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And, by the way, a sort of name the true derivation of this difficulty, sake of this Mr. Robinson, viz. Jack- that it has often been said to me, as o'-the-lanthorn, comes as near to a an Englishman, “ What! can you semblance of John Paul as any body read John Paul?"-meaning to say, I know. Shakspeare himself has can you read such difficult German given us some account of Jack: and Doubtless, in some small proportion, I assure you, that the same account the mere language and style are rewill serve for Jack Paul Richter, sponsible for his difficulty : and, in a One of his books (Vorschule der Aes sense somewhat different, applying thetik) is absolutely so surcharged it to a mastery over the language in with quicksilver, that I expect to which he writes, the expression of see it leap off the table as often as Quinctilian in respect to the student it is laid there; and therefore, to of Cicero may be transferred to the prevent accidents, I usually load it student of John Paul :-" Ille se prowith the works of our good friend fecisse sciat, cui Cicero valde plac
Esq. and FRS. In fact, cebit :" he may rest assured that he 60 exuberant is this perilous gas of has made a competent progress in wit in John Paul, that, if his works the German language who can read do not explode,-at any rate, I think Paul Richter. Indeed he is a sort John Paul himself will blow up one of proof author in this respect; a of these days. It must be dangerous man, who can “ construe" himn, canto bring a candle too near him: not be stopped_by any difficulties many persons, especially half-pay of purely verbal. But, after all, these ficers, have lately “gone off," * by verbal obscurities are but the necesinconsiderately blowing out their bed- sary result and product of his style candle. They were loaded with a of thinking; the nimbleness of his different sort of spirit, it is true: transitions often makes him elliptibut I am sure there can be none cal: the vast expansion and discurmore inflammable than that of John siveness in his range of notice and Paul! To be serious, however, and observation, carries him into every to return from chasing this Will-o'- department and nook of human life, the-wisp, there cannot be a more of science, of art, and of literature; valuable endowment to a writer of whence comes a proportionably exinordinate sensibility, than this inor- tensive vocabulary, and a prodigious dinate agility of the understanding; compass of idiomatic phraseology : the active faculty balances the pas- and finally, the fineness, and evansive ; and without such a balance, escent brilliancy of his oblique glanthere is great risk of falling into a ces and surface-skimming allusions, sickly tone of maudlin sentimentality, often fling but half a meaning on from which Sterne cannot be pro- the mind; and one is puzzled to nounced wholly free,- and still less make out its complement. Hence a later author of pathetic tales, whose it is, that is to say, from his mode name I omit. By the way, I must of presenting things, . his lyrical observe, that it is this fiery, meteoric, style of connexion, and the prodiscintillating, corruscating power of gious fund of knowledge on which John Paul, which is the true found- he draws for his illustrations and his ation of his frequent obscurity. You images, that his obscurity arises. will find that he is reputed the most And these are causes which must difficult of all German authors; and affect his own countrymen no less many Germans are so little aware of than foreigners. Further than as
Of which the most tremendous case I have met with was this; and, as I greatly desire to believe so good a story, I should be more easy in mind if I knew that any body else had ever believed it. In the year 1818, an Irishman, and a great lover of whiskey, persisted obstinately, though often warned of his error, in attempting to blow out a candle: the candle, however, blew out the Irishman: and the following result was sworn to before the Coroner. The Irishman shot off like a Congreve rocket, passed with the velocity of a twenty-four-pounder through I know not how many stories, ascended to the highest heaven of invention,” viz.- to the garrets, where slept a tailor and his wife. Feather beds, which stop cannon-balls, gave way before the lishman's skull : he passed like a gimblet through two mattrasses, a feather bed, &c., and stood grinning at the tailor and his wife, without liis legs, lowever, wluch he had left behind him in the second floor.
these causes must oocasionally pro- n's coat; or like the avápiduos duce a corresponding difficulty of velaqua the multitudinous laughing diction, I know of no reason why an of the ocean under the glancing lights Englishman should be thought spe- of sun-beams; or like a feu de joie cially concerned in his obscurity, or of fire-works: in fact, John Paul's less able to find his way through it works are the galaxy of the German than any German. But just the same literary firmament. I defy a man to mistake is commonly made about Ly- lay his hand on that sentence which cophron : he is represented as the is not vital and ebullient with wit. most difficult of all Greek authors. What is wit? We are told that it Meantime, as far as language is con- is the perception of resemblances; cerned, he is one of the easiest:- some whilst the perception of differences, peculiar words he has, I acknow. we are requested to believe, is reserved ledge, but it is not single words that for another faculty. Very profound constitute verbal obscurity; it is the distinction no doubt; but very senseconstruction, synthesis, composition, less for all that. I shall not here arrangement, and involution of words, attempt a definition of wit: but I which only can obstruct the reader: will just mention what I conceive to now in these parts of style Lycophron be one of the distinctions between is remarkably lucid. Where then wit and humour, viz.- that whilst ļies his reputed darkness ? Purely in wit is a purely intellectual thing, this,—that, by way of colouring the into every act of the humorous mood style with the sullen hues of prophe- there is an influx of the moral natic vision, Cassandra is made to de- ture: rays, direct or refracted, from scribe all those on whom the fates of the will and the affections, from the Troy hinged, by enigmatic periphra- disposition and the temperament, enses, oftentimes drawn from the most ter into all humour: and thence it is, obscure incidents in their lives: just that humour is of a diffusive quaas if I should describe Cromweli by lity, pervading an entire course of the expression, “ unfortunate tamer thoughts; whilst wit-because it has of horses,” because he once nearly no existence apart from certain lobroke his neck in Hyde-Park, when gical relations of a thought which driving four-in-hand, or should de- are definitely assignable, and can be scribe a noble lord of the last century counted even, is always punctually as “ the roaster of men,” because, concentrated within the circle of a when a member of the Hell-fire- few words. On this account, I would club, he actually tied a poor man to not advise you to read those of John the spit; and, having spitted him, Paul's works which are the wittiest ; proceeded to roast him.*
but those which are more distina Third. You will naturally collect guished for their humour. You will from the account here given of John thus see more of the man. In a fuPaul's activity of understanding and ture letter I will send you a list of fancy, that over and above his hu- the whole distributed into classes. mour, he must have an overflowing Fourthly and finally, let me tell opulence of wit.-In fact he has. you what it is that has fixed John On this earth of ours (I know no- Paul in my esteem and affection. thing about the books in Jupiter, Did you ever look into that sickening where Kant has proved that the aus heap of abortions - the Ireland Forthors will be far ahler than any poor geries ? In one of these (Deed of Terræ Filius, such as Shakspeare or Trust to John Hemynges) - he makes Milton,) but on this poor earth of Shakspeare say, as his reason for ours, I am acquainted with no book having assigned to a friend such and of such unintermitting and brilliant such duties usually confided to lawwit as his Vorschule der Aesthetik : it yers-that he had “ founde muche glitters like the stars on a frosty wickednesse amongste those of the night; or like the stars on Count lawe.” On this, Mr. Malone, whose
• “ Proceeded to roast him,—yes: but did he roast him?”. Really. I can't say. Some people like their mutton underdone; and Lord might like his man under. done. All I know of the sequel is, that the sun expressed no horror at this Thyestean "cookery, which might be because he had set two hours before: but the Sun newspaper did, when it rose some nights after (as it always does) at six o'clock in the evening.
indignation was justly roused to see the manner of conducting such a Shakspeare's name borrowed to coun- cause : for you will no where find tenance such loathsome and stupid that they take any indecent liberties, vulgarity, expresses himself * with of a personal sort, with those princes much feeling: and I confess that, for whose governments they most abmy part, that passage alone, with, horred. Though safe enough from out the innumerable marks of grossest their vengeance, they never forgot in forgery which stare upon one in every their indignation, as patriots and as word, would have been quite suffi- philosophers, the respect due to the cient to expose the whole as a base rank of others, or to themselves as and most childish imposture. For, scholars, and the favourites of their so far was Shakspeare from any ca- country. Some other modern authors pability of leaving behind him a of Germany may be great writers: malignant libel on a whole body of but Frederick Schiller and John Paul learned men, that, among all writers Richter 1 shall always view with of every age, he stands forward as the feelings due to great men. the one who looked most benignantly, and with the most fraternal eye, well, and believe me to be,
For the present, my dear F. fareupon all the ways of men, however weak or foolish. From every sort of
Most faithfully yours, vice and infirmity he drew nutriment
GRASMERIENSIS TEUTONIZANS. for his philosophic mind. It is to the honour of John Paul, that in this, as in other respects, he constantly reminds me of 'Shakspeare. Every P. S. You will observe in my where a spirit of kindness prevails: motto from Trebellius Pollio, that I his satire is every where playful, announce an intention of translating delicate, and clad in smiles; never a few Analecta Paulina into English: bitter, scornful, or malignant. But two specimens chosen at random this is not all. I could produce many from the Flegel-jahre 1 subjoin : they passages from Shakspeare, which were adopted hastily, and translated show that, if his anger was ever hastily; and can do little towards roused, it was against the abuses of exhibiting, in its full proportions, a the time: not mere political abuses, mind so various as that of John Paul. but those that had a deeper root, and In my next letter I will send you a dishonoured human nature. Here better selection, and executed in a again the resemblance holds in John style of translation more correspondPaul; and this is the point in which ing to the merits of my brilliant I said that I would notice a bond of original. Once again, however, let affinity between him and Schiller. me remind you of the extraordinary Both were intolerant haters of ignoble difficulties which beset the task'; things, though placable towards the difficulties of apprehending the sense ignoble men. Both yearned, according in many cases, difficulties of expressto their different temperaments, for ing it in all.-But why need I say a happier state of things : I mean this to you, who in six weeks will for human nature generally, and, in a be able to judge for yourself upou political sense, for Germany. To his all points connected with German liJatest years, Schiller, when suffering terature; and to unite with me and under bodily decay and anguish, was others in furnishing an Anthology in an earnest contender † for whatever our own language, better reflecting, promised to elevate human nature, by absolute specimens, the characteand bore emphatic witness against the ristics of the most eminent German evils of the time. John Paul, who writers, than all merely analytic still lives, is of a gentler nature: but evolutions of style and manner could his aspirations tend to the same point, ever do. Every man shall take his though expressed in a milder and own favourite : mine, in any case, is more hopeful spirit. With all this, to be Paul Richter:--but I talk too however, they give a rare lesson on much: so “manum de tabula.”
• Inquiry, &c. p. 279.
+ Goethe has lately (Morphologie, p. 108. Zweyter heft) recurred to his conversa. tions with Schiller, in a way wliich places himself in rather an unfavourable contrast.
THE HAPPY LIFE OF A PARISH PRIEST IN SWEDEN.
Sweden apart, the condition of a tinged with the colours of youth by parish priest is in itself suficiently the rosy morning-lustre; and the happy: in Sweden, then, much more priest, as he looks away from them
There he enjoys summer and to mother earth lying in the sleep of winter pure and unalloyed by any winter, and to the church-yard, where tedious interruptions: a Swedish the flowers and the men are all in spring, which is always a late one, is their graves together, might secretly no repetition, in a lower key, of the exclaim with the poet:-“Upon the harshness of winter, but anticipates, dead mother, in peace and utter and is a prelibation of perfect sum- gloom, are reposing the dead chil. mer,-laden with blossoms,-radiant dren. After a time, uprises the everwith the lily and the rose : insomuch, lasting sun; and the mother starts that a Swedish summer-night repre- up at the summons of the heavenly sents implicitly one half of Italy, and dawn with a resurrection of her ana winter-night one half of the world cient bloom :- And her children ?beside.
Yes: but ey must wait awhile." I will begin with winter, and I will At home he is awaited by a warm suppose it to be Christmas. The study, and a “ long-levelled rule” of priest, whom we shall imagine to be sun-light upon the book-clad wall
. a German, and summoned from the The afternoon he spends delightsouthern climate of Germany upon fully ; for, having before him such a presentation to the church of a Swe perfect flower-stand of pleasures, he dish hamlet lying in a high polar lati- scarcely knows where he should settude, rises in cheerfulness about seven tle. Supposing it to be Christmas, o'clock in the morning; and till half day, he preaches again: he preaches past nine he burns his lamp. At on a subject which calls up images of nine o'clock, the stars are still shine the beauteous eastern-land, or of etering, and the unclouded moon even nity. By this time, twilight and yet longer. This prolongation of gloom prevail through the church : star-light into the forenoon is to only a couple of wax lights upon the him delightful; for he is a German, altar throw wondrous and mighty, and has a sense of something mar- shadows through the aisles: the vellous in a starry forenoon. Me angel that hangs down from the roof thinks, I behold the priest and his above the baptismal font, is awoke flock moving towards the church with into a solemn life by the shadows and lanterns: the lights dispersed amongst the rays, and seems almost in the act of the crowd connect the congregation ascension: through the windows, the into the appearance of some domestic stars or the moon are beginning to groupe or larger household, and carry peer ; aloft, in the pulpit, which is the priest back to his childish years now hid in gloom, the priest is induring the winter season and Christ- flamed and possessed by the sacred mas matins, when every hand bore burtben of glad tidings which he is its candle. Arrived at the pulpit, he announcing : he is lost and insensible declares to his audience the plain to all besides; and from amidst the truth, word for word, as it stands in darkness which surrounds him, he the Gospel : in the presence of God, pours down his thunders, with tears all intellectual pretensions are called and agitation, reasoning of future upon to be silent; the very reason worlds, and of the heaven of heaceases to be reasonable; nor is any vens, and whatsoever else can most thing reasonable in the sight of God powerfully shake the heart and the but a sincere and upright heart. affections.
Descending from his pulpit in these Just as he and his flock are is, holy fervours, he now, perhaps, takes suing from the church the bright a walk : it is about four o'clock: and Christmas sun ascends above the he walks beneath a sky lit up by horizon, and shoots his beams up- the shifting northern lights, that on their faces. The old men, who to his eye appear but an Aurora
numerous in Sweden, are all striking upwards from the eternal
morning of the south, or as a forest that he is in Sweden by the time that composed of saintly thickets, like his lamp is brought in; and then, inthe fiery bushes of Moses, that are deed, he will be somewhat disconround about the throne of God. certed to recognize his study in what
Thus, if it be the afternoon of had now shaped itself to his fancy as Christmas day: but, if it be any other a room in some foreign land. Howafternoon, visitors, perhaps, come ever, if he would pursue this airy and bring their well-bred, grown- creation, he need but light at his up daughters; like the fashionable lamp a was-candle-end, to gain a world in London, he dines at sun- glimpse through the whole evening set; that is to say, like the un- into that world of fashion and splenfashionable world of London, he dour, from which he purchased the dines at two o'clock; and he drinks said wax-candle-end. For I should coffee by moonlight; and the par- suppose, that at the court of Stocksonage-house becomes an enchanted holm, as elsewhere, there must be palace of pleasure gleaming with candle-ends to be bought of the twilight, star-light, and moon-light. state-footmen. Or, perhaps, he goes over to the But now, after the lapse of half schoolmaster, who is teaching his af- a year, all at once there strikes upon ternoon school : there, by the candle- his heart something more beautiful light, he gathers round his knees all than Italy, where the sun sets so the scholars, as if-being the children much earlier in summer-time than it of his spiritual children—they must does at our Swedish hamlet: and therefore be his own grand-children; what is that? It is the longest day, and with delightful words he wins with the rich freight that it carries in their attention, and pours knowledge its bosom, and leading by the hand into their docile hearts.
the early dawn blushing with rosy All these pleasures failing, he may light, and melodious with the caroling pace up and down in his library al- of larks at one o'clock in the mornready, by three o'clock, gloomy with ing. Before two, that is, at sun-rise, twilight, but fitfully enlivened by a the elegant party that we mentioned glowing fire, and steadily by the last winter arrive in gay clothing bright moonlight; and he needs do no at the parsonage; for they are bound more than taste at every turn of his on a little excursion of pleasure in walk a little orange marmalade to company with the priest. At two call up images of beautiful Italy, and o'clock they are in motion ; at which its gardens, and orange groves, be- tíme all the flowers are glittering, fore all his five senses, and as it were, and the forests are gleaming with the to the very tip of his tongue. Look- mighty light. The warm sun threatens ing at the moon, he will not fail to re- them with no storm nor thunder collect that the very same silver disk showers; for both are rare in Sweden. hangs at the very same moment be- The priest, in common with the rest tween the branches of the laurels in of the company, is attired in the cosItaly. It will delight him to consider tume of Sweden; he wears his short that the Eolian harp, and the lark, jacket with a broad scarf, his short and indeed music of all kinds, and cloak above that, his round hat with the stars, and children, are just the floating plumes, and shoes tied with same in hot climates and in cold. bright ribbons: like the rest of the And when the post-boy, that rides men, he resembles a Spanish knight, in with news from Italy, winds his or a provençal, or other man of the horn through the hamlet, and with a south ; more especially when he few simple notes raises up on the and his gay company are seen flying frozen window of his study a vision through the lofty foliage luxuriant of flowery realms; and when he plays with blossom, that within so short a with treasured leaves of roses and of period of weeks has shot forth from lilies from some departed summer, or the garden plots and the nakel with the plumes of a bird of Para- boughs. dise, the memorial of some distant That a longest day like this, friend ; when further, his heart is bearing such a cornucopia of sun. moved by the magnificent sounds of shine, of cloudless ether, of buds and Lady-day, Sallail-season, Cherry- bells, of blossoms and of leisure, time, Trinity-Sundays, the rose of should pass away more rapidly than June, &c. how can he fail to forget the shortest,- is not difficult to sup