Imatges de pÓgina

pleasant to turn over another page of his history, and see his thoughts presented to us in his usual frank and direct fashion. It is refreshing in a world of half feelings, of tedious subterfuges, to greet one like Schiller, whom any man may feel at liberty to love. He might be our next-door neighbor; we could go and see him when we pleased, we should not fear to intrude; he would tell us if we were not wanted.

But heroes, though they may be eloquent, are not practical. Schiller was not. The inspiration of his works is in their lofty sentiment and aspiration; the subtle, fashioning spirit of poetry was unknown to him. It is pleasant to see how simple and citizen-like his views of life were. On the subject of marriage it is perhaps a little surprising that the bard of Max and Thekla was not more ideal, even at the earliest age. The charm of these two fair beings, indeed, is in their pure, and unspotted innocence. Still the spell of a preexistent harmony seems upon them, and we cannot well conceive of Thekla's finding another Max. But Schiller, with his views, might have married any amiable woman, and gone about the world, like many another respectable person, seeking not a love, but a wife.

It is surprising, too, to see him write with a sort of shame of an attachment from which he had recovered. One would expect from a character like Schiller's, the steadfast strength to feel that its past stages, however extravagant and imperfect, had been necessary to its growth, and by giving it vent, had raised him above the passion he now could criticise.

Of friendship his views read more nobly. I know not that we can find any passage that deserves better to be laid to heart than the following, where in few words are shown the union of pride, modesty, and tenderness, natural to a great, but also human, being.

"Your last letter has placed an imperishable memento of you in my heart. You are the noble man, whom I have so long wanted, and who is wanting to possess me with all my weaknesses and blighted virtues ; for he will bear with the former, and honor the latter with tears. I am not what I certainly might have become. I might perhaps have been great, but fate struggled too early against me. You esteem and love me for that which I might perhaps have become under better stars, and you respect in me the intention that Providence has thwarted."

This is the trust of soul to soul which goes deepest. But he understood other stages or sorts of friendship, as shown in the very next letter, to another person.

"I find the ways of Heaven strange in this; eight years we were obliged to be together and were indifferent; now we are separated, and have become important to each other. Which of us two could then, even in prospect, have divined the hidden threads, that should once and

forever draw us so firmly together? but perhaps even this mutual estrangement was the work of a wiser Providence, that we should know each other first, when we were worthy to be known. Both of us, yet unformed, would have too soon observed too many weaknesses in one another, and might never have become warmed to each other. Esteem is the only unfailing bond of friendship, and this we had both of us to In every way we have now arrived at this end, and find ourselves here with delight. You have taken the first step, and I blush before you. I have always understood less how to acquire friends, than when acquired, to retain."


The effect of his enforced and outward toils on Schiller, are more visible here than in letters of a later date. With him, as with others, came uses from uncongenial labor, infusing salt and steel, hardening the fibre, and assaying the ore of his thoughts, by repression and delay. Materials, too, that he would not of himself have collected, when once beneath his eye, became a new thread for his web. But though some of this is well, too much may perfect the character but stifle the genius. The hand that has to hold the plough too long, becomes too stiff and clumsy for the lyre or pen. Those who cannot give up their natural dower, who want to accomplish the task nature assigned them, and steal from the night what the day refuses, pay with their lives for their soul, truly the price of blood, and so did Schiller. His character was too fervent and earnest to take things easily, or skim over the surface of any mode of life, and so he suffered, and died early. But we do not mourn for him as for many others, for the tree had borne some of its proper fruit, if not as much as it might under more favorable circumstances. It is impossible to set a bound to what he might have accomplished, had his great and steady impulses been seconded by firmer health, and length of days, yet, in the eighteen volumes of his works, and in his letters, we possess more than we shall easily learn how to prize.

Fables of La Fontaine.

Translated from the French. BY ELIZUR WRIGHT, Jr. 2 vols. 12mo. Boston: Tappan and Dennett. 1842.

WE have found these volumes very pleasant reading. The translation appears to be executed with great wit and sprightliness, and, for the most part, a happy employment of the English idioms. Occasionally a verse of unusual vigor occurs; as when, in the fable of "The Oak and the Reed," the Oak brags,

"The while, my towering form
Dares with the mountain top
The solar blaze to stop,
And wrestle with the storm."

We are reminded, in this connexion, of an excellent old English version of "The Lark and the Reapers," which we lately met with, which proves how inexhaustible are these slight themes. When the lark has quieted the fears of her young, who inform her that the farmer has applied to his friends for aid,


[blocks in formation]

And much they did commende
Their mother's lofty gate,

And thought it long til time had brought
Themselves to such estate."

The conclusion of the same fable in the present version is lively enough. When at length the farmer and his boys resolve to reap the field themselves,


"All, fluttering, soaring, often grounding,
Decamped without a trumpet sounding."

These volumes, we think, are sure of a lasting popularity with the young, and will no doubt make acceptable Christmas and New Year's presents.

Confessions of St. Augustine. Boston: E. P. Peabody.

WE heartily welcome this reprint from the recent London edition, which was a revision, by the Oxford divines, of an old English translation. It is a rare addition to our religious library. The great Augustine, one of the truest, richest, subtlest, eloquentest of authors, comes now in this American dress, to stand on the same shelf with his farfamed disciples, with A-Kempis, Herbert, Taylor, Scougal, and Fenelon. The Confessions have also a high interest as one of the honestest autobiographies ever written. In this view it takes even rank with Montaigne's Essays, with Luther's Table Talk, the Life of John Bunyan, with Rousseau's Confessions, and the Life of Dr. Franklin. In opening the book at random, we have fallen on his reflections on the death of his early friend.

"O madness, which knowest not how to love men like men! I fretted, sighed, wept, was distracted, had neither rest nor counsel. For I bore about a shattered and bleeding soul, impatient of being borne by me, yet where to repose it I found not. All things looked ghastly; yea, the very light; whatsoever was not what he was, was revolting and hateful, except groaning and tears. In those alone found I a little refreshment. I fled out of my country; for so should mine eyes look less for him where they were not wont to see him. And thus from Thagaste I came to Carthage. Times lose no time; nor do they roll idly by; through our senses they work strange operations on the mind. Behold, they went and came day by day, and by coming and going introduced into my mind other imaginations and other remembrances ;

and little by little patched me up again with my old kind of delights unto which that my sorrow gave way. And yet there succeeded not indeed other griefs, yet the causes of other griefs. For whence had that former grief so easily reached my inmost soul but that I had poured out my soul upon the dust in loving one, that must die, as if he would never die. For what restored and refreshed me chiefly, was the solaces of other friends with whom I did love what instead of thee I loved: and this was a great fable and protracted lie, by whose adulterous stimulus our soul, which lay itching in our ears, was defiled. But that fable would not die to me so oft as any of my friends died. There were other things which in them did more take my mind; to talk and jest together; to do kind offices by turns; to read together honied books; to play the fool or be earnest together; to dissent at times without discontent, as a man might with his ownself; and even with the seldomness of those dissentings, to season our more frequent consentings; sometimes to teach, and sometimes learn; long for the absent with impatience, and welcome the coming with joy."— Book 4.

A Discourse on Popular Lectures, pronounced before the Literary Societies of the University of Vermont, Aug. 3, 1842. By CALVIN PEASE. Burlington: C. Goodrich.

The Connexion of Taste and Morals; Two Lectures. By MARK HOPKINS, D. D. Second Edition. Boston: Tappan and Dennet.

Observations on the Presidential Veto; Together with a Plan for a Change of the Constitution relative to this Power. Boston: J. Munroe & Co. pp. 78.

The Beggar of the Pont des Arts; translated from the German. Boston: James Munroe & Co.; and

The Career of Puffer Hopkins. By CORNELIUS MATHEWS. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1842.

A BOOK of the school of Dickens, and "designed by the author to be national in its features." As we are obliged to keep our novels uncut against the rainy days, we have not yet looked far enough into these stories to have an opinion to offer.

Poems on Slavery. By H. W. Longfellow.

THE thinnest of all Mr. Longfellow's thin books; spirited and polished, like its forerunners; but the topic would warrant a deeper tone.

Lowell Offering for December.

We are happy to learn that our modest and far-famed contemporary has a large and increasing subscription.

WE are indebted to English correspondents for some valuable gifts, whose safe arrival is all that we can now acknowledge, though some of them will yet have from us a considered record, as significant facts in literary and spiritual history. From J. A. Heraud, Esq. we have received three volumes of the Monthly Magazine for 1839, 1840, and 1841. From Hugh Doherty, Esq. the London Phalanx, Volume I. 1041 – 2, folio. Introduction to English Grammar, on Universal Principles. By Hugh Doherty. Life of Charles Fourier. By Hugh Doherty. Le Nouveau Monde Industriel, 2 vols. 12mo. Bruxelles, 1840. From Charles Bray, Esq. The Philosophy of Necessity. By Charles Bray. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1841. The second volume of this work contains a valuable appendix, exhibiting the history of the successive social experiments of St. Simon, Fourier, Owen, and others, in Europe and America. From other friends we have received An Inquiry Concerning the Origin of Christianity. By Charles C. Hennell. Second Edition. London, 1841. Christian Theism. By C. C. Hennell. 1 vol. 8vo. Theology of the Old Testament, translated from the German of George Lorenz Bauer.


A CORRESPONDENT has called our attention to the following passage in Swedenborg's Arcana, as containing an anticipation of Goethe's Theory of Color. The Goethean idea, it will be remembered, is that there is but one primary, namely, white light, and the negative darkness, and that color is the mixture of these two. In the Arcana Coelestia, sect. 1042, Swedenborg writes: "In order to the existence of color, there must needs be some substance darkish and brightish, or black and white, on which, when the rays of light from the sun fall, according to the various temperature of the dark and bright, or black and white, from the modification of the influent rays of light, there exist colors, some of which take more or less from the darkish and black, some more or less from the brightish and white, and hence arises their diversity."


In the Dial for October, p. 213. 1. 32, for [Confessions of the Moderator,] read [Confessions of a witness to the Moderator.]

« AnteriorContinua »