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the gallery, that Madame de Staël was sitting, en habit d'homme, in a surtout and military indescribables, listening to the debate, under the protection of Sir J. Macintosh.
We have now concluded our retrospective review of this interesting subject. We find we have no room for the discussion of the present legal condition of the fair sex, but must refer them to Blackstone, and Coke upon Littleton, if they have the curiosity to delve into the mysteries of the law. We shall state, however, for their comfort, that the old law which gave the husband the power of corporal correction, for some misdemeanours, flagellis et fustibus acriter verberare uxorem, for minor offences, modicam castigationem adhibere, since the politer reign of Charles II., has been tempered by the power given the wife, of security of the peace against her husband, and the salutary discipline of the treadmill, in case of the husband's second breach of politeness. And in answer to many queries which have been put to us for our legal opinion, on the construction of the liturgical promise of obedience, (from the word obey), and its force in the civil law, we beg to state, that from our experience in practice and the world, we consider it ranks among the number of legal" fictions."
We find we have diverged so far from the text of the curious volumes before us, that we have no room for quotation. The "Parliament of Ladies" is a witty pamphlet on the "virtual" influence of certain ladies over the Stuarts and Cavalier party. The reader may find it reprinted in the last edition of the Somers' Tracts, vol. v., with some additions from a manuscript copy in the possession of the editor. A pencil note in the copy of the original tract now before us, mentions that it was reprinted by Mr. Hollis, as the work of Neville, author of Plato Redivivus. Although rather a licentious, it is an arch comment on the gallantry of the Court, and very wittily satirizes the prevailing powers of female magnetism. Their first act in parliament assembled, is represented to be the choice of a Speaker in the person of the king's mistress :-" The ladies being assembled at Kate's, in Covent Garden, and having spent some time in chusing their Speaker, they at last resolved upon the Lady Isabella Thynne, hoping thereby, that their acts might have the greater influence upon the king's majesty." p. 2.
We had intended to have made several extracts from Mary Wollstonecroft's Rights of Women, with the narrative of some interesting circumstances connected with her early years and life-but must defer it to a future opportunity. The party spirit of the period in which she lived is nearly extinct, and the errors of her conduct will now find pity and extenuation in the hearts of all who can feel for an ardent and ingenuous mind, the creature of early misfortune. Her works are now passed
into comparative neglect; but we are bold to say, that they contain many valuable principles of female education, and abound with precepts calculated to elevate the moral dignity of her sex.
We do not wish here to be interpreted as aiding and abetting the manufacture of blue stockings, or encouraging young ladies to soil themselves with old books and musty records, in search of their ancient privileges, instead of attending to their accomplishments and the study of the Cook's Oracle. God forbid that the increasing number of pedants should be swollen by the addition of pedantic wives. An anonymous author, of the sixteenth century, published a little Latin dissertation, to prove that women are not men, in ridicule of the early protestant principle, of admitting no proofs, in logic, but what are taken from Scripture alone. Simon Gediecus, a Lutheran divine, wrote a serious confutation of this piece, in 1595. Erasmus, in one of his letters to Budæus, plunges into the controversy, how far learning and study become the sex? Lud. Vives, in his Institutio Famina Christiana, has a chapter expressly on the same subject. Madam Schurman, a German lady, has gone beyond them both, in a treatise on this problem: "Num fœminæ Christianæ conveniat studium literarum ;" and we have heard the subject amply discussed in many salons and conversaziones. We do not meddle, however, with this subject in the present number. But we may say, that the science of education in the elementary instruction of women, as of men, is in its very infancy; and that the means generally used to cultivate the mind, are, frequently, precisely calculated to defeat the developement of the human intellect. Many women, in past and present times, are splendid examples of the exercise of mental power, in works of invaluable and immortal utility. We are convinced, that when the first studies of the sex shall be withdrawn from volumes of gallantry and absurd fiction, to such as exercise the memory, cultivate the taste, and ripen the judgment; when female education is directed to the advancement of the characteristic delicacy, and in some degree to make up for that want of knowledge of, and collision with the world, in which men, from their sexual liberty, must necessarily excel and take the lead, then will women be capable not only of spelling Greek and Latin, but of appreciating the value of classic loreand of exercising their natural influence in the world-" the grace, the life, and the ornament of society."
ART. VIII. Sehr herrliche, Schane urd wahr hafte Gedichte ernstliche Trauerspiele, liebliche Schanspiele, seltsame Fastnachtspiele. kurzweilege Gespräch', sehnliche Klagreden, wunderburliche Fabeln, sammt andern lächerlichen Schwänken und Possen, des berühmten Meistersaengers Hans Sachs. Kempten, bei Ranisch. 1612-1616.
In the fourteenth century, while Germany was kept in continual agitation by the feuds and broils of rival princes and barons, there sprang up among the inhabitants of the towns, who devoted themselves to commerce and the arts, the first perceptible germ of those MUNICIPAL ORDERS, which for so long a time rendered prosperous and flourishing the incorporated cities of that country; and which, in England, even at this day, is a remarkable feature among our popular institutions. Already in the thirteenth century, the masons in all parts of Germany had formed themselves into a strict corporation, which with uniform laws and ceremonies received into its bosom apprentices, companions, and masters; and which, throughout all Europe, erected to the divinity those sublime temples, which have since been denominated Gothic. In the fourteenth century, all the arts and trades imitated the example of the masons, by dividing themselves into different societies; and, as moral bodies, took part in the administration of public affairs, and deliberated in municipal council upon laws for their internal regulation. These incorporated mechanics usually met together on holidays; and, after the disposal of civil business, either read, in the long winter evenings, the Chronicles of their country, or the ancient Nordic poems, and erotic ballads. These readings could hardly fail to suggest in many the idea of entertaining the company with some composition of their own. And there can be little doubt, that the readings of these assembled artizans were the main cause that awakened in many a bosom the dormant spirit of poetry, in that unlettered age.
The elementary step towards organisation being thus imperceptibly compassed, they proceeded quite naturally to se lect the most excellent from among their company, and, by common consent, established a POETIC CORPORATION under the name of Master-singers. Adopted in a particular city, the genius of the German population soon fastened on the fascinating novelty, and bore it onwards. The intimate, uniform, and constant relations which subsisted between the artisans of those times, and those countries, materially hasten
VOL. X. PART I.
ed its dissemination, and rendered it universal.-The birthplace of this poetic phenomenon was MENTZ. Thence it passed rapidly into the other cities of Germany-particularly Augsburg and Nuremberg. The masters of Mentz, to give celebrity to their new institution, taught their pupils, that this school of Magistral Song was founded from ancient time, by very noble and illustrious persons-and they named the following.
1. WALTER, Lord of the Vogelweide.
2. WALFGANG ESCHENBACH, Cavalier, or Knight.
3. CONRAD MARNER, Cavalier.
4. A. FRAUENLOB, of Mentz.
5. A. MUGELING, of Mentz.
6. M. KLINGSOHR.
7. M. STARKE PAPP.
and five honourable burghers: namely
8. BARTHOLOMEW REGENBOGEN, a Blacksmith.
9. The ROMAN of Zgwickau.
10. The CHANCELLOR, a Fisherman.
11. CONRAD of Wurtzburg: and
They affirmed, moreover, that the Emperor OтHO I., in the year 962, cited these twelve to appear at the university of Pavia. There they were publicly examined by the professors, in the presence of a multitude of learned persons, and acknowledged masters in their art. On this occasion, OTHо presented these masters and their academy with a diadem of gold, to adorn and crown him who should come off the victor in song. The documents relative to these transactions were preserved for seven hundred years, in the archives of Mentz, whence they were taken and carried into Alsace, at the time of the Smalkaldic war.
It is easy to perceive that this history is an artful invention of the founders of the Magistral Song, to give more importance and sanctity to their corporation. The singers of Augsburg and Nuremberg had, notwithstanding, each of them their own Protomasters-twelve, also: but they dated from more recent times, and did not clash with the pre-eminence of Mentz : on the contrary, they mentioned the masters of that school in their songs always with profound respect.
Be that as it may, we have indicated with great historical precision the epoch in which this sect originated, whose aim was to promote the developement of music and poetry among the German people. To accomplish this, the Masters of the Song assembled together on holidays, generally in the evening,
either in the Halls of the Arts, or in the churches, and there performed their poetico-musical exercises.
It was their custom, by written placards, handsomely ornamented, and exposed in all the public places, to invite the lovers of the fine arts to these assemblies: and the ceremony was arranged as follows. The concurrents for the distinction of Master placed themselves one after the other-in a high chair, whose elevation gave it the appearance of a cathedral throne, By the side of the concurrent sat four judges-Mercker-one of whom was to pronounce upon the subject of the song to the second, belonged its prosody; the rhymes to a third; and a fourth kept an account of its melody. So that to arrive at the mastership, it was not simply requisite to be a good poet, but the candidate must set his verses to music, and sing them too! On mounting the rostrum, the performer first briefly complimented the masters and the audience. He, then, set forth the subject of his poem :—its particular form, whether of three, five, or seven strophes :the quality of the rhymes, or verses: and lastly, the melody he proposed to adopt. Of all this, the judges kept an exact account. In this manner, one after the other, the contending parties sang their compositions from the chair and when they had all finished, the judges began to examine from hand to hand the poem of each competitor, in the quadruple relation already pointed out. This examination over, they called the ordinary president of the assembly, if he did not happen to be among the concurrents; but if otherwise, one of the ancient masters; and gave in their judgment to him. The president then ascended in cathedram, having at each side two judges, and proceeded with a loud, intelligible voice, to announce the JUDGMENT. This comprehended, first, the adjudication of the crown to the most distinguished poet; then, that of the garland to the next best; and finally, the penal sentence, against those who had neglected the rules of the art. At the sound of trumpets and other instruments, the two victor poets now approached the President, who placed upon their heads the insignia of their triumph, amid the shouts of the acclaiming auditory. The bursar went his rounds with a bag, into which all who had incurred a penalty dropped it acquiescingly, as he passed along. This was the signal for the society to separate, which they now did, with a handsome renvoy to the audience; and its members, in good harmony, repaired either to one of their cafés, or some public room. There, seated at the festive board, their only themes poetry and the fine arts, they passed the brimming beaker in quick succession; and improvisation, in those rhymed couplets which are called knittelverse, became the order of the night. Woe to him, who had not always a rhyme at his fingers' ends, or some burlesque