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lands" is an expression of that admiration for the repose and harmony of the antique, which was awakened in him in the reaction against the untamed violence of The Robbers." But it is characteristic that while Schiller expresses this feeling as a longing for something unattainable-something that has once for all been taken from men by the progress of human thought and can never be perfectly recovered-Goethe has no such word of despair. For him the ideal is there before us in nature for our eyes to see, if they can only look deep enough, and it is working in the poet's mind now, as in Greece, to reproduce itself in art. His dawning friendship with Schiller was disturbed when the latter began to insist upon the Kantian doctrine, that no experience can ever be adequate to an idea. Goethe reflected, however, that if Schiller held that to be an idea which he expressed as experience, there must be some mediat ing link between them. "I told him that I was glad to think that I had ideas without knowing it, and that I could even see them with my eyes."
This last expression has immediate reference to Goethe's scientific views, especially in relation to the Metamorphosis of Plants. This, like all his contributions to biology, was inspired by the idea that there is a unity of principle in all life, and that it develops toward diversity by continuous modification of a single form. This idea led him to regard all plants as variations on a single type, and all the parts of each plant as correlative modifications of one simple form by which it has been adapted to various functions. The same principle guided him to the discovery of the traces in man of the intermaxillary bone, the absence of which had been supposed to distinguish the structure of man from that of the apes, and also made him one of the first to maintain that all parts of Thus, in spite of his being in a technical sense an amateur in science, Goethe grasped the idea of development, and used it to throw light upon the animal kingdom, when as yet few or none of the professed biologists had reached such a point of view. Nor did he regard these biological studies as a something distinct from his poetic work.
the skull are modified vertebræ.
he conceived them to be a necessary complement or continuation of that work, and he complained of the imperfect insight of some of his friends, who thought that he was wasting time upon scientific studies that might have been better spent in poetic creation, and who did
not detect how this interest sprang out of his inmost being. And when an eminent naturalist complimented him on his "objective thinking"-i.e., on his power of giving himself up to the sensuous impressions of objects in such a way as to extract their secret-he did not hesitate to claim for himself in the same sense the power of being objective in poetry (Gegenständliche Dichtung) :
"Certain great motives, legends, ancient traditions so deeply impressed themselves upon my mind, that I kept them living and active within me for thirty or forty years. To me it appeared the most beautiful of possessions to see such worthy images renewed in my imagination, in which they were, indeed, continually transformed, yet without being altered, till at last they were raised to a purer form and a more definite expression."
These words well express the manner of Goethe's poetic production. It was not his way, as it was the way of Schiller, to concentrate his thoughts upon a subject, and force his genius into action. Rather he watched the creations
they grew within him, and used his conscious intelligence only to defend the work from all incongruous elements. Such objective poetry" cannot be an easy matter even for the greatest of poets. As it takes much metaphysic to keep free from metaphysic, so it requires no little critical and reflective power in the poet to purge out the dross of prose from his work, and especially to free its pure intuitive unity from the artifice and mechanism of reflection. Above all it requires a certain stubborn faith in the "whis
pers of the lonely muse when the whole world seems adverse," a resolute maintenance of the consciousness of poetic of life, which is hard for the poet, just harmony in the face of all the discords his existence is his susceptibility to imin proportion as the very condition of his existence is his susceptibility to impression. And for the modern poet this is harder than for the ancient, because the movement of history has brought
Campaign in France," November, 1792.
" * On the contrary,
evil is embodied in his wonderful creation of Mephistopheles, the disintegrating spirit who is continually warring against life and energy, but who is tolerated by the divine power, because man is so fond of unconditioned peace," and requires to be fretted and provoked into activity. Even so much toleration as this, however, is for God and not for man, who is called to "hate the devil and him only," to withdraw himself from all that is negative, violent, and destructive, and to devote all his life to that which is positive and productive, and who thus only can hope for a final deliverance from the base companion who is allowed in this world to haunt him.
"Gerettet ist das edle Glied
Der Geisterwelt vom Bösen:
with it new problems and causes of division. The greater the conflict of man's nature with itself and with circumstance, the more difficult has become the artist's task of making music out of the jarring forces in and around him, and preventing their confusion and conflict from mingling with his song. In a passage already quoted, as in many others, Goethe expresses his sense of the effort which the modern requires to make in order to place and keep himself at a point of view which the Greek took up almost by instinct. And it is indeed this effort itself, and the consciousness of it, which prevents Goethe from ever being wholly Greek. Even in those of his works that are most filled with the spirit of antiquity, he is obliged to pay this tribute to the time. He is not a Greek, because, in order to reach the peace and purity of the antique," he has to conquer an antag- It is here, perhaps, that we find the onism which for the Greek did not ex- limitations of the genius of Goethe, ist. This feeling is expressed half- limitations which were closely connected humorously in his account of a conver- with the sources of his strength. As sation with Schiller, who regarded the to the artist the immediate sensuous Fall as a desirable event, because only form of reality is indispensable, so by it could man rise above his animal Goethe was jealous of any influence innocence; while Goethe maintained that tends to mar or destroy it. that such a break in the continuity of vision, pain, and evil appeared to him development was a disaster. In the too great a price to pay even for the same spirit he sometimes spoke of the highest good, and, in the spirit of his Reformation as a violent crisis which master Spinoza, he was inclined to deny delayed the progress of civilization, and that such a price was necessary. He condemned the Revolutionary struggle demanded that the highest should be of his own day as a disturbance to attained without a breach with nature, peaceful culture. 'I hate all violent and merely by continuing her work overturns, because in them men lose as upon a higher platform. Hence he was much as they gain. All that is violent repelled from history as he was repelled and precipitate displeases me, because from politics, by the violence of the it is not conformable to nature. In struggles, the depth of the divisions, and politics, as in nature, the true method the greatness of the sacrifices with which is to wait. Struggle, warfare, revolu- the progress of man is purchased. tion is to him the negative and the bar- Hence also he could not accept the ren; and even patriotism, with its ex- Christian idea of life. It is true, as we altation of one nation at the expense of have seen, that he was inspired with the another, is a doubtful virtue. "How great moral idea of renunciation, but could I take up arms without hate?" his interpretation of it is somewhat he cries. "National hate is a partic- different from the Christian interpretaular hate; it is in a lower region that it tion. He does not exactly bid us die is most energetic and ardent; but there to self that we may live; he bids us reis a height at which it vanishes, when nounce all that nature and fortune reone is, so to speak, above nationalities, fuse us, in the confidence that if we keep and one feels the happiness and misery working on to the end "nature will be of a neighboring people as his own. obliged to give us another form of existThis idea of all negation, controversy, ence when that which we have can no and conflict as something essentially longer contain our spirit." The differ
ence may seem almost verbal, and it is easy to see that by a slight change of tone the one lesson may be made to pass into the other. Nay, we may even say that such a change of tone is perceptible in some of the later works of Goethe himself. But in the first instance, the variation of expression concealed a real difference of spirit. It showed that Goethe feared and shrank from what has been called "the earnestness, the pain, the patience and the labor of the negative," through which the Christian spirit reaches a higher affirmative; that he could not reconcile himself to a war with nature even as the way to a higher reconciliation.
This difference between the Goethean and the Christian idea of life showed itself in the most marked way in Goethe after his Italian journey. At that time he was so imbued with the naturalistic spirit of antiquity that he regarded the productions of medieval art as for the most part monstrosities, or at least as eccentricities that were not to be copied. He even felt and occasionally expressed a violent repulsion toward the symbols of Christian worship, and took pleasure in proclaiming himself a heathen.". At a later period the bitterness of this antagonism disappeared. As his exclusive Hellenism was gradually modified by advancing years he became ready to admit the value and even the supreme inoral importance of Christian ideas. "It is altogether strange to me, he writes to Jacobi, in reference to the dramatist Werner, that I, an old heathen, should see the Cross planted in my own ground, and hear Christ's blood and wounds poetically preached, without its offending me. We owe this to the higher point of view to which philosophy has raised us." His truly Julian hate to Christianity and so-called Christians," he declared on one occasion, with a touch of humor, had softened itself with years, so that little was wanting to make him say with the Ethiopian eunuch in the Acts, What doth hinder me to be baptized?" And in the "Wanderjahre," he makes a broad distinction between the "ethnic religions" and the religion which teaches reverence for that which is beneath us," recognizing in the latter the highest of all religions. He adds, however,
that it must not be understood to exclude the other two religions-the religion of reverence for that which is above us, and the religion of reverence for equals. The overseer of his ideal educational institution, when asked which religion he accepts, has to answer: "Alle drei". each and all of the three religions that have divided man's allegiance in the past.
In truth Goethe's quarrel with Christianity was due to two causes which were at first closely connected, but which are capable of being separated. In the first place, as has been suggested above, it was due to his viewing Christianity as a religion of the other world, a religion whose God was not the principle of all life in nature and man, but an external creator and governor. In the second place, it was due to the prominence of the ascetic or negative element in Christianity, and to the divorce of the natural and spiritual which is connected therewith. Now the first of these objections rested on a mental characteristic which Goethe could scarcely have surrendered without ceasing to be Goethe, the born enemy of all that is transcendent, all that carries us into a region beyond the possibility of human experience. It was the vocation of Goethe's life to teach that what in this sense cannot be brought within our reach, is as good as nothing for us. for us.
His objection to Christianity on this ground, therefore, could be removed only in so far as he was led by the philosophical movement of his time to attach greater importance to the Christian idea of the unity of the divine and the human, and to regard the purely supernatural element as an accident.
On the other hand, Goethe's objection to Christianity as a negative and ascetic religion became greatly modified when, in later years, the Greek conception of life ceased to be all-sufficient for him. Ultimately, as we have seen, he came to admit the necessity of a religion of reverence for that which is beneath us-a religion which could see the divine even in that which in its immediate aspect is repulsive, hateful, and evil.' But that which is repulsive, hateful, and evil" cannot by any gradual transition be elevated and refined to goodness. If the divine is to be revealed in it, it can only be by the negation of that which at first it seems
to be. The Christian idea of self-realization through self-sacrifice is the necessary outcome of the religion of reverence for that which is beneath us. Hence we do not wonder to find Goethe in the same connection treating the Sanctuary of Sorrow,' in which the sufferings and death of Christ are represented, as the innermost sanctuary of religion. Into this sanctuary, however, he avoids taking us. He is, one might say, theoretically reconciled with Christianity, but something still repels him from it. He waits, to use the imagery of his Märchen," till the narrow fisherman's hut shall become the altar in a new temple of humanity. The form in which Christianity is commonly presented as a religion of supernaturalism and other-worldliness continues to keep him alienated from that which in its moral essence he recognizes as the highest. Perhaps we may best sum up what has to be said of Goethe by calling him the most modern of the moderns, the high priest of a culture which, in its opposition to mediævalism, is carried back toward the literature of the Greeks, "the most human and humane of literatures, the literature of those who were most at home in the world." It was characteristic of the medieval mind to seek for that which is highest in that which is furthest removed from man, that which can least be brought within the range of human experience. The divine power on which it depended for the elevation of man, was conceived as acting upon him from without, as upon a lifeless and inert material. The asceticism, the supernaturalism, the divided life of the Middle Ages, were only the natural result of such conceptions. On the other hand, the whole movement of civilization from the time of the revival of learning has been a war against such ways of thinking. The modern spirit, like the spirit of antiquity, is obliged, by its most essential intellectual instincts, to cling to that which is present, to that which is immediately evidenced to us in inner and outer experience. It holds to fact and reality against that which is merely ideal, and it can recognize the ideal only when it presents itself as the deeper fact.
In all this the modern spirit withdraws itself from the Middle Ages, and claims
kindred with antiquity. Yet it is impossible any longer to regard the modern movement of thought as merely a return to the light of ancient culture out of the Dark Ages. The long mediæval struggle of humanity for deliverance from itself cannot be regarded as simply a contest with spectres of its own raising, but must be taken as an essential stage in the progress of human thought. If the endeavor to crush nature under the dominion of spirit was in a sense irrational and fruitless, seeing that it is only in nature that spirit can be revealed, yet that endeavor has forever made impossible the easy reconciliation of the two with which the ancients were satisfied. A mere return to antiquity must produce, as it always produced, a culture which falls below that of antiquity both in fulness and depth. For the ancient civilization was not impoverished, as such a revival of it must be, by ignoring problems which had not yet been opened up. As Goethe found his idea of Iphigenia most fully realized in a Christian saint,* so we may say that the perfect form of Greek art cannot be again reproduced except by a spirit which has passed through the Christian Sanctuary of Sorrow.' On the other hand, if the moderns can return to the ideals of the Middle Ages, it is on a higher level, at which such ideals no longer come into conflict with the naturalistic spirit of antiquity. In like manner the secular scientific impulse, which, in the last century, was working toward an altogether mechanical and external explanation of the world, begins, with Goethe himself, to bring back in a higher sense, under the names of organism and development, that explanation of the world by final causes which in a lower sense it has rejected. And the vain attempts still made to explain spirit by nature are rapidly teaching us to revive the truth which underlay the mediæval supernaturalism, that in the last resort nature is only to be explained by spirit. Perhaps it may be found that no one has done more to prepare the way for such a reunion of ancient and mediæval ideas than our great modern poet and prophet of the religion of nature, Goethe.-Contemporary Review.
* " Italienische Reise," Oct. 19. 1786.
BY GRANT ALLEN.
THE one salient point of America is the Glacial Epoch. In Europe, the Great Ice Age is but a pious opinion; in Canada and the Northern States it is a tremendous fact, still devastating with its mass of tumbled débris the cultivable fields in every direction. The havoc wrought by the universal ice-sheet, indeed, renders by far the greater part of Northeastern America permanently unfit for human tillage. Square mile after square mile of the St. Lawrence basin and the Massachusetts hills has been ground flat to the naked rock, and shaven clean into smooth rounded bosses, by the ceaseless action of that enormous natural jack plane. The backbone of Canada consists of a low granitic ridge, worn down to a stump by the grinding ice-sheet, with the bare gneiss scarcely covered in places by some thin scattering of infertile soil. Hardly a stunted pine-tree or a straggling blueberry-bush can find a foothold anywhere in the shallow crannies where the rock has weathered into a crumbling trench. The great central range of New England, again, from the Green Mountains of Vermont to the Connecticut hills, is almost as barren, rocky, and desolate, and for the same reason. So are the dividing-ridges of the Mohawk, the Hudson, the Susquehanna, and the Ohio River. In all the more mountainous or elevated regions, in short, the ice has simply cleared away everything bodily from the surface of the earth, and left nothing behind but a bald rounded surface, scantily occupied, even at the present day, by casual colonies of struggling trees.
As one steams out of Boston toward the Hoosac tunnel, or on to Albany along the Springfield line, it is impossible not to realize with what delight Agassiz must first have gazed upon the universal evidences of glacial action which, I will not say fill, but rather constitute New York, New England, and the Middle States. In the old world, the fiery Swiss naturalist had been struggling hard, with all the magnetic energy of his nature, to make a sceptical few accept the proofs of a Great Ice Age on
the striated rocks in the Beddgelert Valley or the scanty moraines scattered among the corries of the Scotch Highlands. In the new world, he found the entire area of the Eastern States one vast jumble of moraine and boulderclay, of erratic blocks and roches moutonnées, of polished hills and ice-worn basins. It would be impossible for anybody, however sceptical, however unimaginative, to doubt in America the historical reality of the Glacial Epoch. Every Eastern farmer still spends half his time in picking off his fields the rounded boulders left behind among his stone-strewn furrows by the melting undertow of the all-embracing ice-sheet.
To realize the profound effect visibly produced upon the whole face of nature in the new world by the glaciation of two hundred thousand years ago, we have only to imagine the existing ice-cap melted bodily by some secular change off the frozen surface of our modern Greenland. As the ice gradually retreated and disappeared, it would leave behind it, on the ridges, a slippery mass of smooth and polished naked rock; in the interstices or valleys, a mighty mudfield, composed of the drift or boulderclay-that is to say, of the ground-up detritus of sand and earth, rubbed off the rocks by the constant downward movement of the ice, and largely intermixed with boulders and erratic blocks of all sizes, colors, shapes, and materials. This "till," or ground moraine, or glacial drift, would form at first the only cultivable soil that a fresh race of immigrants might perhaps attack in the newly made plains of a warmer Greenland. The mountains or hills, planed smooth and low, and as yet unweathered into pinnacles and crannies, would allow no roothold for tree or shrub; and even the till in the intervening valleys would be so thickly choked with big round stones, that only after many pickings would it be possible to run a plough or harrow through the stiff mass of heterogeneous rubble.
Now that was just the condition of northern America about the end of the