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M. Mora. So she goes on,-most furiously and wretched, and so very angry, we do not inoutrageously in love with them both at the deed always understand; but there is no missame time,-till the death of M. Mora, in taking the language and real emotion; and 1774. This event, however, makes no differ- while there is something wearisome, perhaps, ence in her feelings or expressions; she con- in the uniformity of a vehemence of which we tinues to love his memory, just as ardently as do not clearly see the cause, there is somehis living successor in her affection; and her thing truly déchirant in the natural and piteletters are divided, as before, between ex- ous iteration of her eloquent complainings, pressions of heart-rending grief and unbounded and something captivating and noble in the attachment-between her besoin de mourir for fire and rapidity with which she pours out her M. Mora, and her delight in living for M. emotions. The style is as original and extraGuibert. There are still more inexplicable ordinary as the character of its author. It is things in those letters. None of Guibert's quite natural, and even negligent-altogether letters are given, --so that we cannot see how without gaiety or assumed dignity—and yet he responded to all these raptures; but, from full of elegance and spirit, and burning with the very first, or almost from the first, she the flames of a heart abandoned to passion, complains bitterly of his coldness and dissipa- and an imagination exalted by enthusiasm. tion; laments that he has a heart incapable It is not easy to fall into the measure of such of tenderness; and that he feels nothing but a composer, in running over a miscellany of gratitude or compassion for a being whom he amusement; but we cannot avoid adding a had fascinated, exalted, and possessed with few extracts, if it were only to make what the most ardent and unbounded passion. We we have been saying intelligible, to some at cannot
say that we see any clear traces of her least of our readers. ever having hoped, or even wished that he
“Je me sentois une répugnance mortelle à ouvrir should marry her. On the contrary, she re- votre lettre : si je n'avois craint de vous oflenser, commends several wives to him; and at last j'allois vous la renvoyer. Quelque chose me disoit he takes one, with her approbation and con- qu'elle irriteroit mes maux, et je voulois me més sent, while the correspondence goes on in the affaisse mon ame : j'ai encore eu la fièvre ; je n'ai same tone as before. The vehemence and pas fermé l'ail; je n'en puis plus. De grace, par excess of her passion continue to the last of pitié, ne tourmentez plus une vie qui s'éteint, et dont the letters here published, which come down sous les instans sont dévoués à la douleur et aux to within a few weeks of her death, in 1776. regreis. Je ne vous accuse point, je n'exige rien,
The account which we have here given ap- vous ne me devez rien: car, en effet, je n'ai pas eu pears ridiculous: and there are people, and senti; et quand j'ai eu le malheur d'y céder, j'ai wise people, who, even after looking into the toujours détesté la force, ou la foiblesse, qui m'enbook, will think Mademoiselle de Lespinasse traînoit. Vous voyez que vous ne me devez aucune deserving of nothing but ridicule, and consign reconnaissance, et que je n'ai le droit de vous faire her and her ravings to immeasurable con- aucun reproche. Soyez donc libre, retournez à ce tempt. Gentle spirits, however, will judge que vous aimez, et à ce qui vous convient plus que more gently; and there are few, we believe, leur; laissez-moi m'occuper sans distraction du seul who feel interest enough in the work to read objet que j'ai adoré, et dont le souvenir m'est plus it through, who will not lay it down with cher que tout ce qui reste dans la nature. Mon emotions of admiration and profound com- Dieu! je ne devrois pas le pleurer ; j'aurois dù le passion. Even if we did not know that she suivre : c'est vous qui me faites vivre, qui faites le was the chosen companion of D'Alembert, tourment d'une créature que la douleur consume, and the respected friend of Turgot, Condillac, la mort. Ah! vous en faites trop, et pas assez pour Condorcet, and the first characters in France, moi. Je vous le disois bien il y a huit jours, vous there are, in the strange book before us, such me rendez difficile, exigeante : en donnant tout, on traces of a powerful, generous, and ardent veul oblenir quelque chose. Mais, encore une fois, mind, as necessarily to command the respect je vous pardonne, et je ne vous hais point: ce n'est even of those who may be provoked with her pas par générosité que je vous pardonne, ce n'est
pas par bonté que je ne vous hais pas; c'est que inconsistencies, and wearied out with the ve
mon ame est lasse, qu'elle meurt de fatigue. Ah! hemence of her sorrow. There is something mon ami, laissez-moi, ne me dites plus que vous so natural too, so eloquent, and so pathetic in m'aimez: ce baume devient du poison; vous calmez her expression-a tone of ardour and enthusi- et déchirez ma plaie tour à tour. Oh! que vous asm so infectious, and so much of the true aime pourtant, et que je serois désolée de mettre de
me faites mal! que la vie me pèse! que je vous and agonizing voice of heart-struck wretched- la tristesse dans votre ame! Mon ami, elle est trop ness, that it burdens us with something of the partagée, trop dissipée, pour que le vrai plaisir y weight of a real sorrow; and we are glad to puisse pénétrer. Vous voulez que je vous voie ce make ourselves angry at her unaccountable- soir; et bien, venez done!"-Vol.ii. pp. 206—208. ness, in order to get rid of the oppression. It
“Combien de fois aurois.je pu me plaindre; com. ought to be recollected also, that during the bien de fois vous ai-je caché mes larmes! Ah! je whole course of the correspondence, this poor mener un ceur qui est entraîné par un autre pen
le vois trop bien: on ne sauroit ni retenir, ni rayoung woman was dying of a painful and ir- chant ; je me le dis sans cesse, quelquefois je me ritating disease. Tortured with sickness, or crois guérie ; vous paroissez, et tout est derruit. agitated with opium, her blood never seems La réflexion, mes résolutions, le malheur, tout perd in all that time to have flowed peaceably in sa force au premier mot que vous prononcez. Je her veins, and her nerves and her passions malheureux ne l'a ilivoquée avec plus d'ardeur. seem to have reacted upon each other in a Je reviens la moitié de mon ame : sa chaleur, son series of cruel agitations. Why she is so very mouvement vous importuneroit, et vous éteindroit
tout-à-fait; le feu qui n'échauffe pas, incommode. I the heart; and, when we think that this exAh! si vous saviez, si vous lisiez comme j'ai tait traordinary woman wrote all this, not in the jouir une ame forte et passionnée, du plaisir d'être days of impatient youth, when the heart is l'aimoit encore, et il me disoit sans cesse': oh! strong for suffering, and takes a strange deelles ne sont pas dignes d'être vos écolières ; votre light in the vehemence even of its painful ame a été chauffée par le soleil de Lima, et mes emotions, but after years of misery, and with compatriotes semblent être nées sous les glaces de death before her eyes-advancing by gradual la Laponie.' Et c'étoit de Madrid qu'il me mandoit but visible steps, it is impossible not to feel et je ne crois point me louer, quand je vous dis an indescribable emotion of pity, resentment, qu'en vous aimant à la folie, je ne vous donne que
and admiration. One little word more. ce que je ne puis pas garder ou retenir."-Vol. ii.
“Oh! que vous pesez sur mon cæur, lorsque Pp. 215–217.
vous voulez me prouver qu'il doit être content du *** Oh, mon Dieu ! que l'on vit fort lorsqu'on est vôire ! Je ne me plaindrois jamais, mais vous me mort à tout, excepté à un objet qui est l'univers forcez souvent à crier, tant le mal que vous me pour nous, et qui s'empare tellement de toutes faites est aigu et profond ! Mon ami, j'ai été aimée, nos facultés, qu'il n'est plus possible de vivre dans je le suis encore, et je meurs de regret en pensant d'autres temps que dans le moment où l'on est que ce n'est pas de vous. J'ai beau me dire que je Eh! comment voulez-vous que je vous dise si je ne méritai jamais le bonheur que je regrette; mon vous aimerai dans trois mois ? Comment pourrois cæur cette fois fait faire mon amour-propre; il ne je, avec ma pensée, me distraire de mon senti- dit que, si je dus jamais être aimée, c'étoit de celui ment? Vous voudriez que, lorsque je vous vois, qui auroit assez de charme à mes yeux, pour me dislorsque votre présence charme mes sens et mon traire de M. de M... el pour me retenir à la vie, ame, je pusse vous rendre compte de l'effet que je après l'avoir perdu. Je n'ai fait que languir depuis recevrai de votre mariage; mon ami, je n'en sais
votre départ, je n'ai pas été une heure sans sousrien, mais rien du tout. S'il me guérissoit, je france : le mal de mon ame passe à mon corps ; j'ai vous le dirois, et vous êtes assez juste pour ne m'en tous les jours la fièvre, et mon médecin, qui n'est pas blâmer. Si, au contraire, il portoit le désespoir dans mon ame, je ne me plaindrois pas, et je souffri: pas le plus habile de tous les hoinmes, me répète
sans cesse que je suis consumée de chagrin, que rois bien peu de temps. Alors vous seriez assez mon pouls, que ma respiration annoncent une dou. sensible et assez délicat pour approuver un parti qui leur active ; et il s'en va toujours en me disant : ne vous couleroit que des regrets passagers, et dont nous n'avons point de remède pour l'ame. Il n'y en votre nouvelle situation vous distrairoit bien vîte; et
a plus pour moi : ce n'est pas guérir que je voudrois, je vous assure que celle pensée est consolante pour mais me calmer, mais reirouver quelques momens moi : je m'en sens plus libre. Ne me demandez de repos pour me conduire à celui que la nature donc plus ce que je ferai lorsque vous aurez engagé m'accordera bientôt.'' – Vol. iii. pp. 146, 147. votre vie à une autre. Si je n'avois que de la vanité
“Je n'ai plus assez de force pour mon ame--elle et de l'amour-propre, je serois bien plus éclairée sur
Vous ne pouvez plus rien sur moi, que ce que j'éprouverai alors. Il n'y a guère de méprise me faire souffrir. Ne tachez donc plus à me consoaux calculs de l'amour-propre; il prévoit assez ler, et cessez de vouloir me faire le victime de votre juste : la passion n'a poini d'avenir ; ainsi en vous morale, après m'avoir fait celle de votre légèreté.disant: je vous aime, je vous dis tout ce que je sais Vous ne m'avez pas vue, parce que la journée n'a et tout ce que je sens.-Oh! mon ami, je me sens que douze heures, et que vous aviez de quoi les capable de tout, excepté de plier : j'aurois la force remplir par des intérêts et des plaisirs qui vous sont, d'un martyr, pour satisfaire ma passion ou celle de et qui doivent vous être plus chers que mon malla personne qui m'aimeroit: mais je ne trouve rien heur. Je ne réclame rien, je n'exige rien, et je me en moi qui me réponde de pouvoir jamais faire le dis sans cesse que la source de mon bonheur et de sacrifice de mon sentiment. La vie n'est rien en mon plaisir est perdu pour jamais.”—Vol. iii. p. 59. comparaison, et vous verrez si ce ne sont là que les discours d'une tête exaltée. Oui, peut-être ce sont We cannot leave our readers with these là les pensées d'une ame exaltée, mais à laquelle painful impressions; and shall add just one appartiennent les actions fortes. Seroit-ce à la rai: word or two of what is gayest in
hese desoson qui est si prévoyante, si foible dans ses vues, et même si impuissante dans ses moyens, que ces
lating volumes. pensées pourroient appartenir ? Mon ami, je ne suis "M. Grinim est de retour; je l'ai accablé de point raisonnable, et c'est peut-être à force d'être questions. Il peint la Czarine, non pas comme une passionnée que j'ai mis toute ma vie tant de raison à souveraine, mais comme une femme aimable, pleine tout ce qui est soumis au jugement et à l'opinion des d'esprit, de saillies, et de tout ce qui peut séduire indifferens. Combien j'ai usurpé d'éloges sur ma et charmer. Mais dans tout ce qu'il me disoit, je modération, sur ma noblesse d'ame, sur mon désin. reconnoissois plutôt cet art charmant d'une courti. téressement, sur les sacrifices prétendus que je sane grecque, que la dignité et l'éclat de l'Impérafaisois à une mémoire respectable et chère, et à la trice d'un grand empire."-Vol. ij
. p. 105. maison d'Alb....! Voilà comme le monde juge, “ Avant dîner je vais voir rue de Cléry des auto. comme il voit! Eh, bon Dieu! sots que vous êtes, mates ; qui sont prodigieux, à ce qu'on dit. Quand je ne mérite pas vos louanges : mon ame n'étoit j'allois dans le monde, je n'aurois pas eu cette cu. pas faite pour les petits intérêts qui vous occupent; riosité: deux ou trois soupers en donnent satiété; ioute entière au bonheur d'aimer et d'être, aimé il mais ceux de la rue de Cléry valent mieux : ils pe m'a fallu ni force, ni honnêteté pour supporter agissent et de parlent point. Venez-y, en allant la pauvreté, et pour dédaigner les avantages de la au Marais, et je vous dirai là si j'ai la loge de M. vanité. J'ai tant joui, j'ai si bien senti le prix de la le duc d'Aumont. Madame de Ch. . . ne vous croit vie, que s'il falloit recommencer, je voudrois que ce point coupable de négligence : elle m'a demandé fur aux mêmes conditions. Aimer et souffrir-le aujourd'hui si votre retraite duroit encore. Ce que ciel, l'enfer,-voilà à quoi je me dévouerois, voilà les femmes veulent seulement, c'est d'être préfé. ce que je voudrois sentir, voilà le climat que je vou, rées. Presque personne n'a besoin d'être aimé, et drois habiter ; et non cet état tempéré dans lequel cela est bien heureux: car c'est ce qui se fait le vivent tous les sols et tous les automates dont nous plus mal à Paris. Ils osent dire qu'ils aiment; et sommes environnés."'-Vol. ii. pp. 228-233.
ils sont calmes et dissipés ! c'est assurément bien All this is raving no doubt; but it is the connoître le sentiment et la passion. Pauvres gens!
il faut les louer comme les Liliputiens : ils sont raving of real passion, and of a lofty and bien jolis, bien gentils, bien aimables. Adieu, mon powerful spirit. It is the eloquent raving of ami."—Vol. ii. pp. 197, 198.
We have left ourselves no room to make visibly within a few weeks of her end, and is any reflections; except, only, that the French wasted with coughs and spasms, she still has fashion of living, and almost of dying, in her salon filled twice a day with company, public, is nowhere so strikingly exemplified, and drags herself out to supper with all the as in the letters of this victim of passion and countesses of her acquaintance. There is a of fancy. While her heart is torn with the great deal of French character, indeed, in most agonizing passions, and her thoughts both the works of which we now take our turned hourly on suicide, she dines out, and leave;—a great deal to admire, and to wonder makes visits every day; and, when she islat-but very little, we think, to envy.
(August, 1825.) Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship: a Novel. From the German of GOETHE. 3 vols. 12mo.
pp. 1030. Edinburgh : 1824.
THERE are few things that at first sight ap- before judgment, warmth of feeling before pear more capricious and unaccountable, than correct reasoning—and splendid declamation ihe diversities of national taste; and yet there and broad humour before delicate simplicity are not many, that, to a certain extent at least, or refined wit. In the arts again, the progress admit of a clearer explanation. They form is strictly analagous--from mere monstrosity evidently a section in the great chapter of to ostentatious displays of labour and design, National Character; and, proceeding on the first in massive formality, and next in fantasassumption, that human nature is everywhere tical minuteness, variety, and flutter of parts; fundamentally the same, it is not perhaps -and then, through the gradations of startvery difficult to indicate, in a general way, ling contrasts and overwrought expression, to the circumstances which have distinguished the repose and simplicity of graceful nature. it into so many local varieties.
These considerations alone explain much These may
be divided into two great class of that contrariety of taste by which different es,—the one embracing all that relates to the nations are distinguished. They not only newness or antiquity of the society to which start in the great career of improvement at they belong, or, in other words, to the stage different times, but they advance in it with whích any particular nation has attained in different velocities-some lingering longer in that great progress from rudeness to refine-one stage than another-some obstructed and ment, in which all are engaged ;—the other some helped forward, by circumstances opercomprehending what may be termed the ac- ating on them from within or from without. cidental causes by which the character and It is the unavoidable consequence, however, condition of communities may be affected; of their being in any one particular position, such as their government, their relative posi- that they will judge of their own productions tion as to power and civilization to neighbour- and those of their neighbours, according to ing countries, their prevailing occupations, that standard of taste which belongs to the determined in some degree by the capabilities place they then hold in this great circle ;of their soil and climate, and more than all and that a whole people will look on their perhaps, as to the question of taste, the still neighbours with wonder and scorn, for admore accidental circumstance of the character miring what their own grandfathers looked on of their first models of excellence, or the with equal admiration,—while they themkind of merit by which their admiration and selves are scorned and vilified in return, for national vanity had first been excited. tastes which will infallibly be adopted by the
It is needless to illustrate these obvious grandchildren of those who despise them. sources of peculiarity at any considerable What we have termed the accidental causes length. It is not more certain, that all primi- of great differences in beings of the same tive communities proceed to civilization by nature, do not of course admit of quite so nearly the same stages, than that the progress simple an exposition. But it is not in reality of taste is marked by corresponding gradations, more difficult to prove their existence and and may, in most cases, be distinguished into explain their operation. Where great and periods, the order and succession of which is degrading despotisms have been early estabnearly as uniform and determined. If tribes lished, either by the aid of superstition or of of savage men always proceed, under ordinary mere force, as in most of the states of Asia, circumstances, from the occupation of hunting or where small tribes of mixed descent have to that of pasturage, from that to agriculture, been engaged in perpetual contention for freeand from that to commerce and manufactures, dom and superiority, as in ancient Greecethe sequence is scarcely less invariable in the where the ambition and faculties of individhistory of letters and art. In the former, uals have been chained up by the institution verse is uniformly antecedent to prose-mar- of castes and indelible separations, as in India vellous legends to correct history-exagge- and Egypt, or where all men practise all ocrated sentiments to just representations of cupations and aspire to all honours, as in Gernature. Invention, in short, regularly comes many or Britain—where the sole occupation
of the people has been war, as in infant Rome, together on any thing so purely accidental as or where a vast pacific population has been the temperament or early history of a few infor ages inured to mechanical drudgery, as in dividuals. No doubt the national taste of China—it is needless to say, that very oppo- France and of England would at this moment site notions of what conduces to delight and have been different, had Shakespeare been a amusement must necessarily prevail; and that Frenchman, and Boileau and Racine written the Taste of the nation must be affected both in English. But then, we do not think that by the sentiments which it has been taught to Shakespeare could have been a Frenchman; cultivate, and the capacities it has been led and we conceive that his character, and that to unfold.
of other original writers, though no doubt to The influence of early models, however, is be considered on the whole as casual, must perhaps the most considerable of any; and yet have been modified to a great extent by may be easily enough understood. When the circumstances of the countries in which men have been accustomed to any particular they were bred. It is plain that no original kind of excellence, they naturally become force of genius could have enabled Shakespeare good judges of it, and account certain consid- to write as he had done, if he had been born erable degrees of it indispensable,-while and bred among the Chinese or the Peruvians. they are comparatively blind to the inerit of Neither do we think that he could have done other good qualities to which they had been so, in any other country but England-free, less habituated, and are neither offended by sociable, discursive, reformed, familiar Engtheir absence, nor at all skilful in their estima- land—whose motley and mingling population tion. Thus those nations who, like the English not only presented "every change of manyand the Dutch, have been long accustomed to coloured sife” to his eye, but taught and pergreat cleanliness and order in their persons mitted every class, from the highest to the and dwellings, naturally look with admiration lowest, to know and to estimate the feelings on the higher displays of those qualities, and and the habits of all the others—and thus are proportionally disgusted by their neglect; enabled the gifted observer not only to deduce while they are apt to undervalue mere pomp the true character of human nature from this and stateliness
, when destitute of these re- infinite variety of experiments and examples, commendations: and thus also the Italians but to speak to the sense and the hearts of and Sicilians, bred in the midst of dirt and each, with that truly universal tongue, which magnificence, are curiously alive to the beau- every one feels to be peculiar, and all enjoy ties of architecture and sculpture, and make as common. bat litle account of the more homely comforts We have said enough, however, or rather which are so highly prized by the others. In too much, on these general views of the subthe sa same way,
if a few of the first successful ject—which in truth is sufficiently clear in adventurers in art should have excelled in those extreme cases, where the contrariety is any particular qualities, the taste of their na- great and universal, and is only perplexing tion will naturally be moulded on that stand when there is a pretty general conformity ard-will regard those qualities almost ex- both in the causes which influence taste and clusively as entitled to admiration, and will in the results. Thus, we are not at all surnot only consider the want of them as fatal to prised to find the taste of the Japanese or the all pretensions to excellence, but will unduly Iroquois very different from our own—and despise and undervalue other qualities, in have no difficulty in both admitting that our themselves not less valuable, but with which human nature and human capacities are subtheir national models had not happened to stantially the same, and in referring this dismake them timeously familiar. If, for ex- crepancy to the contrast that exists in the ample, the first great writers in any country whole state of society, and the knowledge, should have distinguished themselves by a and the opposite qualities of the objects to pompous and severe regularity, and a certain which we have been respectively accustomed elaborate simplicity of design and execution, to give our admiration. That nations living in it will naturally, follow, that the national taste times or places altogether remote, should diswill not only become critical and rigorous as agree in taste, as in every thing else, seems to those particulars, but will be proportionally to us quite natural. They are only the nearer deadened to the merit of vivacity, nature, and cases that puzzle. And, that great European invention, when combined with irregularity, countries, peopled by the same mixed races, homeliness, or confusion. While, if the great educated in the admiration of the same claspatriarchs of letters had excelled in variety sical models—venerating the same remains and rapidity of invention, and boldness and of antiquity-engaged substantially in the truth of sentiment, though poured out with same occupations communicating every day, considerable disorder and incongruity of man- on business, letters, and society-bound up in der, those qualities would quickly come to be short in one great commonwealth, as against the national criterion of merit, and the cor- the inferior and barbarous parts of the world, reciness and decorum of the other school be should yet differ so widely-not only as to despised, as mere recipes for monotony and the comparative excellence of their respective tameness.
productions, but as to the constituents of exThese, we think, are the plain and certain cellence in all works of genius or skill, does effects of the peculiar character of the first indeed sound like a paradox, the solution of great popular writers of all countries. But which every one may not be able to deduce still we do not conceive that they depend al- from the preceding observations,
The great practical equation on which we according to our own principles of judgment and in this country have been hitherto most fre- habits of feeling; and, meaning nothing less than quently employed, has been between our own to dictate to the readers or the critics of Gerstandard of taste and that which is recognized many what they should think of their favouramong our neighbours of France:–And cer- ite authors, propose only to let them know, in tainly, though feelings of rivalry have some- all plainnese and modesty, what we, and we what aggravated its apparent, beyond its real really believe most of our countrymen, actually amount, there is a great and substantial differ- think of this chef-d'auvre of Teutonic genius. ence to be accounted for,—in the way we have We must say, then, at once, that we cannot suggested—or in some other way. Stating that enter into the spirit of this German idolatry; difference as generally as possible, we would nor at all comprehend upon what grounds the say, that the French, compared with ourselves, work before us could ever be considered as are more sensitive to faults, and less trans- an admirable, or even a commendable perported with beauties—more enamoured of art, formance. To us it certainly appears, after and less indulgent to nature-more charmed the most deliberate consideration, to be emiwith overcoming difficulties, than with that nently absurd, puerile, incongruous, vulgar, power which makes us unconscious of their and affected ; -and, though redeemed by conexistence—more averse to strong emotions, or siderable powers of invention, and some traits at least less covetous of them in their intensity of vivacity, to be so far from perfection, as to -more students of taste, in short, than adorers be, almost from beginning to end, one flagrant of genius—and far more disposed than any offence against every principle of taste, and other people, except perhaps the Chinese, to every just rule of composition. Though indi. circumscribe the rules of taste to such as they cating, in many places, a mind capable both themselves have been able to practise, and to of acute and profound reflection, it is full of limit the legitimate empire of genius to the mere silliness and childish affectation ;-and provinces they have explored. There has though evidently the work of one who had been a good deal of discussion of late years, seen and observed much, it is throughout al. in the face of literary Europe, on these de- together unnatural, and not so properly imbatable grounds; and we cannot but think probable, as affectedly fantastic and absurdthat the result has been favourable, on the kept, as it were, studiously aloof from general whole, to the English, and that the French or ordinary nature:ever once brirgirg us have been compelled to recede considerably into contact with real life or genuire character from many of their exclusive pretensions—a -and, where not occupied with the profesresult which we are inclined to ascribe, less sional squabbles, paltry jargon, and scenical to the arguments of our native champions, profligacy of strolling players, tumblers, and than to those circumstances in the recent his- mummers (which may be said to form its tory of Europe, which have compelled our staple), 's conversant only with incompreheningenious neighbours to mingle more than sible mystics and vulgar men of whim, with they had ever done before with the surround whom, if it were at all possible to understand ing nations—and thus to become better ac- them, it would be a baseness to be acquainted. quainted with the diversified forms which Every thing, and every body we meet with, genius and talent may assume.
is a riddle and an oddity, and though the tis. But while we are thus fairly in the way of sue of the story is sufficiently coarse, and the settling our differences with France, we are manners and sentiments infected with a strong little more than beginning them, we fear, with tinge of vulgarity, it is all kept in the air, like Germany; and the perusal of the extraordinary a piece of machinery at the minor theatres, volumes before us, which has suggested all and never allowed to touch the solid ground, the preceding reflections, has given us, at the or to give an impression of reality, by the same time, an impression of such radical
, and disclosure of known or living features. In apparently irreconcilable disagreement as to the midst of all this, however, there are, every principles, as we can scarcely hope either to now and then, outbreakings of a fine specularemove by our reasonings, or even very satis- tion, and gleams of a warm and sprightly factorily to account for by our suggestions. imagination-an occasional wild and exotic
This is allowed, by the general consent of all glow of fancy and poetry—a vigorous heaping Germany, to be the very greatest work of their up of incidents, and touches of bright and very greatest writer. The most original, the powerful description. most varied and inventive,-the most charac- It is not very easy certainly to account for teristic, in short, of the author, and of his coun- these incongruities, or to suggest an intelligitry. We receive it as such accordingly, with | ble theory for so strange a practice. But in implicit faith and suitable respect; and have so far as we can guess, these peculiarities perused it in consequence with very great at of German taste are to be referred, in part, to tention and no common curiosity. We have the comparative newness of original compoperused it, indeed, only in the translation of sition among that ingenious people, and to which we have prefixed the title: But it is a the state of European literature when they translation by a professed admirer; and by one first ventured on the experiment--and in part who is proved by his Preface to be a person of to the state of society in that great country talents, and by every part of the work to be no itself, and the comparatively humble condition ordinary master, at least of one of the languages of the greater part of those who write, or to with which he has to deal. We need scarcely whom writing is there addressed. say, that we profess to judge of the work only The Germans, though undoubtedly an ima- .