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From Sharpe's London Magazine.

POETRY and imaginative literature must always suffer from translation; and thus it is impossible duly to estimate their merit, where we cannot read them in their proper tongue. But no poets and imaginative writers have suffered so deeply in the estimation of our countrymen, as those of Germany. This, at first, appears paradoxical; since the German language is exactly that, of all others, (unless we except the kindred dialects,) which is most easily transferred into our own, and the spirit of which has the closest affinity with the English. But the cause is external to the nature of the subject. Prejudice was early excited against German literature, and on two very distinct grounds, moral and literary. About the time of the first French revolution, anarchical and immoral publications were imported from Germany no less than from France. German poetry, indeed, was born at a period when all departments of literature were more or less tainted with revolutionary principles, which were too hastily identified with the temper of the people; and, as it was from translations of lax writings that the idea of German literature VOL. VIII, No. IV. 64

was mainly collected by the English public, it was concluded that all German fiction must be anarchical and immoral. It seems needless seriously to rebut such a conclusion. From the literature of our own country, probably the purest in the world, it would be easy to export an equivalent for our imported German impurities. It is to be admitted, however, that most of the noblest productions of German imagination have appeared since the period alluded to. Another objection was, that the literature of Germany was not modelled on the principles of those of Greece and Rome, which were supposed to be the casting-moulds of the English mind; though, in reality, a French caricature was the standard, and the reader of Racine flattered himself that he understood Sophocles. It was forgotten that the great charm of the Greek literature was its originality and freshness; and that thus the qualities condemned in the German were really the very same which those inconsistent censors admired in the Greek.

These prejudices are not wholly passed away; but a better and a juster spirit is awakening. The German writers gave an impulse to the poetry of our own country, and sent our language to its native resources. Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge,

Scott, among the foremost-all more or less John Christopher Frederick Schiller, influenced by German literature-have best known by the last of his Christian rescued us from being mere imitators. names, was born November 10, 1759, at We have, accordingly, revised our condem- Marbach, on the Neckar, in the duchy of nation of our German brethren, and sought Warttemburg. His father, John Caspar to be better acquainted with them. The Schiller, was originally an army surgeon, result has been that we have found our judg-who afterwards entered the army itself, and ment as erroneous as it was rash. We find ended his days as manager of a very extenthe imaginative literature of Germany per- sive nursery plantation at Ludwigsburg, behaps the noblest and most splendid in the longing to the duke. Though not a wellworld, next to our own, and even more co-educated man, he strove to compensate this pious. defect by diligent labor; and a thanksgiv ing prayer of his is still extant, written after his son had attained celebrity, in which he commemorates the fact, that, from the birth of his son, he had not ceased to pray that the deficiencies of his boy's educational means might in some way be supplied to him. He appears to have been a good parent and a good man: nor were the excellencies of his wife inferior. She was affectionately attached to her husband and her children, and mutually and deeply beloved. Although of slender education, she could relish the religious poetry of Utz and Gellert. The early characteristics of young Schiller, as described by Körner, were piety, gentleness, and tenderness of conscience. He received the rudiments of his education at Lorch, a frontier village of the Württemburg territory, where his parents were residing from 1765 to 1768. His tutor here was a parochial minister, named Moser, after whom, perhaps, he drew the character of Pastor Moser, in "The Robbers." The son of this tutor was his earliest friend, and is thought to have excited the desire which he long felt of entering the ministry.

It must be remembered that it is only of the imaginative part of German literature that we are here treating. With its refinements in metaphysics, and its melancholy wanderings in theology, we are not now concerned. That portion which we have here been considering, is not only little affected by these things, but favorable and conducive to worthier objects. We are not unaware that the case of Goethe, the most conspicuous of German imaginative writers, may be cited as an example against us. Yet, eminent as he is, he is but one; and from his voluminous writings much might be selected which would even strengthen our position.

Our present purpose, however, is to apply these remarks to the compositions of Schiller, a writer who disputes with Goethe himself the throne of German imagination, but whose imaginative writings, with little more than one early well-known exception, are conducive to pure amusement or elevated instruction. It is not, of course, our intention to present a formal criticism on compositions so varied and so numerous as Schiller's. We shall prefer illustrating, in broad outline, his more celebrated pieces, Schiller's poetical temperament was early in connexion with a biographical sketch, developed. When scarcely past the period which will, with our brief extracts and crit- of infancy, it is said, he was missed during icisms, serve the purpose of mutual illus-a thunderstorm. His father sought him, tration. Our source will be chiefly a me- and found him in a solitary place, on a moir, written in the year 1812, by his friend branch of a tree, gazing on the scene. On Körner of Dresden, father of the youthful being reprimanded, he is said to have repatriot whose biography we have sketched plied, "The lightning was very beautiful, in a former number. From the year 1785, and I wished to see whence it came." he was one of Schiller's most intimate Another anecdote of his childhood is betfriends, and wrote from personal knowledge ter authenticated. At the age of nine chiefly; and, when this was not the case, years, he, and a friend of the like age, refrom the most authentic information. This ceived two kreutzers apiece for repetition sketch we shall illustrate, where convenient, of their catechism in church. This money from the lives of Schiller, by Mr. Carlyle they resolved to invest in a dish of curds and Sir Bulwer Lytton; the latter of whom and cream at Harteneck; but here the is not only an able biographer, but an ab- young adventurers failed to obtain the debreviator of those who had the best oppor-sired delicacy, while the whole four kreuttunities for the successful prosecution of the task.

zers were demanded for a quarter cake of cheese, without bread! Thus foiled, they

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