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Ch. 4: The Romantic School in Germany


Cross-fertilization, at least in these modern eras, is as necessary in the life of a literature as in that of an animal or a plant. English romanticism, though it started independently, did not remain an isolated phenomenon; it was related to the general literary movement in Europe. Even Italy had its romantic movement; Manzoni began, like Walter Scott, by translating Bürger's "Lenore" and "Wild Huntsman", and afterwards, like Schlegel in Germany and Hugo in France, attacked the classical entrenchments in his "Discourse of the Three Unities." It is no part of our undertaking to write the history of the romantic schools in Germany and France. But in each of those countries the movement had points of likeness and unlikeness which shed light upon our own; and an outline sketch of the German and French schools will help the reader better to understand both what English romanticism was, and what it was not.

In Germany, as in England, during the eighteenth century, the history of romanticism is a history of arrested development. Romanticism existed in solution, but was not precipitated and crystallised until the closing years of the period. The current set flowing by Bürger's ballads and Goethe's "Götz," was met and checked by a counter-current, the new enthusiasm for the antique promoted by Winckelmann's[2] works on classic art, by the neo-paganism of Goethe's later writings, and by the influence of Lessing's[3] clear, rationalising, and thoroughly Protestant spirit.[4]

We may note, at the outset, the main features in which the German romanticism differed from the English. First, then, it was more definitely a movement. It was organised, self-conscious, and critical. Indeed, it was in criticism and not in creative literature that its highest successes were won. Coleridge, Scott, and Keats, like their English forerunners in the eighteenth century,[5] worked independently of one another. They did not conspire to a common end; had little personal contact—were hardly acquaintances, and in no sense a "school." But the German romanticists constituted a compact group with coherent aims. They were intimate friends and associates; travelled, lived, and worked together; edited each other's books and married each other's sisters.[6] They had a theory of art, a programme, and a propaganda, were aggressive and polemical, attacking their adversaries in reviews, and in satirical tales,[7] poems, and plays. Their headquarters were at Jena, "the central point," says Heine, "from which the new aesthetic dogma radiated. I advisedly say dogma, for this school began with a criticism of the art productions of the past, and with recipes for the art works of the future." Their organ was the Athenaeum, established by Friedrich Schlegel at Berlin in 1798, the date of Wordsworth's and Coleridge's "Lyrical Ballads," and the climacteric year of English and German romanticism.

The first number of the Athenaeum contained the manifesto of the new school, written by Friedrich Schlegel, the seminal mind of the coterie. The terms of this pronunciamento are somewhat rapt and transcendental; but through its mist of verbiage, one discerns that the ideal of romantic art is announced to be: beauty for beauty's sake, the union of poetry and life, and the absolute freedom of the artist to express himself. "Romantic poetry," says Schlegel—"and, in a certain sense, all poetry ought to be romantic—should, in representing outward objects, also represent itself." There is nothing here to indicate the precise line which German romantic poetry was to take, but there is the same rejection of authority, the same assertion of the right of original genius to break a path for itself, which was made, in their various ways, by Wordsworth and Coleridge in the "Lyrical Ballads," by Keats in "Sleep and Poetry," and by Victor Hugo in the preface to "Cromwell."

A second respect in which German romanticism differed from English was in its thoroughgoing character. It is the disposition of the German mind to synthesise thought and life, to carry out theory into practice. Each of those imposing systems of philosophy, Kant's, Fichte's, Schelling's, Hegel's, has its own aesthetik as well as its own ethik. It seeks to interpret all human activities from a central principle; to apply its highest abstractions to literature, government, religion, the fine arts, and society. The English mind is practical rather than theoretical. It is sensible, cautious, and willing to compromise; distrusting alike the logical habit of the French to push out premises into conclusions at all hazards; and the German habit of system-building. The Englishman has no system, he has his whim, and is careless of consistency. It is quite possible for him to have an aesthetic liking for the Middle Ages, without wishing to restore them as an actual state of society. It is hard for an Englishman to understand to what degree a literary man, like Schiller, was influenced in his writings by the critical philosophy of Kant; or how Schelling's transcendental idealism was used to support Catholicism, and Hegel made a prop to Protestant orthodoxy and Junkerism. "Tragedies and romances," wrote Mme. de Staël, "have more importance in Germany than in any other country. They take them seriously there; and to read such and such a book, or see such and such a play, has an influence on the destiny and the life. What they admire as art, they wish to introduce into real life; and poetry, philosophy, the ideal, in short, have often an even greater empire over the Germans than nature and the passions." In proof of this, she adduces the number of young Germans who committed suicide in consequence of reading "Werther"; or took to highway robbery in emulation of "Die Räuber."

In England, accordingly, romanticism was a merely literary revolution and kept strictly within the domain of art. Scott's political conservatism was indeed, as we have seen, not unrelated to his antiquarianism and his fondness for the feudal past; but he remained a Protestant Tory. And as to his Jacobitism, if a Stuart pretender had appeared in Scotland in 1815, we may be sure that the canny Scott would not have taken arms in his behalf against the Hanoverian king. Coleridge's reactionary politics had nothing to do with his romanticism; though it would perhaps be going too far to deny that his reverence for what was old and tested by time in the English church and constitution may have had its root in the same temper of mind which led him to compose archaic ballad-romances like "Christabel" and "The Dark Ladye." But in Germany "throne and altar" became the shibboleth of the school; half of the romanticists joined the Catholic Church, and the new literature rallied to the side of aristocracy and privilege.

A third respect in which the German movement differed from the English is partly implied in what has been said above. In Germany the romantic revival was contemporaneous with a great philosophical development which influenced profoundly even the lighter literature of the time. Hence the mysticism which is found in the work of many of the romanticists, and particularly in the writings of Novalis. Novalis was a disciple of Schelling, and Schelling the continuator of Fichte. Fichte's "Wissenschaftslehre" (1794) is the philosophical corner-stone of the German romantic school. The freedom of the fancy from the thraldom of the actual world; the right of the Ego to assert itself fully; the principle formulated by Friedrich Schlegel, that "the caprice of the poet knows no law"; all these literary doctrines were corollaries of Fichte's objective idealism.[8] It is needless to say that, while romantic art usually partakes of the mysterious, there is nothing of this philosophical or transcendental mysticism in the English romanticists. If we were to expect it anywhere it would be in Coleridge, who became the mediator between German and English thought. But Coleridge's poetry was mainly written before he visited Germany and made acquaintance with the systems of Kant and Schelling; and in proportion as his speculative activity increased, his creative force declined. There is enough of the marvellous and the unexplained in "Christabel," and "The Ancient Mariner"; but the "mystic ruby" and the "blue flower" of the Teutonic symbolists are not there.

The German romantic school, in the limited and precise sense of the term, consisted of the brothers August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel, Ludwig Tieck, Friedrich von Hardenberg (Novalis), Johann Dietrich Gries, Tieck's friend Wackenroder, and—at a distance—Zacharias Werner, the dramatist; besides a few others, their associates or disciples, whose names need not here be mentioned. These were, as has been said, personal friends, they began to be heard of about 1795; and their quarters were at Jena and Berlin. A later or younger group (Spätromantiker) gathered in 1808 about the Zeitung für Einsiedler, published at Heidelberg. These were Clemens Brentano, Achim von Arnim, Ludwig Uhland, Joseph Görres, and the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Arnim, Brentano, and Görres were residing at the time at Heidelberg; the others contributed from a distance. Arnim edited the Einsiedler; Görres was teaching in the university. There were, of course, many other adherents of the school, working individually at different times and places, scattered indeed all over Germany, and of various degrees of importance or unimportance, of whom I need mention only Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, the popular novelist and author of "Undine."

The history of German romanticism has been repeatedly told. There are exhaustive treatments of the subject by Julian Schmidt, Koberstein, Hettner ("Die Romantische Schule," Braunschweig, 1850); Haym ("Die Romantische Schule," Berlin, 1870); by the Danish critic, Georg Brandes ("Den Romantiske Skole i Tydskland"). But the most famous review of this passage of literary history is the poet Heine's brilliant little book, "Die Romantische Schule," [9] published at Paris in 1833. This was written as a kind of supplement to Mme. de Staël's "L'Allemagne" (1813), and was intended to instruct the French public as to some misunderstandings in Mme. de Staël's book, and to explain what German romanticism really was. Professor Boyesen cautions us to be on our guard against the injustice and untrustworthiness of Heine's report. The warning is perhaps not needed, for the animus of his book is sufficiently obvious. Heine had begun as a romantic poet, but he had parted company with the romanticists because of the reactionary direction which the movement took. He had felt the spell, and he renders it with wonderful vividness in his history of the school. But, at the same time, the impatience of the political radical and the religious sceptic—the "valiant soldier in the war for liberty"—and the bitterness of the exile for opinion's sake, make themselves felt. His sparkling and malicious wit turns the whole literature of romanticism into sport; and his abuse of his former teacher, A. W. Schlegel, is personal and coarse beyond description. Twenty years ago, he said, when he was a lad, what overflowing enthusiasm he would have lavished upon Uhland! He used to sit on the ruins of the old castle at Düsseldorf declaiming Uhland's poem

"A wandering shepherd young and fair
Beneath the royal castle strayed."

"But so much has happened since then! What then seemed to me so grand; all that chivalry and Catholicism; those cavaliers that hack and hew at each other in knightly tournaments; those gentle squires and virtuous dames of high degree; the Norseland heroes and minnesingers; the monks and nuns; ancestral tombs thrilling with prophetic powers; colourless passion, dignified by the high-sounding title of renunciation, and set to the accompaniment of tolling bells; a ceaseless whining of the 'Miserere'; how distasteful all that has become to me since then!" And—of Fouqué's romances—"But our age turns away from all fairy pictures, no matter how beautiful. . . . This reactionary tendency, this continual praise of the nobility, this incessant glorification of the feudal system, this everlasting knight-errantry balderdash . . . this everlasting sing-song of armours, battle-steeds, high-born virgins, honest guild-masters, dwarfs, squires, castles, chapels, minnesingers, faith, and whatever else that rubbish of the Middle Ages may be called, wearied us."

It is a part of the irony of things that this satirist of romance should have been precisely the one to compose the most popular of all romantic ballads; and that the most current of all his songs should have been the one in which he sings of the enchantress of the Rhine,

"Ich weiss nicht was soll es bedeuten
Dass ich so traurig bin."

The "Loreley" is translated into many tongues, and is sung everywhere. In Germany it is a really national song. And yet the tale on which it is founded is not an ancient folk legend—"ein Mährchen aus alten Zeiten"—but a modern invention of Clemens Brentano, who first published it in 1802 in the form of a ballad inserted in one of his novels:

"Zu Bacharach am Rheine
Wohnt' eine Zauberin:
Sie war so schön und feine
Und riss viel Herzen hin."

A certain forgotten romanticist, Graf Loeben, made a lyrical tale out of it in 1821, and Heine composed his ballad in 1824, afterwards set to the mournful air in which it is now universally familiar.

It has been mentioned that Heine's "Romantische Schule" was a sort of continuation and correction of Mme. de Staël's "L'Allemagne." That very celebrated book was the result of the distinguished lady's residence in Germany, and of her determination to reveal Germany to France. It has been compared in its purpose to the "Germania" of Tacitus, in which the historian held up the primitive virtues of the Teutonic race as a lesson and a warning to corrupt Rome. Mme. de Staël had arranged to publish her book in 1810, and the first impression of ten thousand copies had already been printed, when the whole edition was seized and destroyed by the police, and the author was ordered to quit France within twenty-four hours. All this, of course, was at the instance of Napoleon, who was by no means above resenting the hostility of a lady author. But the Minister of Police, General Savary, assumed the responsibility of the affair; and to Mme. de Staël's remonstrance he wrote in reply: "It appeared to me that the air of this country did not agree with you, and we are not yet reduced to seek for models amongst the people you admire [the Germans]. Your last work is not French." It was not, accordingly, until 1813 that Mme. de Staël's suppressed work on Germany saw the light.

The only passages in it that need engage our attention are those in which the author endeavours to interpret to a classical people the literature of a Gothic race. In her chapter entitled "Of Classic and Romantic Poetry," she says: "The word romantic has been lately introduced in Germany to designate that kind of poetry which is derived from the songs of the troubadours; that which owes its birth to the union of chivalry and Christianity." She mentions the comparison—evidently derived from Schlegel's lectures which she had attended—of ancient poetry to sculpture and modern to painting; explains that the French incline towards classic poetry, and the English—"the most illustrious of the Germanic nations"—towards "that which owes its birth to chivalry and romance." "The English poets of our times, without entering into concert with the Germans, have adopted the same system. Didactic poetry has given place to the fictions of the Middle Ages." She observes that simplicity and definiteness, that a certain corporeality and externality—or what in modern critical dialect we would call objectivity—are notes of antique art; while variety and shading of colour, and a habit of self-reflection developed by Christianity [subjectivity], are the marks of modern art. "Simplicity in the arts would, among the moderns, easily degenerate into coldness and abstraction, while that of the ancients was full of life and animation. Honour and love, valour and pity, were the sentiments which distinguished the Christianity of chivalrous ages; and those dispositions of the soul could only be displayed by dangers, exploits, love, misfortunes—that romantic interest, in short, by which pictures are incessantly varied." Mme. de Staël's analysis here does not go very deep, and her expression is lacking in precision; but her meaning will be obvious to those who have well considered the various definitions and expositions of these contrasted terms with which we set out. Without deciding between the comparative merits of modern classic and romantic work, Mme. de Staël points out that the former must necessarily be imitative. "The literature of the ancients is, among the moderns, a transplanted literature; that of chivalry and romance is indigenous. . . . The literature of romance is alone capable of further improvement, because, being rooted in our own soil, that alone can continue to grow and acquire fresh life; it expresses our religion; it recalls our history." Hence she notes the fact that while the Spaniards of all classes know by heart the verses of Calderon; while Shakspere is a popular and national poet among the English; and the ballads of Goethe and Bürger are set to music and sung all over Germany, the French classical poets are quite unknown to the common people, "because the arts in France are not, as elsewhere, natives of the very country in which their beauties are displayed." In her review of German poetry she gives a brief description, among other things, of the "Nibelungen Lied," and a long analysis of Bürger's "Leonora" and "Wilde Jäger." She says that there are four English translations of "Leonora," of which William Spenser's is the best. "The analogy between the English and German allows a complete transfusion of the originality of style and versification of Bürger. . . . It would be difficult to obtain the same result in French, where nothing strange or odd seems natural." She points out that terror is "an inexhaustible source of poetical effect in Germany. . . . Stories of apparitions and sorcerers are equally well received by the populace and by men of more enlightened minds." She notes the fondness of the new school for Gothic architecture, and describes the principles of Schlegelian criticism. She transcribes A. W. Schlegel's praises of the ages of faith and the generous brotherhood of chivalry, and his lament that "the noble energy of ancient times is lost," and that "our times alas! no longer know either faith or love." The German critics affirm that the best traits of the French character were effaced during the reign of Louis XIV.; that "literature, in ages which are called classical, loses in originality what it gains in correctness"; that the French tragedies are full of pompous affectation; and that from the middle of the seventeenth century, a constrained and affected manner had prevailed throughout Europe, symbolised by the wig worn by Louis XIV. in pictures and bas-reliefs, where he is portrayed sometimes as Jupiter and sometimes as Hercules clad only in his lion's skin—but always with the perruque. Heine complains that Mme. de Staël fell into the hands of the Schlegels, when in Germany, and that her account of German literature was coloured by their prejudices; that William Schlegel, in particular, became her escort at all the capitals of Europe and won great éclat thereby

Schlegel's elegiac lament over the decay of chivalry may remind the English reader of the famous passage in Burke[10] about Marie Antoinette. "Little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honour and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil by losing all its grossness." [11]

But Burke's reaction against the levelling spirit of French democracy was by no means so thoroughgoing as the romanticist protest in Germany. It was manifestly impossible to revive the orders of chivalry, as a practical military system; or to recreate the feudal tenures in their entirety. Nor did even the most romantic of the German romanticists dream of this. They appealed, however, to the knightly principles of devotion to church and king, of honour, of religious faith, and of personal loyalty to the suzerain and the nobility. It was these political and theological aspects of the movement that disgusted Heine. He says that just as Christianity was a reaction against Roman materialism; and the Renaissance a reaction against the extravagances of Christian spiritualism; and romanticism in turn a reaction against the vapid imitations of antique classic art, "so also do we now behold a reaction against the re-introduction of that Catholic, feudal mode of thought, of that knight-errantry and priestdom, which were being inculcated through literature and the pictorial arts. . . . For when the artists of the Middle Ages were recommended as models . . . the only explanation of their superiority that could be given was that these men believed in that which they depicted. . . . Hence the artists who were honest in their devotion to art, and who sought to imitate the pious distortions of those miraculous pictures, the sacred uncouthness of those marvel-abounding poems, and the inexplicable mysticisms of those olden works . . . made a pilgrimage to Rome, where the vicegerent of Christ was to re-invigorate consumptive German art with asses' milk."

A number of the romanticists were Catholic by birth. There was Joseph von Eichendorff, e.g., who had a strong admiration for the Middle Ages, wrote sacred poetry, and published in 1815 a novel entitled "Ahnung und Gegenwart," the hero of which ends by retiring to a monastery. And Joseph Görres, who published a work on German Volksbücher[12] (1807); a follower of Schelling and editor of Der Rheinische Merkur, a violent anti-Gallican journal during the war of liberation. Görres, according to Heine, "threw himself into the arms of the Jesuits," and became the "chief support of the Catholic propaganda at Munich"; lecturing there on universal history to an audience consisting chiefly of pupils from the Romish seminaries. Another Spätromantiker, born Catholic, was Clemens Brentano, whom Heine describes in 1833 as having lived at Frankfort for the last fifteen years in hermit-like seclusion, as a corresponding member of the propaganda. For six years (1818-24) Brentano was constantly at the bedside of the invalid nun, Anna Katharina Emmerich, at Dülmen. She was a "stigmatic," afflicted, i.e., with a mysterious disease which impressed upon her body marks thought to be miraculous counterfeits of the wounds of Christ. She had trances and visions, and uttered revelations which Brentano recorded and afterwards published in several volumes, that were translated into French and Italian and widely circulated among the faithful.

As adherents of the romantic school who were born and bred Protestants, but became converts to the Catholic faith, Heine enumerates Friedrich Schlegel, Tieck, Novalis, Werner, Schütz, Carové, Adam Müller, and Count Stolberg. This list, he says, includes only authors, "the number of painters who in swarms simultaneously abjured Protestantism and reason was much larger." But Tieck and Novalis never formally abjured Protestantism. They detested the Reformation and loved the mediaeval Church, but looked upon modern Catholicism as a degenerate system. Their position here was something like that of the English Tractarians in the earlier stages of the Oxford movement. Novalis composed "Marienlieder." Tieck complained of the dryness of Protestant ritual and theology, and said that in the Middle Ages there was a unity (Einheit) which ought to be again recovered. All Europe was then one fatherland with a single faith. The period of the Arthursage was the blossoming time of romance, the vernal season of love, religion, chivalry, and—sorcery! He pleaded for the creation of a new Christian, Catholic mythology.

In 1808 Friedrich Schlegel became a Roman Catholic—or, as Heine puts it—"went to Vienna, where he attended mass daily and ate broiled fowl." His wife, a daughter of Moses Mendelssohn, a Jewess by race, followed her husband into the Catholic Church. Zacharias Werner, author of a number of romantic melodramas, the heroes of which are described as monkish ascetics, religious mystics, and "spirits who wander on earth in the guise of harp-players"—Zacharias Werner also went to Vienna and joined the order of Ligorians. This conversion made a prodigious noise in Germany. It occurred at Rome in 1811, and the convert afterwards witnessed the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius at Naples, that annual miracle in which Newman expresses so firm a belief. Werner then spent two years in the study of theology, visited Our Lady's Chapel at Loretto in 1813; was ordained priest at Aschaffenburg in 1814; and preached at St. Stephen's Church, Vienna, on the vanity of worldly pleasures, with fastings many, with castigations and mortifications of the flesh. The younger Voss declared that Werner's religion was nothing but a poetic coquetting with God, Mary, the wounds of Christ, and the holy carbuncle (Karfunkelstein). He had been a man of dissolute life and had been divorced from three wives. "His enthusiasm for the restoration of the Middle Ages," says Heine, "was one-sided; it applied only to the hierarchical, Catholic phase of mediaevalism; feudalism did not so strongly appeal to his fancy. . . . Pater Zacharias died in 1823, after sojourning for fifty-four years in this wicked, wicked world." Carlyle contributed to the Foreign Review in 1828 an essay on "Werner's Life and Writings," with translations of passages from his drama, "The Templars in Cyprus."

But the conversion which caused the greatest scandal was that of Count Friedrich Stolberg, whose apostasy was denounced by his early friend Voss, the translator of Homer, in a booklet entitled "Wie ward Fritz Stolberg ein Unfreier?" Voss showed, says Heine, that "Stolberg had secretly joined an association of the nobility which had for its purpose to counteract the French ideas of liberty; that these nobles entered into a league with the Jesuits; that they sought, through the re-establishment of Catholicism, to advance also the interests of the nobility." [13]

The German literary historians agree that the fresh outbreak of romanticism in the last decade of the eighteenth century was the resumption of an earlier movement which had been interrupted; that it was furthered by the new feeling of German nationality aroused by the Bonapartist tyranny; and finally that it was a protest against the flat mediocrity which ruled in the ultra-evangelical circle headed by Nicolai, the Berlin bookseller and editor. Into this mere Philistinism had narrowed itself the nobler rationalism of Lessing, with its distrust of Träumerei and Schwärmerei—of superstition and fanaticism. "Dry light is best," says Bacon, but the eye is hungry for colour, that has looked too steadily on the lumen siccum of the reason; and then imagination becomes the prism which breaks the invisible sunbeam into beauty. Hence the somewhat extravagant romantic love of colour, and the determination to believe, at all hazards and even in the teeth of reason. Hence the imperfectly successful attempt to force back the modern mind into a posture of child-like assent to the marvellous. Tieck's "Mährchen" and the Grimm brothers' nursery tales belong to this "renascence of wonder," like Lewis' "Tales of Terror," Scott's "Demonology," and Coleridge's "Christabel" in England. "The tendencies of 1770 to 1780," says Scherer, "which had now quite disappeared, asserted themselves with new and increased force. The nations which were groaning under Napoleon's oppression sought comfort in the contemplation of a fairer and grander past. Patriotism and mediaevalism became for a long time the watchwords and the dominating fashion of the day."

Allowing for the differences mentioned, the romantic movements in England and Germany offer, as might be expected, many interesting parallels. Carlyle, writing in 1827,[14] says that the recent change in German literature is only a part of a general change in the whole literature of Europe. "Among ourselves, for instance, within the last thirty years, who has not lifted up his voice with double vigour in praise of Shakespeare and nature, and vituperation of French taste and French philosophy? Who has not heard of the glories of old English literature; the wealth of Queen Elizabeth's age; the penury of Queen Anne's; and the inquiry whether Pope was a poet? A similar temper is breaking out in France itself, hermetically sealed as that country seemed to be against all foreign influences; and doubts are beginning to be entertained, and even expressed, about Corneille and the three unities. It seems to be substantially the same thing which has occurred in Germany, and been attributed to Tieck and his associates; only that the revolution which is here proceeding, and in France commencing, appears in Germany to be completed."

In Germany, as in England—in Germany more than in England—other arts beside literature partook of the new spirit. The brothers Boisserée agitated for the completion of the "Kölner Dom," and collected their famous picture gallery to illustrate the German, Dutch, and Flemish art of the fifteenth century; just as Gothic came into fashion in England largely in consequence of the writings of Walpole, Scott, and Ruskin. Like our own later Pre-Raphaelite group, German art critics began to praise the naive awkwardness of execution and devout spirituality of feeling in the old Florentine painters, and German artists strove to paint like Fra Angelico. Friedrich Schlegel gave a strong impulse to the study of mediaeval art, and Heine scornfully describes him and his friend Joseph Görres, rummaging about "among the ancient Rhine cities for the remains of old German pictures and statuary which were superstitiously worshipped as holy relics." Tieck and his friend Wackenroder brought back from their pilgrimage to Dresden in 1796 a devotion, a kind of sentimental Mariolatry, to the celebrated Madonnas of Raphael and Holbein in the Dresden gallery; and from their explorations in Nürnberg, that Perle des Mittelalters, an enthusiasm for Albrecht Dürer. This found expression in Wackenroder's "Herzensergiessungen eines Kunstliebenden Klosterbruders"; and in Tieck's novel, "Sternbald's Wanderungen," in which he accompanies a pupil of Dürer to Rome. Wackenroder, like Tieck's other friend, Novalis, was of a consumptive, emotional, and somewhat womanish constitution of mind and body, and died young. Tieck edited his remains, including letters on old German art. The standard editions of their joint writings are illustrated by engravings after Dürer, one of which in particular, the celebrated "Knight, Death, and the Devil," symbolizes the mysterious terrors of Tieck's own tales, and of German romance in general. The knight is in complete armour, and is riding through a forest. On a hilltop in the distance are the turrets of a castle; a lean hound follows the knight; on the ground between his horse's hoofs sprawls a lizard-like reptile; a figure on horseback approaches from the right, with the face half obliterated or eaten away to the semblance of a skull, and snakes encircling the temples. Behind comes on a demon or goblin shape, with a tall curving horn, which is "neither man nor woman, neither beast nor human," but one of those grotesque and obscene monsters which the mediaeval imagination sculptured upon the cathedrals. This famous copperplate prompted Fouqué's romance, "Sintram and his Companions." He had received a copy of it for a birthday gift, and brooded for years over its mysterious significance; which finally shaped itself in his imagination into an allegory of the soul's conflict with the powers of darkness. His whole narrative leads up to the description of Dürer's picture, which occupies the twenty-seventh and climacteric chapter. The school of young German Pre-Raphaelite art students, associated at Rome in 1810 under the leadership of Overbeck and Cornelius, was considerably influenced by Wackenroder's "Herzensergiessungen."

Music, too, and particularly church music, was affected by the new taste. The ancient music of the "Dies Irae" and other Latin hymns was revived; and it would not be far wrong to say that the romantic school sowed the seed of Wagner's great music-dramas, profoundly Teutonic and romantic in their subject matter and handling and in their application of the united arts of poetry, music, and scene-painting to old national legends such as "Parzival," "Tannhäuser," [15] "The Knight of the Swan," and the "Nibelungen Hoard."

History, too, and Germanic philology took impulse from this fresh interest in the past. Johannes Müller, in his "History of the Swiss Confederation" (1780-95), drew the first appreciative picture of mediaeval life, and caught, in his diction, something of the manner of the old chroniclers. As in England ancient stores of folklore and popular poetry were gathered and put forth by Percy, Ritson, Ellis, Scott, and others, so in Germany the Grimm brothers' universally known collections of fairy tales, legends, and mythology began to appear.[16] Tieck published in 1803 his "Minnelieder aus dem Schwabischen Zeitalter." Karl Simrock made modern versions of Middle High German poetry. Uhland, whose "Walther von der Vogelweide," says Scherer, "gave the first complete picture of an old German singer," carried the war into Africa by going to Paris in 1810 and making a study of the French Middle Age. He introduced the old French epics to the German public, and is regarded, with A. W. Schlegel, as the founder of romance philology in Germany.

A pupil of Bodmer,[17] the Swiss Christian Heinrich Myller, had issued a complete edition of the "Nibelungenlied" in 1784-85. The romantic school now took up this old national epic and praised it as a German Iliad, unequalled in sublimity and natural power. Uhland gave a great deal of study to it, and A. W. Schlegel lectured upon it at Berlin in 1801-2. Both Schlegel and Tieck made plans to edit it; and Friedrich von der Hagen, inspired by the former's lectures, published four editions of it, and a version in modern German. "For a long time," testifies Heine, "the 'Nibelungenlied' was the sole topic of discussion among us. . . . It is difficult for a Frenchman to form a conception of this work, or even of the language in which it is written. It is a language of stone, and the verses are, as it were, blocks of granite." By way of giving his French readers a notion of the gigantic passions and rude, primitive strength of the poem, he imagines a battle of all the Gothic cathedrals of Europe on some vast plain, and adds, "But no! even then you can form no conception of the chief characters of the 'Nibelungenlied'; no steeple is so high, no stone so hard as the fierce Hagen, or the revengeful Chrimhilde."

Another work which corresponds roughly with Percy's "Reliques," as the "Nibelungenlied" with Macpherson's "Ossian," was "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" (The Boy's Magic Trumpet), published in 1806-8 by Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim, with a dedication to Goethe. This was a three-volume collection of German songs, and although it came much later than Percy's, and after the imitation of old national balladry in Germany was already well under way, so that its relation to German romanticism is not of an initial kind, like that of Percy's collection in England; still its importance was very great. It influenced all the lyrical poetry of the Romantic school, and especially the ballads of Uhland. "I cannot sufficiently extol this book," says Heine. "It contains the sweetest flowers of German poesy. . . . On the title page . . . is the picture of a lad blowing a horn; and when a German in a foreign land views this picture, he almost seems to hear the old familiar strains, and homesickness steals over him. . . . In these ballads one feels the beating of the German popular heart. Here is revealed all its sombre merriment, all its droll wit. Here German wrath beats furiously the drum; here German satire stings, here German love kisses. Here we behold the sparkling of genuine German wine, and genuine German tears."

The German romantic school, like the English, but more learnedly and systematically, sought to reinforce its native stock of materials by motifs drawn from foreign literatures, and particularly from Norse mythology and from Spanish romance. Percy's translation of Malet: Gray's versions from the Welsh and the Scandinavian: Southey's "Chronicles of the Cid" and Lockhart's translations of the Spanish ballads are paralleled in Germany by William Schlegel's, and Uhland's, and others' studies in old Norse mythology and poetry; by Tieck's translation of "Don Quixote" [18] and by Johann Dietrich Gries' of Calderon. The romanticists, indeed, and especially Tieck and A. W. Schlegel, were most accomplished translators. Schlegel's great version of Shakspere is justly esteemed one of the glories of the German tongue. Heine affirms that it was undertaken solely for polemical purposes and at a time (1797) when the enthusiasm for the Middle Ages had not yet reached an extravagant height, "Later, when this did occur, Calderon was translated and ranked far above Shakespeare. . . . For the works of Calderon bear most distinctly the impress of the poetry of the Middle Ages, particularly of the two principal epochs, knight-errantry and monasticism. The pious comedies of the Castilian priest-poet, whose poetical flowers had been besprinkled with holy water and canonical perfumes . . . were now set up as models, and Germany swarmed with fantastically pious, insanely profound poems, over which it was the fashion to work one's self into a mystic ecstasy of admiration, as in 'The Devotion to the Cross'; or to fight in honour of the Madonna, as in 'The Constant Prince.' . . . Our poetry, said the Schlegels, is superannuated. . . . Our emotions are withered; our imagination is dried up. . . . We must seek again the choked-up springs of the naive, simple poetry of the Middle Ages, where bubbles the elixir of youth." Heine adds that Tieck, following out this prescription, drank so deeply of the mediaeval folk tales and ballads that he actually became a child again and fell to lisping.

There is a suggestive analogy between the position of the Warton brothers in England and the Schlegel brothers in Germany. The Schlegels, like the Wartons, were leaders in the romantic movement of their time and country, and were the inspirers of other men. The two pairs were alike also in that their best service was done in the field of literary history, criticism, and exposition, while their creative work was imitative and of comparatively small value. Friedrich Schlegel's scandalous romance "Lucinde" is of much less importance than his very stimulating lectures on the "History of Literature" and the "Wisdom and Languages of India";[19] and his elder brother, though an accomplished metrist and translator, was not successful in original verse. But this resemblance between the Wartons and the Schlegels must not be pressed too far. Here, as at many other points, the German movement had greater momentum. The Wartons were men of elegant scholarship after their old-fashioned kind, a kind which joined the usual classical culture of the English universities to a liberal—and in their century somewhat paradoxical—enthusiasm in antiquarian pursuits. But the Schlegels were men of really wide learning and of depth in criticism. Compared with their scientific method and grasp of principles, the "Observations" and "Essays" of the Wartons are mere dilettantism. To the influence of the Schlegels is not unfairly attributed the origin in Germany of the sciences of comparative philology and comparative mythology, and the works of scholars like Bopp, Diez, and the brothers Grimm. Herder[20] had already traced the broad cosmopolitan lines which German literary scholarship was to follow, with German thoroughness and independence. And Heine acknowledges that "in reproductive criticism, where the beauties of a work of art were to be brought out clearly; where a delicate perception of individualities was required; and where these were to be made intelligible, the Schlegels were far superior to Lessing." The one point at which the English movement outweighed the German was Walter Scott, whose creative vigour and fertility made an impact upon the mind of Europe to which the romantic literature of the Continent affords no counterpart.

The principles of the Schlegelian criticism were first communicated to the English public by Coleridge; who, in his lectures on Shakspere and other dramatists, helped himself freely to William Schlegel's "Vorlesungen über dramatische Kunst und Litteratur." [21] Heine denounces the shallowness of these principles and their failure to comprehend the modern mind. "When Schlegel seeks to depreciate the poet Bürger, he compares his ballads with the old English ballads of the Percy collection, and he shows that the latter are more simple, more naïve, more antique, and consequently more poetical. . . . But death is not more poetical than life. The old English ballads of the Percy collection exhale the spirit of their age, and Bürger's ballads breathe the spirit of our time. The latter, Schlegel never understood. . . . What increased Schlegel's reputation still more was the sensation which he excited in France, where he also attacked the literary authorities of the French, . . . showed the French that their whole classical literature was worthless, that Molière was a buffoon and no poet, that Racine likewise was of no account . . . that the French are the most prosaic people of the world, and that there is no poetry in France." It is well known that Coleridge detested the French, as "a light but cruel race", that he undervalued their literature and even affected an ignorance of the language. The narrowness of Schlegelian criticism was only the excess of Teutonism reacting against the previous excesses of Gallic classicism.

The deficiency of creative imagination in the Schlegels was supplied by their disciple Ludwig Tieck, who made the "Mährchen," or popular traditionary tale, his peculiar province. It was Wackenroder who first drew his attention to "those old, poorly printed Volksbücher, with their coarse wood-cuts which had for centuries been circulating among the peasantry, and which may still be picked up at the book-stalls of the Leipzig fairs." [22] Tieck's volume of "Volksmährchen" (1797) gave reproductions of a number of these old tales, such as the "Haimonskinder," the "Schöne Magelone," "Tannhäuser," and the "Schildbürger." His "Phantasus" (1812) contained original tales conceived in the same spirit. Scherer says that Tieck uttered the manifesto of German romanticism in the following lines from the overture of his "Kaiser Octavianus":

"Mondbeglänzte Zaubernacht,
Die den Sinn gefangen hält,
Wundervolle Mährchenwelt,
Steig auf in der alten Pracht!"

"Forest solitude" [Waldeinsamkeit], says Boyesen,[23] "churchyards at midnight, ruins of convents and baronial castles; in fact, all the things which we are now apt to call romantic, are the favourite haunts of Tieck's muse. . . . Tieck was excessively fond of moonlight and literally flooded his tales with its soft, dim splendour; therefore moonlight is now romantic. . . . He never allows a hero to make a declaration of love without a near or distant accompaniment of a bugle (Schalmei or Waldhorn); accordingly the bugle is called a romantic instrument."

"The true tone of that ancient time," says Carlyle,[24] "when man was in his childhood, when the universe within was divided by no wall of adamant from the universe without, and the forms of the Spirit mingled and dwelt in trustful sisterhood with the forms of the Sense, was not easy to seize and adapt with any fitness of application to the feelings of modern minds. It was to penetrate into the inmost shrines of Imagination, where human passion and action are reflected in dim and fitful, but deeply significant resemblances, and to copy these with the guileless, humble graces which alone can become them. . . . The ordinary lovers of witch and fairy matter will remark a deficiency of spectres and enchantments, and complain that the whole is rather dull. Cultivated free-thinkers, again, well knowing that no ghosts or elves exist in this country, will smile at the crack-brained dreamer, with his spelling-book prose and doggerel verse, and dismiss him good-naturedly as a German Lake poet." "In these works," says Heine, "there reigns a mysterious intenseness, a peculiar sympathy with nature, especially with the vegetable and mineral kingdoms. The reader feels himself transported into an enchanted forest; he hears the melodious gurgling of subterranean waters; at times he seems to distinguish his own name in the rustling of the trees. Ever and anon a nameless dread seizes upon him as the broad-leaved tendrils entwine his feet; strange and marvellous wild flowers gaze at him with their bright, languishing eyes; invisible lips mockingly press tender kisses on his cheeks; gigantic mushrooms, which look like golden bells, grow at the foot of the trees; large silent birds sway to and fro on the branches overhead, put on a sapient look and solemnly nod their heads. Everything seems to hold its breath; all is hushed in awed expectation; suddenly the soft tones of a hunter's horn are heard, and a lovely female form, with waving plumes on head and falcon on wrist, rides swiftly by on a snow-white steed. And this beautiful damsel is so exquisitely lovely, so fair; her eyes are of the violet's hue, sparkling with mirth and at the same time earnest, sincere, and yet ironical; so chaste and yet so full of tender passion, like the fancy of our excellent Ludwig Tieck. Yes, his fancy is a charming, high-born maiden, who in the forests of fairyland gives chase to fabulous wild beasts; perhaps she even hunts the rare unicorn, which may only be caught by a spotless virgin."

In 1827 Carlyle[25] published translations of five of Tieck's "Mährchen," viz.: "The Fair-Haired Eckbert," "The Trusty Eckart," "The Elves," "The Runenberg," and "The Goblet." He mentioned that another tale had been already Englished—"The Pictures" (Die Gemälde). This version was by Connop Thirwall, who had also rendered "The Betrothal" in 1824. In spite of Carlyle's recommendations, Tieck's stories seem to have made small impression in England. Doubtless they came too late, and the romantic movement, by 1827, had spent its first force in a country already sated with Scott's poems and novels. Sarah Austin, a daughter of William Taylor of Norwich, went to Germany to study German literature in this same year 1827. In her "Fragments from German Prose Writers" (1841), she speaks of the small success of Tieck's stories in England, but testifies that A. W. Schlegel's dramatic lectures had been translated early and the translation frequently reprinted. Another of the Norwich Taylors—Edgar—was the translator of Grimm's "Haus- und Kinder-Mährchen." Julius Hare, who was at school at Weimar in the winter of 1804-5, rendered three of Tieck's tales, as well as Fouqué's "Sintram" (1820).

It is interesting to note that Tieck was not unknown to Hawthorne and Poe. The latter mentions his "Journey into the Blue Distance" in his "Fall of the House of Usher", and in an early review of Hawthorne's "Twice-Told Tales" (1842) and "Mosses from an Old Manse" (1846), at a time when their author was still, in his own words, "the obscurest man of letters in America." Poe acutely pointed out a resemblance between Hawthorne and Tieck; "whose manner," he asserts, "in some of his works, is absolutely identical with that habitual to Hawthorne." One finds a confirmation of this aperçu—or finds, at least, that Hawthorne was attracted by Tieck—in passages of the "American Note-Books," where he speaks of grubbing out several pages of Tieck at a sitting, by the aid of a German dictionary. Colonel Higginson ("Short Studies"), à propos of Poe's sham learning and his habit of mystifying the reader by imaginary citations, confesses to having hunted in vain for this fascinatingly entitled "Journey into the Blue Distance"; and to having been laughed at for his pains by a friend who assured him that Poe could scarcely read a word of German. But Tieck did really write this story, "Das Alte Buch: oder Reise ins Blaue hinein," which Poe misleadingly refers to under its alternate title. There is, indeed, a hint of allegory in Tieck's "Mährchen"—which are far from being mere fairy tales—that reminds one frequently of Hawthorne's shadowy art—of such things as "Ethan Brand," or "The Minister's Black Veil," or "The Great Carbuncle of the White Mountains." There is, e.g., "The Elves," in which a little girl does but step across the foot-bridge over the brook that borders her father's garden, to find herself in a magic land where she stays, as it seems to her, a few hours, but returns home to learn that she has been absent seven years. Or there is "The Runenberg," where a youth wandering in the mountains, receives from a sorceress, through the casement of a ruined castle, a wondrous tablet set with gems in a mystic pattern; and years afterward wanders back into the mountains, leaving home and friends to search for fairy jewels, only to return again to his village, an old and broken-down man, bearing a sackful of worthless pebbles which appear to him the most precious stones. And there is the story of "The Goblet," where the theme is like that of Hawthorne's "Shaker Bridal," a pair of lovers whose union is thwarted and postponed until finally, when too late, they find that only the ghost or the memory of their love is left to mock their youthful hope.

But the mystic, par excellence, among the German romanticists was Novalis, of whose writings Carlyle gave a sympathetic account in the Foreign Review for 1829. Novalis' "Hymns to the Night," written in Ossianic prose, were perhaps not without influence on Longfellow ("Voices of the Night"), but his most significant work was his unfinished romance "Heinrich von Ofterdingen." The hero was a legendary poet of the time of the Crusades, who was victor in a contest of minstrelsy on the Wartburg. But in Novalis' romance there is no firm delineation of mediaeval life—everything is dissolved in a mist of transcendentalism and allegory. The story opens with the words: "I long to see the blue flower; it is continually in my mind, and I can think of nothing else." Heinrich falls asleep, and has a vision of a wondrous cavern and a fountain, beside which grows a tall, light blue flower that bends towards him, the petals showing "like a blue spreading ruff in which hovered a lovely face." This blue flower, says Carlyle, is poetry, "the real object, passion, and vocation of young Heinrich." Boyesen gives a subtler interpretation. "This blue flower," he says, "is the watchword and symbol of the school. It is meant to symbolise the deep and nameless longings of a poet's soul. Romantic poetry invariably deals with longing; not a definite formulated desire for some attainable object, but a dim mysterious aspiration, a trembling unrest, a vague sense of kinship with the infinite,[26] a consequent dissatisfaction with every form of happiness which the world has to offer. The object of the romantic longing, therefore, so far as it has any object, is the ideal. . . . The blue flower, like the absolute ideal, is never found in this world, poets may at times dimly feel its nearness, and perhaps even catch a brief glimpse of it in some lonely forest glade, far from the haunts of men, but it is in vain to try to pluck it. If for a moment its perfume fills the air, the senses are intoxicated and the soul swells with poetic rapture." [27] It would lead us too far afield to follow up the traces of this mystical symbolism in the writings of our New England transcendentalists. One is often reminded of Novalis' blue flower in such a poem as Emerson's "Forerunners," or Lowell's "Footpath," or Whittier's "Vanishers," or in Thoreau's little parable about the horse, the hound, and the dove which he had long ago lost and is still seeking. And again one is reminded of Tieck when Thoreau says: "I had seen the red election birds brought from their recesses on my comrades' strings and fancied that their plumage would assume stranger and more dazzling colours in proportion as I advanced farther into the darkness and solitude of the forest." Heinrich von Ofterdingen travels to Augsburg to visit his grandfather, conversing on the way with various shadowy persons, a miner, a hermit, an Eastern maiden named Zulma, who represent respectively, according to Boyesen, the poetry of nature, the poetry of history, and the spirit of the Orient. At Augsburg he meets the poet Klingsohr (the personification, perhaps, of poetry in its full development). With his daughter Matilda he falls in love, whose face is that same which he had beheld in his vision, encircled by the petals of the blue flower. Then he has a dream in which he sees Matilda sink and disappear in the waters of a river. Then he encounters her in a strange land and asks where the river is. "Seest thou not its blue waves above us?" she answers. "He looked up and the blue river was flowing softly over their heads." "This image of Death, and of the river being the sky in that other and eternal country" [28]—does it not once more remind us of the well-known line in Channing's "A Poet's Hope"—

"If my bark sink, 'tis to another sea";

or of Emerson's "Two Rivers":

"Thy summer voice, Musketaquit,
Repeats the music of the rain,
But sweeter rivers pulsing flit
Through thee, as thou through Concord plain"?

But transcendentalism is one thing and romanticism is another, and we may dismiss Novalis with a reminder of the fact that the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, once published at Concord, took for its motto a sentence from his "Blüthenstaub" (Flower-pollen): "Philosophy can bake no bread, but she can procure for us God, freedom, and immortality." [29]

Brentano and Von Arnim have had practically no influence in England. Brentano's most popular story was translated by T. W. Appell, under the title, "Honour, or the Story of the Brave Casper and the Fair Annerl: With an Introduction and Biographical Notice" (London, 1847). The same story was rendered into French in the Correspondant for 1859 ("Le Brave Kasperl et la Belle Annerl"). Three tales of Arnim were translated by Théophile Gautier, as "Contes Bizarres" (Paris, 1856). Arnim's best romance is "Die Kronenwächter" (1817). Scherer testifies that this "combined real knowledge of the Reformation period with graphic power"; and adds: "It was Walter Scott's great example which, in the second decade of this century, first made conscientious faithfulness and study of details the rule in historical novel-writing." Longfellow's "German Poets and Poetry" (1845) includes nothing from Arnim or Brentano. Nor did Thomas Roscoe's "German Novelists" (four volumes), nor George Soane's "Specimens of German Romance," both of which appeared in 1826.

The most popular of the German romanticists was Friedrich Baron de la Motte Fouqué, the descendant of a family exiled from France by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and himself an officer in the Prussian army in the war of liberation. Fouqué's numerous romances, in all of which he upholds the ideal of Christian knighthood, have been, many of them, translated into English. "Aslauga's Knight" appeared in Carlyle's "Specimens of German Romance" (1827); "Sintram," "Undine," and "Der Zauberring" had been translated even earlier. "Thiodolf the Icelander" and others have also been current in English circulating libraries. Carlyle acknowledges that Fouqué's notes are few, and that he is possessed by a single idea. "The chapel and the tilt yard stand in the background or the foreground in all the scenes of his universe. He gives us knights, soft-hearted and strong-armed; full of Christian self-denial, patience, meekness, and gay, easy daring; they stand before us in their mild frankness, with suitable equipment, and accompaniment of squire and dame. . . . Change of scene and person brings little change of subject; even when no chivalry is mentioned, we feel too clearly the influence of its unseen presence. Nor can it be said that in this solitary department his success is of the very highest sort. To body forth the spirit of Christian knighthood in existing poetic forms; to wed that old sentiment to modern thoughts, was a task which he could not attempt. He has turned rather to the fictions and machinery of former days." Heine says that Fouqué's Sigurd the Serpent Slayer has the courage of a hundred lions and the sense of two asses. But Fouqué's "Undine" (1811) is in its way a masterpiece and a classic. This story of the lovely water-sprite, who received a soul when she fell in love with the knight, and with a soul, a knowledge of human sorrow, has a slight resemblance to the conception of Hawthorne's "Marble Faun." Coleridge was greatly fascinated by it. He read the original several times, and once the American translation, printed at Philadelphia. He said that it was beyond Scott, and that Undine resembled Shakspere's Caliban in being a literal creation.

But in general Fouqué's chivalry romances, when compared with Scott's, have much less vigour, variety, and dramatic force, though a higher spirituality and a softer sentiment. The Waverley novels are solid with a right materialistic treatment. It was Scott's endeavour to make the Middle Ages real. The people are there, as well as chevaliers and their ladies. The history of the times is there. But in Fouqué the Middle Ages become even more unreal, fairy-like, fantastic than they are in our imaginations. There is nothing but tourneying, love-making, and enchantment. Compare the rumour of the Crusades and Richard the Lion Heart in "Der Zauberring" with the stalwart flesh-and-blood figures in "Ivanhoe" and "The Talisman." A wavering moonshine lies all over the world of the Fouqué romances, like the magic light which illumines the Druda's castle in "Der Zauberring," on whose battlements grow tall white flowers, and whose courts are filled with unearthly music from the perpetual revolution of golden wheels. "On the romantic side," wrote Richter, in his review of "L'Allemagne" in the Heidelberg Jahrbücher for 1815, "we could not wish the Briton to cast his first glance at us; for the Briton—to whom nothing is so poetical as the common weal—requires (being used to the weight of gold), even for a golden age of poetry, the thick golden wing-cases of his epithet-poets; not the transparent gossamer wings of the Romanticists; no many-coloured butterfly dust; but, at lowest, flower-dust that will grow to something."

Another Spätromantiker who has penetrated to the English literary consciousness is the Swabian Ludwig Uhland, the sweetest lyric poet of the romantic school. Uhland studied the poems of Ossian, the Norse sagas, the "Nibelungenlied" and German hero legends, the Spanish romances, the poetry of the trouveres and the troubadours, and treated motives from all these varied sources. His true field, however, was the ballad, as Tieck's was the popular tale; and many of Uhland's ballads are favourites with English readers, through excellent translations. Sarah Austin's version of one of them is widely familiar:

"Many a year is in its grave
Since I crossed this restless wave," etc.

Longfellow translated three: "The Black Knight," "The Luck of Edenhall," and "The Castle by the Sea." It is to be feared that the last-named belongs to what Scherer calls that "trivial kind of romanticism, full of sadness and renunciation, in which kings and queens with crimson mantles and golden crowns, kings' daughters and beautiful shepherds, harpers, monks, and nuns play a great part." But it has a haunting beauty, and a dreamy melody like Goethe's "Es war ein König in Thule." The mocking Heine, who stigmatises Fouqué's knights as combinations of iron and sentimentality, complains that in Uhland's writings too "the naive, rude, powerful tones of the Middle Ages are not reproduced with idealised fidelity, but rather they are dissolved into a sickly, sentimental melancholy. . . . The women in Uhland's poems are only beautiful shadows, embodied moonshine; milk flows in their veins, and sweet tears in their eyes, i.e., tears which lack salt. If we compare Uhland's knights with the knights in the old ballads, it seems to us as if the former were composed of suits of leaden armour, entirely filled with flowers, instead of flesh and bones. Hence Uhland's knights are more pleasing to delicate nostrils than the old stalwarts, who wore heavy iron trousers and were huge eaters and still huger drinkers."

Upon the whole it must be concluded that this second invasion of England by German romance, in the twenties and early thirties of the nineteenth century, made a lesser impression than the first irruption in, say, 1795 to 1810, in the days of Bürger and "Götz," and "The Robbers," and Monk Lewis and the youthful Scott. And the reason is not far to seek. The newcomers found England in possession of a native romanticism of a very robust type, by the side of which the imported article showed like a delicate exotic. Carlyle affirms that Madame de Staël's book was the precursor of whatever acquaintance with German literature exists in England. He himself worked valiantly to extend that acquaintance by his articles in the Edinburgh and Foreign Review, and by his translations from German romance. But he found among English readers an invincible prejudice against German mysticism and German sentimentality. The romantic chiaroscuro, which puzzled Southey even in "The Ancient Mariner," became dimmest twilight in Tieck's "Mährchen" and midnight darkness in the visionary Novalis. The Weichheit, Wehmuth, and Sehnsucht nach der Unendlichkeit of the German romanticists were moods not altogether unfamiliar in English poetry. "Now stirs the feeling infinite," sings Byron.

"Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,"

cries Keats. But when Novalis, in his Todessehnsucht, exclaims, "Death is the romance of life," the sentiment has an alien sound. There was something mutually repellent between the more typical phases of English and German romanticism. Tieck and the Schlegels, we know, cared little for Scott. We are told that Scott read the Zeitung für Einsiedler, but we are not told what he thought of it. Perhaps romanticism, like transcendentalism, found a more congenial soil in New than in Old England. Longfellow spent the winter of 1835-36 in Heidelberg, calling on A. W. Schlegel at Bonn, on his way thither. "Hyperion" (1839) is saturated with German romance. Its hero, Paul Flemming, knew "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" almost by heart. No other German book had ever exercised such "wild and magic influence upon his imagination."

[1] Besides the authorities quoted or referred to in the text, the materials used in this chapter are drawn mainly from the standard histories of German literature; especially from Georg Brandes' "Hauptströmungen in der Litteratur des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts" (1872-76); Julian Schmidt's "Geschichte der Deutschen Litteratur" (Berlin, 1890); H. J. T. Hettner's "Litteraturgeschichte" (Braunschweig, 1872); Wilhelm Scherer's "History of German Literature" (Conybeare's translation, New York, 1886); Karl Hillebrand's "German Thought" (trans., New York, 1880); Vogt und Koch's "Geschichte der Deutschen Litteratur" (Leipzig and Wien, 1897). My own reading in the German romantics is by no means extensive. I have read, however, a number of Tieck's "Märchen" and of Fouqué's romances; Novalis' "Hymns to the Night" and "Heinrich von Ofterdingen"; A. W. Schlegel's "Lectures on Dramatic Literature" and F. Schlegel's "Lucinde"; all of Uhland's ballads and most of Heine's writings in verse and prose; a large part of "Des Knaben Wunderhorn," and the selections from Achim von Arnim, Clemens Brentano, and Joseph Görres contained in Koch's "Deutsche National Litteratur," 146 Band (Stuttgart, 1891). These last include Brentano's "Die Erfindung des Rosenkranzes," "Kasperl und Annerl," "Gockel und Hinkerl," etc., and Arnim's "Kronenwächter," a scene from "Die Päpstin Johanna," etc. I have, of course, read Madame de Staël's "L'Allemagne"; all of Carlyle's papers on German literature, with his translations; the Grimm fairy tales and the like.

[2] "Gedanken über die Nachahmung der Griechischen Werke in der Malerei und Bildhauerkunst," 1755. "Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums," 1764.

[3] "Laocoon," 1766.

[4] See vol. i., chap. xi.; and particularly pp. 383-87.

[5] See vol. i., pp. 422-23.

[6] Novalis' and Wackenroder's remains were edited by Tieck and F. Schlegel. Arnim married Brentano's sister Bettina—Goethe's Bettina.

[7] E.g., Tieck's "Der Gestiefelte Kater," against Nicolai and the Aufklarung.

[8] As to the much-discussed romantic irony, the theory of which played a part in the German movement corresponding somewhat to Hugo's doctrine of the grotesque, it seems to have made no impression in England. I can discover no mention of it in Coleridge. Carlyle, in the first of his two essays on Richter (1827), expressly distinguishes true humour from irony, which he describes as a faculty of caricature, consisting "chiefly in a certain superficial distortion or reversal of objects"—the method of Swift or Voltaire. That is, Carlyle uses irony in the common English sense; the Socratic irony, the irony of the "Modest Proposal." The earliest attempt that I have encountered to interpret to the English public what Tieck and the Schlegels meant by "irony" is an article in Blackwood's for September, 1835, on "The Modern German School of Irony"; but its analysis is not very eingehend.

[9] An English translation was published in this country in 1882. See also H. H. Boyesen's "Essays on German Literature" (1892) for three papers on the "Romantic School in Germany."

[10] Gentz, "The German Burke," translated the "Reflections on the Revolution in France" into German in 1796.

[11] See also in the same tract, Burke's tribute to the value of hereditary nobility, and remember that these were the words of a Whig statesman.

[12] Dream books, medicine books, riddle books, almanacs, craftsmen's proverbs, fabulous travels, prophecies, legends, romances and the like, hawked about at fairs.

[13] For Stolberg see also vol. i., pp. 376-77.

[14] "Ludwig Tieck": Introductions to "German Romance."

[15] Brentano's fragment "Die Erfindung des Rosenkranzes," begun in 1803, deals with the Tannhäuser story.

[16] "Kinder and Hausmährchen" (1812-15). "Deutsche Sagen" (1816). "Deutsche Mythologie" (1835).

[17] See vol. i., pp. 375-76.

[18] "If Cervantes' purpose," says Heine, "was merely to describe the fools who sought to restore the chivalry of the Middle Ages, . . . then it is a peculiarly comic irony of accident that the romantic school should furnish the best translation of a book in which their own folly is most amusingly ridiculed."

[19] F. Schlegel's declamations against printing and gun powder in his Vienna lectures of 1810 foretoken Ruskin's philippics against railways and factories.

[20] See vol. i., pp. 300, 337, 416.

[21] Vide supra, p. 88. A. W. Schlegel was in England in 1823. Tieck met Coleridge in England in 1818, having made his acquaintance in Italy some ten years before.

[22] Boyesen: "Aspects of the Romantic School."

[23] Ibid.

[24] "Ludwig Tieck," in "German Romance."

[25] "German Romance," four vols., Edinburgh.

[26] A. W. Schlegel says that romantic poetry is the representation (Darstellung) of the infinite through symbols.

[27] "Novalis and the Blue Flower."

[28] Carlyle.

[29] Selections from Novalis in an English translation were published at London in 1891.

Henry Augustin Beers