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prose; but no rebellion, conscious or un- dantly supplied by an age of revolution to conscious, against the theory of composi. retaliate on society. He will always be a tion which he found in the ascendant when grand figure in the literary group who he entered the world of letters.
stand in the portals of the nineteenth cen. Of Burns, perhaps, one could not say tury. He took up the romantic vein of quite so much; yet even in Burns we see poetry which Scott had opened, and struck little signs of anything but a determina out a higher fight of imagination than tion to go his own way. Of any suspi- even the author of the " • Lay
" had then cion that the dominant literary school reached. But he wants the singleminded. stood in need of radical reform he seems ness of either Wordsworth or Shelley, wholly innocent. Wordsworth and his and has left fewer marks behind him on party went deliberately to work, as delib. our poetry than either Keats or Scott. erately as any political or ecclesiastical The danger of the transition period lay, reformers ever did, to overthrow what no doubt, in its disdain of form. But this they believed to be falsehood and super was happily surmounted. Leigh Hunt stition and, in a measure, tyranny. There and Keats were sinners in this respect, can be no doubt at all of their position. and in his early days Mr. Tennyson But Burns is a more complex study. His showed the same weakness; but he very poetry is so closely intertwined with the soon outgrew it, and now to find his equal lore of his native land that it is difficult to as a literary artist we must go back to say how much of it sprung from a purely Gray. We find, in fact, in the Laureate national inspiration, and how much from a combination of the virtues of both sys. those more general causes which are the tems: the elegance and finish of the proper subject of this article. Burns, we Twickenham school, with the deeper inare told, did for the songs of Scotland sight, higher aspirations, and more subwhat Scott did for the ballads : yet we tle sympathies of the Lake school of pocan hardly attribute the literary excava- etry: vations which Scott carried on among the As the faculty of imagination enters Border valleys to any impatience of the less into prose composition than it does literary form which reigned supreme in into verse, we have naturally less to say the metropolis. His motives in the first of the former than we have of the latter instance were antiquarian and patriotic, in dealing with the revival of it. At the rather than literary; and we should be same time, as Wordsworth points out, the disposed to say the same, and to say it proper antithesis of prose is not poetry, more exclusively, of Burns. But if Burns but verse; and as far as prose is inaginawas not one of the conscious authors and tive, it partakes of the nature of poetry, founders of the new system, he must be and comes within the scope of our in. placed very high among its representa- quiry. The Waverley novels
are of tives. In him we see what we do not see course the illustration par excellence of in Cowper – the highest play of imagina- our meaning; and we have already said tion. He belongs to the “ Restoration all that is necessary of their rise and their in virtue of this test quality. With that influence. But before them in order of crusade against poetic diction which was time, and close to them in order of merit, the early work of Wordsworth, we cannot stand the writings of Burke, whose imag. see that he had anything in common. ination was kindled into fury by the But he was one of the first, if not the very French Revolution and the havoc whicle first, to feel the breath of the returning it wrought among all his favorite idols. deity as she descended once more — Macaulay, perlaps, was the first to see Mille trahens varios adverso sole colores,
what was to be gained by the use of the
imagination in history; but though we and his song rose up to meet her like the cannot exclude him from the list of imag. skylark's.
inative writers who owe their fame to the Byron, again, was a poet who was Renaissance, yet it cannot be said that rather a child of the reaction than a par. he has reached the same level as either ent. He would never have created the Carlyle or Mr. Froude, while in imaginachange if he had not found it in existence. tive prose not employed on history, De His sympathies were with the old school. Quincey, and perhaps Mr. Ruskin, are We all know what he thought of Pope ; above them all. There are parts of the but, like Sir Bedivere in “ King Arthur,”; “ English Opium-Eater,” of the “ Flight " his own thoughts drove him like a goad." of the Calmuck Tartars," and of the “TraSociety, as he supposed, bad injured him ; ditions of the Rabbis,” which are not to and he made use of the materials so abun- l be distinguished from poetry of the highest order. Mr. Carlyle's death-bed of ment all previously existing conceptions Louis XV., if compared with Macaulay's of life and work, and gave us the galaxy Charles II., will show the incontestable of great writers and thinkers who adorn superiority of the former.
the epoch Burns, Wordsworth, and The transition period, however, shows Coleridge, Shelley, Byron, and Keats, do revolt against the prose diction of the Edmund Burke, and Walter Scott. The eighteenth century as it does against its long peace, the political changes which poetic diction. Macaulay jeers at John. occurred in 1832, the rise of the economic son, yet his own style is based on John- age — the age of Birmingham and Man. son; and the review of Robert Montgoin-chester – which did, after an interval, ery and the critique of Gray's poetry succeed to the heroic age the age of inight have been written by either. Of Trafalgar and Waterloo
the progress other departments of prose literature of ideas favorable to a social revolution much the same may be said. Miss Aus- which, whatever its countervailing advanten, incomparable as she is, differs in no tages, inust necessarily rob life of much essential respect from Miss Burney; the of its picturesqueness, of many of its richprose of Hallam is the prose of Black est colors, and of some, perhaps, of its sione; and what is perhaps better worth noblest motives, — have worked a change mentioning, is that Wordsworth’s prose in England during the last fifty years en irely corresponds with these remarks. which might have been expected to maIn his preface to the “ Lyrical Ballads" terialize literature and bring it down to a we see as much “ elegance,” as much at lower ebb than it had reached a hundred tention to the forms and ceremonies of years ago. Such, however, has not been siyle as we should find in any earlier the case. Imagination has held her own writer. The truth is that in prose com. against all the rival forces in the field. position the eighteenth century was at The strength of the great reaction, some home, was on its own ground, and, doing features of which we have here enwhat it thoroughly understood, did it deavored to recall, has not yet spent thoroughly well. Consequently, its prose itself. George Eliot, writing forty years style survived the ordeal of the Revolu. afterwards, is the natural exponent, in tion while its metrical style did not. We fiction, of one branch of it, as Scott was can hardly bestow greater praise on a of the other. Froude, Carlyle, and Tenprose writer of the present day than to nyson have maintained the protest — the say that he writes like Junius; and what protest of Wordsworth, of Burke, and of thoroughly accomplished man of letters, Scott - the protest which it is the privif asked which he thought the greater ilege of literature, and should be its chief compliment, to be called equal in style glory, to hand down — against utilitarian. to Lord Macaulay or equal in style to isn, optimism, and epicureanism. This Gibbon, would hesitate to choose the lat. is matter for pride, and perhaps also it is ter?
ground for hope. To sum up, the leading and distinctive characteristic of the period which may fairly be said to begin with the death of Dr. Johnson and end with the death of Walter Scott, was the restoration of the
From Macmillan's Magazine. imaginative element to both literature THE BARONESS HELENA VON SAARFELD. and religion. Banished by the English TRAVELLING in Germany, on one occaResolution, she was restored to us, qua sion, I passed the evening at a small inn minime serio, by the French, and pro. among some mountains, with a middleduced two classes of worshippers, those aged man whom I soon discovered to whose enthusiasm led them forward to have been an actor. In the course of the the glories of the future, and those whom evening he told me the outlines of the it led in a contrary direction towards the following story, together with much inter. romance and beauty of the past. The esting detail relating to an actor's life. I eighteenth-century men had few or none have endeavored to work into the story of these feelings.' As George Eliot puts what I could recollect of his observations, it, with great truth and humor, “They but not being able to take notes at the cared not for inquiring into the cause of time, and having little intimate knowledge things, being satisfied with the things of German life, I have lost much of the theinselves.'° From this pleasant but in- local coloring and graphic detail which glorious repose they were wakened by a interested me so much at the time. This ibunder-clap, which transformed in a mo- short introduction will suffice.
In a considerable town in Germany and of humor, was not re-acted even on (said the actor), there have been for sev. this partial stage oftener than it was, and, eral generations a succession of dukes still more so, that, in all the theatres of who have patronized the German theatre Germany where I have played my part, I and devoted the principal part of their never once saw it performed, nor even revenue to its support. In this city 1 so much as heard it mentioned; so diffiwas born. My grandfather had been an cult of recognition is merit in my profes. actor of some repute, whose acting in sion. some of his principal characters Schiller The ducal Schloss rose directly above is said greatly to have admired. His son, the tall houses of the superior quarter of however, did not follow in his father's the town, the backs of which looked out art, but degenerated, as most would call upon forest trees which had been planted, it, into a stage-carpenter and inferior and had grown to great size, upon the scene-painter. He was, however, a man steep mountain slope upon which the of considerable reading, and of a certain Schloss was built. My father, taking me humor, which mostly took the form of by the hand, led me up the winding road, bitter sarcasm, and dislike of the theatri. defended at the angles by neglected towcal profession. From my birth he formed ers, which led to the castle gardens. On a determination to bring me up as a the way he never ceased to impress upon printer, for besides that his fondness for me the misery of an actor's life. reading naturally caused him to admire “The poorest handicraft,” he said, "by the art by which books are produced, he which a man can earn his crust of bread believed that education would make gigan. in quiet is preferable to this gaudy imtic steps within a few years, and that in posture which fools think so attractive. consequence printers would never want in other trades a man is very often bis for occupation. In this expectation, at own master, in this he has so many that any rate in one respect, he was mistaken. he does not even know which to obey.
Upon the production of a new piece In other trades a man has some induce. which the reigning duke had himself ment to do his best, in this to excel is in written, the juvenile actor who was to most cases to starve. The moment an have taken a boy's part sickened and died, actor ceases to assist the self-love of his and the company did not at the moment fellow-actor, or to minister to the worst possess any child who was fitted to take passions of his auditors, he is hated or his place. My father was requested, or despised. He works harder than the simrather commanded, to allow me to learn plest journeyman for poorer pay, he is the few words attached to the part. He exposed to greater risk of accident, and was extremely averse to the proposal, but the necessities of his part require such a was compelled to consent, the matter delicacy of organization that the least appearing so trifling. The play was very accident ruins it.” The great trunks of successful. The applause was unani- the trees were throwing à fitful shadow mous, and indeed was so enthusiastic over the steep walks as my father, still that, not satisfied with lauding the talent holding me by the hand, poured these of the noble author and with praising the dolorous opinions into my ears, and we intelligence of the chief actors who had reached the long terraces of the ducal so readily grasped the intentions of gardens. genius, it had some encomiuis left for We were passed on froin one gorgeous the child actor, and discovered a pro domestic to another until at last we found found meaning in the few words the duke ourselves before the chasseur, a magnifihad put into my mouth, which it asserted cent man of gigantic height, but with an I had clearly and intelligently rendered. expression of face perfectly gentle and The duke, pleased at finding himself so beautiful. I had often noticed this man much cleverer than even he had ever sus in the theatre, and had always thought pected, joined in the applause. He never that he would be admirably fitted to repfailed to testify his approbation at the resent St. Christopher, a picture of whom way in which I piped out the very ordi- hung in my mother's room. He surveyed nary words of my single line, and finally, us courteously and kindly, and informed when the play was withdrawn for a time, us that the duke was taking his wine with he sent an order to my father to repair a friend on one of the terraces on the one summer afternoon to the ducal farther side of the hill. Thither he led Schloss which overlooked the town. I us, and we found the duke seated at a have since sometimes thought that it was small table in front of a stone alcove curious that this play, so full of genius ornamented with theatrical carvings in
bas-relief. The view on this side avoided efforts of the intellect of his day, but this the smoke of the town and commanded a even is not all; every movement of his life magnificent prospect of wood and plain is given to the same fascinating pursuit; crossed by water, and intersected by low whenever he walks the street he is adding ranges of hills. The afternoon sun was to his store; the most trilling incident gilding the tree-tops and the roofs and a passing beggar, a city crowd — presents turrets of the Schloss behind us.
to him invaluable hints; his very dreams The gigantic chasseur introduced us to assist him; he lives in a constant drama the duke, who sat at his wine, together of enthralling interest; the greater stage with a gentleman of a lofty and kindly without is reflected on the lesser stage of expression, whom I never saw before or the theatre; his own petty individuality is since. On the table were wine and dried the glass in which the universal intellect fruits. I remember the scene as though and consciousness mirrors itself. It is it had occurred only yesterday.
given to hiin of all men to collect in his “Ah, my good Hans," said the duke –
puny grasp all the fine threads of human be prided himself on his accurate ac- existence, and to present them evening quaintance with every one attached to the after evening for the delight, the instructheatre, and iny father's name was Karl tion, and the elevation of his fellow-inen. -“ah, my good Hans, I have sent for We have before us an individual, small it you because I have taken an interest in is true and at present undeveloped, before this little fellow, and I wish to make his whom this future lies assured.
Shall we fortune. I will take his future into my hesitate for a moment? This worthy haods and overlook his education in his man, looking at things in a miserable noble profession of player.”
detail, sees nothing but some few inconMy father looked very uncomfortable. veniences which beset this, as every
Pardon, your Highness !” be said, “I other, walk in life. It is fortunate that do not design him for a player. I wish his child's future is not at his control.” bim to be a printer.”
My father said nothing more; but as The duke raised his hand with a mag. he was shown off the final terrace by the nificent gesture as of a man who waives least gorgeous of the domestics, he mutall discussion.
tered to himself so low that I could only “My good fellow," he said, “that is all just hear hiin, past. This boy has developed a talent for 6. We shall see what the mother will the highest of all possible professions. say." He has shown himself unconsciously ap. But — when we reached our house, preciative of genius, and able to express which was a lofty gabled dwelling in the it. His future is mine."
poorer part of the town, but which had My father looked very downcast, and belonged to my grandfather and to his the gentleman who sat by the duke, with father before him, and had once been a a kindliness of demeanor which has en- residence of importance; when we climbed deared him to me forever, said,
to the upper story and found ourselves in “But this good man seems to have de. the large kitchen and dwelling-room which cided views about his own son.
commanded views both ways, into the “My dear Ernst,” said the duke,“ on street and to the ramparts at the back every other subject I am most willing to he got no help from his wife. listen to, and to follow, your excellent My mother did not like reading, and advice, but on this one topic I think you even thought in her secret mind, though will admit that I have some right to be she did not say it aloud, that her husband heard. We have here,” he continued, would be much better occupied in working leaning back in his chair, and waving his for his family than in puzzling his brains two hands before him, so that the fingers over the pages of Kant. She had, there. crossed and interlaced each other, as his sore, no great admiration for the great discourse went on, with a continuous printers of the day, nor was Johann Gumovement which fascinated my eyes, "we tenberg likely to replace St. Christopher have here the commencement of an actor's over her bedside. She knew nothing of life. We look forward into the future the vast stride that education was about and we see the possibility of an existence to make, nor of the consequent wealth than which nothing more attractive pre- that awaited the printer's craft, but she sents itself to the cultured mind. What did know the theatre and she knew the to other men is luxury, is the actor's duke. That the duke had promised to every-day life. His ordinary business is make her son's fortune was not denied; to make himself familiar with the highest surely there was little left to desire. It
was decided that night that I should be systematically to secondary parts, but I
watched carefully the acting of the great "My son,” said my father, some time players, and endeavored to lead up to afterwards, as he took me to the lodgings their best effects, and to respond to the of an actor who had promised to teach me emotions they sought to awaken. By to repeat some famous parts," my son, I this means I became a great favorite have not been able to train thee to the among the best players, for it is surprisoccupation which I should have desired. ing what an assistance the responsive I pray God to assist thee in that which action of a fellow-actor is in obtaining an fate has selected. I have one piece of effect, while on the other hand it is very advice which I will give thee now, though unlikely that the attention of the audience I hope I shall be able to repeat it often. should be diverted from the principal Nerer aspire to excellence; select the actor by what tends indeed to increase secondary parts, and any fine strokes of the impression he makes. Several of the acting which you may acquire throw into greatest actors then in Germany often these parts. In this way you will escape refused parts unless I played the secthe vindictive jealousy of your fellows; ondary character. I was not particular. but if unavoidably you should attract such I would take any part, however unimpor, ill feeling, leave the theatre at once, travel tant, provided my salary was not reduced as much as possible, act on as many in consequence, and 'I endeavored to boards as you can. You will achieve in throw all my knowledge and training into this way the character of a useful player any part I undertook; by this means I who is never in the way. In this way, became a great favorite with authors, and in this only, you probably will never who, if they are worth anything, endeavor want bread; more than this I cannot hope to distribute their genius equally among for."
their characters, and whom nothing irri
tates so much as to see everything sacri. I shall not weary you by relating the ficed to promote the applause and vainstory of my education as an actor; it will glory of a single performer. I grew up, suffice to say that I found neither my much to the surprise of all who knew me, father's estinate of the profession, nor a very handsome young man, and I gener. that of the duke, to be precisely correct.ally took the parts of lovers, when these If on the one hand I have found littleness were not of the first importance, such, for and jealousy to exist among players, on instance, as the part of Romeo, which, the other I have seen numberless acts of true to the rule I had adopted, I never unpretending and self-denying kindness. attempted. In this way I had visited It must be remembered that the actor's most of the cities of Germany, and was life is a most exciting and wearing one, well known in all of them, when, at the and most certain to affect the nerves and request of one of the chief actors of the make a man irritable and suspicious. His day, who studied the parts of the great reputation and his means of existence are tragedies which he undertook with the dependent upon the voice of popular most conscientious care, I accepted an applause applause which may be engagement at the theatre of one of the affected by the slightest misunderstanding great cities of the empire, to which he or error. It is no wonder therefore that he had also engaged himself for a consideris apt to take alarm at trifles, or to resentable time. with too much quickness what seems to be The theatre was a large one, and the a slight or an unfairness. With regard to company numerous and varied. I might the duke's ideal view of the profession, I occupy you for a long time with divers did not find this even altogether without descriptions of character and with the foundation in fact. I found, amidst all its relation of many curious and moving intrivialities and vexations, the player's cidents, but I do not wish to make this a training to give an insight into human long story, and I will therefore confine life in all its forms, and to encourage the myself to the chief events. study and observation of the varieties of The German stage, as you are aware, is city existence more than perhaps any different from your own in England, in other training does. I studied the works that it does not present such marked conof the great dramatists and novelists with trasts. There is a great gulf, as I under. attention, not only for my own parts, but stand, between your highest actors and that I might understand the parts of your pantomime players; but this is not others. I followed my father's advice the case in Germany. As far as I can throughout my life. I confined myself understand, we have nothing resembling