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Such are specimens of the heroic period of German poetry. Next comes the pietist, not however, without a transition era. At the head of this last stands Paul Gerhardt. This great lyrical writer (known to most of our readers by the magnificent hymn translated by Dr. Alexander in a version beginning, "O sacred head now wounded”) combined the elements of martial fire with those of penitential sweetness. His genius, like an organ of full tone and compass, sounded with equal power sometimes the trumpet-call arousing the heart to battle, sometimes those softer and more pathetic notes which calm sorrow and sweeten meditation. On Gerhardt volumes have been written. For us it will be enough to say, that he was born in 1606, and died in 1676 as arch-deacon in Lausanne. He fought himself under Gustavus Adolphus; he had no doubt as to the duty of every other true German doing the same. “ Laborare est orare " was the motto of the great Saxon reformer; “Militare est orare” was its paraphrase by his poetic
ut none the less heroic successor. Of Gerhardt's martial hymns, the following is given by Miss Winkworth :
If God be on my side,
Then let who will oppose,
And He bath quelled my foes,
If God doth love me well,
Though strong they be and fell?
The world may fail and flee,
Thou standest fast forever,
My trusting soul shall sever.
No poverty or pain,
Shall fright me back again.
My heart for gladness springs,
It can not more be sad,
Sees naught but sunshine glad.
The sun that glads mine eyes op
Is Christ the Lord I love,
Still more trumpet-like is the following:
Give strong and cheerful hearts to stand
Undaunted in the wars,
Is waging with Thy cause.
And yet while Gerhardt could thus move an army to battle, there were cadences in his melodies so sweet, so simple, and so tender, as even, to use the words of one of his German cri. tics, to melt the heart of a beggar child. Of this we merely take as an illustration, that exquisite evening hymn, “ Nun ruhen alle Wälder," thus translated by the author of “Hymns of the Land of Luther:"
Quietly rest the woods and dales,
The world is all asleep;
And holy vigils with Him keep.
Sun, where hidest thou thy light?
Thy dark and ancient foe?
To cheer my pilgrimage below.
Now that day has passed away,
Bespangle the blue sky;
To leave this earth and upward fly.
Of Gerhardt's devotional hymns, the most spirited and at the same time the most touching, is that beginning, “O Haupt voll Blut," etc. Two verses only of the translation by Dr. J. W. Alexander we have space to give:
O sacred head! now wounded,
With grief and shame bowed down,
With thorns, Thine only crown;
What bliss till now was Thine;
I joy to call Thee mine.
What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered,
Was all for sinners' gain;
But Thine the deadly pain;
'Tis I deserve Thy place,
Vouchsafe to me Thy grace. *
Our narrow limits permit us to notice but one of the poets of that pietist school, which in Germany almost immediately succeeded the heroic school of the reformation, and of the thirty years' war. The reaction from the camp to the cloisterfrom an active objective religion to a passive subjective piety, was natural, but it was carried too far. Foremost in this purely meditative and devotional school was Tersteegen, from whom the Wesleys drew so largely in the pietist period of their history, and whose spirit imparted to the earlier hymns of the Methodist poets, so marked a mystical tinge. We must pass Tersteegen, however, to consider that amphibious personage whose identity critics have had so much difficulty in determining. Sidney Smith once said that mankind is of three sexes, men, women, and clergymen. If he meant by this that the clergy man is often bound to lift himself so high above ordinary observation as to lose the individual in the class, this peculiarly applies to the mystics of whom Angelus Silesius was the head. This sweet and popular poet is the Junius of German hymno. logists, though his obscurity arose from far different causes from those which shrouded the bitter English satirist in mystery. The one sought secresy to escape fame, the other to avoid the pillory. Of the German pietist, Mr. Vaughan, in his “Hours with the Mystics,” thus writes :
"The latest research has succeeded only in deciding who Angelus Silesius was · mot Some Roman Catholic priest or monk assuming the name of Angelus, did, in the seventeenth century, send forth sundry hymns and religious poems—among others, one most euphonistically entitled “The Cherubic Wanderer.' The author of this book has been generally identified, on grounds altogether inadequate, with a con
* The reader will find this noble rendering of perhaps the finest Passion-week hymn in any language, in the collection of the Evangelical Knowledge Society, p. 22.
temporary named Johann Scheffler, a renegade from Jacob Behmen to the Pope. Suffice it to say that no two men could be more unlike, than virulent, faggotyminded, pervert Scheffler, and the contemplative, panthetisic Angelus, be he who he may."—Vol. i. p. 322.
With this opinion concurs a late entertaining writer in the Dublin University Magazine; on the ground that we have no right to confound the sad poet of contemplative mysticism with Scheffler, who “was apparently a hard, stern man.” This apparently, however, indicates the difficulty. Sometimes the hardest men have been the most tender and sentimental poets. Byron published and pursued his wife with a bitter and relentless hostility, at the time he was delineating the passions both pathetic and heroic with all the power of his fine genius. No man gave utterance to more sublime religious thoughts than Young: no man pursued a more. miserable petty worldly policy.
On the other hand, Miss Winkworth, boldly declares the identity of Angelus with Scheffler. In this she follows the entire current of German authority. Karl Von Raumer, whose admirable edition of the great German hymn-writers is now before us, (Sammlung geistlicher Lieder, Stuttgart, 1846,) tells us, without giving the opposite hypothesis even a reference, that Angelus Silesius was merely a poetic synonym for John Scheffler, who was born in 1624 at Breslau, and who, after having filled several clerical offices in the Lutheran Church, became in 1653 not only a Roman Catholic but a Jesuit. That such was the contemporaneous opinion is shown to us by a remark handed down to us from Neumeister: Papæus hic Angelus, sed bonus. The same view as to the identity of Angelus with Scheffler is taken by the editors of the Conversations Lexikon.
But whoever Angelus was, whether a Romish controversialist, seeking in poetry a repose from and a penance for his polemical excesses, or a Protestant ascetic recluse, his hymns breathe a spirit which, however unsuitable as a frame-work for general Christian devotion, will find with all believers, periods in which they will speak to the soul in a sweet and soothing unison. Take for instance the hymn, “O du Liebe meiner