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ature finer thai these worthy renderings of a powerful original. Schiller ranks among the first of dramatists ; nor could any one excel as a translator the gifted Coleridge, beneath whose hand the primal beauties take rather an extra glory than that diminution of lustre which usually attends the transformation. Usually we look through this medium as through a glass, darkly, upon the native radiance; but in this case the beams seem to have gathered additional sparkles in their crystalline passage; and the usually just prejudice which enshrouds translations of works depending for their charms on the subtle fascination of poetic genius, must here be laid aside.
The“ Thirty Years' War” has not met with equal fortune, though Mr. Morrison has done very fairly by it. The history of a war of thirty years must suffer by compression into the short space of one moderate-sized volume. And when to this we add the formidable barriers presented by the uncouth names, the multitudinous parties, and the tessellated politics of Germany, we find ample reasons for limited circulation. Yet the work is of high merit; it was the fruit of much toil and study; it is very beautifully written, and bears in its workmanship the undisguisable impress of noble powers.
Finally, Mitchell's Life of Wallenstein is not executed with much ability, and is not peculiarly attractive to the general reader. The military hero does not wield the pen with graceful dexterity ; probably the sabre is more familiar to his grasp ; and his moral episodes and bursts of poetic feeling do not much improve matters. His book is neither very thorough nor very exhaustive, but has many of the faults of a sketch ; among others, it quite fails to acquire the tone of authority, which is the natural accompaniment of a sure and sound acquaintance with the subject. The investigations seem to have been conducted with the facility of the dilettante, rather than with the laborious graspings of the trustworthy historian; still the life has the merit of being the narrative of a military career of the seventeenth century, written by an educated military man of the nineteenth century, and we thus obtain some useful suggestions which naturally failed to
to Schiller, whose youthful military experience probably made him neither a tactician nor a strategist. Moreover, Mr. Mitchell abhors Catholicism and admires Wallenstein; and thus, like a needle between two magnets, he cannot be wholly wrong.
Albrecht Eusebius Wenzeslaus von Waldstein, whose last name the unsettled orthography of the times suffered . to become transmuted into Wallenstein, was born in Bohemia, September 15, 1553. His blood was ancient and noble, but in a prolific family; he was the youngest son of a youngest son, and in this unenviable position his prospects of inheritance were meagre.
It is an odd fact that both the parents of this great champion of Catholicism were Protestants ; but he was left an orphan at the tender and impressible age of twelve, and immediately falling into the hands of the Jesuits, his conversion ensued as a matter of course.
Tales are told of a gloomy and aspiring childhood, prophetic of the future conqueror ; tales of no note, which we only mention to introduce one of the most successful flights of the moralizing lieutenant-colonel. This gentleman apologizes for treating these narratives with a very reasonable disdain; for, he says: “Rivers formed by numerous springs and rills, none
: of which can singly indicate the nature and magnitude of the future stream, are, in this respect, justly emblematical, perhaps, of human character. Many that promise fairly at the outset collect whatever is rank and gross in the swamps and poisoned grounds which they traverse, and then infect, as they roll alongwhole districts 'with noxious exhalations; while others, rising from dark and turbid sources, are purified in their progress, flow in fertilizing beauty through the lands, and carry with them only the golden portion of the soil over which they hold their clear and sparkling course” (p. 46). How odd, how strikingly original is this simile !" And it is an excellent specimen of the valuable moral reflections, clad in all the flowery charms of a literary warrior's rhetoric, with which this life is most liberally besprinkled for the instruction and entertainment of the reader. “When perfectly unbiassed, women seldom err in their judgment of men; but the cleverest of the sex are so constantly led into error by the influence of wealth, rank, fashion, distinction, and notoriety, as well as by the persuasion of others, that their opinion is rarely of much value. When, however, they are allowed to love men of genius, the probability is, their attachment will provegenerous, ardent, and sincere” (p. 56). Thus does the intelligent Mr. Mitchell usher upon the scene Wallenstein's first bride. In fact, the alliance was contracted with a dame respectable equally for her years and her fortune, in both of which she far excelled her young and needy suitor. It is ungracious to
speculate upon which of these traits she hung her power to charm; especially since,soon after the nuptials, having brought her husband to the brink of the grave by a magical lovedraught, administered in a fit of wifely jealousy, she herself in good time yielded up the ghost, leaving to her husband her large fortune and her interesting memory. Apropos to the love-draught, Mr. Mitchell tenderly refuses to transplant into his work " a grave and severe lesson” to ladies, wbich adorns the pages of Wallenstein's Italian biographer ; for, says the gallant warrior, “ladies have now obtained a better hold on the affections of men than any which could be acquired by the dangerous and long-forgotten arts here mentioned; their sway over all who deserve to be ruled is sufficiently certain ; and the coarse, the rude, and illiterate are alone placed by insensibility beyond the power of female control” (p. 58). What excellent sentiments! What irre
" proachable phraseology ! The colonel's manners to the worthy members of the opposite sex in the drawing-room must present a most interesting study. In the olden times, he tells us that “ the free and easy manners of our time, which, when not founded on the highest polish and mental cultivation, or on great goodness and singleness of heart, are generally very bad manners, were quite unknown.”
The veil of Wallenstein's mourning for his deceased partner tradition has not ventured to lift; for ten years afterwards we catch no glimpse of him as he lay hidden in the recesses of the deceased fair one's Moravian estate. But in the joys of the inheritance it is only just to suppose that he grieved deeply for her to whom he owed it.
From this obscurity he finally emerged in 1617, to take part with Ferdinand of Grätz in his contest with the Venetians. He raised two hundred horsemen at his own expense, and won whatever glory was won by any one in a not very extensive campaign; and what was of equal or greater importance, he made himself famous for the imposing magnificence of his own mode of life, and for his openhanded munificence to his followers. In those days soldiers were mercenaries ; war was a species of land-privateering, and liberality was perhaps the best capital on which a chieftain could rely. As do the vultures to the battlefield, so the freebooting soldiery flocked to such banners ; and Wallenstein in after time reaped the full harvest of his prodigal largesses. Wealth, and in her train fame, were now his. “As Fortune is a lady. we are bound to speak of
her in measured terms, though it must be confessed that she sometimes behaves in a manner very discreditable to her sex; Wallenstein's unsupported merit could not obtain a single smile for him, but . his wealth instantly called the goddess herself to his arms” (p. 62). The individual thus figuratively called a “goddess was Wallenstein's second wife, the Countess of Hanach, not thus distinguished for any charms of form or feature, but for the less fragile traits of property and connections; for she was the daughter of Count Hanach, the imperial minister, and had a goodly portion. How fortunate are those who love sincerely in wise places ! Wallenstein was certainly stepping steadily up the ladder of success with long strides. Mr. Mitchell pertinently observes that "the waves of ocean bear highest on their breast the bark destined to destruction, at the moment when about to hurl it against the sunken reef which defies alike the skill and courage of the mariner” (p. 63). Probably he thinks that he cannot be accused of bad taste in his figures if he employs only those which constant use through many ages has confirmed as faultless.
The great Thirty Years' War, upon the blood-stained field of which Wallenstein stands forth a commanding and active figure, was one of the many acts in the long drama of the struggle between the Old and the New, the spirit of the Past and the spirit of Change, Catholicism and Protestantism. Europe was sundered by the still unclosed schism of the grand religious dispute. This made the politics and the sympathies of nations ; upon either brink the parties mustered in nearly equal numbers, and the unstable scale swayed to and fro, subject to each slight and passing influence. The positions of the great powers were nearly as follows: England had thoroughly committed herself to the Reformation. James II. supported the august character of head of the Anglican Church, with whatever dignity was in his unkingly nature; but he trembled at the sight of a naked sword, and in the continental discussions his people took little or no part. Louis XIII., the youthful monarch of France, though with less of frivolity in his temper than was apt to be the case with French kings, was yet far from wielding his sceptre with a powerful hand. The Huguenots had not been forever suppressed by St. Bartholomew's day, or by the strong and politic rule of Henry of Navarre, (the Fourth); but, hydra-headed, they still showed threatening fangs. So, at the moment of Ferdinand's election to the
She was a
imperial throne, France was not available as an active ally of Catholicism beyond her own borders; she soon, how- . ever, acquired nearly her proper importance by the rise to supremacy of the astute Richelieu, a prelate of the Church and a statesman whose name remains to the present day as the by word of wily policy. Under his sway the kingdom became like a well-bitted horse in the hands of a skilful jockey. Yet even thus her conduct remained doubtful ; if
; religious sympathy was one rein, still
one rein, still worldly policy was the other; the cardinal abominated heresy, but the minister of France dreaded the power of Austria. Thus, between nicely balanced interests, the action of this kingdom was never sure. Spain was, of course, Catholic to the core; but she was likewise rotten to the core. thin and hollow shell—a name of might, but of small military value. Philip III. was an unworthy descendant of the mighty Charles V. and the stubborn Philip II. Ill-fated Germariy, cut, like a checker-board, into many principalities and powers (how incorrect is this name !) was the miserable field on which this great game of draughts was to be played, through all its bloody course to the wretched end of exhaustion. Princes and electors espoused the cause of one or the other religion, and changed the same as convictions or policy commanded. Austria alone was firm for Catholicism. She was, as her power entitled her to be, the head of the alliance of the League, so-called ; and against her the Protestant states forned the federation of the Union. Ferdinand the emperor was a man of peculiar temper and incongruous qualities. His most remarkable trait was an obstinacy which seemed at times to possess him like a devil, and wkich oftentimes did him yeoman's service. He was a strange mixture of dogged resolution and personal inefficiency. With no great qualities of mind, this will, or wilfulness, alone prevented him from falling into mediocrity. History furnishes us no other specimen of a prince who aided an indomitable spirit and boundless courage in asserting it with so little of active or energetic exertion in securing the objects of his stern resolution. Personal vigor in execution was wholly wanting in a character wherein its closely kindred attributes were developed far beyond the ordinary. Nothing could ever bend him from a purpose ; nothing could ever urge him to energy in accomplishing it. He uttered his will resolutely, and then he tranquilly awaited the interference of luck or Providence to take in hand the business