
    imparting it, which attest that he is of the lineage of the great
    father of history, and of those modern historians who have taken
    Herodotus for their model.” (Vol. ii. pp. 209, 219.)


Now, all this sounds to our ears just an octave too high. There is some
truth in it, but the truth is spoilt by being exaggerated. Joinville’s
book is very pleasant to read, because he gives himself no airs, and tells
us as well as he can what he recollects of his excellent King, and of the
fearful time which they spent together during the crusade. He writes very
much as an old soldier would speak. He seems to know that people will
listen to him with respect, and that they will believe what he tells them.
He does not weary them with arguments. He rather likes now and then to
evoke a smile, and he maintains the glow of attention by thinking more of
his hearers than of himself. He had evidently told his stories many times
before he finally dictated them in the form in which we read them, and
this is what gives to some of them a certain finish and the appearance of
art. Yet, if we speak of style at all,—not of the style of thought, but of
the style of language,—the blemishes in Joinville’s History are so
apparent that one feels reluctant to point them out. He repeats his words,
he repeats his remarks, he drops the thread of his story, begins a new
subject, leaves it because, as he says himself, it would carry him too
far, and then, after a time, returns to it again. His descriptions of the
scenery where the camp was pitched, and the battles fought, are neither
sufficiently broad nor sufficiently distinct to give the reader that view
of the whole which he receives from such writers as Cæsar, Thiers,
Carlyle, or Russell. Nor is there any attempt at describing or analyzing
the character of the principal actors in the crusade of St. Louis, beyond
relating some of their remarks or occasional conversations. It is an
ungrateful task to draw up these indictments against a man whom one
probably admires much more sincerely than those who bespatter him with
undeserved praise. Joinville’s book is readable, and it is readable even
in spite of the antiquated and sometimes difficult language in which it is
written. There are few books of which we could say the same. What makes
his book readable is partly the interest attaching to the subject of which
it treats, but far more the simple, natural, straightforward way in which
Joinville tells what he has to tell. From one point of view it may be
truly said that no higher praise could be bestowed on any style than to
say that it is simple, natural, straightforward, and charming. But if his
indiscriminate admirers had appreciated this artless art, they would not
have applied to the pleasant gossip of an old general epithets that are
appropriate only to the masterpieces of classical literature.

It is important to bear in mind what suggested to Joinville the first idea
of writing his book. He was asked to do so by the Queen of Philip le Bel.
After the death of the Queen, however, Joinville did not dedicate his work
to the King, but to his son, who was then the heir apparent. This may be
explained by the fact that he himself was Sénéchal de Champagne, and
Louis, the son of Philip le Bel, Comte de Champagne. But it admits of
another and more probable explanation. Joinville was dissatisfied with the
proceedings of Philip le Bel, and from the very beginning of his reign he
opposed his encroachments on the privileges of the nobility and the
liberties of the people. He was punished for his opposition, and excluded
from the assemblies in Champagne in 1287; and though his name appeared
again on the roll in 1291, Joinville then occupied only the sixth instead
of the first place. In 1314 matters came to a crisis in Champagne, and
Joinville called together the nobility in order to declare openly against
the King. The opportune death of Philip alone prevented the breaking out
of a rebellion. It is true that there are no direct allusions to these
matters in the body of Joinville’s book, yet an impression is left on the
reader that he wrote some portion of the Life of St. Louis as a lesson to
the young prince to whom it is dedicated. Once or twice, indeed, he uses
language which sounds ominous, and which would hardly be tolerated in
France, even after the lapse of five centuries. When speaking of the great
honor which St. Louis conferred on his family, he says “that it was,
indeed, a great honor to those of his descendants who would follow his
example by good works, but a great dishonor to those who would do evil.
For people would point at them with their fingers, and would say that the
sainted King from whom they descended would have despised such
wickedness.” There is another passage even stronger than this. After
relating how St. Louis escaped from many dangers by the grace of God, he
suddenly exclaims, “Let the King who now reigns (Philip le Bel) take care,
for he has escaped from as great dangers—nay, from greater ones—than we;
let him see whether he cannot amend his evil ways, so that God may not
strike him and his affairs cruelly.”

This surely is strong language, considering that it was used in a book
dedicated to the son of the then reigning King. To the father of Philip le
Bel, Joinville seems to have spoken with the same frankness as to his son;
and he tells us himself how he reproved the King, Philip le Hardi, for his
extravagant dress, and admonished him to follow the example of his father.
Similar remarks occur again and again; and though the Life of St. Louis
was certainly not written merely for didactic purposes, yet one cannot
help seeing that it was written with a practical object. In the
introduction Joinville says, “I send the book to you, that you and your
brother and others who hear it may take an example, and that they may
carry it out in their life, for which God will bless them.” And again (p.
268), “These things shall I cause to be written, that those who hear them
may have faith in God in their persecutions and tribulations, and God will
help them, as He did me.” Again (p. 380), “These things I have told you,
that you may guard against taking an oath without reason, for, as the wise
say, ‘He who swears readily, forswears himself readily.’ ”

It seems, therefore, that when Joinville took to dictating his
recollections of St. Louis, he did so partly to redeem a promise given to
the Queen, who, he says, loved him much, and whom he could not refuse,
partly to place in the hands of the young princes a book full of
historical lessons which they might read, mark, and inwardly digest.

And well might he do so, and well might his book be read by all young
princes, and by all who are able to learn a lesson from the pages of
history; for few kings, if any, did ever wear their crowns so worthily as
Louis IX. of France; and few saints, if any, did deserve their halo better
than St. Louis. Here lies the deep and lasting interest of Joinville’s
work. It allows us an insight into a life which we could hardly realize,
nay, which we should hardly believe in, unless we had the testimony of
that trusty witness, Joinville, the King’s friend and comrade. The
legendary lives of St. Louis would have destroyed in the eyes of posterity
the real greatness and the real sanctity of the King’s character. We
should never have known the man, but only his saintly caricature. After
reading Joinville, we must make up our mind that such a life as he there
describes was really lived, and was lived in those very palaces which we
are accustomed to consider as the sinks of wickedness and vice. From other
descriptions we might have imagined Louis IX. as a bigoted, priest-ridden,
credulous King. From Joinville we learn that, though unwavering in his
faith, and most strict in the observance of his religious duties, the King
was by no means narrow in his sympathies, or partial to the encroachments
of priestcraft. We find Joinville speaking to the King on subjects of
religion with the greatest freedom, and as no courtier would have dared to
speak during the later years of Louis XIV.’s reign. When the King asked
him whether in the holy week he ever washed the feet of the poor,
Joinville replied that he would never wash the feet of such villains. For
this remark he was, no doubt, reproved by the King, who, as we are told by
Beaulieu, with the most unpleasant details, washed the feet of the poor
every Saturday. But the reply, though somewhat irreverent, is,
nevertheless, highly creditable to the courtier’s frankness. Another time
he shocked his royal friend still more by telling him, in the presence of
several priests, that he would rather have committed thirty mortal sins
than be a leper. The King said nothing at the time, but he sent for him
the next day, and reproved him in the most gentle manner for his
thoughtless speech.

Joinville, too, with all the respect which he entertained for his King,
would never hesitate to speak his mind when he thought that the King was
in the wrong. On one occasion the Abbot of Cluny presented the King with
two horses, worth five hundred _livres_. The next day the Abbot came again
to the King to discuss some matters of business. Joinville observed that
the King listened to him with marked attention. After the Abbot was gone,
he went to the King, and said, “ ‘Sire, may I ask you whether you listened
to the Abbot more cheerfully because he presented you yesterday with two
horses?’ The King meditated for a time, and then said to me, ‘Truly, yes.’
‘Sire,’ said I, ‘do you know why I asked you this question?’ ‘Why?’ said
he. ‘Because, Sire,’ I said, ‘I advise you, when you return to France, to
prohibit all sworn counselors from accepting anything from those who have
to bring their affairs before them. For you may be certain, if they accept
anything, they will listen more cheerfully and attentively to those who
give, as you did yourself with the Abbot of Cluny.’ ”

Surely a king who could listen to such language is not likely to have had
his court filled with hypocrites, whether lay or clerical. The bishops,
though they might count on the King for any help he could give them in the
great work of teaching, raising, and comforting the people, tried in vain
to make him commit an injustice in defense of what they considered
religion. One day a numerous deputation of prelates asked for an
interview. It was readily granted. When they appeared before the King,
their spokesman said, “Sire, these lords who are here, archbishops and
bishops, have asked me to tell you that Christianity is perishing at your
hands.” The King signed himself with the cross, and said, “Tell me how can
that be?” “Sire,” he said, “it is because people care so little nowadays
for excommunication that they would rather die excommunicated than have
themselves absolved and give satisfaction to the Church. Now, we pray you,
Sire, for the sake of God, and because it is your duty, that you command
your provosts and bailiffs that by seizing the goods of those who allow
themselves to be excommunicated for the space of one year, they may force
them to come and be absolved.” Then the King replied that he would do this
willingly with all those of whom it could be _proved_ that they were in
the wrong (which would, in fact, have given the King jurisdiction in
ecclesiastical matters). The bishops said that they could not do this at
any price; they would never bring their causes before his court. Then the
King said he could not do it otherwise, for it would be against God and
against reason. He reminded them of the case of the Comte de Bretagne, who
had been excommunicated by the prelates of Brittany for the space of seven
years, and who, when he appealed to the Pope, gained his cause, while the
prelates were condemned. “Now then,” the King said, “if I had forced the
Comte de Bretagne to get absolution from the prelates after the first
year, should I not have sinned against God and against him?”

This is not the language of a bigoted man; and if we find in the life of
St. Louis traces of what in our age we might feel inclined to call bigotry
or credulity, we must consider that the religious and intellectual
atmosphere of the reign of St. Louis was very different from our own.
There are, no doubt, some of the sayings and doings recorded by Joinville
of his beloved King which at present would be unanimously condemned even
by the most orthodox and narrow-minded. Think of an assembly of
theologians in the monastery of Cluny who had invited a distinguished
rabbi to discuss certain points of Christian doctrine with them. A knight,
who happened to be staying with the abbot, asked for leave to open the
discussion, and he addressed the Jew in the following words: “Do you
believe that the Virgin Mary was a virgin and Mother of God?” When the Jew
replied, “No!” the knight took his crutch and felled the poor Jew to the
ground. The King, who relates this to Joinville, draws one very wise
lesson from, it—namely, that no one who is not a very good theologian
should enter upon a controversy with Jews on such subjects. But when he
goes on to say that a layman who hears the Christian religion evil spoken
of should take to the sword as the right weapon of defense, and run it
into the miscreant’s body as far as it would go, we perceive at once that
we are in the thirteenth and not in the nineteenth century. The
punishments which the King inflicted for swearing were most cruel. At
Cesarea, Joinville tells us that he saw a goldsmith fastened to a ladder,
with the entrails of a pig twisted round his neck right up to his nose,
because he had used irreverent language. Nay, after his return from the
Holy Land, he heard that the King ordered a man’s nose and lower lip to be
burnt for the same offense. The Pope himself had to interfere to prevent
St. Louis from inflicting on blasphemers mutilation and death. “I would
myself be branded with a hot iron,” the King said, “if thus I could drive
away all swearing from my kingdom.” He himself, as Joinville assures us,
never used an oath, nor did he pronounce the name of the Devil except when
reading the lives of the saints. His soul, we cannot doubt, was grieved
when he heard the names which to him were the most sacred, employed for
profane purposes; and this feeling of indignation was shared by his honest
chronicler. “In my castle,” says Joinville, “whosoever uses bad language
receives a good pommeling, and this has nearly put down that bad habit.”
Here again we see the upright character of Joinville. He does not, like
most courtiers, try to outbid his sovereign in pious indignation; on the
contrary, while sharing his feelings, he gently reproves the King for his
excessive zeal and cruelty, and this after the King had been raised to the
exalted position of a saint.

To doubt of any points of the Christian doctrine was considered at
Joinville’s time, as it is even now, as a temptation of the Devil. But
here again we see at the court of St. Louis a wonderful mixture of
tolerance and intolerance. Joinville, who evidently spoke his mind freely
on all things, received frequent reproofs and lessons from the King; and
we hardly know which to wonder at most, the weakness of the arguments, or
the gentle and truly Christian spirit in which the King used them. The
King once asked Joinville how he knew that his father’s name was Symon.
Joinville replied he knew it because his mother had told him so. “Then,”
the King said, “you ought likewise firmly to believe all the articles of
faith which the Apostles attest, as you hear them sung every Sunday in the
Creed.” The use of such an argument by such a man leaves an impression on
the mind that the King himself was not free from religious doubts and
difficulties, and that his faith was built upon ground which was apt to
shake. And this impression is confirmed by a conversation which
immediately follows after this argument. It is long, but it is far too
important to be here omitted. The Bishop of Paris had told the King,
probably in order to comfort him after receiving from him the confession
of some of his own religious difficulties, that one day he received a
visit from a great master in divinity. The master threw himself at the
Bishop’s feet and cried bitterly. The Bishop said to him,—

“ ‘Master, do not despair; no one can sin so much that God could not
forgive him.’

“The master said, ‘I cannot help crying, for I believe I am a miscreant:
for I cannot bring my heart to believe the sacrament of the altar, as the
holy Church teaches it, and I know full well that it is the temptation of
the enemy.’

“ ‘Master,’ replied the Bishop, ‘tell me, when the enemy sends you this
temptation, does it please you?’

“And the master said, ‘Sir, it pains me as much as anything can pain.’

“ ‘Then I ask you,’ the Bishop continued, ‘would you take gold or silver
in order to avow with your mouth anything that is against the sacrament of
the altar, or against the other sacred sacraments of the Church?’

“And the master said, ‘Know, sir, that there is nothing in the world that
I should take; I would rather that all my limbs were torn from my body
than openly avow this.’

“ ‘Then,’ said the Bishop, ‘I shall tell you something else. You know that
the King of France made war against the King of England, and you know that
the castle which is nearest to the frontier is La Rochelle, in Poitou.
Now, I shall ask you, if the King had trusted you to defend La Rochelle,
and he had trusted me to defend the Castle of Laon, which is in the heart
of France, where the country is at peace, to whom ought the King to be
more beholden at the end of the war,—to you who had defended La Rochelle
without losing it, or to me who kept the Castle of Laon?’

“ ‘In the name of God,’ said the master, ‘to me who had kept La Rochelle
with losing it.’

“ ‘Master,’ said the Bishop, ‘I tell you that my heart is like the Castle
of Laon (Montleheri), for I feel no temptation and no doubt as to the
sacrament of the altar; therefore, I tell you, if God gives me one reward
because I believe firmly and in peace, He will give you four, because you
keep your heart for Him in this fight of tribulation, and have such
goodwill toward Him that for no earthly good, nor for any pain inflicted
on your body, you would forsake Him. Therefore, I say to you, be at ease;
your state is more pleasing to our Lord than my own.’ ”

When the master had heard this, he fell on his knees before the Bishop,
and felt again at peace.

Surely, if the cruel punishment inflicted by St. Louis on blasphemers is
behind our age, is not the love, the humility, the truthfulness of this
Bishop,—is not the spirit in which he acted toward the priest, and the
spirit in which he related this conversation to the King, somewhat in
advance of the century in which we live?

If we only dwell on certain passages of Joinville’s memoirs, it is easy to
say that he and his King, and the whole age in which they moved, were
credulous, engrossed by the mere formalities of religion, and fanatical in
their enterprise to recover Jerusalem and the Holy Land. But let us
candidly enter into their view of life, and many things which at first
seem strange and startling will become intelligible. Joinville does not
relate many miracles; and such is his good faith that we may implicitly
believe the facts, such as he states them, however we may differ as to the
interpretation by which, to Joinville’s mind, these facts assumed a
miraculous character. On their way to the Holy Land it seems that their
ship was windbound for several days, and that they were in danger of being
taken prisoners by the pirates of Barbary. Joinville recollected the
saying of a priest who had told him that, whatever had happened in his
parish, whether too much rain or too little rain, or anything else, if he
made three processions for three successive Saturdays, his prayer was
always heard. Joinville, therefore, recommended the same remedy. Seasick
as he was, he was carried on deck, and the procession was formed round the
two masts of the ship. As soon as this was done, the wind rose, and the
ship arrived at Cyprus the third Saturday. The same remedy was resorted to
a second time, and with equal effect. The King was waiting at Damietta for
his brother, the Comte de Poitiers, and his army, and was very uneasy
about the delay in his arrival. Joinville told the legate of the miracle
that had happened on their voyage to Cyprus. The legate consented to have
three processions on three successive Saturdays, and on the third Saturday
the Comte de Poitiers and his fleet arrived before Damietta. One more
instance may suffice. On their return to France a sailor fell overboard,
and was left in the water. Joinville, whose ship was close by, saw
something in the water; but, as he observed no struggle, he imagined it
was a cask. The man, however, was picked up; and when asked why he did not
exert himself, he replied that he saw no necessity for it. As soon as he
fell into the water he commended himself to _Nostre Dame_, and she
supported him by his shoulders till he was picked up by the King’s galley.
Joinville had a window painted in his chapel to commemorate this miracle;
and there, no doubt, the Virgin would be represented as supporting the
sailor exactly as he described it.

Now, it must be admitted that before the tribunal of the ordinary
philosophy of the nineteenth century, these miracles would be put down
either as inventions or as exaggerations. But let us examine the thoughts
and the language of that age, and we shall take a more charitable, and, we
believe, a more correct view. Men like Joinville did not distinguish
between a general and a special providence, and few who have carefully
examined the true import of words would blame him for that. Whatever
happened to him and his friends, the smallest as well as the greatest
events were taken alike as so many communications from God to man. Nothing
could happen to any one of them unless God willed it. “God wills it,” they
exclaimed, and put the cross on their breasts, and left house and home,
and wife and children, to fight the infidels in the Holy Land. The King
was ill and on the point of death, when he made a vow that if he
recovered, he would undertake a crusade. In spite of the dangers which
threatened him and his country, where every vassal was a rival, in spite
of the despair of his excellent mother, the King fulfilled his vow, and
risked not only his crown, but his life, without a complaint and without a
regret. It may be that the prospect of Eastern booty, or even of an
Eastern throne, had some part in exciting the pious zeal of the French
chivalry. Yet if we read of Joinville, who was then a young and gay
nobleman of twenty-four, with a young wife and a beautiful castle in
Champagne, giving up everything, confessing his sins, making reparation,
performing pilgrimages, and then starting for the East, there to endure
for five years the most horrible hardships; when we read of his sailors
singing a _Veni, Creator Spiritus_, before they hoisted their sails; when
we see how every day, in the midst of pestilence and battle, the King and
his Sénéchal and his knights say their prayers and perform their religious
duties; how in every danger they commend themselves to God or to their
saints; how for every blessing, for every escape from danger, they return
thanks to Heaven,—we easily learn to understand how natural it was that
such men should see miracles in every blessing vouchsafed to them, whether
great or small, just as the Jews of old, in that sense the true people of
God, saw miracles, saw the finger of God in every plague that visited
their camp, and in every spring of water that saved them from destruction.
When the Egyptians were throwing the Greek fire into the camp of the
Crusaders, St. Louis raised himself in his bed at the report of every
discharge of those murderous missiles, and, stretching forth his hands
towards heaven, he said, crying, “Good Lord God, protect my people.”
Joinville, after relating this, remarks, “And I believe truly that his
prayers served us well in our need.” And was he not right in this belief,
as right as the Israelites were when they saw Moses lifting up his heavy
arms, and they prevailed against Amalek? Surely this belief was put to a
hard test when a fearful plague broke out in the camp, when nearly the
whole French army was massacred, when the King was taken prisoner, when
the Queen, in childbed, had to make her old chamberlain swear that he
would kill her at the first approach of the enemy, when the small remnant
of that mighty French army had to purchase its return to France by a heavy
ransom. Yet nothing could shake Joinville’s faith in the ever-ready help
of our Lord, of the Virgin, and of the saints. “Be certain,” he writes,
“that the Virgin helped us, and she would have helped us more if we had
not offended her, her and her Son, as I said before.” Surely, with such
faith, credulity ceases to be credulity. Where there is credulity without
that living faith which sees the hand of God in everything, man’s
indignation is rightly roused. That credulity leads to self-conceit,
hypocrisy, and unbelief. But such was not the credulity of Joinville or of
his King, or of the Bishop who comforted the great master in theology. A
modern historian would not call the rescue of the drowning sailor, nor the
favorable wind which brought the Crusaders to Cyprus, nor the opportune
arrival of the Comte de Poitiers miracles, because the word “miracle” has
a different sense with us from what it had during the Middle Ages, from
what it had at the time of the Apostles, and from what it had at the time
of Moses. Yet to the drowning sailor his rescue was miraculous; to the
despairing King the arrival of his brother was a godsend; and to Joinville
and his crew, who were in imminent danger of being carried off as slaves
by Moorish pirates, the wind that brought them safe to Cyprus was more
than a fortunate accident. Our language differs from the language of
Joinville, yet in our heart of hearts we mean the same thing.

And nothing shows better the reality and healthiness of the religion of
those brave knights than their cheerful and open countenance, their
thorough enjoyment of all the good things of this life, their freedom in
thought and speech. You never catch Joinville canting, or with an
expression of blank solemnity. When his ship was surrounded by the galleys
of the Sultan, and when they held a council as to whether they should
surrender themselves to the Sultan’s fleet or to his army on shore, one of
his servants objected to all surrender. “Let us all be killed,” he said to
Joinville, “and then we shall all go straight to Paradise.” His advice,
however, was not followed, because, as Joinville says, “we did not believe
it.”

If we bear in mind that Joinville’s History was written after Louis has
been raised to the rank of a saint, his way of speaking of the King,
though always respectful, strikes us, nevertheless, as it must have struck
his contemporaries, as sometimes very plain and familiar. It is well known
that an attempt was actually made by the notorious Jesuit, le Père
Hardouin, to prove Joinville’s work as spurious, or, at all events, as
full of interpolations, inserted by the enemies of the Church. It was an
attempt which thoroughly failed, and which was too dangerous to be
repeated; but, on reading Joinville after reading the life and miracles of
St. Louis, one can easily understand that the soldier’s account of the
brave King was not quite palatable or welcome to the authors of the
legends of the royal saint. At the time when the King’s bones had begun to
work wretched miracles, the following story could hardly have sounded
respectful: “When the King was at Acre,” Joinville writes, “some pilgrims
on their way to Jerusalem wished to see him. Joinville went to the King,
and said, ‘Sire, there is a crowd of people who have asked me to show them
the royal saint, though _I_ have no wish as yet to kiss your bones.’ The
King laughed loud, and asked me to bring the people.”

In the thick of the battle, in which Joinville received five wounds and
his horse fifteen, and when death seemed almost certain, Joinville tells
us that the good Count of Soissons rode up to him and chaffed him, saying,
“Let those dogs loose, for, _par la quoife Dieu_,”—as he always used to
swear,—“we shall still talk of this day in the rooms of our ladies.”

The Crusades and the Crusaders, though they are only five or six centuries
removed from us, have assumed a kind of romantic character, which makes it
very difficult even for the historian to feel towards them the same human
interest which we feel for Cæsar or Pericles. Works like that of Joinville
are most useful in dispelling that mist which the chroniclers of old and
the romances of Walter Scott and others have raised round the heroes of
these holy wars. St. Louis and his companions, as described by Joinville,
not only in their glistening armor, but in their everyday attire, are
brought nearer to us, become intelligible to us, and teach us lessons of
humanity which we can learn from men only, and not from saints and heroes.
Here lies the real value of real history. It makes us familiar with the
thoughts of men who differ from us in manners and language, in thought and
religion, and yet with whom we are able to sympathize, and from whom we
are able to learn. It widens our minds and our hearts, and gives us that
true knowledge of the world and of human nature in all its phases which
but few can gain in the short span of their own life, and in the narrow
sphere of their friends and enemies. We can hardly imagine a better book
for boys to read or for men to ponder over; and we hope that M. de
Wailly’s laudable efforts may be crowned with complete success, and that,
whether in France or in England, no student of history will in future
imagine that he knows the true spirit of the Crusades and the Crusaders
who has not read once, and more than once, the original Memoirs of
Joinville, as edited, translated, and explained by the eminent Keeper of
the Imperial Library at Paris, M. Natalis de Wailly.

1866.



VIII. THE JOURNAL DES SAVANTS AND THE JOURNAL DE TRÉVOUX.(32)


For a hundred persons who, in this country, read the “Revue des Deux
Mondes,” how many are there who read the “Journal des Savants?” In France
the authority of that journal is indeed supreme; but its very title
frightens the general public, and its blue cover is but seldom seen on the
tables of the _salles de lecture_. And yet there is no French periodical
so well suited to the tastes of the better class of readers in England.
Its contributors are all members of the Institut de France; and, if we may
measure the value of a periodical by the honor which it reflects on those
who form its staff, no journal in France can vie with the “Journal des
Savants.” At the present moment we find on its roll such names as Cousin,
Flourens, Villemain, Mignet, Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire, Naudet, Prosper
Mérimé, Littré, Vitet—names which, if now and then seen on the covers of
the “Revue des Deux Mondes,” the “Revue Contemporaine,” or the “Revue
Moderne,” confer an exceptional lustre on these fortnightly or monthly
issues. The articles which are admitted into this select periodical may be
deficient now and then in those outward charms of diction by which French
readers like to be dazzled; but what in France is called _trop savant,
trop lourd_, is frequently far more palatable than the highly spiced
articles which are no doubt delightful to read, but which, like an
excellent French dinner, make you almost doubt whether you have dined or
not. If English journalists are bent on taking for their models the
fortnightly or monthly contemporaries of France, the “Journal des Savants”
might offer a much better chance of success than the more popular
_revues_. We should be sorry indeed to see any periodical published under
the superintendence of the “Ministre de l’Instruction Publique,” or of any
other member of the Cabinet; but, apart from that, a literary tribunal
like that formed by the members of the “Bureau du Journal des Savants”
would certainly be a great benefit to literary criticism. The general tone
that runs through their articles is impartial and dignified. Each writer
seems to feel the responsibility which attaches to the bench from which he
addresses the public, and we can of late years recall hardly any case
where the dictum of “noblesse oblige” has been disregarded in this the
most ancient among the purely literary journals of Europe.

The first number of the “Journal des Savants” was published more than two
hundred years ago, on the 5th of January, 1655. It was the first small
beginning in a branch of literature which has since assumed immense
proportions. Voltaire speaks of it as “le père de tous les ouvrages de ce
genre, dont l’Europe est aujourd’hui remplie.” It was published at first
once a week, every Monday; and the responsible editor was M. de Sallo,
who, in order to avoid the retaliations of sensitive authors, adopted the
name of Le Sieur de Hedouville, the name, it is said, of his _valet de
chambre_. The articles were short, and in many cases they only gave a
description of the books, without any critical remarks. The Journal
likewise gave an account of important discoveries in science and art, and
of other events that might seem of interest to men of letters. Its success
must have been considerable, if we may judge by the number of rival
publications which soon sprang up in France and in other countries of
Europe. In England, a philosophical journal on the same plan was started
before the year was over. In Germany, the “Journal des Savants” was
translated into Latin by F. Nitzschius in 1668, and before the end of the
seventeenth century the “Giornale de’ Letterati” (1668), the “Bibliotheca
Volante” (1677), the “Acta Eruditorum” (1682), the “Nouvelles de la
République des Lettres” (1684), the “Bibliothèque Universelle et
Historique” (1686), the “Histoire des Ouvrages des Savants” (1687), and
the “Monatliche Unterredungen” (1689), had been launched in the principal
countries of Europe. In the next century it was remarked of the journals
published in Germany, “Plura dixeris pullulasse brevi tempore quam fungi
nascuntur unâ nocte.”

Most of these journals were published by laymen, and represented the
purely intellectual interests of society. It was but natural, therefore,
that the clergy also should soon have endeavored to possess a journal of
their own. The Jesuits, who at that time were the most active and
influential order, were not slow to appreciate this new opportunity for
directing public opinion, and they founded in 1701 their famous journal,
the “Mémoires de Trévoux.” Famous indeed it might once be called, and yet
at present how little is known of that collection! how seldom are its
volumes called for in our public libraries! It was for a long time the
rival of the “Journal des Savants.” Under the editorship of Le Père
Berthier it fought bravely against Diderot, Voltaire, and other heralds of
the French Revolution. It weathered even the fatal year of 1762, but,
after changing its name, and moderating its pretensions, it ceased to
appear in 1782. The long rows of its volumes are now piled up in our
libraries likes rows of tombstones, which we pass by without even stopping
to examine the names and titles of those who are buried in these vast
catacombs of thought.

It was a happy idea that led the Père P. C. Sommervogel, himself a member
of the order of the Jesuits, to examine the dusty volumes of the “Journal
de Trévoux,” and to do for it the only thing that could be done to make it
useful once more, at least to a certain degree, namely, to prepare a
general index of the numerous subjects treated in its volumes, on the
model of the great index, published in 1753, of the “Journal des Savants.”
His work, published at Paris in 1865, consists of three volumes. The first
gives an index of the original dissertations; the second and third, of the
works criticised in the “Journal de Trévoux.” It is a work of much smaller
pretensions than the index to the “Journal des Savants;” yet, such as it
is, it is useful, and will amply suffice for the purposes of those few
readers who have from time to time to consult the literary annals of the
Jesuits in France.

The title of the “Mémoires de Trévoux” was taken from the town of Trévoux,
the capital of the principality of Dombes, which Louis XIV. had conferred
on the Duc de Maine, with all the privileges of a sovereign. Like Louis
XIV., the young prince gloried in the title of a patron of art and
science, but, as the pupil of Madame de Maintenon, he devoted himself even
more zealously to the defense of religion. A printing-office was founded
at Trévoux, and the Jesuits were invited to publish a new journal, “où
l’on eût principalement en vûë la défense de la religion.” This was the
“Journal de Trévoux,” published for the first time in February, 1701,
under the title of “Mémoires pour l’Histoire des Sciences et des Beaux
Arts, recueillis par l’ordre de Son Altesse Sérénissime, Monseigneur
Prince Souverain de Dombes.” It was entirely and professedly in the hands
of the Jesuits, and we find among its earliest contributors such names as
Catrou, Tournemine, and Hardouin. The opportunities for collecting
literary and other intelligence enjoyed by the members of that order were
extraordinary. We doubt whether any paper, even in our days, has so many
intelligent correspondents in every part of the world. If any astronomical
observation was to be made in China or America, a Jesuit missionary was
generally on the spot to make it. If geographical information was wanted,
eye-witnesses could write from India or Africa to state what was the exact
height of mountains or the real direction of rivers. The architectural
monuments of the great nations of antiquity could easily be explored and
described, and the literary treasures of India or China or Persia could be
ransacked by men ready for any work that required devotion and
perseverance, and that promised to throw additional splendor on the order
of Loyola. No missionary society has ever understood how to utilize its
resources in the interest of science like the Jesuits; and if our own
missionaries may on many points take warning from the history of the
Jesuits, on that one point at least they might do well to imitate their
example.

Scientific interests, however, were by no means the chief motive of the
Jesuits in founding their journal, and the controversial character began
soon to preponderate in their articles. Protestant writers received but
little mercy in the pages of the “Journal de Trévoux,” and the battle was
soon raging in every country of Europe between the flying batteries of the
Jesuits and the strongholds of Jansenism, of Protestantism, or of liberal
thought in general. Le Clerc was attacked for his “Harmonia Evangelica;”
Boileau even was censured for his “Epître sur l’Amour de Dieu.” But the
old lion was too much for his reverend satirists. The following is a
specimen of his reply:—

“Mes Révérends Pères en Dieu,
Et mes confrères en Satire.
Dans vos Escrits dans plus d’un lieu
Je voy qu’à mes dépens vous affectés de rire;
Mais ne craignés-vous point, que pour rire de Vous,
Relisant Juvénal, refeuilletant Horace,
Je ne ranime encor ma satirique audace?
Grands Aristarques de Trévoux,
N’allés point de nouveau faire courir aux armes,
Un athlète tout prest à prendre son congé,
Qui par vos traits malins au combat rengagé
Peut encore aux Rieurs faire verser des larmes.
Apprenés un mot de Régnier,
Notre célèbre Devancier,
_Corsaires attaquant Corsaires_
_No font pas_, dit-il, _leurs affaires_.”

Even stronger language than this became soon the fashion in journalistic
warfare. In reply to an attack on the Marquis Orsi, the “Giornale de’
Letterati d’Italia” accused the “Journal de Trévoux” of _menzogna_ and
_impostura_, and in Germany the “Acta Eruditorum Lipsiensium” poured out
even more violent invectives against the Jesuitical critics. It is
wonderful how well Latin seems to lend itself to the expression of angry
abuse. Few modern writers have excelled the following tirade, either in
Latin or in German:—


    “Quæ mentis stupiditas! At si qua est, Jesuitarum est.... Res est
    intoleranda, Trevoltianos Jesuitas, toties contusos, iniquissimum
    in suis diariis tribunal erexisse, in eoque non ratione duce, sed
    animi impotentia, non æquitatis legibus, sed præjudiciis, non
    veritatis lance, sed affectus aut odi pondere, optimis
    exquisitissimisque operibus detrahere, pessima ad cœlum usque
    laudibus efferre: ignaris auctoribus, modo secum sentiant, aut
    sibi faveant, ubique blandiri, doctissimos sibi non plane pleneque
    deditos plus quam canino dente mordere.”


What has been said of other journals was said of the “Journal de
Trévoux:”—


    “Les auteurs de ce journal, qui a son mérite, sont constants à
    louer tous les ouvrages de ceux qu’ils affectionnent, et pour
    éviter une froide monotonie, ils exercent quelquefois la critique
    sur les écrivans à qui rien ne les oblige de faire grâce.”


It took some time before authors became at all reconciled to these new
tribunals of literary justice. Even a writer like Voltaire, who braved
public opinion more than anybody, looked upon journals, and the influence
which they soon gained in France and abroad, as a great evil. “Rien n’a
plus nui à la littérature,” he writes, “plus répandu le mauvais goût, et
plus confondu le vrai avec le faux.” Before the establishment of literary
journals, a learned writer had indeed little to fear. For a few years, at
all events, he was allowed to enjoy the reputation of having published a
book; and this by itself was considered a great distinction by the world
at large. Perhaps his book was never noticed at all, or, if it was, it was
only criticised in one of those elaborate letters which the learned men of
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries used to write to each other, which
might be forwarded indeed to one or two other professors, but which never
influenced public opinion. Only in extreme cases a book would be answered
by another book, but this would necessarily require a long time; nor would
it at all follow that those who had read and admired the original work
would have an opportunity of consulting the volume that contained its
refutation. This happy state of things came to an end after the year 1655.
Since the invention of printing, no more important event had happened in
the republic of letters than the introduction of a periodical literature.
It was a complete revolution, differing from other revolutions only by the
quickness with which the new power was recognized even by its fiercest
opponents.

The power of journalism, however, soon found its proper level, and the
history of its rise and progress, which has still to be written, teaches
the same lesson as the history of political powers. Journals which
defended private interests, or the interests of parties, whether
religious, political, or literary, never gained that influence which was
freely conceded to those who were willing to serve the public at large in
pointing out real merit wherever it could be found, and in unmasking
pretenders, to whatever rank they might belong. The once all-powerful
organ of the Jesuits, the “Journal de Trèvoux,” has long ceased to exist,
and even to be remembered; the “Journal des Savants” still holds, after
more than two hundred years, that eminent position which was claimed for
it by its founder, as the independent advocate of justice and truth.

1866.



IX. CHASOT.(33)


History is generally written _en face_. It reminds us occasionally of
certain royal family pictures, where the centre is occupied by the king
and queen, while their children are ranged on each side like organ-pipes,
and the courtiers and ministers are grouped behind, according to their
respective ranks. All the figures seem to stare at some imaginary
spectator, who would require at least a hundred eyes to take in the whole
of the assemblage. This place of the imaginary spectator falls generally
to the lot of the historian, and of those who read great historical works;
and perhaps this is inevitable. But it is refreshing for once to change
this unsatisfactory position, and, instead of always looking straight in
the faces of kings, and queens, and generals, and ministers, to catch, by
a side-glance, a view of the times, as they appeared to men occupying a
less central and less abstract position than that of the general
historian. If we look at the Palace of Versailles from the terrace in
front of the edifice, we are impressed with its broad magnificence, but we
are soon tired, and all that is left in our memory is a vast expanse of
windows, columns, statues, and wall. But let us retire to some of the
_bosquets_ on each side of the main avenue, and take a diagonal view of
the great mansion of Louis XIV., and though we lose part of the palace,
the whole picture gains in color and life, and it brings before our mind
the figure of the great monarch himself, so fond of concealing part of his
majestic stateliness under the shadow of those very groves where we are
sitting.

It was a happy thought of M. Kurd von Schlözer to try a similar experiment
with Frederic the Great, and to show him to us, not as the great king,
looking history in the face, but as seen near and behind another person,
for whom the author has felt so much sympathy as to make him the central
figure of a very pretty historical picture. This person is Chasot.
Frederic used to say of him, _C’est le matador de ma jeunesse_,—a saying
which is not found in Frederic’s works, but which is nevertheless
authentic. One of the chief magistrates of the old Hanseatic town of
Lübeck, Syndicus Curtius,—the father, we believe, of the two distinguished
scholars, Ernst and Georg Curtius,—was at school with the two sons of
Chasot, and he remembers these royal words, when they were repeated in all
the drawing-rooms of the city where Chasot spent many years of his life.
Frederic’s friendship for Chasot is well known, for there are two poems of
the king addressed to this young favorite. They do not give a very high
idea either of the poetical power of the monarch, or of the moral
character of his friend; but they contain some manly and straightforward
remarks, which make up for a great deal of shallow declamation. This young
Chasot was a French nobleman, a fresh, chivalrous, buoyant
nature,—adventurous, careless, extravagant, brave, full of romance, happy
with the happy, and galloping through life like a true cavalry officer. He
met Frederic in 1734. Louis XV. had taken up the cause of Stanislas
Lesczynski, King of Poland, his father-in-law, and Chasot served in the
French army which, under the Duke of Berwick, attacked Germany on the
Rhine, in order to relieve Poland from the simultaneous pressure of
Austria and Russia. He had the misfortune to kill a French officer in a
duel, and was obliged to take refuge in the camp of the old Prince Eugène.
Here the young Prince of Prussia soon discovered the brilliant parts of
the French nobleman, and when his father, Frederic William I., no longer
allowed him to serve under Eugène, he asked Chasot to follow him to
Prussia. The years from 1735 to 1740 were happy years for the prince,
though he, no doubt, would have preferred taking an active part in the
campaign. He writes to his sister:—


    “J’aurais répondu plus tôt, si je n’avais été très-affligé de ce
    que le roi ne veut pas me permettre d’aller en campagne. Je le lui
    ai demandé quatre fois, et lui ai rappelé la promesse qu’il m’en
    avait faite; mais point de nouvelle; il m’a dit qu’il avait des
    raisons très-cachées qui l’en empêchaient. Je le crois, car je
    suis persuadé qu’il ne les sait pas lui-même.”


But, as he wished to be on good terms with his father, he stayed at home,
and travelled about to inspect his future kingdom. “C’est un peu plus
honnête qu’en Sibérie,” he writes, “mais pas de beaucoup.” Frederic, after
his marriage, took up his abode in the Castle of Rheinsberg, near
Neu-Ruppin, and it was here that he spent the happiest part of his
existence. M. de Schlözer has described this period in the life of the
king with great art; and he has pointed out how Frederic, while he seemed
to live for nothing but pleasure,—shooting, dancing, music, and
poetry,—was given at the same time to much more serious
occupations,—reading and composing works on history, strategy, and
philosophy, and maturing plans which, when the time of their execution
came, seemed to spring from his head full-grown and full-armed. He writes
to his sister, the Markgravine of Baireuth, in 1737:—


    “Nous nous divertissons de rien, et n’avons aucun soin des choses
    de la vie, qui la rendent désagréable et qui jettent du dégoût sur
    les plaisirs. Nous faisons la tragédie et la comédie, nous avons
    bal, mascarade, et musique à toute sauce. Voilà un abrégé de nos
    amusements.”


And again, he writes to his friend Suhm, at Petersburg:—


    “Nous allons représenter l’_Œdipe_ de Voltaire, dans lequel je
    ferai le héros de théâtre; j’ai choisi le rôle de Philoctéte.”


A similar account of the royal household at Rheinsberg is given by
Bielfeld:—


    “C’est ainsi que les jours s’écoulent ici dans une tranquillité
    assaisonneé de tous les plaisirs qui peuvent flatter une âme
    raisonnable. Chère de roi, vin des dieux, musique des anges,
    promenades délicieuses dans les jardins et dans les bois, parties
    sur l’eau, culture des lettres et des beaux-arts, conversation
    spirituelle, tout concourt à repandre dans ce palais enchanté des
    charmes sur la vie.”


Frederic, however, was not a man to waste his time in mere pleasure. He
shared in the revelries of his friends, but he was perhaps the only person
at Rheinsberg who spent his evenings in reading Wolff’s “Metaphysics.” And
here let us remark, that this German prince, in order to read that work,
was obliged to have the German translated into French by his friend Suhm,
the Saxon minister at Petersburg. Chasot, who had no very definite duties
to perform at Rheinsberg, was commissioned to copy Suhm’s manuscript,—nay,
he was nearly driven to despair when he had to copy it a second time,
because Frederic’s monkey, Mimi, had set fire to the first copy. We have
Frederic’s opinion on Wolff’s “Metaphysics,” in his “Works,” vol. i. p.
263:—


    “Les universités prosperaient en même temps. Halle et Francfort
    étaient fournies de savants professeurs: Thomasius, Gundling,
    Ludewig, Wolff, et Stryke tenaient le premier rang pour la
    célébrité et faisaient nombre de disciples. Wolff commenta
    l’ingénieux système de Leibnitz sur les monades, et noya dans un
    déluge de paroles, d’arguments, de corollaires, et de citations,
    quelques problèmes que Leibnitz avait jetées peut-être comme une
    amorce aux métaphysiciens. Le professeur de Halle écrivait
    laborieusement nombre de volumes, qui, au lieu de pouvoir
    instruire des hommes faits, servirent tout au plus de catéchisme
    de didactique pour des enfants. Les monades ont mis aux prises les
    métaphysiciens et les géomêtres d’Allemagne, et ils disputent
    encore sur la divisibilité de la matière.”


In another place, however, he speaks of Wolff with greater respect, and
acknowledges his influence in the German universities. Speaking of the
reign of his father, he writes:—


    “Mais la faveur et les brigues remplissaient les chaires de
    professeurs dans les universités; les dévots, qui se mêlent de
    tout, acquirent une part à la direction des universités; ils y
    persécutaient le bon sens, et surtout la classe des philosophes:
    Wolff fut exilé pour avoir dèduit avec un ordre admirable les
    preuves sur l’existence de Dieu. La jeune noblesse qui se vouait
    aux armes, crût déroger en étudiant, et comme l’esprit humain
    donne toujours dans les excès, ils regardèrent l’ignorance comme
    un titre de mérite, et le savoir comme une pédanterie absurde.”


During the same time, Frederic composed his “Refutation of Macchiavelli,”
which was published in 1740, and read all over Europe; and besides the gay
parties of the court, he organized the somewhat mysterious society of the
_Ordre de Bayard_, of which his brothers, the Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick,
the Duke Wilhelm of Brunswick-Bevern, Keyserling, Fouqué, and Chasot, were
members. Their meetings had reference to serious political matters, though
Frederic himself was never initiated by his father into the secrets of
Prussian policy till almost on his death-bed. The king died in 1740, and
Frederic was suddenly called away from his studies and pleasures at
Rheinsberg, to govern a rising kingdom which was watched with jealousy by
all its neighbors. He describes his state of mind, shortly before the
death of his father, in the following words:—


    “Vous pouvez bien juger que je suis assez tracassé dans la
    situation où je me trouve. On me laisse peu de repos, mais
    l’intérieur est tranquille, et je puis vous assurer que je n’ai
    jamais été plus philosophe qu’en cette occasion-ci. Je regards
    avec des yeux d’indifférence tout ce qui m’attend, sans désirer la
    fortune ni la craindre, plein de compassion pour ceux qui
    souffrent, d’estime pour les honnêtes gens, et de tendresse pour
    mes amis.”


As soon, however as he had mastered his new position, the young king was
again the patron of art, of science, of literature, and of social
improvements of every kind. Voltaire had been invited to Berlin, to
organize a French theatre, when suddenly the news of the death of Charles
VI., the Emperor of Germany, arrived at Berlin. How well Frederic
understood what was to follow, we learn from a letter to Voltaire:—


    “Mon cher Voltaire,—L’événement le moins prévu du monde m’empêche,
    pour cette fois, d’ouvrir mon âme à la vôtre comme d’ordinaire, et
    de bavarder comme je le voudrais. L’empereur est mort. Cette mort
    dérange toutes mes idées pacifiques, et je crois qu’il s’agira, au
    mois de juin, plutôt de poudre à canon, de soldats, de tranchées,
    que d’actrices, de ballets et de théâtre.”


He was suffering from fever, and he adds:—


    “Je vais faire passer ma fièvre, car j’ai besoin de ma machine, et
    il en faut tirer à présent tout le parti possible.”


Again he writes to Algarotti:—


    “Une bagatelle comme est la mort de l’empereur ne demande pas de
    grands mouvements. Tout était prévu, tout était arrangé. Ainsi il
    ne s’agit que d’exécuter des desseins que j’ai roulés depuis long
    temps dans ma tête.”


We need not enter into the history of the first Silesian war; but we see
clearly from these expressions, that the occupation of Silesia, which the
house of Brandenburg claimed by right, had formed part of the policy of
Prussia long before the death of the emperor; and the peace of Breslau, in
1742, realized a plan which had probably been the subject of many debates
at Rheinsberg. During this first war, Chasot obtained the most brilliant
success. At Mollwitz, he saved the life of the king; and the following
account of this exploit was given to M. de Schlözer by members of Chasot’s
family: An Austrian cavalry officer, with some of his men, rode up close
to the king. Chasot was near. “Where is the king?” the officer shouted;
and Chasot, perceiving the imminent danger, sprang forward, declared
himself to be the king, and sustained for some time single-handed the most
violent combat with the Austrian soldiers. At last he was rescued by his
men, but not without having received a severe wound across his forehead.
The king thanked him, and Voltaire afterwards celebrated his bravery in
the following lines:—

“Il me souvient encore de ce jour mémorable
Où l’illustre Chasot, ce guerrier formidable,
Sauva par sa valeur le plus grand de nos rois.
O Prusse! élève un temple à ses fameux exploits.”

Chasot soon rose to the rank of major, and received large pecuniary
rewards from the king. The brightest event, however, of his life was still
to come; and this was the battle of Hohenfriedberg, in 1745. In spite of
Frederic’s successes, his position before that engagement was extremely
critical. Austria had concluded a treaty with England, Holland and Saxony
against Prussia. France declined to assist Frederic, Russia threatened to
take part against him. On the 19th of April, the king wrote to his
minister:—


    “La situation présente est aussi violente que désagréable. Mon
    parti est tout pris. S’il s’agit de se battre, nous le ferons en
    désespérés. Enfin, jamais crise n’a été plus grande que la mienne.
    Il faut laisser au temps de débrouiller cette fusée, et au destin,
    s’il y en a un, à décider de l’événement.”


And again:—


    “J’ai jeté le bonnet pardessus les moulins; je me prépare à tous
    les événements qui peuvent m’arriver. Que la fortune me soit
    contraire ou favorable, cela ne m’abaissera ni m’enorgueillira; et
    s’il faut périr, ce sera avec gloire et l’épée à la main.”


The decisive day arrived—“le jour le plus décisif de ma fortune.” The
night before the battle, the king said to the French ambassador—“Les
ennemis sont où je les voulais, et je les attaque demain;” and on the
following day the battle of Hohenfriedberg was won. How Chasot
distinguished himself, we may learn from Frederic’s own description:—

“Muse dis-moi, comment en ces moments
Chasot brilla, faisant voler des têtes,
De maints uhlans faisant de vrais squelettes,
Et des hussards, devant lui s’echappant,
Fandant les uns, les autres transperçant,
Et, maniant sa flamberge tranchante,
Mettait en fuite, et donnait l’épouvante
Aux ennemis effarés et tremblants.
Tel Jupiter est peint armé du foudre,
Et tel Chasot réduit l’uhlan en poudre.”

In his account of the battle, the king wrote:—


    “Action inouie dans l’histoire, et dont le succès est dû aux
    Généraux Gessler et Schmettau, au Colonel Schwerin _et au brave
    Major Chasot, dont la valeur et la conduite se sont fait connaître
    dans trois batailles également_.”


And in his “Histoire de mon Temps,” he wrote:—


    “Un fait aussi rare, aussi glorieux, mérite d’être écrit en
    lettres d’or dans les fastes prussiens. Le Général Schwerin, _le
    Major Chasot_ et beaucoup d’officiers s’y firent un nom immortel.”


How, then, is it that, in the later edition of Frederic’s “Histoire de mon
Temps,” the name of Chasot is erased? How is it that, during the whole of
the Seven Years’ War, Chasot is never mentioned? M. de Schlözer gives us a
complete answer to this question, and we must say that Frederic did not
behave well to the _matador de sa jeunesse_. Chasot had a duel with a
Major Bronickowsky, in which his opponent was killed. So far as we can
judge from the documents which M. de Schlözer has obtained from Chasot’s
family, Chasot had been forced to fight; but the king believed that he had
sought a quarrel with the Polish officer, and, though a court-martial
found him not guilty, Frederic sent him to the fortress of Spandau. This
was the first estrangement between Chasot and the king; and though after a
time he was received again at court, the friendship between the king and
the young nobleman who had saved his life had received a rude shock.

Chasot spent the next few years in garrison at Treptow; and, though he was
regularly invited by Frederic to be present at the great festivities at
Berlin, he seems to have been a more constant visitor at the small court
of the Duchess of Strelitz, not far from his garrison, than at Potsdam.
The king employed him on a diplomatic mission, and in this also Chasot was
successful. But notwithstanding the continuance of this friendly
intercourse, both parties felt chilled, and the least misunderstanding was
sure to lead to a rupture. The king, jealous perhaps of Chasot’s frequent
visits at Strelitz, and not satisfied with the drill of his regiment,
expressed himself in strong terms about Chasot at a review in 1751. The
latter asked for leave of absence in order to return to his country and
recruit his health. He had received fourteen wounds in the Prussian
service, and his application could not be refused. There was another cause
of complaint, on which Chasot seems to have expressed himself freely. He
imagined that Frederic had not rewarded his services with sufficient
liberality. He expressed himself in the following words:—


    “Je ne sais quel malheureux guignon poursuit le roi: mais ce
    guignon se reproduit dans tout ce que sa majesté entrepend ou
    ordonne. Toujours ses vues sont bonnes, ses plans sont sages,
    réfléchis et justes; et toujours le succès est nul ou
    très-imparfait, et pourquoi? Toujours pour la même cause! parce
    qu’il manque un louis à l’exécution! un louis de plus, et tout
    irait à merveille. Son guignon veut que partout il retienne ce
    maudit louis; et tout se fait mal.”


How far this is just, we are unable to say. Chasot was reckless about
money, and whatever the king might have allowed him, he would always have
wanted one louis more. But on the other hand, Chasot was not the only
person who complained of Frederic’s parsimony; and the French proverb, “On
ne peut pas travailler pour le roi de Prusse,” probably owes its origin to
the complaints of Frenchmen who flocked to Berlin at that time in great
numbers, and returned home disappointed. Chasot went to France, where he
was well received, and he soon sent an intimation to the king that he did
not mean to return to Berlin. In 1752 his name was struck off the Prussian
army-list. Frederic was offended, and the simultaneous loss of many
friends, who either died or left his court, made him _de mauvaise humeur_.
It is about this time that he writes to his sister:—


    “J’étudie beaucoup, et cela me soulage réellement; mais lorsque
    mon esprit fait des retours sur les temps passés, alors les plaies
    du cœur se rouvrent et je regrette inutilement les pertes que j’ai
    faites.”


Chasot, however, soon returned to Germany, and probably in order to be
near the court of Strelitz, took up his abode in the old free town of
Lübeck. He became a citizen of Lübeck in 1754, and in 1759 was made
commander of its militia. Here his life seems to have been very agreeable,
and he was treated with great consideration and liberality. Chasot was
still young, as he was born in 1716, and he now thought of marriage. This
he accomplished in the following manner. There was at that time an artist
of some celebrity at Lübeck,—Stefano Torelli. He had a daughter whom he
had left at Dresden to be educated, and whose portrait he carried about on
his snuff-box. Chasot met him at dinner, saw the snuff-box, fell in love
with the picture, and proposed to the father to marry his daughter
Camilla. Camilla was sent for. She left Dresden, travelled through the
country, which was then occupied by Prussian troops, met the king in his
camp, received his protection, arrived safely at Lübeck, and in the same
year was married to Chasot. Frederic was then in the thick of the Seven
Years’ War, but Chasot, though he was again on friendly terms with the
king, did not offer him his sword. He was too happy at Lübeck with his
Camilla, and he made himself useful to the king by sending him recruits.
One of the recruits he offered was his son, and in a letter, April 8,
1760, we see the king accepting this young recruit in the most gracious
terms:—


    “J’accepte volontiers, cher de Chasot, la recrue qui vous doit son
    être, et je serai parrain de l’enfant qui vous naîtra, au cas que
    ce soit un fils. Nous tuons les hommes, tandis que vous en
    faites.”


It was a son, and Chasot writes:—


    “Si ce garçon me ressemble, Sire, il n’aura pas une goutte de sang
    dans ses veines qui ne soit à vous.”


M. de Schlözer, who is himself a native of Lübeck, has described the later
years of Chasot’s life in that city with great warmth and truthfulness.
The diplomatic relations of the town with Russia and Denmark were not
without interest at that time, because Peter III., formerly Duke of
Holstein, had declared war against Denmark in order to substantiate his
claims to the Danish crown. Chasot had actually the pleasure of fortifying
Lübeck, and carrying on preparations for war on a small scale, till Peter
was dethroned by his wife, Catherine. All this is told in a very
comprehensive and luminous style; and it is not without regret that we
find ourselves in the last chapter, where M. de Schlözer describes the
last meetings of Chasot and Frederic in 1779, 1784, and 1785. Frederic had
lost nearly all his friends, and he was delighted to see the _matador de
sa jeunesse_ once more. He writes:—


    “Une chose qui n’est presque arrivée qu’à moi est que j’ai perdu
    tous mes amis de cœur et mes anciennes connaissances; ce sont des
    plaies dont le cœur saigne long-temps, que la philosophie apaise,
    mais que sa main ne saurait guérir.”


How pleasant for the king to find at least one man with whom he could talk
of the old days of Rheinsberg,—of Fräulein von Schack and Fräulein von
Walmoden, of Cæsarion and Jordan, of Mimi and le Tourbillon! Chasot’s two
sons entered the Prussian service, though, in the manner in which they are
received, we find Frederic again acting more as king than as friend.
Chasot in 1784 was still as lively as ever, whereas the king: was in bad
health. The latter writes to his old friend, “Si nous ne nous revoyons
bientôt, nous ne nous reverrons jamais;” and when Chasot had arrived,
Frederic writes to Prince Heinrich, “Chasot est venu ici de Lübeck; il ne
parle que de mangeaille, de vins de Champagne, du Rhin, de Madère, de
Hongrie, et du faste de messieurs les marchands de la bourse de Lübeck.”

Such was the last meeting of these two knights of the _Ordre de Bayard_.
The king died in 1786, without seeing the approach of the revolutionary
storm which was soon to upset the throne of the Bourbons. Chasot died in
1797. He began to write his memoirs in 1789, and it is to some of their
fragments, which had been preserved by his family, and were handed over to
M. Kurd de Schlözer, that we owe this delightful little book. Frederic the
Great used to complain that Germans could not write history:—


    “Ce siècle ne produisit aucun bon historien. On chargea Teissier
    d’écrire l’histoire de Brandebourg: il en fit le panégyrique.
    Pufendorf écrivit la vie de Frédéric-Guillaume, et, pour ne rien
    omettre, il n’oublia ni ses clercs de chancellerie, ni ses valets
    de chambre dont il put recueillir les noms. Nos auteurs ont, ce me
    semble, toujours péché, faute de discerner les choses essentielles
    des accessoires, d’éclaircir les faits, de reserrer leur prose
    traînante et excessivement sujette aux inversions, aux nombreuses
    épithètes, et d’écrire en pédants plutôt qu’en hommes de génie.”


We believe that Frederic would not have said this of a work like that of
M. de Schlözer; and as to Chasot, it is not too much to say that, after
the days of Mollwitz and Hohenfriedberg, the day on which M. de Schlözer
undertook to write his biography was perhaps the most fortunate for his
fame.

1856.



X. SHAKESPEARE.(34)


The city of Frankfort, the birthplace of Goethe, sends her greeting to the
city of Stratford-on-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare. The old free
town of Frankfort, which, since the days of Frederick Barbarossa, has seen
the Emperors of Germany crowned within her walls, might well at all times
speak in the name of Germany. But to-day she sends her greeting, not as
the proud mother of German Emperors, but as the prouder mother of the
greatest among the poets of Germany; and it is from the very house in
which Goethe lived, and which has since become the seat of “the Free
German Institute for Science and Art,” that this message of the German
admirers and lovers of Shakespeare has been sent, which I am asked to
present to you, the Mayor and Council of Stratford-on-Avon.

When honor was to be done to the memory of Shakespeare, Germany could not
be absent, for next to Goethe and Schiller there is no poet so truly loved
by us, so thoroughly our own, as your Shakespeare. He is no stranger with
us, no mere classic, like Homer, or Virgil, or Dante, or Corneille, whom
we admire as we admire a marble statue. He has become one of ourselves,
holding his own place in the history of our literature, applauded in our
theatres, read in our cottages, studied, known, loved, “as far as sounds
the German tongue.” There is many a student in Germany who has learned
English solely in order to read Shakespeare in the original, and yet we
possess a translation of Shakespeare with which few translations of any
work can vie in any language. What we in Germany owe to Shakespeare must
be read in the history of our literature. Goethe was proud to call himself
a pupil of Shakespeare. I shall at this moment allude to one debt of
gratitude only which Germany owes to the poet of Stratford-on-Avon. I do
not speak of the poet only, and of his art, so perfect because so artless;
I think of the man with his large, warm heart, with his sympathy for all
that is genuine, unselfish, beautiful, and good; with his contempt for all
that is petty, mean, vulgar, and false. It is from his plays that our
young men in Germany form their first ideas of England and the English
nation, and in admiring and loving him we have learned to admire and to
love you who may proudly call him your own. And it is right that this
should be so. As the height of the Alps is measured by Mont Blanc, let the
greatness of England be measured by the greatness of Shakespeare. Great
nations make great poets, great poets make great nations. Happy the nation
that possesses a poet like Shakespeare. Happy the youth of England whose
first ideas of this world in which they are to live are taken from his
pages. The silent influence of Shakespeare’s poetry on millions of young
hearts in England, in Germany, in all the world, shows the almost
superhuman power of human genius. If we look at that small house, in a
small street of a small town of a small island, and then think of the
world-embracing, world-quickening, world-ennobling spirit that burst forth
from that small garret, we have learned a lesson and carried off a
blessing for which no pilgrimage would have been too long. Though the
great festivals which in former days brought together people from all
parts of Europe to worship at the shrine of Canterbury exist no more, let
us hope, for the sake of England, more even than for the sake of
Shakespeare, that this will not be the last Shakespeare festival in the
annals of Stratford-on-Avon. In this cold and critical age of ours the
power of worshipping, the art of admiring, the passion of loving what is
great and good are fast dying out. May England never be ashamed to show to
the world that she can love, that she can admire, that she can worship the
greatest of her poets! May Shakespeare live on in the love of each
generation that grows up in England! May the youth of England long
continue to be nursed, to be fed, to be reproved and judged by his spirit!
With that nation—that truly English, because truly Shakespearian
nation—the German nation will always be united by the strongest
sympathies; for, superadded to their common blood, their common religion,
their common battles and victories, they will always have in Shakespeare a
common teacher, a common benefactor, and a common friend.

_April, 1864._



XI. BACON IN GERMANY.(35)


“If our German philosophy is considered in England and in France as German
dreaming, we ought not to render evil for evil, but rather to prove the
groundlessness of such accusations by endeavoring ourselves to appreciate,
without any prejudice, the philosophers of France and England, such as
they are, and doing them that justice which they deserve; especially as,
in scientific subjects, injustice means ignorance.” With these words M.
Kuno Fischer introduces his work on Bacon to the German public; and what
he says is evidently intended, not as an attack upon the conceit of
French, and the exclusiveness of English philosophers, but rather as an
apology which the author feels that he owes to his own countrymen. It
would seem, indeed, as if a German was bound to apologize for treating
Bacon as an equal of Leibnitz, Kant, Hegel, and Schelling. Bacon’s name is
never mentioned by German writers without some proviso that it is only by
a great stretch of the meaning of the word, or by courtesy, that he can be
called a philosopher. His philosophy, it is maintained, ends where all
true philosophy begins; and his style or method has frequently been
described as unworthy of a systematic thinker. Spinoza, who has exercised
so great an influence on the history of thought in Germany, was among the
first who spoke slightingly of the inductive philosopher. When treating of
the causes of error, he writes, “What he (Bacon) adduces besides, in order
to explain error, can easily be traced back to the Cartesian theory; it is
this, that the human will is free and more comprehensive than the
understanding, or, as Bacon expresses himself in a more confused manner,
in the forty-ninth aphorism, ‘The human understanding is not a pure light,
but obscured by the will.’ ” In works on the general history of
philosophy, German authors find it difficult to assign any place to Bacon.
Sometimes he is classed with the Italian school of natural philosophy,
sometimes he is contrasted with Jacob Boehme. He is named as one of the
many who helped to deliver mankind from the thralldom of scholasticism.
But any account of what he really was, what he did to immortalize his
name, and to gain that prominent position among his own countrymen which
he has occupied to the present day, we should look for in vain even in the
most complete and systematic treatises on the history of philosophy
published in Germany. Nor does this arise from any wish to depreciate the
results of English speculation in general. On the contrary, we find that
Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume are treated with great respect. They
occupy well-marked positions in the progress of philosophic thought. Their
names are written in large letters on the chief stations through which the
train of human reasoning passed before it arrived at Kant and Hegel.
Locke’s philosophy took for a time complete possession of the German mind,
and called forth some of the most important and decisive writings of
Leibnitz; and Kant himself owed his commanding position to the battle
which he fought and won against Hume. Bacon alone has never been either
attacked or praised, nor have his works, as it seems, ever been studied
very closely by Germans. As far as we can gather, their view of Bacon and
of English philosophy is something as follows. Philosophy, they say,
should account for experience; but Bacon took experience for granted. He
constructed a cyclopædia of knowledge, but he never explained what
knowledge itself was. Hence philosophy, far from being brought to a close
by his “Novum Organon,” had to learn again to make her first steps
immediately after his time. Bacon had built a magnificent palace, but it
was soon found that there was no staircase in it. The very first question
of all philosophy, “How do we know?” or, “How can we know?” had never been
asked by him. Locke, who came after him, was the first to ask it, and he
endeavored to answer it in his “Essay concerning Human Understanding.” The
result of his speculations was, that the mind is a _tabula rasa_, that
this _tabula rasa_ becomes gradually filled with sensuous perceptions, and
that these sensuous perceptions arrange themselves into classes, and thus
give rise to more general ideas or conceptions. This was a step in
advance; but there was again one thing taken for granted by Locke,—the
perceptions. This led to the next step in English philosophy, which was
made by Berkeley. He asked the question, “What are perceptions?” and he
answered it boldly: “Perceptions are the things themselves, and the only
cause of these perceptions is God.” But this bold step was in reality but
a bold retreat. Hume accepted the results both of Locke and Berkeley. He
admitted with Locke that the impressions of the senses are the source of
all knowledge; he admitted with Berkeley that we know nothing beyond the
impressions of our senses. But when Berkeley speaks of the cause of these
impressions, Hume points out that we have no right to speak of anything
like cause and effect, and that the idea of causality, of necessary
sequence, on which the whole fabric of our reasoning rests, is an
assumption; inevitable, it may be, yet an assumption. Thus English
philosophy, which seemed to be so settled and positive in Bacon, ended in
the most unsettled and negative skepticism in Hume; and it was only
through Kant that, according to the Germans, the great problem was solved
at last, and men again knew _how_ they knew.

From this point of view, which we believe to be that generally taken by
German writers of the historical progress of modern philosophy, we may
well understand why the star of Bacon should disappear almost below their
horizon. And if those only are to be called philosophers who inquire into
the causes of our knowledge, or into the possibility of knowing and being,
a new name must be invented for men like him, who are concerned alone with
the realities of knowledge. The two are antipodes,—they inhabit two
distinct hemispheres of thought. But German Idealism, as M. Kuno Fischer
says, would have done well if it had become more thoroughly acquainted
with its opponent:—


    “And if it be objected,” he says, “that the points of contact
    between German and English philosophy, between Idealism and
    Realism, are less to be found in Bacon than in other philosophers
    of his kind; that it was not Bacon, but Hume, who influenced Kant;
    that it was not Bacon, but Locke, who influenced Leibnitz; that
    Spinoza, if he received any impulse at all from those quarters,
    received it from Hobbes, and not from Bacon, of whom he speaks in
    several places very contemptuously,—I answer, that it was Bacon
    whom Des Cartes, the acknowledged founder of dogmatic Idealism,
    chose for his antagonist. And as to those realistic philosophers
    who have influenced the opposite side of philosophy in Spinoza,
    Leibnitz, and Kant, I shall be able to prove that Hobbes, Locke,
    Hume, are all descendants of Bacon, that they have their roots in
    Bacon, that without Bacon they cannot be truly explained and
    understood, but only be taken up in a fragmentary form, and, as it
    were, plucked off. Bacon is the creator of realistic philosophy.
    Their age is but a development of the Baconian germs; every one of
    their systems is a metamorphosis of Baconian philosophy. To the
    present day, realistic philosophy has never had a greater genius
    than Bacon, its founder; none who has manifested the truly
    realistic spirit that feels itself at home in the midst of life,
    in so comprehensive, so original and characteristic, so sober, and
    yet at the same time so ideal and aspiring a manner; none, again,
    in whom the limits of this spirit stand out in such distinct and
    natural relief. Bacon’s philosophy is the most healthy and quite
    inartificial expression of Realism. After the systems of Spinoza
    and Leibnitz had moved me for a long time, had filled, and, as it
    were, absorbed me, the study of Bacon was to me like a new life,
    the fruits of which are gathered in this book.”


After a careful perusal of M. Fischer’s work, we believe that it will not
only serve in Germany as a useful introduction to the study of Bacon, but
that it will be read with interest and advantage by many persons in
England who are already acquainted with the chief works of the
philosopher. The analysis which he gives of Bacon’s philosophy is accurate
and complete; and, without indulging in any lengthy criticisms, he has
thrown much light on several important points. He first discusses the aim
of his philosophy, and characterizes it as Discovery in general, as the
conquest of nature by man (_Regnum hominis, interpretatio naturæ_). He
then enters into the means which it supplies for accomplishing this
conquest, and which consist chiefly in experience:—


    “The chief object of Bacon’s philosophy is the establishment and
    extension of the dominion of man. The means of accomplishing this
    we may call culture, or the application of physical powers toward
    human purposes. But there is no such culture without discovery,
    which produces the means of culture; no discovery without science,
    which understands the laws of nature; no science without natural
    science; no natural science without an interpretation of nature;
    and this can only be accomplished according to the measure of our
    experience.”


M. Fischer then proceeds to discuss what he calls the negative or
destructive part of Bacon’s philosophy (_pars destruens_),—that is to say,
the means by which the human mind should be purified and freed from all
preconceived notions before it approaches the interpretation of nature. He
carries us through the long war which Bacon commenced against the idols of
traditional or scholastic science. We see how the _idola tribus_, the
_idola specus_, the _idola fori_, and the _idola theatri_, are destroyed
by his iconoclastic philosophy. After all these are destroyed, there
remains nothing but uncertainty and doubt; and it is in this state of
nudity, approaching very nearly to the _tabula rasa_ of Locke, that the
human mind should approach the new temple of nature. Here lies the radical
difference between Bacon and Des Cartes, between Realism and Idealism. Des
Cartes also, like Bacon, destroys all former knowledge. He proves that we
know nothing for certain. But after he has deprived the human mind of all
its imaginary riches, he does not lead it on, like Bacon, to a study of
nature, but to a study of itself as the only subject which can be known
for certain, _Cogito, ergo sum_. His philosophy leads to a study of the
fundamental laws of knowing and being; that of Bacon enters at once into
the gates of nature, with the innocence of a child (to use his own
expression) who enters the kingdom of God. Bacon speaks, indeed, of a
_Philosophia prima_ as a kind of introduction to Divine, Natural, and
Human Philosophy; but he does not discuss in this preliminary chapter the
problem of the possibility of knowledge, nor was it with him the right
place to do so. It was destined by him as a “receptacle for all such
profitable observations and axioms as fall not within the compass of the
special parts of philosophy or sciences, but are more common, and of a
higher stage.” He mentions himself some of these axioms, such as—“_Si
inæqualibus æqualia addas, omnia erunt inæqualia;_” “_Quæ in eodem tertio
conveniunt, et inter se conveniunt;_” “_Omnia mutantur, nil interit._” The
problem of the possibility of knowledge would generally be classed under
metaphysics; but what Bacon calls _Metaphysique_ is, with him, a branch of
philosophy treating only on Formal and Final Causes, in opposition to
_Physique_, which treats on Material and Efficient Causes. If we adopt
Bacon’s division of philosophy, we might still expect to find the
fundamental problem discussed in his chapter on Human Philosophy; but
here, again, he treats man only as a part of the continent of Nature, and
when he comes to consider the substance and nature of the soul or mind, he
declines to enter into this subject, because “the true knowledge of the
nature and state of soul must come by the same inspiration that gave the
substance.” There remains, therefore, but one place in Bacon’s cyclopædia
where we might hope to find some information on this subject,—namely,
where he treats on the faculties and functions of the mind, and in
particular, of understanding and reason. And here he dwells indeed on the
doubtful evidence of the senses as one of the causes of error so
frequently pointed out by other philosophers. But he remarks that, though
they charged the deceit upon the senses, their chief errors arose from a
different cause, from the weakness of their intellectual powers, and from
the manner of collecting and concluding upon the reports of the senses.
And he then points to what is to be the work of his life,—an improved
system of invention, consisting of the _Experientia Literata_, and the
_Interpretatio Naturæ_.

It must be admitted, therefore, that one of the problems which has
occupied most philosophers,—nay, which, in a certain sense, may be called
the first impulse to all philosophy,—the question whether we can know
anything, is entirely passed over by Bacon; and we may well understand why
the name and title of philosopher has been withheld from one who looked
upon human knowledge as an art, but never inquired into its causes and
credentials. This is a point which M. Fischer has not overlooked; but he
has not always kept it in view, and in wishing to secure to Bacon his
place in the history of philosophy, he has deprived him of that more
exalted place which Bacon himself wished to occupy in the history of the
world. Among men like Locke, Hume, Kant, and Hegel, Bacon is, and always
will be, a stranger. Bacon himself would have drawn a very strong line
between their province and his own. He knows where their province lies;
and if he sometimes speaks contemptuously of formal philosophy, it is only
when formal philosophy has encroached on his own ground, or when it breaks
into the enclosure of revealed religion, which he wished to be kept
sacred. There, he holds, the human mind should not enter, except in the
attitude of the Semnones, with chained hands.

Bacon’s philosophy could never supplant the works of Plato and Aristotle,
and though his method might prove useful in every branch of
knowledge,—even in the most abstruse points of logic and metaphysics,—yet
there has never been a Baconian school of philosophy, in the sense in
which we speak of the school of Locke or Kant. Bacon was above or below
philosophy. Philosophy, in the usual sense of the word, formed but a part
of his great scheme of knowledge. It had its place therein, side by side
with history, poetry, and religion. After he had surveyed the whole
universe of knowledge, he was struck by the small results that had been
obtained by so much labor, and he discovered the cause of this failure in
the want of a proper method of investigation and combination. The
substitution of a new method of invention was the great object of his
philosophical activity; and though it has been frequently said that the
Baconian method had been known long before Bacon, and had been practiced
by his predecessors with much greater success than by himself or his
immediate followers, it was his chief merit to have proclaimed it, and to
have established its legitimacy against all gainsayers. M. Fischer has
some very good remarks on Bacon’s method of induction, particularly on the
_instantiæ prærogativæ_ which, as he points out, though they show the
weakness of his system, exhibit at the same time the strength of his mind,
which rises above all the smaller considerations of systematic
consistency, where higher objects are at stake.

M. Fischer devotes one chapter to Bacon’s relation to the ancient
philosophers, and another to his views on poetry. In the latter, he
naturally compares Bacon with his contemporary, Shakespeare. We recommend
this chapter, as well as a similar one in a work on Shakespeare by
Gervinus, to the author of the ingenious discovery that Bacon was the real
author of Shakespeare’s plays. Besides an analysis of the constructive
part of Bacon’s philosophy, or the _Instauratio Magna_, M. Fischer gives
us several interesting chapters, in which he treats of Bacon as an
historical character, of his views on religion and theology, and of his
reviewers. His defense of Bacon’s political character is the weakest part
of his work. He draws an elaborate parallel between the spirit of Bacon’s
philosophy and the spirit of his public acts. Discovery, he says, was the
object of the philosopher; success that of the politician. But what can be
gained by such parallels? We admire Bacon’s ardent exertions for the
successful advancement of learning, but, if his acts for his own
advancement were blamable, no moralist, whatever notions he may hold on
the relation between the understanding and the will, would be swayed in
his judgment of Lord Bacon’s character by such considerations. We make no
allowance for the imitative talents of a tragedian, if he stands convicted
of forgery, nor for the courage of a soldier, if he is accused of murder.
Bacon’s character can only be judged by the historian, and by a careful
study of the standard of public morality in Bacon’s times. And the same
may be said of the position which he took with regard to religion and
theology. We may explain his inclination to keep religion distinct from
philosophy by taking into account the practical tendencies of all his
labors. But there is such a want of straightforwardness, and we might
almost say, of real faith, in his theological statements, that no one can
be surprised to find that, while he is taken as the representative of
orthodoxy by some, he has been attacked by others as the most dangerous
and insidious enemy of Christianity. Writers of the school of De Maistre
see in him a decided atheist and hypocrite.

In a work on Bacon, it seems to have become a necessity to discuss Bacon’s
last reviewer, and M. Fischer therefore breaks a lance with Mr. Macaulay.
We give some extracts from this chapter (page 358 _seq._), which will
serve, at the same time, as a specimen of our author’s style:—


    “Mr. Macaulay pleads unconditionally in favor of practical
    philosophy, which he designates by the name of Bacon, against all
    theoretical philosophy. We have two questions to ask: 1. What does
    Mr. Macaulay mean by the contrast of practical and theoretical
    philosophy, on which he dwells so constantly? and 2. What has his
    own practical philosophy in common with that of Bacon?


    “Mr. Macaulay decides on the fate of philosophy with a ready
    formula, which, like many of the same kind, dazzles by means of
    words which have nothing behind them,—words which become more
    obscure and empty the nearer we approach them. He says, Philosophy
    was made for Man, not Man for Philosophy. In the former case it is
    practical; in the latter, theoretical. Mr. Macaulay embraces the
    first, and rejects the second. He cannot speak with sufficient
    praise of the one, nor with sufficient contempt of the other.
    According to him, the Baconian philosophy is practical; the
    pre-Baconian, and particularly the ancient philosophy,
    theoretical. He carries the contrast between the two to the last
    extreme, and he places it before our eyes, not in its naked form,
    but veiled in metaphors, and in well-chosen figures of speech,
    where the imposing and charming image always represents the
    practical, the repulsive the theoretical, form of philosophy. By
    this play he carries away the great mass of people, who, like
    children, always run after images. Practical philosophy is not so
    much a conviction with him, but it serves him to make a point;
    whereas theoretical philosophy serves as an easy butt. Thus the
    contrast between the two acquires a certain dramatic charm. The
    reader feels moved and excited by the subject before him, and
    forgets the scientific question. His fancy is caught by a kind of
    metaphorical imagery, and his understanding surrenders what is due
    to it.... What is Mr. Macaulay’s meaning in rejecting theoretical
    philosophy, because philosophy is here the object, and man the
    means; whereas he adopts practical philosophy, because man is here
    the object, and philosophy the means? What do we gain by such
    comparisons, as when he says that practical and theoretical
    philosophy are like works and words, fruits and thorns, a
    high-road and a treadmill? Such phrases always remind us of the
    remark of Socrates: They are said indeed, but are they well and
    truly said? According to the strict meaning of Mr. Macaulay’s
    words, there never was a practical philosophy; for there never was
    a philosophy which owed its origin to practical considerations
    only. And there never was a theoretical philosophy, for there
    never was a philosophy which did not receive its impulse from a
    human want, that is to say, from a practical motive. This shows
    where playing with words must always lead. He defines theoretical
    and practical philosophy in such a manner that his definition is
    inapplicable to any kind of philosophy. His antithesis is entirely
    empty. But if we drop the antithesis, and only keep to what it
    means in sober and intelligible language, it would come to
    this,—that the value of a theory depends on its usefulness, on its
    practical influence on human life, on the advantage which we
    derive from it. Utility alone is to decide on the value of a
    theory. Be it so. But who is to decide on utility? If all things
    are useful which serve to satisfy human wants, who is to decide on
    our wants? We take Mr. Macaulay’s own point of view. Philosophy
    should be practical; it should serve man, satisfy his wants, or
    help to satisfy them; and if it fails in this, let it be called
    useless and hollow. But if there are wants in human nature which
    demand to be satisfied, which make life a burden unless they are
    satisfied, is that not to be called practical which answers to
    these wants? And if some of them are of that peculiar nature that
    they can only be satisfied by knowledge, or by theoretical
    contemplation, is this knowledge, is this theoretical
    contemplation, not useful,—useful even in the eyes of the most
    decided Utilitarian? Might it not happen that what he calls
    theoretical philosophy seems useless and barren to the
    Utilitarian, because his ideas of men are too narrow? It is
    dangerous, and not quite becoming, to lay down the law, and say
    from the very first, ‘You must not have more than certain wants,
    and therefore you do not want more than a certain philosophy!’ If
    we may judge from Mr. Macaulay’s illustrations, his ideas of human
    nature are not very liberal. ‘If we were forced,’ he says, ‘to
    make our choice between the first shoemaker and Seneca, the author
    of the books on Anger, we should pronounce for the shoemaker. It
    may be worse to be angry than to be wet. But shoes have kept
    millions from being wet; and we doubt whether Seneca ever kept
    anybody from being angry.’ I should not select Seneca as the
    representative of theoretical philosophy, still less take those
    for my allies whom Mr. Macaulay prefers to Seneca, in order to
    defeat theoretical philosophers. Brennus threw his sword into the
    scale in order to make it more weighty. Mr. Macaulay prefers the
    awl. But whatever he may think about Seneca, there is another
    philosopher more profound than Seneca, but in Mr. Macaulay’s eyes
    likewise an unpractical thinker. And yet in him the power of
    theory was greater than the powers of nature and the most common
    wants of man. His meditations alone gave Socrates his serenity
    when he drank the fatal poison. Is there, among all evils, one
    greater than the dread of death? And the remedy against this, the
    worst of all physical evils, is it not practical in the best sense
    of the word? True, some people might here say, that it would have
    been more practical if Socrates had fled from his prison, as
    Criton suggested, and had died an old and decrepit man in Bœotia.
    But to Socrates it seemed more practical to remain in prison, and
    to die as the first witness and martyr of the liberty of
    conscience, and to rise from the sublime height of his theory to
    the seats of the immortals. Thus it is the want of the individual
    which decides on the practical value of an act or of a thought,
    and this want depends on the nature of the human soul. There is a
    difference between individuals in different ages, and there is a
    difference in their wants.... As long as the desire after
    knowledge lives in our hearts, we must, with the purely practical
    view of satisfying this want, strive after knowledge in all
    things, even in those which do not contribute towards external
    comfort, and have no use except that they purify and invigorate
    the mind.... What is theory in the eyes of Bacon? ‘A temple in the
    human mind, according to the model of the world.’ What is it in
    the eyes of Mr. Macaulay? A snug dwelling, according to the wants
    of practical life. The latter is satisfied if knowledge is carried
    far enough to enable us to keep ourselves dry. The magnificence of
    the structure, and its completeness according to the model of the
    world, is to him useless by-work, superfluous and even dangerous
    luxury. This is the view of a respectable rate-payer, not of a
    Bacon. Mr. Macaulay reduces Bacon to his own dimensions, while he
    endeavors at the same time to exalt him above all other people....
    Bacon’s own philosophy was, like all philosophy, a theory; it was
    the theory of the inventive mind. Bacon has not made any great
    discoveries himself. He was less inventive than Leibnitz, the
    German metaphysician. If to make discoveries be practical
    philosophy, Bacon was a mere theorist, and his philosophy nothing
    but the theory of practical philosophy.... How far the spirit of
    theory reached in Bacon may be seen in his own works. He did not
    want to fetter theory, but to renew and to extend it to the very
    ends of the universe. His practical standard was not the comfort
    of the individual, but human happiness, which involves theoretical
    knowledge.... That Bacon is not the Bacon of Mr. Macaulay. What
    Bacon wanted was new, and it will be eternal. What Mr. Macaulay
    and many people at the present day want, in the name of Bacon, is
    not new, but novel. New is what opposes the old, and serves as a
    model for the future. Novel is what flatters our times, gains
    sympathies, and dies away.... And history has pronounced her final
    verdict. It is the last negative instance which we oppose to Mr.
    Macaulay’s assertion. Bacon’s philosophy has not been the end of
    all theories, but the beginning of new theories,—theories which
    flowed necessarily from Bacon’s philosophy, and not one of which
    was practical in Mr. Macaulay’s sense. Hobbes was the pupil of
    Bacon. His ideal of a State is opposed to that of Plato on all
    points. But one point it shares in common,—it is as unpractical a
    theory as that of Plato. Mr. Macaulay, however, calls Hobbes the
    most acute and vigorous spirit. If, then, Hobbes was a practical
    philosopher, what becomes of Macaulay’s politics? And if Hobbes
    was not a practical philosopher, what becomes of Mr. Macaulay’s
    philosophy, which does homage to the theories of Hobbes?”


We have somewhat abridged M. Fischer’s argument, for, though he writes
well and intelligibly, he wants condensation; and we do not think that his
argument has been weakened by being shortened. What he has extended into a
volume of nearly five hundred pages, might have been reduced to a pithy
essay of one or two hundred, without sacrificing one essential fact, or
injuring the strength of any one of his arguments. The art of writing in
our times is the art of condensing; and those who cannot condense write
only for readers who have more time at their disposal than they know what
to do with.

Let us ask one question in conclusion. Why do all German writers change
the thoroughly Teutonic name of Bacon into Baco? It is bad enough that we
should speak of Plato; but this cannot be helped. But unless we protest
against Baco, _gen._ Baconis, we shall soon be treated to Newto, Newtonis,
or even to Kans, Kantis.

1857.



XII. A GERMAN TRAVELLER IN ENGLAND.(36)


A. D. 1598.

Lessing, when he was Librarian at Wolfenbüttel, proposed to start a review
which should only notice forgotten books,—books written before reviewing
was invented, published in the small towns of Germany, never read,
perhaps, except by the author and his friends, then buried on the shelves
of a library, properly labeled and catalogued, and never opened again,
except by an inquisitive inmate of these literary mausoleums. The number
of those forgotten books is great, and as in former times few authors
wrote more than one or two works during the whole of their lives, the
information which they contain is generally of a much more substantial and
solid kind than our literary palates are now accustomed to. If a man now
travels to the unexplored regions of Central Africa, his book is written
and out in a year. It remains on the drawing-room table for a season; it
is pleasant to read, easy to digest, and still easier to review and to
forget. Two or three hundred years ago this was very different. Travelling
was a far more serious business, and a man who had spent some years in
seeing foreign countries, could do nothing better than employ the rest of
his life in writing a book of travels, either in his own language, or,
still better, in Latin. After his death his book continued to be quoted
for a time in works on history and geography, till a new traveller went
over the same ground, published an equally learned book, and thus
consigned his predecessor to oblivion. Here is a case in point: Paul
Hentzner, a German, who, of course, calls himself Paulus Hentznerus,
travelled in Germany, France, England, and Italy; and after his return to
his native place in Silesia, he duly published his travels in a portly
volume, written in Latin. There is a long title-page, with dedications,
introductions, a preface for the _Lector benevolus_, Latin verses, and a
table showing what people ought to observe in travelling. Travelling,
according to our friend, is the source of all wisdom; and he quotes Moses
and the Prophets in support of his theory. We ought all to travel, he
says,—“vita nostra peregrinatio est;” and those who stay at home like
snails (_cochlearum instar_) will remain “inhumani, insolentes, superbi,”
etc.

It would take a long time to follow Paulus Hentznerus through all his
peregrinations; but let us see what he saw in England. He arrived here in
the year 1598. He took ship with his friends at _Depa_, vulgo _Dieppe_,
and after a boisterous voyage, they landed at _Rye_. On their arrival they
were conducted to a _Notarius_, who asked their names, and inquired for
what object they came to England. After they had satisfied his official
inquiries, they were conducted to a _Diversorium_, and treated to a good
dinner, _pro regionis more_, according to the custom of the country. From
_Rye_ they rode to _London_, passing _Flimwolt_, _Tumbridge_, and
_Chepsted_ on their way. Then follows a long description of London, its
origin and history, its bridges, churches, monuments, and palaces, with
extracts from earlier writers, such as Paulus Jovius, Polydorus Vergilius,
etc. All inscriptions are copied faithfully, not only from tombs and
pictures, but also from books which the travellers saw in the public
libraries. Whitehall seems to have contained a royal library at that time,
and in it Hentzner saw, besides Greek and Latin MSS., a book written in
French by Queen Elizabeth, with the following dedication to Henry VIII.:—


    “A Tres haut et Tres puissant et Redoubte Prince Henry VIII. de ce
    nom, Roy d’Angleterre, de France, et d’Irlande, defenseur de la
    foy, Elizabeth, sa Tres humble fille, rend salut et obedience.”


After the travellers had seen St. Paul’s, Westminster, the House of
Parliament, Whitehall, Guildhall, the Tower, and the Royal Exchange,
commonly called _Bursa_,—all of which are minutely described,—they went to
the theatres and to places _Ursorum et Taurorum venationibus destinata_,
where bears and bulls, tied fast behind, were baited by bull-dogs. In
these places, and everywhere, in fact, as our traveller says, where you
meet with Englishmen, they use _herba nicotiana_, which they call by an
American name _Tobaca_ or _Paetum_. The description deserves to be quoted
in the original:—


    “Fistulæ in hunc finem ex argillâ factæ orificio posteriori dictam
    herbam probe exiccatam, ita ut in pulverem facile redigi possit,
    immittunt, et igne admoto accendunt, unde fumus ab anteriori parte
    ore attrahitur, qui per nares rursum, tamquam per infurnibulum
    exit, et phlegma ac capitis defluxiones magnâ copiâ secum educit.”


After they had seen everything in London—not omitting the ship in which
Francis Drake, _nobilissimus pyrata_, was said to have circumnavigated the
world,—they went to Greenwich. Here they were introduced into the
presence-chamber, and saw the Queen. The walls of the room were covered
with precious tapestry, the floor strewed with hay. The Queen had to pass
through on going to chapel. It was a Sunday, when all the nobility came to
pay their respects. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London
were present. When divine service began, the Queen appeared, preceded and
followed by the court. Before her walked two barons, carrying the sceptre
and the sword, and between them the Great Chancellor of England with the
seal. The Queen is thus minutely described:—


    “She was said (_rumor erat_) to be fifty-five years old. Her face
    was rather long, white, and a little wrinkled. Her eyes small,
    black, and gracious; her nose somewhat bent; her lips compressed,
    her teeth black (from eating too much sugar). She had ear-rings of
    pearls; red hair, but artificial, and wore a small crown. Her
    breast was uncovered (as is the case with all unmarried ladies in
    England), and round her neck was a chain with precious gems. Her
    hands were graceful, her fingers long. She was of middle stature,
    but stepped on majestically. She was gracious and kind in her
    address. The dress she wore was of white silk, with pearls as
    large as beans. Her cloak was of black silk with silver lace, and
    a long train was carried by a marchioness. As she walked along she
    spoke most kindly with many people, some of them ambassadors. She
    spoke English, French, and Italian; but she knows also Greek and
    Latin, and understands Spanish, Scotch, and Dutch. Those whom she
    addressed bent their knees, and some she lifted up with her hand.
    To a Bohemian nobleman of the name of Slawata, who had brought
    some letters to the Queen, she gave her right hand after taking
    off her glove, and he kissed it. Wherever she turned her eyes,
    people fell on their knees.”


There was probably nobody present who ventured to scrutinize the poor
Queen so impertinently as Paulus Hentznerus. He goes on to describe the
ladies who followed the Queen, and how they were escorted by fifty
knights. When she came to the door of the chapel, books were handed to
her, and the people called out, “God save the Queen Elizabeth!” whereupon
the Queen answered, “I thanke you myn good peuple.” Prayers did not last
more than half an hour, and the music was excellent. During the time that
the Queen was in chapel, dinner was laid, and this again is described in
full detail.

But we cannot afford to tarry with our German observer, nor can we follow
him to Grantbridge (Cambridge) or Oxenford, where he describes the
colleges and halls (each of them having a library), and the life of the
students. From Oxford he went to Woodstock, then back to Oxford, and from
thence to Henley and Madenhood to Windsor. Eton also was visited, and
here, he says, sixty boys were educated gratuitously, and afterwards sent
to Cambridge. After visiting Hampton Court and the royal palace of
Nonesuch, our travellers returned to London.

We shall finish our extracts with some remarks of Hentzner on the manners
and customs of the English:—


    “The English are grave, like the Germans, magnificent at home and
    abroad. They carry with them a large train of followers and
    servants. These have silver shields on their left arm, and a
    pig-tail. The English excel in dancing and music. They are swift
    and lively, though stouter than the French. They shave the middle
    portion of the face, but leave the hair untouched on each side.
    They are good sailors and famous pirates; clever, perfidious, and
    thievish. About three hundred are hanged in London every year. At
    table they are more civil than the French. They eat less bread,
    but more meat, and they dress it well. They throw much sugar into
    their wine. They suffer frequently from leprosy, commonly called
    the white leprosy, which is said to have come to England in the
    time of the Normans. They are brave in battle, and always conquer
    their enemies. At home they brook no manner of servitude. They are
    very fond of noises that fill the ears, such as explosions of
    guns, trumpets, and bells. In London, persons who have got drunk
    are wont to mount a church tower, for the sake of exercise, and to
    ring the bells for several hours. If they see a foreigner who is
    handsome and strong, they are sorry that he is not an
    Anglicus,—_vulgo_ Englishman.”


On his return to France, Hentzner paid a visit to Canterbury, and, after
seeing some ghosts on his journey, arrived safely at Dover. Before he was
allowed to go on board, he had again to undergo an examination, to give
his name, to explain what he had done in England, and where he was going;
and, lastly, his luggage was searched most carefully, in order to see
whether he carried with him any English money, for nobody was allowed to
carry away more than ten pounds of English money: all the rest was taken
away and handed to the royal treasury. And thus farewell, Carissime
Hentzneri! and slumber on your shelf until the eye of some other
benevolent reader, glancing at the rows of forgotten books, is caught by
the quaint lettering on your back, “_Hentzneri Itin_.”

1857.



XIII. CORNISH ANTIQUITIES.(37)


It is impossible to spend even a few weeks in Cornwall without being
impressed with the air of antiquity which pervades that county, and seems,
like a morning mist, half to conceal and half to light up every one of its
hills and valleys. It is impossible to look at any pile of stones, at any
wall, or pillar, or gate-post, without asking one’s self the question, Is
this old, or is this new? Is it the work of Saxon, or of Roman, or of
Celt? Nay, one feels sometimes tempted to ask, Is this the work of Nature
or of man?

“Among these rocks and stones, methinks I see
More than the heedless impress that belongs
To lonely Nature’s casual work: they bear
A semblance strange of power intelligent,
And of design not wholly worn away.”—_Excursion_.

The late King of Prussia’s remark about Oxford, that in it everything old
seemed new, and everything new seemed old, applies with even greater truth
to Cornwall. There is a continuity between the present and the past of
that curious peninsula, such as we seldom find in any other place. A
spring bubbling up in a natural granite basin, now a meeting-place for
Baptists or Methodists, was but a few centuries ago a holy well, attended
by busy friars, and visited by pilgrims, who came there “nearly lame,” and
left the shrine “almost able to walk.” Still further back the same spring
was a centre of attraction for the Celtic inhabitants, and the rocks piled
up around it stand there as witnesses of a civilization and architecture
certainly more primitive than the civilization and architecture of Roman,
Saxon, or Norman settlers. We need not look beyond. How long that granite
buttress of England has stood there, defying the fury of the Atlantic, the
geologist alone, who is not awed by ages, would dare to tell us. But the
historian is satisfied with antiquities of a more humble and homely
character; and in bespeaking the interest, and, it may be, the active
support of our readers, in favor of the few relics of the most ancient
civilization of Britain, we promise to keep within strictly historical
limits, if by historical we understand, with the late Sir G. C. Lewis,
that only which can be authenticated by contemporaneous monuments.

But even thus, how wide a gulf seems to separate us from the first
civilizers of the West of England, from the people who gave names to every
headland, bay, and hill of Cornwall, and who first planned those lanes
that now, like throbbing veins, run in every direction across that
heath-covered peninsula! No doubt it is well known that the original
inhabitants of Cornwall were Celts, and that Cornish is a Celtic language;
and that, if we divide the Celtic languages into two classes, Welsh with
Cornish and Breton forms one class, the _Cymric_; while the Irish with its
varieties, as developed in Scotland and the Isle of Man, forms another
class, which is called the _Gaelic_ or _Gadhelic_. It may also be more or
less generally known that Celtic, with all its dialects, is an Aryan or
Indo-European language, closely allied to Latin, Greek, German, Slavonic,
and Sanskrit, and that the Celts, therefore, were not mere barbarians, or
people to be classed together with Finns and Lapps, but heralds of true
civilization wherever they settled in their worldwide migrations, the
equals of Saxons and Romans and Greeks, whether in physical beauty or in
intellectual vigor. And yet there is a strange want of historical reality
in the current conceptions about the Celtic inhabitants of the British
Isles; and while the heroes and statesmen and poets of Greece and Rome,
though belonging to a much earlier age, stand out in bold and sharp relief
on the table of a boy’s memory, his notions of the ancient Britons may
generally be summed up “in houses made of wicker-work, Druids with long
white beards, white linen robes, and golden sickles, and warriors painted
blue.” Nay, strange to say, we can hardly blame a boy for banishing the
ancient bards and Druids from the scene of real history, and assigning to
them that dark and shadowy corner where the gods and heroes of Greece live
peacefully together with the ghosts and fairies from the dreamland of our
own Saxon forefathers. For even the little that is told in “Little
Arthur’s History of England” about the ancient Britons and the Druids is
extremely doubtful. Druids are never mentioned before Cæsar. Few writers,
if any, before him were able to distinguish between Celts and Germans, but
spoke of the barbarians of Gaul and Germany as the Greeks spoke of
Scythians, or as we ourselves speak of the negroes of Africa, without
distinguishing between races so different from each other as Hottentots
and Kaffirs. Cæsar was one of the first writers who knew of an
ethnological distinction between Celtic and Teutonic barbarians, and we
may therefore trust him when he says that the Celts had Druids, and the
Germans had none. But his further statements about these Celtic priests
and sages are hardly more trustworthy than the account which an ordinary
Indian officer at the present day might give us of the Buddhist priests
and the Buddhist religion of Ceylon. Cæsar’s statement that the Druids
worshipped Mercury, Apollo, Mars, Jupiter, and Minerva, is of the same
base metal as the statements of more modern writers that the Buddhists
worship the Trinity, and that they take Buddha for the Son of God. Cæsar
most likely never conversed with a Druid, nor was he able to control, if
he was able to understand, the statements made to him about the ancient
priesthood, the religion and literature of Gaul. Besides, Cæsar himself
tells us very little about the priests of Gaul and Britain; and the
thrilling accounts of the white robes and the golden sickles belong to
Pliny’s “Natural History,” by no means a safe authority in such
matters.(38)

We must be satisfied, indeed, to know very little about the mode of life,
the forms of worship, the religious doctrines, or the mysterious wisdom of
the Druids and their flocks. But for this very reason it is most essential
that our minds should be impressed strongly with the historical reality
that belongs to the Celtic inhabitants, and to the work which they
performed in rendering these islands for the first time fit for the
habitation of man. That historical lesson, and a very important lesson it
is, is certainly learned more quickly, and yet more effectually, by a
visit to Cornwall or Wales, than by any amount of reading. We may doubt
many things that Celtic enthusiasts tell us; but where every village and
field, every cottage and hill, bear names that are neither English, nor
Norman, nor Latin, it is difficult not to feel that the Celtic element has
been something real and permanent in the history of the British Isles. The
Cornish language is no doubt extinct, if by extinct we mean that it is no
longer spoken by the people. But in the names of towns, castles, rivers,
mountains, fields, manors, and families, and in a few of the technical
terms of mining, husbandry, and fishing, Cornish lives on, and probably
will live on, for many ages to come. There is a well-known verse:—

“By Tre, Ros, Pol, Lan, Caer, and Pen,
You may know most Cornish men.”(39)

But it will hardly be believed that a Cornish antiquarian, Dr. Bannister,
who is collecting materials for a glossary of Cornish proper names, has
amassed no less than 2,400 names with Tre, 500 with Fen, 400 with Ros, 300
with Lan, 200 with Pol, and 200 with Caer.

A language does not die all at once, nor is it always possible to fix the
exact date when it breathed its last. Thus, in the case of Cornish, it is
by no means easy to reconcile the conflicting statements of various
writers as to the exact time when it ceased to be the language of the
people, unless we bear in mind that what was true with regard to the
higher classes was not so with regard to the lower, and likewise that in
some parts of Cornwall the vitality of the language might continue, while
in others its heart had ceased to beat. As late as the time of Henry
VIII., the famous physician Andrew Borde tells us that English was not
understood by many men and women in Cornwall. “In Cornwal is two
speeches,” he writes; “the one is naughty Englyshe, and the other the
Cornyshe speche. And there be many men and women the which cannot speake
one worde of Englyshe, but all Cornyshe.” During the same King’s reign,
when an attempt was made to introduce a new church service composed in
English, a protest was signed by the Devonshire and Cornish men utterly
refusing this new English:—


    “We will not receive the new Service, because it is but like a
    Christmas game; but we will have our old Service of Matins, Mass,
    Evensong, and Procession, in Latin as it was before. And so we the
    Cornish men (whereof certain of us understand no English) utterly
    refuse this new English.”(40)


Yet in the reign of Elizabeth, when the liturgy was appointed by authority
to take the place of the mass, the Cornish, it is said,(41) desired that
it should be in the English language. About the same time we are told that
Dr. John Moreman(42) taught his parishioners the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed,
and the Ten Commandments, in the English tongue. From the time of the
Reformation onward, Cornish seems constantly to have lost ground against
English, particularly in places near Devonshire. Thus Norden, whose
description of Cornwall was probably written about 1584, though not
published till 1728, gives a very full and interesting account of the
struggle between the two languages:—


    “Of late,” he says (p. 26), “the Cornishe men have muche conformed
    themselves to the use of the Englishe tounge, and their Englishe
    is equall to the beste, espetially in the easterne partes; even
    from Truro eastwarde it is in manner wholly Englishe. In the weste
    parte of the countrye, as in the hundreds of Penwith and Kerrier,
    the Cornishe tounge is moste in use amongste the inhabitantes, and
    yet (whiche is to be marveyled), though the husband and wife,
    parentes and children, master and servantes, doe mutually
    communicate in their native language, yet ther is none of them in
    manner but is able to convers with a straunger in the Englishe
    tounge, unless it be some obscure people, that seldome conferr
    with the better sorte: But it seemeth that in few yeares the
    Cornishe language will be by litle and litle abandoned.”


Carew, who wrote about the same time, goes so far as to say that most of
the inhabitants “can no word of Cornish, but very few are ignorant of the
English, though they sometimes affect to be.” This may have been true with
regard to the upper classes, particularly in the west of Cornwall, but it
is nevertheless a fact that, as late as 1640, Mr. William Jackman, the
vicar of Feock,(43) was forced to administer the sacrament in Cornish,
because the aged people did not understand English; nay, the rector of
Landewednak preached his sermons in Cornish as late as 1678. Mr. Scawen,
too, who wrote about that time, speaks of some old folks who spoke Cornish
only, and would not understand a word of English; but he tells us at the
same time that Sir Francis North, the Lord Chief Justice, afterwards Lord
Keeper, when holding the assizes at Lanceston in 1678, expressed his
concern at the loss and decay of the Cornish language. The poor people, in
fact, could speak, or at least understand, Cornish, but he says, “They
were laughed at by the rich, who understood it not, which is their own
fault in not endeavoring after it.” About the beginning of the last
century, Mr. Ed. Lhuyd (died 1709), the keeper of the Ashmolean Museum,
was still able to collect from the mouths of the people a grammar of the
Cornish language, which was published in 1707. He says that at this time
Cornish was only retained in five or six villages towards the Land’s End;
and in his “Archæologia Britannica” he adds, that although it was spoken
in most of the western districts from the Land’s End to the Lizard, “a
great many of the inhabitants, especially the gentry, do not understand
it, there being no necessity thereof in regard there’s no Cornish man but
speaks good English.” It is generally supposed that the last person who
spoke Cornish was Dolly Pentreath, who died in 1778, and to whose memory
Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte has lately erected a monument in the
churchyard at Paul. The inscription is:—


    “Here lieth interred Dorothy Pentreath, who died in 1778, said to
    have been the last person who conversed in the ancient Cornish,
    the peculiar language of this country from the earliest records
    till it expired in this parish of St. Paul. This stone is erected
    by the Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte, in union with the Rev. John
    Garret, vicar of St. Paul, June, 1860.”


It seems hardly right to deprive the old lady of her fair name; but there
are many people in Cornwall who maintain that when travellers and grandees
came to see her, she would talk anything that came into her head, while
those who listened to her were pleased to think that they had heard the
dying echoes of a primeval tongue.(44) There is a letter extant, written
in Cornish by a poor fisherman of the name of William Bodener. It is dated
July 3, 1776, that is, two years before the death of Dolly Pentreath; and
the writer says of himself in Cornish:—


    “My age is threescore and five. I am a poor fisherman. I learnt
    Cornish when I was a boy. I have been to sea with my father and
    five other men in the boat, and have not heard one word of English
    spoke in the boat for a week together. I never saw a Cornish book.
    I learned Cornish going to sea with old men. There is not more
    than four or five in our town can talk Cornish now,—old people
    fourscore years old. Cornish is all forgot with young people.”(45)


It would seem, therefore, that Cornish died with the last century, and no
one now living can boast to have heard its sound when actually spoken for
the sake of conversation. It seems to have been a melodious and yet by no
means an effeminate language, and Scawen places it in this respect above
most of the other Celtic dialects:—


    “Cornish,” he says, “is not to be gutturally pronounced, as the
    Welsh for the most part is, nor mutteringly, as the Armorick, nor
    whiningly as the Irish (which two latter qualities seem to have
    been contracted from their servitude), but must be lively and
    manly spoken, like other primitive tongues.”


Although Cornish must now be classed with the extinct languages, it has
certainly shown a marvelous vitality. More than four hundred years of
Roman occupation, more than six hundred years of Saxon and Danish sway, a
Norman conquest, a Saxon Reformation, and civil wars, have all passed over
the land; but, like a tree that may bend before a storm but is not to be
rooted up, the language of the Celts of Cornwall has lived on in an
unbroken continuity for at least two thousand years. What does this mean?
It means that through the whole of English history to the accession of the
House of Hanover, the inhabitants of Cornwall and the western portion of
Devonshire, in spite of intermarriages with Romans, Saxons, and Normans,
were Celts, and remained Celts. People speak indeed of blood, and
intermingling of blood, as determining the nationality of a people; but
what is meant by blood? It is one of those scientific idols, that crumble
to dust as soon as we try to define or grasp them; it is a vague, hollow,
treacherous term, which, for the present at least, ought to be banished
from the dictionary of every true man of science. We can give a scientific
definition of a Celtic language; but no one has yet given a definition of
Celtic blood, or a Celtic skull. It is quite possible that hereafter
chemical differences may be discovered in the blood of those who speak a
Celtic, and of those who speak a Teutonic language. It is possible, also,
that patient measurements, like those lately published by Professor
Huxley, in the “Journal of Anatomy and Physiology,” may lead in time to a
really scientific classification of skulls, and that physiologists may
succeed in the end in carrying out a classification of the human race,
according to tangible and unvarying physiological criteria. But their
definitions and their classifications will hardly ever square with the
definitions or classifications of the student of language, and the use of
common terms can only be a source of constant misunderstandings. We know
what we mean by a Celtic language, and in the grammar of each language we
are able to produce a most perfect scientific definition of its real
character. If, therefore, we transfer the term Celtic to people, we can,
if we use our words accurately, mean nothing but people who speak a Celtic
language, the true exponent, aye, the very life of Celtic nationality.
Whatever people, whether Romans, or Saxons, or Normans, or, as some think,
even Phœnicians and Jews, settled in Cornwall, if they ceased to speak
their own language and exchanged it for Cornish, they are, before the
tribunal of the science of language, Celts, and nothing but Celts; while,
whenever Cornishmen, like Sir Humphrey Davy or Bishop Colenso, have ceased
to speak Cornish, and speak nothing but English, they are no longer Celts,
but true Teutons or Saxons, in the only scientifically legitimate sense of
that word. Strange stories, indeed, would be revealed, if blood could cry
out and tell of its repeated mixtures since the beginning of the world. If
we think of the early migrations of mankind; of the battles fought before
there were hieroglyphics to record them; of conquests, leadings into
captivity, piracy, slavery, and colonization, all without a sacred poet to
hand them down to posterity,—we shall hesitate, indeed, to speak of pure
races, or unmixed blood, even at the very dawn of real history. Little as
we know of the early history of Greece, we know enough to warn us against
looking upon the Greeks of Asia or Europe as an unmixed race. Ægyptus,
with his Arabian, Ethiopian, and Tyrian wives; Cadmus, the son of Libya;
Phœnix, the father of Europa,—all point to an intercourse of Greece with
foreign countries, whatever else their mythological meaning may be. As
soon as we know anything of the history of the world, we know of wars and
alliances between Greeks and Lydians and Persians, of Phœnician
settlements all over the world, of Carthaginians trading in Spain and
encamped in Italy, of Romans conquering and colonizing Gaul, Spain,
Britain, the Danubian Principalities and Greece, Western Asia and Northern
Africa. Then again, at a later time, follow the great ethnic convulsions
of Eastern Europe, and the devastation and re-population of the ancient
seats of civilization by Goths, and Lombards, and Vandals, and Saxons;
while at the same time, and for many centuries to come, the few
strongholds of civilization in the East were again and again overwhelmed
by the irresistible waves of Hunnish, Mongolic, and Tartaric invaders.
And, with all this, people at the latter end of the nineteenth century
venture to speak, for instance, of pure Norman blood as something definite
or definable, forgetting how the ancient Norsemen carried their wives away
from the coasts of Germany or Russia, from Sicily or from the very Piræus;
while others married whatever wives they could find in the North of
France, whether of Gallic, Roman, or German extraction, and then settled
in England, where they again contracted marriages with Teutonic, Celtic,
or Roman damsels. In our own days, if we see the daughter of an English
officer and an Indian Ranee married to the son of a Russian nobleman, how
are we to class the offspring of that marriage? The Indian Ranee may have
had Mongol blood, so may the Russian nobleman; but there are other
possible ingredients of pure Hindu and pure Slavonic, of Norman, German,
and Roman blood,—and who is the chemist bold enough to disengage them all?
There is, perhaps, no nation which has been exposed to more frequent
admixture of foreign blood, during the Middle Ages, than the Greeks.
Professor Fallmerayer maintained that the Hellenic population was entirely
exterminated, and that the people who at the present day call themselves
Greeks are really Slavonians. It would be difficult to refute him by
arguments drawn either from the physical or the moral characteristics of
the modern Greeks as compared with the many varieties of the Slavonic
stock. But the following extract from “Felton’s Lectures on Greece,
Ancient and Modern,” contains the only answer that can be given to such
charges, without point or purpose: “In one of the courses of lectures,” he
says, “which I attended in the University of Athens, the Professor of
History, a very eloquent man as well as a somewhat fiery Greek, took this
subject up. His audience consisted of about two hundred young men from
every part of Greece. His indignant comments on the learned German, that
notorious Μισέλλην or Greek-hater, as he stigmatized him, were received by
his hearers with a profound sensation. They sat with expanded nostrils and
flashing eyes—a splendid illustration of the old Hellenic spirit, roused
to fury by the charge of barbarian descent. ‘It is true,’ said the
eloquent professor, ‘that the tide of barbaric invaders poured down like a
deluge upon Hellas, filling with its surging floods our beautiful plains,
our fertile valleys. The Greeks fled to their walled towns and mountain
fastnesses. By and by the water subsided and the soil of Hellas
reappeared. The former inhabitants descended from the mountains as the
tide receded, resumed their ancient lands and rebuilt their ruined
habitations, and, the reign of the barbarians over, Hellas was herself
again.’ Three or four rounds of applause followed the close of the
lectures of Professor Manouses, in which I heartily joined. I could not
help thinking afterwards what a singular comment on the German
anti-Hellenic theory was presented by this scene,—a Greek professor in a
Greek university, lecturing to two hundred Greeks in the Greek language,
to prove that the Greeks were Greeks, and not Slavonians.”(46)

And yet we hear the same arguments used over and over again, not only with
regard to the Greeks, but with regard to many other modern nations; and
even men whose minds have been trained in the school of exact science, use
the term “bloods,” in this vague and thoughtless manner. The adjective
Greek may connote many things, but what it denotes is language. People who
speak Greek as their mother tongue are Greeks, and if a Turkish-speaking
inhabitant of Constantinople could trace his pedigree straight to
Pericles, he would still be a Turk, whatever his name, his faith, his
hair, features, and stature—whatever his blood might be. We can classify
languages, and as languages presuppose people that speak them, we can so
far classify mankind, according to their grammars and dictionaries; while
all who possess scientific honesty must confess and will confess that, as
yet, it has been impossible to devise any truly scientific classification
of skulls, to say nothing of blood, or bones, or hair. The label on one of
the skulls in the Munich Collection, “Etruscan-Tyrol, or Inca-Peruvian,”
characterizes not too unfairly the present state of ethnological
craniology. Let those who imagine that the great outlines, at least, of a
classification of skulls have been firmly established, consult Mr. Brace’s
useful manual of “The Races of the World,” where he has collected the
opinions of some of the best judges on the subject. We quote a few
passages:(47)—


    “Dr. Bachmann concludes, from the measurements of Dr. Tiedemann
    and Dr. Morton, that the negro skull, though less than the
    European, is within one inch as large as the Persian and the
    Armenian, and three square inches larger than the Hindu and
    Egyptian. The scale is thus given by Dr. Morton: European skull,
    87 cubic inches; Malay, 85; Negro 83; Mongol, 82; Ancient
    Egyptian, 80; American, 79. The ancient Peruvians and Mexicans,
    who constructed so elaborate a civilization, show a capacity only
    of from 75 to 79 inches.... Other observations by Huschke make the
    average capacity of the skull of Europeans 40.88 oz.; of
    Americans, 39.13; of Mongols, 38.39; of Negroes, 37.57; of Malays,
    36.41.”


    “Of the shape of the skull, as distinctive of different origin,
    Professor M. J. Weber has said there is no proper mark of a
    definite race from the cranium so firmly attached that it may not
    be found in some other race. Tiedemann has met with Germans whose
    skulls bore all the characters of the negro race; and an
    inhabitant of Nukahiwa, according to Silesius and Blumenbach,
    agreed exactly in his proportions with the Apollo Belvedere.”


Professor Huxley, in his “Observations on the Human Skulls of Engis and
Neanderthal,” printed in Sir Charles Lyell’s “Antiquity of Man,” p. 81,
remarks that “the most capacious European skull yet measured had a
capacity of 114 cubic inches, the smallest (as estimated by weight of
brain) about 55 cubic inches; while, according to Professor Schaaffhausen,
some Hindu skulls have as small a capacity as 46 cubic inches (27 oz. of
water);” and he sums up by stating that “cranial measurements alone afford
no safe indication of race.”

And even if a scientific classification of skulls were to be carried out,
if, instead of merely being able to guess that this may be an Australian
and this a Malay skull, we were able positively to place each individual
skull under its own definite category, what should we gain in the
classification of mankind? Where is the bridge from skull to man in the
full sense of that word? Where is the connecting link between the cranial
proportions and only one other of man’s characteristic properties, such as
language? And what applies to skulls applies to color and all the rest.
Even a black skin and curly hair are mere outward accidents as compared
with language. We do not classify parrots and magpies by the color of
their plumage, still less by the cages in which they live; and what is the
black skin or the white skin but the mere outward covering, not to say the
mere cage, in which that being which we call man lives, moves, and has his
being? A man like Bishop Crowther, though a negro in blood, is, in thought
and speech, an Aryan. He speaks English, he thinks English, he acts
English; and, unless we take English in a purely historical, and not in
its truly scientific, _i.e._ linguistic sense, he is English. No doubt
there are many influences at work—old proverbs, old songs and traditions,
religious convictions, social institutions, political prejudices, besides
the soil, the food, and the air of a country—that may keep up, even among
people who have lost their national language, that kind of vague
similarity which is spoken of as national character.(48) This is a subject
on which many volumes have been written, and yet the result has only been
to supply newspapers with materials for international insults or
international courtesies, as the case may be. Nothing sound or definite
has been gained by such speculations, and in an age that prides itself on
the careful observance of the rules of inductive reasoning, nothing is
more surprising than the sweeping assertions with regard to national
character, and the reckless way in which casual observations that may be
true of one, two, three, or it may be ten or even a hundred individuals,
are extended to millions. However, if there is one safe exponent of
national character, it is language. Take away the language of a people,
and you destroy at once that powerful chain of tradition in thought and
sentiment which holds all the generations of the same race together, if we
may use an unpleasant simile, like the chain of a gang of galley-slaves.
These slaves, we are told, very soon fall into the same pace, without
being aware that their movements depend altogether on the movements of
those who walk before them. It is nearly the same with us. We imagine we
are altogether free in our thoughts, original and independent, and we are
not aware that our thoughts are manacled and fettered by language, and
that, without knowing and without perceiving it, we have to keep pace with
those who walked before us thousands and thousands of years ago. Language
alone binds people together, and keeps them distinct from others who speak
different tongues. In ancient times particularly, “languages and nations”
meant the same thing; and even with us our real ancestors are those whose
language we speak, the fathers of our thoughts, the mothers of our hopes
and fears. Blood, bones, hair, and color, are mere accidents, utterly
unfit to serve as principles of scientific classification for that great
family of living beings, the essential characteristics of which are
thought and speech, not fibrine, serum, coloring matter, or whatever else
enters into the composition of blood.

If this be true, the inhabitants of Cornwall, whatever the number of
Roman, Saxon, Danish, or Norman settlers within the boundaries of that
county may have been, continued to be Celts as long as they spoke Cornish.
They ceased to be Celts when they ceased to speak the language of their
forefathers. Those who can appreciate the charms of genuine antiquity will
not, therefore, find fault with the enthusiasm of Daines Barrington or Sir
Joseph Banks in listening to the strange utterances of Dolly Pentreath;
for her language, if genuine, carried them back and brought them, as it
were, into immediate contact with people who, long before the Christian
era, acted an important part on the stage of history, supplying the world
with two of the most precious metals, more precious then than gold or
silver, with copper and tin, the very materials, it may be, of the finest
works of art in Greece, aye, of the armor wrought for the heroes of the
Trojan War, as described so minutely by the poets of the “Iliad.” There is
a continuity in language which nothing equals, and there is an historical
genuineness in ancient words, if but rightly interpreted, which cannot be
rivaled by manuscripts, or coins, or monumental inscriptions.

But though it is right to be enthusiastic about what is really ancient in
Cornwall,—and there is nothing so ancient as language,—it is equally right
to be discriminating. The fresh breezes of antiquity have intoxicated many
an antiquarian. Words, purely Latin or English, though somewhat changed
after being admitted into the Cornish dictionary, have been quoted as the
originals from which the Roman or English were in turn derived. The Latin
_liber_, book, was supposed to be derived from the Welsh _llyvyr; litera_,
letter, from Welsh _llythyr; persona_, person, from Welsh _person_, and
many more of the same kind. Walls built within the memory of men have been
admitted as relics of British architecture; nay, Latin inscriptions of the
simplest character have but lately been interpreted by means of Cornish,
as containing strains of a mysterious wisdom. Here, too, a study of the
language gives some useful hints as to the proper method of disentangling
the truly ancient from the more modern elements. Whatever in the Cornish
dictionary cannot be traced back to any other source, whether Latin,
Saxon, Norman, or German, may safely be considered as Cornish, and
therefore as ancient Celtic. Whatever in the antiquities of Cornwall
cannot be claimed by Romans, Saxons, Danes, or Normans, may fairly be
considered as genuine remains of the earliest civilization of this island,
as the work of the Celtic discoverers of Britain.

The Cornish language is by no means a pure or unmixed language,—at least
we do not know it in its pure state. It is, in fact, a mere accident that
any literary remains have been preserved, and three or four small volumes
would contain all that is left to us of Cornish literature. “There is a
poem,” to quote Mr. Norris, “which we may by courtesy call epic, entitled
‘Mount Calvary.’ ” It contains 259 stanzas of eight lines each, in
heptasyllabic metre, with alternate rhyme. It is ascribed to the fifteenth
century, and was published for the first time by Mr. Davies Gilbert in
1826.(49) There is, besides, a series of dramas, or mystery-plays, first
published by Mr. Norris for the University Press of Oxford, in 1858. The
first is called “The Beginning of the World,” the second “The Passion of
our Lord,” the third “The Resurrection.” The last is interrupted by
another play, “The Death of Pilate.” The oldest MS. in the Bodleian
Library belongs to the fifteenth century, and Mr. Norris is not inclined
to refer the composition of these plays to a much earlier date. Another
MS., likewise in the Bodleian Library, contains both the text and a
translation by Keigwyn (1695). Lastly, there is another sacred drama,
called “The Creation of the World, with Noah’s Flood.” It is in many
places copied from the dramas, and, according to the MS., it was written
by William Jordan in 1611. The oldest MS. belongs again to the Bodleian
Library, which likewise possesses a MS. of the translation by Keigwyn in
1691.(50)

These mystery-plays, as we may learn from a passage in Carew’s “Survey of
Cornwall” (p. 71), were still performed in Cornish in his time, _i.e._ at
the beginning of the seventeenth century. He says:—


    “Pastimes to delight the minde, the Cornish men have Guary
    miracles and three mens songs; and, for the exercise of the body,
    hunting, hawking, shooting, wrastling, hurling, and such other
    games.


    “The Guary miracle—in English, a miracle-play—is a kind of
    enterlude, compiled in Cornish out of some Scripture history, with
    that grossenes which accompanied the Romanes _vetus Comedia_. For
    representing it, they raise an earthen amphitheatre in some open
    field, having the diameter of his enclosed playne some forty or
    fifty foot. The country people flock from all sides, many miles
    off, to heare and see it, for they have therein devils and
    devices, to delight as well the eye as the eare; the players conne
    not their parts without booke, but are prompted by one called the
    Ordinary, who followeth at their back with the booke in his hand,
    and telleth them softly what they must pronounce aloud. Which
    manner once gave occasion to a pleasant conceyted gentleman, of
    practising a mery pranke; for he undertaking (perhaps of set
    purpose) an actor’s roome, was accordingly lessoned (beforehand)
    by the Ordinary, that he must say after him. His turn came. Quoth
    the Ordinary, Goe forth man and shew thy selfe. The gentleman
    steps out upon the stage, and like a bad Clarke in Scripture
    matters, cleaving more to the letter than the sense, pronounced
    those words aloud. Oh! (sayes the fellowe softly in his eare) you
    marre all the play. And with this his passion the actor makes the
    audience in like sort acquainted. Hereon the prompter falls to
    flat rayling and cursing in the bitterest termes he could devise:
    which the gentleman, with a set gesture and countenance, still
    soberly related, untill the Ordinary, driven at last into a madde
    rage, was faine to give all over. Which trousse, though it brake
    off the enterlude, yet defrauded not the beholders, but dismissed
    them with a great deale more sport and laughter than such Guaries
    could have afforded.”(51)


Scawen, at the end of the seventeenth century, speaks of these
miracle-plays, and considers the suppression of the _Guirrimears_,(52) or
Great Plays or Speeches,(53) as one of the chief causes of the decay of
the Cornish language.


    “These _Guirrimears_,” he says, “which were used at the great
    conventions of the people, at which they had famous interludes
    celebrated with great preparations, and not without shows of
    devotion in them, solemnized in great and spacious downs of great
    capacity, encompassed about with earthen banks, and some in part
    stone-work, of largeness to contain thousands, the shapes of which
    remain in many places at this day, though the use of them long
    since gone.... This was a great means to keep in use the tongue
    with delight and admiration. They had recitations in them,
    poetical and divine, one of which I may suppose this small relique
    of antiquity to be, in which the passion of our Saviour, and his
    resurrection, is described.”


If to these mystery-plays and poems we add some versions of the Lord’s
Prayer, the Commandments, and the Creed, a protestation of the bishops in
Britain to Augustine the monk, the Pope’s legate, in the year 600 after
Christ (MS. Gough, 4), the first chapter of Genesis, and some songs,
proverbs, riddles, a tale and a glossary, we have an almost complete
catalogue of what a Cornish library would be at the present day.

Now if we examine the language as preserved to us in these fragments, we
find that it is full of Norman, Saxon, and Latin words. No one can doubt,
for instance, that the following Cornish words are all taken from Latin,
that is, from the Latin of the Church:—

_Abat_, an abbot; Lat. _abbas_.
_Alter_, altar; Lat. _altare_.
_Apostol_, apostle; Lat. _apostolus_.
_Clauster_, cloister; Lat. _claustrum_.
_Colom_, dove; Lat. _columba_.
_Gwespar_, vespers; Lat. _vesper_.
_Cantuil_, candle; Lat. _candela_.
_Cantuilbren_, candlestick; Lat. _candelabrum_.
_Ail_, angel; Lat. _angelus_.
_Archail_, archangel; Lat. _archangelus_.

Other words, though not immediately connected with the service and the
doctrine of the Church, may nevertheless have passed from Latin into
Cornish, either directly from the daily conversation of monks, priests,
and schoolmasters, or indirectly from English or Norman, in both of which
the same Latin words had naturally been adopted, though slightly modified
according to the phonetic peculiarities of each. Thus:—


    _Ancar_, anchor; the Latin, _ancora_. This might have come
    indirectly through English or Norman-French.


    _Aradar_, plough; the Latin, _aratrum_. This must have come direct
    from Latin, as it does not exist in Norman or English.


    _Arghans_, silver; _argentum_.


    _Keghin_, kitchen; _coquina_. This is taken from the same Latin
    word from which the Romance languages formed _cuisine, cucina_;
    not from the classical Latin, _culina_.


    _Liver_, book; _liber_, originally the bark of trees on which
    books were written.


    _Dinair_, coin; _denarius. Seth_, arrow; _sagitta. Caus_, cheese;
    _caseus_. _Caul_, cabbage; _caulis_.


These words are certainly foreign words in Cornish and the other Celtic
languages in which they occur, and to attempt to supply for some of them a
purely Celtic etymology shows a complete want of appreciation both of the
history of words and of the phonetic laws that govern each family of the
Indo-European languages. Sometimes, no doubt, the Latin words have been
considerably changed and modified, according to the phonetic peculiarities
of the dialects into which they were received. Thus, _gwespar_ for
_vesper_, _seth_ for _sagitta_, _caus_ for _caseus_, hardly look like
Latin words. Yet no real Celtic scholar would claim them as Celtic; and
the Rev. Robert Williams, the author of the “Lexicon Cornu-Britannicum,”
in speaking of a list of words borrowed from Latin by the Welsh during the
stay of the Romans in Britain, is no doubt right in stating “that it will
be found much more extensive than is generally imagined.”

Latin words which have reached the Cornish after they had assumed a French
or Norman disguise, are, for instance,—


    _Emperur_, instead of Latin _imperator_ (Welsh, _ymherawdwr_).


    _Laian_, the French _loyal_, but not the Latin _legalis_.
    Likewise, _dislaian_, disloyal.


    _Fruit_, fruit; Lat. _fructus_; French, _fruit_.


    _Funten_, fountain, commonly pronounced _fenton_; Lat. _fontana_;
    French, _fontaine_.


    _Gromersy_, _i.e._ grand mercy, thanks.


    _Hoyz, hoyz, hoyz!_ hear, hear! The Norman-French, _Oyez_.


The town-crier of Aberconwy may still be heard prefacing his notices with
the shout of “Hoyz, hoyz, hoyz!” which in other places has been corrupted
to “O yes.”

The following words, adopted into Cornish and other Celtic dialects,
clearly show their Saxon origin:—


    _Cafor_, a chafer; Germ, _käfer_. _Craft_, art, craft. _Redior_, a
    reader. _Storc_, a stork. _Let_, hindrance, let; preserved in the
    German, _verletzen_.(54)


Considering that Cornish and other Celtic dialects are members of the same
family to which Latin and German belong, it is sometimes difficult to tell
at once whether a Celtic word was really borrowed, or whether it belongs
to that ancient stock of words which all the Aryan languages share in
common. This is a point which can be determined by scholars only, and by
means of phonetic tests. Thus the Cornish _huir_, or _hoer_, is clearly
the same word as the Latin _soror_, sister. But the change of _s_ into _h_
would not have taken place if the word had been simply borrowed from
Latin, while many words beginning with _s_ in Sanskrit, Latin, and German,
change the _s_ into _h_ in Cornish as well as in Greek and Persian. The
Cornish _hoer_, sister, is indeed curiously like the Persian _kháher_, the
regular representative of the Sanskrit _svasar_, the Latin _soror_. The
same applies to _braud_, brother, _dedh_, day, _dri_, three, and many more
words which form the primitive stock of Cornish, and were common to all
the Aryan languages before their earliest dispersion.

What applies to the language of Cornwall, applies with equal force to the
other relics of antiquity of that curious county. It has been truly said
that Cornwall is poor in antiquities, but it is equally true that it is
rich in antiquity. The difficulty is to discriminate, and to distinguish
what is really Cornish or Celtic from what may be later additions, of
Roman, Saxon, Danish, and Norman origin. Now here, as we said before, the
safest rule is clearly the same as that which we followed in our analysis
of language. Let everything be claimed for English, Norman, Danish, and
Roman sources that can clearly be proved to come from thence; but let what
remains unclaimed be considered as Cornish or Celtic. Thus, if we do not
find in countries exclusively inhabited by Romans or Saxons anything like
a cromlech, surely we have a right to look upon these strange structures
as remnants of Celtic times. It makes no difference if it can be shown
that below these cromlechs coins have occasionally been found of the Roman
Emperors. This only proves that even during the days of Roman supremacy
the Cornish style of public monuments, whether sepulchral or otherwise,
remained. Nay, why should not even a Roman settled in Cornwall have
adopted the monumental style of his adopted country? Roman and Saxon hands
may have helped to erect some of the cromlechs which are still to be seen
in Cornwall, but the original idea of such monuments, and hence their
name, is purely Celtic.

_Cromlêh_ in Cornish, or _cromlech_ in Welsh, means a bent slab, from the
Cornish _crom_, bent, curved, rounded, and _lêh_, a slab. Though many of
these cromlechs have been destroyed, Cornwall still possesses some fine
specimens of these ancient stone tripods. Most of them are large granite
slabs, supported by three stones fixed in the ground. These supporters are
likewise huge flat stones, but the capstone is always the largest, and its
weight inclining towards one point, imparts strength to the whole
structure. At Lanyon, however, where the top-stone of a cromlech was
thrown down in 1816 by a violent storm, the supporters remained standing,
and the capstone was replaced in 1824, though not, it would seem, at its
original height. Dr. Borlase relates that in his time the monument was
high enough for a man to sit on horseback under it. At present such a feat
would be impossible, the cover-stone being only about five feet from the
ground. These cromlechs, though very surprising when seen for the first
time, represent in reality one of the simplest achievements of primitive
architecture. It is far easier to balance a heavy weight on three uneven
props than to rest it level on two or four even supporters. There are,
however, cromlechs resting on four or more stones, these stones forming a
kind of chamber, or a _kist-vaen_, which is supposed to have served
originally as a sepulchre. These structures presuppose a larger amount of
architectural skill; still more so the gigantic portals of Stonehenge,
which are formed by two pillars of equal height, joined by a
superincumbent stone. Here weight alone was no longer considered
sufficient for imparting strength and safety, but holes were worked in the
upper stones, and the pointed tops of the pillars were fitted into them.
In the slabs that form the cromlechs we find no such traces of careful
workmanship; and this, as well as other considerations, would support the
opinion, that in Stonehenge we have one of the latest specimens of Celtic
architecture. Marvelous as are the remains of that primitive style of
architectural art, the only real problem they offer is, how such large
stones could have been brought together from a distance, and how such
enormous weights could have been lifted up. The first question is answered
by ropes and rollers; and the mural sculptures of Nineveh show us what can
be done by such simple machinery. We there see the whole picture of how
these colossal blocks of stone were moved from the quarry on to the place
where they were wanted. Given plenty of time, and plenty of men and oxen,
and there is no block that could not be brought to its right place by
means of ropes and rollers. And that our forefathers did not stint
themselves either in time, or in men, or other cattle, when engaged in
erecting such monuments, we know even from comparatively modern times.
Under Harold Harfagr, two kings spent three whole years in erecting one
single tumulus; and Harold Blatand is said to have employed the whole of
his army and a vast number of oxen in transporting a large stone which he
wished to place on his mother’s tomb. As to the second question, we can
readily understand how, after the supporters had once been fixed in the
ground, an artificial mound might be raised, which, when the heavy slab
had been rolled up on an inclined plane, might be removed again, and thus
leave the heavy stone poised in its startling elevation.

As skeletons have been found under some of the cromlechs, there can be
little doubt that the chambers inclosed by them, the so-called
_kist-vaens_, were intended to receive the remains of the dead, and to
perpetuate their memory. And as these sepulchral monuments are most
frequent in those parts of the British Isles which from the earliest to
the latest times were inhabited by Celtic people, they may be considered
as representative of the Celtic style of public sepulture. _Kist-vaen_, or
_cist-vaen_, means a stone-chamber, from _cista_, a chest, and _vaen_, the
modified form of _maen_ or _mên_, stone. Their size is, with few
exceptions, not less than the size of a human body. But although these
monuments were originally sepulchral, we may well understand that the
burying-places of great men, of kings, or priests, or generals, were
likewise used for the celebration of other religious rites. Thus we read
in the Book of Lecan, “that Amhalgaith built a cairn, for the purpose of
holding a meeting of the Hy-Amhalgaith every year, and to view his ships
and fleet going and coming, and as a place of interment for himself.”(55)
Nor does it follow, as some antiquarians maintain, that every structure in
the style of a cromlech, even in England, is exclusively Celtic. We
imitate pyramids and obelisks: why should not the Saxons have built the
Kitts Cotty House, which is found in a thoroughly Saxon neighborhood,
after Celtic models and with the aid of Celtic captives? This cromlech
stands in Kent, on the brow of a hill about a mile and a half from
Aylesford, to the right of the great road from Rochester to Maidstone.
Near it, across the Medway, are the stone circles of Addington. The stone
on the south side is 8 ft. high by 7-½ broad, and 2 ft. thick; weight,
about 8 tons. That on the north is 8 ft. by 8, and 2 thick; weight, 8 tons
10 cwt. The end stone, 5 ft. 6 in. high by 5 ft. broad; thickness, 14 in.;
weight, 2 tons 8-¼ cwt. The impost is 11 ft. long by 8 ft. broad, and 2
ft. thick; weight, 10 tons 7 cwt. It is higher, therefore, than the
Cornish cromlechs, but in other respects it is a true specimen of that
class of Celtic monuments. The cover-stone of the cromlech at Molfra is 9
ft. 8 in. by 14 ft. 3 in.; its supporters are 5 ft. high. The cover-stone
of the Chûn cromlech measures 12-½ ft. in length and 11 ft. in width. The
largest slab is that at Lanyon, which measures 18-½ ft. in length and 9
ft. at the broadest part.

The cromlechs are no doubt the most characteristic and most striking among
the monuments of Cornwall. Though historians have differed as to their
exact purpose, not even the most careless traveller could pass them by
without seeing that they do not stand there without a purpose. They speak
for themselves, and they certainly speak in a language that is neither
Roman, Saxon, Danish, nor Norman. Hence in England they may, by a kind of
exhaustive process of reasoning, be claimed as relics of Celtic
civilization. The same argument applies to the cromlechs and stone avenues
of Carnac, in Brittany. Here, too, language and history attest the former
presence of Celtic people; nor could any other race, that influenced the
historical destinies of the North of Gaul, claim such structures as their
own. Even in still more distant places, in the South of France, in
Scandinavia, or Germany, where similar monuments have been discovered,
they may, though more hesitatingly, be classed as Celtic, particularly if
they are found near the natural high roads on which we know that the Celts
in their westward migrations preceded the Teutonic and Slavonic Aryans.
But the case is totally different when we hear of cromlechs, cairns, and
kist-vaens in the North of Africa, in Upper Egypt, on the Lebanon, near
the Jordan, in Circassia, or in the South of India. Here, and more
particularly in the South of India, we have no indications whatever of
Celtic Aryans; on the contrary, if that name is taken in its strict
scientific meaning, it would be impossible to account for the presence of
Celtic Aryans in those southern latitudes at any time after the original
dispersion of the Aryan family. It is very natural that English officers
living in India should be surprised at monuments which cannot but remind
them of what they had seen at home, whether in Cornwall, Ireland, or
Scotland. A description of some of these monuments, the so-called Pandoo
Coolies in Malabar, was given by Mr. J. Babington, in 1820, and published
in the third volume of the “Transactions of the Literary Society of
Bombay,” in 1823. Captain Congreve called attention to what he considered
Scythic Druidical remains in the Nilghiri hills, in a paper published in
1847, in the “Madras Journal of Literature and Science,” and the same
subject was treated in the same journal by the Rev. W. Taylor. A most
careful and interesting description of similar monuments has lately been
published in the “Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy,” by Captain
Meadows Taylor, under the title of “Description of Cairns, Cromlechs,
Kist-vaens, and other Celtic, Druidical, or Scythian Monuments in the
Dekhan.” Captain Taylor found these monuments near the village of
Rajunkolloor, in the principality of Shorapoor, an independent native
state, situated between the Bheema and Krishna rivers, immediately above
their junction. Others were discovered near Huggeritgi, others on the hill
of Yemmee Gooda, others again near Shapoor, Hyderabad, and other places.
All these monuments in the South of India are no doubt extremely
interesting; but to call them Celtic, Druidical, or Scythic, is
unscientific, or, at all events, exceedingly premature. There is in all
architectural monuments a natural or rational, and a conventional, or, it
may be, irrational element. A striking agreement in purely conventional
features may justify the assumption that monuments so far distant from
each others as the cromlechs of Anglesea and the “Mori-Munni” of Shorapoor
owe their origin to the same architects, or to the same races. But an
agreement in purely natural contrivances goes for nothing, or, at least,
for very little. Now there is very little that can be called conventional
in a mere stone pillar, or in a cairn, that is, an artificial heap of
stones. Even the erection of a cromlech can hardly be claimed as a
separate style of architecture. Children, all over the world, if building
houses with cards, will build cromlechs; and people, all over the world,
if the neighborhood supplies large slabs of stone, will put three stones
together to keep out the sun or the wind, and put a fourth stone on the
top to keep out the rain. Before monuments like those described by Captain
Meadows Taylor can be classed as Celtic or Druidical, a possibility, at
all events, must be shown that Celts, in the true sense of the word, could
ever have inhabited the Dekhan. Till that is done, it is better to leave
them anonymous, or to call them by their native names, than to give to
them a name which is apt to mislead the public at large, and to encourage
theories which exceed the limits of legitimate speculation.

Returning to Cornwall, we find there, besides the cromlechs, pillars,
holed stones, and stone circles, all of which may be classed as public
monuments. They all bear witness to a kind of public spirit, and to a
certain advance in social and political life, at the time of their
erection. They were meant for people living at the time, who understood
their meaning, if not as messages to posterity, and, if so, as truly
historical monuments; for history begins when the living begin to care
about a good opinion of those who come after them. Some of the single
Cornish pillars tell us little indeed; nothing, in reality, beyond the
fact that they were erected by human skill, and with some human purpose.
Some of these monoliths seem to have been of a considerable size. In a
village called Mên Perhen, in Constantine parish, there stood, “about five
years ago,”—so Dr. Borlase relates in the year 1769,—a large pyramidal
stone, twenty feet above the ground, and four feet in the ground; it made
above twenty stone posts for gates when it was clove up by the farmer who
gave the account to the Doctor.(56) Other stones, like the Mên Scrifa,
have inscriptions, but these inscriptions are Roman, and of comparatively
late date. There are some pillars, like the Pipers at Bolleit, which are
clearly connected with the stone circles close by, remnants, it may be, of
old stone avenues, or beacons, from which signals might be sent to other
distant settlements. The holed stones, too, are generally found in close
proximity to other large stone monuments. They are called _mên-an-tol_,
hole-stones, in Cornwall; and the name of _tol-men_, or _dol-men_, which
is somewhat promiscuously used by Celtic antiquarians, should be
restricted to monuments of this class, _toll_ being the Cornish word for
_hole_, _mên_ for _stone_, and _an_ the article. French antiquarians,
taking _dol_ or _tôl_ as a corruption of _tabula_, use _dolman_ in the
sense of table-stones, and as synonymous with _cromlech_, while they
frequently use _cromlech_ in the sense of stone circles. This can hardly
be justified, and leads at all events to much confusion.

The stone circles, whether used for religious or judicial purposes,—and
there was in ancient times very little difference between the two,—were
clearly intended for solemn meetings. There is a very perfect circle at
Boscawen-ûn, which consisted originally of nineteen stones. Dr. Borlase,
whose work on the Antiquities of the County of Cornwall contains the most
trustworthy information as to the state of Cornish antiquities about a
hundred years ago, mentions three other circles which had the same number
of stones, while others vary from twelve to seventy-two.


    “The figure of these monuments,” he says, “is either simple, or
    compounded. Of the first kind are exact circles; elliptical or
    semicircular. The construction of these is not always the same,
    some having their circumference marked with large separate stones
    only; others having ridges of small stones intermixed, and
    sometimes walls and seats, serving to render the inclosure more
    complete. Other circular monuments have their figure more complex
    and varied, consisting, not only of a circle, but of some other
    distinguishing properties. In or near the centre of some stands a
    stone taller than the rest, as at Boscawen-ûn; in the middle of
    others, a kist-vaen. A cromlêh distinguishes the centre of some
    circles, and one remarkable rock that of others; some have only
    one line of stones in their circumference, and some have two; some
    circles are adjacent, some contiguous, and some include, and some
    intersect each other. Sometimes urns are found in or near them.
    Some are curiously erected on geometrical plans, the chief
    entrance facing the cardinal points of the heavens; some have
    avenues leading to them, placed exactly north and south, with
    detached stones, sometimes in straight lines to the east and west,
    sometimes triangular. These monuments are found in many foreign
    countries, in Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, as well as in
    all the isles dependent upon Britain (the Orkneys, Western Isles,
    Jersey, Ireland, and the Isle of Man), and in most parts of
    Britain itself.”


Modern traditions have everywhere clustered round these curious stone
circles. Being placed in a circular order, so as to make an area for
dancing, they were naturally called _Dawns-mên_, _i.e._ dancing stones.
This name was soon corrupted into dancemen, and a legend sprang up at once
to account for the name, namely, that these men had danced on a Sunday and
been changed into stones. Another corruption of the same name into
_Danis-mên_ led to the tradition that these circles were built by the
Danes. A still more curious name for these circles is that of “_Nine
Maidens_,” which occurs at Boscawen-ûn, and in several other places in
Cornwall. Now the Boscawen-ûn circle consists of nineteen stones, and
there are very few “Nine Maidens” that consist of nine stones only. Yet
the name prevails, and is likewise supported by local legends of nine
maidens having been changed into stones for dancing on a Sunday, or some
other misdeed. One part of the legend may perhaps be explained by the fact
that _mêdn_ would be a common corruption in modern Cornish for _mên_,
stone, as _pen_ becomes _pedn_, and _gwyn_, _gwydn_, etc., and that the
Saxons mistook Cornish _mêdn_ for their own _maiden_. But even without
this, legends of a similar character would spring up wherever the popular
mind is startled by strange monuments, the history and purpose of which
has been forgotten. Thus Captain Meadows Taylor tells us that at
Vibat-Hullie the people told him “that the stones were men who, as they
stood marking out the places for the elephants of the king of the dwarfs,
were turned into stone by him, because they would not keep quiet.” And M.
de Cambry, as quoted by him, says in regard to Carnac, “that the rocks
were believed to be an army turned into stone, or the work of the
Croins,—men or demons, two or three feet high, who carried these rocks in
their hands, and placed them there.”

A second class of Cornish antiquities comprises private buildings, whether
castles or huts or caves. What are called castles in Cornwall are simple
intrenchments, consisting of large and small stones piled up about ten or
twelve feet high, and held together by their own weight, without any
cement. There are everywhere traces of a ditch, then of a wall; sometimes,
as at Chûn Castle, of another ditch and another wall; and there is
generally some contrivance for protecting the principal entrance by walls
overlapping the ditches. Near these castles barrows are found, and in
several cases there are clear traces of a communication between them and
some ancient Celtic villages and caves, which seem to have been placed
under the protection of these primitive strongholds. Many of the cliffs in
Cornwall are fortified towards the land by walls and ditches, thus cutting
off these extreme promontories from communication with the land, as they
are by nature inaccessible from the sea. Some antiquarians ascribed these
castles to the Danes, the very last people, one would think, to shut
themselves up in such hopeless retreats. Here, too, as in other cases, a
popular etymology may have taken the place of an historical authority, and
the Cornish word for castle being _Dinas_ as in _Castle-an-Dinas_,
_Pendennis_, etc., the later Saxon-speaking population may have been
reminded by _Dinas_ of the Danes, and on the strength of this vague
similarity have ascribed to these pirates the erection of the Cornish
castles.

It is indeed difficult, with regard to these castles, to be positive as to
the people by whom they were constructed. Tradition and history point to
Romans and Saxons, as well as to Celts; nor is it at all unlikely that
many of these half-natural, half-artificial strongholds, though originally
planned by the Celtic inhabitants, were afterwards taken possession of and
strengthened by Romans or Saxons.

But no such doubts are allowed with regard to Cornish huts, of which some
striking remains have been preserved in Cornwall and other parts of
England, particularly in those which, to the very last, remained the true
home of the Celtic inhabitants of Britain. The houses and huts of the
Romans were rectangular, nor is there any evidence to show that the Saxon
ever approved of the circular style in domestic architecture.

If, then, we find these so-called bee-hive huts in places peculiarly
Celtic, and if we remember that so early a writer as Strabo(57) was struck
with the same strange style of Celtic architecture, we can hardly be
suspected of Celtomania, if we claim them as Celtic workmanship, and dwell
with a more than ordinary interest on these ancient chambers, now long
deserted and nearly smothered with ferns and weeds, but in their general
planning, as well as in their masonry, clearly exhibiting before us
something of the arts and the life of the earliest inhabitants of these
isles. Let anybody who has a sense of antiquity, and who can feel the
spark which is sent on to us through an unbroken chain of history, when we
stand on the Acropolis or on the Capitol, or when we read a ballad of
Homer or a hymn of the Veda,—nay, if we but read in a proper spirit a
chapter of the Old Testament too,—let such a man look at the Celtic huts
at Bosprennis or Chysauster, and discover for himself, through the ferns
and brambles, the old gray walls, slightly sloping inward, and arranged
according to a design that cannot be mistaken; and miserable as these
shapeless clumps may appear to the thoughtless traveller, they will convey
to the true historian a lesson which he could hardly learn anywhere else.
The ancient Britons will no longer be a mere name to him, no mere
Pelasgians or Tyrrhenians. He has seen their homes and their handiwork; he
has stood behind the walls which protected their lives and property; he
has touched the stones which their hands piled up rudely, yet
thoughtfully. And if that small spark of sympathy for those who gave the
honored name of Britain to these islands has once been kindled among a few
who have the power of influencing public opinion in England, we feel
certain that something will be done to preserve what can still be
preserved of Celtic remains from further destruction. It does honor to the
British Parliament that large sums are granted, when it is necessary, to
bring to these safe shores whatever can still be rescued from the ruins of
Greece and Italy, of Lycia, Pergamos, Palestine, Egypt, Babylon, or
Nineveh. But while explorers and excavators are sent to those distant
countries, and the statues of Greece, the coffins of Egypt, and the winged
monsters of Nineveh, are brought home in triumph to the portals of the
British Museum, it is painful to see the splendid granite slabs of British
cromlechs thrown down and carted away, stone circles destroyed to make way
for farming improvements, and ancient huts and caves broken up to build
new houses and stables, with the stones thus ready to hand. It is high
time, indeed, that something should be done; and nothing will avail but to
place every truly historical monument under national protection.
Individual efforts may answer here and there, and a right spirit may be
awakened from time to time by local societies; but during intervals of
apathy mischief is done that can never be mended; and unless the damaging
of national monuments, even though they should stand on private ground, is
made a misdemeanor, we doubt whether, two hundred years hence, any
enterprising explorer would be as fortunate as Mr. Layard and Sir H.
Rawlinson have been in Babylon and Nineveh, and whether one single
cromlech would be left for him to carry away to the National Museum of the
Maoris. It is curious that the willful damage done to Logan Stones, once
in the time of Cromwell by Shrubsall, and more recently by Lieutenant
Goldsmith, should have raised such indignation, while acts of Vandalism,
committed against real antiquities, are allowed to pass unnoticed. Mr.
Scawen, in speaking of the mischief done by strangers in Cornwall, says:—


    “Here, too, we may add, what wrong another sort of strangers has
    done to us, especially in the civil wars, and in particular by
    destroying of Mincamber, a famous monument, being a rock of
    infinite weight, which, as a burden, was laid upon other great
    stones, and yet so equally thereon poised up by Nature only, as a
    little child could instantly move it, but no one man or many
    remove it. This natural monument all travellers that came that way
    desired to behold; but in the time of Oliver’s usurpation, when
    all monumental things became despicable, one Shrubsall, one of
    Oliver’s heroes, then Governor of Pendennis, by labor and much
    ado, caused to be undermined and thrown down, to the great grief
    of the country; but to his own great glory, as he thought, doing
    it, as he said, with a small cane in his hand. I myself have heard
    him to boast of this act, being a prisoner then under him.”


Mr. Scawen, however, does not tell us that this Shrubsall, in throwing
down the Mincamber, _i.e._ the Mênamber, acted very like the old
missionaries in felling the sacred oaks in Germany. Merlin, it was
believed, had proclaimed that this stone should stand until England had no
king; and as Cornwall was a stronghold of the Stuarts, the destruction of
this loyal stone may have seemed a matter of wise policy.

Even the foolish exploit of Lieutenant Goldsmith, in 1824, would seem to
have had some kind of excuse. Dr. Borlase had asserted “that it was
_morally_ impossible that any lever, or indeed force, however applied in a
mechanical way, could remove the famous Logan rock at Trereen Dinas from
its present position.” Ptolemy, the son of Hephæstion, had made a similar
remark about the Gigoman rock,(58) stating that it might be stirred with
the stalk of an asphodel, but could not be removed by any force.
Lieutenant Goldsmith, living in an age of experimental philosophy,
undertook the experiment, in order to show that it was _physically_
possible to overthrow the Logan; and he did it. He was, however, very
properly punished for this unscientific experiment, and he had to replace
the stone at his own expense.

As this matter is really serious, we have drawn up a short list of acts of
Vandalism committed in Cornwall within the memory of living man. That list
could easily be increased, but even as it is, we hope it may rouse the
attention of the public:—

Between St. Ives and Zennor, on the lower road over Tregarthen Downs,
stood a Logan rock. An old man, perhaps ninety years of age, told Mr.
Hunt, who mentions this and other cases in the preface to his charming
collection of Cornish tales and legends, that he had often logged it, and
that it would make a noise which could _be heard for miles_.

At Balnoon, between Nancledrea and Knill’s Steeple, some miners came upon
“two slabs of granite cemented together,” which covered a walled grave
three feet square, an ancient kist-vaen. In it they found an earthenware
vessel, containing some black earth and a leaden spoon. The spoon was
given to Mr. Praed, of Trevethow; the kist-vaen was utterly destroyed.

In Bosprennis Cross there was a very large coit or cromlech. It is said to
have been fifteen feet square, and not more than one foot thick in any
part. This was broken in two parts some years since, and taken to Penzance
to form the beds of two ovens.

The curious caves and passages at Chysauster have been destroyed for
building purposes within living memory.

Another Cornishman, Mr. Bellows, reports as follows:—


    “In a field between the recently discovered Beehive hut and the
    Boscawen-ûn circle, out of the public road, we discovered part of
    a ‘Nine Maidens,’ perhaps the third of the circle, the rest of the
    stones being dragged out and placed against the hedge, to make
    room for the plough.”


The same intelligent antiquarian remarks:—


    “The Boscawen-ûn circle seems to have consisted originally of
    twenty stones. Seventeen of them are upright, two are down, and a
    gap exists of exactly the double space for the twentieth. We found
    the missing stone not twenty yards off. A farmer had removed it,
    and made it into a gate-post. He had cut a road through the
    circle, and in such a manner that he was obliged to remove the
    offending stone to keep it straight. Fortunately the present
    proprietress is a lady of taste, and has surrounded the circle
    with a good hedge to prevent further Vandalism.”


Of the Mên-an-tol, at Boleit, we have received the following description
from Mr. Botterell, who supplied Mr. Hunt with so many of his Cornish
tales:—


    “These stones are from twenty to twenty-five feet above the
    surface, and we were told by some folks of Boleit that more than
    ten feet had been sunk near, without finding the base. The
    Mên-an-tol have both been displaced, and removed a considerable
    distance from their original site. They are now placed in a hedge,
    to form the side of a gateway. The upper portion of one is so much
    broken that one cannot determine the angle, yet that it worked to
    an angle is quite apparent. The other is turned downward, and
    serves as the hanging-post of a gate. From the head being buried
    so deep in the ground, only part of the hole (which is in both
    stones about six inches diameter) could be seen; though the hole
    is too small to pop the smallest, or all but the smallest, baby
    through, the people call them _crick-stones_, and maintain they
    were so called before they were born. Crick-stones were used for
    dragging people through, to cure them of various diseases.”


The same gentleman, writing to one of the Cornish papers, informs the
public that a few years ago a rock known by the name of Garrack-zans might
be seen in the town-place of Sawah, in the parish of St. Levan; another in
Roskestal, in the same parish. One is also said to have been removed from
near the centre of Trereen, by the family of Jans, to make a grander
approach to their mansion. The ruins, which still remain, are known by the
name of the Jans House, although the family became extinct soon after
perpetrating what was regarded by the old inhabitants as a sacrilegious
act. The Garrack-zans may still be remaining in Roskestal and Sawah, but,
as much alteration has recently taken place in these villages, in
consequence of building new farm-houses, making new roads, etc., it is a
great chance if they have not been either removed or destroyed.

Mr. J. T. Blight, the author of one of the most useful little guide-books
of Cornwall, “A Week at the Land’s End,” states that some eight or ten
years ago the ruins of the ancient Chapel of St. Eloy, in St. Burian, were
thrown over the cliff by the tenant of the estate, without the knowledge
or permission of the owner of the property. Chûn Castle, he says, one of
the finest examples of early military architecture in this kingdom, has
for many years been resorted to as a sort of quarry. The same applies to
Castle-an-Dinas.

From an interesting paper on Castallack Round by the same antiquarian, we
quote the following passages, showing the constant mischief that is going
on, whether due to downright Vandalism or to ignorance and indifference:—


    “From a description of Castallack Round, in the parish of St.
    Paul, written by Mr. Crozier, perhaps fourteen or fifteen years
    ago, it appears that there was a massive outer wall, with an
    entrance on the south; from which a colonnade of stones led to an
    inner inclosure, also formed with stones, and nine feet in
    diameter. Mr. Haliwell, so recently as 1861, refers to the avenue
    of upright stones leading from the outer to the inner inclosure.


    “On visiting the spot a few days ago (in 1865), I was surprised to
    find that not only were there no remains of an avenue of stones,
    but that the existence of an inner inclosure could scarcely be
    traced. It was, in fact, evident that some modern Vandal had here
    been at work. A laborer, employed in the field close by, with a
    complaisant smile, informed me that the old Round had been dug
    into last year, for the sake of the stones. I found, however,
    enough of the work left to be worthy of a few notes, sufficient to
    show that it was a kindred structure to that at Kerris, known as
    the Roundago, and described and figured in Borlase’s ‘Antiquities
    of Cornwall.’ ... Mr. Crozier also refers to a stone, five feet
    high, which stood within a hundred yards of the Castallack Round,
    and from which the Pipers at Boleit could be seen.


    “The attention of the Royal Institution of Cornwall has been
    repeatedly called to the destruction of Cornish antiquities, and
    the interference of landed proprietors has been frequently invoked
    in aid of their preservation; but it unfortunately happens, in
    most cases, that important remains are demolished by the tenants
    without the knowledge or consent of the landlords. On comparing
    the present condition of the Castallack Round with a description
    of its appearance so recently as in 1861, I find that the greater
    and more interesting part has been barbarously and irreparably
    destroyed; and I regret to say, I could draw up a long list of
    ancient remains in Cornwall, partially or totally demolished
    within the last few years.”


We can hardly hope that the wholesome superstition which prevented people
in former days from desecrating their ancient monuments will be any
protection to them much longer, though the following story shows that some
grains of the old leaven are still left in the Cornish mind. Near Carleen,
in Breage, an old cross has been removed from its place, and now does duty
as a gate-post. The farmer occupying the farm where the cross stood, set
his laborer to sink a pit in the required spot for the gate-post, but when
it was intimated that the cross standing at a little distance off was to
be erected therein, the man absolutely refused to have any hand in the
matter, not on account of the beautiful or the antique, but for fear of
the old people. Another farmer related that he had a neighbor who “haeled
down a lot of stoans called the Roundago, and sold ’em for building the
docks at Penzance. But not a penny of the money he got for ’em ever
prospered, and there wasn’t wan of the hosses that haeld ’em that lived
out the twelvemonth; and they do say that some of the stoans do weep
blood, but I don’t believe that.”

There are many antiquarians who affect to despise the rude architecture of
the Celts, nay, who would think the name of architecture disgraced if
applied to cromlechs and bee-hive huts. But even these will perhaps be
more willing to lend a helping hand in protecting the antiquities of
Cornwall when they hear that even ancient Norman masonry is no longer safe
in that country. An antiquarian writes to us from Cornwall: “I heard of
some farmers in Meneage (the Lizard district) who dragged down an ancient
well and rebuilt it. When called to task for it, they said, ‘The ould
thing was so shaky that a wasn’t fit to be seen, so we thought we’d putten
to rights and build’un up _fitty_.’ ”

Such things, we feel sure, should not be, and would not be, allowed any
longer, if public opinion, or the public conscience, was once roused. Let
people laugh at Celtic monuments as much as they like, if they will only
help to preserve their laughing-stocks from destruction. Let antiquarians
be as skeptical as they like, if they will only prevent the dishonest
withdrawal of the evidence against which their skepticism is directed. Are
lake-dwellings in Switzerland, are flint-deposits in France, is
kitchen-rubbish in Denmark, so very precious, and are the magnificent
cromlechs, the curious holed stones, and even the rock-basins of Cornwall,
so contemptible? There is a fashion even in scientific tastes. For thirty
years M. Boucher de Perthes could hardly get a hearing for his
flint-heads, and now he has become the centre of interest for geologists,
anthropologists, and physiologists. There is every reason to expect that
the interest, once awakened in the early history of our own race, will go
on increasing; and two hundred years hence the antiquarians and
anthropologists of the future will call us hard names if they find out how
we allowed these relics of the earliest civilization of England to be
destroyed. It is easy to say, What is there in a holed stone? It is a
stone with a hole in it, and that is all. We do not wish to propound new
theories; but in order to show how full of interest even a stone with a
hole in it may become, we will just mention that the _Mên-an-tol_, or the
holed stone which stands in one of the fields near Lanyon, is flanked by
two other stones standing erect on each side. Let any one go there to
watch a sunset about the time of the autumnal equinox, and he will see
that the shadow thrown by the erect stone would fall straight through the
hole of the _Mên-an-tol_. We know that the great festivals of the ancient
world were regulated by the sun, and that some of these festive
seasons—the winter solstice about Yule-tide or Christmas, the vernal
equinox about Easter, the summer solstice on Midsummer-eve, about St. John
Baptist’s day, and the autumnal equinox about Michaelmas—are still kept,
under changed names and with new objects, in our own time. This
_Mên-an-tol_ may be an old dial erected originally to fix the proper time
for the celebration of the autumnal equinox; and though it may have been
applied to other purposes likewise, such as the curing of children by
dragging them several times through the hole, still its original intention
may have been astronomical. It is easy to test this observation, and to
find out whether the same remark does not hold good of other stones in
Cornwall, as, for instance, the Two Pipers. We do not wish to attribute to
this guess as to the original intention of the _Mên-an-tol_ more
importance than it deserves, nor would we in any way countenance the
opinion of those who, beginning with Cæsar, ascribe to the Celts and their
Druids every kind of mysterious wisdom. A mere shepherd, though he had
never heard the name of the equinox, might have erected such a stone for
his own convenience, in order to know the time when he might safely bring
his flocks out, or take them back to their safer stables. But this would
in no way diminish the interest of the _Mên-an-tol_. It would still remain
one of the few relics of the childhood of our race; one of the witnesses
of the earliest workings of the human mind in its struggle against, and in
its alliance with, the powers of nature; one of the vestiges of the first
civilization of the British Isles. Even the Romans, who carried their
Roman roads in a straight line through the countries they had conquered,
undeterred by any obstacles, unawed by any sanctuaries, respected, as can
hardly be doubted, Silbury Hill, and made the road from Bath to London
diverge from the usual straight line, instead of cutting through that
time-honored mound. Would the engineers of our railways show a similar
regard for any national monument, whether Celtic, Roman, or Saxon? When
Charles II., in 1663, went to see the Celtic remains of Abury, sixty-three
stones were still standing within the intrenched inclosure. Not quite a
hundred years later they had dwindled down to forty-four, the rest having
been used for building purposes. Dr. Stukeley, who published a description
of Abury in 1743, tells us that he himself saw the upper stone of the
great cromlech there broken and carried away, the fragments of it making
no less than twenty cart-loads. After another century had passed,
seventeen stones only remained within the great inclosure, and these, too,
are being gradually broken up and carted away. Surely such things ought
not to be. Let those whom it concerns look to it before it is too late.
These Celtic monuments are public property as much as London Stone,
Coronation Stone, or Westminster Abbey, and posterity will hold the
present generation responsible for the safe keeping of the national
heirlooms of England.(59)



XIV. ARE THERE JEWS IN CORNWALL?


There is hardly a book on Cornish history or antiquities in which we are
not seriously informed that at some time or other the Jews migrated to
Cornwall, or worked as slaves in Cornish mines. Some writers state this
simply as a fact requiring no further confirmation; others support it by
that kind of evidence which Herodotus, no doubt, would have considered
sufficient for establishing the former presence of Pelasgians in different
parts of Greece, but which would hardly have satisfied Niebuhr, still less
Sir G. C. Lewis. Old smelting-houses, they tell us, are still called
_Jews’ houses_ in Cornwall; and if, even after that, anybody could be so
skeptical as to doubt that the Jews, after the destruction of Jerusalem,
were sent in large numbers to work as slaves in the Cornish mines, he is
silenced at once by an appeal to the name of _Marazion_, the well-known
town opposite St. Michael’s Mount, which means the “bitterness of Zion,”
and is also called _Market Jew_. Many a traveller has no doubt shaken his
unbelieving head, and asked himself how it is that no real historian
should ever have mentioned the migration of the Jews to the Far West,
whether it took place under Nero or under one of the later Flavian
Emperors. Yet all the Cornish guides are positive on the subject, and the
_primâ facie_ evidence is certainly so startling that we can hardly wonder
if certain anthropologists discovered even the sharply marked features of
the Jewish race among the sturdy fishermen of Mount’s Bay.

Before we examine the facts on which this Jewish theory is founded,—facts,
as will be seen, chiefly derived from names of places, and other relics of
language,—it will be well to inquire a little into the character of the
Cornish language, so that we may know what kind of evidence we have any
right to expect from such a witness.

The ancient language of Cornwall, as is well known, was a Celtic dialect,
closely allied to the languages of Brittany and Wales, and less nearly,
though by no means distantly, related to the languages of Ireland,
Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Cornish began to die out in Cornwall about
the time of the Reformation, being slowly but surely supplanted by
English, till it was buried with Dolly Pentreath and similar worthies
about the end of the last century.(60) Now there is in most languages, but
more particularly in those which are losing their consciousness or their
vitality, what, by a name borrowed from geology, may be called a
_metamorphic process_. It consists chiefly in this, that words, as they
cease to be properly understood, are slightly changed, generally with the
object of imparting to them once more an intelligible meaning. This new
meaning is mostly a mistaken one, yet it is not only readily accepted, but
the word in its new dress and with its new character is frequently made to
support facts or fictions which could be supported by no other evidence.
Who does not believe that sweetheart has something to do with _heart_? Yet
it was originally formed like _drunk-ard_, _dull-ard_, and _nigg-ard_; and
poets, not grammarians, are responsible for the mischief it may have done
under its plausible disguise. By the same process, _shamefast_, formed
like _steadfast_ and still properly spelt by Chaucer and in the early
editions of the Authorized Version of the Bible, has long become
_shamefaced_, bringing before us the blushing roses of a lovely face. The
_Vikings_, mere pirates from the _viks_ or creeks of Scandinavia, have, by
the same process, been raised to the dignity of kings; just as _coat
cards_—the king, and queen, and knave in their gorgeous gowns—were exalted
into _court cards_.

Although this kind of metamorphosis takes place in every language, yet it
is most frequent in countries where two languages come in contact with
each other, and where, in the end, one is superseded by the other.
_Robertus Curtus_, the eldest son of the Conqueror, was by the Saxons
called _Curt-hose_. The name of _Oxford_ contains in its first syllable an
old Celtic word, the well-known term for water or river, which occurs as
_ux_ in _Uxbridge_, as _ex_ in _Exmouth_, as _ax_ in _Axmouth_, and in
many more disguises down to the _whisk_ of _whiskey_, the Scotch
_Usquebaugh_.(61) In the name of the _Isis_, and of the suburb of _Osney_,
the same Celtic word has been preserved. The Saxons kept the Celtic name
of the river, and they called the place where one of the Roman roads
crossed the river Ox, _Oxford_. The name, however, was soon mistaken, and
interpreted as purely Saxon; and if any one should doubt that Oxford was a
kind of _Bosphorus_, and meant a ford for oxen, the ancient arms of the
city were readily appealed to in order to cut short all doubts on the
subject. The Welsh name _Ryt-yhcen_ for Oxford was a retranslation into
Welsh of an original Celtic name, to which a new form and a new meaning
had been given by the Saxon conquerors.

Similar accidents happened to Greek words after they were adopted by the
people of Italy, particularly by the Romans. The Latin _orichalcum_, for
instance, is simply the Greek word ὀρείχαλκος, from ὄρος, mountain, and
χαλκός, copper. Why it was called mountain-copper, no one seems to know.
It was originally a kind of fabulous metal, brought to light from the
brains of the poet rather than from the bowels of the earth. Though the
poets, and even Plato, speak of it as, after gold, the most precious of
metals, Aristotle sternly denies that there ever was any real metal
corresponding to the extravagant descriptions of the ὀρείχαλκος.
Afterwards the same word was used in a more sober and technical sense,
though it is not always easy to say when it means copper, or bronze
(_i.e._ copper and tin), or brass (_i.e._ copper and zinc). The Latin
poets not only adopted the Greek word in the fabulous sense in which they
found it used in Homer, but forgetting that the first portion of the name
was derived from the Greek ὄρος, hill, they pronounced and even spelt it
as if derived from the Latin _aurum_, gold, and thus found a new
confirmation of its equality with gold, which would have greatly surprised
the original framers of that curious compound.(62)

In a county like Cornwall, where the ancient Celtic dialect continued to
be spoken, though disturbed and overlaid from time to time by Latin,
Saxon, and Norman, where Celts had to adopt certain Saxon and Norman, and
Saxons and Normans certain Celtic words, we have a right to expect an
ample field for observing this metamorphic process, and for tracing its
influence in the transformation of names, and in the formation of legends,
traditions, nay even, as we shall see, in the production of generally
accepted historical facts. To call this process _metamorphic_, using that
name in the sense given to it by geologists, may at first sight seem
pedantic and far-fetched. But if we see how a new language forms what may
be called a new stratum covering the old language; how the life or heat of
the old language, though apparently extinct, breaks forth again through
the superincumbent crust, destroys its regular features and assimilates
its stratified layers with its own igneous or volcanic nature, our
comparison, though somewhat elaborate, will be justified to a great
extent, and we shall only have to ask our geological readers to make
allowance for this, that, in languages, the foreign element has always to
be considered as the superincumbent stratum, Cornish forming the crust to
English or English to Cornish, according as the speaker uses the one or
the other as his native or as his acquired speech.

Our first witness in support of this metamorphic process is Mr. Scawen,
who lived about two hundred years ago, a true Cornishman, though he wrote
in English, or in what he is pleased so to call. In blaming the Cornish
gentry and nobility for having attempted to give to their ancient and
honorable names a kind of Norman varnish, and for having adopted
new-fangled coats of arms, Mr. Scawen remarks on the several mistakes,
intentional or unintentional, that occurred in this foolish process. “The
grounds of two several mistakes,” he writes, “are very obvious: 1st, upon
the _Tre_ or _Ter_; 2d, upon the _Ross_ or _Rose_. _Tre_ or _Ter_ in
Cornish commonly signifies a town, or rather place, and it has always an
adjunct with it. _Tri_ is the number 3. Those men willingly mistake one
for another. And so, in French heraldry terms, they used to fancy and
contrive those with any such three things as may be like, or cohere with,
or may be adapted to anything or things in their surnames, whether very
handsome or not is not much stood upon. Another usual mistake is upon
_Ross_, which, as they seem to fancy, should be a Rose, but _Ross_ in
Cornish is a vale or valley. Now for this their French-Latin tutors, when
they go into the field of Mars, put them in their coat armor prettily to
smell out a Rose or flower (a fading honor instead of a durable one); so
any three such things, agreeable perhaps a little to their names, are
taken up and retained from abroad, when their own at home have a much
better scent and more lasting.”

Some amusing instances of what may be called Saxon puns on Cornish words
have been communicated to me by a Cornish friend of mine, Mr. Bellows.
“The old Cornish name for Falmouth,” he writes, “was _Penny come
quick_,(63) and they tell a most improbable story to account for it. I
believe the whole compound is the Cornish _Pen y cwm gwic_, ‘Head of the
creek valley.’ In like manner they have turned _Bryn uhella_ (highest
hill) into _Brown Willy_, and _Cwm ty goed_ (woodhouse valley) into _Come
to good_.” To this might be added the common etymologies of _Helstone_ and
_Camelford_. The former name has nothing to do with the Saxon _helstone_,
a covering stone, or with the infernal regions, but meant “place on the
river;” the latter, in spite of the camel in the arms of the town, meant
the ford of the river Camel. A frequent mistake arises from the
misapprehension of the Celtic _dun_, hill, which enters in the composition
of many local names, and was changed by the Saxons into _town_ or _tun_.
Thus _Meli-dunum_ is now _Moulton_, _Seccan-dun_ is _Seckington_, and
_Beamdun_ is _Bampton_.(64)

This transformation of Celtic into Saxon or Norman terms is not confined,
however, to the names of families, towns, and villages; and we shall see
how the fables to which it has given rise have not only disfigured the
records of some of the most ancient families in Cornwall, but have thrown
a haze over the annals of the whole county.

Returning to the Jews in their Cornish exile, we find, no doubt, as
mentioned before, that even in the Ordnance maps the little town opposite
St. Michael’s Mount is called _Marazion_ and _Market Jew_. _Marazion_
sounds decidedly like Hebrew, and might signify _Mârâh_, “bitterness,
grief,” _Zion_, “of Zion.” M. Esquiros, a believer in Cornish Jews, thinks
that _Mara_ might be a corruption of the Latin _Amara_, bitter; but he
forgets that this etymology would really defeat its very object, and
destroy the Hebrew origin of the name. The next question therefore is,
What is the real origin of the name _Marazion_, and of its _alias_,
_Market Jew_? It cannot be too often repeated that inquiries into the
origin of local names are, in the first place, historical, and only in the
second place, philological. To attempt an explanation of any name, without
having first traced it back to the earliest form in which we can find it,
is to set at defiance the plainest rules of the science of language as
well as of the science of history. Even if the interpretation of a local
name should be right, it would be of no scientific value without the
preliminary inquiry into its history, which frequently consists in a
succession of the most startling changes and corruptions. Those who are at
all familiar with the history of Cornish names of places will not be
surprised to find the same name written in four or five, nay, in ten
different ways. The fact is that those who pronounced the names were
frequently ignorant of their real import, and those who had to write them
down could hardly catch their correct pronunciation. Thus we find that
Camden calls Marazion _Merkiu_; Carew, _Marcaiew_. Leland in his
“Itinerary” (about 1538) uses the names _Markesin_, _Markine_ (vol. iii.
fol. 4); and in another place (vol. vii. fol. 119) he applies, it would
seem, to the same town the name of _Marasdeythyon_. William of Worcester
(about 1478) writes promiscuously _Markysyoo_ (p. 103), _Marchew_ and
_Margew_ (p. 133), _Marchasyowe_ and _Markysyow_ (p. 98). In a charter of
Queen Elizabeth, dated 1595, the name is written _Marghasiewe_; in another
of the year 1313, _Markesion_; in another of 1309, _Markasyon_; in another
of Richard, Earl of Cornwall (_Rex Romanorum_, 1257), _Marchadyon_, which
seems the oldest, and at the same time the most primitive form.(65)
Besides these, Dr. Oliver has found in different title-deeds the following
varieties of the same name:—_Marghasion_, _Markesiow_, _Marghasiew_,
_Maryazion_, and _Marazion_. The only explanation of the name which we
meet with in early writers, such as Leland, Camden, and Carew, is that it
meant “Thursday Market.” Leland explains _Marasdeythyon_ by _forum Jovis_.
Camden explains _Merkiu_ in the same manner, and Carew takes _Marcaiew_ as
originally _Marhas diew_, _i.e._ “Thursdaies market, for then it useth
this traffike.”

This interpretation of _Marhasdiew_ as Thursday Market, appears at first
very plausible, and it has at all events far better claims on our
acceptance than the modern Hebrew etymology of “Bitterness of Zion.” But,
strange to say, although from a charter of Robert, Earl of Cornwall, it
appears that the monks of the Mount had the privilege of holding a market
on Thursday (_die quintæ feriæ_), there is no evidence, and no
probability, that a town so close to the Mount as Marazion ever held a
market on the same day.(66) Thursday in Cornish was called _deyow_, not
_diew_. The only additional evidence we get is this, that in the taxation
of Bishop Walter Bronescombe, made August 12, 1261, and quoted in Bishop
Stapledon’s register of 1313, the place is called _Markesion de parvo
mercato_,(67) and that in a charter of Richard, King of the Romans and
Earl of Cornwall, permission was granted to the prior of St. Michael’s
Mount that three markets, which formerly had been held in _Marghasbigan_,
on ground not belonging to him, should in future be held on his own ground
in _Marchadyon_. _Parvus mercatus_ is evidently the same place as
_Marghasbigan_, for _Marghas-bigan_ means in Cornish the same as _Mercatus
parvus_, namely, “Little Market.” The charter of Richard, Earl of
Cornwall, is more perplexing, and it would seem to yield no sense, unless
we again take _Marchadyon_ as a mere variety of _Marghasbigan_, and
suppose that the privilege granted to the prior of St. Michael’s Mount
consisted really in transferring the fair from land in Marazion not
belonging to him, to land in Marazion belonging to him. Anyhow, it is
clear that in _Marazion_ we have some kind of name for market.

The old Cornish word for market is _marchas_, a corruption of the Latin
_mercatus_. Originally the Cornish word must have been _marchad_, and this
form is preserved in Armorican, while in Cornish the _ch_ gradually sunk
to _h_, and the final _d_ to _s_. This change of _d_ into _s_ is of
frequent occurrence in modern as compared with ancient Cornish, and the
history of our word will enable us, to a certain extent, to fix the time
when that change took place. In the charter of Richard, Earl of Cornwall
(about 1257), we find _Marchadyon_; in a charter of 1309, _Markasyon_. The
change of _d_ into _s_ had taken place during these fifty years.(68) But
what is the termination _yon?_ Considering that Marazion is called the
Little Market, I should like to see in _yon_ the diminutive Cornish
suffix, corresponding to the Welsh _yn_. But if this should be objected
to, on the ground that no such diminutives occur in the literary monuments
of the Cornish language, another explanation is open, which was first
suggested to me by Mr. Bellows: _Marchadion_ may be taken as a perfectly
regular plural in Cornish, and we should then have to suppose that,
instead of being called the Market or the Little Market, the place was
called, from its three statute markets, “The Markets.” And this would help
us to explain, not only the gradual growth of the name Marazion, but
likewise, I think, the gradual formation of “Market Jew;” for another
termination of the plural in Cornish is _ieu_, which, added to _Marchad_,
would give us _Marchadieu_.(69)

Now it is perfectly true that no real Cornishman, I mean no man who spoke
Cornish, would ever have taken _Marchadiew_ for Market Jew, or Jews’
Market. The name for Jew in Cornish is quite different. It is _Edhow_,
_Yedhow_, _Yudhow_, corrupted likewise into _Ezow_; plural, _Yedhewon_,
etc. But to a Saxon ear the Cornish name _Marchadiew_ might well convey
the idea of _Market Jew_, and thus, by a metamorphic process, a name
meaning in Cornish the Markets would give rise in a perfectly natural
manner, not only to the two names, Marazion and Market Jew, but likewise
to the historical legends of Jews settled in the county of Cornwall.(70)

But there still remain the _Jews’ houses_, the name given, it is said, to
the old, deserted smelting-houses in Cornwall, and in Cornwall only.
Though, in the absence of any historical evidence as to the employment of
this term _Jew’s house_ in former ages, it will be more difficult to
arrive at its original form and meaning, yet an explanation offers itself
which, by a procedure very similar to that which was applied to _Marazion_
and _Market Jew_, may account for the origin of this name likewise.

The Cornish name for house was originally _ty_. In modern Cornish,
however, to quote from Lhuyd’s Grammar, _t_ has been changed to _tsh_, as
_ti_, thou, _tshei_; _ty_, a house, _tshey_; which _tsh_ is also sometimes
changed to _dzh_, as _ol mein y dzkyi_, “all in the house.” Out of this
_dzhyi_ we may easily understand how a Saxon mouth and a Saxon ear might
have elicited a sound somewhat like the English _Jew_.

But we do not get at _Jews’ house_ by so easy a road, if indeed we get at
it at all. We are told that a smelting-house was called a White-house, in
Cornish _Chiwidden_, _widden_ standing for _gwydn_, which is a corruption
of the old Cornish _gwyn_, white. This name of Chiwidden is a famous name
in Cornish hagiography. He was the companion of St. Perran, or St. Piran,
the most popular saint among the mining population of Cornwall.

Mr. Hunt, who in his interesting work, “The Popular Romances of the West
of England,” has assigned a separate chapter to Cornish saints, tells us
how St. Piran, while living in Ireland, fed ten Irish kings and their
armies, for ten days together, with three cows. Notwithstanding this and
other miracles, some of these kings condemned him to be cast off a
precipice into the sea, with a millstone round his neck. St. Piran,
however, floated on safely to Cornwall, and he landed, on the 5th of
March, on the sands which still bear his name, _Perranzabuloe_, or _Perran
on the Sands_.

The lives of saints form one of the most curious subjects for the
historian, and still more for the student of language; and the day, no
doubt, will come when it will be possible to take those wonderful
conglomerates of fact and fiction to pieces, and, as in one of those huge
masses of graywacke or rubblestone, to assign each grain and fragment to
the stratum from which it was taken, before they were all rolled together
and cemented by the ebb and flow of popular tradition. With regard to the
lives of Irish and Scotch and British saints, it ought to be stated, for
the credit of the pious authors of the “Acta Sanctorum,” that even they
admit their tertiary origin. “During the twelfth century,” they say, “when
many of the ancient monasteries in Ireland were handed over to monks from
England, and many new houses were built for them, these monks began to
compile the acts of the saints with greater industry than judgment. They
collected all they could find among the uncertain traditions of the
natives and in obscure Irish writings, following the example of Jocelin,
whose work on the acts of St. Patrick had been received everywhere with
wonderful applause. But many of them have miserably failed, so that the
foolish have laughed at them, and the wise been filled with indignation.”
(“Bollandi Acta,” 5th of March, p. 390, B). In the same work (p. 392, A),
it is pointed out that the Irish monks, whenever they heard of any saints
in other parts of England whose names and lives reminded them of Irish
saints, at once concluded that they were of Irish origin; and that the
people in some parts of England, as they possessed no written acts of
their popular saints, were glad to identify their own with the famous
saints of the Irish Church. This has evidently happened in the case of St.
Piran. St. Piran, in one of his characters, is certainly a truly Cornish
saint; but when the monks in Cornwall heard the wonderful legends of the
Irish saint, St. Kiran, they seem to have grafted their own St. Piran on
the Irish St. Kiran. The difference in the names must have seemed less to
them than to us; for words which in Cornish are pronounced with _p_, are
pronounced, as a rule, in Irish with _k_. Thus, head in Cornish is _pen_,
in Irish _ceann_, son is _map_, in Irish _mac_. The town built at the
eastern extremity of the wall of Severus, was called _Penguaul_, _i.e._
_pen_, caput, _guaul_, walls; the English call it _Penel-tun_, while in
Scotch it was pronounced _Cenail_.(71) That St. Kiran had originally
nothing to do with St. Piran can still be proved, for the earlier Lives of
St. Kiran, though full of fabulous stories, represent him as dying in
Ireland. His saint’s day was the 5th of March; that of St. Piran, the 2d
of May. The later Lives, however, though they say nothing as yet of the
millstone, represent St. Kiran, when a very old man, as suddenly leaving
his country in order that he might die in Cornwall. We are told that
suddenly, when already near his death, he called together his little
flock, and said to them: “My dear brothers and sons, according to a divine
disposition I must leave Ireland and go to Cornwall, and wait for the end
of my life there. I cannot resist the will of God.” He then sailed to
Cornwall, and built himself a house, where he performed many miracles. He
was buried in Cornwall on the sandy sea, fifteen miles from Petrokstowe,
and twenty-five miles from Mousehole.(72) In this manner the Irish and the
Cornish saints, who originally had nothing in common but their names,
became amalgamated,(73) and the saint’s day of St. Piran was moved from
the 2d of May to the 5th of March. Yet although thus welded into one,
nothing could well be imagined more different than the characters of the
Irish and of the Cornish saint. The Irish saint lived a truly ascetic
life; he preached, wrought miracles, and died. The Cornish saint was a
jolly miner, not always very steady on his legs.(74) Let us hear what the
Cornish have to tell of him. His name occurs in several names of places,
such as Perran Zabuloe, Perran Uthno, in Perran the Little, and in Perran
Ar-worthall. His name, pronounced Perran, or Piran, has been further
corrupted into Picras, and Picrous, though some authorities suppose that
this is again a different saint from St. Piran. Anyhow, both St. Perran
and St. Picras live in the memory of the Cornish miner as the discoverers
of tin; and the tinners’ great holiday, the Thursday before Christmas, is
still called Picrou’s day.(75) The legend relates that St. Piran, when
still in Cornwall, employed a heavy black stone as a part of his
fire-place. The fire was more intense than usual, and a stream of
beautiful white metal flowed out of the fire. Great was the joy of the
saint, and he communicated his discovery to St. Chiwidden. They examined
the stone together, and Chiwidden, who was learned in the learning of the
East, soon devised a process for producing this metal in large quantities.
The two saints called the Cornishmen together. They told them of their
treasures, and they taught them how to dig the ore from the earth, and
how, by the agency of fire, to obtain the metal. Great was the joy in
Cornwall, and many days of feasting followed the announcement. Mead and
metheglin, with other drinks, flowed in abundance; and vile rumor says the
saints and their people were rendered equally unstable thereby. “Drunk as
a Perraner” has certainly passed into a proverb from that day.

It is quite clear from these accounts that the legendary discoverer of tin
in Cornwall was originally a totally different character from the Irish
saint, St. Kiran. If one might indulge in a conjecture, I should say that
there probably was in the Celtic language a root _kar_, which in the
Cymbric branch would assume the form _par_. Now _cair_ in Gaelic means to
dig, to raise; and from it a substantive might be derived, meaning digger
or miner. In Ireland, _Kiran_ seems to have been simply a proper name,
like Smith or Baker, for there is nothing in the legends of St. Kiran that
points to mining or smelting. In Cornwall, on the contrary, St. Piran,
before he was engrafted on St. Kiran, was probably nothing but a
personification or apotheosis of the Miner, as much as Dorus was the
personification of the Dorians, and Brutus the first King of Britain.

The rule, “noscitur a sociis,” may be applied to St. Piran. His friend and
associate, St. Chiwidden, or St. Whitehouse, is a personification of the
white-house, _i.e._ the smelting-house, without which St. Piran, the
miner, would have been a very useless saint. If Chywidden, _i.e._ the
smelting-house, became the St. Chywidden, why should we look in the
Cornish St. Piran for anything beyond Piran, _i.e._ the miner?

However, what is of importance to us for our present object is not St.
Piran, but St. Chywidden, the white-house or smelting-house. We are
looking all this time for the original meaning of the Jews’ houses, and
the question is, how can we, starting from Chywidden, arrive at
Jews’-house? I am afraid we can not do so without a jump or two; all we
can do is to show that they are jumps which language herself is fond of
taking, and which therefore we must not shirk, if we wish to ride straight
after her.

Well, then, the first jump which language frequently takes is this, that
instead of using a noun with a qualifying adjective, such as white-house,
the noun by itself is used without any such qualification. This can, of
course, be done with very prominent words only, words which are used so
often, and which express ideas so constantly present to the mind of the
speaker, that no mistake is likely to arise. In English, “the House” is
used for the House of Commons; in later Latin “domus” was used for the
House of God. Among fisherman in Scotland “fish” means salmon. In Greek
λίθος, stone, in the feminine, is used for the magnet, originally Μαγνῆτις
λίθος while the masculine λίθος means a stone in general. In Cornwall,
_ore_ by itself means copper ore only, while tin ore is called black tin.
In times, therefore, when the whole attention of Cornwall was absorbed by
mining and smelting, and when smelting-houses were most likely the only
large buildings that seemed to deserve the name of houses, there is
nothing extraordinary in _tshey_ or _dzhyi_, even without _widden_, white,
having become the recognized name for smelting-houses.

But now comes a second jump, and again one that can be proved to have been
a very favorite one with many languages. When people speaking different
languages live together in the same country, they frequently, in adopting
a foreign term, add to it, by way of interpretation, the word that
corresponds to it in their own language. Thus _Portsmouth_ is a name half
Latin and half English. _Portus_ was the Roman name given to the harbor.
This was adopted by the Saxons, but interpreted at the same time by a
Saxon word, namely, _mouth_, which really means harbor. This
interpretation was hardly intentional, but arose naturally. _Port_ first
became a kind of proper name, and then _mouth_ was added, so that “the
mouth of Port,” _i.e._ of the place called _Portus_ by the Romans, became
at last Portsmouth. But this does not satisfy the early historians, and,
as happens so frequently when there is anything corrupt in language, a
legend springs up almost spontaneously to remove all doubts and
difficulties. Thus we read in the venerable Saxon Chronicle under the year
501, “that Port came to Britain with his two sons, Bieda and Maegla, with
two ships, and their place was called Portsmouth; and they slew a British
man, a very noble man.”(76) Such is the growth of legends, aye, and in
many cases the growth of history.

Formed on the same principle as Portsmouth we find such words as
_Hayle-river_, the Cornish _hal_ by itself meaning salt marsh, moor, or
estuary; _Treville_ or _Trou-ville_, where the Celtic _tre_, town, is
explained by the French _ville_; the _Cotswold_ Hills, where the Celtic
word _cot_, wood, is explained by the Saxon _wold_ or _weald_, a wood. In
_Dun-bar-ton_, the Celtic word _dun_, hill, is explained by the Saxon
_bar_ for _byrig_, burg, _ton_ being added to form the name of the town
that rose up under the protection of the hill-castle. In _Penhow_ the same
process has been suspected; _how_, the German Höhe,(77) expressing nearly
the same idea as _pen_, head. In Constantine, in Cornwall, one of the
large stones with rock-basins is called the _Mên-rock_,(78) rock being
simply the interpretation of the Cornish _mên_.

If, then, we suppose that in exactly the same manner the people of
Cornwall spoke of _Tshey-houses_, or _Dshyi-houses_, is it so very
extraordinary that this hybrid word should at last have been interpreted
as _Jew-houses_ or _Jews’ houses_? I do not say that the history of the
word can be traced through all its phases with the same certainty as that
of Marazion; all I maintain is that, in explaining its history, no step
has been admitted that cannot be proved by sufficient evidence to be in
strict keeping with the well-known movements, or, if it is respectful to
say so, the well-known antics of language.

Thus vanish the Jews from Cornwall; but there still remain the _Saracens_.
One is surprised to meet with Saracens in the West of England; still more,
to hear of their having worked in the tin-mines, like the Jews. According
to some writers, however, Saracen is only another name for Jews, though no
explanation is given why this detested name should have been applied to
the Jews in Cornwall, and nowhere else. This view is held, for instance,
by Carew, who writes: “The Cornish maintain these works to have been very
ancient, and the first wrought by the Jews with pickaxes of holm, box,
hartshorn; they prove this by the names of those places yet enduring, to
wit, _Attall-Sarazin_ (or, as in some editions, _Sazarin_); in English,
the Jews’ Offcast.”

Camden (p. 69) says: “We are taught from Diodorus and Æthicus that the
ancient Britons had worked hard at the mines, but the Saxons and Normans
seem to have neglected them for a long time, or to have employed the labor
of Arabs or Saracens, for the inhabitants call deserted shafts,
_Attall-Sarazin_, _i.e._ the leavings of the Saracens.”

Thus, then, we have not only the Saracens in Cornwall admitted as simply a
matter of history, but their presence actually used in order to prove that
the Saxons and Normans neglected to work the mines in the West of England.

A still more circumstantial account is given by Hals, as quoted by Gilbert
in his “Parochial History of Cornwall.” Here we are told that King Henry
III., by proclamation, let out all Jews in his dominions at a certain rent
to such as would poll and rifle them, and amongst others to his brother
Richard, King of the Romans, who, after he had plundered their estates,
committed their bodies, as his slaves, to labor in the tin-mines of
Cornwall; the memory of whose workings is still preserved in the names of
several tin works, called _Towle Sarasin_, and corruptly _Attall Saracen_;
_i.e._ the refuse or outcast of Saracens; that is to say, of those Jews
descended from Sarah and Abraham. Other works were called _Whele Etherson_
(alias _Ethewon_), the Jews’ Works, or Unbelievers’ Works, in Cornish.

Here we see how history is made; and if our inquiries led to no other
result, they would still be useful as a warning against putting implicit
faith in the statements of writers who are separated by several centuries
from the events they are relating. Here we have men like Carew and Camden,
both highly cultivated, learned, and conscientious, and yet neither of
them hesitating, in a work of historical character, to assert as a fact,
what, after making every allowance, can only be called a very bold guess.
Have we any reason to suppose that Herodotus and Thucydides, when speaking
of the original abodes of the various races of Greece, of their
migrations, their wars and final settlements, had better evidence before
them, or were more cautious in using their evidence, than Camden and
Carew? And is it likely that modern scholars, however learned and however
careful, can ever arrive at really satisfactory results by sifting and
arranging and rearranging the ethnological statements of the ancients, as
to the original abodes or the later migrations of Pelasgians, Tyrrhenians,
Thracians, Macedonians, and Illyrians, or even of Dorians, Æolians, and
Ionians? What is Carew’s evidence in support of his statement that the
Jews first worked the tin-mines of Cornwall? Simply the sayings of the
people in Cornwall, who support their sayings by the name given to
deserted mines, _Attall Sarazin_. Now admitting that _Attall Sarazin_ or
_Attall Sazarin_, meant the refuse of the Saracens, how is it possible, in
cold blood, to identify the Saracens with Jews, and where is there a
tittle of evidence to prove that the Jews were the first to work these
mines,—mines, be it remembered, which, according to the same Carew, were
certainly worked before the beginning of our era?

But leaving the Jews of the time of Nero, let us examine the more definite
and more moderate statements of Hals and Gilbert. According to them, the
deserted shafts are called by a Cornish name meaning the refuse of the
Saracens, because, as late as the thirteenth century, the Jews were sent
to work in these mines. It is difficult, no doubt, to prove a negative,
and to show that no Jews ever worked in the mines of Cornwall. All that
can be done, in a case like this, is to show that no one has produced an
atom of evidence in support of Mr. Gilbert’s opinion. The Jews were
certainly ill treated, plundered, tortured, and exiled during the reign of
the Plantagenet kings; but that they were sent to the Cornish mines, no
contemporary writer has ever ventured to assert. The passage in Matthew
Paris, to which Mr. Gilbert most likely alludes, says the very contrary of
what he draws from it. Matthew Paris says that Henry III. extorted money
from the Jews, and that when they petitioned for a safe conduct, in order
to leave England altogether, he sold them to his brother Richard, “ut quos
Rex excoriaverat, Comes evisceraret.”(79) But this selling of the Jews
meant no more than that, in return for money advanced him by his brother,
the Earl of Cornwall, the King pawned to him, for a number of years, the
taxes, legitimate or illegitimate, which could be extorted from the Jews.
That this was the real meaning of the bargain between the King and his
brother, the Earl of Cornwall, can be proved by the document printed in
Rymer’s “Fœdera,” vol. i. p. 543, “De Judæis Comiti Cornubiæ assignatis,
pro solutione pecuniæ sibi a Rege debitæ.”(80) Anyhow, there is not a
single word about the Jews having been sent to Cornwall, or having had to
work in the mines. On the contrary, Matthew Paris says, “_Comes pepercit
iis_,” “the Earl spared them.”

After thus looking in vain for any truly historical evidence in support of
Jewish settlements in Cornwall, I suppose they may in future be safely
treated as a “verbal myth,” of which there are more indeed in different
chapters of history, both ancient and modern, than is commonly supposed.
As in Cornwall the name of a market has given rise to the fable of Jewish
settlements, the name of another market in Finland led to the belief that
there were Turks settled in that northern country. _Abo_, the ancient
capital of Finland, was called _Turku_, which is the Swedish word _torg_,
market. Adam of Bremen, enumerating the various tribes adjoining the
Baltic, mentions _Turci_ among the rest, and these _Turci_ were by others
mistaken for Turks.(81)

Even after such myths have been laid open to the very roots, there is a
strong tendency not to drop them altogether. Thus Mr. H. Merivale is far
too good an historian to admit the presence of Jews in Cornwall as far
back as the destruction of Jerusalem.(82) He knows there is no evidence
for it, and he would not repeat a mere fable, however plausible. Yet
Marazion and the Jews’ houses evidently linger in his memory, and he
throws out a hint that they may find an historical explanation in the fact
that under the Plantagenet kings the Jews commonly farmed or wrought the
mines. Is there any contemporary evidence even for this? I do not think
so. Dr. Borlase, indeed, in his “Natural History of Cornwall” (p. 190),
says, “In the time of King John, I find the product of tin in this county
very inconsiderable, the right of working for tin being as yet wholly in
the King, the property of tinners precarious and unsettled, and what tin
was raised was engrossed and managed by the Jews, to the great regret of
the barons and their vassals.” It is a pity that Dr. Borlase should not
have given his authority, but there is little doubt that he simply quoted
from Carew. Carew tells us how the Cornish gentlemen borrowed money from
the merchants of London, giving them tin as security (p. 14); and though
he does not call the merchants Jews, yet he speaks of them as usurers, and
reproves their “cut throate and abominable dealing.” He continues
afterwards, speaking of the same usurers (p. 16), “After such time as the
Jewes by their extreme dealing had worne themselves, first out of the love
of the English inhabitants, and afterwards out of the land itselfe, and so
left the mines unwrought, it hapned, that certaine gentlemen, being lords
of seven tithings in Blackmoore, whose grounds were best stored with this
minerall, grewe desirous to renew this benefit,” etc. To judge from
several indications, this is really the passage which Dr. Borlase had
before him when writing of the Jews as engrossing and managing the tin
that was raised, and in that case neither is Carew a contemporary witness,
nor would it follow from what he says that one single Jew ever set foot on
Cornish soil, or that any Jews ever tasted the actual bitterness of
working in the mines.

Having thus disposed of the Jews, we now turn to the Saracens in Cornwall.
We shall not enter upon the curious and complicated history of that name.
It is enough to refer to a short note in Gibbon,(83) in order to show that
Saracen was a name known to Greeks and Romans, long before the rise of
Islam, but never applied to the Jews by any writer of authority, not even
by those who saw in the Saracens “the children of Sarah.”

What, then, it may be asked, is the origin of the expression _Attal
Sarazin_ in Cornwall? _Attal_, or _Atal_, is said to be a Cornish word,
the Welsh _Adhail_, and means refuse, waste.(84) As to _Sarazin_, it is
most likely another Cornish word, which by a metamorphic process, has been
slightly changed in order to yield some sense intelligible to Saxon
speakers. We find in Cornish _tarad_, meaning a piercer, a borer; and, in
another form, _tardar_ is distinctly used, together with axe and hammer,
as the name of a mining implement. The Latin _taratrum_, Gr. τέρετρον, Fr.
_tarière_, all come from the same source. If from _tarad_ we form a
plural, we get _taradion_. In modern Cornish we find that _d_ sinks down
to _s_, which would give us _taras_,(85) and plural _tarasion_. Next, the
final _l_ of _atal_ may, like several final _l_’s in the closely allied
language of Brittany, have infected the initial _t_ of _tarasion_, and
changed it to _th_, which _th_, again, would, in modern Cornish, sink down
to _s_.(86) Thus _atal tharasion_ might have been intended for the refuse
of the borings, possibly the refuse of the mines; but pronounced in Saxon
fashion, it might readily have been mistaken for the Atal or refuse of the
Sarasion or Saracens.

POSTSCRIPT.

The essay on the presence of Jews in Cornwall has given rise to much
controversy; and as I republish it here without any important alterations,
I feel it incumbent to say a few words in answer to the objections that
have been brought forward against it. No one, I think, can read my essay
without perceiving that what I question is not the presence of single Jews
in Cornwall, but the migration of large numbers of Jews into the extreme
West of Britain, whether at the time of the Phœnicians, or at the period
of the destruction of Jerusalem, or under the Flavian princes, or even at
a later time. The Rev. Dr. Bannister in a paper on “the Jews in Cornwall,”
published in the Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, 1867, does
indeed represent me as having maintained “that one single Jew never set
foot on Cornish soil!” But if my readers will refer to the passage thus
quoted from my essay by Dr. Bannister, they will see that it was not meant
in that sense. In the passage thus quoted with inverted commas,(87) I
simply argued that from certain words used by Carew, on which great stress
had been laid, it would not even follow “that one single Jew ever set foot
on Cornish soil,” which surely is very different from saying that I
maintained that no single Jew ever set foot on Cornish soil. It would
indeed be the most extraordinary fact if Cornwall had never been visited
by Jews. If it were so, Cornwall would stand alone, as far as such an
immunity is concerned, among all the countries of Europe. But it is one
thing for Jews to be scattered about in towns,(88) or even for one or two
Jews to have actually worked in tin mines, and quite another to speak of
towns receiving Hebrew names in Cornwall, and of deserted tin-mines being
called the workings of the Jews. To explain such startling facts, if facts
they be, a kind of Jewish exodus to Cornwall had to be admitted, and was
admitted as long as such names as _Marazion_ and _Attal Sarazin_ were
accepted in their traditional meaning. My own opinion was that these names
had given rise to the assumed presence of Jews in Cornwall, and not that
the presence of Jews in Cornwall had given rise to these names.

If, therefore, it could be proved that some Jewish families had been
settled in Cornwall in very early times, or that a few Jewish slaves had
been employed as miners, my theory would not at all be affected. But I
must say that the attempts at proving even so much have been far from
successful. Surely the occurrence of Old Testament names among the people
of Cornwall, such as Abraham, Joseph, or Solomon (there is a Solomon, Duke
of Cornwall), does not prove that their bearers were Jews. Again, if we
read in the time of Edward II. that “John Peverel held Hametethy of Roger
le Jeu,” we may be quite certain that _le Jeu_ does not mean “the Jew,”
and that in the time of Edward II. no John Peverel held land of a Jew.
Again, if in the time of Edward III. we read of one “Abraham, the tinner,
who employed 300 men in the stream-works of Brodhok,” it would require
stronger proof than the mere name to make us believe that this Abraham was
a Jew.

I had endeavored to show that there was no evidence as to the Earl of
Cornwall, the brother of Henry III., having employed Jews in the Cornish
mines, and had pointed out a passage from Rymer’s “Fœdera” where it is
stated that the Earl spared them (_pepercit_). Dr. Bannister remarks:
“Though we are told that he spared them, might not this be similar to
Joseph’s brethren sparing him,—by committing their bodies as his slaves to
work in the tin-mines?” It might be so, no doubt, but we do not know it.
Again, Dr. Bannister remarks: “Jerome tells us that when Titus took
Jerusalem, an incredible number of Jews were sold like horses, and
dispersed over the face of the whole earth. The account given by Josephus
is, that of those spared after indiscriminate slaughter, some were
dispersed through the provinces for the use of the theatres, as
gladiators; others were sent to the Egyptian mines, and others sold as
slaves. If the Romans at this time worked the Cornish mines, why may not
some have been sent here?” I can only answer, as before; they may have
been, no doubt, but we do not know it.

I had myself searched very carefully for any documents that might prove
the presence even of single Jews in Cornwall, previous to the time when
they were banished the realm by Edward I. But my inquiries had not proved
more successful than those of my predecessors. Pearce, in his “Laws and
Customs of the Stanaries,” published in London, 1725, shares the common
belief that the Jews worked in the Cornish mines. “The tinners,” he says
(p. ii), “call the antient works by the name of the Working of the Jews,
and it is most manifest, that there were Jews inhabiting here until 1291;
and this they prove by the names yet enduring, viz. Attall Sarazin, in
English, The Jews Feast.” But in spite of his strong belief in the
presence of Jews in Cornwall, Pearce adds: “But whether they had liberty
to work and search for tin, does not appear, because they had their
dwellings chiefly in great Towns and Cities; and being great Usurers, were
in that year banished out of England, to the number of 15,060, by the most
noble Prince, Edward I.”

At last, however, with the kind assistance of Mr. Macray, I discovered a
few real Jews in Cornwall in the third year of King John, 1202, namely,
one _Simon de Dena_, one _Deudone, the son of Samuel_, and one _Aaron_.
Some of their monetary transactions are recorded in the “Rotulus
Cancellarii vel Antigraphum Magni Rotuli Pipæ de tertio anno Regni Regis
Johannis” (printed under the direction of the Commissioners of the Public
Records in 1863, p. 96), and we have here not only their names as evidence
of their Jewish origin, but they are actually spoken of as “_prædictus
Judens_.” Their transactions, however, are purely financial, and do not
lead us to suppose that the Jews, in order to make tin, condescended, in
the time of King John or at any other time, to the drudgery of working in
tin-mines.

_July_, 1867.



XV. THE INSULATION OF ST. MICHAEL’S MOUNT.(89)


St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall is so well known to most people, either
from sight or from report, that a description of its peculiar features may
be deemed almost superfluous; but in order to start fair, I shall quote a
short account from the pen of an eminent geologist, Mr. Pengelly, to whom
I shall have to refer frequently in the course of this paper.

“St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, he says, “is an island at very high
water, and, with rare exceptions, a peninsula at very low water. The
distance from Marazion Cliff, the nearest point of the mainland, to
spring-tide high-water mark on its own strand, is about 1680 feet. The
total isthmus consists of the outcrop of highly inclined Devonian slate
and associated rocks, and in most cases is covered with a thin layer of
gravel or sand. At spring-tides, in still weather, it is at high-water
about twelve feet below, and at low-water six feet above, the sea level.
In fine weather it is dry from four to five hours every tide; but
occasionally, during very stormy weather and neap tides, it is impossible
to cross from the mainland for two or three days together.”

“The Mount is an outlier of granite, measuring at its base about five
furlongs in circumference, and rising to the height of one hundred and
ninety-five feet above mean tide. At high-water it plunges abruptly into
the sea, except on the north or landward side, where the granite comes
into contact with slate. Here there is a small plain occupied by a
village.... The country immediately behind or north of the town of
Marazion consists of Devonian strata, traversed by traps and elvans, and
attains a considerable elevation.”

At the meeting of the British Association in 1865, Mr. Pengelly, in a
paper on “The Insulation of St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall,” maintained
that the change which converted that Mount from a promontory into an
island must have taken place, not only within the human period, but since
Cornwall was occupied by a people speaking the Cornish language. As a
proof of this somewhat startling assertion, he adduced the ancient British
name of St. Michael’s Mount, signifying _the Hoar rock in the wood_.
Nobody would think of applying such a name to the Mount in its present
state; and as we know that during the last two thousand years the Mount
has been, as it is now, an island at high, and a promontory at low tide,
it would indeed seem to follow that its name must have been framed before
the destruction of the ancient forest by which it was once surrounded, and
before the separation of the Mount from the mainland.

Sir Henry James, in a “Note on the Block of Tin dredged in Falmouth
Harbor,” asserts, it is true, that there are trees growing on the Mount in
sufficient numbers to have justified the ancient descriptive name of “the
Hoar rock in the wood;” but though there are traces of trees visible on
the engravings published a hundred years ago, in Dr. Borlase’s
“Antiquities of Cornwall,” these are most likely due to artistic
embellishment only. At present no writer will discover in St. Michael’s
Mount what could fairly be called either trees or a wood, even in
Cornwall.

That the geographical change from a promontory into a real island did not
take place during the last two thousand years, is proved by the
description which Diodorus Siculus, a little before the Christian era,
gives of St. Michael’s Mount. “The inhabitants of the promontory of
Belerium,” he says (lib. v. c. 22), “were hospitable, and, on account of
their intercourse with strangers, eminently civilized in their habits.
These are the people who work the tin, which they melt into the form of
astragali, and then carry it to an island in front of Britain, called
_Ictis_. This island is left dry at low tide, and they then transport the
tin in carts from the shore. Here the traders buy it from the natives, and
carry it to Gaul, over which it travels on horseback in about thirty days
to the mouths of the Rhone.” That the Island of Ictis, described by
Diodorus, is St. Michael’s Mount, seems, to say the least, very probable,
and was at last admitted even by the late Sir G. C. Lewis. In fact, the
description which Diodorus gives answers so completely to what St.
Michael’s Mount is at the present day, that few would deny that if the
Mount ever was a “Hoar rock in the wood,” it must have been so before the
time of which Diodorus speaks, that is, at least before the last two
thousand years. The nine apparent reasons why St. Michael’s Mount cannot
be the Ictis of Diodorus, and their refutation, may be seen in Mr.
Pengelly’s paper “On the Insulation of St. Michael’s Mount,” p. 6, seq.

Mr. Pengelly proceeded to show that the geological change which converted
the promontory into an island may be due to two causes. First, it may have
taken place in consequence of the encroachment of the sea. This would
demand a belief that at least 20,000 years ago Cornwall was inhabited by
men who spoke Cornish. Secondly, this change may have taken place by a
general subsidence of the land, and this is the opinion adopted by Mr.
Pengelly. No exact date was assigned to this subsidence, but Mr. Pengelly
finished by expressing his decided opinion that, subsequent to a period
when Cornwall was inhabited by a race speaking a Celtic language, St.
Michael’s Mount was “a hoar rock in the wood,” and has since become
insulated by powerful geological changes.

In a more recent paper read at the Royal Institution (April 5, 1867), Mr.
Pengelly has somewhat modified his opinion. Taking for granted that at
some time or other St. Michael’s Mount was a peninsula and not yet an
island, he calculates that it must have taken 16,800 years before the
coast line could have receded from the Mount to the present cliffs. He
arrived at this result by taking the retrocession of the cliffs at ten
feet in a century, the distance between the Mount and the mainland being
at present 1,680 feet.

If, however, the severance of the Mount from the mainland was the result,
not of retrocession, but of the subsidence of the country,—a rival theory
which Mr. Pengelly still admits as possible,—the former calculation would
fail, and the only means of fixing the date of this severance would be
supplied by the remains found in the forests that were carried down by
that subsidence, and which are supposed to belong to the mammoth era. This
mammoth era, we are told, is anterior to the lake-dwellings of
Switzerland, and the kitchenmiddens of Denmark, for in neither of these
have any remains of the mammoth been discovered. The mammoth, in fact, did
not outlive the age of bronze, and before the end of that age, therefore,
St. Michael’s Mount must be supposed to have become an island.

In all these discussions it is taken for granted that St. Michael’s Mount
was at one time unquestionably a “hoar rock in the wood,” and that the
land between the Mount and the mainland was once covered by a forest which
extended along the whole of the seaboard. That there are submerged forests
along that seaboard is attested by sufficient geological evidence; but I
have not been able to discover any proof of the unbroken continuity of
that shore-forest, still less of the presence of vegetable remains in the
exact locality which is of interest to us, namely between the Mount and
the mainland. It is true that Dr. Borlase discovered the remains of trunks
of trees on the 10th of January, 1757; but he tells us that these forest
trees were not found round the Mount, but midway betwixt the piers of St.
Michael’s Mount and Penzance, that is to say, about one mile distant from
the Mount; also, that one of them was a willow-tree with the bark on it,
another a hazel-branch with the bark still fat and glossy. The place where
these trees were found was three hundred yards below full-sea mark, where
the water is twelve feet deep when the tide is in.

Carew, also, at an earlier date, speaks of roots of mighty trees found in
the sand about the Mount, but without giving the exact place. Lelant
(1533-40) knows of “Spere Heddes, Axis for Warre, and Swerdes of Copper
wrapped up in lynist, scant perishid,” that had been found of late years
near the Mount, in St. Hilary’s parish, in tin works; but he places the
land that had been devoured of the sea between Penzance and Mousehole,
_i.e._ more than two miles distant from the Mount.

The value of this kind of geological evidence must of course be determined
by geologists. It is quite possible that the remains of trunks of trees
may still be found on the very isthmus between the Mount and the mainland;
but it is, to say the least, curious that, even in the absence of such
stringent evidence, geologists should feel so confident that the Mount
once stood on the mainland, and that exactly the same persuasion should
have been shared by people long before the name of geology was known.
There is a powerful spell in popular traditions, against which even men of
science are not always proof, and is just possible that if the tradition
of the “hoar rock in the wood” had not existed, no attempts would have
been made to explain the causes that severed St. Michael’s Mount from the
mainland. But even then the question remains, How was it that people quite
guiltless of geology should have framed the popular name of the Mount, and
the popular tradition of its former connection with the mainland? Leaving,
therefore, for the present all geological evidence out of view, it will be
an interesting inquiry to find out, if possible, how people that could not
have been swayed by any geological theories, should have been led to
believe in the gradual insulation of St. Michael’s Mount.

The principal argument brought forward by non-geological writers in
support of the former existence of a forest surrounding the Mount, is the
Cornish name of St. Michael’s Mount, _Cara clowse in cowse_, which in
Cornish is said to mean “the hoar rock in the wood.” In his paper read
before the British Association at Manchester, Mr. Pengelly adduced that
very name as irrefragable evidence that Cornish, _i.e._ a Celtic language,
an Aryan language, was spoken in the extreme west of Europe about 20,000
years ago. In his more recent paper Mr. Pengelly has given up this
position, and he considers it improbable that any philologer could now
give a trustworthy translation of a language spoken 20,000 years ago. This
may be or not; but before we build any hypothesis on that Cornish name,
the first question which an historian has to answer is clearly this:—

_What authority is there for that name? Where does it occur for the first
time? and does it really mean what it is supposed to mean?_

Now the first mention of the Cornish name, as far as I am aware, occurs in
Richard Carew’s “Survey of Cornwall,” which was published in 1602. It is
true that Camden’s “Britannia” appeared earlier, in 1586, and that Camden
(p. 72), too, mentions “the Mons Michaelis, _Dinsol_ olim, ut in libro
Landavensi habetur, incolis _Careg Cowse_,(90) _i.e._ rupis cana.” But it
will be seen that he leaves out the most important part of the old name,
nor can there be much doubt that Camden received his information about
Cornwall direct from Carew, before Carew’s “Survey of Cornwall” was
published.

After speaking of “the countrie of Lionesse which the sea hath ravined
from Cornwall betweene the lands end and the Isles of Scilley,” Carew
continues (p. 3), “Moreover, the ancient name of Saint Michael’s Mount was
_Cara-clowse in Cowse_, in English, The hoare Rocke in the Wood; which now
is at everie floud incompassed by the Sea, and yet at some low ebbes,
rootes of mightie trees are discryed in the sands about it. The like
overflowing hath happened in Plymmouth Haven, and divers other places.”
Now while in this place Carew gives the name _Cara-clowse in Cowse_, it is
very important to remark that on page 154, he speaks of it again as “_Cara
Cowz in Clowze_, that is, the hoare rock in the wood.”

The original Cornish name, whether it was _Cara clowse in Cowse_, or _Cara
Cowz in Clowze_, cannot be traced back beyond the end of the sixteenth
century, for the Cornish Pilchard song in which the name likewise occurs
is much more recent, at least in that form in which we possess it. The
tradition, however, that St. Michael’s Mount stood in a forest, and even
the Saxon designation, “the Hoar rock in the wood,” can be followed up to
an earlier date.

At least one hundred and twenty-five years before Carew’s time, William of
Worcester, though not mentioning the Cornish name, not only gives the
Mount the name of “hoar rock of the wood,” but states distinctly that St.
Michael’s Mount was formerly six miles distant from the sea, and
surrounded by a dense forest: “PREDICTUS LOCUS OPACISSIMA PRIMO
CLAUDEBATUR SYLVA, AB OCEANO MILIARIBUS DISTANS SEX.” As William of
Worcester never mentions the Cornish name, it is not likely that his
statement should merely be derived from the supposed meaning of _Cara Cowz
in Clowze_, and it is but fair to admit that he may have drawn from a
safer source of information. We must therefore inquire more closely into
the credibility of this important witness. He is an important witness,
for, if it were not for him, I believe we should never have heard of the
insulation of St. Michael’s Mount at all. The passage in question occurs
in William of Worcester’s Itinerary, the original MS. of which is
preserved in Corpus Christi College at Cambridge. It was printed at
Cambridge by James Nasmith, in the year 1778, from the original MS., but,
as it would seem, without much care. William Botoner, or, as he is
commonly called, William of Worcester, was born at Bristol in 1415, and
educated at Oxford about 1434. He was a member of the _Aula Cervina_,
which at that time belonged to Balliol College. His “Itinerarium” is dated
1478. It hardly deserves the grand title which it bears, “Itinerarium,
sive liber memorabilium Will. W. in viagio de Bristol usque ad montem St.
Michaelis.” It is not a book of travels in our sense of the word, and it
was hardly destined for the public in the form in which we possess it. It
is simply a notebook in which William entered anything that interested him
during his journey; and it contains not only his own observations, but all
sorts of extracts, copies, notices, thrown together without any connecting
thread. He hardly tells us that he has arrived at St. Michael’s Mount
before he begins to copy a notice which he found posted up in the church.
This notice informed all comers that Pope Gregory had remitted a third of
their penances to all who should visit this church and give to it
benefactions and alms. It can be fully proved that this notice, which was
intended to attract pilgrims and visitors, repeats _ipsissimis verbis_ the
charter of Leofric, Bishop of Exeter, who exempted the church and convent
from all episcopal jurisdiction. This was in the year 1088, when St.
Michael’s Mount was handed over by Robert, Earl of Mortain, half-brother
of William the Conqueror, to the Abbey of St. Michel in Normandy. This
charter may be seen in Dr. Oliver’s “Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis,”
1846. The passage copied by William of Worcester from a notice in the
church of St. Michael’s Mount occurs at the end of the original charter:
“_Et omnibus illis qui illam ecclesiam suis cum beneficiis elemosinis
expetierint et visitaverint, tertiam partem penitentiarum condonamus._”

Though it is not quite correct to say that this condonation was granted by
Pope Gregory, yet it is perfectly true that it was granted by the Bishop
of Exeter at the command and exhortation of the Pope, “_Jussione et
exhortatione domini reverentissimi Gregorii_.” The date also given by
William, 1070, cannot be correct, for Gregory occupied the papal throne
from 1073-86. It was Gregory VII., not Gregory VI., as printed by Dr.
Oliver.

Immediately after this memorandum in William’s diary we meet with certain
notes on the apparitions of St. Michael. He does not say from what source
he takes his information on the subject, but we may suppose that he either
repeated what he heard from the monks in conversation, or that he copied
from some MS. in their library. In either case it is startling to read
that there was an apparition of the Archangel St. Michael in Mount
_Tumba_, formerly called _the Horerock in the wodd_. St. Michael seems
indeed to have paid frequent visits to his worshippers, if we may trust
the “Chronicon apparitionum et gestorum S. Michaelis Archangeli,”
published by Mich. Naveus, in 1632. Yet his visits were not made at
random, and even Naveus finds it difficult to substantiate any apparition
of St. Michael so far north as Cornwall, except by invectives against the
_impudenta et ignorantia_ of Protestant heretics who dared to doubt such
occurrences.

But this short sentence of William contains one word which is of great
importance for our purposes. He says that “the Hore-rock in the wodd” was
formerly called _Tumba_. Is there any evidence of this?

The name _Tumba_, as far as we know, belonged originally to Mont St.
Michel in Normandy. There a famous and far better authenticated apparition
of St. Michael is related to have taken place in the year 708, which led
to the building of a church and monastery by Autbert, Bishop of Avranches.
The church was built in close imitation of the Church of St. Michael in
Mount Garganus in Apulia, which had been founded as early as 493.(91) If,
therefore, William of Worcester relates an apparition of St. Michael in
Cornwall at about the same date, in 710, it is clear that Mont St. Michel
in Normandy has here been confounded by him with St. Michael’s Mount in
Cornwall. In order to explain this strange confusion, and the consequences
which it entailed, it will be necessary to bear in mind the peculiar
relations which existed between the two ecclesiastical establishments,
perched the one on the island rock of St. Michel in Normandy, the other on
St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall. In physical structure there is a curious
resemblance between the two mounts. Both are granite islands, and both so
near the coast that at low water a dry passage is open to them from the
mainland. The Mount on the Norman coast is larger and more distant from
the coast than St. Michael’s Mount, yet for all that their general
likeness is very striking. Now Mont St. Michel was called _Tumba_ at least
as far back as the tenth century. Mabillon, in his “Annales Benedictini”
(vol. ii. p. 18), quotes from an ancient author the following explanation
of the name. “Now this place, to use the words of an ancient author, is
called _Tumba_ by the inhabitants, because, emerging as it were from the
sands like a hill, it rises up by the space of two hundred cubits,
everywhere surrounded by the ocean; it is six miles distant from the
shore, between the mouths of the rivers Segia and Senuna, six miles
distant from Avranches, looking westward, and dividing Avranches from
Brittany. Here the sea by its recess allows twice a passage to the pious
people who proceed to the threshold of St. Michael the Archangel.” “Hic
igitur locus, ut verbis antiqui autoris utar, _Tumba_ vocitatur ab
incolis, ideo quod in morem tumuli, quasi ab arenis emergens, ad altum
SPATIO DUCENTORUM CUBITORUM porrigitur, OCEANO UNDIQUE CINCTUS, SEX
MILLIBUS AB ÆSTU OCEANI, inter ostia situs, ubi immergunt se mari flumina
Segia (Sée) et Senuna (Selure), ab Abrincatensi urbe (Avranches) sex
distans millibus; oceanum prospectans, Abrincatensem pagum dirimit a
Britannia. Illic mare suo recessu devotis populis desideratum bis præbet
iter petentibus limina beati Michaelis archangeli.”

This fixes _Tumba_ as the name of Mont St. Michel before the tenth
century, for the ancient author from whom Mabillon quotes wrote before the
middle of the tenth century, and before Duke Richard had replaced the
priests of St. Michel by Benedictine monks. _Tumba_ remained, in fact, the
recognized name of the Norman Mount, and has survived to the present day.
The church and monastery there were called “_in monte Tumba_,” or “_ad
duas Tumbas_,” there being in reality two islands, the principal one
called _Tumba_, the smaller _Tumbella_ or _Tumbellana_. This name of
_Tumbellana_ was afterwards changed into _tumba Helenæ_, giving rise to
various legends about Elaine, one of the heroines of the Arthurian cycle;
nay, the name was cited by learned antiquarians as a proof of the ancient
worship of Belus in these northern latitudes.

The history of Mont St. Michel in Normandy is well authenticated,
particularly during the period which is of importance to us. Mabillon,
quoting from the chronicler who wrote before the middle of the tenth
century, relates how Autbert, the Bishop of Avranches, had a vision, and
after having been thrice admonished by St. Michael, proceeded to build on
the summit of the Mount a church under the patronage of the Archangel.
This was in 708, or possibly a few years earlier, if Pagius is right in
fixing the dedication of the temple in 707.(92) Mabillon points out that
this chronicler says nothing as yet of the miracles related by later
writers, particularly of the famous hole in the Bishop’s skull, which it
was believed St. Michael had made when on exhorting him the third time to
build his church, he gently touched him with his archangelic finger. In
doing this the finger went through the skull, and left a hole. The
perforated skull did not interfere with the Bishop’s health, and it was
shown after his death as a valuable relic. The new church was dedicated by
Autbert himself, and the day of the dedication (xvii. Kalend. Novemb.) was
celebrated, not only in France, but also in England, as is shown by a
decree of the Synod held at Oxford in 1222. The further history of the
church and monastery of St. Michel may be read with all its minute details
in Mabillon, or in the “Neustria Pia” (p. 371), or in the “Gallia
Christiana” (vol. ix. p. 517 E, 870 A). What is of interest to us is that
soon after the Conquest, when the ecclesiastical property of England had
fallen into the hands of her Norman conquerors, Robert, Earl of Mortain
and Cornwall, the half-brother of William the Conqueror, endowed the
Norman with the Cornish Mount. A priory of Benedictine monks had existed
on the Cornish Mount for some time, and had been richly endowed in 1044 by
Edward the Confessor. Nay, if we may trust the charter of Edward the
Confessor, it would seem that, even at that time, the Cornish Mount and
its priory had been granted by him to the Norman Abbey, for the charter is
witnessed by Norman bishops, and its original is preserved in the Abbey of
Mont St. Michel. In that case William the Conqueror or his half-brother
Robert would only have restored the Cornish priory to its rightful owners,
the monks of Mont St. Michel, who had well deserved the gratitude of the
Conqueror by supplying him after the Conquest with six ships and a number
of monks, destined to assist in the restoration of ecclesiastical
discipline in England. After that time the Cornish priory shared the fate
of other so-called alien priories or cells. The prior was bound to visit
in person or by proxy the mother-house every year, and to pay sixteen
marks of silver as an acknowledgment of dependence. Whenever a war broke
out between England and France, the foreign priories were seized, though
some, and among them the priory of St. Michael’s Mount obtained in time a
distinct corporate character, and during the reigns of Henry IV. and Henry
V. were exempted from seizure during war.

Under these circumstances we can well understand how in the minds of the
monks, who spent their lives partly in the mother-house, partly in its
dependencies, there was no very clear perception of any difference between
the founders, benefactors, and patrons of these twin establishments. A
monk brought up at Mont St. Michel would repeat as an old man the legends
he had heard about St. Michel and Bishop Autbert, even though he was
ending his days in the priory of the Cornish Mount. Relics and books would
likewise travel from one place to the other, and a charter originally
belonging to the one might afterwards form part of the archives of another
house.

After these preliminary remarks, let us look again at the memoranda which
William of Worcester made at St. Michael’s Mount, and it will appear that
what we anticipated has actually happened, and that a book originally
belonging to Mont St. Michel in Normandy, and containing the early history
of that monastery, was transferred (either in the original or in a copy)
to Cornwall, and there used by William of Worcester in the belief that it
contained the early history of the Cornish Mount and the Cornish priory.

The Memorandum of William of Worcester runs thus: “Apparicio Sancti
Michaelis in monte Tumba, antea vocata le Hore-rok in the wodd; et fuerunt
tam boscus quarn prata et terra arabilis inter dictum montem et insulas
Syllye, et fuerunt 140 ecclesias parochiales inter istum montem et Sylly
submersse.

“Prima apparicio Sancti Michaelis in monte Gorgon in regno Apuliae fuit
anno Christi 391. Secunda apparicio fuit circa annum domini 710 in Tumba
in Cornubia juxta mare.

“Tertia apparicio Romæ fuit; tempore Gregorii papæ legitur accidisse: nam
tempore magnæ pestilenciæ, etc.

“Quarta apparicio fuit in ierarchiis nostrorum angelorum.

“Spacium loci mentis Sancti Michaelis est DUCENTORUM CUBITORUM UNDIQUE
OCEANO CINCTUM, et religiosi monachi dicti loci. Abrincensis antistes
Aubertus nomine, ut in honore Sancti Michaelis construeret ... predictus
LOCUS OPACISSIMA PRIMO CLAUDEBATUR SYLVA, AB OCEANO MILIARIBUS DISTANS
SEX, aptissimam prasbens latebram ferarum, in quo loco olim comperimus
MONACHOS domino servientes.”

The text is somewhat corrupt and fragmentary, but may be translated as
follows:—

“The apparition of St. Michael in the Mount Tumba, formerly called the
Hore-rock in the wodd; and there were a forest and meadows and arable land
between the said mount and the Syllye Isles, and there were 140 parochial
churches swallowed by the sea between that mount and Sylly.

“The first apparition of St. Michael in Mount Gorgon in the Kingdom of
Apulia was in the year 391. The second apparition was about the year 710,
in Tumba in Cornwall by the sea.

“The third apparition is said to have happened at Rome in the time of Pope
Gregory: for at the time of the great pestilence, etc.

“The fourth apparition was in the hierarchies of our angels.

“The space of St. Michael’s Mount is 200 cubits; it is everywhere
surrounded by the sea, and there are religious monks of that place. The
head of Abrinca, Aubertus by name, that he might erect a church(93) in
honor of St. Michael. The aforesaid place was at first enclosed by a very
dense forest, six miles distant from the ocean, furnishing a good retreat
for wild animals. In which place we heard that formerly monks serving the
Lord,” etc.

The only way to explain this jumble is to suppose that William of
Worcester made these entries in his diary while walking up and down in the
Church of St. Michael’s Mount, and listening to one of the monks, reading
to him from a MS. which had been brought from Normandy, and referred in
reality to the early history of the Norman, but not of the Cornish Mount.
The first line, “Apparicio Sancti Michaelis in monte Tumba,” was probably
the title or the heading of the MS. Then William himself added, “antea
vocata le Hore-rok in the wodd,” a name which he evidently heard on the
spot, and which no doubt conveyed to him the impression that the rock had
formerly stood in the midst of a wood. For instead of continuing his
account of the apparitions of St. Michael, he quotes a tradition in
support of the former existence of a forest surrounding the Mount. Only,
strange to say, instead of producing the evidence which he produced
afterwards in confirmation of St. Michael’s Mount having been surrounded
by a dense forest, he here gives the tradition about Lionesse, the sunken
land between the Land’s End and the Scylly Isles. This is evidently a
mistake, for no other writer ever supposed the sunken land of Lionesse to
have reached as far as St. Michael’s Mount.

Then follows the entry about the four apparitions of St. Michael. Here we
must read “_in monte Gargano_” instead of “_in monte Gorgon_.” Opinions
vary as to the exact date of the apparition in Mount Garganus in the South
of Italy, but 391 is certainly far too early, and has to be changed into
491 or 493. In the second apparition, all is right, if we leave out “in
Cornubia juxta mare,” which was added either by William or by the monk who
was showing him the book. It refers to the well-known apparition of St.
Michael at Avranches. The third and fourth apparitions are of no
consequence to us.

As we read on, we come next to William’s own measurements, fixing the
extent of St. Michael’s Mount at two hundred cubits. After that we are met
by a passage which, though it hardly construes, can be understood in one
sense only, namely, as giving an account of the Abbey of St. Michel in
Normandy. I suppose it is not too bold if I recognize in _Aubertus
Autbertus_, and in _Abrincensis antistes_, the _Abrincatensis episcopus_
or _antistes_, the Bishop of Avranches.

Now it is well known that the Mont St. Michel in Normandy was believed to
have been originally surrounded by forests and meadows. Du Moustier in the
“Neustria Pia” relates (p. 371), “Hæc rupes antiquitus Mons erat cinctus
sylvis et saltibus,” “This rock was of old a mount surrounded by forests
and meadows.” But this is not all. In the old chronicle of Mont St.
Michel, quoted by Mabillon, which was written before the middle of the
tenth century, the same account is given; and if we compare that account
with the words used by William of Worcester, we can no longer doubt that
the old chronicle, or, it may be, a copy of it, had been brought from
France to England, and that what was intended for a description of the
Norman abbey and its neighborhood was taken, intentionally or
unintentionally, as a description of the Cornish Mount. These are the
words of the Norman chronicler, as quoted by Mabillon, compared with the
passage in William of Worcester:—

_Mont St. Michel._          _St. Michael’s Mount._
“Addit idem auctor hunc     “Predictus LOCUS
locum OPACISSIMA OLIM       OPACISSIMA OLIM
SILVA CLAUSUM fuisse, et    CLAUDEBATUR Sylva ab
MONACHOS IBIDEM             oceano miliaribus distans
INHABITASSE duasque ad      sex, aptissimam præbens
suum usque tempus           latebram ferarum, in quo
exstitisse ecclesias quas   loco olim comperimus
illi scilicet monachi       MONACHOS DOMINO
incolebant.”                SERVIENTES”.

“The same author adds that this place was formerly inclosed by a very
dense forest, and that monks dwelt there, and that two churches existed
there up to his own time, which those monks inhabited.”

The words CLAUSUM OPACISSIMA SILVA are decisive. The phrase AB OCEANO
MILIARIBUS DISTANS SEX, too, is taken from an earlier passage of the same
author, quoted above, which passage may likewise have supplied the
identical phrases OCEANO UNDIQUE CINCTUS, and the SPATIUM DUCENTORUM
CUBITORUM, which are hardly applicable to St. Michael’s Mount. The “two
churches _still_ existing in Mont St. Michel,” had to be left out, for
there was no trace of them in St. Michael’s Mount. But the monks who lived
in them were retained, and to give a little more life, the wild beasts
were added. Even the expression of _antistes_ instead of _episcopus_
occurs in the original, where we read, “Hæc loci facies erat ante sancti
Michaelis apparitionem hoc anno factam religiosissimo Autberto
Abrincatensi episcopo, admonentis se velle ut sibi in ejus montis vertice
ecclesia sub ipsius patrocinio erigeretur. Hærenti ANTISTITI tertio idem
intimatum,” etc.

Thus vanishes the testimony of William of Worcester, so often quoted by
Cornish antiquarians, as to the dense forest by which St. Michael’s Mount
in Cornwall was once surrounded, and all the evidence that remains to
substantiate the former presence of trees on and around the Cornish Mount
is reduced to the name “the Hoar rock in the wood,” given by William, and
the Cornish names of _Cara clowse in Cowse_ or _Cara Cowz in Clowze_,
given by Carew. How much or how little dependence can be placed on old
Cornish names of places and their supposed meaning has been shown before
in the case of Marazion. Carew certainly did not understand Cornish, nor
did the people with whom he had intercourse; and there is no doubt that he
wrote down the Cornish names as best he could, and without any attempt at
deciphering their meaning. He was told that “Cara clowse in Cowse” meant
the “Hoar rock in the Wood,” and he had no reason to doubt it. Even a very
small knowledge of Cornish would have enabled Carew or anybody else at his
time to find out that _cowz_ might be meant for the Cornish word for wood,
and that _careg_ was rock. _Clowse_ too might easily be taken in the sense
of gray, as gray in Cornish was _glos_. Then why should we hesitate to
accept _Cara clowse in cowse_ as the ancient Cornish name of the Mount,
and why object to Mr. Pengelly’s argument that it must have been given at
a time when the Mount was surrounded by a very dense forest, and that _a
fortiori_ at that distant period Cornish must have been the spoken
language of Cornwall?

The first objection is that the old word for “wood” in Cornish was _cuit_
with a final _t_, and that the change of a final _t_ into _z_ is a
phonetic corruption which takes place only in the later stage of the
Cornish language. The ancient Cornish _cuit_, “wood,” occurs in Welsh as
_coed_, in Armorican as _koat_ and _koad_, and is supposed to exist in
Cornish names of places, such as _Penquite_, _Kilquite_, etc. _Cowz_,
therefore, could not have occurred in a Cornish name supposed to have been
formed at least 2,000 if not 20,000 years ago.

This thrust might, no doubt, be parried by saying that the name of the
Mount would naturally change with the general changes of the Cornish
language. Yet this is not always the case with proper names, as may be
seen by the names just quoted, _Penquite_ and _Kilquite_. At all events,
we begin to see how uncertain is the ground on which we stand.

If we take the facts, scanty and uncertain as they are, we may admit that,
at the time of William of Worcester, the Mount had most likely a Latin, a
Cornish, and a Saxon appellation. It is curious that William should say
nothing of a Cornish name, but only quote the Saxon one. However, this
Saxon name, “the Hoar rock in the Wood” sounds decidedly like a
translation, and is far too long and cumbrous for a current name.
_Michelstow_ is mentioned by others as the Saxon name of the Mount
(Naveus, p. 233). The Latin name given to the Mount, but only after it had
become a dependency of Mont St. Michel in Normandy, was, as we saw from
William of Worcester’s diary, _Mons Tumba_ or _Mons Tumba in Cornubia_,
and after his time the name of _St. Michael in Tumbâ_ or in _Monte Tumbâ_
is certainly used promiscuously for the Cornish and Norman mounts.(94) Now
_tumba_, after meaning hillock, became the recognized name for tomb, and
the mediæval Latin _tumba_, too, was always understood in that sense. If,
therefore, the name “Mons in tumba” had to be rendered in Cornish for the
benefit of the Cornish-speaking monks of the Benedictine priory, _tumba_
would actually be taken in the sense of tomb. One form of the Cornish
name, as preserved by Carew, is _Cara cowz in clowze_; and this, if
interpreted without any preconceived opinion, would mean in Cornish “the
old rock of the tomb.” _Cara_ stands for _carak_, a rock. _Cowz_ is meant
for _coz_, the modern Cornish and Armorican form corresponding to the
ancient Cornish _coth_, old.(95) _Clowze_ is a modern and somewhat corrupt
form in Cornish, corresponding to the Welsh _clawdh_, a tomb. _Cladh-va_,
in Cornish, means a burying-place; and _cluddu_, to bury, has been
preserved as a Cornish verb, corresponding to the Welsh _cladhu_. In
Gaelic, too, _cladh_ is a tomb or burying-place; and in Armorican, which
generally follows the same phonetic changes as the Cornish, we actually
find _kleuz_ and _klôz_ for tomb or inclosure. (See Le Gonidec, “Dict.
Breton-Français,” s. v.) The _en_ might either be the Cornish preposition
_yn_, or it may have been intended for the article in the genitive, _an_.
The old rock in the tomb, _i.e._ _in tumbâ_, or the old rock of the tomb,
Cornish _carag goz an cloz_, would be intelligible and natural renderings
of the Latin _Mons in tumba_.

But though this would fully account for the origin of the Cornish name as
preserved by Carew, it would still leave the Saxon appellation the “Hore
rock in the wodd” unexplained. How could William of Worcester have got
hold of this name? Let us remember that William does not mention any
Cornish name of the Mount, and that nothing is ever said at his time of
the “Hore rock in the wodd” being a translation of an old Cornish name.
All we know is that the monks of the Mount used that name, and it is
hardly likely that so long and cumbrous a name should ever have been used
much by the people in the neighborhood. How the monks of St. Michael’s
Mount came to call their place the “Hore rock in the wodd” at the time of
William of Worcester, and probably long before his time, is, however, not
difficult to explain, after we have seen how they transferred the
traditions which originally referred to Mont St. Michel to their own
monastery. Having told the story of the “_sylva opacissima_” by which
their mount was formerly surrounded to many visitors, as they told it to
William of Worcester, the name of the “Hore rock in the wodd” might easily
spring up among them, and be kept up within the walls of their priory. Nor
is there any evidence that in this peculiar form the name ever spread
beyond their walls. But it is possible that here, too, language may have
played some tricks. The number of people who used these names and kept
them alive can never have been large, and hence they were exposed much
more to accidents arising from ignorance and individual caprice than names
of villages or towns which are in the keeping of hundreds and thousands of
people. The monks of St. Michael’s Mount may in time have forgotten the
exact purport of “Cara cowz in clowze,” “the old rock of the tomb,” really
the “Mons in tumba;” and their minds being full of the old forest by which
they believed _their_ island, like Mont St. Michel, to have been formerly
surrounded, what wonder if _cara cowz in clowze_ glided away into _cara
clowse in cowze_, and thus came to confirm the old tradition of the
forest. For _cowz_ would at once be taken as the modern Cornish word for
wood, corresponding to the old Cornish _cuit_, while _clowse_ might, with
a little effort, be identified with the Cornish _glos_, gray, the
Armorican _glâz_. Carew, it should be observed, sanctions both forms, the
original one, _cara cowz in clowze_, “the old rock of the tomb,” and the
other _cara clowse in cowze_, meaning possibly “the gray rock in the
wood.” The sound of the two is so like that, particularly to the people
not very familiar with the language, the substitution of one for the other
would come very naturally; and as a reason could more easily be given for
the latter than for the former name, we need not be surprised if in the
few passages where the name occurs _after Carew’s_ time, the secondary
name, apparently confirming the monkish legend of the dense forest that
once surrounded St. Michael’s Mount, should have been selected in
preference to the former, which, but to a scholar and an antiquarian,
sounded vague and meaningless.

If my object had been to establish any new historical fact, or to support
any novel theory, I should not have indulged so freely in what to a
certain extent may be called mere conjecture. But my object was only to
point out the uncertainty of the evidence which Mr. Pengelly has adduced
in support of a theory which would completely revolutionize our received
views as to the early history of language and the migrations of the Aryan
race. At first sight the argument used by Mr. Pengelly seems unanswerable.
Here is St. Michael’s Mount, which, according to geological evidence, may
formerly have been part of the mainland. Here is an old Cornish name for
St. Michael’s Mount, which means “the gray rock in the wood.” Such a name,
it might well be argued, could not have been given to the island after it
had ceased to be a gray rock in the wood; therefore it must have been
given previous to the date which geological chronology fixes for the
insulation of St. Michael’s Mount. That date varies from 16,000 to 20,000
years ago. And as the name is Cornish, it follows that Cornish-speaking
people must have lived in Cornwall at that early geological period.

Nothing, as I said, could sound more plausible; but before we yield to the
argument, we must surely ask, Is there no other way of explaining the
names _Cara cowz in clowze_ and _Cara clowse in cowze_? And here we find—

(1.) That the legend of the dense forest by which the Mount was believed
to have been surrounded existed, so far as we know, before the earliest
occurrence of the Cornish name, and that it owes its origin entirely to a
mistake which can be accounted for by documentary evidence. A legend told
of Mont St. Michel had been transferred _ipsissimis verbis_ to St.
Michael’s Mount, and the monks of that priory repeated the story which
they found in their chronicle to all who came to visit their establishment
in Cornwall. They told the name, among others, to William of Worcester,
and to prevent any incredulity on his part, they gave him chapter and
verse from their chronicle, which he carefully jotted down in his
diary.(96)

(2.) We find that when the Cornish name first occurs, it lends itself, in
one form, to a very natural interpretation, which does not give the
meaning of “Hore rock in the wodd,” but shows the name _Cara cowz in
clowze_ to have been a literal rendering of the Latin name “Mons in
tumba,” originally the name of Mont St. Michel, but at an early date
applied in charters to St. Michael’s Mount.

(3.) We find that the second form of the Cornish name, namely, _cara
clowse in cowze_, may either be a merely metamorphic corruption of _cara
cowz in clowze_, readily suggested and supported by the new meaning which
it yielded of “gray rock in the wood;” or, even if we accept it as an
original name, that it would be no more than a name framed by the
Cornish-speaking monks of the Mount, in order to embody the same spurious
tradition which had given rise to the name of “Hore rock in the wodd.”

I need hardly add that in thus arguing against Mr. Pengelly’s conclusions,
I do not venture to touch his geological arguments. St. Michael’s Mount
may have been united with the mainland; it may, for all we know, have been
surrounded by a dense forest; and it may be perfectly possible
geologically to fix the date when that forest was destroyed, and the Mount
severed, so far as it is severed, from the Cornish coast. All I protest
against is that any one of these facts could be proved, or even supported,
by the Cornish name of the Mount, whether _cara cowz in clowze_, or _cara
clowse in cowze_, or by the English name, communicated by William of
Worcester, “the Hore rock in the wodd,” or finally by the legend which
gave rise to these names, and which, as can be proved by irrefragable
evidence, was transplanted by mistake from the Norman to the Cornish
coast. The only question which, in conclusion, I should like to address to
geologists, is this: As geologists are obliged to leave it doubtful
whether the insulation of St. Michael’s Mount was due to the washing of
the sea-shore, or to a general subsidence of the country, may it not have
been due to neither of these causes, and may not the Mount have always
been that kind of half-island which it certainly was two thousand years
ago?

1867.



XVI. BUNSEN.(97)


Ours is, no doubt, a forgetful age. Every day brings new events rushing in
upon us from all parts of the world; and the hours of real rest, when we
might ponder over the past, recall pleasant days, gaze again on the faces
of those who are no more, are few indeed. Men and women disappear from
this busy stage, and though for a time they had been the radiating centres
of social, political, or literary life, their places are soon taken by
others,—“the place thereof shall know them no more.” Few only appear again
after a time, claiming once more our attention through the memoirs of
their lives, and then either flitting away forever among the shades of the
departed, or assuming afresh a power of life, a place in history, and an
influence on the future often more powerful even than that which they
exercised on the world while living in it. To call the great and good thus
back from the grave is no easy task; it requires not only the power of a
_vates sacer_, but the heart of a loving friend. Few men live great and
good lives; still fewer can write them; nay, often, when they have been
lived and have been written, the world passes by unheeding, as crowds will
pass without a glance by the portraits of a Titian or a Van Dyke. Now and
then, however, a biography takes root, and then acts, as a lesson, as no
other lesson can act. Such biographies have all the importance of an _Ecce
Homo_, showing to the world what man can be, and permanently raising the
ideal of human life. It was so in England with the life of Dr. Arnold; it
was so more lately with the life of Prince Albert; it will be the same
with the life of Bunsen.

It seems but yesterday that Bunsen left England; yet it was in 1854 that
his house in Carlton Terrace ceased to be the refreshing oasis in London
life which many still remember, and that the powerful, thoughtful,
beautiful, loving face of the Prussian Ambassador was seen for the last
time in London society. Bunsen then retired from public life, and after
spending six more years in literary work, struggling with death, yet
reveling in life, he died at Bonn on the 28th of November, 1860. His widow
has devoted the years of her solitude to the noble work of collecting the
materials for a biography of her husband; and we have now in two large
volumes all that could be collected, or, at least, all that could be
conveniently published, of the sayings and doings of Bunsen, the scholar,
the statesman, and, above all, the philosopher and the Christian.
Throughout the two volumes the outward events are sketched by the hand of
the Baroness Bunsen; but there runs, as between wooded hills, the main
stream of Bunsen’s mind, the outpourings of his heart, which were given so
freely and fully in his letters to his friends. When such materials exist,
there can be no more satisfactory kind of biography than that of
introducing the man himself, speaking unreservedly to his most intimate
friends on the great events of his life. This is an autobiography, in
fact, free from all drawbacks. Here and there that process, it is true,
entails a greater fullness of detail than is acceptable to ordinary
readers, however highly Bunsen’s own friends may value every line of his
familiar letters. But general readers may easily pass over letters
addressed to different persons, or treating of subjects less interesting
to themselves, without losing the thread of the story of the whole life;
while it is sometimes of great interest to see the same subject discussed
by Bunsen in letters addressed to different people. One serious difficulty
in these letters is that they are nearly all translations from the German,
and in the process of translation some of the original charm is inevitably
lost. The translations are very faithful, and they do not sacrifice the
peculiar turn of German thought to the requirements of strictly idiomatic
English. Even the narrative itself betrays occasionally the German
atmosphere in which it was written, but the whole book brings back all the
more vividly to those who knew Bunsen the language and the very
expressions of his English conversation. The two volumes are too bulky,
and one’s arms ache while holding them; yet one is loth to put them down,
and there will be few readers who do not regret that more could not have
been told us of Bunsen’s life.

All really great and honest men may be said to live three lives: there is
one life which is seen and accepted by the world at large, a man’s outward
life; there is a second life which is seen by a man’s most intimate
friends, his household life; and there is a third life, seen only by the
man himself and by Him who searcheth the heart, which maybe called the
inner or heavenly life. Most biographers are and must be satisfied with
giving the two former aspects of their hero’s life,—the version of the
world, and that of his friends. Both are important, both contain some
truth, though neither of them the whole truth. But there is a third life,
a life led in communion with God, a life of aspiration rather than of
fulfillment,—that life which we see, for instance, in St. Paul, when he
says, “The good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not,
that I do.” It is but seldom that we catch a glimpse of those deep springs
of human character which cannot rise to the surface even in the most
confidential intercourse, which in every-day life are hidden from a man’s
own sight, but which break forth when he is alone with his God in secret
prayer,—aye, in prayers without words. Here lies the charm of Bunsen’s
life. Not only do we see the man, the father, the husband, the brother,
that stands behind the ambassador, but we see behind the man his angel
beholding the face of his Father which is in heaven. His prayers, poured
forth in the critical moments of his life, have been preserved to us, and
they show us what the world ought to know, that our greatest men can also
be our best men, and that freedom of thought is not incompatible with
sincere religion. Those who knew Bunsen well, know how that deep,
religious undercurrent of his soul was constantly bubbling up and breaking
forth in his conversations, startling even the mere worldling by an
earnestness that frightened away every smile. It was said of him that he
could drive out devils, and he certainly could, with his solemn, yet
loving voice, soften hearts that would yield to no other appeal, and see
with one look through that mask which man wears but too often in the
masquerade of the world. Hence his numerous and enduring friendships, of
which these volumes contain so many sacred relics. Hence that confidence
reposed in him by men and women who had once been brought in contact with
him. To those who can see with their eyes only, and not with their hearts,
it may seem strange that Sir Robert Peel, shortly before his death, should
have uttered the name of Bunsen. To those who know that England once had
prime ministers who were found praying on their knees before they
delivered their greatest speeches, Sir Robert Peel’s recollection, or, it
may be, desire of Bunsen in the last moments of his life has nothing
strange. Bunsen’s life was no ordinary life, and the memoirs of that life
are more than an ordinary book. That book will tell in England and in
Germany far more than in the Middle Ages the life of a new saint; nor are
there many saints whose real life, if sifted as the life of Bunsen has
been, would bear comparison with that noble character of the nineteenth
century.

Bunsen was born in 1791 at Corbach, a small town in the small principality
of Waldeck. His father was poor, but a man of independent spirit, of moral
rectitude, and of deep religious convictions. Bunsen, the son of his old
age, distinguished himself at school, and was sent to the University of
Marburg at the age of seventeen. All he had then to depend on was an
exhibition of about £7 a year, and a sum of £15, which his father had
saved for him to start him in life. This may seem a small sum; but if we
want to know how much of paternal love and self-denial it represented, we
ought to read an entry in his father’s diary: “Account of cash receipts by
God’s mercy obtained for transcribing law documents between 1793 and
1814,—sum total 3,020 thalers 23 groschen,” that is to say, about £22 per
annum. Did any English Duke ever give his son a more generous
allowance,—more than two-thirds of his own annual income? Bunsen began by
studying divinity, and actually preached a sermon at Marburg, in the
Church of St. Elizabeth. Students in divinity are required in Germany to
preach sermons as part of their regular theological training, and before
they are actually ordained. Marburg was not then a very efficient
university, and, not finding there what he wanted, Bunsen after a year
went to Göttingen, chiefly attracted by the fame of Heyne. He soon devoted
himself entirely to classical studies: and in order to support
himself,—for £7 per annum will not support even a German student,—he
accepted the appointment of assistant teacher of Greek and Hebrew at the
Göttingen gymnasium, and also became private tutor to a young American,
Mr. Astor, the son of the rich American merchant. He was thus learning and
teaching at the same time, and he acquired by his daily intercourse with
his pupil a practical knowledge of the English language. While at
Göttingen he carried off, in 1812, a prize for an essay on “The Athenian
Law of Inheritance,” which attracted more than usual attention, and may,
in fact, be looked upon as one of the first attempts at Comparative
Jurisprudence. In 1713 he writes from Göttingen:—


    “Poor and lonely did I arrive in this place. Heyne received me,
    guided me, bore with me, encouraged me, showed me in himself the
    example of a high and noble energy and indefatigable activity in a
    calling which was not that to which his merit entitled him; he
    might have superintended and administered and maintained an entire
    kingdom.”


The following passage from the same letter deserves to be quoted as coming
from the pen of a young man of twenty-two:—


    “Learning annihilates itself, and the most perfect is the first
    submerged; for the next age scales with ease the height which cost
    the preceding the full vigor of life.”


After leaving the university Bunsen travelled in Germany with young Astor,
and made the acquaintance of Frederic Schlegel at Vienna, of Jacobi,
Schelling, and Thiersch at Munich. He was all that time continuing his own
philological studies, and we see him at Munich attending lectures on
Criminal Law, and making his first beginning in the study of Persian. When
on the point of starting for Paris with his American pupil, the news of
the glorious battle of Leipzig (October, 1813) disturbed their plans, and
he resolved to settle again at Göttingen till peace should have been
concluded. Here, while superintending the studies of Mr. Astor, he plunged
into reading of the most varied character. He writes (p. 51):—


    “I remain firm, and strive after my earliest purpose in life, more
    felt, perhaps, than already discerned,—namely, to bring over into
    my own knowledge and into my own Fatherland the language and the
    spirit of the solemn and distant East. I would for the
    accomplishment of this object even quit Europe, in order to draw
    out of the ancient well that which I find not elsewhere.”


This is the first indication of an important element in Bunsen’s early
life, his longing for the East, and his all but prophetic anticipation of
the great results which a study of the ancient language of India would one
day yield, and the light it would shed on the darkest pages in the ancient
history of Greece, Italy, and Germany. The study of the Athenian law of
inheritance seems first to have drawn his attention to the ancient codes
of Indian law, and he was deeply impressed by the discovery that the
peculiar system of inheritance which in Greece existed only in the
petrified form of a primitive custom, sanctioned by law, disclosed in the
laws of Manu its original purport and natural meaning. This one spark
excited in Bunsen’s mind that constant yearning after a knowledge of
Eastern and more particularly of Indian literature which very nearly drove
him to India in the same adventurous spirit as Anquetil Duperron and Czoma
de Körös. We are now familiar with the great results that have been
obtained by a study of the ancient languages and religion of the East; but
in 1813 neither Bopp nor Grimm had begun to publish, and Frederic Schlegel
was the only one who in his little pamphlet, “On the Language and the
Wisdom of the Indians” (1808), had ventured to assert a real intellectual
relationship between Europe and India. One of Bunsen’s earliest friends,
Wolrad Schumacher, related that even at school Bunsen’s mind was turned
towards India. “Sometimes he would let fall a word about India which was
unaccountable to me, as at that time I connected only a geographical
conception with that name” (p. 17).

While thus engaged in his studies at Göttingen, and working in company
with such friends as Brandis, the historian of Greek philosophy; Lachmann,
the editor of the New Testament; Lücke, the theologian; Ernst Schulze, the
poet, and others,—Bunsen felt the influence of the great events that
brought about the regeneration of Germany; nor was he the man to stand
aloof, absorbed in literary work, while others were busy doing mischief
difficult to remedy. The princes of Germany and their friends, though
grateful to the people for having at last shaken off with fearful
sacrifices the foreign yoke of Napoleon, were most anxious to maintain for
their own benefit that convenient system of police government which for so
long had kept the whole of Germany under French control. “It is but too
certain,” Bunsen writes, “that either for want of good-will or of
intelligence our sovereigns will not grant us freedom such as we
deserve.... And I fear that, as before, the much-enduring German will
become an object of contempt to all nations who know how to value national
spirit.” His first political essays belong to that period. Up to August,
1814, Bunsen continued to act as private tutor to Mr. Astor, though we see
him at the same time, with his insatiable thirst after knowledge,
attending courses of lectures on astronomy, mineralogy, and other subjects
apparently so foreign to the main current of his mind. When Mr. Astor left
him to return to America, Bunsen went to Holland to see a sister to whom
he was deeply attached, and who seems to have shared with him the same
religious convictions which in youth, manhood, and old age formed the
foundation of Bunsen’s life. Some of Bunsen’s detractors have accused him
of professing Christian piety in circles where such professions were sure
to be well received. Let them read now the annals of his early life, and
they will find to their shame how boldly the same Bunsen professed his
religious convictions among the students and professors of Göttingen, who
either scoffed at Christianity or only tolerated it as a kind of harmless
superstition. We shall only quote one instance:—


    “Bunsen, when a young student at Göttingen, once suddenly quitted
    a lecture in indignation at the unworthy manner in which the most
    sacred subjects were treated by one of the professors. The
    professor paused at the interruption, and hazarded the remark that
    ‘some one belonging to the Old Testament had possibly slipped in
    unrecognized.’ That called forth a burst of laughter from the
    entire audience, all being as well aware as the lecturer himself
    who it was that had mortified him.”


During his stay in Holland, Bunsen not only studied the language and
literature of that country, but his mind was also much occupied in
observing the national and religious character of this small but
interesting branch of the Teutonic race. He writes:—


    “In all things the German, or, if you will, the Teutonic character
    is worked out into form in a manner more decidedly national than
    anywhere else.... This journey has yet more confirmed my decision
    to become acquainted with the entire Germanic race, and then to
    proceed with the development of my governing ideas (_i.e._ the
    study of Eastern languages in elucidation of Western thought). For
    this purpose I am about to travel with Brandis to Copenhagen to
    learn Danish, and, above all, Icelandic.”


And so he did. The young student, as yet without any prospects in life,
threw up his position at Göttingen, declined to waste his energies as a
schoolmaster, and started, we hardly know how, on his journey to Denmark.
There, in company with Brandis, he lived and worked hard at Danish, and
then attacked the study of the ancient Icelandic language and literature
with a fervor and with a purpose that shrank from no difficulty. He writes
(p. 79):—


    “The object of my research requires the acquisition of the whole
    treasures of language, in order to complete my favorite linguistic
    theories, and to inquire into the poetry and religious conceptions
    of German-Scandinavian heathenism, and their historical connection
    with the East.”


When his work in Denmark was finished, and when he had collected
materials, some of which, as his copy taken of the “Völuspa,” a poem of
the Edda, were not published till forty years later, he started with
Brandis for Berlin. “Prussia,” he writes on the 10th of October, 1815, “is
_the true_ Germany.” Thither he felt drawn, as well as Brandis, and
thither he invited his friends, though, it must be confessed, without
suggesting to them any settled plan of how to earn their daily bread. He
writes as if he was even then at the head of affairs in Berlin, though he
was only the friend of a friend of Niebuhr’s, Niebuhr himself being by no
means all powerful in Prussia, even in 1815. This hopefulness was a trait
in Bunsen’s character that remained through life. A plan was no sooner
suggested to him and approved by him than he took it for granted that all
obstacles must vanish, and many a time did all obstacles vanish, before
the joyous confidence of that magician, a fact that should be remembered
by those who used to blame him as sanguine and visionary. One of his
friends, Lücke, writes to Ernst Schulze, the poet, whom Bunsen had invited
to Denmark, and afterwards to Berlin:—


    “In the inclosed richly filled letter you will recognize Bunsen’s
    power and splendor of mind, and you will also not fail to perceive
    his thoughtlessness in making projects. He and Brandis are a pair
    of most amiable speculators, full of affection; but one must meet
    them with the _ne quid nimis_.”


However, Bunsen in his flight was not to be scared by any warning or
checked by calculating the chances of success or failure. With Brandis he
went to Berlin, spent the glorious winter from 1815 to 1816 in the society
of men like Niebuhr and Schleiermacher, and became more and more
determined in his own plan of life, which was to study Oriental languages
in Paris, London, or Calcutta, and then to settle at Berlin as Professor
of Universal History. A full statement of his literary labors, both for
the past and for the future, was drawn up by him, to be submitted to
Niebuhr, and it will be read even now with interest by those who knew
Bunsen when he tried to take up after forty years the threads that had
slipped from his hand at the age of four-and-twenty.

Instead of being sent to study at Paris and London by the Prussian
government, as he seems to have wished, he was suddenly called to Paris by
his old pupil, Mr. Astor, who, after two years’ absence, had returned to
Europe, and was anxious to renew his relations with Bunsen. Bunsen’s
object in accepting Astor’s invitation to Paris was to study Persian; and
great was his disappointment when, on arriving there, Mr. Astor wished him
at once to start for Italy. This was too much for Bunsen, to be turned
back just as he was going to quench his thirst for Oriental literature in
the lectures of Sylvestre de Sacy. A compromise was effected. Bunsen
remained for three months in Paris, and promised then to join his friend
and pupil in Italy. How he worked at Persian and Arabic during the
interval must be read in his own letters:—


    “I write from six in the morning till four in the afternoon, only
    in the course of that time having a walk in the garden of the
    Luxembourg, where I also often study; from four to six I dine and
    walk; from six to seven sleep; from seven to eleven work again. I
    have overtaken in study some of the French students who had begun
    a year ago. God be thanked for this help! Before I go to bed I
    read a chapter in the New Testament, in the morning on rising one
    in the Old Testament; yesterday I began the Psalms from the
    first.”


As soon as he felt that he could continue his study of Persian without the
aid of a master, he left Paris. Though immersed in work, he had made
several acquaintances, among others that of Alexander von Humboldt, “who
intends in a few years to visit Asia, where I may hope to meet him. He has
been beyond measure kind to me, and from him I shall receive the best
recommendations for Italy and England, as well as from his brother, now
Prussian Minister in London. Lastly, the winter in Rome may become to me,
by the presence of Niebuhr, more instructive and fruitful than in any
other place. Thus has God ordained all things for me for the best,
according to His will, not mine, and far better than I deserve.”

These were the feelings with which the young scholar, then twenty-four
years of age, started for Italy, as yet without any position, without
having published a single work, without knowing, as we may suppose, where
to rest his head. And yet he was full, not only of hope, but of gratitude,
and he little dreamt that before seven years had passed he would be in
Niebuhr’s place; and before twenty-five years had passed in the place of
William von Humboldt, the Prussian Ambassador at the Court of St. James.

The immediate future, in fact, had some severe disappointments in store
for him. When he arrived at Florence to meet Mr. Astor, the young American
had received peremptory orders to return to New York; and as Bunsen
declined to follow him, he found himself really stranded at Florence, and
all his plans thoroughly upset. Yet, though at that very time full of care
and anxiety about his nearest relations, who looked to him for support
when he could hardly support himself, his God-trusting spirit did not
break down. He remained at Florence, continuing his Persian studies, and
making a living by private tuition. A Mr. Cathcart seems to have been his
favorite pupil, and through him new prospects of eventually proceeding to
India seemed to open. But, at the same time, Bunsen began to feel that the
circumstances of his life became critical. “I feel,” he says, “that I am
on the point of securing or losing the fruit of my labors for life.” Rome
and Niebuhr seemed the only haven in sight, and thither Bunsen now began
to steer his frail bark. He arrived in Rome on the 14th of November, 1816.
Niebuhr, who was Prussian Minister, received him with great kindness, and
entered heartily into the literary plans of his young friend. Brandis,
Niebuhr’s secretary, renewed in common with his old friend his study of
Greek philosophy. A native teacher of Arabic was engaged to help Bunsen in
his Oriental studies. The necessary supplies seem to have come partly from
Mr. Astor, partly from private lessons for which Bunsen had to make time
in the midst of his varied occupations. Plato, Firdusi, the Koran, Dante,
Isaiah, the Edda, are mentioned by himself as his daily study.

From an English point of view that young man at Rome, without a status,
without a settled prospect in life, would have seemed an amiable dreamer,
destined to wake suddenly, and not very pleasantly, to the stern realities
of life. If anything seemed unlikely, it was that an English gentleman, a
man of good birth and of independent fortune, should give his daughter to
this poor young German at Rome. Yet this was the very thing which a kind
Providence, that Providence in which Bunsen trusted amid all his troubles
and difficulties, brought to pass. Bunsen became acquainted with Mr.
Waddington, and was allowed to read German with his daughters. In the most
honorable manner he broke off his visits when he became aware of his
feelings for Miss Waddington. He writes to his sister:—


    “Having, at first, believed myself quite safe (the more so as I
    cannot think of marrying without impairing my whole scheme of
    mental development, and, least of all, could I think of pretending
    to a girl of fortune), I thought there was no danger.”


A little later he writes to Mrs. Waddington to explain to her the reason
for his discontinuing his visits. But the mother—and, to judge from her
letters, a high-minded mother she must have been—accepted Bunsen on trust;
he was allowed to return to the house, and on the 1st of July, 1817, the
young German student, then twenty-five years of age, was married at Rome
to Miss Waddington. What a truly important event this was for Bunsen, even
those who had not the privilege of knowing the partner of his life may
learn from the work before us. Though little is said in these memoirs of
his wife, the mother of his children, the partner of his joys and sorrows,
it is easy to see how Bunsen’s whole mode of life became possible only by
the unceasing devotion of an ardent soul and a clear head consecrated to
one object,—to love and to cherish, for better for worse, for richer for
poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us do part,—aye, and even
after death! With such a wife, the soul of Bunsen could soar on its wings,
the small cares of life were removed, an independence was secured, and,
though the Indian plans had to be surrendered, the highest ambition of
Bunsen’s life, a professorship in a German university, seemed now easy of
attainment. We should have liked a few more pages describing the joyous
life of the young couple in the heyday of their life; we could have wished
that he had not declined the wish of his mother-in-law, to have his bust
made by Thorwaldsen, at a time when he must have been a model of manly
beauty. But if we know less than we could wish of what Bunsen then was in
the eyes of the world, we are allowed an insight into that heavenly life
which underlay all the outward happiness of that time, and which shows him
to us as but one eye could then have seen him. A few weeks after his
marriage he writes in his journal:—


    “Eternal, omnipresent God! enlighten me with thy Holy Spirit, and
    fill me with thy heavenly light! What in childhood I felt and
    yearned after, what throughout the years of youth grew clearer and
    clearer before my soul, I will now venture to hold fast, to
    examine, to represent the revelation of Thee in man’s energies and
    efforts: thy firm path through the stream of ages I long to trace
    and recognize, as far as may be permitted to me even in this body
    of earth. The song of praise to Thee from the whole of humanity,
    in times far and near,—the pains and lamentations of men, and
    their consolations in Thee,—I wish to take in, clear and
    unhindered. Do Thou send me thy Spirit of Truth, that I may behold
    things earthly as they are, without veil and without mask, without
    human trappings and empty adornment, and that in the silent peace
    of truth I may feel and recognize Thee. Let me not falter, nor
    slide away from the great end of knowing Thee. Let not the joys,
    or honors, or vanities of the world enfeeble and darken my spirit;
    let me ever feel that I can only perceive and know Thee in so far
    as mine is a living soul, and lives, and moves, and has its being
    in Thee.”


Here we see Bunsen as the world did not see him, and we may observe how
then, as ever, his literary work was to him hallowed by the objects for
which it was intended. “The firm path of God through the stream of ages”
is but another title for one of his last works, “God in History,” planned
with such youthful ardor, and finished under the lengthening shadow of
death.

The happiness of Bunsen’s life at Rome may easily be imagined. Though
anxious to begin his work at a German university, he stipulated for three
more years of freedom and preparation. Who could have made the sacrifice
of the bright spring of life, of the unclouded days of happiness at Rome
with wife and children, and with such friends as Niebuhr and Brandis? Yet
this stay at Rome was fraught with fatal consequences. It led the straight
current of Bunsen’s life, which lay so clear before him, into a new bed,
at first very tempting, for a time smooth and sunny, but alas! ending in
waste of energy for which no outward splendor could atone. The first false
step seemed very natural and harmless. When Brandis went to Germany to
begin his professorial work, Bunsen took his place as Niebuhr’s secretary
at Rome. He was determined, then, that nothing should induce him to remain
in the diplomatic career (p. 130), but the current of that mill-stream was
too strong even for Bunsen. How he remained as Secretary of Legation,
1818; how the King of Prussia, Frederick William III., came to visit Rome,
and took a fancy to the young diplomatist, who could speak to him with a
modesty and frankness little known at courts; how, when Niebuhr exchanged
his embassy for a professorial chair at Bonn, Bunsen remained as Chargé
d’Affaires; how he went to Berlin, 1827-28, and gained the hearts of the
old King and of everybody else; how he returned to Rome and was fascinated
by the young Crown Prince of Prussia, afterwards Frederick William IV.,
whom he had to conduct through the antiquities and the modern life of the
world city; how he became Prussian Minister, the friend of popes and
cardinals, the centre of the best and most brilliant society; how, when
the difficulties began between Prussia and the Papal government, chiefly
with regard to mixed marriages, Bunsen tried to mediate, and was at last
disowned by both parties in 1838,—all this may now be read in the open
memoirs of his life. His letters during these twenty years are numerous
and full, particularly those addressed to his sister, to whom he was
deeply attached. They are the most touching and elevating record of a life
spent in important official business, in interesting social intercourse,
in literary and antiquarian researches, in the enjoyment of art and
nature, and in the blessedness of a prosperous family life, and throughout
in an unbroken communion with God. There is hardly a letter without an
expression of that religion in common life, that constant consciousness of
a Divine Presence, which made his life a life in God. To many readers this
free outpouring of a God-loving soul will seem to approach too near to
that abuse of religious phraseology which is a sign of superficial rather
than of deep-seated piety. But, though through life a sworn enemy of every
kind of cant, Bunsen never would surrender the privilege of speaking the
language of a Christian, because that language had been profaned by the
thoughtless repetition of shallow pietists.

Bunsen has frequently been accused of pietism, particularly in Germany, by
men who could not distinguish between pietism and piety, just as in
England he was attacked as a freethinker by men who never knew the freedom
of the children of God. “Christianity is ours, not theirs,” he would
frequently say of those who made religion a mere profession, and imagined
they knew Christ because they held a crosier and wore a mitre. We can now
watch the deep emotions and firm convictions of that true-hearted man, in
letters of undoubted sincerity, addressed to his sister and his friends,
and we can only wonder with what feelings they have been perused by those
who in England questioned his Christianity or who in Germany suspected his
honesty.

From the time of his first meeting with the King of Prussia at Rome, and
still more, after his stay at Berlin in 1827, Bunsen’s chief interest with
regard to Prussia centred in ecclesiastical matters. The King, after
effecting the union of the Lutheran and Calvinistic branches of the
Protestant Church, was deeply interested in drawing up a new Liturgy for
his own national, or, as it was called, Evangelical Church. The
introduction of his Liturgy, or _Agenda_, particularly as it was carried
out, like everything else in Prussia, by royal decree, met with
considerable resistance. Bunsen, who had been led independently to the
study of ancient liturgies, and who had devoted much of his time at Rome
to the collection of ancient hymns and hymn tunes, could speak to the King
on these favorite topics from the fullness of his heart. The King listened
to him, even when Bunsen ventured to express his dissent from some of the
royal proposals, and when he, the young attaché, deprecated any
authoritative interference with the freedom of the Church. In Prussia the
whole movement was unpopular, and Bunsen, though he worked hard to render
it less so, was held responsible for much which he himself had
disapproved. Of all these turbulent transactions there remains but one
bright and precious relic, Bunsen’s “Hymn and Prayer Book.”

The Prussian Legation on the Capitol was during Bunsen’s day not only the
meeting-place of all distinguished Germans, but, in the absence of an
English embassy, it also became the recognized centre of the most
interesting portion of English society at Rome. Among the Germans, whose
presence told on Bunsen’s life, either by a continued friendship or by
common interests and pursuits, we meet the names of Ludwig, King of
Bavaria; Baron von Stein, the great Prussian statesman; Radowitz, the less
fortunate predecessor of Bismarck; Schnorr, Overbeck, and Mendelssohn.
Among Englishmen, whose friendship with Bunsen dates from the Capitol, we
find Thirlwall, Philip Pusey, Arnold, and Julius Hare. The names of
Thorwaldsen, too, of Leopardi, Lord Hastings, Champollion, Sir Walter
Scott, Chateaubriand, occur again and again in the memoirs of that Roman
life which teems with interesting events and anecdotes. The only literary
productions of that eventful period are Bunsen’s part in Platner’s
“Description of Rome,” and the “Hymn and Prayer Book.” But much material
for later publications had been amassed in the mean time. The study of the
Old Testament had been prosecuted at all times, and in 1824 the first
beginning was made by Bunsen in the study of hieroglyphics, afterwards
continued with Champollion, and later with Lepsius. The Archæological
Institute and the German Hospital, both on the Capitol, were the two
permanent bequests that Bunsen left behind when he shook off the dust of
his feet, and left Rome on the 29th of April, 1838, in search of a new
Capitol.

At Berlin, Bunsen was then in disgrace. He had not actually been dismissed
the service, but he was prohibited from going to Berlin to justify
himself, and he was ordered to proceed to England on leave of absence. To
England, therefore, Bunsen now directed his steps with his wife and
children, and there, at least, he was certain of a warm welcome, both from
his wife’s relations and from his own very numerous friends. When we read
through the letters of that period, we hardly miss the name of a single
man illustrious at that time in England. As if to make up for the
injustice done to him in Italy, and for the ingratitude of his country,
people of all classes and of the most opposite views vied in doing him
honor. Rest he certainly found none, while travelling about from one town
to another, and staying at friends’ houses, attending meetings, making
speeches, writing articles, and, as usual, amassing new information
wherever he could find it. He worked at Egyptian with Lepsius; at Welsh
while staying with Lady Hall; at Ethnology with Dr. Prichard. He had to
draw up two state papers,—one on the Papal aggression, the other on the
law of divorce. He plunged, of course, at once into all the ecclesiastical
and theological questions that were then agitating people’s minds in
England, and devoted his few really quiet hours to the preparation of his
own “Life of Christ.” With Lord Ashley he attended Bible meetings, with
Mrs. Fry he explored the prisons, with Philip Pusey he attended
agricultural assemblies, and he spent night after night as an admiring
listener in the House of Commons. He was presented to the Queen and the
Duke of Wellington, was made a D.C.L. at Oxford, discussed the future with
J. H. Newman, the past with Buckland, Sedgwick, and Whewell. Lord
Palmerston and Lord John Russell invited him to political conferences;
Maurice and Keble listened to his fervent addresses; Dr. Arnold consulted
the friend of Niebuhr on his own “History of Rome,” and tried to convert
him to more liberal opinions with regard to Church reform. Dr. Holland,
Mrs. Austin, Ruskin, Carlyle, Macaulay, Gaisford, Dr. Hawkins, and many
more, all greeted him, all tried to do him honor, and many of them became
attached to him for life. The architectural monuments of England, its
castles, parks, and ruins, passed quickly through his field of vision
during that short stay. But he soon calls out: “I care not now for all the
ruins of England; it is her life that I like.”

Most touching is his admiration, his real love of Gladstone. Thirty years
have since passed, and the world at large has found out by this time what
England possesses in him. But it was not so in 1838, and few men at that
early time could have read Gladstone’s heart and mind so truly as Bunsen.
Here are a few of his remarks:—


    “Last night, when I came home from the Duke, Gladstone’s book was
    on my table, the second edition having come out at seven o’clock.
    It is the book of the time, a great event,—the first book since
    Burke that goes to the bottom of the vital question; far above his
    party and his time. I sat up till after midnight; and this morning
    I continued until I had read the whole, and almost every sheet
    bears my marginal glosses, destined for the Prince, to whom I have
    sent the book with all dispatch. Gladstone is the first man in
    England as to intellectual powers, and he has heard higher tones
    than any one else in this island.”


And again (p. 493):—


    “Gladstone is by far the first living intellectual power on that
    side. He has left his schoolmasters far behind him, but we must
    not wonder if he still walks in their trammels; his genius will
    soon free itself entirely, and fly towards heaven with its own
    wings.... I wonder Gladstone should not have the feeling of moving
    on an _inclined plane_, or that of sitting down among ruins, as if
    he were settled in a well-stored house.”


Of Newman, whom he had met at Oxford, Bunsen says:—


    “This morning I have had two hours at breakfast with Newman. O! it
    is sad,—he and his friends are truly intellectual people, but they
    have lost their ground, going exactly _my way_, but stopping short
    in the middle. It is too late. There has been an amicable change
    of ideas and a Christian understanding. Yesterday he preached a
    beautiful sermon. A new period of life begins for me; may God’s
    blessing be upon it!”


Oxford made a deep impression on Bunsen’s mind. He writes:—


    “I am luxuriating in the delights of Oxford. There has never been
    enough said of this queen of all cities.”


But what as a German he admired and envied most was, after all, the House
of Commons:—


    “I wish you could form an idea of what I felt. I saw for the first
    time _man_, the member of a true Germanic State, in his highest,
    his proper place, defending the highest interests of humanity with
    the wonderful power of speech-wrestling, but with the arm of the
    spirit, boldly grasping at or tenaciously holding fast power, in
    the presence of his fellow-citizens, submitting to the public
    conscience the judgment of his cause and of his own uprightness. I
    saw before me the empire of the world governed, and the rest of
    the world controlled and judged, by this assembly. I had the
    feeling that, had I been born in England, I would rather be dead
    than not sit among and speak among them. I thought of my own
    country, and was thankful that I _could_ thank God for being a
    German and being myself. But I felt, also, that we are all
    children on this field in comparison with the English; how much
    they, with their discipline of mind, body, and heart, can effect
    even with but moderate genius, and even with talent alone! I drank
    in every word from the lips of the speakers, even those I
    disliked.”


More than a year was thus spent in England in the very fullness of life.
“My stay in England in 1838-39,” he writes at a later time, the 22d of
September, 1841, “was the poetry of my existence as a man; this is the
prose of it. There was a dew upon those fifteen months, which the sun has
dried up, and which nothing can restore.” Yet even then Bunsen could not
have been free from anxieties for the future. He had a large family
growing up, and he was now again, at the age of forty-seven, without any
definite prospects in life. In spite, however, of the intrigues of his
enemies, the personal feelings of the King and the Crown Prince prevailed
at last; and he was appointed in July, 1839, as Prussian Minister in
Switzerland, his secret and confidential instructions being “to do
nothing.” These instructions were carefully observed by Bunsen, as far as
politics were concerned. He passed two years of rest at the Hubel, near
Berne, with his family, devoted to his books, receiving visits from his
friends, and watching from a distance the coming events in Prussia.

In 1840 the old King died, and it was generally expected that Bunsen would
at once receive an influential position at Berlin. Not till April, 1841,
however, was he summoned to the court, although, to judge from the
correspondence between him and the new King, Frederick William IV., few
men could have enjoyed a larger share of royal confidence and love than
Bunsen. The King was hungering and thirsting after Bunsen, yet Bunsen was
not invited to Berlin. The fact is that the young King had many friends,
and those friends were not the friends of Bunsen. They were satisfied with
his honorary exile in Switzerland, and thought him best employed at a
distance in doing nothing. The King too, who knew Bunsen’s character from
former years, must have known that Berlin was not large enough for him;
and he therefore left him in his Swiss retirement till an employment
worthy of him could be found. This was to go on a special mission to
England with a view of establishing, in common with the Church of England,
a Protestant bishopric at Jerusalem. In Jerusalem the King hoped that the
two principal Protestant churches of Europe would, across the grave of the
Redeemer, reach to each other the right hand of fellowship. Bunsen entered
into this plan with all the energy of his mind and heart. It was a work
thoroughly congenial to himself; and if it required diplomatic skill,
certainly no one could have achieved it more expeditiously and
successfully than Bunsen. He was then a _persona grata_ with bishops and
archbishops, and Lord Ashley—not yet Lord Shaftesbury—gave him all the
support his party could command. English influence was then so powerful at
Constantinople that all difficulties due to Turkish bigotry were quickly
removed. At the end of June, 1841, he arrived in London; on the 6th of
August he wrote, “All is settled;” and on the 7th of November the new
Bishop of Jerusalem was consecrated. Seldom was a more important and more
complicated transaction settled in so short a time. Had the discussions
been prolonged, had time been given to the leaders of the Romanizing party
to recover from their surprise, the bill that had to be passed through
both houses would certainly have been defeated. People have hardly yet
understood the real bearing of that measure, nor appreciated the germ
which it may still contain for the future of the Reformed Church. One man
only seems to have seen clearly what a blow this first attempt at a union
between the Protestant churches of England and Germany was to his own
plans, and to the plans of his friends; and we know now, from Newman’s
“Apologia,” that the bishopric of Jerusalem drove him to the Church of
Rome. This may have been for the time a great loss to the Church of
England; it marked, at all events, a great crisis in her history.

In spite, however, of his great and unexpected success, there are traces
of weariness in Bunsen’s letters of that time, which show that he was
longing for more congenial work. “O, how I hate and detest diplomatic
life!” he wrote to his wife; “and how little true intellectuality is there
in the high society here as soon as you cease to speak of English national
subjects and interests; and the eternal hurricanes, whirling, urging,
rushing, in this monster of a town! Even with you and the children life
would become oppressive under the diplomatic burden. I can pray for our
country life, but I cannot pray for a London life, although I dare not
pray against it, _if it must be_.”

Bunsen’s observations of character amidst the distractions of his London
season are very interesting and striking, particularly at this distance of
time. He writes:—


    “Mr. Gladstone has been invited to become one of the trustees of
    the Jerusalem Fund. He is beset with scruples; his heart is with
    us, but his mind is entangled in a narrow system. He awaits
    salvation from another code, and by wholly different ways from
    myself. Yesterday morning I had a letter from him of twenty-four
    pages, to which I replied early this morning by eight.


    “The Bishop of London constantly rises in my estimation. He has
    replied admirably to Mr. Gladstone, closing with the words, ‘My
    dear sir, my intention is not to limit and restrict the Church of
    Christ, but to enlarge it.’ ”


A letter from Sir Robert Peel, too, must here be quoted in full:—


    “WHITEHALL, _October_ 10, 1841.


    “MY DEAR MR. BUNSEN,—My note merely conveyed a request that you
    would be good enough to meet Mr. Cornelius at dinner on Friday
    last.


    “I assure you that I have been amply repaid for any attention I
    may have shown to that distinguished artist, in the personal
    satisfaction I have had in the opportunity of making his
    acquaintance. He is one of a noble people distinguished in every
    art of war and peace. The union and patriotism of that people,
    spread over the centre of Europe, will contribute the surest
    guarantee for the peace of the world, and the most powerful check
    upon the spread of all pernicious doctrines injurious to the cause
    of religion and order, and that liberty which respects the rights
    of others.


    “My earnest hope is that every member of this illustrious race,
    while he may cherish the particular country of his birth as he
    does his home, will extend his devotion beyond its narrow limits,
    and exult in the name of a German, and recognize the claim of
    Germany to the love and affection and patriotic exertions of all
    her sons.


    “I hope I judge the feelings of every German by those which were
    excited in my own breast (in the breast of a foreigner and a
    stranger) by a simple ballad, that seemed, however, to concentrate
    the will of a mighty people, and said emphatically,—


    “They shall not have the Rhine.”


    “_They_ will not have it: and the Rhine will be protected by a
    song, if the sentiments which that song embodies pervade, as I
    hope and trust they do, every German heart.


    “You will begin to think that I am a good German myself, and so I
    am, if hearty wishes for the union and welfare of the German race
    can constitute one.


    “Believe me, most faithfully yours,


    “ROBERT PEEL.”


When Bunsen was on the point of leaving London, he received the unexpected
and unsolicited appointment of Prussian Envoy in England, an appointment
which he could not bring himself to decline, and which again postponed for
twelve years his cherished plans of an _otium cum dignitate_. What the
world at large would have called the most fortunate event in Bunsen’s life
proved indeed a real misfortune. It deprived Bunsen of the last chance of
fully realizing the literary plans of his youth, and it deprived the world
of services that no one could have rendered so well in the cause of
freedom of thought, of practical religion, and in teaching the weighty
lessons of antiquity to the youth of the future. It made him waste his
precious hours in work that any Prussian baron could have done as well, if
not better, and did not set him free until his bodily strength was
undermined, and the joyful temper of his mind saddened by sad experiences.

Nothing could have been more brilliant than the beginning of Bunsen’s
diplomatic career in England. First came the visit of the King of Prussia,
whom the Queen had invited to be godfather to the Prince of Wales. Soon
after the Prince of Prussia came to England under the guidance of Bunsen.
Then followed the return visit of the Queen at Stolzenfels, on the Rhine.
All this, no doubt, took up much of Bunsen’s time, but it gave him also
the pleasantest introduction to the highest society of England; for as
Baroness Bunsen shrewdly remarks, “there is nothing like standing within
the Bude-light of royalty to make one conspicuous, and sharpen perceptions
and recollections.” (II. p. 8.) Bunsen complained, no doubt, now and then,
about excessive official work, yet he seemed on the whole reconciled to
his position, and up to the year 1847 we hear of no attempts to escape
from diplomatic bondage. In a letter to Mrs. Fry he says:—


    “I can assure you I never passed a more quiet and truly
    satisfactory evening in London than the last, in the Queen’s
    house, in the midst of the excitement of the season. I think this
    is a circumstance for which one ought to be thankful; and it has
    much reminded me of hours that I have spent at Berlin and Sans
    Souci with the King and the Queen and the Prince William, and, I
    am thankful to add, with the Princess of Prussia, mother of the
    future King. It is a striking and consoling and instructive proof
    that what is called the world, the great world, is not necessarily
    worldly in itself, but only by that inward worldliness which, as
    rebellion against the spirit, creeps into the cottage as well as
    into the palace, and against which no outward form is any
    protection. Forms and rules may prevent the outbreak of wrong, but
    cannot regenerate right, and may quench the spirit and poison
    inward truth. The Queen gives hours daily to the labor of
    examining into the claims of the numberless petitions addressed to
    her, among other duties to which her time of privacy is devoted.”


The Queen’s name and that of Prince Albert occur often in these memoirs,
and a few of Bunsen’s remarks and observations may be of interest, though
they contain little that can now be new to the readers of the “Life of the
Prince Consort” and of the “Queen’s Journal.”

First, a graphic description, from the hand of Baroness Bunsen, of the
Queen opening Parliament in 1842:—


    “Last, the procession of the Queen’s entry, and herself, looking
    worthy and fit to be the converging point of so many rays of
    grandeur. It is self-evident that she is not tall; but were she
    ever so tall, she could not have more grace and dignity, a head
    better set, a throat more royally and classically arching; and one
    advantage there is in her not being taller, that when she casts a
    glance, it is of necessity upwards and not downwards, and thus the
    effect of the eyes is not thrown away,—the beam and effluence not
    lost. The composure with which she filled the throne, while
    awaiting the Commons, was a test of character,—no fidget and no
    apathy. Then her voice and enunciation could not be more perfect.
    In short, it could not be said that _she did well_, but she _was_
    the Queen,—she was, and felt herself to be, the acknowledged chief
    among grand and national realities.” (Vol. II. p. 10.)


The next is an account of the Queen at Windsor Castle on receiving the
Princess of Prussia, in 1842:—


    “The Queen looked well and _rayonnante_, with that expression that
    she always has when thoroughly pleased with all that occupies her
    mind, which you know I always observe with delight, as fraught
    with that truth and reality which so essentially belong to her
    character, and so strongly distinguish her countenance, in all its
    changes, from the _fixed mask_ only too common in the royal rank
    of society.” (Vol. II. p. 115.)


After having spent some days at Windsor Castle, Bunsen writes in 1846:—


    “The Queen often spoke with me about education, and in particular
    of religious instruction. Her views are very serious, but at the
    same time liberal and comprehensive. She (as well as Prince
    Albert) hates all formalism. The Queen reads a great deal, and has
    done my book on ‘The Church of the Future’ the honor to read it so
    attentively, that the other day, when at Cashiobury, seeing the
    book on the table, she looked out passages which she had approved
    in order to read them aloud to the Queen-Dowager.” (Vol. II. p.
    121.)


And once more:—


    “The Queen is a wife and a mother as happy as the happiest in her
    dominions, and no one can be more careful of her charges. She
    often speaks to me of the great task before her and the Prince in
    the education of the royal children, and particularly of the
    Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal.”


Before the troubles of 1847 and 1848, Bunsen was enabled to spend part of
his time in the country, away from the turmoil of London, and much of his
literary work dates from that time. After his “Church of the Future,” the
discovery of the genuine Epistles of Ignatius by the late Dr. Cureton led
Bunsen back to the study of the earliest literature of the Christian
Church, and the results of these researches were published in his
“Ignatius.” Lepsius’ stay in England and his expedition to Egypt induced
Bunsen to put his own materials in order, and to give to the world his
long-matured views on “The Place of Egypt in Universal History.” The later
volumes of this work led him into philological studies of a more general
character, and at the meeting of the British Association at Oxford, in
1847, he read before the brilliantly attended ethnological section his
paper “On the Results of the recent Egyptian Researches in reference to
Asiatic and African Ethnology, and the Classification of Languages,”
published in the “Transactions” of the Association, and separately under
the title, “Three Linguistic Dissertations, by Chevalier Bunsen, Dr.
Charles Meyer, and Dr. Max Müller.” “Those three days at Oxford,” he
writes, “were a time of great distinction to me, both in my public and
private capacity.” Everything important in literature and art attracted
not only his notice, but his warmest interest; and no one who wanted
encouragement, advice, or help in literary or historical researches,
knocked in vain at Bunsen’s door. His table at breakfast and dinner was
filled by ambassadors and professors, by bishops and missionaries, by
dukes and poor scholars, and his evening parties offered a kind of neutral
ground, where people could meet who could have met nowhere else, and where
English prejudices had no jurisdiction. That Bunsen, holding the position
which he held in society, but still more being what he was apart from his
social position, should have made his presence felt in England, was not to
be wondered at. He would speak out whenever he felt strongly, but he was
the last man to meddle or to intrigue. He had no time even if he had had
taste for it. But there were men in England who could never forgive him
for the Jerusalem bishopric, and who resorted to the usual tactics for
making a man unpopular. A cry was soon raised against his supposed
influence at court, and doubts were thrown out as to his orthodoxy. Every
Liberal bishop that was appointed was said to have been appointed through
Bunsen. Dr. Hampden was declared to have been his nominee,—the fact being
that Bunsen did not even know of him before he had been made a bishop. As
his practical Christianity could not well be questioned, he was accused of
holding heretical opinions, because his chronology differed from that of
Jewish Rabbis and Bishop Usher. It is extraordinary how little Bunsen
himself cared about these attacks, though they caused acute suffering to
his family. He was not surprised that he should be hated by those whose
theological opinions he considered unsound, and whose ecclesiastical
politics he had openly declared to be fraught with danger to the most
sacred interests of the Church. Besides, he was the personal friend of
such men as Arnold, Hare, Thirlwall, Maurice, Stanley, and Jowett. He had
even a kind word to say for Froude’s “Nemesis of Faith.” He could
sympathize, no doubt, with all that was good and honest, whether among the
High Church or Low Church party, and many of his personal friends belonged
to the one as well as to the other; but he could also thunder forth with
no uncertain sound against everything that seemed to him hypocritical,
pharisaical, unchristian. Thus he writes (II. p. 81):—


    “I apprehend having given the ill-disposed a pretext for
    considering me a semi-Pelagian, a contemner of the Sacraments, or
    denier of the Son, a perverter of the doctrine of justification,
    and therefore a crypto-Catholic theosophist, heretic, and
    enthusiast, deserving of all condemnation. I have written it
    because I felt compelled in conscience to do so.”


Again (II. p. 87):—


    “In my letter to Mr. Gladstone, I have maintained the lawfulness
    and the apostolic character of the German Protestant Church. You
    will find the style changed in this work, bolder and more free.”


Attacks, indeed, became frequent, and more and more bitter, but Bunsen
seldom took any notice of them. He writes:—


    “Hare is full of wrath at an attack made upon me in the ‘Christian
    Remembrancer’—in a very Jesuitical way insinuating that I ought
    not to have so much influence allowed me. Another article
    execrates the bishopric of Jerusalem as an abomination. This zeal
    savors more of hatred than of charity.”


But though Bunsen felt far too firmly grounded in his own Christian faith
to be shaken by such attacks upon himself, he too could be roused to wrath
and indignation when the poisoned arrows of theological Fijians were shot
against his friends. When speaking of the attacks on Arnold, he writes:—


    “Truth is nothing in this generation except a means, in the best
    case, to something good; but never, like virtue, considered as
    good, as the good,—the object in itself. X dreams away in
    twilight. Y is sliding into Puseyism. Z (the Evangelicals) go on
    thrashing the old straw. I wish it were otherwise; but I love
    England, with all her faults. I write to you, now only to you, all
    I think. All the errors and blunders which make the Puseyites a
    stumbling-block to so many,—the rock on which they split is no
    other than what Rome split upon, self-righteousness, out of want
    of understanding justification by faith, and hovering about the
    unholy and blasphemous idea of atoning for our sins, because they
    feel not, understand not, indeed, believe not, _the Atonement_,
    and therefore enjoy not the glorious privileges of the children of
    God,—the blessed duty of the sacrifice of thanksgiving through Him
    who atoned for them. Therefore no sacrifice,—therefore no
    Christian priesthood,—no Church. By our fathers these ideas were
    fundamentally acknowledged; they were in abeyance in the worship
    of the Church, but not on the domestic altar and in the hymns of
    the spirit. With the Puseyites, as with the Romanists, these ideas
    are cut off at the roots. O when will the Word of God be brought
    up against them? What a state this country is in! The land of
    liberty rushing into the worst slavery, the veriest thralldom!”


To many people it might have seemed as if Bunsen during all this time was
too much absorbed in English interests, political, theological, and
social, that he had ceased to care for what was passing in his own
country. His letters, however, tell a different tale. His voluminous
correspondence with the King of Prussia, though not yet published, will
one day bear witness to Bunsen’s devotion to his country, and his
enthusiastic attachment to the house of Hohenzollern. From year to year he
was urging on the King and his advisers the wisdom of liberal concessions,
and the absolute necessity of action. He was working at plans for
constitutional reforms; he went to Berlin to rouse the King, to shame his
ministers, to insist in season and out of season on the duty of acting
before it was too late. His faith in the King is most touching. When he
goes to Berlin in 1844, he sees everywhere how unpopular the King is, how
even his best intentions are misunderstood and misrepresented. Yet he goes
on working and hoping, and he sacrifices his own popularity rather than
oppose openly the suicidal policy that might have ruined Prussia, if
Prussia could have been ruined. Thus he writes in August, 1845:—


    “To act as a statesman at the helm, in the Fatherland, I consider
    not to be in the least my calling: what I believe to be my calling
    is to be mounted high before the mast, to observe what land, what
    breakers, what signs of coming storm there may be, and then to
    announce them to the wise and practical steersman. It is the same
    to me whether my own nation shall know in my life-time or after my
    death how faithfully I have taken to heart its weal and woe, be it
    in Church or State, and borne it on my heart as my nearest
    interest, as long as life lasted. I give up the point of making
    myself understood in the present generation. Here (in London) I
    consider myself to be upon the right spot. I seek to preserve
    peace and unity, and to remove dissatisfaction, wherever it is
    possible.”


Nothing, however, was done. Year after year was thrown away, like a
Sibylline leaf, and the penalty for the opportunities that had been lost
became heavier and heavier. The King, particularly when he was under the
influences of Bunsen’s good genius, was ready for any sacrifice. “The
commotion,” he exclaimed, in 1845, “can only be met and overcome by
freedom, absolute freedom.” But when Bunsen wanted measures, not words,
the King himself seemed powerless. Surrounded as he was by men of the most
opposite characters and interests, and quite capable of gauging them
all,—for his intellect was of no common stamp,—he could agree with all of
them to a certain point, but could never bring himself to go the whole
length with any one of them. Bunsen writes from Berlin: “My stay will
certainly not be a long one; the King’s heart is like that of a brother
toward me, but our ways diverge. The die is cast, and he reads in my
countenance that I deplore the throw. He too fulfills his fate, and we
with him.”

When, at last, in 1847, a Constitution was granted by the King, it was too
late. Sir Robert Peel seems to have been hopeful, and in a letter of
twenty-two pages to Bunsen he expressed an opinion that the Prussian
government might still be able to maintain the Constitution if only
sincere in desiring its due development, and prepared in mind for that
development. To the King, however, and to the party at court, the
Constitution, if not actually hateful, was a mere plaything, and the idea
of surrendering one particle of his independence never entered the King’s
mind. Besides, 1848 was at the door, and Bunsen certainly saw the coming
storm from a distance, though he could not succeed in opening the eyes of
those who stood at the helm in Prussia. Shortly before the hurricane broke
loose, Bunsen had once more determined to throw up his official position,
and retire to Bonn. But with 1848 all these hopes and plans were scattered
to the winds. Bunsen’s life became more restless than ever, and his body
was gradually giving way under the constant tension of his mind. “I feel,”
he writes in 1848 to Archdeacon Hare, “that I have entered into a new
period of life. I have given up all private concerns, all studies and
researches of my own, and live entirely for the present political
emergencies of my country, to stand or to fall by and with it.”

With his love for England he deeply felt the want of sympathy on the part
of England for Prussia in her struggle to unite and regenerate the whole
of Germany. “It is quite entertaining,” he writes, with a touch of irony
very unusual in his letters, “to see the stiff unbelief of the English in
the future of Germany. Lord John is merely uninformed. Peel has somewhat
staggered the mind of the excellent Prince by his unbelief; yet he has a
statesmanlike good-will towards the _Germanic_ nations, and even for the
_German_ nation. Aberdeen is the greatest sinner. He believes in God and
the Emperor Nicholas!” The Schleswig-Holstein question embittered his
feelings still more; and in absence of all determined convictions at
Berlin, the want of moral courage and political faith among those in whose
hands the destinies of Germany had been placed, roused him to wrath and
fury, though he could never be driven to despair of the future of Prussia.
For a time, indeed, he seemed to hesitate between Frankfort, then the seat
of the German Parliament, and Berlin; and he would have accepted the
Premiership at Frankfort if his friend Baron Stockmar had accepted the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But very soon he perceived that, however
paralyzed for the moment, Prussia was the only possible centre of life for
a regeneration of Germany; that Prussia could not be merged in Germany,
but that Germany had to be resuscitated and reinvigorated through Prussia.
His patriotic nominalism, if we may so call his youthful dreams of a
united Germany, had to yield to the force of that political realism which
sacrifices names to things, poetry to prose, the ideal to the possible.
What made his decision easier than it would otherwise have been to a heart
so full of enthusiasm was his personal attachment to the King and to the
Prince of Prussia. For a time, indeed, though for a short time only,
Bunsen, after his interview with the King in January, 1849, believed that
his hopes might still be realized, and he seems actually to have had the
King’s promise that he would accept the crown of a United Germany, without
Austria. But as soon as Bunsen had left Berlin, new influences began to
work on the King’s brain; and when Bunsen returned, full of hope, he was
told by the King himself that he had never repented in such a degree of
any step as that which Bunsen had advised him to take; that the course
entered upon was a wrong to Austria; that he would have nothing to do with
such an abominable line of politics, but would leave that to the Ministry
at Frankfort. Whenever the personal question should be addressed to him,
then would he reply as one of the Hohenzollern, and thus live and die as
an honest man. Bunsen, though mourning over the disappointed hopes that
had once centred in Frederick William IV., and freely expressing the
divergence of opinion that separated him from his sovereign, remained
throughout a faithful servant and a loyal friend. His buoyant spirit,
confident that nothing could ruin Prussia, was looking forward to the
future, undismayed by the unbroken succession of blunders and failures of
Prussian statesmen,—nay, enjoying with a prophetic fervor, at the time of
the deepest degradation of Prussia at Olmütz, the final and inevitable
triumph of that cause which counted among its heroes and martyrs such
names as Stein, Gneisenau, Niebuhr, Arndt, and, we may now add, Bunsen.

After the reaction of 1849 Bunsen’s political influence ceased altogether,
and as Minister in England he had almost always to carry out instructions
of which he disapproved. More and more he longed for rest and freedom, for
“leisure for reflection on the Divine which subsists in things human, and
for writing, if God enables me to do so. I live as one lamed; the pinions
that might have furthered my progress are bound,—yet not broken.” Yet he
would not give up his place as long as his enemies at Berlin did all they
could to oust him. He would not be beaten by them, nor did he altogether
despair of better days. His opinion of the Prince of Prussia (the present
King) had been raised very high since he had come to know him more
intimately, and he expected much in the hour of need from his soldier-like
decision and sense of honor. The negotiations about the Schleswig-Holstein
question soon roused again all his German sympathies, and he exerted
himself to the utmost to defend the just cause of the
Schleswig-Holsteiners, which had been so shamefully misrepresented by
unscrupulous partisans. The history of these negotiations cannot yet be
written, but it will some day surprise the student of history when he
finds out in what way public opinion in England was dosed and stupefied on
that simple question. He found himself isolated and opposed by nearly all
his English friends. One statesman only, but the greatest of English
statesmen, saw clearly where the right and where the wrong was, but even
he could only dare to be silent. On the 31st of July, 1850, Bunsen
writes:—


    “Palmerston had yielded, when in a scrape, first to Russia, then
    to France; the prize has been the protocol; the victim, Germany.
    They shall never have my signature to such a piece of iniquity and
    folly.”


However, on the 8th of May, 1852, Bunsen had to sign that very piece of
iniquity. It was done, machine like, at the King’s command; yet, if Bunsen
had followed his own better judgment, he would not have signed, but sent
in his resignation. “The first cannon-shot in Europe,” he used to say,
“will tear this Pragmatic Sanction to tatters;” and so it was; but alas!
he did not live to see the Nemesis of that iniquity. One thing, however,
is certain, that the humiliation inflicted on Prussia by that protocol was
never forgotten by one brave soldier, who, though not allowed at that time
to draw his royal sword, has ever since been working at the reform of
Prussia’s army, till on the field of Sadowa the disgrace of the London
protocol and the disgrace of Olmütz were wiped out together, and German
questions can no longer be settled by the Great Powers of Europe, “with or
without the consent of Prussia.”

Bunsen remained in England two years longer, full of literary work,
delighted by the success of Prince Albert’s Great Exhibition, entering
heartily into all that interested and agitated English society, but
nevertheless carrying in his breast a heavy heart. Prussia and Germany
were not what he wished them to be. At last the complications that led to
the Crimean War held out to his mind a last prospect of rescuing Prussia
from her Russian thralldom. If Prussia could have been brought over to
join England and France, the unity of Northern Germany might have been her
reward, as the unity of Italy was the reward of Cavour’s alliance with the
Western Powers. Bunsen used all his influence to bring this about, but he
used it in vain, and in April, 1854, he succumbed, and his resignation was
accepted.

Now, at last, Bunsen was free. He writes to a son:—


    “You know how I struggled, almost desperately, to retire from
    public employment in 1850. Now the cord is broken, and the bird is
    free. The Lord be praised!”


But sixty-two years of his life were gone. The foundations of literary
work which he had laid as a young man were difficult to recover; and if
anything was to be finished, it had to be finished in haste. Bunsen
retired to Heidelberg, hoping there to realize the ideal of his life, and
realizing it, too, in a certain degree,—_i.e._ as long as he was able to
forget his sixty-two years, his shaken health, and his blasted hopes. His
new edition of “Hippolytus,” under the title of “Christianity and
Mankind,” had been finished in seven volumes before he left England. At
Heidelberg his principal work was the new translation of the Bible, and
his “Life of Christ,” an enormous undertaking, enough to fill a man’s
life, yet with Bunsen by no means the only work to which he devoted his
remaining powers. Egyptian studies continued to interest him while
superintending the English translation of his “Egypt.” His anger at the
machinations of the Jesuits in Church and State would rouse him suddenly
to address the German nation in his “Signs of the Times.” And the prayer
of his early youth, “to be allowed to recognize and trace the firm path of
God through the stream of ages,” was fulfilled in his last work, “God in
History.” There were many blessings in his life at Heidelberg, and no one
could have acknowledged them more gratefully than Bunsen. “Yet,” he
writes,—


    “I miss John Bull, the sea, ‘The Times’ in the morning, and,
    besides, some dozens of fellow-creatures. The learned class has
    greatly sunk in Germany, more than I supposed; all behindhand....
    Nothing appears of any importance; the most wretched trifles are
    cried up.”


Though he had bid adieu to politics, yet he could not keep entirely aloof.
The Prince of Prussia and the noble Princess of Prussia consulted him
frequently, and even from Berlin baits were held out from time to time to
catch the escaped eagle. Indeed, once again was Bunsen enticed by the
voice of the charmer, and a pressing invitation of the King brought him to
Berlin to preside at the meeting of the Evangelical Alliance in September,
1857. His hopes revived once more, and his plans of a liberal policy in
Church and State were once more pressed on the King,—in vain, as every one
knew beforehand, except Bunsen alone, with his loving, trusting heart.
However, Bunsen’s hopes, too, were soon to be destroyed, and he parted
from the King, the broken idol of all his youthful dreams,—not in anger,
but in love, “as I wish and pray to depart from this earth, as on the
calm, still evening of a long, beautiful summer’s day.” This was written
on the 1st of October; on the 3d the King’s mind gave way, though his
bodily suffering lasted longer than that of Bunsen. Little more is to be
said of the last years of Bunsen’s life. The difficulty of breathing, from
which he suffered, became often very distressing, and he was obliged to
seek relief by travel in Switzerland, or by spending the winter at Cannes.
He recovered from time to time, so as to be able to work hard at the
“Biblework,” and even to make short excursions to Paris or Berlin. In the
last year of his life he executed the plan that had passed before his mind
as the fairest dream of his youth: he took a house at Bonn, and he was not
without hope that he might still, like Niebuhr, lecture in the university,
and give to the young men the fruits of his studies and the advice founded
on the experience of his life. This, however, was not to be, and all who
watched him with loving eyes knew but too well that it could not be. The
last chapter of his life is painful beyond expression as a chronicle of
his bodily sufferings, but it is cheerful also beyond expression as the
record of a triumph over death in hope, in faith,—nay, one might almost
say, in sight,—such as has seldom been witnessed by human eyes. He died on
the 28th of November, 1860, and was buried on the 1st of December in the
same churchyard at Bonn where rests the body of his friend and teacher,
Niebuhr.

Thoughts crowd in thick upon us when we gaze at that monument, and feel
again the presence of that spirit as we so often felt it in the hours of
sweet counsel. When we think of the literary works in which, later in life
and almost in the presence of death, he hurriedly gathered up the results
of his studies and meditations, we feel, as he felt himself when only
twenty-two years of age, that “learning annihilates itself, and the most
perfect is the first submerged, for the next age scales with ease the
height which cost the preceding the full vigor of life.” It has been so,
and always will be so. Bunsen’s work, particularly in Egyptian philology
and in the philosophy of language, was to a great extent the work of a
pioneer, and it will be easy for others to advance on the roads which he
has opened, and to approach nearer to the goal which he has pointed out.
Some of his works, however, will hold their place in the history of
scholarship, and particularly of theological scholarship. The question of
the genuineness of the original Epistles of Ignatius can hardly be opened
again after Bunsen’s treatise; and his discovery that the book on “All the
Heresies,” ascribed to Origen, could not be the work of that writer, and
that most probably it was the work of Hippolytus, will always mark an
epoch in the study of early Christian literature. Either of those works
would have been enough to make the reputation of a German professor, or to
found the fortune of an English bishop. Let it be remembered that they
were the outcome of the leisure hours of a hard-worked Prussian
diplomatist, who, during the London season, could get up at five in the
morning, light his own fire, and thus secure four hours of undisturbed
work before breakfast.

Another reason why some of Bunsen’s works will prove more mortal than
others is their comprehensive character. Bunsen never worked for work’s
sake, but always for some higher purpose. Special researches with him were
a means, a ladder to be thrown away as soon as he had reached his point.
The thought of exhibiting his ladders never entered his mind.
Occasionally, however, Bunsen would take a jump, and being bent on general
results, he would sometimes neglect the objections that were urged against
him. It has been easy, even during his life-time, to point out weak points
in his arguments, and scholars who have spent the whole of their lives on
one Greek classic have found no difficulty in showing to the world that
they know more of that particular author than Bunsen. But even those who
fully appreciate the real importance of Bunsen’s labors—labors that were
more like a shower of rain fertilizing large acres than like the
artificial irrigation which supports one greenhouse plant—will be first to
mourn over the precious time that was lost to the world by Bunsen’s
official avocations. If he could do what he did in his few hours of rest,
what would he have achieved if he had carried out the original plan of his
life! It is almost incredible that a man with his clear perception of his
calling in life, so fully expressed in his earliest letters, should have
allowed himself to be drawn away by the siren voice of diplomatic life.
His success, no doubt, was great at first, and the kindness shown him by
men like Niebuhr, the King, and the Crown Prince of Prussia was enough to
turn a head that sat on the strongest shoulders. It should be remembered,
too, that in Germany the diplomatic service has always had far greater
charms than in England, and that the higher members of that service enjoy
often the same political influence as members of the Cabinet. If we read
of the brilliant reception accorded to the young diplomatist during his
first stay at Berlin, the favors showered upon him by the old King, the
friendship offered him by the Crown Prince, his future King, the hopes of
usefulness in his own heart, and the encouragement given him by all his
friends, we shall be less surprised at his preferring, in the days of his
youth, the brilliant career of a diplomatist to the obscure lot of a
professor. And yet what would Bunsen have given later in life if he had
remained true to his first love! Again and again his better self bursts
forth in complaints about a wasted life, and again and again he is carried
along against his will. During his first stay in England he writes
(November 18, 1838):—


    “I care no more about my external position than about the
    mountains in the moon; I know God’s will will be done, in spite of
    them all, and to my greatest benefit. What that is He alone knows.
    Only one thing I think I see clearly. My whole life is without
    sense and lasting use, if I squander it in affairs of the day,
    brilliant and important as they may be.”


The longer he remained in that enchanted garden, the more difficult it
became to find a way out, even after he had discovered by sad experience
how little he was fitted for court life or even for public life in
Prussia. When he first appeared at the court of Berlin, he carried
everything by storm; but that very triumph was never forgiven him, and his
enemies were bent on “showing this young doctor his proper place.” Bunsen
had no idea how he was envied, for the lesson that success breeds envy is
one that men of real modesty seldom learn until it is too late. And he was
hated not only by chamberlains, but, as he discovered with deepest grief,
even by those whom he considered his truest friends, who had been working
in secret conclave to undermine his influence with his royal friend and
master. Whenever he returned to Berlin, later in life, he could not
breathe freely in the vitiated air of the court, and the wings of his soul
hung down lamed, if not broken. Bunsen was not a courtier. Away from
Berlin, among the ruins of Rome, and in the fresh air of English life, he
could speak to kings and princes as few men have spoken to them, and pour
out his inmost convictions before those whom he revered and loved. But at
Berlin, though he might have learnt to bow and to smile and to use
Byzantine phraseology, his voice faltered and was drowned by noisy
declaimers; the diamond was buried in a heap of beads, and his rays could
not shine forth where there was no heavenly sunlight to call them out.

King Frederick William IV. was no ordinary King: that one can see even
from the scanty extracts from his letters given in “Bunsen’s Memoirs.” Nor
was his love of Bunsen a mere passing whim. He loved the man, and those
who knew the refreshing and satisfying influence of Bunsen’s society will
easily understand what the King meant when he said, “I am hungry and
thirsty for Bunsen.” But what constitution can resist the daily doses of
hyperbolical flattery that are poured into the ears of royalty, and how
can we wonder that at last a modest expression of genuine respect does
sound like rudeness to royal ears, and to speak the truth becomes
synonymous with insolence? In the trickeries and mimicries of court life
Bunsen was no adept, and nothing was easier than to outbid him in the
price that is paid for royal favors. But if much has thus been lost of a
life far too precious to be squandered among royal servants and
messengers, this prophet among the Sauls has taught the world some lessons
which he could not have taught in the lecture-room of a German university.
People who would scarcely have listened to the arguments of a German
professor sat humbly at the feet of an ambassador and of a man of the
world. That a professor should be learned, and that a bishop should be
orthodox, was a matter of course; but that an ambassador should hold forth
on hieroglyphics and the antiquity of man rather than on the _chronique
scandaleuse_ of Paris; that a Prussian statesman should spend his mornings
on the Ignatian Epistles rather than in writing gossiping letters to
ladies in waiting at Berlin and Potsdam; that this learned man “who ought
to know,” should profess the simple faith of a child and the boldest
freedom of a philosopher, was enough to startle society, both high and
low. How Bunsen inspired those who knew him with confidence, how he was
consulted, and how he was loved, may be seen from some of the letters
addressed to him, though few only of such letters have been published in
his “Memoirs.” That his influence was great in England we know from the
concurrent testimony both of his enemies and his friends, and the seed
that he has sown in the minds and hearts of men have borne fruit, and will
still bear richer fruit, both in England and in Germany. Nor should it be
forgotten how excellent a use he made of his personal influence in helping
young men who wanted advice and encouragement. His sympathy, his
condescension, his faith when brought in contact with men of promise, were
extraordinary: they were not shaken, though they have been abused more
than once. In all who loved Bunsen his spirit will live on, imperceptibly,
it may be, to themselves, imperceptibly to the world, but not the less
really. It is not the chief duty of friends to honor the departed by idle
grief, but to remember their designs, and to carry out their mandates.
(Tac. Ann. II. 71.)

1868.



LETTERS FROM BUNSEN TO MAX MÜLLER IN THE YEARS 1848 TO 1859.(98)


After hesitating for a long time, and after consulting both those who had
a right to be consulted, and those whose independent judgment I could
trust, I have at last decided on publishing the following letters of Baron
Bunsen, as an appendix to my article on the Memoirs of his Life. They
will, I believe, show to the world one side of his character which in the
Memoirs could appear but incidentally,—his ardent love of the higher
studies from which his official duties were constantly tearing him away,
and his kindness, his sympathy, his condescension in his intercourse with
younger scholars who were pursuing different branches of that work to
which he himself would gladly have dedicated the whole energy of his mind.
Bunsen was by nature a scholar, though not exactly what in England is
meant by a German scholar. Scholarship with him was always a means, never
in itself an object; and the study of the languages, the laws, the
philosophies and religions of antiquity, was in his eyes but a necessary
preparation before approaching the problem of all problems, Is there a
Providence in the world, or is there not? “To trace the firm path of God
through the stream of ages,” this was the dream of his youth, and the toil
of his old age; and during all his life, whether he was studying the laws
of Rome or the hieroglyphic inscriptions of Egypt, the hymns of the Veda
or the Psalms of the Old Testament, he was always collecting materials for
that great temple which in his mind towered high above all other temples,
the temple of God in history. He was an architect, but he wanted builders;
his plans were settled, but there was no time to carry them out. He
therefore naturally looked out for younger men who were to take some share
of his work. He encouraged them, he helped them, he left them no rest till
the work which he wanted was done; and he thus exercised the most salutary
influence on a number of young scholars, both in Rome, in London, and in
Heidelberg.

When I first came to know Bunsen, he was fifty-six, I twenty-four years of
age; he was Prussian ambassador, I was nobody. But from the very beginning
of our intercourse, he was to me like a friend and fellow-student; and
when standing by his side at the desk in his library, I never saw the
ambassador, but only the hard-working scholar, ready to guide, willing to
follow, but always pressing forward to a definite goal. He would patiently
listen to every objection, and enter readily into the most complicated
questions of minute critical scholarship; but he always wanted to see
daylight; he could not bear mere groping for groping’s sake. When he
suspected any scholar of shallowness, pettiness, or professorial conceit,
he would sometimes burst forth into rage, and use language the severity of
which he was himself the first to regret. But he would never presume on
his age, his position, or his authority. In that respect few men remained
so young, remained so entirely themselves through life as Bunsen. It is
one of the saddest experiences in life to see men lose themselves when
they become ministers or judges or bishops or professors. Bunsen never
became ambassador, he always remained Bunsen. It has been my good fortune
in life to have known many men whom the world calls great,—philosophers,
statesmen, scholars, artists, poets; but take it all in all, take the full
humanity of the man, I have never seen, and I shall never see his like
again.

The rule followed in editing these letters has been a very simple one. I
have given them as they were, even though I felt that many could be of
interest to scholars only or to Bunsen’s personal friends; but I have left
out whatever could be supposed to wound the feelings of any one. Unless
this rule is most carefully observed, the publication of letters after the
death of their writers seems to me simply dishonorable. When Bunsen speaks
of public measures and public men, of parties in Church and State, whether
in England or in Germany, there was no necessity for suppressing his
remarks, for he had spoken his mind as freely on them elsewhere as in
these letters. But any personal reflections written on the spur of the
moment, in confidence or in jest, have been struck out, however strong the
temptation sometimes of leaving them. Many expressions, too, of his kind
feelings towards me have been omitted. If some have been left, I hope I
may be forgiven for a pride not altogether illegitimate.



[1.]


LONDON, _Thursday, December 7_, 1848, 9 o’clock.

MY DEAR M.,—I have this moment received your affectionate note of
yesterday, and feel as if I must respond to it directly, as one would
respond to a friend’s shake of the hand. The information was quite new to
me, and the success wholly unexpected. You have given a home to a friend
who was homeless in the world; may you also have inspired him with that
energy and stability, the want of which so evidently depresses him. The
idea about Pauli is excellent, but he must decide quickly and send me
word, that I may gain over William Hamilton, and his son (the President).
The place is much sought after; Pauli would certainly be the man for it.
He would not become a _Philister_ here, as most do.

And now, my very dear M., I congratulate you on the courageous frame of
mind which this event causes you to evince. It is exactly that which, as a
friend, I wish for you for the whole of life, and which I perceived and
loved in you from the very first moment. It delights me especially at this
time, when _your_ contemporaries are even more dark and confused than
_mine_ are sluggish and old-fashioned. The reality of life, as we enter
the period of full manhood, destroys the first dream of youth; but with
moral earnestness, and genuine faith in eternal providence, and in the
sacredness of human destiny in that government of the world which exists
for all human souls that honestly seek after good,—with these feelings,
the dream of youth is more than realized.

You have undertaken a great work, and have been rescued from the whirlpool
and landed on this peaceful island that you might carry it on undisturbed,
which you could not have done in the Fatherland. This is the first
consideration; but not less highly do I rate the circumstances which have
kept you here, and have given you an opportunity of seeing English life in
its real strength, with the consistency and stability, and with all the
energy and simplicity, that are its distinguishing features. I have known
what it is to receive this complement of German life in the years of my
training and apprenticeship. When rightly estimated, this knowledge and
love of the English element only strengthens the love of the German
Fatherland, the home of genius and poetry.

I will only add that I am longing to see you amongst us: you must come to
us before long. Meanwhile think of me with as much affection as I shall
always think of you. Lepsius has sent me his splendid work “On the
Foundations of Egyptian Chronology,” with astounding investigations.

As to Germany, my greatest hopes are based on this,—that the King and
Henry von Gagern have met and become real friends.



[2.]


_Sunday Morning, February 18, 1849._

My dear M.,—Having returned home last night, I should like to see you
quietly to-day, before the turmoil begins again to-morrow. Can you and Mr.
Trithen come to me to-day at five o’clock? I will ask Elze to dinner, but
I should first like to read to you two my treatise “On the Classification
of Languages,” which is entirely rewritten, and has become my fifth book
_in nuce_.

I will at once tell you that I am convinced that the Lycians were the
_true_ Pelasgians, and I shall not give you any rest till you have
discovered the Pelasgic language from the monuments existing here. It is a
sure discovery. It must be an older form of Greek, much as the Oscan or
the Carmen Saliare were of Latin, or even perhaps more so.



[3.]


TOTTERIDGE PARK, _Monday Morning, February 19, 1849._

I landed yesterday, and took refuge here till this afternoon; and my first
employment is to thank you for your affectionate and faithful letter, and
to tell you that I am not only to be here as hitherto, but that, with the
permission of the King, I am to fill the post of confidential accredited
minister of the _Reichsverweser_, formerly held by Baron Andrian. During
my stay here, be it long or short, it will always be a pleasure and
refreshment to me to see you as often as you can come to us. You know our
way of living, which will remain the same, except now and then, when
Palmerston may fix his conferences for a Sunday.

Pertz is quite ready to agree to the proposal of a regular completion of
the Chambers collection: the best thing would be for you to offer to make
the catalogue. He is waiting your proposal. The dark clouds of civil war
are lowering over our dear and mighty Fatherland. Prussia will go on its
own way quietly as a mediating power.



[4.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _April 22, 1849_.

Yesterday evening, and night, and this morning early, I have been reading
Froude’s “Nemesis of Faith,” and am so moved by it that I must write you a
few lines. I cannot describe the power of attraction exercised upon me by
this deeply searching, noble spirit: I feel the tragic nature of his
position, and long have I foreseen that such tragical combinations await
the souls of men in this island-world. Arnold and Carlyle, each in his own
way, had seen this long before me. In the general world, no one can
understand such a state of mind, except so far as to be enabled to
misconstrue it.

In the shortcoming of the English mind in judging of this book, its great
alienation from the philosophy of Art is revealed. This book is not
comprehended as a work of Art, claiming as such due proportions and
relative significance of parts; otherwise many individuals would at least
have been moved to a more sparing judgment upon it, and in the first place
they would take in the import of the title.

This book shows the fatal result of the renunciation of the Church system
of belief. The subject of the tale simply experiences moral annihilation;
but the object of his affection, whose mind he had been the means of
unsettling in her faith, burst through the boundaries which humanity has
placed, and the moral order of the world imposes: they perish both,—each
at odds with self, with God, and with human society: only for him there
yet remains room for further development. Then the curtain falls,—that is
right, according to artistic rule of composition; true and necessary
according to the views of those who hold the faith of the Church of
England; and from a theological point of view, no other solution could be
expected from the book than that which it has given.

But here the author has disclosed the inward disease, the fearful
hollowness, the spiritual death, of the nation’s philosophical and
theological forms, with resistless eloquence; and like the Jews of old,
they will exclaim, “That man is a criminal! stone him!”

I wish you could let him know how deeply I feel for him, without ever
having seen him; and how I desire to admonish him to accept and endure
this fatality, as, in the nature of things, he must surely have
anticipated it; and as he has pointed out and defended the freedom of the
spirit, so must he now (and I believe he will) show in himself, and make
manifest to the world, the courage, active in deed, cheerful in power, of
that free spirit.

It is presumptuous to intrude into the fate and mystery of life in the
case of any man, and more especially of a man so remarkable; but the
consciousness of community of spirits, of knowing, and endeavoring after
what is morally good, and true, and perfect, and of the yearning after
every real disciple of the inner religion of Christians, impels me to
suggest to you to tell him from me, that I believe the spasm of his
spiritual efforts would sooner be calmed, and the solution of the great
problem would sooner be found, if he were to live for a time among _us_; I
mean, if he resided for a time in one of the German universities. We
Germans have been for seventy years working as thinkers, inquirers, poets,
seers, also as men of action, to pull down the old and to erect the new
Zion; each great man with us has contributed his materials towards the
sanctuary, invisible, but firmly fixed in German hearts; the whole nation
has neglected and sacrificed political, individual existence and common
freedom—to pursue in faith the search after truth. From us something may
be learnt, by every spirit of this age. He will experience how truly the
divine Plato spoke, when he said, “Seven years of silent inquiry were
needful for a man to learn the truth, but fourteen in order to learn how
to make it known to his fellow-men.”

Froude must know Schleiermacher’s “Discourses on Religion,” and perhaps
also his “Dogmatics.” In this series of developments this is perhaps, as
far as the form is concerned, the most satisfactory work which immediately
concerns religion and its reconciliation with philosophy on the basis of
more liberal Christian investigation. But at all events we have not
striven and suffered in vain: our philosophy, research, and poetry show
this. But men, not books, are needed by such a mind, in order to become
conscious of the truth, which (to quote Spinoza) “remoto errore nuda
remanet.” He has still much to learn, and he should learn it as a man from
man. I should like to propose to him first to go to Bonn. He would there
find that most deeply thoughtful and most original of speculative minds
among our living theologians, the Hamann of this century, my dear friend
R. Rothe; also a noble philosopher and teacher of ethics, Brandis; an
honest master of exegesis, Bleek; and young minds would soon attach
themselves to him. In Halle he would find Erdmann, almost the only
distinguished speculative follower of Hegel, and Tholuck, who has advanced
much farther in the philosophical treatment of Christianity than is
generally thought. I will gladly give him introductions to all of these.
They would all willingly admit him into their world of thought, and enter
with sympathy into his. It would be sure to suit him.... The free
atmosphere of thought would do him good, as formerly the atmosphere of
free England was good for Germans still struggling for political liberty.
He certainly needs physical change and invigorating. For this the lovely
Rhine is decidedly to be recommended. With £100 he could live there as a
prince. Why go off to Van Diemen’s Land? I should always be glad to be of
the least service to him, still more to make his personal acquaintance.
And now, my dear M., you can, if you wish, read out to him what I have
written, but do not give the letter out of your own hands.



[5.]


9 CARLTON TERRACE, _Monday, May 22, 1849._

I thank you for two letters. I cannot tell how the first delighted and
rejoiced me. The state of things in England is really as you describe it.
As to what concerns the second, you will by this time know that I have
seen Froude twice. With M., too, personal acquaintance has been made, and
the point as to money is touched on. I must see him again alone before I
give my opinion. At all events, he is a man of genius, and Germany
(especially Bonn) the country for him.

I can well imagine the terrible scenes your dear mother has witnessed in
Dresden. However, I believe we have, in the very midst of the storm,
reached the harbor. Even in Frankfort every one believes in the complete
success of Prussia’s negotiations with the four Courts. We shall have the
whole constitution of the empire, and now with all necessary improvements.
As to matters of form, they must be arranged as between equals. Gagern and
his friends are ready for this. The constitution is to be declared at
Berlin on the 25th. The disturbances will then be quieted as by magic.
George is _aux anges_ over this unexpected turn of affairs. At all events
I hope soon to see you.



[6].


LONDON, _Wednesday, July 14, 1849._

“Hurrah for Müller!”—so writes George, and as an answer I send you his
note from Frankfort. Hekscher’s proposal is quite reasonable. I have since
then broken off all negotiations with the Danes. You will soon read the
documents in the newspapers.

If the proposal of the parliamentary committee on the directory of the
Bund passes, which admits of little doubt, the question of to be or not to
be must be immediately decided.

I do not intend going to Frankfort for this, so pray come here; I am alone
here with Charles.



[7.]


9 CARLTON TERRACE, _Friday Morning_.(99)

MY DEAR M.,—I did not thank you immediately for your delightful and
instructive letter, because there were many points on which I wished to
write fully. The last decisive crisis of the German-European business has
at length arrived, and I have had the opportunity of doing my duty in the
matter. But I have been doing nothing else since last Saturday, nothing
Chinese even. I recommend the inclosed to you. The young man is a good and
highly informed German bookseller. He has of course written just what I
did not tell him, and omitted what he ought to have said, “that he had
been here for five years with the first booksellers, and before that was
trained under his father in Bonn; that he understands English, German,
French, Italian, and Spanish.” I have only heard what is good of him. How
grateful I feel to you for having begun the Index of Egyptian words at
once! We wanted one here for a special purpose, so our trouble has not
been thrown away. I now perceive how impossible it is to understand the
Egyptian language and history thoroughly without Chinese. In the
chronology there is still much to be done.

We have as yet held our own in London and Warsaw as against Vienna. But in
the Schleswig-Holstein question we have the whole world, and unfortunately
our own peace of July 2d, against us. Radowitz has worked most devotedly
and honestly. When shall we see you again?



[8.]


PRUSSIAN LEGATION, _May 15, 1850._

By return of post thanks and greetings to my dear M. Your proposal as to
Schütz is excellent. Let me know if I am to write to Humboldt. I draw a
totally different lesson from your news of the loss of the Veda MS. Wait
till a good copy arrives, and in the mean time pursue your philological
studies in some other direction, and get on with your Introduction. You
can work more in one day in Europe than in a week in India, unless you
wish to kill yourself, which I could not allow. So come with bag and
baggage here, to 9 Carlton Terrace, to one who longs to see you.

F. must have gone mad, or have been far more so politically than I
imagined. The “Leader,” edited by him and N., is (as Mills says) _red and
raw!_ and, in addition, badly written. It is a pity for prophets and poets
to meddle with realities, instead of devoting themselves to futurity and
poetry. George is happy in the intellectual wealth of Paris life, and
quite perplexed at the perverseness and follies of the political cliques.
He promises to write about the acquaintance of Lamenais and George Sand. I
am well, but fully use the right of a convalescent, and hardly go
anywhere.

Friend Stockmar sends a report from Erfurt, where the Parliament meets on
the 26th to receive the oaths of the Directory and the Ministers of the
Union. Usedom, Pertz, and Co. are quite mad in their enthusiasm for the
Black and White, as I have openly written to them.



[9.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _July 10, 1850._

Mr. Eastwick, the translator of Bopp’s Grammar, tells me that he and
Murray wish for an article on this work in the “Quarterly Review” for
January, 1851; so it must be sent in in November. Wilson refuses, as he is
too busy. I believe you could best write such a review, of about sixteen
pages (£16). If you agree to this, write a line to me or direct to
Eastwick, who would then get a letter from Lockhart with the commission
for you. God help Schleswig-Holstein!



[10.]


LONDON, _October 10, 1850._

You have given me the greatest pleasure, my dear M., by your beautiful
present. Already, last night, I read the new “Greek Songs,” and others
that were new to me, with the greatest delight. We have, at all events,
derived one benefit from the great storm,—that the fetters have been taken
off the press. It is a very charming edition, and a beautiful memorial.

As to F——, it seems to me _contra rei naturam_ to arrange anything with
the “Quarterly Review.” The channel for such things is now really the
“Edinburgh;” in the “Quarterly” everything not English must be run down,
at all events in appearance, if it is to be appreciated. And now “Modern
German Poetry and F——,” and Liberal politics! I cannot understand how F——
could think of such a thing. I will willingly take charge of it for the
“Edinburgh Review.” The editor is my political, theological, personal
friend, and sympathizes with me in such things as I consider F——’s
beautiful review will be. I have for years wished for such a one;
epic-lyric poetry has made much greater advances since Goethe’s time than
people in Germany (with the one exception of Platen) seem to perceive. It
seems to me, though, that one should begin with the flowers of the
Romantic school of poetry, with Schenkendorf and Körner,—that is, with the
whole romantic German national epoch, which found Goethe already a retired
philosopher. The whole development, from that time till now, appears to me
as one intimately united whole, even including the present day. Even 1848
to 1850 have furnished their contribution (Arndt’s two inspired songs, for
instance); and in 1843-44, Geibel shines as a star of the first magnitude.
Heine is difficult to treat. In fact, I do not think that F—— has read
enough of these poets. He spoke to me lately of an historical work that he
had in view, and which he wished to talk over with me; he meant to come up
to me from the country, but has not yet appeared. He is always welcome,
for he is decidedly a man of genius, and I would willingly help him.

Now to something different. My Chinese work is tolerably far advanced. I
have arranged the 214 keys alphabetically, and have examined about 100 of
them historically—that is, I have separated the oldest (entirely
hieroglyphic and ideographic) signs, and as far as possible fixed the
relationship of identical or similarly sounding roots. Then I laid aside
the work, and first began a complete list of all those pronominal,
adverbial, and particle stems, arranged first alphabetically and then
according to matter, in which I found the recognizable corpses of the
oldest Chinese words. The result repays me even far more than I expected.
I hope to have finished both works before Christmas; and at last, too, the
alphabetical examination of the 450 words (of which about 150 are hidden
in the 214 keys; the 64 others are similarly sounding roots). Naturally
all this is only in reference to ancient Chinese, which is at least as
different (grammatically) from modern Chinese as Egyptian is from Coptic.

At the same time, I am reading the translation of the three “Kings,” and
transliterate some passages. And now I must ask you to examine the
inclosed system of transliteration. I have devised it according to my best
powers after yours and Lepsius’ system. Secondly, I want you to tell me
whether I ought to buy the Leipzig translation of Eichhoff’s “Parallèle
des Langues Sanscrites.” My own copy of the French edition has
disappeared. Pauli works at an Index of the Egyptian hieroglyphics and
words, which I can send you by and by.

“The days and times are hard,” says an old song.



[10.]


TOTTERIDGE PARK, _Tuesday Morning, October 16, 1850._

MY DEAR FRIEND,—So it seems that I am really not to see you this time. I
am truly sorry, and count all the more on your calling on your return, if
I am still in England. I should like to have thanked you at once for your
affectionate letter for my birthday. But you know, if you altogether trust
me, that a lifelong love for you lies deep in my heart.

I had expected more from the great programme of New Oxford. It is not,
however, much more unsatisfactory than the article on Plato, the writer of
which now avows himself. It is only possible to excuse the milk-and-watery
treatment of the subject through the general mental cowardice and
ignorance in intellectual matters which is so predominant in this country.
I find a comfort in the hope that this article is the prologue to able
exegetical works, combined with a concrete statement of the absurdity, the
untruth, and untenableness of the present English conception of
inspiration. Do not call me to account too sharply for this hope, or it is
likely to evaporate simply in pious wishes. Moral earnestness is the only
thing that pleases me in this matter; the important thing now is to prove
it, in opposition to invincible prejudices. Your plan of publishing your
Introduction after you have talked it over with Lassen and Burnouf, and
drawn in fresh breath, and just in January too, pleases me very much. If I
may, all in the dark, give you some good advice, try to make yourself
clear on two points. First, as to the proper limits of language for the
investigation of past and prehistoric times. As yet, no one has known how
to handle these gigantic materials; what Jacob Grimm has lately attempted
with them is child’s play. It is no longer of any use, as a Titan in
intention, but confused as to aim, and uncertain in method,—it is no
longer of any use to put down dazzling examples which demonstrate nothing,
or at most only that something ought to be there to be demonstrated. What
you have told me entitles one to the highest hopes; and these will be
realized, if you in the French, not the Teutonic manner, arrive at full
understanding of what is at present a mere instinctive intuition, and thus
arrive at the right method. You can do it. Only I have some anxiety as to
the second point, the historical proofs of the beginnings of nations. That
is the weak side, first of all etymologists and word-masters, and then
especially of all “Indologues,” and of the whole Indian past itself. There
is an enormous difference between what _can_ have been, nay, according to
certain abstract theoretic views _must_ have been, and what _has_ been.
That, however, is the distinctive problem for historical investigation.
And here, above all, much depends on philological knowledge and sagacity;
but still more on that historical tact which understands how inferences
should be drawn. This demands much acquaintance with what is real, and
with purely historical material; much practice, and, as regards character,
much self-denial. In this _judicium subactum_ of the historian lies the
difference between Niebuhr and O. Müller. To satisfy these demands, it is
only necessary, with your gifts and your character, that you should wish
to do so earnestly, and perseveringly wish it. Of course you will not
separate the inquiry as to the oldest seat of the Sanskrit language from
the surrounding problems. I am perhaps too strongly prejudiced against the
idea that the family of which we are speaking must have wandered from the
banks of the Upper Indus towards Bactria, and from thence founded Media
and Persia. But I have for the present good grounds for this, and views
which have long been tested by me. I can well imagine a migration of this
family to and fro from the northern to the southern slopes of the
Hindu-Kush and back again; in Egypt one sees most plainly how the Semitic,
or the family which inclines towards Semitism, migrated frequently from
the Mediterranean and the Euphrates to the Red Sea and _back again_. But
this alters nothing in the theory, on the one hand, that it is one and the
same family historically, and, on the other hand, that it is not
originally African, but Asiatic. You will certainly not adopt Niebuhr’s
autochthonic theory, where such facts lie before you. But enough. Only
receive these remarks as a proof of my lively interest in your researches,
and in yourself; and may Minerva be your guide. I rejoice in the prize you
have gained at the French Academy in Paris, both for you and the
Fatherland.

The King _has_ subscribed for twenty copies of your Veda, and you have
received 500 thalers of it beforehand. The rest you will receive,
according to the agreement then made, and which was communicated to you,
as certainly _after_ the revolution and constitution as _before_. I
_cannot_ have said a word with any other meaning. I may have recommended
you not to demand future prepayment: there might have been difficulties.
Examine, then, the communication made to you, take twenty copies of your
first volume in your pocket, or rather in the ship, and hand them in,
writing in any case to Humboldt, and beside him to the minister concerned,
therefore to the Minister of Public Instruction. As to what concerns the
King personally, ask Humboldt what you have to do. The thing itself is as
clear and settled a matter of business as anything can well be; on this
very account I have completely forgotten the particulars.

And now, God bless you, my dear friend. Greet all friendly minds and
souls, and first, “though I have not the pleasure of her acquaintance,”
your mother; and then Humboldt and Lepsius before any one else.



[12.]


LONDON, _November_ 4, 1850.

I must tell you by return of post that your letter has frightened me by
what you tell me respecting your strong impulse to go to Benares or to
Bonn. This is the very worst moment for Bonn, and the very best for your
publication of the Introduction to the Vedas. The crisis in our country
disturbs everything; it will soon be over, and, as I have good reason to
believe, without dishonor or bloodshed. They would do everything to make
your stay in Bonn pleasant, as soon as they have recovered breath. Still,
you must print that English book in England; and I should add, before you
settle across the Channel. Or do you only intend to pay Lassen a visit?
You knew that some time ago Lassen longed to see you, more than any other
man. It would be a good idea if you settle to make an excursion to
Germany. You are one of those who always arrange things best personally.
At all events, you must come to us the day after to-morrow, and stay till
the 9th. We shall have a house full of visitors that day (evening), but
till then be quite alone. On the 7th you will give your presence to George
as a birthday gift, a proof of great affection. Of Froude I have heard and
seen nothing.

Empson has been here twice, without leaving his address. I have advanced
as far in the astronomy and chronology of the Chinese as I can without an
astronomer. _They have begun with the beginning of the Chaldeans._ With
the language, too, I have reached firm soil and ground, through the 120
words which become particles. More by word of mouth.

The struggle is over. Open conferences will be held at Vienna, where
Prussia will represent and securely maintain the principle of free
opinion.

The 8,000 Bavarians will return home again. The new constitution of the
Bund will include all Austria (except Italy), and will have a diet which
has no legislative power in internal German affairs. Will Radowitz stay?
Send a line in answer.



[13.]


LONDON, _December 11, 1850._

In spite of the courier, who goes to-day, I must write a few words in
answer to your friendly inquiries.

I am more and more convinced that you stake _everything_ if you begin the
important affair in Bonn without going there yourself; and on the other
hand, that the business _cannot_ fail _if_ you go there; _lastly_, that
you should go there at once, that Lassen and the government may not hit on
something else. Once begun, the thing will, I hope, go exactly as you
wish. But I should be _very_ sorry if you were to leave Oxford before
finishing the printing of the Introduction. That is your farewell to
England, your greeting to the professoriate in Germany, both worthy and
suited to you.

The Lectures at Oxford appear, by the side of this, as a secondary
consideration. I cannot, however, restrain the wish that you should not
refuse the thing. It is not expected that a deputy-professor should spend
more time than is necessary on the charge committed to him. I should think
you could arrange such a course very pleasantly, and feel certain of
success, if you only bear in mind Lockhart’s advice, to write as for
ladies,—“Spartam quam nactus es orna,” as Niebuhr always told me, and I
have always found it a good maxim. I await the sending in of your article
for the “Edinburgh,” in order to make all preparations at once. I hope you
will be back from Bonn by Christmas Eve, or else wait till after Christmas
before you go.

As a friend of many years’ standing, you will forgive me if I say that if
the journey to Bonn is not financially convenient to you just now, I
_depend_ upon your thinking of _me_.



[14.]


9 CARLTON TERRACE, _January 2, 1851_.

Most heartily do I wish you success and happiness in the new year. Stanley
will have told you of our negotiations as to your beautiful article. He
will have laid before you the sketch of a genuine English prologue and
epilogue promised by him, and for which I gave him a few ideas. You can
then choose between the “Quarterly” and “Edinburgh Review.”

Pertz has authorized me to pay you £20 on the 1st of January, as you
wished. So send your receipt, that I may at once send you the £20 (in four
bank-notes), unless you will fetch them yourself. If you can be here on
Monday, you are invited to dinner with Macaulay, Mahon, and General
Radowitz, otherwise any other day.

P. S. (Wednesday). No, my dear M., I will not send your article, but take
it myself. Let me have it soon.



[15.]


LONDON, _March 13, 1851_.

It is such a delight to be able at last to write to you, to tell you that
few events this year have given me such great pleasure as your noble
success in Oxford. The English have shown how gladly they will listen to
something good and new, if any one will lay it before them in their own
halls and in their “gown.” Morier has faithfully reported everything, and
my whole family sympathize in your triumph, as if it concerned ourselves.

I have heard from Empson that he will let your article appear in the third
quarter (1st July). All space for the 1st of April had been promised since
December. He will have it printed very early, that we may have time to
read it comfortably, and see if it really wants a “head and tail.” He
seems to think it is _not_ wanted. So much the better, I answered him.

George writes diligently, _De Nili fontibus_, and revels in the scientific
life of Bonn. He is coming at Easter for four weeks, and intends
immediately after Whitsuntide to take his degree _cum honore_.

You have seen that Lachmann was obliged to have his foot amputated, as it
was mortifying. The operation was very well performed; but the question
is, whether the evil may not still spread. Haupt writes in great anxiety;
he hurried off to his friend, to nurse him.

Theodore comes as early as the 7th of April, and goes to the University
after Easter.

We have all had something of influenza, but not so that we were obliged to
give up our _Tuesday evenings_, which are very well attended, as many as
300 people, who amuse themselves and us well. When are you coming to us?

I have come to the end of the third volume, in working over “Egypt,” and
have already besides a third of the fourth volume ready for press. By the
1st of May the fourth volume must be sent to Gotha.



[16.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _Tuesday Morning, May 13, 1851_, 7 o’clock.

(_Olymp._ I. I. I.) according to new German Chronology. See tables for
“Egypt.”

I must at last take my early morning hour to write to you, instead of
writing, or rather preparing, a chapter of my fifth volume. For I find the
flood of business which begins with breakfast subsides now only after
midnight, and I have many things I must say to you. First, my thanks and
good wishes for the sketch of your lectures. You have rightly understood
the importance of epic poetry in its historical bearing, and for _the __
first time_ connected it with the earliest times of the epic nations,
namely, the primitive period of their community of language.

This has given me indescribable pleasure, and daily roused a longing to
see you again very soon, and to read to you some chapters out of my fifth
volume, the writing of which has continued to be an excessive delight to
me. I have attempted the restoration of the times of the patriarchs, in
the full belief in their real existence and in my own method, and have
been surprised at the great results. After I had finished this section I
felt inspirited to add the Introduction to the Preface, written at Easter,
“The History and Method of the Philosophy of History,” and then, as by a
stroke of magic, I found myself again in the lost Paradise of the deepest
philosophical and historical convictions of all my life, on the strength
of which I consecrated my dim anticipations to definite vows in the holy
vigils of 1810-13, and wrote them down in the last weeks of my German life
(January, 1816) in Berlin in order to explain myself to Niebuhr. The
little book which I then wrote comes back again, after the lapse of quite
thirty-five years, into my thoughts. The journey to India has turned out a
journey to Egypt, and the journey of life hastens towards its close. But
though I, since 1816, never found the means and opportunity to fix my eyes
on the first youthful ideal, after I had dedicated my life to investigate,
to think, and to live for it; and though all the grand and elevated views
had been hidden from me in the narrow valleys of life and of special
research, except some blessed moments of intuition, I am now again raised
by the flood of Egyptian research, after a quarter of a century, on to the
heights of the same Ararat from whence, in the battle of life, I had to
descend. I only wished to give an introductory survey of the manner of
treating the world’s history, and to my astonishment something else
appears, to which I yield myself with fear as well as delight, with the
old youthful ardor. I believe I owe something of my good fortune this time
also to my enemies and enviers. For it is quite true, as the newspaper
said, that my removal or recall was demanded from the King, not only by
our Camarilla and its tool, the ministry, but by more than “flesh and
blood,” that high demoniacal power, which would willingly crush Prussia
and Germany in its unholy embrace. It has come to an avowed struggle. As
yet the King has held fast to me as king and friend. Such attacks always
fill me with courageous indignation and indignant courage, and God has
graciously filled my heart with this courage ever since I, on the day of
the news of our complete defeat (November 10), determined to finish
“Egypt.” Never, since I projected the five books on Egypt, when besieged
on the Capitol by the Pope and his followers, and abandoned by the
ministry at Berlin, from January 6th till Easter Sunday, 1838,—never have
I worked with such success. Even the Great Exhibition and the visit of the
Prince and Princess of Prussia have not hindered me. Volume IV. was
finished on Sunday evening, April 27; and Tuesday morning, the 29th, I
wrote at Dover the first chapter of the “Traditions of Prehistoric Times,”
after Easter Sunday had presented me with the above-mentioned Preface. On
the 27th of May all that is entailed by the Prince’s visit ceases again on
the beach at Dover, and on the 1st June I hope to be able to begin with
the “Methodology.” I have now arrived at Leibnitz in the historical
survey, which is to close with Schelling and Hegel, Goethe and Schiller,
and which began with Abraham. Don’t be frightened, it will please you.

But now, if Oxford and the gods of the Veda allow it, you should come
here. George will, before he returns to Bonn, sail up the waters of the
Nile with me; he has written the first sketch of the dissertation, and can
get through everything in Bonn in six weeks; I believe he returns at the
end of the first week.

Think this over. I do so wish for him to see you before he leaves.
Meanwhile I may tell you, _sub rosa_, that on Saturday morning he, with
Colonel Fischer and the charming Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, will go to
Oxford from Birmingham (12 o’clock), and, in strictest _incognito_, show
the Benares of Europe to the future King of Prussia, who is enthusiastic
about England. He will write to you beforehand; he is now asleep, resting
himself, after running about all day yesterday with the Prince, and
staying at a ball till morning.

But enough of the outpourings of my heart. I hasten to business.

First, Empson has sent me the proof-sheets of your article. I mean your
article for the “Edinburgh Review.” Early this morning I read it through
at last, and joyfully and heartily utter my _Macte virtute_. You have
worked up the article since I first read it in MS. far more than I
expected; and certainly with good and practical results. Your examples,
and particularly your notes, will help and please the English reader very
much. The introduction is as excellent (_ad hominem_ and yet dignified) as
the end. Many thanks for it. God will bless it. To-night I shall read out
the article to my wife, children, and Neukomm, as I long ago promised, and
to-morrow I will send it to the printer (with a few corrected misprints),
and will write to Empson “what I think about it.” So far, so good.

Secondly, I find I cannot with honor shrink from some sort of comparison
of my Egyptian forms and roots with the Semitic and Iranian forms and
roots. The facts are so enormously great, that it does not in the least
matter whether the proof can be _thoroughly_ given in all its details. I
have therefore in my need thought of Rödiger, and have sent a letter to
him, of which I inclose a copy. You will see from it that I hold fast to
your friendly promise, to stand by me in the matter of Iran. What I said
on the certainty and satisfactory completeness of the tools contained in
my English edition, is, I am firmly convinced, not too strong. Still, I do
not mean to say that a comparison with rich results might not be
instituted between such Coptic _roots_ (I do not admit it of the
grammatical _forms_) as have not yet been rediscovered among the
hieroglyphics and the ancient Asiatic: some of them may be found again in
ancient Egyptian, almost unformed and not yet ground down; but that is
mere pedantry in most cases. We have enough in what lies before us in the
oldest form in attested documents, to show us the right formula for the
equation.

And now for a few words about my family, which is so truly attached to
you, and watches your success with real affection. But no, I have
something else to say first on the Niebelungen. Your delightful letter
awoke a thought which has often crossed my mind, namely, that it does not
appear to me that the historical and early national element, which is but
thinly veiled under the poetical matter, has ever been sufficiently
searched out and distinguished. Grimm hates the historical elements which
lie beyond his “Beginnings of Nations,” and my late dear friend Lachmann
occupied himself with them most unwillingly. When, in 1825, I wrote that
little treatise in French for Chateaubriand, which he printed in his
“Mélanges,” I went over what had been said on this point, as far as it
concerned me, and I was surprised to see how little had been done in it.
Since that time I have heard of no investigations of the kind. But who can
now believe that the mention of Gunther and the Burgundians is the one
isolated historical fact in the poem? Is it not evident, for instance,
that the myth of the contemporaneousness of Attila and the great Theodoric
of the Ostrogoths has its historical root in the fact that _Theodoric,
King of the Visigoths_, fell in the great battle of Chalons, 451, fighting
against Attila; but his son Thorismund, to revenge his father’s death,
defeated the barbarians in a last assault, and gained the victory, on
which the Franks pursued the Huns even across the Rhine. From this arose
the connection of Attila with _Theodoric, the great King of the
Ostrogoths_, who lived forty years later, and was intimately connected
with the royal family of the Visigoths, and with the kingdom of the
Visigoths, but of course could never have had any dealings with Attila.

If one neglects such intimations, one arrives at last at the Görres and
Grimm clairvoyance, where not only everything is everything, but also
everything again is nothing. Etzel, though, is not really Attila to Grimm,
but the fairy nature of the legend allows of no certain conclusions. But I
find that everywhere, where the tools are not wanting, the fermentation
and decomposition process of the historical element can be proved; from
which organically and by a process exactly analogous to that of the
formation of languages in the first ages of the world, the epic legend
arises, which the genius of the epic poet lays hold of when the time
comes, with a consciousness of an historical destiny; as the tragic poet
does in later times.

If you have time, follow up this idea. This is the weak side of your
generation and guild. The whole national element has been kept too much in
the background in the conceit and high-stiltedness, not to say woodenness,
of our critical researches. Instead of saying with the humorists of the
eighteenth century, “Since Herman’s death nothing new has happened in
Germany,” one ought to say “since Siegfried’s death.” The genius of the
nation which mourned over Herman’s fall and murder was the same that in
its sorrow gave shape to the legend of Sigurd. Must not the hearts of our
ancestors, whose blood flows in our veins, have felt as we do in like
circumstances? The princes and their relatives have betrayed and sold and
murdered the true prince of the German people, even to this day. And yet
were there now but a Siegfried-Herman! “Exsurget aliquando istis ex
ossibus ultor.”

I take this opportunity of calling your attention to a pamphlet by
Bethman-Hollweg, which has just appeared, “The Ancient Germans before the
Migration of Nations.” I send it to you to-day, and you must bring it back
when you come. Send me word by George when you can and will come.

The Exhibition is, and will continue to be, the poetical and historical
event of the period. “Les Anglais ont fait de la poésie sans s’en douter,”
as that excellent Jourdain said of his prose. Come and see it and us as
soon as you can.



[17.]


_Thursday, May 15, 1851_, 7 A. M.

George, in the hurry of his journey, begs you, through me, to be so kind
as to be at the Oxford station when the Birmingham train arrives, Saturday
(the day after to-morrow) at 12 o’clock, and then kindly to help him in
showing Oxford to the _princeps juventutis_. They leave again at 8 o’clock
in the evening. The party will of course want some rooms in the best
hotel, to rest themselves. So it might be well to bespeak some rooms for
the travellers as a _pied à terre_. The party travel under the name of
Colonel Fischer or George Bunsen.

I talked over the whole plan of the forms and roots with that good
Steinschneider yesterday, and requested him to ask you further about it.
He willingly undertook to do the work in the course of the summer. Thus we
have certainly got one, perhaps two, for the Semitic work. I have given
him a copy of my “Egypt.” He seems to be getting _tame_.



[18.]


LONDON, _February 3, 1852._

I have exactly a quarter of an hour before I must make myself grand for
the opening of Parliament, and I will spend it in chatting with you.

I will write to Pococke notwithstanding. I cannot help believing that the
German method of etymology, as applied to history by Schlegel, Lassen, and
Humboldt, and of which I have endeavored to sketch the outline, _is the
only safe one_.

You have opened my eyes to the danger of their laying such dry and cheap
ravings to our account, unless we, “as Germans,” protest against it.

I am rejoiced at your delight with the “Church Poetry.” But Pauli never
sent you what I intended; I wanted to send you the first edition of my
Hymn Book (no longer to be had at the booksellers’), because it has
historical and biographical notices about the composers, and contains in
the Preface and Introduction the first attempt to render the features of
continuity and the epochs more conspicuous. (It is my only copy, so please
for this reason take great care of it.) Also I wish to draw your attention
to _two translations_ from my collection. First by Miss Cox (daughter of
the Bedell in Oxford), _c._ 1840, small 8vo. Second by Arnold (Rugby), not
Dr. Arnold. This last I can send you. It contains _one_ translation by the
great Arnold, first part. You will observe, among other points, that the
most animated hymns of praise and thanksgiving were composed amid the
sufferings of the Thirty Years’ War. My attention has been directed to
Hillebrand’s “History of German Literature,” three volumes, as the _best_
work, and to Vilmar’s ditto, one volume, as the _most popular_. I myself
only possess Gelzer’s thoughtful “Lectures” (from Lessing to Goethe), a
book which I prefer to Gervinus, as far as a just appreciation of the
national character and sentiment is concerned. (With many extracts.) I
rejoice at your cheerful spirit. But now be satisfied, and make more use
of the Romance languages. _Tutius ibis._ You have already sufficient
materials. We can and will benefit this hospitable land, even without
their desiring it; but _cautiously!_ You will laugh at this, and forgive
me; but I know what I am about. Next Saturday Volume II., ready bound,
will lie on my table. The plan of the doctrine of the Trinity, critical
and reconstructive, is a bold undertaking: the restoration of the genuine
substance of the Apostolical constitutions and canons (in the second half
of Volume II.) will probably have at present more success. But Volume
III., The Reconstruction and the Reform! “The two text-books of the Early
Church, The Church and House-Book and The Law-Book,” in biblical
phraseology and orthography, chiefly derived from documents never yet made
known, is my _pièce de résistance_; the sauce for it, in the Introduction,
contains three chapters (The Picture, The Mirror, The Practical
Reconstruction) for each section (Baptism, School, Constitution, Worship,
Life).

So far I had written everything in English, _tant bien que mal_, without
hesitating a moment for thoughts or words. But here the Muse refused,—not
a single idea would flow into my pen. After three days I discovered that
the spirit _would_ and _could_ speak German. So I then hastily added the
first half of the Introduction; and I hope that the first cast of the
whole will be ready this week; and a week later Cottrell will have it for
translation, whilst the text-book (about 140 pages) is being printed in
slips. I am afraid the English edition will not appear before the end of
March; of the second I have already received Volume II. I think you will
approve of the offspring. May Apollo and the Muses enlighten people about
Bernays. I might then hope that he would again come here to me in the
summer.

George has not yet announced his dissertation as “sent in to the faculty:”
till then he is wisely silent. He appears to me to be too much there in
the fashion and in society. May the devil carry off all fashionable women!

John calls. God bless you.

_Wednesday._—_Vivat Müller!_ I am just writing my congratulations to
Bernays. _Vivat Dean!_

Pauli’s book appears in English without his doing anything to it.

You may recommend in Oxford, even to the most refined ladies and most
Christian evangelicals, “Spiritual Words” from Goethe, by Lancizolle, 120
pages, 12mo (3_s_. beautifully bound). That is a German Bible.

You know Wackernagel’s “Anthology”? It is useful, but gives too much of
second rate. I will make my daughters copy out Arndt’s German song for his
eighty-third birthday for you. Adieu.



[19.]


_Saturday, March 13, 1852._

What in all the world is this undertaking to which Vaux asks my aid, the
new edition of Herbelot’s “Bibliothéque Orientale”? It might be made a
good work, although I hate the form, but _everything depends on the
management_. It is otherwise a mere bookseller’s speculation or Jesuit’s
trick. I have answered provisionally that in case biblical literature is
to be taken up (which is highly necessary), Ewald, Freytag, Bernays,
Rödiger, Hengstenberg, and Bernstein should be summoned to help. I don’t
quite trust the thing; but if it is possible to introduce the people to
good ideas, I am ready to aid.

When are you coming? I have sent the last MS. to-day to the press, or
rather to the translator. I have only now reached the point on which I can
really speak in a practical tone. Volume III. will contain 600 pages.



[20.]


LONDON, _November 13, 1852._

Though late, I send you my hearty greetings on your return to England. I
heard from Wilson that you were well, and that you had left your mother
well for the winter.

Hippolytus lies here _ready_ for you, on purpose that you may fetch it. I
hope you will do so on the 18th, for which you have already received the
invitation. You will find Morier also here. Is not that furious and
ridiculous article in the “Morning Chronicle” on the second volume (the
first article, as yet without a continuation) by the same man (of Jesus
College?) on whose article in the “Ecclesiastic” on Hippolytus’ book I
have thrown some degree of light? The leading thought is exactly the same
in both; the account of Calixtus’ knavery is interpolated (by Novatianus),
says the writer in the “Chronicle.” This is a proof that nothing can be
said against my argument requiring a serious answer. Gladstone felt
ashamed of the review. It has helped the book; but it would be read even
without this and the recommendation of the “Guardian”—so Longman says.
_One_ circulating library here has taken twenty-five copies, and wants
more. So the book cannot be ignored; and that is all I first of all wished
for, _aculeum reliqui_. As the people of this country, with a few
exceptions that one can count upon one’s fingers, do not understand the
book, not even the title, and have never had a conception of what it
means, to reproduce the spirit of a century of which men as yet, with the
exception of Irenæus, Tertullian, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Origen, know
only the names and enigmas (of which latter Hippolytus was one), their
fault-finding with the composition of the book does not affect me at all.
In spite of the timidity of nearly _all_ English theologians, _inter muros
academicos et extra_, I have received very many hearty and manly letters
from numerous and distinguished people. The King has, on my
recommendation, sent Dr. Boetticher to spend two years here and in Paris
in order to bring to light the Syriac treasures which have not been laid
claim to by Cureton. I see that I have not been mistaken in him in spite
of his sporadic many-sidedness. I am free from the 2d of December. There
is a letter of mine just printing to Miss Winkworth, “On Niebuhr’s
Political Character,” with extracts from letters.



[21.]


PRUSSIAN LEGATION, _Tuesday, November 30, 1852._

General von Scharnhorst, the worthy and highly educated son of his great
father, intends going to Oxford the day after tomorrow, Thursday, by the
morning express, perhaps to stay over the night. I will give him a line
for you, begging you to set him a little on his way. As to the
collections, geographical charts will be the most interesting to him; he
himself possesses the largest known collection (40,000).

As soon as this infernal game is played out in Paris, I hope to have a
little leisure again. I have written a warning to Bernays: he is very much
out of spirits, and still far behindhand; says he only received the proper
appointment (from Gaisford) in February, and without mention of any fixed
time. He will write to you, and inclose what is done as a specimen. I am
delighted to hear from Lassen that Aufrecht is coming to England. Tell him
to call on me. _Cura ut valeas._ Rawlinson has been preferred to Luynes
and Wilson by the Berlin Academy.



[22.]


_Wednesday, December 15, 1852._

Tell Aufrecht I will try and arrange the affair for him without his paying
any duty; and so at all events there will be a reduction. I was
excessively pleased with Aufrecht. Your parcels for Pertz will go safely
and quickly if they are here on the 1st or 15th of the month.

P. S. Aufrecht must be courageous, and keep in good spirits. Haupt is
called to Berlin, which rather surprises me. Read the “Journal des
Débats,” Sunday, December 12, on Hippolytus. Do you know Laboulaye?



[23.]


PRUSSIAN LEGATION, _February 19, 1853._

Please tell me at leisure how Amestris (Herod, ix. 109) is to be explained
as the wife of Xerxes? I am convinced that _Esther_ is hidden here, which
name, according to the testimony of the Book of Esther, was her _Persian_
name, as she was first called _Myrtle_, as her Jewish maiden name.
Therefore _Am_ must mean “queen,” “mistress,” “lady,” or what you may
discover. I find that the idea had occurred to one and the other even
about 100 years ago; but was given up, partly on account of its
“godlessness;” partly on account of the uncertainty whether Ahasuerus was
really Xerxes, as Scaliger declared. The Suabian simpletons (for they are
so in historical matters) are the only people who now doubt this, and that
the book is historical,—a book with a history on which depends the only
great Jewish feast established since the days of Moses (till the
Purification of the Temple, after the fall of Epiphanes). So, my dear M.,
send it to me. There can have been at that same time, in Persia, but one
woman so vindictive and clever as Esther is. The first volume of my
Prophets (from Abraham to Goethe) is ready, with a popular explanation of
the age of the so-called “Great Unknown” (Isaiah) of Daniel, and _all the
Psalms_, etc. I write _only German_ for this, but only _for the English_,
and yet without any reserve.

The most remarkable of the thirteen articles which I have seen on
Hippolytus, is by Taylor (a Unitarian in Manchester), in the “Prospective
Review” (February). He confesses that I have made the principle of the
Trinity, and the national blessing of the Episcopacy and the Liturgy,
clear to him. I have never seen him, but he seems to me a deep thinker. I
am again in correspondence with Bernays, who promises to work at Lucretius
with all diligence. I think he has more leisure, and his health is better.

To-morrow the new African expedition sets sail,—Dr. Vogel, the botanical
astronomer, and his army, two volunteers from the sappers and miners. I am
fully occupied with this; and but for my curiosity about Esther, you would
not have had a line from me before Monday.



[24.]


PRUSSIAN LEGATION, _Monday_.

My best thanks. All hail to the “Great Esther.” She was really called
Myrtle, for Hadascha is in Hebrew the myrtle—a name analogous to Susannah
(the lily). That Esther is ἁστῆρ has long been generally admitted, also
that Xerxes is Ahasverus. The analogy of Achasverosh and Kshayarsha has
also been proved. Finally, the chronology is equally decisive. The only
thing still wanting is _Amestris_. What it is still important to know, is,
whether _Ama_, “great,” was a common designation of exalted personages, or
specially of _queens_ (in opposition to the _Pallakai_), or whether the
name is to be considered as an adjective to _star, magna Stella_. The
first interpretation would make the Jewish statement more clear. I think
decidedly it is the most natural. It is conceivable that Uncle Otanes,
like l’oncle de Madame l’Impératrice, should have taken a distinguished
name, just as the Hebrew _myrtle_ had been changed into a Persian _star_.
But there is not the least hurry about all this.

I rejoice extremely over your extemporary lectures. You are now on the
open sea, and “will go on swimmingly.” Always keep the _young men_ well in
mind, and arrange your lectures entirely for them. I should think that the
history of Greek literature (with glances backwards and forwards) after O.
Müller’s “History of Greek Literature,” would be a fine subject. Mure’s
book gives many an impulse for further thought. In what concerns the Latin
inscriptions, you must rely on _Gruter’s_ “Thesaurus,” after him on
Morelli; of the more recent, only on Borghese and Sarti, and on the little
done by my dear Kellermann. There is nothing more rare than the power of
copying accurately.

Be patient with ——, if he has an honest mind. I can fancy that such a
mind, having been torn, wronged, and bothered, has become very
cross-grained. Only patience and love can overcome this.

Overweg has fallen a victim to his noble zeal; he lies buried in the Lake
of Tsad. Vogel is happily already on the way to Malta and Tripoli.



[25.]


PRUSSIAN LEGATION, _March 21, 1853._

Mrs. Malcolm and Longman are as delighted as I am that Dr. Thomson will
have the great kindness to write a preface to the “Theologia Germanica,”
and to look through the last proof-sheets. Longman has informed me this
morning that he makes over _half the net profits_ to Mrs. Malcolm, and
leaves to her the future arrangements with Dr. Thomson. Mrs. Malcolm
wishes for nothing for herself, but will hand over the profits to some
religious institution. Will you arrange the matter with Dr. Thomson?
Longman wishes to begin on the 15th of May, or even earlier, if everything
is ready for press. Of course Dr. Thomson knows the beautiful (though not
exhaustive, for it is unfinished) treatment of the history of this school,
in the last volume of Neander’s “Church History,” published after his
death; in which that delightful little book by Dr. C. Schmidt, “Johannes
Tauler” (Heidelberg, 1841), is made use of. You know that the author has
proved that the famous story of the conversion of Tauler by a layman is
_real history_. The man was called Nicholas of Basle, and was in secret
one of the Waldenses, and was afterwards burnt as such in France. I can
lend this little book to your excellent friend, as well as Martensen’s
“Master Eckhardt” (1842), and the authentic copy of the rediscovered
South-German MS. of the “Theologia Germanica.”

Master Eckhardt was the deepest thinker of his school. Does Dr. Thomson
ever come to London? God bless you.



[26.]


_April 8, 1853._

——’s attempt on “St. Hippolytus” is a new proof that he no longer even
understands Greek. The critical conjecture about the spuriousness of the
tenth book is worthy of the champion of the false Ignatius as against
Cureton. Many thanks for your news about Dr. Thomson, which I have
imparted to Mrs. Malcolm.



[27.]


LONDON, _May 12, 1853._

I am going to-day to 77 Marina, St. Leonard’s-on-Sea (near Hastings), till
the 21st or 23d, and do not see why you cannot pay me a visit there. Our
hosts, the Wagners, would be delighted to give you a room, and—the sea a
bath.

I take refuge there in order to write a new half-volume for the so-called
second edition of Hippolytus. The whole will, however, really be a new
work in three separate works and six volumes.

I hear that —— has lost his father. In future, when you send such a shy
Englishman to me, let me know beforehand that he comes to talk over
something with me. I had the greatest wish, and leisure too, to do all he
wanted, but discovered only after he was gone that he came to ask me
something.

A young friend, Dr. Arnold’s son, has translated Wiese’s book on schools,
and wishes to know whether the translation about which you have written to
Wiese, has been or will be really printed; otherwise he will publish his.
Or has any other already appeared? I have been turning tables with
Brewster. It is purely mechanical, the involuntary motion of the muscles
of the hand to right or left, just like the ring on a thread with which
one can strike the hour. Every one is mad about it here. _Che razza di
gente._

Now comes an urgent private request. Bekker wishes to publish a grand
work, through the Clarendon Press, in return for a proper honorarium,—a
definitive edition of Homer, with every possible commentary that could be
wished. This is a great work, worthy of the University and of Bekker. I
should like to learn through you what would be the Dean’s opinion, who is,
I think, favorably inclined to Bekker. It appears to me to be especially
needful to guard against the work appearing as a _rechauffé_ of Wolf, a
party-work, for which the sanction of the University is desired. The
proposal is “To publish a definitive edition of Homer, with Scholia and
Commentary, making it as complete and _absolutum_ as is wished.” Please
take the first good opportunity. I wanted to speak to the excellent man
myself when he was in London, but came too late. Hearty greetings to
Aufrecht. Bötticher works famously.



[28.]


ST. LEONARD’S, _Saturday, May 22, 1853._

I think incessantly of you, though I cannot fancy that you are in any
danger. I have written to my brotherly friend Philip Pusey to help you, if
needful. If you wish for good advice about the different parties, combined
with perfect acquaintance with the place and people, go to him. I know few
men so able to give good advice. Besides, he is very much attached to you.

The inclosed has just reached me through George. I will write to Bekker
according to your advice. That your intercourse with A. has become so
delightful and comfortable fulfills a hope I have cherished ever since I
first saw him. I think that you have given him, in all respects, a
delightful position. The German cannot easily get over the idea that God’s
providence shows itself far less in the eternal government of the world,
and in the care taken of every soul, than in an appointment to the civil
service. There are few such places in England for men of genius. But he
cannot fail with us in Germany, if he distinguishes himself in England;
only he should in time undertake some important and great work.

The Cologne choir sing here from the 7th to the 21st of June. Eighty
voices. It will be a great treat. Arrange so as to hear something of it.
Carl is Secretary of Legation and Chargé d’Affaires at Turin. George tills
the ground, but not yet his own; but that will come some day, like the
kingdom of heaven. Henry is preparing to collate the “Codex
Claromontanus,” and has already worked well on the imperfect text. Ernst
arranges his garden and house, and has made a bowling-green for me. I am
now translating my Hippolytus into historical language, in what I call a
second edition. Write soon, as to how it is arranged about your
professorship.



[29.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _Derby Day_.

I received your letter here yesterday, from St. Leonard’s, and wrote at
once to Pusey. I think it will all go right. In your place, I would go at
once to Pusey, after announcing myself the previous day.

Tell me why cannot you help that good A. to the £250 for the best treatise
on the Sankhya philosophy? I believe he has the right stuff in him for
opposing Pantheism, which is what is desired.

Now for a request. I am writing the second of my five works, which have
been called into existence by Hippolytus.

Sketches on the Philosophy of the History of Mankind:—

A. On the Philosophy of Language.
B. On the Philosophy of Religion.

A. is a reproduction and improved arrangement of the lecture in Oxford,
which now lies buried in the “Transactions.” In working over the
historical part, I have put aside a chapter, “The Primitive Languages in
India;” but find out, just as I intended to make you the _heros eponymus_,
that you only dealt in your lecture with Bengali, the Sanskrit affinity of
which requires to be demonstrated only to such wrong-headed men as the
Buddhists are. Could you not write a little article on this for my book?
The original language in India _must_ have been Turanian, not Semitic; but
we are bound in honor to prove it.

_Monday, May 30._—My letter has been left unsent. I have just received
yours. Let me repeat what I wrote and underlined on the first page. It is
a great trial of patience, but _be_ patient, that is, wise. One must never
allow the toilsome labor of years of quiet reflection and of utmost
exertion for the attainment of one’s aim to be destroyed by an
unpropitious event. It is most probable, and also the best for you, that
the affair should not now be hurried through. Your claims are stronger
every quarter, and will certainly become more so in the eyes of the
English through good temper and patience under trying circumstances. I
don’t _for a moment doubt_ that you will be elected. Germany would suit
you now as little as it would me; and we both should not suit Germany.
_Spartam quam nactus es orna_, your good genius cries to you. So patience,
my dear friend, and _with a good will_.

Bötticher is on the eve of bringing to a successful issue his thesis,
“That the triliteral roots have become biliteral, according to an organic
law.” He has advanced very much in critical research. I shall write a
_reductio ad absurdum_ review on the Rev. —— ——. It is really a book
written _invita Minerva_.

Write soon again to me. With hearty sympathy and true friendship.

Can you do anything for the good man in Naumburg?



[30.]


LONDON, _July 1, 1853._

Good morning, my dear M. You were so good as to promise me _a chapter_ for
my “Sketch of the History of the Philosophy of Language;” namely, the
results of the latest investigations concerning the unity and Turanian
character of the non-Sanskrit languages of India. The printing of _my_
three volumes goes on so fast that I am already revising the Celtic
portion, of which Meyer is the Heros.

If, in your researches on the relationship of the Vedic language with
Zend, you have hit on new formulas, please gather these results together
into a separate chapter. Only one request,—without any delay, for the
printing _presses_. I hope you are satisfied about your future in Oxford.
Greet your friend and companion, whom we all liked very much. Again four
new men from Dessau among the arrivals! One is a famous actor from Berlin,
and has brought a letter from Lepsius. Lucien Bonaparte (brother of
Canino) is now writing a book here, “Sur l’Origine des Langues.” _No war!_



[31.]


_Monday, July 5, 1853._

A word of explanation, with my best thanks. I do not want the
Egyptian-Iranian work before September. I am just printing the treatise on
the “Origin of Languages” as a part of my philosophical work, and in it I
would gladly have something _on you_, and _from you_, on the
non-Sanskritic languages. Both chapters can be quite short, only definite.
You must help me over these two chapters. I shall soon send you as a
reminder the proof-sheets of what goes before, that you may see how I am
driven for it. So write away, regardless of consequences. You are by
instinct far too cautious for me to feel the least hesitation about saying
this.

I am going on rapidly with the printing of my four volumes, and write _con
amore_ at the eighth (Hippolytus I.) The court goes on the 12th for a week
to Dublin. All right. No war, only uplifted fists!



[32.]


LONDON, _Friday Evening, July 9, 1853_.

Here follow the sheets, which I have just looked through, and where I wish
to have two short chapters interpolated. We have one page for each, as the
last leaf remains blank. Besides this, there is room for many additions to
the other chapters, which I commend to your critical and sympathizing
attention. Your Breslau friend has never called on me. He may have been at
the office whilst I was out. He would be welcome. Your opinion about
Sidney Pusey has set me at ease. Go soon to Pusey’s, to see the old man
himself.



[33.]


LONDON, _Tuesday Morning, July 13, 1853_.

“What one desired in youth one obtains in old age.” I felt this as I read
your chapter yesterday evening. It is exactly what I first wished to know
myself, in order to tell it to my readers. You have done it after my own
heart,—only a little too briefly, for a concluding sentence on the
connection of the language of the Achæmenian Inscriptions with Zend is
wanting. Pray write for me at once just such a Turanian chapter. I have
introduced that chapter this morning as coming from you, and have placed
your name in the list of investigators mentioned in the title, where it
belongs. For the Turanian part, however, you must yourself write me such
an Introduction as I shall only need to preface by a line. I mean, you
should give what you send me as the result of a portion of the
investigations with which you have busied yourself in your Oxford
Lectures, and which you intend to publish in your “Vestiges.” Never mind
space; it will all fit in. You have just hit the right tone and measure,
and have written the little chapter just after my own heart, though I
first learnt the matter from what you told me. Do you wish to see the list
of examples to “Grimm’s Law” again, which you made out for my lecture, and
which I shall give in my Appendix in order to make any additions? I have
as much space as you wish, even for new Appendices, if you will only give
me some. This will be a pet book of mine, and a forerunner of my
“Philosophy of History.” I do not doubt but that it will be read in
England, and indeed before all my other works on Hippolytus; for I give it
as a philosophical key to Hippolytus. I find that though at first
despised, it has in the last few months become the favorite part of my
Hippolytus. Write me a line to say how you are, and what you are about.
Again, my dear M., my best thanks.

P. S. Is there anything to be said in the text, or Appendix, or in both,
about the real results of Aufrecht’s investigations on the Italian
languages? I should like to take the opportunity of bringing his name
before the English public.



[34.]


_Wednesday, July 14, 1853._

This will do, my dear M. To-morrow early I will send you the fifth
chapter, printed, for correction, and expect your other chapter.
Concerning A., it is clear _you_ must write that chapter, for A. can do it
as little as I. So let me have that too. In the Catalogue of the examples
for “Grimm’s Law,” get everything ready, and I will then send you the
sheet, that you may enter the additions and corrections,—or, better still,
you can send me the additions and corrections first, and I will have them
inserted at once. Please do this.



[35.]


LONDON, _July 15, 1853_.

Your MS., my dear friend, is just dispatched to the printer, with the
order to send the proof of the whole chapter direct to you at Oxford. Send
the Mongolian chapter as soon as you conveniently can, but not sooner;
therefore, when your head is more free. The printing goes on, and it
cannot be paged till _your_ chapters are ready, and also I hope the
Italian one from Aufrecht, to whom I am writing about it to-day. He can
send it to me in German. You must give him some help as to the length and
form. It is best for him, if I _personally_ introduce him to the English
public, amidst which he now lives, and to which he must look for the
present. So I hope to receive a real masterpiece from the Oxford Mission
of German Science.

_Vale. Cura ut valeas. Totus tuus._



[36.]


_Tuesday, July 20, 1853._ 10 o’clock.

“As to the language of the Achæmenians, represented to us by the Persian
texts of the Cuneiform inscriptions”—so I began this morning, determined
to interpolate a paragraph which is wanting in your beautiful chapter,
namely, the relationship of the language of the inscriptions to that of
the Zend books, including the history of the deciphering with Grotefend in
the background, at the same time avoiding the sunken rocks of personal
quarrels (Burnouf contra Lassen). My young house-pundit gives the credit
to Burnouf (as he first informed Lassen of the idea about the satrapies).
However, it seems to me only natural that you should write the conclusion
of this chapter yourself. I shall also write a short chapter on Babylon,
for which I have still to read Hincks only, an uncomfortable author, as he
has no method or clearness, probably also therefore no principles.

Now let us make this little book as attractive and useful to the English
as we can; for that is really our mission.

Böticher asks if you do not wish to say something on the two dialects of
Zend, discovered by Spiegel,—an inquiry which delights me, as Bötticher
and Spiegel are at war, and in German fashion have abused each other.



[37.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _Friday Morning_, _July 23, 1853_.

Anything so important, so new, and so excellent, as what you send me can
never be too long. Your table is already gone to the printer. With regard
to the general arrangement, I would ask you to keep the plan in mind.

1. That _all references_ (as for instance the table of the forty-eight
languages) belong to the Appendix or Appendices.

2. The arrangement of the leading ideas and facts to the text (Chapter
X.).

3. Nothing must be wanting that is necessary for the establishing a new
opinion.

Your _tact_ will in all cases show you what is right. The justification of
those principles you will assuredly find with me in the arrangement of all
the other chapters, and of the whole work, as also in the aim in view,
namely, to attract all educated Englishmen to these inquiries, and show
them what empty straw they have hitherto been threshing.

Greet Aufrecht, and thank him for his parcel. I cannot arrange Chapter IV.
till I have his whole MS. before me. I can give him till Tuesday morning.

The separate chapters (twelve) I have arranged according to the chronology
of the founders of the schools. What is still in embryo comes as a
supplement; as Koelle’s sixty-seven African Languages, and Dietrich and
Bötticher’s Investigation of Semitic Roots. If your treatise is not so
much a statement of Schott, Castrén, and Co. as your own new work, you
shall have the last chapter for yourself.

And now, _last but not least_, pray send me a transliteration table, _in
usum Delphini_. I will have it printed at the end of the Preface, that
everybody may find his way, and I shall turn in future to it, and see that
all transliterations in the book accord with it. I must ask for it
therefore by return. You understand what we want. “A transliteration
alphabet, for explaining the signs employed,” would be a good precursor to
yours and Lepsius’ scientific work. We shall do well to employ in the text
as few technical letters as possible.

To-day I am going to see the “Bride of Messina” for the first time in my
life. I have no idea that the piece can possibly produce any effect; and I
am afraid that it may fail. But Devrient is of good courage.



[38.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _July 29, 1853_.

“What is long delayed must be good when it comes.” So I would be patient
till you had really caught your Tartar, did I not fear that my dear friend
was suffering again from his wretched headaches. Meanwhile I worked up the
Italica, and the summary of the sixty-seven African languages is getting
into shape, and the printer’s devils are run off their legs. It would be
delightful if my dear M. were to send me soon the chapter on the Mongols;
only he must not work up a headache. You will have received my Schott last
week by book post.

I have not been well. Theodora has had gastric fever, but is quite on the
mend since this morning.

At last I have received Lassen III. (2) with the map.



[39.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _Tuesday, August 2, 1853_. Half-past eleven o’clock.

My courier occupied me till nine. Since then I have read through your
letter with intense delight; and now in a quarter of an hour I must go to
the railway for a country party with Grote. I hasten to thank you for this
beautiful gem for my Introduction and for my whole book. You shall have
the last word. Your treatise is the only one in the collection which
extends beyond isolated types of speech and families, although it
preserves throughout the scientific method of Indo-Germanic philology. It
was a double refreshment to me, as out of conscientiousness I had looked
at and skimmed through L.’s perverse books. What determined impudence
there is in that man!

Whilst I am looking over my materials, among which Aufrecht’s contribution
looks very well, I feel very strongly the want of a report of the last
results of the Caucasian languages. My two lines on Rosen look too
miserable; also new works have appeared on the subject. Samiel help!

I am entirely of your opinion concerning the transliteration, but I
maintain that you must send me a table (key) to _your_ own
transliteration. For your table of the forty-eight is otherwise not easy
for my good English readers, or even for me; and to most it is
unintelligible. With the others I shall soon find my way.

I intend to insert a chapter on definite terminology. I think it must be
settled from the only tenable hypothesis, namely, the spreading abroad
from one central point in mid-Asia,—that is, from the great district which
(originally) was bounded towards the north by the open Polar Sea, with the
Ural Island or Peninsula; to the west by the Caucasus and Ararat; east by
the Altai and Altan Mountains; and south by the continuation of the Taurus
Mountains, which stretch in the interior from west east, as far as the
Hindu-Kush.

Therefore, for Turanian == Ural-Altaic, or the northeastern branch.

For Semitic == Aramean, from Aram, the Mesopotamian highland.

For Japhetic == Eastern highland, or southeastern branch.

What do you think of this? I must get free from Semitie, etc., because
_Chamitic_ appears to be primitive Semitic, just as Turanian leans towards
Iranian.

The carriage is there. Best thanks to Aufrecht.

You are indulging in a beautiful dream if you imagine that I have Dietrich
here. I have studied his two volumes. I wish I could summon him to help
me. He was most anxious to come to England. I am afraid of a young scholar
whom I do not know personally.



[40.]


_August 4, 1853._

Only a word, my dear friend, to express to you my delight and admiration
at your Turanian article. I was so carried away by it that I was occupied
with it till far into the night. It is exhaustive, convincing, and
succinct.

What do you feel about the present state of the investigations on the
Basque? I have convinced myself by my extracts from the grammar and
dictionary that Basque is Turanian, but I have nothing fit for printing. I
have never seen Rask’s work. Do you know it, and can you make anything out
of it?

There is only one point on which I do not agree with you. You say there is
no purely monosyllabic language. But even that wretched modern Chinese has
no dissyllabic word, as that would entail a loss of the accent. Or do you
deny this? I have covered the baldness of our German vulgarism, “thief,”
“liar,” in Böhtlingk versus Schott, and said, “With an animosity more
German than Attic.” Does that please you? Greetings to Aufrecht.



[41.]


ABBEY LODGE, _August 22, 1853_.

(Continuation of our conversation.) Before anything else, finish the
Iranian Chapter III. for me, a copy of which I gave you; that is to be
printed at once, as the Italic Chapter II. is printed, and needs only
revising. You will shake this at once out of your conjuring bag, won’t
you?



[42.]


HIGHWOOD, _Friday, August 26, 1853_.

It strikes me, my dearest M., that we should be more correct in
christening your essay _Arian_, instead of _Iranian_. I have always used
_Iranian_ as synonymous with _Indo-Germanic_ (which expresses too much and
too little) or (which is really a senseless name) Indo-European: Arian for
the languages of Aria in the wider sense, for which Bactria may well have
been the starting-point. Don’t you think we may use Arian, when you
confine yourself to Sanskrit, Zend, and Parsi?

I get more and more angry at L.’s perverseness in doubting that the
Persians are Aryans. One cannot trace foreign words in Persian, and just
these it must have carried off as a stigma, if there were any truth in the
thing. One sees it in Pehlevi. But then, what Semitic _forms_ has Persian?
The curious position of the words in the _status constructus_ is very
striking. Yet you have explained that. Where, then, are the _Aramœisms_ in
the Achæmenian Inscriptions, which surely are Persian in the strictest
sense? Earlier the Persians may have been tormented by the Turanians, and
even subjugated; but the Babylonian rule of Shemites over Persia cannot be
of old date. About 2200 B. C., on the contrary, the Bactrians conquered
Babylon, and kept it for a long time. But would not totally different
corruptions have appeared in Persian, if they had allowed their language
to be so entirely ruined? A corruption, and then a later purification
through the Medes, sounds Quixotic. Will you not prove this point?

If you can give some chronological landmarks for the epoch of the Veda
dialect, pray do so. There is so much in Lassen, that one learns nothing.
I fancied the age of the Mahâbhârata and Râmâyana epoch was tolerably
settled, and that thus a firm footing had been gained, as the language is
that of the same people and the same religion. If you can say anything in
the language-chapter about the genealogy of the mythological ideas it
would be delightful for you to take possession of it, without encroaching
on your own future explanations. And so good luck to you!



[43.]


HIGHWOOD, _Friday Morning_, _August 26, 1853_.

Your hearty and affectionate words for my birthday added to the happiness
of the day, which I spent here in the quiet of the country, with my
family. I have long looked on you as one of us; and when I look forward
into the future, I see your form as one of the bright points which there
present themselves to me. You groan now under the burden of a very heavy
mountain, which you have taken on your shoulders as others would take a
block; only the further you advance, the more will you be satisfied that
it is a part of the edifice which you will yet find time to finish; and at
the same time it will stand by itself as a κτῆμα ἐς ἀεί.

George is well, and will be with us to-morrow week; Theodora a week later.

Place your essay where you will. I find the connection with the Gothic by
means of “Grimm’s Law” most natural. The foundation of my arrangement was
the purely external idea of progression from the nearer to the more
remote,—from the known to the unknown. I hope that next time Aufrecht’s
muse will give us an intermediate chapter on the Hellenes, Pelasgians,
Thracians, Æolians, Dorians, and Ionians; it is curious enough that these
are entirely passed over. I do not know, though, what positive facts have
resulted up to now from comparative philology as regards the Hellenic
element. An historical insight is needed here, such as Ottfried Müller had
just begun to acquire when death robbed us of his noble mind. But Müller
really understood _nothing_ of comparative philology, as the Introduction
to his Etruscans proves. The Pelasgians must have been a nearly connected
people; the Thracians were certainly so. But from the north comes Hellas,
and from Hellas the Ionian Asia Minor. However, the history of the
language falls infinitely earlier than the present narrow chronologists
fancy. The Trojan War, that is the struggle of the Æolian settlers with
the Pelasgians, on and around the sea-coast, lies nearer 2000 than 1000 B.
C. The synchronisms require it. It is just the same with Crete and Minos,
where the early Phœnician period is out of all proportion older than
people imagine. Had we but monuments of Greek, like the Fratres Arvales in
Latin! Homer is so modern; even though he certainly belongs to the tenth
or eleventh century. That was a time in which the Hellenic mind sang the
history of the creation in the deep myth of Prometheus, the son of
Iapetos, with his three brothers, the emblem of humanity; a poem which
Homer no longer understood.

Now cheer up, my dearest friend. The book must come out.

Truly and cheerfully yours.

My wife sends her hearty greetings.



[44.]


LONDON, _September 2, 1853_.

My good wishes follow you to Wales, without knowing your address; so for
my letter I must apply to Aufrecht. I hope you will speedily send me the
linguistic proof that the noble Vedic hymn you sent us belongs to at least
1,000 years—not B. C., but before the language of the epic poets. Still
this cannot really be the oldest; for it already contains a perfect
reflection of the old poetic age.

Hare thinks the translation excellent, as I do; only one expression,
“Poets in their hearts discerned,” we can understand only if we make it
“have discerned” (or seen)—for otherwise it is only a continuation of the
narrative, which cannot be the meaning. Send it to me in German, for
Schelling.

It is cold and rainy here; so don’t find fault with Wales, if you are
having bad weather there. _Cura ut valeas._ All the Muses be with you.



[45.]


LONDON, _Friday Morning_, _September 24, 1853_.

You have sent me the most beautiful thing you have yet written. I read
your Veda essay yesterday, first to myself, and then to my family circle
(including Lady Raffles, your great friend _in petto_), and we were all
enchanted with both matter and form. I then packed up the treasure at
once; at nine it goes to the printers. I think that the translation of the
hymn is really improved; it is not yet quite clear to me whether instead
of “poets discerned,” it should not be “poets discern,” or “have
discerned,” which is at all events the meaning. And now, I hope the same
father of the Muses, with their mother, Mnemosyne, will accompany you into
the Turanian wilderness, and give you courage to adopt the poor Malays;
that in the next separate edition of this sketch, as Mithridates, we may
already have the links for joining on Australia and East Africa. We go on
printing valiantly. Dietrich has at once accepted my proposal with true
German good-nature, although he has only been married for seven months to
a young and charming wife. His good mother-in-law tried to shorten the six
months, which he at first offered; but that would neither suit me nor him:
so I have written to him to come away at once—to arrive here the 16th of
October, instead of in November, that I may dismiss him with my blessing
early in April.

J. Mohl is here, and Rosen. Both go on Monday. I give them on Saturday
(to-morrow) an evening party of _literati_, to which I have invited
Wilson, Norris, Loftus, Birch, etc., etc. Mohl, as well as Rosen, would
like to see you. Could not you by a stroke of genius fly here, rest
yourself Sunday, and think on Monday if you really need go back again?
Theodore is here, and George is expected. My household all share my wish
to see you. Greetings to Aufrecht.

Bötticher has discovered a fragment of Livy (palimpsest), and the Greek
translation of Diocles, who, 120 B. C., wrote the “Founding of Rome”
(fragment).

Another idea has just struck me. Could one not perhaps make the original
unity of Aryans and Europeans clear, if one furnished the hymn written in
Latin letters, with an interlinear translation, just as you once gave me
an intuition of the first lines, which I have never forgotten. The
translation would be best in Latin, with references to the other
languages, according as the one or the other of them contains certain
radicals with the same meaning as in Sanskrit. If you do not like this,
you must prepare for me a Vedic Paternoster, just as Lepsius devised for
me a pyramido-Pharaonic, and now prepares a Nubian.

I have announced you as a member of the Assyrian Society, and so saved you
three guineas. It is arranged that whoever pays two guineas should receive
all reports, transactions, etc. I have therefore inserted your name, with
two guineas, and paid it.

Lord Clarendon has, on my recommendation, attached Loftus to the embassy
at Constantinople, so that he has a position at Bagdad and Mosul. He
leaves on the 1st of October, and we give him a parting entertainment on
the 28th of this month. The plan is a secret, but we hope great things
from it. I hope to secure the best duplicates for the Berlin Museum.

A Cheruscan countryman, personally unknown to me, Schütz from Bielefeld,
the Sanskritist, has asked, with antique confidence, for a bed for his
young daughter, on her way to Liverpool as a governess, which we have
promised him with real pleasure. This has again shown me how full Germany
is of men of research and mind. O! my poor and yet wealthy Fatherland,
sacrificed to the Gogym (heathen)!



[46.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _Monday, October 17, 1853_, 10 o’clock.

I have already admonished the printer most seriously. You have revised the
tables _once_, but they had to be fresh printed on account of the
innumerable alterations. But that is no reason why you should not get
them. You would have had them long ago, had I had an idea of it. I am
impatiently awaiting yours and Aufrecht’s revision of Chapters II., III.,
and IV., which I sent you myself last week. This _presses_ very much.
_You_ have not much to do to them. I will look after the correct English
here with Cottrell; but all the rest Aufrecht can shake out of his bag. In
your letter you say nothing of having received them. They were taken to
the book-post on Monday evening, the 16th, a week ago, and sent off.

_Mi raccomanda, Signor Dottore, per il manuscritto._ I will arrange the
printing as much as possible according to your wishes. Much depends on the
manner in which you organize the whole. With short chapters, easily looked
through, the whole can be brought forward as a treatise intended for _all_
readers. I have not, however, been so fortunate with my Semitic essay; I
have printed a good deal of it in small print, partly to save space (for
the volume on the “Philosophy of Religion” must really not be even half as
thick as the first), partly on account of the legibility.

I am so sorry to hear from Pertz that you have been suffering from
headache. I hope you are quite well and brisk again.



[47.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _Saturday Morning, October 22, 1853_, 10 o’clock.

All right, my dear friend. I have already sent everything off to the
printer. It is certainly better so. Where practicable you should have
_two_ chapters instead of _one_.

Ffoulkes’ book shall be taken care of, either on the 1st or 15th. The same
with the “Bampton Lectures,” if it is wished. I shall receive Mr. Thomson
_summo cum honore_.

But now, my dear friend, where does the great Turanian essay hide itself?
Pray let me soon receive something, not later than Monday or Tuesday; send
it as a parcel by parcels’ delivery, or, which is the cheapest and
quickest, by book-post, which takes MS. (not letters) as well as printed
matter, and forwards both for 6_d._ the lb.

I have sent my most difficult task to the printers, “Origin of the Three
Gospels as part of the Second Age, 66-100.” I am longing for the promised
addenda from Aufrecht on the Haruspex. The printing is stopped for it,
also for the answer about a hieroglyphic which is unintelligible in
London, instead of the honest _amâ_==mother, which is not good enough for
him.



[48.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _Monday Evening, October 24, 1853._

“It has lightened—on the Danube!”

It is of too much importance to me to have my dear Turanian’s thoughts
according to his own best way and form, for me not to be ready to wait
till the end of November. The entire work, in seven volumes, must come out
together, and I can keep back till then the first part of the
“Philosophy,” which is entirely printed in slips up to your chapter, and
go on with the second. Just look once at that book by the Scotch
missionary, “The Karens, or Memoir of Ko-tha-bya,” by Kincaid, on the
Karens in Pegu. He maintains the unity of the Karens and Kakhyans, another
form of the same, and of all the scattered branches of the same race,
starting from Thibet (five millions altogether) as the remnant of a once
very powerful people. To judge from the representations the race must be
_very handsome_. Frau von Helfer told me the same, and she knows them.
There are extracts given in the “Church Missionary Intelligence,” October,
1853. Prichard says little about it, and has no specimens of the language.
I have not got Latham at hand. Haruspex is printing; it waits for the
conclusion. I have received Thomson’s “Bampton Lectures.” Where does
_rife_ come from—Anglo-Saxon _ryfe_? It means prevalent, abundant.



[49.]


_Friday Morning, October 28, 1853._

Here is the printer’s excuse. It is useless to think of printing at
Oxford. You had better now keep the tables, in case you make more
alterations, till you have quite finished your work, that nothing more may
require alteration, but what you change during your work. I will send you
Kincaid, if it is in London. Perhaps by a smile from the Muses you can get
the first part ready in November. Is the Dean back? Good-by.



[50.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _Monday, November 1, 1853._

Please send me the letter for Humboldt. I will inclose it. Write him (and
me) word in English what are the name and object of the Taylor
Institution, and the name of the office. You will receive Kincaid from me.
I will see after the tables. So courage.



[51.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _Tuesday Evening, November 2, 1853._

I have written to Humboldt to announce your letter and request, so write
at once direct to him. I have told Pertz to send me the treatise of Schott
by the courier on the 15th. So you will receive it on the 20th of this
month. I have again admonished the printer. God bless you.



[52.]


LONDON, _Wednesday, February 8, 1854._

My heartiest congratulations on your well-earned success (Taylorian
Professorship). Your position in life now rests on a firm foundation, and
a fine sphere of work lies before you; and that in this heaven-blest,
secure, free island, and at a moment when it is hard to say whether the
thrones of princes or the freedom of nations is in greatest danger. I send
you the papers as they are. There is hope that the war may yet be rendered
impossible.

With true affection yours.

Thanks for your Schleswig communication.



[53.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _April 14, 1854._

DEAREST FRIEND,—So it is. My father has not up to this moment received a
recall, and probably will not, in spite of the efforts of the Russians,
within and without Berlin. On the other hand, we expect to-morrow the
reply to an answer sent by my father in opposition to a renewed and very
impetuous offer of leave of absence. In this answer (of the 4th of this
month) my father made his accepting leave of absence dependent on the
fulfillment of certain conditions guaranteeing his political honor. If the
reply expected to-morrow from Berlin does not contain those conditions,
nothing remains but for my father to send in his resignation and leave the
Prussian mock negotiations to be fought through by another Prussian
ambassador. If they are accorded to him, he will go on long leave of
absence. But in either case he will certainly remain provisionally in
England. More I cannot tell, but this is enough to give you information
_confidentially_.

Dietrich is gone, and begged me to tell you, that in spite of constant
work at it here, he could not finish your commission. He will have leisure
in Marburg to make it all clear for you, and will send the packet here by
the next courier. I will send you a line to-morrow as to the events of the
day. My father does not go into the country before Tuesday.

GEORGE BUNSEN.



[54.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _Maundy Thursday, April, 1854._

MY DEAR FRIEND,—The bearer, Herr von Fennenberg from Marburg, has brought
me greetings and a little book from Thiersch, and wishes to be introduced
to you. He is a philologist, in particular a Sanskritist. He wishes to
have a place or employment that would make it possible for him to stay in
England. I know no one who could better advise him than you. Before you
receive these lines you will hear from George about me. I am determined to
fight through the crisis, and am quite calm.



[55.]


CARLTON TERRACE, _Wednesday, May 10, 1854._

DEAR FRIEND,—Of course Dietrich has sent nothing. The affair presses. My
summary of the Semitic alphabet (lithographed) gives the summary of the
system of transliteration used in this work, and is also in the press. Set
aside then what is still wanting, and hurry on the matter for me. My
journey to Heidelberg with my family, who at all events go on the 20th,
depends on the work being finished. To-day I take refuge at St.
Leonard’s-on-Sea, 77 Marina, till the telegraph calls me to London to
receive my letters of recall. I depend, therefore, on your friendly help
in one of the most important parts of the book. All right here; the house
is deserted, but the heart rejoices and the soul already spreads its
wings. Truly yours.

Just starting. Dear M., pray send the MS. Spottiswoode lays everything on
you.



[56.]


77 MARINA, ST. LEONARD’S, _Monday Morning, May 15, 1854._

Your despairing letter of Thursday has alarmed me very much. You had
offered me the alternative of leaving out the Semitic tables, if Dietrich
does not send them by the courier. I did _not_ write to him, as the
omission of that list really did not seem to me a great misfortune. But
now you say something quite new to me, and most dreadful, that you cannot
make the _corrections_ without having what I am unable to procure for you.
I must own I cannot make this out. Trusting to your goodwill to do the
_utmost_, I wrote to Petermann to send you at once an impression of the
Semitic paraphrase put together by me and Bötticher. The courier comes on
Friday, only I have given up all dependence on Dietrich, since he could
take away the lists with him. He never said a word to me about it.

I _must_ go to Germany on the 16th of June. Yesterday I sent _all the
rest_ to Spottiswoode, and at the same time complained about Watts. Only
what can they, and what can I do, if you do not enable us to finish the
most important book of the three works? I hope you have not worked
yourself to death for Trevelyan, and that you will reserve a free hour for
London to say good-by. Since last night I am at work at my German “Egypt,”
to my inexpressible delight. _Friday_ I return to town, and stay probably
(at Ernest’s) till my things are sold. _Cura ut valeas._

What is the original meaning of _glauben_, to believe?



[57.]


ST. LEONARD’S, _Wednesday, May 24, 1854._

You have done wonders; and I hope you will rest yourself. A thousand
thanks. I have at once sounded an alarm. I go to-day to town; Fanny and
her two daughters will embark on Sunday morning: we have taken a house
from the 1st of July, on the Neckar. I hope you will soon make your
appearance there. George goes into the country to-morrow on business. I
stay with Ernest till Hippolytus is out.

The snare is broken, and the bird is free; for which let us bless the
Lord. As they once let me out of my cage, they shall not catch me again.
My fifth book is ready for printing, down to the general philosophical
article. Johannes Brandis, the Assyrian chronologist, arranges for me the
synchronistic tables from Menes to Alexander.

Greetings to Aufrecht. I have not yet received the impression of the text,
which he restored from the Codex.



[58.]


ABBEY LODGE, REGENT’S PARK, _Friday, June 9, 1854._

Your letter came just when wanted, my dearest friend. My wife and children
leave the house to-morrow; and I follow them a week later, on account of
Spottiswoode. Come here then to-morrow morning, and stay at least till
Monday: so my daughter-in-law Elizabeth begs, who herself goes to Upton.
George, Brandis, and I help Ernest to keep house this week.

I have _to-day_ sent to press the “Resolutions and Statements on the
Alphabet” which you wrote, with Lepsius’s not “amendments” but certain
explanations on his part, and my now English “recapitulations.” I shall
receive the first impression to-morrow evening. Lepsius has sent a long
Essay, of which I only print the “Exposition of the System,” with some
“specimens of application.”

You should rejoice, as I do, over “Hippolytus VII., Christianity and
Mankind, their Beginnings and Prospects,” in seven volumes (also as three
separate works).

I shall easily finish it. Also “Egypt II.” is publishing; I have written a
new Preface to it. The “Theologia Germanica” is waiting for you; one copy
for my dear M., and one for Dr. Thomson, whose address I don’t know.
Spottiswoode has vowed to have _all_ ready next week. If you could stay
here, and revise your sheets at once, I might believe the vow.

We have secured a beautiful house in Heidelberg (Heidt-weiler), on the
right bank, opposite the Castle.



[59.]


_Thursday Morning, June 15, 1854_, 9 o’clock.

Immediately saw about Venn: wrote urgently to him to send the order direct
to Spottiswoode, and marked this on the sheet. I cannot send Lepsius,
because the sheets are being printed; refer the printer to it. You
deceiver! the hymn is without the interlineal version for the
non-Iranians. Just as if you were a German professor! I personally beg
earnestly for it, for myself and for those who are equally benighted. I
have everything now at press, except some Latin abuse for M. Your visit
refreshed me very much. Fanny had an exceedingly good journey, and will be
to-morrow in Heidelberg.



[60.]


_Thursday, June 15, 1854._

DEAREST FRIEND,—All ready for the journey. Your slips come in. Thirty-two
men are day and night printing, composing, correcting, etc. I am ready.
Venn will print nothing of yours, and will not even send Lepsius’ Essay to
the missionaries, that they may not be driven mad.

I do not know what books you have of mine: if I can have them by Saturday
morning, 9 o’clock, good—if not, you must bring them yourself. George goes
with me, instead of Ernest.



[61.]


HEIDELBERG, _June 23, 1854._

DEAR MAX M.,—Allow me, through this note, to recommend to you, in my own
name, as well as in the name of the Duke of Coburg and Baron Stockmar, the
bearer of this, Dr. Wilhelm Pertsch, who is going to England on Sanskrit
business, and needs kind advice and a little assistance in his
undertaking. Bunsen, who sends you his heartiest greetings, had at first
offered to give him a letter to Wilson, but thought afterwards a word from
you was worth more with Wilson than a letter from any one else.

The Bunsens have quite decided now to settle at Heidelberg for at least a
year, and are already hoping for a speedy visit from you, by which I hope
also to profit. He is studying upstairs with great delight your official
and scientific _vade mecum_ on the Turanian languages. Yesterday, by means
of a breakfast, I introduced him to most of the scientific and literary
celebrities here—such as H. Gagern, Mohl, Dusch, Harper, Jolly, etc., etc.
George came with them, and helped in arranging things, but returns
to-morrow.

A thousand good wishes. And always keep in friendly remembrance

Your true friend,

K. MEYER.



[62.]


HEIDELBERG, CHARLOTTENBERG, _June 29, 1854._

I cannot let George, who took care of me here, return without a token for
you of my being alive. I read your book for the English officers partly on
the road, and partly here, with real delight and sincere admiration. What
an advance from a “Guide Interprête,” or a “Tableau Statistique,” to such
an introduction to languages and nationalities. The map, too, is
excellent. The excellent Petermann must make us several, just of this
kind, for our unborn Mithridates.

I should like to scold your English reviser for several Gallicisms, for
which I feel certain you are not to blame. Rawlinson’s barbaric _débris_
instead of “ruins,” and _fauteuil_ instead of “chair,” which in French as
well as in English is the right expression for a professor’s chair; whilst
_fauteuil_ is only used in French to denote the “President’s chair” (for
instance, in the Institute), and is quite inadmissable in English, even by
the “Upholsterer.” The third I have forgotten but not forgiven.

I cannot _even now_ give up my habit of using Iranian in opposition to
Turanian, in deference to you. He who uses Turanian must use Iranian.
Arian is to me something belonging to the land of Aria, therefore Median,
part of Bactria and Persia. It is decidedly a great step in advance to
separate the Indian from this. That the Indians acknowledge themselves to
be Arians, suits me as it does you. But Iranian is a less localized name,
and one wants such a name in contradistinction to Turanian and Semitic. It
is only despised by the German “Brahmans and Indomaniacs.”

There you have my opinions and criticisms.

I have already written 67 of the 150 pages belonging to the fifth book,
and cannot go on till I have my books. I am now occupied with the
principles of the method for the historical treatment of mythology, with
especial reference to three points in the Egyptian:—

1. Age and relation of the Osiris-worship to the θεοὶ νοητοί and the
astronomical gods (Ra, Horus, etc.).

2. History of Seth in Asia and in Egypt, _ad vocem Adam_.

3. Position and signification of animal worship.

Book IV. goes to press on the 15th of July. Book V. must be ready (D. V.)
on the 24th of August.

Both the people and the country here please me. The land is enchantingly
beautiful, nay, fairy-like, and our house is in the best situation of all.
Fanny is almost more at home in Germany than I am, and the girls revel in
the German enjoyment of life. I count on your paying us a visit. Say a
good word for us to your mother, and persuade her to come with you to
visit us in Heidelberg. We should much like to make her acquaintance, and
tell her how dear you are to us all. Meyer is _proxenus Anglorum_ and
_Anglaram_, and does nothing. I hope to form here a little Academia
Nicorina. Shall I ever leave Heidelberg? God bless you. _Cura ut valeas._
Ever yours.

P. S. I have worked through Steinschneider’s sheet on the Semitic Roots in
Egyptian with great advantage, and have sent it to Dietrich. The analogy
of the consonants is unmistakable. Dietrich will certainly be able to fix
this. And now you must shake that small specimen Aricum out of your Dessau
conjuring sleeve. You need only skim the surface, it is not necessary to
dig deep where the gold lies in sight. But we must rub the German nose in
Veda butter, that they may find the right track.

We shall have a hard battle to fight at first in the Universities. Were
Egypt but firmly established as the primitive Asiatic settlement of the as
yet undivided Arian and Semitic families, we should have won the game for
the recognition of historical truth.

I hope the “Outlines” and “Egypt” will come over next week. Longman will
send them both to you; and also the copy of the Outlines for Aufrecht (to
whom I have written an ostensible letter such as he wished for). I wish
something could be found in Oxford for that delightful and clever man
Johannes Brandis. He would exert an excellent influence, and England would
be a good school for him. Will the Universities admit Dissenters to take a
degree?



[63.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _December 12, 1854._

MY DEAR VANISHED FRIEND,—Where thou art and where thou hast turned since
thy fleeting shadow disappeared, I have asked in vain on all sides during
my journey through Germany. No one whom I met had seen you, which Ewald
particularly deplored very much. At all events you are now in the
sanctuary on the Isis, and I have long desired to communicate one thing
and another to you. But first I will tell you what at this moment lies
heavy on my heart—“Galignani” brought me the news yesterday: my dear
friend Pusey lies seriously ill at his brother’s house in Oxford; “his
life is despaired of.” Unfortunately there is nothing improbable in this
sad intelligence. I had already been anxious before this, for ten days, as
I had written to him, to Pusey, nearly three weeks ago, on the news of the
death of his wife, entreating him most pressingly, for his own and his
family’s sake, to spend the winter here, and to live as much as possible
with us, his old friends. I know he would have answered the letter, were
he not ill. Perhaps he was not even able to read it.

Dr. Acland is our mutual friend, and without doubt attends the dear
invalid. At all events, he has daily access to him. My request therefore
is, if he is not already taken from us, that you will let Acland tell you
how it really is with him, and let me hear by return of post, via Paris:
if possible also, whether Pusey did receive my letter, and then how Sidney
and the two daughters are; who is with them, whether Lady Carnarvon or
only the sisters of charity.

Now to other things.

1. Dietrich gave me the inclosed, of course _post festum_. I have marked
at the back what he still wants in your Tables.

2. Greet Dr. Aufrecht, and tell him I am very sorry that Dietrich has
found fault with his Paternoster. I was obliged in the hurry to leave the
printing of this section to him. I will let A.’s metacritic go to him.

3. I have a letter from Hodgson of Darjeling as an answer to the letter
written here by you, very friendly and “in spirits,” otherwise but
slightly intelligible. He refers me to a letter forty pages long which he
has sent to Mohl in Paris, an improved edition of the one he sent to
Wilson. He supposes that I received both; if not, I should ask for the one
to Mohl.

Of course I have received neither. But I have sent to Mohl through his
niece, to beg he would send the said letter to _you_, and you would inform
me of the particulars. I hope you have already received it. If not, see
about it, for we must not lose sight of the man.

The copy of the “Outlines” must now be in his hands. These “Outlines,” the
child of our common toil, begin now to be known in Germany. Ewald has
already taken a delight in them; he will review them. Meyer is quite
enchanted with your Turanians, but would gladly, like many others, know
something more of the Basques. For me it is a great event, having made a
_friendship for life_ and an alliance with Ewald, over Isaiah’s

“No peace with the wicked;”

and on still higher grounds. Those were delightful days which I spent in
Göttingen and Bonn, as also with Bethman-Hollweg, Camphausen, and others.
I see and feel the misery of our people far more deeply than I expected,
only I find more comfort than I hoped in the sympathy of my
contemporaries, who willingly give me a place among themselves.

A proposal to enter the Upper House (of which, however, I do not care to
speak) I could of course only refuse, with many thanks. I have finished my
“Egypt,” Volume. IV., with Bötticher, and sent it for press for the 1st
January.

As an intermezzo, I have begun a specimen for a work suggested to me in a
wonderful manner from England, America, and Germany (particularly by Ewald
and Lücke),—a real Bible for the people, that is, a sensible and sensibly
printed text, with a popular statement of the results of the
investigations of historical criticism, and whatever the spirit may
inspire besides.

I am now working from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Baruch, where, beyond all
expectation, I found new light on the road I was treading.

We live in the happiest retirement. Your visit, and that of your mother,
of whom we all became very fond, was a great delight to us, though a short
one. Fanny and I have a plan to greet her at Christmas by a short letter.
Now write me word how it fares with you.



[64.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, BADEN, _January 11, 1855._

MY DEAR FRIEND,—I think you will not have misunderstood my silence since
your last letter. Your heart will have told you that no news could be
pleasanter to me than that you would undertake to bring the last sevenfold
child of my English love into public notice. This can of course only be
during the Parliamentary recess. You know better than any one what is the
unity of the seven volumes, and what is the aim and result. Your own is a
certainly not unimportant, and an independent part of it. But you have
with old affection worked yourself and thought yourself into the whole,
even where the particulars were of less interest to you. Lastly, as you
have told me to my delight, Jowett has begun to interest himself in the
work, and you have therefore one near at hand who, from one point of view,
can help you as reflecting English opinion. Ewald told me that I had
wished to give a Cosmos of the mind in that work. At all events, this idea
has floated before me for many years, and is expressed in the Preface to
the “God Consciousness.” Only it is not more than _a study_ for that which
floats before me. My two next volumes will give more of it. If I only knew
what to do with the work for Germany! My task was arranged for England. It
seemed to me important, under the guidance of the rediscovered Hippolytus,
whose form first rose clearly before me during the first work, to show the
organic development of the leading ideas of Christendom in the teachers
and heroes, beginning from the first Pentecostal feast; in order to sift
the ground, and show to my readers—

_a._ That the old system of inspiration and the Theodice of the Middle
Ages, that is to say, that of the seventeenth century, has no _support_ in
ancient Christianity, but just the _contrary_. That is now a fact.

_b._ That we have something infinitely more reassuring to put in its
place. Truth instead of delusion; reality instead of child’s play and
pictures.

_c._ That it is high time to be in earnest about this.

_d._ That for this, _clear insight_ and practical purpose, also reasoning
and moral earnestness, will be required on the part of the spiritual
guides.

_e._ But that before all things Christianity must be introduced into the
reality of the present; and that the corporation of the Church, the life
of the community in its worship as in its mutually supporting work, must
become the centre whence springs the consciousness of communion,—_not_ a
system of theology. Christianity is nothing to me but the restoration of
the ideal of humanity, and this will become especially clear through the
antecedent forms (præformations) of the development in language and
religion. (See “Outlines.”) There is a natural history of both, which
rests on laws as sure as those of the visible Cosmos. The rest is
professional, philological,—_legitimatio ad causam_.

How much of this idea can be presented to the English public, and in what
manner, you know much better than I. Therefore you know the one as well,
and the other better than I do. This is the reason why I believe you would
not wait for my answer. Still I should have sent to you, if during this
time two passions had not filled my heart. For once the dreadful distress
of our condition forced me to try, from the midst of my blessed Patmos, to
help by letters as far and wherever I could, through advice and cry of
distress and summons to help. Now there is nothing more to be done but to
wait the result. _Alea jacta esse_. Ernest is in Berlin.

My second passion is the carrying out of an idea by means of a Christian
philosophical People’s Bible, from the historical point of view, to get
the lever which the development of the present time in Europe has denied
me. That I should begin this greatest of all undertakings in the
sixty-fifth year of my age, is, I hope, no sign of my speedy death. But I
have felt since as if a magic wall had been broken down between me and
reality, and long flowing springs of life stream towards me, giving me the
discernment and the prolific germ of that which I desired and still strive
after. The Popular Bible will contain in two volumes (of equal thickness),
1st, the corrected and reasonably divided text; and 2d, the key to it. For
that purpose I must see whether I shall succeed in executing the most
difficult part, Isaiah and Jeremiah. And I have advanced so far with this
since yesterday evening, that I see the child can move, it can walk. The
outward practicability depends on many things, but I have thoroughly
worked through the plan of it.

By the end of 1856 all must be ready. My first letter is to you. Thanks
for your affection: it is so exactly like you, breaking away at once from
London and going to Oxford, to talk over everything with Acland.

Meyer has once more descended from Pegasus, to our prosaic sphere. I
believe he is working at a review of our work for the Munich Literary
Journal of the Academy. Laboulaye (Vice-President of the Academy) says I
have given him so much that is new to read, that he cannot be ready with
his articles before the end of February. We shall appear in the “Débats”
the beginning of March.

Holzmann is working at the proofs that the Celts were _Germans_. Humboldt
finds the unity of the Turanians not proved. (Never mind!) Osborn’s
“Egypt” runs on in one absurdity (the Hyksos period _never_ existed),
which the “Athenæum” censures sharply.

What is Aufrecht about? But above all, how are you yourself? God preserve
you. My family greet you. Heartily yours in old affection.



[65.]


HEIDELBERG, _February 26, 1855._

It was, my dear friend, in expectation of the inclosed that I did not
sooner return an answer and my thanks for your affectionate and detailed
letter. I wish you would take advantage of my communication to put
yourself in correspondence with Benfey. He is well disposed towards you,
and has openly spoken of you as “the apostle of German science in
England.”

And then he stands _infinitely_ higher than the present learned men of his
department. He would also be very glad if you would offer yourself to him
for communications suitable for his Oriental Journal from England, to
which he always has an eye. (Keep this copy, perhaps Jowett may read it.)
Humboldt’s letter says in reality two things:—

1. He does not approve of the sharply defined difference between nomadic
and agricultural languages; the occupations may change, yet the language
remains the same as before. That is against _you_. The good old man does
not consider that the language will or can become another without
perishing in the root.

2. He does not agree in opposing one language to all others as
_inorganic_. This is against _me_. But _first_, this one language is still
almost the half of the human race, and _secondly_, I have said nothing
which his brother has not said as strongly. It is only said as a sign of
life, and that “my praise and my admiration may appear honest.”

In the fifth volume of my “Egypt” I call the languages sentence-languages
and word-languages; that is without metaphor, and cannot be misunderstood.
The distinction itself is _right_. For _organic_ is (as Kant has already
defined it) an unity in parts. A granite mountain is not more thoroughly
granite than a square inch of granite, but a man without hands or head is
no man.

I am delighted to hear that your Veda gets on. If you would only not allow
yourself to be frightened from the attempt to let others work for you in
mere handicraft. Even young men have not time for everything. You have now
fixed your impress on the work, and any one with the _will_ and with the
necessary knowledge of the tools, could not go far wrong under your eye. I
should so like to see you free for other work. _Only do not leave Oxford.
Spartam quam nactus es orna._ You would not like Germany, and Germany
could offer you no sphere of activity that could be compared ever so
distantly with your present position. I have often said to you, Nature and
England will not allow themselves to be changed from _without_, and
therein consists exactly their worth in the divine plan of development;
but they often alter themselves rapidly from within. Besides, the reform
is gone too far to be smothered. Just now the Dons and other Philisters
can do what they like, for the _people_ has its eyes on other things. But
the war makes the classes who are pressing forwards more powerful than
ever.

The old method of government is bankrupt forever. So do not be
low-spirited, my dear M., or impatient. It is not so much the fault of
England, as of yourself, that you do not feel settled and at home. You
have now as good a position as a young man of intellect, and with a future
before him, could possibly have anywhere, either in England or in Germany.
Make a home for yourself. Since I saw your remarkable mother, I have been
convinced that, unlike most mothers, she would not stand in the way of
your domestic happiness, even were it contrary to her own views, but that
she must be the best addition to your household for any wife who was
worthy of you. Oxford is London, and better than London; and London is the
world, and is _German_. How gladly would Pauli, that honest, noble German
soul, stay, if he had but an occupation. The subjection of the mind by the
government here becomes more vexatious, more apparent, more diabolical.
_One_ form of tyranny is that of Augustus, the more thorough, because so
sly. They will not succeed in the end, but meanwhile it is horrible to
witness. More firmly than ever I settle myself down here in Heidelberg,
and will take the whole house, and say, “You must leave me my cottage
standing, and my hearth, whose glow you envy me.” _We_ are now on the
point of binding ourselves, without binding ourselves; and the prudent man
in P(aris) pretends not to observe it—just like the devil, when a soul is
making some additional conditions.

Still, it is possible that the desire to aid in the councils of Vienna at
any price may carry us so far that we may join in the march against Poland
and Finland. After all, the rivers flow according to the laws of
gravitation.

I have definitely arranged my “Biblework” in two works:—

A. The Bible (People’s Bible), corrected translation, with very short and
purely historical notes below the text. One volume, large Bible-octavo.

B. The Key, in three equally large volumes (each like the Bible). I.
Introduction; II. The restored documents in the historical books of the
Old Testament, and restoration of the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah, and of
some of the smaller prophets; III. The New Testament. (The life of Christ
is a part of this.)

_The work looks well._ I have now not only perfectly defined the Exodus
and time of the Judges, but have put it so clearly and authentically
before the public, that as long as the world of Europe and America lasts,
the theologians cannot make the _faithful_ crazy, nor the scoffers lead
them astray. It can be finished in three years. I can depend on _Ewald_
and _Rothe_.

We have got through the winter. I, for the first time for twenty years,
without cold or anything of that sort. The delicious air of Spring begins
to blow, the almond-trees promise to be in blossom in a week. With true
love, yours.



[66.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _Tuesday Morning, April 17, 1855._

(The day when peace or war will be decided.)

MY DEAR M.,—I cannot delay any longer to tell you that your first article
announced to us by George, has reached me, and excited the delight and
admiration of us all. It is pleasant, as Cicero says, “laudari a viro
laudato;” but still sweeter “laudari a viro amato.” And you have so
thoroughly adopted the English disguise, that it will not be easy for any
one to suspect you of having written this “curious article.” It especially
delights me to see how ingeniously you contrive to say what you announce
you do not wish to discuss, namely, the purport of the theology. In short,
we are all of opinion that your aunt or cousin was right when she said in
Paris, to Neukomm, of you, that you ought to be in the diplomatic service.
From former experience I have never really believed that the second
article would be printed; it would have appeared by last Saturday at the
latest, and would then have been already in my hands. But the article as
it is has given me great pleasure, and all the greater because it is
yours. I only wish you might soon give me the power of shaking your dear
old hand, which I so often feel the want of.

Meanwhile I will tell you that Brockhaus writes in a very friendly way, in
transmitting Ernst Schulze’s biography (the unfortunate poet’s journal,
with very pleasant affectionate descriptions of his friends, of me
especially), to ask if I would not make something out of the new
Hippolytus for Germany. This letter reached me just as I had blended my
past and future together for a large double work, the finished parts of
which are now standing before me in seven large portfolios, with completed
Contents, Preface, and Introduction.

“The Bible of the Faithful,” four volumes, large Bible-octavo; Volume I.
the Bible; Volumes II.-IV. (separated) Key.

“The Faithful of the Bible.” (A.) The _government_ and the _worship_ of
the faithful. Two books, one volume. (B.) The congregational and family
book (remodeling of the earlier devotional books for the faithful of the
Bible), two volumes.

At the same time “Egypt” was at last ready for press as two volumes; and
so I took courage to take up again that old idea, especially that which we
had so often discussed. But first I can and will make a pretty little
volume from the historical portraits in Hippolytus: “The first seven
generations of Christians.” A translation (by Pauli) of the exact text of
the first English volume, preceded by the restoration of the line and the
chronology of the Roman bishops down to Cornelius, since revised and much
approved of by Röstell (quite clearly written out; about ten printed
sheets with the documents).

This gives me hardly any trouble, and costs me very little thought. But
secondly, to use Ewald’s expression: “The Kosmos of Language” (in four
volumes). This is _your_ book, if it is to exist. It appears to me before
anything else to be necessary to draw proper limits, with a wisdom worthy
of Goethe.

I do not think that the time has come for publishing in the German way a
complete or uniformly treated book; I think it is much more important to
fortify our view of language from within, and launch it forth armed with
stings upon these inert and confused times. _Therefore_ method, and
satisfactory discussion of that on which everything depends; with a
general setting forth of _the_ points which it concerns us now to
investigate. I could most easily make you perceive what I mean, by an
abstract of the prospectus, which I have written off, in order to discuss
it thoroughly with you as soon as you can come here. As you would have to
undertake three fourths of the whole, you have only to consider all this
as a proposal open to correction, or rather a handle for discussion.

FIRST VOLUME. (Bunsen.)

_General Division._

_Introduction._ The Science of Language and its Epochs (according to
Outlines, 35-60).

1. The Phenomena of Language (according to Outlines, ii. 1-72).

2. The Metaphysics of Language (according to Outlines, ii.
73-122)—manuscript attempt to carry out Kant’s Categories, not according
to Hegel’s method.

3. The Historical Development (Outlines, ii. 123-140; and Outlines of
Metaphysics, second volume, in MS.). Müller _ad libitum._ (With this an
ethnographical atlas, colored according to the colors of the three
families.)

SECOND VOLUME. (Müller:)

_First Division._ The _sentence-languages_ of Eastern Asia (Chinese).

_Second Division._ The _Turanian_ word-languages in Asia and Europe.

THIRD VOLUME. (Müller and Bunsen.)

_First Division._ The _Hamitic-Semitic_ languages in Asia and Africa.
(Bunsen.)

_Second Division._ The _Iranian_ languages in Asia and Europe.

FOURTH VOLUME. (Müller.)

The branching off of the Turanians and Hamites in Africa, America, and
Polynesia.

_a._ The colony of East Asiatic Turanians in South Africa (great Kaffir
branch).

_b._ The colony of North Asiatic Turanians (Mongolians) in North America.

_c._ The Turanian colonies in South America.

_d._ The older colonies of the East Asiatic Turanians in Polynesia
(Papuas).

_e._ The newer ditto (light-colored Malay branch).

Petermann or Kiepert would make the ethnographical atlas _beautifully_. I
have in the last few months discovered that the three Noachic families
were originally named according to the three colors.

1. Ham is clear; it means _black_.

2. Shem is an honorary name (the glorious, the famous), but the old name
is Adam, that is, Edom, which means _red_, reddish == φοίνιξ: this has
given me great light. The Canaanites were formerly called Edomi, and
migrated about 2850, after the volcanic disturbance at the Dead Sea
(Stagnum Assyrium, Justin, xviii. 3), towards the coast of Phœnicia, where
Sidon is the most ancient settlement, the first begotten of Canaan; and
the era of Tyre begins as early as 2760 (Herodotus, ii. 44).

3. Japhet is still explained in an incredible way by Ewald according to
the national pun of Genesis x. as derived from Patah, “he who opens or
spreads.” It is really from Yaphat, “to be shining” == the light, _white_.

It would certainly be the wisest plan for us to fall back on this for the
ethnographical atlas, at least for the choice of the colors; and I believe
it could easily be managed. For the _Semitic_ nations _red_ is naturally
the prevailing color, of a very deep shade in Abyssinia and Yemen; black
in negro Khamites, and a light shade in Palestine and Northern Arabia. For
the _Turanians_, _green_ might be thought of as the prevailing color. For
the _Iranians_ there remains _white_, rising into a bluish tint. But that
could be arranged for us by my genial cousin Bunsen, the chemist.

That would be a work, my dearest M.! The genealogy of man, and the first
parable, rising out of the infinite. Were you not half Anglicized, as I
am, I should not venture to propose anything so “imperfect”—that is,
anything to be carried out in such unequal proportions. But this is the
only way in which it is possible to us, and, as I think, only thus really
useful for our Language-propaganda, whose apostles we must be “in hoc
temporis momento.” And now further, I think we should talk this over
together. I give you the choice of Heidelberg or Nice. We have resolved
(D. V.) to emigrate about the 1st of October, by way of Switzerland and
Turin, to the lovely home of the palm-tree, and encamp there till March:
then I should like very much to see _Sicily_, but at all events to run
through _Naples and Rome in April_; and then return here in the end of
April by Venice. It is _indescribably lovely_ here now; more enjoyable
than I have ever seen it. We shall take a house there, where I could get
into the open air four or five times every day. I fancy in the five
working months I could do more than in the eight dreary winter months
here. Much is already done, the _completion_ is certain. Were not Emma
(who has become inexpressibly dear to us) expecting her confinement about
the 21st of September we should already at this time break up from here,
in order to reach the heavenly Corniche Road (from Genoa to Nice) in the
finest weather. Theodore goes in ten days for a year to Paris. Of course
Emilia and the other girls go with us. They all help me in a most
remarkable way in my work. I thought of inviting Brockhaus here in the
summer to discuss with him the edition of the “Biblework.” Now we know
what we have in view. Now write soon, how you are and what _you_ have in
view. All here send most friendly greetings. Ever yours.



[67.]


BURG RHEINDORF, NEAR BONN, _December 2, 1855._

MY DEAR FRIEND,—I think you must now be sitting quietly again in Oxford,
behind the Vedas. I send you these lines from George’s small but lovely
place, where we have christened his child, to stop, if possible, your
wrath against Renan. He confesses in his letter that “ma plume m’a trahi;”
he has partly not said what he thinks, and partly said what he does not
think. But his note is not that of an enemy. He considers his book an
homage offered to German science, and had hoped that it would be estimated
and acknowledged in the present position of French science, and that it
would be received in a friendly way. Though brought up by the Jesuits, he
is entirely free from the priestly spirit, and in fact his remarkable
essay in the “Revue des Deux Mondes” of the 15th of November on Ewald’s
“History of the People of Israel” deserves all our thanks in a
theological, national, and scientific point of view. We cannot afford to
quarrel unnecessarily with such a man. You must deal gently with him. You
will do it, will you not, for my sake? I am persuaded it is best.

Brockhaus will bring out the third unaltered edition of my “Signs of the
Times,” as the 2,500 and the 1,000 copies are all sent out, and more are
constantly asked for. I have, whilst here, got the first half of the
“World-Consciousness” (Weltbewusstsein) ready to send off. The whole will
appear in May, 1856, as the herald and forerunner of my work on the Bible.
I have gone through this with H. Brockhaus, and reduced it to fifteen
delightful little volumes in common octavo, six of the People’s Bible,
with a full Introduction, and nine of the Key with higher criticism. I am
now expecting three printed sheets of the Bible, Volume I., the Key,
Volumes I. and VII. The fourth and fifth volumes of “Egypt” are being
rapidly printed at the same time for May. The chronological tables appear
in September. And now be appeased, and write again soon. George sends
hearty greetings. Thursday I shall be in Charlottenberg again. Heartily
yours.



[68.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _March 10, 1856._

I should long ago have told you, my dearest friend, how much your letter
of last September delighted me, had I not been so plunged in the vortex
caused by the collision of old and new work, that I have had to deny
myself all correspondence. Since then I have heard from you, and of you
from Ernst and some travelling friends, and can therefore hope that you
continue well. As to what concerns me, I yesterday sent to press the MS.
of the last of the _three_ volumes which are to come out almost together.
Volumes III. and IV. (thirty-six sheets are printed) on the 1st of May;
Volume V. on the 15th of July. I have taken the bold resolution of
acquitting myself of this duty before anything else, that I may then live
for nothing but the “Biblework,” and the contest with knaves and
hypocrites in the interest of the faithful.

In thus concluding “Egypt,” I found it indispensable to give _all_ the
investigations on the beginnings of the human race in a compressed form.
Therefore SET==YAHVEH and all discoveries connected with this down to
Abraham. Also the Bactrian and Indian traditions. I have read on both
subjects all that is to be found here; above all Burnouf (for the second
time), and Lassen’s “Indian Antiquities,” with _Diis minorum gentium_. I
find then in Lassen much which can be well explained by my discoveries in
the Egyptian, Babylonian, and Phœnician, but a huge chasm opens out for
everything concerning the Vedas. I find in particular nothing analogous to
the history of the Deluge, of which you most certainly told me. I
therefore throw myself on your friendship, with the request that you will
write out for me the most necessary points, so far as they do not exist in
Colebrooke and Wilson, which I can order from Berlin. (1.) On the Deluge
tradition; (2.) On the Creation of Man, if there is any; (3.) On the Fall
of Man; (4.) On recollections of the _Primitive Homes_ on the other side
of Meru and Bactria, if such are to be found. I know of course what Lassen
says. I do not expect much, as you know, from these enthusiastic
emigrants; but all is welcome.

One must oppose with all one’s power, and in solemn earnest, such pitiful
nihilism and stupid jokes as Schwenk has made of the Persian mythology. I
have done this in the “Doctrine of Zoroaster;” I am to-day applying to
Haug about some _hard nuts_ in this subject. The number seven predominates
here also, of course, and in the symbolism depends on the time of each
phase of the moon; but the Amshaspands have as little to do with it as
with the moon itself. The Gahanbar resemble the six days of creation, if
the Sanskrit translation by Neriosengh (which I don’t understand) is more
to be trusted than the Vispered. But at all events there is an ideal
element here, which has been fitted in with the old nature worship.

The sanctity of the Hom (havam?) must also be ideal, the plant can only be
a symbol to Zoroaster. Can it be connected with Om? As to the _date_,
Zoroaster the prophet _cannot_ have lived later than 3000 B. C. (250 years
before Abraham therefore), but 6000 or 5000 before Plato may more likely
be correct, according to the statements of Aristotle and Eudoxus. Bactria
(for that surely is Bakhdi) was the first settlement of the Aryans who
escaped from the ice regions towards Sogd. The immigration, therefore, can
hardly fall later than 10,000 or 9000 before Christ. Zoroaster himself
must be considered as _after_ the migration of the Aryans towards the
Punjab, for his demons are your gods.

Now will you please let me have, at latest at Easter, what you can give
me, for on the 25th the continuation of the MS. must go off, and of this
the Indians form a part.

I do not find the account by Megasthenes of Indian beginnings (Plinius and
Arrianus) at all amiss: the Kaliyuga computation of 3102 B. C. is purely
humbug, just like the statement about the beginning of the Chinese times,
to which Lassen gives credit. How can Herodotus have arrived at a female
Mithra, Mylitta? Everything feminine is incompatible with the sun, yet
nowhere, as far as I can see, does any deity corresponding to _Mater_
appear among the Persians or Indians. Altogether _Mithra_ is a knotty
point in the system of Zoroaster, into which it fits like the fist into
the eye.

And now I come to the subject of the inclosed Kuno Fischer has given a
most successful lecture in Berlin on Bacon, which has grown into a book, a
companion to Spinoza and Leibnitz, but much more attractive through the
references to the modern English philosophy and Macaulay’s conception of
Bacon. The book is admirably written. Brockhaus is printing it, and will
let it appear in May or at latest in June, about twenty-five sheets. He
reserves the right of translation. And now I must appeal to your
friendship and your influence, in order to find, 1st, the right
translator, and 2d, the right publisher, who would give the author £50 or
£100, for Fischer is dependent on his own resources. The _clique_ opposes
his appearance: Raumer has declared to the faculty that “a Privat-docent
suspended in any state of the Bund because of his philosophical opinions
which were irreconcilable with Christianity, ought not to teach in
Berlin.” The faculty defends itself. I have written public and private
letters to Humboldt, but what good does that do? Therefore it is now a
matter of consequence to enable this _very_ distinguished thinker and
writer, and remarkably captivating teacher (he had here 300 pupils in
metaphysics), to secure the means of subsistence. Miss Winkworth’s
publisher offered her £150 when she sent him the first chapter of my
“Signs;” Longmans half profits, that is—nothing! I only wish to have the
matter set going. The proof-sheets can be sent.

Who wrote the foolish article in the “Quarterly” against Jowett? The book
will live and bear fruit. We are well, except that George has had scarlet
fever. Frances is nursing him at Rheindorf. Heartily yours.

I have myself undertaken the comparison of the Aryan with the Semitic, on
Lassen’s plan. Two thirds of the stems can be authenticated. What a
scandal is Roth’s deciphering of the Cyprian inscriptions. Renan mourns
over the “Monthly Review,” but is otherwise very grateful. I have made use
of _your_ Alphabet in my “Egypt.”



[69.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _March 12, 1856_.

MY DEAREST M.,—You receive at once a postscript. I have since read W.’s
essay on the Deluge of the Hindús, in the second volume of the “Indian
Studies;” and can really say now that I understand a little Sanskrit, for
the essay is written in a Brahmanic jargon, thickly strewn with very many
German and French foreign terms. O, what a style! I am still to-day
reading _Roth_ (Münchener Gelehrte Anzeigen). I know therefore what is in
it; that is, a child’s tale which came to India from the Persian Gulf, or
at least from Babylonia, about Oannes, the man in the shape of a fish, who
gives them their revelation and saves them. Have you really nothing
better? It is just like the fable of Deucalion, from the backward-thrown
λᾶς, that is, stones! Or was it ἀπὸ δρυὸς ἥ ἀπὸ _πέτρας_?

Faith in the old beliefs sits very lightly on all the emigrant children of
Japhet. Yet many historical events are clearly buried in the myths before
the Pâ_nd_avas. Wilson’s statement (Lassen, i. 479 n.) of the contents of
a Purâ_n_a, shows still a consciousness of those epochs. There _must_ be
(1) a dwelling in the primitive country (bordering on the ideal), quite
obscure, historically; (2) expulsion, through a change of climate; (3)
life in the land of the Aryans (Iran.); (4) migration to and life in the
Punjab.

For the western Aryans and _for southern Europe_, there is another epoch,
between 6000 and 5000 B. C. at latest, namely, the march of the Cushite
(Turanian) Nimrud (Memnon?) by Susiana, and then across Northern Africa to
Spain. The discovery of Curtius, of the Ionians being Asiatics that had
migrated from Phrygia, who disputed with the Phœnicians for the world’s
commerce long before the colonies started from Europe, is _very_
important.

Write me word what you think of Weber’s Indian-Semitic Alphabet.

I have to-day written to Miss Winkworth, to speak to the publisher. If he
will undertake it and pay Fischer well, both editions would appear at the
same time; and she must then come here in April, to make the translation
from the proof-sheets. The printing begins at Easter.



[70.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _April 22, 1856_. (_Palilia anni urbis 2610._)

So there you are, my worthy Don, sitting as a Member of Committees, etc.;
and writing reports, and agitating and canvassing _in Academicis_! This
delights me: for you have it in you, and feel the same longing, which
seized me at your age—to _act_ and to exert an influence on the God-given
realities of life. It inspirits me; for you, like me, will remain what you
are—a German, and will not become a “Philister.”

I have missed _you_ here very much, even more than your answers to my
questions. No one escapes his fate: so I cannot escape the temptation to
try my method and my insight on indirect chronology. I confess that such
confusion I have not seen as that of these investigations hitherto beyond
Colebrooke and Wilson, Lassen and Duncker. Something can already be made
of Megasthenes’ accounts in connection with the Brahmanic traditions, in
the way cleared up by Lassen (in the “Journal”). I believe in the 153
kings before Sandrokottus and the 6402 years. The older tradition does not
dream of ages of the world, the historical traditions begin with the
Tretâage, and point back to the life on the Indus; the first period is
like the divine dynasties of the Egyptians. The Kaliyuga is 1354 B. C., or
1400 if you like, _but not a day older_. The so called cataclysms “after
the universe had thrice attained to freedom” (what nonsense!) are nothing
but the short interregnums of freedom obtained by the poor Indian Aryans
between the monarchies. They are 200 + 300 + 120. And I propose to you,
master of the Vedas, the riddle, how do I know that the first republican
interregnum (anarchy, to the barbarians) was 200 years long? The Indian
traditions begin therefore with 7000, and that is the time of Zaradushta.
I find _many_ reasons for adopting _your_ opinion on the origin of the
Zend books. The Zoroastrians came out of India; but tell me, do you not
consider this as a _return migration_? The schism broke out on the Indus,
or on the movement towards the Jumna and lands of the Ganges. The dull,
intolerable Zend books may be as late as they will, but they contain in
the Vendidad, Fargard I., an (interpolated) record of the oldest movements
of our cousins, which reach back further than anything Semitic.

About Uttara-Kuru and the like, you also leave me in the lurch; and so I
was obliged to see what Ptolemy and Co., and the books know and mention
about them. It seems then to me impossible to deny that the Ὀττοροκοροι is
the same, and points out the most eastern land of the old north, now in or
near Shen-si, the first home of the Chinese; to me the _eastern_ boundary
of _Paradise_. But how remarkable, not so much that the Aryans, faithful
people, have not forgotten their original home, but that the name should
be _Sanskrit_! Therefore Sanskrit in Paradise, in 10,000 or 9000. Explain
this to me, my dear friend. But first send me, within half an hour of
receiving these lines, in case you have them, as they assume here,
Lassen’s maps of India (mounted), belonging to my copy of the book, and
just now very necessary to me. You can have them again in July on the
Righi. Madame Schwabe is gone to console that high-minded afflicted
Cobden, or rather his wife, on the death of his _only_ son, whom we have
buried here. She passes next Sunday through London, on her return to her
children, and will call at Ernst’s. Send the maps to him with a couple of
lines. If you have anything else new, send it also. I have read with great
interest your clever and attractive chapter on the history of the Indian
Hellenic mind, called mythology. Does John Bull take it in? With not less
pleasure your instructive essay on “Burning and other Funereal
Ceremonies.” How noble is all that is really old among the Aryans! Weber
sent me the “Mâlavikâ,” a miserable thing, harem stories,—I hope by a
dissolute fellow of the tenth century, and surely not by the author of
“Sakuntala.” For your just, but sharply expressed and _nobly_ suppressed
essay against ——, a thousand thanks. I have to-day received the last sheet
of “Egypt,” Book IV., and the last but one of Book V. (a), and the second
of Book V. (b). These three volumes will appear on the 1st of June. The
second half of Book V. (b) (Illustrations, Chronological Tables, and
Index) I furnish subsequently for Easter, 1857, in order to have the last
word against my critics.

Meanwhile farewell.



[71.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _Wednesday, April 23, 1856_.

It would be a great pleasure to you, my dear friend, if you could see the
enthusiasm of my reawakened love for India, which possessed me in the
years 1811-14, and which now daily overpowers me. But it is well that you
are not here, for I dare not follow the notes of the siren till I have
finished the “Signs of the Times,” and have the first volume of my five
books of the “Bible” before me. I see clearly, from my point of view, that
when one has the right frame, the _real facts_ of the Indian life can be
dug out from the exuberant wealth of poetry as surely as your Eros and the
Charites, and the deepest thoughts from their ritual and mythology. True
Germans and Anglo-Saxons are these Indian worthies. How grateful I am to
Lassen for his conscientious investigations; also to Duncker for his
representation of the history, made with the insight of a true historian.
But all this can aid me but little. I can nowhere find the materials for
_filling up my frame-work_; or, in case this frame-work should not itself
be accurate, for destroying it and my whole chapter. Naturally all are
ignorant of the time which precedes the great fable,—namely, the time of
the Vedas.

And so I turn to you, with a request and adjuration which you cannot set
aside. I give you my frame-work, the _chronological canon_, as it has been
shaped by me. It is clear that we cannot depend on anything that stands in
the noble Mahâbhârata and the sentimental Râmâyana, as to kings and lines
of kings, unless it is confirmed by the Vedas; but they generally say the
very opposite. All corruptions of history by our schoolmen and priests are
but as child’s play compared to the systematic falsifying and destruction
of all history by the Brahmans. Three things are possible; (1) you may
find my frame-work _wrong_ because facts are against it; (2) you may find
it _useless_ because facts are missing; or (3) you may find the plan
correct, and discover facts to support and further it. I hope for the
last; but _every_ truth is a gain. My scheme is this: The poets of the
Veda have no chronological reckoning, the epic poets a false one. There
remain the Greeks. To understand the narrative of Megasthenes, one must
first restore the corrupted passages, which Lassen unfortunately has so
entirely misunderstood.

Arr. Ind. ix., in Didot’s “Geographi,” i. p. 320: Ἀπὸ μὲν δὴ Διονύσου
(Svayambhû) βασιλέας ἠρίθμεον Ἰνδοὶ ἐς Σανδράκοττον τρεῖς καὶ πεντήκοντα
καὶ ἑκατὸν, ἔτεα δὲ δύο καὶ τεσσαρακόσια (instead of πεντήκοντα) καὶ
ἑξακισχίλια (6402, according to Pliny’s text, confirmed by all MSS., and
by Solinus Polyhist. 59; of Arrian we have but copies of one _codex_, and
the _lacuna_ is the same in all).

Ἐν δὲ τούτοισι τρὶς ΙΣΤΑΝΑΙ (instead of τὸ πᾶν εἰς, Arr. writes only ἐς)
ἐλευθερίην (ἱστάναι is Herodotean for καθιστάναι, as every rational prose
writer would have put).

ΤΗΝ ΜΕΝ ΕΣ ΔΙΑΚΟΣΙΑ.
τὴν δὲ καὶ ἐς τριακόσια,
τὴν δὲ εἴκοσί τε ἐτέων καὶ ἑκατόν.

The restoration is certain, because the omission is explained through the
ὁμοιοτέλευτον, and gives a meaning to the καὶ. The sense is made
indubitable by Diodorus’ rhetorical rendering of the same text of
Megasthenes, ii. 38: τὸ δὲ τελευταῖον, πολλαῖς γενεαῖς ὕστερον
καταλυθείσης τῆς ἡγεμονίας δημοκρατηθῆναι τὰς πόλεις; cf. 39, ὕστερον δὲ
πολλοῖς ἔτεσι τὰς πόλεις δημοκρατηθῆναι.

From this it follows that the monarchy was thrice interrupted by
democratic governments, and that there were _four_ periods. This is the
Indian tradition. But the whole was conceived as one history, doubtless
with a prehistoric ideal beginning, like our Manus and Tuiskon. Therefore,
no cosmic _periods_ (Brahmanical imposture), but four _generations_ of
Aryan history in India.

The Kaliyuga is a new world, just as much as Teutonic Christendom, but no
more. The Indians will probably have commenced it A. D. 410, as friend
Kingsley too (in his “Hypatia”). Where is the starting-point? I hold to
1015 years as the chronological computation up to the time of the Nandas.

For the Nandas, I hold to the 22 years.

If they say that Kâlâṣoka and his ten sons reigned 22 years; and Nanda,
nine brothers in succession, 22 years; the 22 years is not wrong, either
here or there, but the 22 is correct and the ten kingly personages also,
for aught I care: but the _names_ are altered (and really to do away with
the plebeian Nanda), therefore it is neither 44, nor 88, nor 100 (which is
nothing), but

                            22
                            ——
From Parikshit to the       1037
year before Sandrakottus
Sandrak’s first year 312    317
(?), 317 (?), 320 (?). I
have no opinion on the
point, therefore take the
middle number _about_
                            ——
Beginning of the fourth     1354 B. C.
period
Interregnum, popular        120
government
                            ——
End of the third period     1475

Nakshatra era 1476? (Weber, “Indian Studies,” ii. 240.)

_This fourth period_ is that of the supremacy of the Brahmans in the
beginning, with its recoil in Buddha towards the end.

In the year 1250 B. C. about the one hundredth year of the era, Semiramis
invaded India (Dâvpara).

_Third period of the royal dynasties_, the great empire on the Jumna, not
far from the immortal Aliwal. Beginning with the _Dynasty of the Kurus_.
(Here the names of the kings and their works, as canals, etc. _Seat of the
empire_, the Duâb; Hastinapura, Ayodhyâ; or still on the Sarasvatî)

                           0 years
Interregnum between III.   300
and II. (Must have left
its traces. A pasted up
break is surely there.)
_Second period of royal    0 years.
dynasties_ (Tretâ)

(Is this the historical life in the Punjab, with already existing
kingdoms?) N. B. What is the third of the pure flames? Is it the people?
Atria, latria, patria?

Interregnum between II.   200 years.
and I.

_First period_. Beginning of the history after first _x_ years, with an
ideally filled up unmeasured period.

Beginning: Manu   6402
                  317
                  ——
                  6719 B. C.

Deduct from this a mythical beginning: a cycle of 5 × 12 = 60, or 600: at
most 60 × 60 = 3600, at least 12 × 60=720. Or about 6 kings of 400 years
each. Mean time: 2160.

Total: 4559.

(There remain, deducting 6 from 154 kings (with Dionysos), about 148.)

Length of time: 4559 - 1354 = 3205 ÷ 148 = 21-1/2 mean number of years for
each historical government; which is very appropriate.

Zoroaster lived, according to Eudoxus and Aristotle (compared with
Hermippos) 6350 or 6300 B. C. This points to a time of Zoroastrians
migrating towards India, or _having migrated, returning_ again. Accept the
latter, and the beginning of the 6402 years lies very near the first
period, and the Indianizing of the Aryans. Those accounts about Zoroaster
are (as Eudoxus already proves) _pre_-Alexandrian, therefore not Indian,
but Aryan. Do not the hymns of the Rig-veda, of which several are
attributed to the kings of the Tretâ period, contain hints on that schism?
If it really occurred in the Punjab some reminiscence would have been left
there of it. The Zend books (wretched things) only give negative evidence.

The Brahmans of the most sinful period have of course smothered all that
is historical in prodigies, and _this_ wretched taste long appeared to the
Germans as _wisdom;_ whilst they despised the (certainly superficial) but
still sensible English researches of Sir W. Jones and Co., as
philistering! One must oppose this more inflexibly than even that
admirable Lassen does. (N. B. Has Colbrooke anything on this? or Wilson?)

There may have been _two_ points of contact between the Aryans and the
kingdoms on the Euphrates _before_ the expedition of Semiramis.

_a._ By means of the Zoroastrian Medo-Babylonian kingdom, which had its
capital in Babylon from 2234 B. C. (1903 before Alexander) for about two
centuries.

_b._ In the oldest primitive times, by the Turanian-Cushite or North
African kingdom of Nimrod, which cannot be placed later than in the
seventh chiliad. The Egyptians had a tradition of this, as is proved
according to my interpretation by the historical germ in the story in the
Timæos of the great combat of Europe and Asia against the so-called
Atlantides: but these are uncertain matters.

That is a general sketch of my frame-work. If you are able to do anything
with it, I make you the following proposition: You will send me an _open
letter_ in German (only without _your Excellency_, and as I beg you will
always write to me, as friend to friend), in which you will answer my
communication. Send me beforehand a few reflections and doubts for my
text, which I must send away by the 15th of May. Your open letter must be
sent in in June, if possible before the 15th, in order to appear before
the 15th of July as an Appendix to my text of Book V. b. (fourth division)
first half. _I_ can do nothing in the matter; everything here is wanting.
I cannot even find German books here. Therefore keep Lassen’s maps, if you
have them. I have in the mean time helped myself by means of Ritter and
Kiepert to find the old kingdoms and the sacred Sarasvatî. That satisfies
me for the present.

Soon a sign of life and love to your sorely tormented but faithful B.



[72.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _Sunday Morning, April, 27, 1856_.

I have laid before you my restoration of the text of Megasthenes, and
added a few preliminary thoughts on the possibility of the restoration of
his traditions, and something of my restoring criticism. I have not
however been able to rest since that time, without going to the very
ground of the matter, to see if I am on a side-path, or on the right road.
I now send you the summary of the two chapters which I have written since
then.

I. The restoration of the list of Megasthenes. (153 kings in 6402 years.)

1. The list begins, like the Sanskrit tradition, with the first
generation; three interregnums presuppose four periods.

2. The whole fourfold divided chronology is _one_: three sections of
_historical recollections_ lie before the Kali age. Lassen is therefore
wrong in saying that Megasthenes began with the Tretâ age. The progress of
the gradual extension of the kingdom is organic.

3. The foundation of the whole tradition of the four periods of time are
the _genealogical registers of the old royal families_, which must if
possible be _localized_; of course with special reference to Magadha,
which however begins late. As in Egypt, every branch tried somewhere to
find its place; we must therefore throw away or mark all names not
supported by the legend (that is, the Vedic traditions). The contemporary
dynasties must be separated from those that follow each other.

4. Each period was divided from the preceding by an _historical_ fact,—a
dissolution followed by a subjugation or a popular government. The first
is divided from the second by Herakles—K_r_ish_n_a. The third from the
second by Râma, the extirpator of the heroes and royal races (great rising
of the people). The fourth from the third by purely historical
revolutions, caused or fostered by the Assyrian invasion.

5. The mythical expression for these periods is _one thousand years_.

6. The historical interregnums are 200, 300, 120.

7. As both are the same, therefore 3 × 1000 years vanish, and there remain
but the 620.

8. Therefore Megasthenes’ list:

Megasthenes’ list           6402
                            3000
                            ——
Kings from the first        3402 years.
patriarch to Sandrakottus
Interregnums                620
                            ——
                            4022

FIRST PERIOD.

A. Aryan recollections. Megasthenes’ list unites the traditions of the
Moon-race (Budha) with that of the Sun-race (direct from Manu).

(1.) Questions. First question. What do the names Ayus and Yayâti mean? Is
Nahusha = man?

(2.) I know king Ikshvâku, _i.e._, the gourd. Who are the Asuras,
conquered by P_r_ithu?

(3.) Anu, one of the four sons of Yayâti, is the North, not the Iranian,
nor the Turanian, which is Turvasa, but the Semitic, _i.e._, _Assur_. Anu
is the chief national god of the Assyrians, according to the cuneiform
inscriptions. The cradle of the old dynasty was therefore called
Telanu==hill of Anu. Salmanassar is called Salem-anu, _i.e._, face of Anu.

B. Indian primitive times.

1. Manu (primitive time)    1000
2-14. Thirteen human        468
kings in the Punjab, each
reigns on an average
thirty-six years
15. K_r_ish_n_a,            1000
destruction

2468 years, representing really only 268 + 200 years, with an unknown
quantity representing Aryan migrations and settlements in the Punjab.

(4.) Question. Is Jones’ statement correct in his chronology (Works, i.
299), that the fourth Avatâr must be placed between the first and second
periods?

SECOND PERIOD.

The kingdom of the Puru, and the Bharata kings. Royal residence, province
of the Sarasvatî. Epos, the Râmâyana.

A. _Period from Puru to Dushyanta_.

Conquests from the Sarasvati on the north, and to Kalinga (Bengal) on the
south. Conquerors: Tansu, Ilina, Bharata, Suhôtra (all Vedic names).

B. _Period of destruction through the Pañ_k_âlas._—A_g_amî_dh_a (Suhôtra’s
son, according to the unfalsified tradition) is the human _Râma_, the
instrument of destruction.

(5.) Question. Why is he called in Lassen, i. 590, the son of Rikshu?
(This is another thousand years.)

_R_iksha is called in M. Bh. (Lassen, xxiii. note 17) son of A_g_amî_dh_a,
and in another place, _wife_ of A_g_amî_dh_a, or both times _wife_!

THIRD PERIOD.

The Kurus; the Pañ_k_âlas; the Pâ_nd_avas. Seats in Middle Hindostan.
Advance to the Vindhya (Epos, the Mahâbhârata of the third period, as the
Râmâya_n_a of the second).

A. Kingdoms of the Kurus.

B. Kingdom of the Pa_ñk_âlas. Contemporary lists; but the Pañ_k_âlas
outlast the Kurus. Both are followed by—

C. Kingdom of the Pâ_nd_avas.

Ad. A. From Kuru to Devâpi who retires (that is, is driven away),
_S_ântanu, Bahlîka, the Bactrian (?), there are eleven reigns. Then the
three generations to Duryodhana and Ar_g_una.

Parikshit represents the beginning of the Interregnum.

The list in the Vish_n_u-purâ_n_a of twenty-nine kings, from Parikshit to
Kshemaka, with whom the race becomes extinct in the Kali age, does not
concern us.

They are the lines of the pretenders, who did not again acquire the
throne. The oldest list is probably only of six reigns; for the son of
_S_atânîka, the third V. P. king of this list, is also called Udayana
(Lassen, xxvi. note 23), and the same is the name of the twenty-fifth
king, the son of _S_atânîka II. Therefore B_r_ihadratha, Vasudâna, and
Sudâsa (21, 22, 23) are likewise the last of a Parikshit line. But they do
not count chronologically.

FOURTH PERIOD.

The kingdom of Magadha. Chronological clews for Megasthenes. The first
part of the Magadha list preserved to us (Lassen, xxxi.) from Kuru to
Sahadeva is an unchronological list of collateral lines of the third
period, therefore of no value for the computation of time. The Kali list
of Magadha begins with Somâpi to Ripun_g_aya, 20 kings. The numbers are
cooked in so stupid a way that they neither agree with each other nor are
possible. One can only find the right number from lower down.

_Restoration of the Chronology._

Kali II. Pradyota, five    138 years.
kings with
Kali III. Saisunâga, ten   360 years.
kings with
Kali IV. Nanda, father     22 years.
with eight or nine sons
                           ——
Kali V. Kandragupta king   317 B. C.
                           ——
                           837 years.

If one deducts these 837 years from 1182, the first year of the Kali age,
there remain 345 years for the twenty kings from Somâpi to Ripun_g_aya
(First Dynasty), averaging 17-1/2 years. (That will do!) I adopt 1182
years, because 1354 is _impossible_, but 1181 is the historical
chronological beginning of a kingdom in Kashmir. Semiramis invaded India
under a _Sthavirapati_ (probably only a title), about 1250. This time must
therefore fall in the interregnum (120 years, after Megasthenes). The
history of the war with Assyria (Asura?) is smothered by pushing forward
the Abhîra, that is, the Naval War on the Indus (Diodorus).

I pass over the approximate restoration of the first three periods. I have
given you a scanty abstract of my treatise, which I naturally only look
upon as a _frame-work_. But if the _frame-work_ be right, and of this I
feel convinced, if I have discovered the true grooves and the system—then
the unfalsified remains of traditions in the Vedas must afford further
confirmation. The Kali can be fixed for about 1150/1190 by powerful
synchronisms. The three earlier ages can be approximately restored. One
thus arrives, by adding 200 + 300 + 120 (=620) to each of the earlier and
thus separated periods, to the beginning of the Tretâ (foundation of the
_Bharata kingdom_ beginning with Puru). This leads to the following
computation.

I. Anarchy before Puru      200 years.
II. From Puru to            200 years.
Bharata’s father, 10
reigns of 20 years
From Bharata to             120 years.
A_g_amîdha’s son, 6
reigns
End of II.                  300 years.
                            ——
III. From Kuru to Bahlika   200 years.
(migration towards
Bactria?) 10 reigns
(Parikshit) apparently      120 years.
6-7 reigns
                            ——
End of the oldest Indian    1340 years.
kingdom, before Kali
                            1182 years.
                            ——
Beginning of Tretâ =        1100 years.
2522 B. C. (2234
Zoroaster invaded Babylon
from Media) Second
dynasties in Babylon
                            ——
                            3622 years.

We have still to account for the time of the _settlement in the Punjab_
and formation of kingdoms there. This gives as the beginning approximately
= 4339 B. C.

And now I am very anxious to hear what you have made out, or whether you
have let the whole matter rest as it is. I have postponed everything, in
order to clear up the way as far as I can. I shall try to induce Weber to
visit me in the Whitsun holidays, to look into the details for me, that I
may not lay myself open to attack. Before that I shall have received
Haug’s _entirely_ new _translation of the first Fargard_, which I shall
print as an Appendix, with his annotations. My _Chinese_ restoration has
turned out _most_ satisfactory.

I may now look forward to telling them: (1.) The rabbinical chronology is
false, it is impossible; it has every tradition opposed to it, most of all
so the biblical—therefore away with it! (2.) Science has not to _turn
back_, but now first to press really forward, and to restore: the question
is not the fixing of abstract speculative formulas, but the employing of
speculation and philology for the _reconstruction of the history of
humanity_, of which revelation is only a portion, though certainly the
centre if we believe in our moral consciousness of God.

This is about what I shall say, as my last word, in the Preface to the
sixth volume of “Egypt.” Volumes IV. and V. _are_ printed. _Deo soli
gloria._



[73.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _May 22, 1856._

MY DEAR FRIEND,—H. R. H. the Prince Regent, who starts for England
to-morrow, wishes to see Oxford, and _quietly_ and _instructively_. I
therefore give these lines to his private secretary, Herr Ullmann, that he
may by letter, or (if the time allows) by word of mouth, apply to you, to
fix _a day_. Herr Ullmann is the son of the famous Dr. U., the present
prelate and chief church-councilor, and a man of good intentions.

I have at last gone in for Vedic and Bactrian chronology, after having had
Dr. Haug of Bonn with me for eight days. He translated and read to me many
hymns from your two quartos (which he does very fluently), and a little of
Sâyana’s commentary. By this and by Lassen and Roth, and yours and Weber’s
communications, I believe I have saved myself from the breakers, and I
hold my proofs as established:—

That the oldest Vedas were composed 3000-2500 B. C., and that everything
else is written in a learned dead Brahmanical language, a precipitate of
the Veda language, and certainly _very late_: scarcely anything before 800
B. C.

Manu takes his place after Buddha.

The ages of the world are the miserable system of the book of Manu, and
nothing more than evaporated historical periods. These epochs can be
restored not by the aid, but in spite of the two epics and their
chronology.

Petermann sends me a beautiful map. The routes and settlements of the
Aryans from their primitive home to the land of the five rivers (or rather
seven).

Haug has worked out all the fourteen names. Kabul and Kandahar are hidden
amongst them. I hope he will settle in the autumn with me, and for the
next few years.

In haste, with hearty thanks for your affectionate and instructive
answers. God bless you.

P. S. I shall take the liberty of sending you, about the 1st of July, the
first five sheets of my _Aryans_, before they are printed off, and ten
days later the remaining three or four, and beg for your instructive
remarks on them.



[74.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _July 17, 1856_.

MY DEARLY LOVED FRIEND,—Yesterday evening at half-past seven o’clock I
wrote off my _last chapter_ of “Egypt’s Place” for press, and so the work
is finished, the first sheets of which were sent to Gotha from London in
1843, the chief part of which however was written in 1838-39. You will
receive the two new volumes (Books IV., V. a) in a fortnight; they will be
published to-day. Of the third volume (the sixth of the German editions),
or V. (b), twelve sheets are printed, and the other eighteen are ready,
except a few sheets already at Gotha, including the index to I. to V. (a).
I am in the main satisfied with the work.

You are the first with whom I begin paying off my debts of correspondence;
and I rejoice that I can take this opportunity to thank you for all the
delightful news which your last dear letter (sent by that most amiable
Muir) conveyed to me; especially for the completion of the _third big
volume of the Rig-veda_, and for the happy arrival of your mother and
cousin, which has doubtless already taken place. You know it was a letter
from the _latter_, which first told me _of you_, and made me wish to see
you. And then you came _yourself_; and all that I prophesied of you after
the first conversation in London and your first visit in the country, has
been richly fulfilled—yes, beyond my boldest hopes. You have won an
honorable position in the first English university, not only for yourself
but for the Fatherland, and you have richly returned the love which I felt
for you from the first moment, and have faithfully reciprocated a
friendship which constitutes an essential portion of my happiness. I
therefore thank you all the more for all the love and friendship of your
last letters. I can only excuse myself _by my book_ for not having sooner
thanked you. I soon perceived that _you were quite right_, that the
chronological researches on Indian antiquity have led to nothing more sure
than the conviction that the earlier views, with few exceptions, were
wrong or without foundation. As soon as I acquired this conviction,
through reading the last works on the subject (Lassen and Roth), I grew
furious, as it happens to me from time to time, and at the same time
reawoke the longing after the researches which I had to lay aside in 1816,
and which I now determined to approach again, in the course of my work,
which is chronological in the widest sense. After I had read all that is
written, I let Haug come to me in the Whitsun holidays. He brought with
him the translation I wished for of the _First Fargard of the Vendidad_;
and you can imagine my delight, when in Books XII. and XIII. he discovered
for me (purely linguistically) the two countries, the non-appearance of
which was the _only_ tenable counter-reason which opposed itself to the
intuition to which I had held fast since 1814—namely, that this document,
so ancient in its primitive elements, contained nothing less than the
history of the gradual invasion, founding of states, and peopling of Asia
by the Aryans. How could Kandahar and Kabul be missing if this were true?
Without the least _suspicion_ of this historical opinion, Haug proved to
me that they are not wanting. Petermann will make the whole clear in a
little map, such as I showed him. You will find it in the sixth volume.
Then he rejoiced my heart by translating some _single hymns of the
Rig-veda_, especially in Book VII., which I found threw great light on the
God-Consciousness, the faith in the moral government of the world. _He
comes to me_: from the 1st of August he is free in Bonn, and goes for the
Zend affairs to Paris, marries his bride in Ofterdingen, and comes here to
me on the 1st of October for _Mithridates_ and the Old Testament, the
printing of which begins in January, 1857, with the _Pentateuch_. With him
(in default of your personal presence) I have now gone through everything
at which I arrived with regard to the period of the entry of the Aryans
(4000 B. C.) in the Indus country (to which Sarasvatî does not belong—one
can as easily count seven as five rivers from the eastern branch of the
upper Indus to the west of the Satadru), and with regard to the difficult
questions of the connection of these migrations with Zoroaster. That is, I
_must_ place Zoroaster _before_ the emigration; on the march (from
5000-4000) the emigrants gradually break off. Three heresies, one after
another, are mentioned in the record itself. The not exterminated germs of
the nature-worship (with the adoration of fire) spring up again, but the
moral life remained. (1.) Therefore the Veda language is to me the
precipitate of the Old Bactrian (as the Edda language of the Old Norse).
(2.) The _Zend language_ is the second step from the Northern Old
Bactrian. (3.) The Sanskrit is one still further advanced from the
Southern Old Bactrian, or from the Veda language. (4.) All _Indian
literature_, except the Vedas, is in the New South Bactrian, already
become a learned language, which has been named the perfect or Sanskrit
language. The _epochs of the language_ are the three _great historical
catastrophes_.

A. _Kingdom in the region of the Indus._—4000-3000. The Veda language as a
living popular language.

B. _Second Period._—On the Sarasvatî and in the Duâb. The Veda tongue
becomes the learned language. Sanskrit is the _popular_ language,
3000-2000.

C. _Third Period._—Sanskrit _begins_ to be the learned language, at least
at the end.

D. Kali=1150 B. C. Sanskrit merely the learned language.

Therefore the oldest Vedas, the purely popular, cannot be younger than
3000; the _collection_ was made in the third period, the tenth book is
already in chief part written in a _dead language_. You see all depends on
whether I can authenticate the four periods with their three catastrophes;
for a new form of language presupposes a political change. Forms such as
Har-aqaiti I can explain just as that the Norwegian names of places are
younger than the corresponding Icelandic forms; in the colony the old
remains as a fixed form, in the mother country the language progresses.

For what concerns now seriously the _Mythology_, your spirited essay
opening the way was a real godsend, for I had just arrived at the
conviction which you will find expressed in the introduction to Book V.
(a): That the so-called nature-religion can be nothing but the _symbol_ of
the primitive consciousness of God, which only gradually became
independent (through misunderstanding) and which already lies prefigured
in organic speech. P——, K—— and Co., are on this point in great darkness,
or rather in utter error. _You_ have kept yourself perfectly free from
this mistake. I however felt that I must proclaim what is positively true
far more sharply, and have drawn the outlines of a method which is to me
the more convincing, as it has stood the test of the whole history of old
religion. For in taking up the Aryan investigations, I closed the circle
of my historical mythological inquiry. What will _you_ say to this? For I
have written the whole especially for you, to come to an understanding
with you. I arrive at the same point which you aim at, but without your
roundabout way, which is but a make-shift. But in the fundamental
conception of nature-religion, we do certainly agree altogether. If you
come to Germany, you will find here with me the proof-sheets of Book V.(b)
(about pages 1-200) which treat of this section, as well as the analysis
of the table of the Hebrew patriarchs. They will be looked through before
Haug’s journey to Paris and mine to Geneva (August 1), and will be
therefore all struck off when I return here on the 23d August.

Your essay holds a beautiful place in the history of the subject. The work
on that section gave me inexpressible delight, and a despaired-of gap in
my life is filled up, as far as is necessary for my own knowledge; and I
believe too not without advantage to the faithful.

How disgraceful it is that we do not instinctively understand the Veda
language, when we read it in respectable Roman letters, with a little
previous grammatical practice! Your Veda Grammar will be a closed book to
me, as you print in the later Devanagari goose-foot character. Haug shall
transliterate for me the grammatical forms into _your_ alphabet. He is a
noble Suabian, and much attached to me; also a great admirer of yours.

My “God-Consciousness” is printed (thirty-two sheets), twenty are
corrected (and fought through with Bernays). This work, too, will be
carried through the second revise before my journey. I wonder myself what
will come of the work. Its _extent_ remains unaltered (three volumes in
six books), but its contents are ever swelling. I hope it _will take_. I
shall strike the old system _dead forever_, if we do not go to ruin; of
this I am sure; therefore I must all the more lay the foundations of the
new structure in the heart, the conscience, and the reason.

O! what a hideous time! God be praised, who made us both free. So also is
Carl now, through his official efficiency and his happy marriage. The
wedding will take place in Paris between the 9th and 15th October. We
shall go there.

I take daily rides, and was never better. Please God I shall finish the
“God-Consciousness” (II. and III.) between the 25th August and the end of
October (the third volume is nearly ready), and then I shall take up the
“Biblework,” the proof-sheets of which lie before me, with _undivided_
energy. The contract with Brockhaus is concluded and exchanged. I shall
perhaps come to England in October, 1857; that is to say _with_ the first
volume of the Bible, but _not without_ it.

Neukomm and Joachim have been with us for six weeks, which gave us the
greatest enjoyment. Neukomm returns here at the end of August.

My children promise me (without saying it) to meet here for the 25th
August, to introduce the amiable bride to me. I am rejoicing over it like
a child.

Why do you not make a journey to the Neckar valley with your mother and
cousin? My people send hearty greetings. With true love, yours.

I am purposely not reading your Anti-Renan all at once, that I may often
read it over again before I finish it. I think it is admirably written.
Perhaps a distinguished philologist, Dr. Fliedner (nephew of the head of
the Deaconesses), may call on you. He has been highly recommended to me,
and is worthy of encouragement. What is Aufrecht about? I cannot cease to
feel interested about him.



[75.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _October 7, 1856_.

Yesterday, my dearest friend, I sent off the close of the last volume of
“Egypt,” together with the printed sheets 13-19, and at the same time to
Brockhaus the last two revised sheets of the “God in History,” Volume I.;
and to-day I have again taken up the translation of the Bible (Exodus),
with Haug and Camphausen—that is, Haug arrived the day before yesterday.
(Between ourselves, I hope Bernays is coming to me for three years.) How I
should have liked to show you these sheets, 13-19 (the Bactrians and
Indians and their chronology). You will find in them a thorough discussion
of your beautiful essay (which has been admired everywhere as a perfect
masterpiece), not without some shakings of the head at K—— and B——. In
fact I have gone in for it, and by New Year’s Day you shall have it before
you. This, with the journey to Switzerland and three weeks of
indisposition afterwards, are an excuse for my silence.

It always gives me great and inexpressible pleasure when you _talk_ to me
by letter and _think aloud_. And this time I have been deeply touched by
it. I am convinced you have since then yourself examined the
considerations which oppose themselves to your bold and noble wish with
regard to the Punjab. What would become of your great work? I will not
here say what shall we in Europe do without you? Also; do you mean to go
_alone_ to Hapta Hendu, or as a married man? There you will never find a
wife. And would your intended go with you? And the _children_? All
Englishmen tell me it is just as unbearably hot in Lahore as in Delhi; in
_Umritsir_ there is no fresh air. No Sing goes to Cashmir because he who
reigns there would soon dispatch him out of the world at the time of the
fever.

By the by, what has become of your convert? Does he still smoke without
any scruple?

Your gorgeous Rig-veda at Brockhaus’ frightens people here because of its
extent (they would have given up the Sanhita, satisfied with various
readings) and the exorbitant price. Others would willingly have had your
own Veda Grammar besides the Indian grammatical treatise, especially on
account of the Vedic forms. In fact you are admired, but criticised. You
must not allow this to annoy you. I find that Haug thinks about the
mythology nearly as I do.

Everything in Germany resolves itself more and more into pettinesses and
cliques, and the pitiful question of subsistence. “The many princes are
our good fortune, but poverty is our crime.” Had not _Brunn_ offered
himself to take Braun’s place, giving up his private tutorship, we must
have given up the Archæological Institute at Rome! With difficulty Gerhard
has found _one_ man in Germany who could undertake the Italian printing of
the “Annali” (appearing, as you know, in Gotha). “Resta a vedere se lo
può!” All who can, leave Prussia—and only blockheads or hypocrites are let
in, with the exception of physical science; whoever can do so turns
engineer, or goes into a house of business, or emigrates. My decided
advice on this account therefore is, reserve yourself for better times,
and stay at present in England, where you have really won a delightful
position for yourself.

Now for various things about myself. Every possible thing is done to draw
me away from here (my third capitol, the first of my own). The King quite
recently (which I could not in the least expect) received me here at the
railway station, in the most affectionate way, and demanded a promise from
me that I would pay him a visit within a year and a day. But I have once
for all declared myself as the “hermit of Charlottenberg,” and hermits and
prophets should stay at home. I do not even go to Carlsruhe and Coblentz.
_Cui bono?_ What avails good words, without good deeds? But the nation is
not dead. Don’t imagine that. Before this month is out you will see what I
have said on this subject in the Preface to the “God in History.” Within
six to ten years the nation will again be fit to act. Palmerston will cut
his throat if nothing comes of the Neapolitan business, and just the same
if he cannot make “a good case;” the principle of intervention even
against Bomba is self-destruction for England, and disgraceful in the
highest degree. The _fox_ cannot begin war in Italy at _the present
moment_ from want of money, and his accomplices are afraid of losing their
stolen booty. So he tries to gain time. He will still live a few years.

I have seen ——: he knows a great deal more than he allows to appear, but
is the driest, and most despairing Englishman I have ever seen. He has
suffered shipwreck of everything on the Tübingen sand bank. The poor
wretches! Religion and theology without philosophy is bad; philosophy
without philosophy is a monster! So Comte is a trump-card with many in
Oxford! He is so in London. What a fall of intellect! what a decay of
life! what an abyss of ignorance! Jowett is a living shoot, and will
continue so; but John Bull is my chief comfort, even for my “God in
History.” America is my greatest misery after my misery for Germany; but
the North _will_ prove itself in the right.

With hearty greetings of truest attachment and love to your mother, truly
yours.

We expect George on the 18th. Ernst is here.



[76.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _January 29, 1857_.

You have really inflicted it on me! For though I have but one leg to stand
upon (I cannot _sit_ at all), as the other has been suffering for four
days from sciatica (let Dr. Acland explain that to you, whilst you at the
same time thank him heartily for his excellent book on the cholera), still
I am obliged to place myself at the desk, to answer my dear friend’s
letter, received yesterday evening in bed. The last fortnight I have daily
thought of you incessantly, and wished to write you a dunning letter, at
the same time thanking you for the third volume of the Veda, which already
contains some hymns of the seventh book, as the admiring Haug read it out
to me. Out of this especially he promises me a great treasure for my Vedic
God-Consciousness, without prejudice to what the muse may perhaps prompt
you to send me in your beautiful poetical translation; for my young
assistant will have nothing to do with that. You will certainly agree with
him, after you have read my first volume, that much is to be found in that
Veda for the centre of my inquiries; the consciousness in the Indian
Iranians of the reality of the divine in human life. I find in all that
has yet come before me, almost the same that echoes through the Edda, and
that appears in Homer as popular belief; the godhead interferes in human
affairs, when crime becomes too wanton, and thus evil is overcome and the
good gains more and more the upper hand. Of course that is kept in the
background, when despair in realities becomes the keynote of the
God-Consciousness, as with the Brahmans, and then with the much-praised
apostles of annihilation, the Buddhists. You are quite right; it is a pity
that I could not let the work appear all at once, for even you
misunderstand me. When I say “_we_ cannot pray with the Vedas and Homer
and their heroes, not even with Pindar,” I mean, we as worshippers, as a
community; and that you will surely allow. Of course the thoughtful
philosopher can well say with Goethe, “worship and liturgy in the name of
St. Homer, not to forget Æschylus and Shakespeare.” But that matter is
nevertheless true in history without any limitation. I have only tried it
with Confucius, but it is more difficult; it is as if an antediluvian
armadillo tried to dance.

But what will my Old Testament readers say when I lead them into the glory
of the Hellenic God-Consciousness? Crossing and blessing themselves won’t
help! My expressions therefore in the second volume are carefully
considered and cautiously used. But the tragedy of my life will be the
fourth book. Yet I write it, I have written it!

You are quite right about the English translation; all the three volumes
at once, and the address at the beginning. But you must read the second
book for me. It is no good saying you don’t understand anything about it.
I have made it easy enough for you. I have asserted nothing simply,
without making it easy for every educated person to form his own opinion,
if he will only reflect seriously about the Bible. The _presuppositions_
are either as good as granted, or where anything peculiar to me comes in,
I have in the notes justified everything thoroughly, although apparently
very simply. Take the Lent Sundays for this, and you will keep Easter with
me, and also your amiable mother (from whom you never send me even a word
of greeting).

But now, how does it fare with “Egypt?” The closing volume, which, as you
know, I wrote partly out of despair, because you would not help me, and in
which I most especially thought of you, and reckoned on your guiding
friendship, must surely now be in your hands (the two preceding volumes,
of course, some time ago). Why don’t you read them?

I am not at all easy at what you tell me about yourself and your feelings;
even though I feel deeply that you do not quite withdraw your inmost
thoughts from me. But why are you unhappy? You have gained for yourself a
delightful position in life. You are getting on with your gigantic work.
You (like me) have won a fatherland in England, without losing your German
home, the ever excellent. You have a beautiful future before you. You can
at any moment give yourself a comfortable and soul-satisfying family
circle. If many around you are Philisters, you knew that already; still
they are worth something in _their_ own line. Only step boldly forward
into life. Then Heidelberg would come again into your itinerary.

One thing more this time. I have not received Wilson’s translation. I
possess both the first and second volumes. Has he not continued his useful
work? What can I do to remind him of the missing part? The third volume,
too, must contain much that is interesting for me.

I cannot forget Aufrecht. Is he free from care and contented? The family
greet you and your dear mother. We expect Charles and his young wife next
week. Ernst is, as you will know, back at Abbey Lodge. With unaltered
affection.



[77.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _April 27, 1857_.

The month is nearly over, my dear friend, before the close of which I
must, according to agreement, deliver up my revised copy of the amendments
and additions to the English edition of my “Egypt.” (They are already
there.) I hoped that in this interval you would have found a little
leisure (as Lepsius and Bernays have done, who sent me the fruits of their
reading already at the beginning of the month, in the most friendly way)
to communicate to me your criticisms or doubts or thoughts or corrections
on that which I have touched on in your own especial territory, as I had
expressly and earnestly begged you to do. I have improved the arrangement
very much. As you have not done this, I can only entertain one of two
disagreeable suppositions, namely, that you are either ill or out of
spirits, or that you have only what is disagreeable to say of my book, and
would rather spare yourself and me from this. But as from what I know of
you, and you know of me, I do not find in either the one or the other
supposition a sufficient explanation of your obstinate silence, I should
have forced myself to wait patiently, had I not to beg from you alone a
small but indispensable gift for my “God in History.”

I have again in this interregnum taken up the interrupted studies of last
year on the Aryan God-Consciousness in the Asiatic world, and thanks to
Burnouf’s, yours, Wilson’s, Roth’s and Fausböll’s books, and Haug’s
assistance and translations, I have made the way easy to myself for
understanding the two great Aryan prophets Zaraduschtra and Sākya, and (so
far as that is possible to one of us now) the Veda; and this not without
success and with inexpressible delight. My expectations are far exceeded.
The Vedic songs are by far the most glorious, which in first going through
that fearful translation of Wilson’s, seemed to wish to hide themselves
entirely from me. The difficulties of making them intelligible, even of a
bare translation, are immense; the utter perverseness of Sâya_n_a is only
exceeded by that of Wilson, to whom however one can never be grateful
enough for his communications. I now first perceive what a difficult but
also noble work you have undertaken, and how much still remains doubtful;
even after one has got beyond the collectors and near to the original
poets. It is as if of the Hebrew traditions we only had the Psalms, and
that without an individual personality like David, without, in fact, any
one; on the contrary, allusions to Abraham’s possible poems and the
cosmical dreams of the Aramæans. But yet how strong is the feeling of
immediate relation to God and nature, how truly human, and how closely
related to our own! What a curious similarity to the Edda, Homer, and
Pindar, Hesiod, and the Hellenic primitive times! Nothing however gave me
greater delight than the dignity and solemnity of the funeral ceremonies,
which you have made so really clear and easy to be understood. This is as
yet the only piece of _real life_ of our blood relations in the land of
the five rivers. I have naturally taken possession of this treasure with
the greatest delight, and perfected the description for my problem by the
explanation of Yama (following on the whole Roth, who however overlooks
the demiurgic character), of the Ribhus (departing entirely, not only from
Nève’s mistaken views, but also from what I have read elsewhere,
representing them as the three powers which divide and form matter,
namely, Air, Water, and Earth, to whom the fourth, Agni, was joined under
the guidance of Tvash’ar), and of the funeral ceremonies as the condition
of the laws of inheritance; where I return to my own beginning. And here
it strikes me at once that in the Vedas, so far as they are accessible to
me, there is not a trace to be found of the _joining together of the three
generations_ (the departed and his father and grandfather), and making
them the unity of the race through the sacrificial oblations. And yet the
_idea_ must be older than the Vedas, as this precise, though certainly not
accidental limitation is found with Solon and the Twelve Tables, just as
clearly as with Manu and all the books of laws, and the commentaries
collected by Colebrooke. You would of course have mentioned this in your
account if anything of the sort had existed in the tenth book. But even
the Pitris, the fathers, are not mentioned, but it passes on straight to
Yama the first ancestor. Haug, too, has discovered nothing; if you know
anything about it, communicate it to me in the course of May, for my
second volume goes to press on the 1st June. I shall read it aloud to
George and Miss Wynn here, between the 25th and 31st.

But my real desire is that you should send me one of your melodious and
graceful metrical translations of _your_ hymn, “Nor aught nor nought
existed.” I must of course give it (it belongs with me to the period of
transition, therefore, comparatively speaking, late); and how can I
venture to translate it? I have, to be sure, done so with about five
poems, which Haug chose for me out of the first nine books, and translated
literally and then explained them to me; as well as with those which I
worked out of Wilson’s two first volumes by the help of Roth and Haug. But
that is _your_ hymn, and I have already written my thanks for your
communication in my MS. and then left a space. That good Rowland Williams
thinks it theistic, or at all events lets one of the speakers say so.

Rowland Williams’ “Christ and Hinduism” has been a real refreshment to me,
in this investigation of the Indian consciousness of God in the world. The
mastery of the Socratic-Platonic dialogue, the delicacy and freedom of the
investigation, and the deep Christian and human spirit of this man, have
attracted me more than all other new English books, and even filled me
with astonishment. Muir, that good man, sent it me through Williams and
Norgate, and I have not only thanked him, but Williams himself, in a full
letter, and have pressingly invited him for his holidays to our little
philosophers’ room. It is an especial pleasure to me that Mary and John,
whose neighbor he is in summer, have appreciated him, and loved and prized
him, and Henry also.

Henry will bring me “Rational Godliness.” This book, English as it is,
should be introduced into India, in order to convert the followers of
Brahma and the English Christians! One sees what hidden energy lies in the
English mind, as soon as it is turned to a worthy object, but for this of
course the fructifying influences of the German spirit are required. I
have, on the contrary, been much disappointed by G——’s communication
contained in Burnouf’s classical works, on that most difficult but yet
perfectly soluble point of the teaching of Buddha, the twelve points
“beginning with ignorance and ending with death.” G—— leaves the rational
way even at the first step, and perceives his error himself at the ninth,
but so far he finds Buddha’s (that is his own) proofs unanswerable. How
totally different is Burnouf. He is fresh, self-possessed, and clear. I
can better explain why William von Humboldt went astray on this subject.
But I have already gossiped too much of my own thoughts to you. Therefore
to Anglicis.

What are you about in Oxford? According to Haug’s account you have abused
me well, or allowed me to be well abused in your “Saturday Review,” which
passes as yours and Kingsley’s mouthpiece. If it were criticism, however
mistaken, but why personal aspersions? Pattison’s article on the
“Theologia Germanica” in the April number of the “Westminster Review” is
very brave, and deserves all thanks. He has learnt to prize Bleek: in all
respects he has opened himself more to me in the last few weeks, and I
like him. But the man who now writes the survey of foreign literature in
the “Westminster Review” might have just _read_ my book: this he cannot
have done, or else he is a thorough bungler; for he (1) understands me
only as representing the personal God (apparently the one in the clouds,
as you once expressed it, _a-straddle_, riding) and leaving out everything
besides; (2) that the last twenty-seven chapters of the book of Isaiah are
not, as one has hitherto conceived, written by one man, but by Jeremiah,
although he is already the glorified saint of the 53d chapter, _and_ by
Baruch. Now thank God that the sheet is finished, and think occasionally
in a friendly way of your true friend.

I shall to-day finish the ante-Solonic God-Consciousness of the Hellenes.
That does one good.



[78.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _Friday, May 8, 1857_.

I must at least begin a letter to you to-day, because I feel I must thank
you, and express my delight at the letter and article. The _letter_
confirms my fears in the highest degree, namely, that _you are not well_,
not to say that you begin to be a hypochondriacal old bachelor. But that
is such a natural consequence of your retired sulky Don’s life, and of
your spleen, that I can only wonder how you can fight so bravely against
it. But both letter and article show me how vigorous are both your mind
and heart. It is quite right in you to defend Froude, though no one better
knows that the general opinion is (as is even acknowledged by members of
the German romantic school) that Shakespeare intentionally counteracted
the corrupt instinct and depraved taste of his nation in the matter of
Oldcastle. Whatever strange saints there have been in all countries, yet
the Wycliffites, true to their great and noble master, were martyrs, and
Milman has insisted on this most nobly. To misapprehend Wyeliffe himself,
that is, not to recognize him as the first and purest reformer, the man
between the Waldenses, Tauler, and Luther, is, however, a heresy more
worthy of condemnation than the ignoring of Germany in the Reformation,
and doubly deplorable when one sees such blind faith in the bloody
sentences of that most miserable court of judgment of Henry VIII. I must
therefore invert your formula thus, “L’histoire romanique (romantique) ne
vaut pas le Roman historique.” (I am not speaking of “Two Years Ago,” for
I only began to read the book yesterday.) _But_ I am very glad that you
think so highly of Froude personally, and therefore this matter does not
disturb me. On the other hand, I rejoice without any _but_, that you have
taken up Buddha so lovingly and courageously. (Do you know that extracts
from the article have found their way into the papers, through “Galignani”
as “Signs of the Times.”) You will soon see how nearly we agree together,
although I cannot say so much of the humanizing influence of Buddhism: it
makes of the Turanians what the Jesuits make of the people of Paraguay,
“praying machines.” In _China_ the Buddhists are not generally respected;
in _India_ they could not maintain their position, and would with
difficulty convert the people, if they tried to regain their lost ground.
But Buddha, _personally_, was a saint, a man who felt for mankind, a
profound man. I have said in my section, “Buddha has not only found more
millions of followers than Jesus, but is also even more misunderstood than
the Son of Mary.” Have you read _Dhammapadam_? What is the authority for
Buddha’s “Ten Commandments?” I have always considered this as an invention
of Klaproth’s, confirmed by Prinsep. I do not find them on Asoka’s
pillars, nor in that didactic poem; on the contrary, four or five _ad
libitum_. I shall, however, now read the sermons of the (really worthless)
convert Asoka at the fountain head, from Sprenger’s library.

You have represented the whole as with a magic wand. We really _edified_
ourselves yesterday evening with it. Frances read aloud, and we listened;
and this morning early my wife has made it into a beautiful little book in
quarto, with which I this afternoon made _Trübner_ very happy for some
hours. He is a remarkable man, and is _much_ devoted to you, and I have
entered into business relations with him about my “Biblework,” the first
volume of which goes to press on the 1st of January; the other six stand
before me as far finished as they can be, till I have the printed text of
“The People’s Bible” in three volumes before me, on which the “Biblical
Documents,” three volumes, and the “Life of Jesus and the Eternal Kingdom
of God,” one volume, are founded. He appears to me to be the right
negotiator between America, England, and Germany. He will before long call
on you some Saturday. (Write me word how you think of him as a
bookseller.) The duty you pay for your place, by putting together a
Chresthomathy, is very fair; whether you are obliged to print your
Lectures I cannot decide. I shall curse them both if they prevent you from
tearing yourself away from the Donnish atmosphere and bachelor life of
Oxford, and from throwing yourself into the fresh mental atmosphere of
Germany and of German mind and life. You must take other journeys besides
lake excursions and Highland courses. Why don’t you go to Switzerland,
with an excursion (by Berlin) to Breslau, to the German Oriental Congress?
There is nothing like the German spirit, in spite of all its
one-sidedness. What a _lœta paupertas_! What a recognition of the
sacerdocy of science! And then the strengthening air, free from fog, of
our mountains and valleys! You bad fellow, to tell me nothing of your
mother’s leaving you, for you ought to know that I am _tenderly_ devoted
to her; and it vexes me all the more, as I should long ago have sent her
my “God in History,” had I known that she was in Germany. (Query where?
Address?) Therefore fetch her, instead of luring her away to the walks
under the lime-trees. _George_ is going too at the end of June from here
to the Alps; we expect him in a fortnight. He is a great delight to me.

Now something more about Yama. I think you are _perfectly_ right with
regard to the origin. It is exactly the same with _Osiris_, the husband of
Isis, the earth, and then the judge of the dead and first man. Only we do
not on this account explain _Anubis_ as a _symbol of the sun_, but as the
watchful Dog of Justice, the accuser. So there are features in Yama (and
Yima) which are not to be easily explained from the cosmogonic conception,
although they can be from the idea of the divine, the first natural
representation of which is the astral one. I think, however, that Yama is
Geminus, that is “the upper and lower sun,” to speak as an Egyptian. _The
two dogs_ must originally have been what their mother the old bitch Saramâ
is; but with the God of Death they are something different, and the lord
of the dead is to be as little explained by the so-called nature-religion
_without returning to the eternal factor_, as this first phase itself
could have arisen without it as cosmical—_therefore_, as first symbol. How
I long for your two translations! The hymn which you give in the article
is _sublime_: the search after the God of the human heart is expressed
with indescribable pathos; and how much more will this be the case in your
hands in a new Indian translation! For we are most surely now the Indians
of the West. I am delighted that you so value Rowland Williams. We must
never forget that he has undertaken (as he himself most pointedly wrote to
me) the difficult task “to teach Anglican theology (and that to Anglican
Cymri).” He has not yet quite promised to pay me a visit,—he is evidently
afraid of me as a German and freethinker, and is afraid “to be
catechised.” He, like all Englishmen, is wanting in _faith_. He seems to
occupy himself profoundly with the criticism of the Old Testament. Poor
fellow! But he will take to Daniel.

The Harfords are determined to keep him there, in which Henry has already
encouraged them. I, however, think he _ought_ to go to Cambridge if they
offer him a professorship. Muir has written to me again,—an honest man;
but he has again taken a useless step, a prize, for which Hoffmann
(superintendent-in-general) is to be the arbiter; and the three judges
will be named by him, Lehnert as theologian (Neander’s unknown successor),
H. Ritter as the historian of philosophy (very good,—and who as
_Orientalist_)! No magister will touch his pen, _his ducibus_ and _tali
auspicio_. You should perform the Benares vow by a catechism drawn up for
the poor young Brahmans in the style of Rowland Williams, and yet quite
different, that is, in your own manner, telling and short. At all events,
no one in Germany will write half as good a book for the Brahmans as
Williams has done. The Platonic dialogue requires a certain breadth,
unless one is able and willing to imitate the Parmenides. At the same time
the ordinary missionaries may convert the lower classes through the Gospel
and through Christian-English-German life, in which alone they prove their
faith. By the by, it seems that Williams hopes for an article from you in
the “North British Review.” That you intend to read my “Egypt” is
delightful; only not in the Long Vacation, when you ought to travel about.
Have you read the friendly article on “God in History” in the “National
Review” (April), which however certainly shows an ignorance bordering on
impudence. Even the man in the “Westminster Review” pleases me better,
although he looked through my book fast asleep, and puts into my mouth the
most unbelievable discoveries of his own ignorance,—Isaiah chapters
xlix.-lxvi. are written by _Jeremiah_ and _Baruch_, and similar horrors!
When will people learn something? But in four years I hope, with God’s
help, to state this, in spite of them, and force them at last to learn
something through “the help of their masters and mine.” With true love,
yours.



[79.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _Friday Morning, August 28, 1857_.

See there he remains in the centre of Germany for a month, and lets one
hear and see nothing of him! Had I not soon after the receipt of your dear
and instructive letter gone to Wildbad, and there fallen into
indescribable idleness, I should long ago have written to Oxford; for the
letter was a great delight to me. The snail had there crept out of his
shell and spoke to me as the friend, but now “Your Excellency” appears
again; so the snail has drawn his head in again.

Now, my dear friend, you ought to be thanked for the friendly thought of
paying me a visit, and writing to me. Therefore you must know that I
returned here on the 19th, in order to greet, in his father’s native
country, Astor, my now sixty-three years old pupil, who proposed himself
for the 20th to the 25th, and who for my sake has left his money-bags in
order to see me once again. And now Astor is really in Europe, and has
called at Abbey Lodge; but his wife and granddaughter have stayed on in
Paris or Brussels, and Astor is _not_ yet here. This, however, has no
effect on my movements, for I do not accompany him to Switzerland, where,
I know, Brockhaus would send a hue and cry after me.

That the Oxford Don should ask him if I would afford him a “few hours,”
shows again the English leaven. For you well know that my hermit’s life is
dear to me for this reason,—that it leaves me at liberty to receive here
the Muses and my friends. And what have we not to talk over? The “hours”
belong to the Don’s gown; for you know very well that we could in a “few
hours” only figure to ourselves _what_ we have to discuss by turns. So
come as soon as you can, and stay at least a week here. You will find my
house to be sure rather lonely, as Henry has robbed me of the womankind,
and Sternberg of Theodora; and that excellent princess keeps Emilia from
me, who is faithfully nursing her benefactress in an illness that I hope
is passing away. We two old people are, however, here and full of old
life. Perhaps you will also still find Theodore, who, however, soon after
Astor’s departure will be hurrying off to Falmouth for sea-bathing, in
acceptance of his brother Ernst’s invitation. Laboulaye has announced
himself for the 8th; Gerhard and his wife for the first or second week in
September; therefore, if you do find any one, they will be friends.
Besides Meyer, there is Dr. Sprenger, the Arabic scholar, as house friend,
whose library I have at last secured for us,—a delightful man, who is my
guide in the Arabian desert, so that I may be certain of bringing the
children of Israel in thirty months to the Jabbok, namely, in the fifth of
the eight volumes.

I can give you no better proof of my longing to see you than by saying
that you shall _even_ be welcome without your mother, who is so dear and
unforgotten to us all, although we by no means give up the hope that you
will bring her with you here. For I _must_ see her again in this life. I
ought to have thanked her before this for a charming letter, but I did not
know _where_ she had gone from Carlsbad; her son never sent me the
address. Should she _not_ come with you, you must pay toll for the delay,
which, however, must not be longer than one year, with a photograph, for I
_must_ soon see her.

So you have looked at my Genesis! I am pleased at this. But I hope you
will look at the chapters once again, when they are set _in pages_, after
my last amendments; also at my discussions on Genesis i. 1-4, ii. 4-7, as
i. and ii. of the thirty thorns (in the Appendix, p. cxxxv.) which I have
run into the weak side of the Bible dragon, though less than one thirtieth
of its heaviest sins. I feel as if I had got over three quarters of the
work since I sent the eleven chapters and the thirty thorns into the
world. My holidays last till the 21st of October. Haug is in the India
House, over Minokhired and Parsi Bundehesh. If you have a moment’s time,
look at my quiet polemic against you and Burnouf in favor of Buddha, in
reference to the Nirvâna. Koeppen has given me much new material, although
he is of your opinion. I am quite convinced that Buddha thought on this
point like Tauler and the author of the “German Theology;” but he was an
Indian and lived in desperate times. A thousand thanks for the dove which
you sent me out of the ark of the Rig-Veda. I had sinned against the same
hymn by translating it according to Haug, as I had not courage enough to
ask you for more. And that leads me to tell you with what deep sympathy
and melancholy pleasure your touching idyl has filled me. You will easily
believe me that after the first five minutes I saw you vividly behind the
mask. I thank you _very much_ for having ordered it to be sent to me. I am
very glad that you _have_ written it, for I would far rather see you
mixing in the life of the present and future, with your innate freshness
and energy. I must end. All love from me and Fanny to your incomparable
mother. So to our speedy meeting. Truly yours.

George will have arrived in London yesterday with wife and child; his
darling Ella has a serious nervous affection, and they are to try sea air.
He is much depressed.



[80.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _February 17, 1858_.

Your affectionate letter, my dear friend, has touched me deeply. First
your unaltered love and attachment, and that you have perfectly understood
me and my conduct in this affair. Naturally my fate will be very much
influenced by it. I must be _every year_ in Berlin: this year I shall
satisfy myself with the last three weeks after Easter. In 1859 (as I shall
spend the winter in Nice) I shall take my seat, when I return in April
across the Alps. But later (and perhaps from 1859) I must not only live in
Prussia, which is prescribed by good feeling and by the constitution, but
I must stay for some time in Berlin. They all wish to have me there. God
knows how little effort it costs me not to seek the place of Minister of
Instruction, to say nothing of declining it, for everything is daily going
more to _ruin_. But it could only be for a short time, and
Bethmann-Hollweg, Usedom, and others can do the right thing just as well,
and have time and youth to drag away the heavy cart of a Chinese order of
business, which now consumes nine tenths of the time of a Prussian
minister (who works twelve hours a day).

What I wish and am doing with my “Biblework,” _you_ will see between the
lines of my first volume; other people, twelve months later, when my first
volume of the Bible documents “comes out:” and even then they will not see
where the concluding volume tends,—the world’s history in the Bible, and
the Bible in the world’s history. Already in the end of 1857 I finished
all of the first volume: the stereotyping goes on fearfully slow. You will
receive one of the first copies which goes across the Channel; and you
will read it at once, will you not? I am delighted that you are absorbed
in _Eckart_: he is the key to Tauler, and there is nothing better, _except
the Gospel of St. John_. For there stands still more clearly than in the
other gospel writings, that the object of life in this world is to _found
the Kingdom of God on earth_ (as my friends the Taipings understand it
also). Of this, Eckart and his scholars had despaired, just as much as
Dante and his parody, Reineke Fuchs. You will find already many pious
ejaculations of this kind in my two volumes of “God in History;” but I
have deferred the closing word till the sixth book, where _our_ tragedy
will be revealed, in order to begin boldly with a new epos. I send you
to-day four sheets by book-post, “The Aryans in Asia;” for I cannot finish
it without your personal help. You will find that you have already
furnished a great portion of the matter. The same hymn which I translated
with difficulty and trouble from Haug’s literal translation (in strophes
which you however do not recognize?) (Ps. li.), you have translated for
me, in your own graceful manner, on a fly-sheet, and sent to me from
Leipzig. Of course I shall use this translation in place of my own. I
therefore venture to request that you will do the same with regard to the
other examples which I have given. If you wish to add anything _new_, it
will suit perfectly, for everything fits in at the end of the chapter: the
number of the pages does not come into consideration in the present stage.
You will receive the leaves on Saturday; it would be delightful if you
could finish them in the course of the following week, and send them back
to me. (We have a contract here with France, which gives us a sort of
book-post.) I expect next week the continuation of the Brahmanism and
Buddha. I should like to send both to you. The notes and _excursus_ will
only be printed at the close of the volume, therefore not before May. The
rest (Books V., VI.) will be printed during the summer, to appear before I
cross the Alps. In this I develop the tragedy of the Romano-Germanic
world, and shall both gain many and lose many friends by it. I have read
your brilliant article on Welcker with great delight. I possess it. Have
you sent it (if only anonymously) to the noble old man? He has deserved
it. The article makes a great noise, and will please him very much. In
fact, everything would give me undisturbed pleasure, did I not see (even
without your telling me, which, however, you have done, as is the sacred
duty between friends) that you are not happy in yourself. Of _one_ thing I
am convinced,—you would be just as little so, _even less_, in Germany, and
least of all among the sons of the Brahmans. If you continue to live as
you do now, you would everywhere miss England,—perhaps also Oxford, if you
went to London. Of this I am not clear: in general a German lives far more
freely in the World-city than in the Don-city, where every English
idiosyncrasy strengthens itself, and buries itself in coteries.
Unfortunately I have neither read “Indophilus” nor “Philindus:” please
tell me the numbers of the “Times.” I can get a copy of the “Times” here
from the library from month to month. Trevelyan is an excellent man,
occasionally unpractical and mistaken, always meaning well and accessible
to reason. But does any one _study_ in London? _Dubito!_ But I don’t
understand the plan of an Oriental College. Perhaps it is possible to
undertake London without giving up Oxford entirely. The power of
influencing the young men, who after ten or twenty years will govern the
land, is far greater in Oxford or Cambridge than in London. I am curious
about your “German Reading Book.”

I maintain one thing,—you are not happy; and that comes from your bachelor
life. The progress of your Vedic work delights me: but how much in it is
still a riddle! Thus, for instance, the long hymn (2 Ash_t_aka, third
Adhyâya, Sûkta viii. CLXIV.) p. 125. The hymn is first of all, as can be
proved, beyond verse 41 _not genuine_; but even this older portion is
late, surely already composed on the Sarasvatî. The Veda is already a
finished book (verse 39), Brahma and Vish_n_u are gods (35, 36). The whole
is really wearisome, because it wishes to be mysterious without an idea.
(See 4 Ash_t_aka, seventh Adhyâya, vol. iii. p. 463.) Is not Brahma there
a god like Indra?

I depend on your marking all egregious blunders with a red pencil. Many
such must still have remained, leaving out of view all differences of
opinion. Tell me as much as you can on this point in a letter, for on the
Continent only notes for press are allowed to go as a packet. (But of
these you can bring in as much as you wish: the copy is a duplicate.) At
the end I should much like to write something about the present
impossibility of enjoying the Rig-Veda, and of the necessity of a
spiritual key. But I do not quite know, first of all, whether one can
really enter upon the whole: there is much that is conventional and mortal
by the side of what is imperishable. An anthology in about two or three
volumes would find a rapid sale, and would only benefit a more learned and
perfect edition. If you have arrived at the same conclusion, _I will blow
the trumpet_.

George greets you heartily, as do his mother and sisters. Perhaps I shall
move in April, 1859, to Bonn; _here_ I shall _not_ stay. _Deus
providebit._ With truest affection, yours.

Best remembrance to your mother. Have you read my preface to “Debit and
Credit?” I have poured out my heart about Kingsley in the Introduction to
the German “Hypatia,” and told him that everybody must say to himself,
sooner or late, “Let the dead bury the dead.”



[81.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _July 31, 1858_.

With threefold joy, my loved friend, have I heard the news through your
great admirer Mme. Schwabe, of your charming intention of delighting us in
August with a visit. _First_, on account of the plan itself: _then_
because I can now compress into a few lines the endless letter I have so
long had in my thoughts, to develop it in conversation according to my
heart’s desire; _thirdly_, because really since yesterday the day has come
when the one half of the concluding volume (iii.) of “God in History” has
gone to press, so that its appearing is secured. A letter to you, and a
like debt to Lepsius, therefore open the list. And now before anything
else receive my hearty _thanks_ for your friendly and instructive letter,
and what accompanied it _in Vedicis_. It came just at the right time, and
you will see what use I made of it in the work.

And now here first come my _congratulations_. Nothing could be more
agreeable and suitable; it is personally and nationally an honor, and an
unique acknowledgment. I can only add the wish that you may enjoy the
dignity itself as short a time as possible, and take leave as soon as
possible of the Fellow-celibates of All Souls’. Your career in England
wants nothing but this crowning-point. How prosperous and full of results
has it been! Without ceasing to be a German, you have appropriated all
that is excellent and superior in English life, and of that there is much,
and it will last for life. I imagine you will bring your historical
_Chrestomathy_ with you, and propose to you, as you most probably give
something out of the Heliand and Ulphilas, to reserve my Woluspa for the
next edition, as I have just established the first tenable text of this
divine poem, on which the brothers Grimm would never venture. I have had
this advantage, of working on the good foundation of my studies (with a
Danish translation) of 1815 from Copenhagen. Neither Magnusson, nor Munch,
nor Bergmann has given the text of the only MS. (Cod. Regius); one has
disfigured it with the latest interpolations, another with unauthorized
transpositions. I have at last worked out the unity of the Helgi and the
Sigurd songs with each other, and the oldest purely mythological stratum
(the solar tragedy) of both, as an important link in the chain of
evidence, for the reality of the God-Consciousness of mankind and its
organic laws. What people will say to the “results” (Book VI.) which fall
into one’s hands, I do not know.

I have been obliged to postpone the journey to Italy from September to
November. October (the 23d) is the great crisis for Prussia, and I ought
not to forsake the Fatherland then, and have willingly agreed not to do
so. A brighter, better day is approaching. May God give his blessing.
Every one must help; it is the highest time.

But nothing disturbs me from the work of my life. The fourth volume of the
“Biblework” goes to press the day after to-morrow; on the 1st of
September, the fifth (Documents I. a). I have now finished _my_
preliminary work for the Old Testament in the main points, and only
reserved the last word before the stereotyping; so I begin at once on the
New Testament and Life of Jesus. The friendly and clever notice of the
first volume of the “Biblework” in the “Continental Review” gave me and my
whole family _great pleasure_: and Bernays is here since yesterday (for
August and September), which helps the printing of the Pentateuch very
much, as I always sent him a last revise, and now all can be worked off
here. I finish with Haug in the beginning of September; he will go
probably to Poonah with his very sensible bride. Charles and Theodore are
well. I expect George this week with Emilia for a visit. My family greet
you. Bernays sighs. He has again made some _beautiful discoveries_; that
of Aristotle (about the tragedies) I have carried further philosophically.
Suggest to that good Arthur Stanley (to whom I have sent my “Biblework”)
to send me his “Palestine.” I cannot get it here, and should like to say
something about it.

With most true love, yours.



[82.]


CHARLOTTENBERG, _July 23, 1859_.

My sons knew too well what delight they would give me through their
confidential communication, which has already given us all a foretaste of
the delight of your visit with your bride, and meanwhile has brought me
your expected and affectionate letter.

I have felt all these years what was the matter with you, and I sympathize
with your happiness as if it concerned one of my own children. I therefore
now, my loved friend, wish you all the more happiness and blessing in the
acquisition of the highest of life’s prizes, because your love has already
shown the right effect and strength, in that you have acquired courage for
finishing at _this present time_ your difficult and great work on the
Vedas. The work will also give you further refreshment for the future,
whilst the editing of the Veda still hangs on your hands.

Therefore let us all wish you joy most heartily (my wife has received the
joyful news in Wildbad), and accept our united thanks beforehand for your
kind intention of visiting us shortly with your young wife. By that time
we shall all be again united here. Your remarkable mother will alone be
wanting. Beg your bride beforehand to feel friendly towards me and towards
us all. You know how highly I esteem her two aunts, though without
personal acquaintance with them, and how dear to me is the cultivated,
noble, Christian circle in which the whole family moves. I have as yet
carried out my favorite plan with a good hope of success; six months in
Charlottenberg on the true spiritually historical interpretation of the
Old Testament, in the first volumes of the second division of the work
(the so-called documents); six months of the winter on the “Life of
Jesus,” and what in my view immediately joins on to that. The first volume
of the Bible documents is printed, _the Pentateuch_. You will see that I
have handled Abraham and Moses as freely here as I did Zoroaster and
Buddha in my last work; the explanation of the books and the history from
Joram to Zedekiah is as good as finished.

We shall keep peace; Napoleon and Palmerston understand each other, and
Palmerston is the _only_ statesman in England and Europe who conceives
rightly the Italian question. Russia follows him. I still hope by the
autumn to be able to bless the God of free Italy beside Dante’s and
Machiavelli’s graves. With us (Prussia) matters move fairly forwards; here
they have been fools, and begin to feel ashamed of themselves. So a speedy
and happy meeting.

Your heartily affectionate friend,

BUNSEN.



FOOTNOTES


    1 This article formed the preface to a collection of extracts
      published in 1858, under the title of _German Classics_. The
      extracts are arranged chronologically, and extend from the fourth to
      the nineteenth century. They are given in the original Gothic, Old
      High-German, and Middle High-German with translations, while in the
      more modern portions the difficult words only are explained in
      notes. A list of the principal works from which the extracts are
      taken will be found at the end of the article, p. 44.

    2 “Ut easdam homilias quisque (episcopus) aperte transferre studeat in
      _rusticam romanam_ linguam aut _theodiscam_, quo facilius cuncti
      possint intelligere quæ dicantur.”—Conc. Tur. can. 17. Wackernagel,
      _Geschichte der Deutschen Literatur_, § 26.

_    3 Lateinische Gedichte des X. und XI. Jahrhunderts_, von J. Grimm und
      A. Schmeller. Göttingen, 1838.

_    4 Reinhard Fuchs_, von Jacob Grimm. Berlin, 1834. _Sendschreiben_, an
      Karl Lachmann. Leipzig, 1840.

_    5 Poems of Grave Ruodolf von Fenis, Her Bernger von Horheim_; see
      _Des Minnesangs Frühling_, by Lachmann and Haupt. Leipzig, 1857.

    6 Poem of the _Kürenberger_; see _Des Minnesangs Frühling_, pp. 8 and
      230.

    7 See an account of the _Italian Guest_ of Thomasin von Zerclaria by
      Eugene Oswald, in _Queene Elizabethe’s Achademy_, edited by F. J.
      Furnivall. London, 1869. This thoughtful essay contains some
      important information on Thomasin.

_    8 Des Minnesangs Frühling._ Herausgegeben von Karl Lachmann und
      Moritz Haupt. Leipzig, 1857.

    9 Sebastian Brant’s _Narrenschiff_. Herausgegeben von Friedrich
      Zarncke. Leipzig, 1857.

_   10 Rede auf Schiller_, von Jacob Grimm. Berlin, 1859. (Address on
      Schiller, by Jacob Grimm.)

      _Schiller-Buch_, von Tannenberg; Wien. From the Imperial Printing
      Press, 1859.

      _Schiller’s Life and Works._ By Emil Palleske. Translated by Lady
      Wallace. London, Longman and Co., 1860.

      _Vie de Schiller._ Par Ad. Regnier, Membre de l’Institut. Paris,
      Hachette, 1859.

   11 See _The Times’_ Special Correspondent from Vienna, November 14.

   12 The Prince of Holstein-Augustenburg was the grandfather of the
      present Duke and of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein.

   13 Preface to a new edition of Wilhelm Müller’s poems, published in
      1868, in the _Bibliothek der Deutschen National-literatur des
      achtzehnten und neunzehnten Jahrhunderts._ Leipzig, Brockhaus.
      Translated from the German by G. A. M.

         14 “Free, and strong, and pure, and German,
        On the German Rhine,
      Nothing can be now discovered
        Save alone our wine;
      If the wine is not a rebel,
        Then no more are we;
      Mainz, thou proud and frowning fortress,
        Let him wander free!”

   15 “And let me have my full glass, and let me have my hearty laugh at
      these wretched times! He who can sing and laugh with his wine, you
      need not put under the ban, my lords: mirth is a harmless child.”

         16 “Europe wants but peace and quiet: why hast thou disturbed her
                  rest?
      How with silly dreams of freedom dost thou dare to fill thy breast?
      If thou rise against thy rulers, Hellas, thou must fight alone,
      E’en the bolster of a Sultan, loyal Europe calls a throne.”

   17 I am enabled through the kindness of Mr. Theodore Martin to supply
      an excellent translation of these two poems, printed by him in 1863,
      in a volume intended for private circulation only.

   18 Ptol. ii. 11, ἐπὶ τὸν αὐχένα τῆς Κιμβρικῆς Χερσονήσου Σάξονες.

   19 Grimm, _Geschichte der Deutschen Sprache_, p. 609. Strabo, Pliny,
      and Tacitus do not mention the name of Saxons.

   20 Grimm, l. c. p. 629.

   21 See _Poeta Saxo_, anno 772, in Pertz, Monum. I. 228, line 36; Grimm,
      l. c. p. 629.

   22 See Grimm, _Deutsche Sprache_, p. 781.

_   23 Germania_, c. 40. Grimm, l. c. p. 604.

   24 Grimm, p. 641.

   25 Beda, _Hist. Eccl._ I. 15. “Porro de Anglis, hoc est, de ilia patria
      quæ Angulus dicitur,” etc. Ethelwert, Chron. I., “Porro Anglia vetus
      sita est inter Saxones et Giotos, babens oppidum capitale, quod
      sermone Saxonico Sleswic nuncupatur, secundum vero Danos,
      _Haithaby_.”

   26 Grimm, l. c. p. 630.

   27 “Guti vero similiter cum veniunt (in regnum Britanniæ) suscipi
      debent, et protegi in regno isto sicut conjurati fratres, sicut
      propinqui et proprii cives regni hujus. Exierunt enim quondam de
      nobili sanguine Anglorum, scilicet de Engra civitate, et Angliei de
      sanguine illorum, et semper efficiuntur populus unus et gens una.
      Ita constituit optimus Ina Rex Anglorum.... Multi vero Angli
      ceperunt uxores suas de sanguine et genere Anglorum Germaniæ, et
      quidam Angli ceperunt uxores suas de sanguine et genere Scotorum;
      proceres vero Scotorum, et Scoti fere omnes ceperunt uxores suas de
      optimo genere et sanguine Anglorum Germaniæ, et itu fuerunt tunc
      temporis per universum regnum Britanniæ duo in carne una....
      Universi prædicti semper postea pro communi utilitate coronæ regni
      in simul et in unum viriliter contra Danos et Norwegienses semper
      steterunt; et atrocissime unanimi voluntate contra inimicos
      pugnaverunt, et bella atrocissima in regno gesserunt.” (_Die Gesetze
      der Angelsachsen_, ed. Schmid, p. 296.)

   28 Klaus Groth writes: “The island of Friesian speech on the continent
      of Schleswig between Husum and Tondern is a very riddle and miracle
      in the history of language, which has not been sufficiently noticed
      and considered. Why should the two extreme ends only of the whole
      Friesian coast between Belgium and Jutland have retained their
      mother-speech? For the Ost Friesians in Oldenburg speak simply
      Platt-Deutsch like the Westphalians and ourselves. Cirk Hinrich
      Stüremburg’s so called Ost-Friesian Dictionary has no more right to
      call itself Friesian than the Bremen Dictionary. Unless the whole
      coast has sunk into the sea, who can explain that close behind
      Husum, in a flat country as monotonous as a Hungarian Pussta,
      without any natural frontier or division, the traveller, on entering
      the next inn, may indeed be understood if he speaks High or Low
      German, nay, may receive to either an answer in pure German, but
      hears the host and his servants speak in words that sound quite
      strange to him? Equally strange is the frontier north of the
      Wiede-au, where Danish takes the place of Friesian. Who can explain
      by what process the language has maintained itself so far and no
      farther, a language with which one cannot travel beyond eight or ten
      square miles? Why should these few thousand people not have
      surrendered long ago this ‘useless remnant of an unschooled
      dialect,’ considering they learn at the same time Low and High
      German, or Low-German and Danish? In the far-stretching, straggling
      villages a Low-German house stands sometimes alone among Friesian
      houses, and _vice versa_, and that has been going on for
      generations. In the Saxon families they do not find it necessary to
      learn Friesian, for all the neighbors can speak Low-German; but in
      the Friesian families one does not hear German spoken except when
      there are German visitors. Since the seventeenth century German has
      hardly conquered a single house, certainly not a village.”
      (_Illustrir__te__ Deutsche Monatshefte_, 1869, p. 330.)

_   29 Histoire de St. Louis_, par Joinville. Texte rapproché du Français
      Moderne par M. Natalis de Wailly, Membre de l’Institut. Paris, 1865.

      _Œuvres de Jean Sire de Joinville_, avec un texte rapproché du
      Français Moderne, par M. Natalis de Wailly. Paris, 1867. M. Natalis
      de Wailly has since published a new edition of Joinville, _Histoire
      de Saint Louis_, par Jean Sire de Joinville, suivie du Credo et de
      la lettre à Louis X.; texte ramené à l’orthographe des Chartes du
      Sire de Joinville. Paris, 1868. He has more fully explained the
      principles according to which the text of Joinville has been
      restored by him in his _Mémoire sur la Langue de Joinville_. Paris,
      1868.

   30 See Paulin Paris, p. 175.

   31 In his last edition of the text of Joinville, which was published in
      1868, M. de Wailly has restored the spelling of Joinville on all
      these points according to the rules which are observed in
      Joinville’s charters, and in the best MSS. of the beginning of the
      fourteenth century. The fac-similes of nine of these charters are
      published at the end of M. de Wailly’s _Mémoire sur la Langue de
      Joinville_; of others an accurate transcript is given. The authentic
      texts thus collected, in which we can study the French language as
      it was written at the time of Joinville, amount to nearly one fifth
      of the text of Joinville’s History. To correct, according to these
      charters, the text of Joinville so systematically as had been done
      by M. de Wailly in his last edition may seem a bold undertaking; but
      few who have read attentively his _Mémoire_ would deny that the new
      editor has fully justified his critical principles. Thus with regard
      to the terminations of the nominative and the oblique cases, where
      other MSS. of Joinville’s History follow no principle whatever, M.
      de Wailly remarks: “Pour plus de simplicité j’appellerai règle du
      sujet singulier et règle du sujet pluriel l’usage qui consistait à
      distinguer, dans beaucoup de mots, le sujet du regime par une
      modification analogue à celle de la déclinaison latine. Or, j’ai
      constaté que, dans les chartes de Joinville, la règle du sujet
      singulier est observée huit cent trente-cinq fois, et violée sept
      fois seulement; encore dois-je dire que cinq de ces violations se
      rencontrent dans une même charte, celle du mois de mai 1278, qui
      n’est connue que par une copie faite au siècle dernier. Si l’on fait
      abstraction de ce texte, il reste deux violations contre huit cent
      trente-cinq observations de la règle. La règle du sujet pluriel est
      observée cinq cent quartre-vingt-huit fois, et violée six fois: ce
      qui donne au total quatorze cent vingt-trois contre treize, en
      tenant compte même de six fautes commises dans le texte copié au
      siècle dernier. De ce resultat numérique, il faut évidemment
      conclure, d’abord, que l’une et l’autre règle étaient parfaitement
      connues et pratiquées à la chancellerie de Joinville, ensuite qu’on
      est autorisé à modifier le texte de l’Histoire, partout où ces
      règles y sont violées. (D’après un calcul approximatif, on peut
      croire que le copiste du quatorzième siècle a violé ces règles plus
      de quatre mille fois et qu’il les respectait peut-être une fois sur
      dix.)”

_   32 Table Méthodique des Mémoires de Trévoux_ (1701-1775), précédée
      d’une Notice Historique. Par le Pére P. C. Sommervogel, de la
      Compagnie de Jésus. 3 vols. Paris, 1864-65.

_   33 Chasot: a Contribution to the History of Frederic the Great and his
      Time._ By Kurd von Schlözer. Berlin. 1856.

   34 Speech delivered at Stratford-on-Avon on the 23d of April, 1864, the
      Tercentenary of Shakespeare’s birth.

   35 Franz Baco von Verulam: _Die Realphilosophie und ihr Zeitalter_. Von
      Kuno Fischer. Leipzig. Brockhaus. 1856.

_   36 Pauli Hentzneri J. C. Itinerarium Germaniæ, Galliæ, Angliæ,
      Italiæ_: cum Indice Locorum, Rerum, atque Verborum commemorabilium.
      Huic libro accessêre novâ hâc editione—1. Monita Peregrinatoria
      duorum doctissimorum virorum; itemque Incerti auctoris Epitome
      Præcognitorum Historicorum, antehac non edita. Noribergæ, Typis
      Abrahami Wagenmanni, sumptibus sui ipsius et Johan. Güntzelii, anno
      MDCXXIX.

_   37 Antiquities, Historical and Monumental, of the County of Cornwall._
      By William Borlase, LL. D. London, 1769.

      _A Week at the Land’s End._ By J. T. Blight. London, 1861.

   38 Plin. _H. N._ xvi. c. 44. “Non est omittenda in ea re et Galliarum
      admiratio. Nihil habent Druidæ (ita suos appellant magos) visco et
      arbore in qua gignatur (si modo sit robur) sacratius. Jam per se
      roborum eligunt lucos, nec ulla sacra sine ea fronde conficiunt, ut
      inde appellati quoque interpretatione Græca possint Druidæ videri.
      Enimvero quidquid adnascatur illis, e cœlo missum putant signumque
      esse electæ ab ipso deo arboris. Est autem id rarum admodum inventu
      et repertum magna religione petitur, et ante omnia sexta luna, quæ
      principia mensium annorumque his facit, et seculi post tricesimum
      annum, quia jam virium abunde habeat, nec sit sui dimidia. Omnia
      sanantem appellantes suo vocabulo, sacrificiis epulisque rite sub
      arbore præparatis, duos admovent candidi coloria tauros, quorum
      cornua tune primum vinciantur. Sacerdos candida veste cultus arborem
      scandit, falce aurea demetit; candido id excipitur sago. Tum deinde
      victimas immolant, precantes ut suum donum deus prosperum facial his
      quibus dederit.”

_   39 Tre_, homestead; _ros_, moor, peatland, a common; _pol_, a pool;
      _lan_, an enclosure, church; _caer_, town; _pen_, head.

   40 Cranmer’s Works, ed. Jenkyns, vol. ii. p. 230.

   41 Observations on an ancient Manuscript, entitled _Passio Christi_, by
      —— Scawen, Esq., 1777, p. 26.

   42 Borlase’s _Natural History of Cornwall_, p. 315.

_   43 Ibid_.

   44 Her age was certainly mythical, and her case forms a strong
      confirmation of the late Sir G. C. Lewis’s skepticism on that point.
      Dolly Pentreath is generally believed to have died at the age of one
      hundred and two. Dr. Borlase, who knew her, and has left a good
      description of her, stated that, about 1774, she was in her
      eighty-seventh year. This, if she died in 1778, would only bring her
      age to ninety-one. But Mr. Haliwell, who examined the register at
      Paul, found that Dolly Pentreath was baptized in 1714; so that,
      unless she was baptized late in life, this supposed centenarian had
      only reached her sixty-fourth year at the time of her death, and was
      no more than sixty when Dr. Borlase supposed her to be eighty-seven.
      Another instance of extraordinary old age is mentioned by Mr. Scawen
      (p. 25), about a hundred years earlier. “Let not the old woman be
      forgotten,” he says, “who died about two years since, who was one
      hundred and sixty-four years old, of good memory, and healthful at
      that age, living in the parish of Guithian, by the charity mostly of
      such as came purposely to see her, speaking to them (in default of
      English) by an interpreter, yet partly understanding it. She married
      a second husband after she was eighty, and buried him after he was
      eighty years of age.”

_   45 Specimens of Cornish Provincial Dialects_, by Uncle Jan Treenoodle.
      London, 1846: p. 82.

_   46 Greece, Ancient and Modern_, by C. C. Felton. Boston, 1867, vol.
      ii. p. 314.

_   47 The Races of the Old World: A manual of Ethnology._ By Charles L.
      Brace. London, 1863, p. 362 _seq._

   48 Cornish proverbs have lived on after the extinction of Cornish, and
      even as translated into English they naturally continue to exercise
      their own peculiar spell on the minds of men and children. Such
      proverbs are:—

      “It is better to keep than to beg.”

      “Do good; for thyself thou dost it.”

      “Speak little, speak well, and well will be spoken again.”

      “There is no down without eye, no hedge without ears.”

   49 A critical edition, with some excellent notes, was published by Mr.
      Whitley Stokes under the title of _The Passion_. MSS. of it exist at
      the British Museum and at the Bodleian. One of the Bodleian MSS.
      (Gough, Cornwall, 3) contains an English translation by Keigwyn,
      made in 1682.

   50 In the MS. in the British Museum, the translation is said by Mr.
      Norris to be dated 1693 (vol. ii. p. 440). It was published in 1827
      by Davies Gilbert; and a critical edition was prepared by Mr.
      Whitley Stokes, and published with an English translation in 1862.
      Mr. Stokes leaves it doubtful whether William Jordan was the author,
      or merely the copyist, and thinks the text may belong to an earlier
      date, though it is decidedly more modern than the other specimens of
      Cornish which we possess in the dramas, and in the poem of _The
      Passion_.

_   51 Guare_, in Cornish, means a play, a game; the Welsh _gware._

   52 According to Lhuyd, _guirimir_ would be a corruption of
      _guarimirkle_, _i.e._ a miracle-play. Norris, vol ii. p. 455.

   53 In some lines written in 1693, on the origin of the Oxford _Terræ
      filius_, we read:—

           “These undergraduates’ oracles
      Deduced from Cornwall’s _guary_ miracles,—
      From immemorial custom there
      They raise a turfy theatre!
      When from a passage underground,
      By frequent crowds encompassed round,
      Out leaps some little Mephistopheles,
      Who e’en of all the mob the offal is,” etc.

   54 The following extract from a Cornish paper gives some curious words
      still current among the people:—

      “A few weeks since a correspondent in the _Cornish Telegraph_
      remarked a few familiar expressions which we West country folks are
      accustomed to use in so vague a sense that strangers are often
      rather puzzled to know precisely what we mean. He might also have
      added to the list many old Cornish words, still in common use, as
      _skaw_ for the elder-tree; _skaw-dower_, water-elder; _skaw-coo_,
      nightshade; _bannel_, broom; _skedgewith_, privet; _griglans_,
      heath; _padzypaw_ (from _padzar_, four?), the small gray lizard;
      _muryan_, the ant; _quilkan_, the frog (which retains its English
      name when in the water); _pul-cronach_ (literally pool-toad) is the
      name given to a small fish with a head much like that of a toad,
      which is often found in the pools (_pulans_) left by the receding
      tide among the rocks along shore; _visnan_, the sand-lance;
      _bul-horn_, the shell-snail; _dumble-dory_, the black-beetle (but
      this may be a corruption of the dor-beetle). A small, solid wheel
      has still the old name of _drucshar_. Finely pulverized soil is
      called _grute_. The roots and other light matter harrowed up on the
      surface of the ground for burning we call _tabs_. The harvest-home
      and harvest-feast, _guildize_. _Plum_ means soft; _quail_, withered;
      _crum_, crooked; _bruyans_, crumbs; with a few other terms more
      rarely used.

      “Many of our ordinary expressions (often mistaken for vulgar
      provincialisms) are French words slightly modified, which were
      probably introduced into the West by the old Norman families who
      long resided there. For instance: a large apron to come quite round,
      worn for the sake of keeping the under-clothing clean, is called a
      _touser_ (_tout-serre_); a game of running romps, is a _courant_
      (from _courir_). Very rough play is a regular _cow’s courant_. Going
      into a neighbor’s for a spell of friendly chat is going _to cursey_
      (_causer_) a bit. The loins are called the _cheens_ (old French,
      _echine_). The plant sweet-leaf, a kind of St. John’s wort, here
      called _tutsen_, is the French _tout-saine_ (heal all). There are
      some others which, however, are not peculiar to the West; as
      _kickshaws_ (_quelque chose_), etc. We have also many inverted
      words, as _swap_ for wasp, _cruds_ for curds, etc. Then again we
      call a fly a _flea_; and a flea a _flay_; and the smallest stream of
      water a river.”—W. B.

   55 Quoted in Petrie, _Eccles. Architecture of Ireland_, p. 107.

   56 Borlase, _Antiquities of Cornwall_, p. 162.

   57 Strabo, iv. 197: τοὺς δ᾽ οἴκους ἐκ σανίδων καὶ γέῥῤων ἔχουσι
      μεγάλους θολοειδεῖς, ὄροφον πολὺν ἐπιβάλλοντες.

   58 Cf. Photius, _Bibliotheca_, ed. Bekker, p. 148, 1. 32: περὶ τῆς παρὰ
      τὸν ὠκεανὸν Γιγωνίας πέτρας, καὶ ὅτι μόνῳ ἀσφοδειλῷ κινεῖται, πρὸς
      πᾶσαν βίαν ἀμετακίνητος οὖσὰ.

   59 The following extract from a Cornish newspaper, July 15, 1869, shows
      the necessity of imperial legislation on this subject to prevent
      irreparable mischief:—

      “The ruthless destruction of the Tolmen, in the parish of
      Constantine, which has been so much deplored, has had the effect, we
      are glad to say, of drawing attention to the necessity of taking
      measures for the preservation of the remaining antiquities and
      objects of curiosity and interest in the county. In a recent number
      of the _West Briton_ we called attention to the threatened overthrow
      of another of our far-famed objects of great interest,—the
      Cheesewring, near Liskeard; and we are now glad to hear that the
      committee of the Royal Institution of Cornwall have requested three
      gentlemen who take great interest in the preservation of
      antiquities—Mr. William Jory Henwood, F. G. S., etc., Mr. N. Hare,
      Jr., of Liskeard, and Mr. Whitley, one of the secretaries of the
      Royal Institution—to visit Liskeard for the purpose of conferring
      with the agents of the lessors of the Cheesewring granite
      quarries—the Duchy of Cornwall—and with the lessees of the works,
      Messrs. Freeman, of Penryn, who are themselves greatly anxious that
      measures should be taken for the preservation of that most
      remarkable pile of rocks known as the Cheesewring. We have no doubt
      that the measures to be adopted will prove successful; and with
      regard to any other antiquities or natural curiosities in the
      county, we shall be glad to hear from correspondents, at any time,
      if they are placed in peril of destruction, in order that a public
      announcement of the fact may become the means of preserving them.”

   60 See p. 245.

   61 See Isaac Taylor’s _Words and Places_, p. 212. The Ock joins the
      Thames near Abingdon.

   62 See the learned essay of M. Rossignol, “De l’Orichalque: Histoire du
      Cuivre et de ses Alliages,” in his work, _Les Métaux dans
      l’Antiquité_. Paris. 1863.

   63 There is another Penny come quick near Falmouth.

   64 Isaac Taylor, _Words and Places_, p. 402.

   65 It has been objected that _Marchadyon_ could not be called the
      original form, because by a _carta Alani comitis Britanniæ_, sealed,
      according to Dugdale’s _Monasticon Anglicanum_, by Alan, anno
      incarnationis domini MCXL., ten shillings per annum were granted to
      the monks of St. Michael, due from a fair held at _Merdresem_ or
      _Merdresein_. Until, however, it has been proved that _Merdresem_ is
      the same place and the same name as _Marchadyon_, or that the latter
      sprang from the former, _Marchadyon_ in the charter of Richard, Earl
      of Cornwall, 1257, may for our immediate purpose be treated as the
      root from which all the other names branched off. See Oliver,
      _Monasticon Exon._ p. 32.

   66 If a market was held on the “dimidia terræ hida” granted by Robert
      to the monks, this difficulty would disappear.

   67 In the Additional Supplement (p. 4), Dr. Oliver gives the more
      correct reading, “_de Markesiou, de parvo Mercato, Brevannek,
      Penmedel, Trewarbene_.” It depends on the comma after _Markesiou_
      whether _parvus Mercatus_ is a separate place or not.

   68 Dr. Bannister remarks that _Markesion_ occurs as early as 1261, in
      the taxation of Bishop Walter Bronescombe, as quoted in Bishop
      Stapledon’s register of 1313. If that be so, the original form and
      its dialectic varieties would have existed almost contemporaneously,
      but the evidence that _Markesion_ was used by Bishop Bronescombe is
      indirect. See Oliver, _Monast. Exon._ p. 28.

   69 On the termination of the plural in Cornish, see Mr. Whitley
      Stokes’s excellent remarks in his edition of _The Passion_, p. 79;
      also in Kuhn’s _Beiträge_, iii. 151; and Norris, _Cornish Drama_,
      vol. ii. p. 229. My attention has since been called to the fact that
      _marhas_ occurs in the plural as _marhasow_, in the _Cornish Drama_,
      vol. i. p. 248; and as _s_under such circumstances may become _j_
      (cf. _canhasawe_, Creat. line 29, but _canhajowe_, Creat. line 67),
      _Marhajow_ would come still nearer to _Market Jew_. Dr. Bannister
      remarks that in Armorican, market is _marchad_, plural _marchadou_,
      corrupted into _marchajou_.

   70 The following note from a Cornish paper gives some important facts
      as to the date of the name of _Market Jew_:—

      “Among the State Papers at the Record Office, there is a letter from
      Ralph Conway to Secretary Cope, dated 3d October, 1634, which
      mentions the name of _Market-jew_.

      “In another, dated 7th February, 1634-5, Sir James Bagg informs the
      Lords of the Admiralty that the endeavors of Mr. Basset, and other
      gentlemen in the west of Cornwall, to save the cargo of a wrecked
      Spanish galleon which broke from her moorings in Gwavas Lake, near
      Penzance, were opposed by a riotous multitude, consisting of the
      inhabitants of Mousehole and _Marka-jew_, who maintained their
      unlawful proceedings with the cry of ‘One and All!’ threatening with
      death the servants of the Crown, and compelling them to avoid their
      fury by leaping down a high cliff.

      “In another of the same date, from Ralph Bird, of Saltram, to
      Francis Basset, the rebels of Mousehole, with their fellow-rebels of
      _Market Jew_, are spoken of, as having menaced the life of any
      officer who should come to their houses to search for certain hides
      that mysteriously disappeared from the deck of the galleon one
      boisterous night, and were probably transferred to Mousehole in the
      cock-boat of Mr. Keigwin, of that place; and various methods are
      suggested for administering punishment to the outrageous barbarians.

      “In consequence of these complaints, the Lords of the Admiralty
      wrote to Sir Henry Marten, on the 12th of February of the same year,
      concerning ‘the insolency’ committed by the inhabitants of Mousehole
      and _Markaiew_ requesting that the offenders may be punished, and,
      if necessary, the most notorious of them sent to London for trial.

      “In _Magna Britannia et Hibernia_, 1720, p. 308, _Merkju_ is
      mentioned as being ‘a little market-town which takes its name from
      the market on Thursdays, it being a contraction of _Market-Jupiter_,
      _i.e._ as ’tis now called _Market Jew_, or rather _Ju_.’

      “Norden, who was born about 1548, says in his _Specul. Britanniæ_,
      which was published in 1728, that _Marca-iewe_ (_Marca-iew_ in
      margin) signifies in English, ‘market on the Thursday.’ In an old
      map, apparently drawn by hand, which appears to have been inserted
      in this book after it was published, _Market Iew_ is given, and in
      the map issued with the book _Market Jew_.

      “The map of Cornwall, contained in _Camden’s Britannia_, by Gibson,
      1772, gives _Market-Jew_. The edition 1789, by Gough, states at page
      3, that ‘_Merkiu_ signifies the _Market of Jupiter_, from the market
      being held on a Thursday, the day sacred to Jupiter.’

      “Carew’s _Survey of Cornwall_, ed. 1769, p. 156, has the
      following:—‘Over against the Mount fronteth a towne of petty
      fortune, pertinently named _Marcaiew_, or _Marhas diow_, in English
      “the Thursdaies market.” ’ In the edition published in 1811, p. 378,
      it is stated in a foot-note that _Marazion_ means ‘market on the
      Strand,’ the name being well adapted to its situation, ‘for _Zion_
      answers to the Latin _litus_.’ ”

   71 H. B. C. Brandes, _Kelten und Germanen_, p. 52.

   72 Capgrave, _Legenda Angliæ_, fol. 269.

   73 “Within the land of Meneke or Menegland, is a paroch chirche of S.
      Keveryn, otherwise Piranus.”—Leland. “Piran and Keveryn were
      different persons.” See Gough’s edition of _Camden_, vol. i. p. 14.

   74 Carew, _Survey_ (ed. 1602), p. 58. “From which civility, in the
      fruitful age of Canonization, they stepped a degree farder to
      holines, and helped to stuffe the Church Kalender with divers
      saints, either made or borne Cornish. Such was Keby, son to Solomon,
      prince of Cor.; such _Peran_, who (if my author the Legend lye not)
      after that (like another Johannes de temporibus) he had lived two
      hundred yeres with perfect health, took his last rest in a Cornish
      parish, which there-through he endowed with his name.”

   75 Hunt’s _Popular Romances_, vol. ii. p. 19.

_   76 Saxon Chronicle_, ed. Earle, p. 14, and his note, Preface, p. ix.

   77 This _how_, according to Professor Earle, appears again in the
      _Hoe_, a high down at Plymouth, near the citadel; in _Hooton_
      (Cheshire), in _How-gate_, _Howe of Fife_, and other local names.
      See also Halliwell, _s. v._ Hoes, and Hogh; Kemble’s _Codex
      Diplomaticus_, Nos. 563, 663, 784.

   78 Hunt, vol. i. p. 187.

   79 Matthew Paris, _Opera_, ed. Wats, p. 902.

   80 See _Reymeri Fœdera_, A. D. 1255, tom. i. p. 543.

   81 See Adam Bremensis’ _De Situ Daniæ_ ed. Lindenbruch, p. 136;
      Buckle’s _History of Civilization_, vol. i. p. 275.

   82 Carew, _Surrey_ (ed. 1602), p. 8: “and perhaps under one of those
      Flavians, the Jewish workmen made here their first arrival.”

   83 Gibbon, chap. i. “The name which, used by Ptolemy and Pliny in a
      more confined, by Ammianus and Procopius in a larger sense, has been
      derived, ridiculously, from Sarah, the wife of Abraham, obscurely
      from the village of Saraka, more plausibly from the Arabic words,
      which signify a _thievish_ character, or _Oriental_ situation. Yet
      the last and most popular of these etymologies is refuted by
      Ptolemy, who expressly remarks the western and southern position of
      the Saracens, then an obscure tribe on the borders of Egypt. The
      appellation cannot therefore allude to any _national_ character;
      and, since it was imported by strangers, it must be found, not in
      the Arabic, but in a foreign language.”

   84 See R. Williams, _Lexicon Cornu. Britannicum_, s. v.

   85 “It may be given as a rule, without exception, that words ending
      with _t_ or _d_ in Welsh or Briton, do, if they exist in Cornish,
      turn _t_ or _d_ to _s_.”—Norris, vol. ii. p. 237.

   86 “The frequent use of _th_ instead of _s_ shows that (in Cornish) the
      sound was not so definite as in English.”—Norris, vol. ii. p. 224.

      Another explanation of _Attal Sarazin_ has been suggested by an
      eminent Cornish scholar: “I should explain _sarazin_,” he writes,
      “as from _saratin_, a Med. Lat. _saritinus_, cf. _ex-saritum_,
      _ex-saritare_ in Diez, E. W. ii. 283, s. v. _Essart_. _Atal_ cannot
      be W. _adhail_. I would identify it with the Fr. _attelle_, splint.
      It occurs in O. 427, meaning ‘fallow.’ _Atal sarazin_ I should
      explain as ‘dug-up splinters or shingle,’ and _towle_ (_toll_)
      _sarazin_ as a ‘dug-up hole or excavation.’ ”

   87 See p. 311, l. 30.

   88 “History of the Exchequer,” London, 1711, p. 168: “Et quod nullus
      Judæus receptetur in aliqua Villa sine speciali licentia Regis, nisi
      in Villis illis in quibus Judæi manere consueverunt” (37 Henry III).

   89 Read before the Ashmolean Society, Oxford, November 25, 1867.

   90 In Gough’s edition of Camden the name is given “Careg cowse in
      clowse, _i.e._ the heavy rock in the wood.”

_   91 Baronii Annales_, anno 493.

_   92 Baronii Annales_, anno 709.

   93 I have added _church_, for Mr. Munro, who kindly collated this
      passage for me, informs me that the C. C. C. MS. gives distinctly
      _ædem_ where the editor has left a lacuna.

   94 Thomas Crammer sends a dispensation, in 1537, to the Rev. John
      Arscott, archpresbyter of the ecclesia St. Michaelis in Monte Tumba
      Exoniensis diocesis. (_Monasticon Dioc. Exon._ p. 30.) Dr. Oliver
      remarks, “It may be worth while to observe, that when St. Michael
      ‘in procella,’ or ‘in periculo maris,’ is named in the old records,
      the foreign house is meant. But St. Michael ‘in Tumbâ,’ or ‘Monte
      Tumbâ,’ is a name occasionally applied to both houses.” It would
      have been interesting to determine the exact date when this latter
      name is for the first time applied to the Cornish Mount.

_   95 Passion_, ed. W. S. p. 95. Coth, Bret. kôz=O. Celtic cottos
      (Atecotti “perantiqui”).

   96 It was suggested to me that the _opacissima sylva_ may even have a
      more distant origin. There seems as little evidence of a dense
      forest having surrounded Mont St. Michel in Normandy as there was in
      the case of St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall. Now as the first
      apparition of St. Michael is supposed to have taken place in Mount
      Garganus, _i.e._ Monte Gargano or Monte di S. Angelo, in Apulia, may
      not “the dense forest” have wandered with the archangel from the
      “querceta Gargani” (Hor. _Od._ ii. 9, 7) to Normandy, and thence to
      Cornwall?

_   97 A Memoir of Baron Bunsen_, by his widow, Baroness Bunsen. 2 vols.
      8vo. Longmans, 1868.

      _Christian Carl Josias Freiherr von Bunsen_. Aus seinen Briefen und
      nach eigener Erinnerung geschildert, von seiner Wittwe. Deutsche
      Ausgabe, durch neue Mittheilungen vermehrt von Friedrich Nippold.
      Leipzig, 1868.

   98 Translated by G. A. M.

   99 No date, but about December, 1849.





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