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repeated to me from notes by a stụdent from Ratzeburg, a young man of sound learning and indefatigable industry, who is now, I believe, a professor of the oriental languages at Heidelberg. But my chief efforts were directed towards a grounded knowledge of the German language and literature. From professor TYCHSEN I received as many lessons in the Gothic of Ulphilas as sufficed to make me acquainted with its grammar, and the radical words of most frequent occurrence; and with the occasional assistance of the same philosophical linguist, I read through* OTTFRIED's metrical paraphrase of the gospel, and the most important remains of the TheotIsCAN, or the transitional state of the Teutonic language from the Gothic to the old German of the Swabian period. Of this period (the polished dialect of which is analogous to that of our Chaucer, and which leaves the philosophic student in doubt, whether the language has not since then lost more in sweetness and flexibility, than it has gained in condensation and copiousness) I read with sedulous accuracy the MINNESINGER (or singers of love, the provencal poets of the Swabian court) and the metrical romances ;
* This paraphrase, written about the time of Charlemagne, is by no means deficient in occasional passages of considerable poetic merit. There is a flow, and a tender enthusiasm in the following lines (at the conclusion of Chapter V.) and then laboured through sufficient specimeus of the master singers, their degenerate successors; not however without occasional pleasure
which even in the translation will not, I fatter myself, fail to interest the reader. Ottfried is describing the circumstances immediately following the birth of our Lord.
She gave with joy her virgin breast;
For us she bore the heavenly Lord ! Most interesting is it to consider the effect, when the feelings are wrought above the natural pitch by the belief of something mysterious, while all the images are purely natural. Then it is, that religion and poetry strike deepest.
from the rude, yet interesting strains of Hans Sachs the cobler of Nuremberg. Of this man's genius five folio volumes with double columns are extant in print, and nearly an equal number in manuscript; yet the indefatigable bard takes care to inform his readers, that he never made a shoe the less, but had virtuously reared a large family by the labor of his hands.
In Pindar, Chaucer, Dante, Milton, &c. &c. we have instances of the close connection of poetic genius with the love of liberty and of genuine reformation. The moral sense at least will not be outraged, if I add to the list the name of this honest shoemaker (a trade by the bye remarkable for the production of philosophers and poets.) His poem intitled the Morning Star, was the very first publication that appeared in praise and support of LUTHER; and an excellent hymn of Hans Sachs, which has been deservedly translated into almost all the European languages, was commonly sung in the Protestant churches, whenever the heroic reformer visited them.
In Luther's own German writings, and eminently in his translation of the bible, the German language commenced. I mean the language as it is at present written ; that which is called the High GERMAN, as contra-distinguished from the PLATT-TEUTSCH, the dialect of the flat or northern countries, and from the OBER-TEUTSCH, the language of the middle and Southern Germany. The High German is indeed a lingua communis, not actually the native language of any province, but the choice and fragrancy of all the dialects. From this cause it is at once the most copious and the most grammatical of all the European tongues.
Within less than a century after Luther's death the German was inundated with pedantic barbarisms. A few volumes of this period I read through from motives of curiosity; for it is not easy to imagine any thing more fantastic, than the very appearance of their pages. Almost every third word is a Latin word with a Germanized ending, the Latin portion being always printed in Roman letters, while in the last syllable the German character is retained.
At length, about the year 1620, Opitz arose, whose genius more nearly resembled that of Dryden than any other poet, who at present occurs to my recollection. In the opinion of LESSING, the most acute of critics, and of ADELUNG, the first of Lexicographers, Opitz, and the Silesian poets, his followers, not only restored the language, but still remain the models of pure diction. A stranger has no vote on such a question ; but after repeated perusal of the work my feelings justified the verdict, and I seemed to have acquired from them a sort of tact for what is genuine in the style of later writers.
Of the splendid era, which commenced with Gellert, Klopstock, Pamler, Lessing, and their compeers, I need not speak. With the opportunities which I enjoyed, it would have been disgraceful not to have been familiar with their writings; and I have already said as much, as the present biographical sketch requires, concerning the German philosophers, whose works, for the greater part, I became acquainted with at a far later period.
Soon after my return from Germany I was solicited to undertake the literary and political department in the Morning Post; and I acceded to the proposal on the condition, that the paper should thenceforwards be conducted on certain fixed and announced principles, and that I should be neither obliged or requested to deviate from them in favor of any party or any event. In consequence, that Journal became and for many years continued antiministerial indeed, yet with a very qualified approbation of the opposition, and with far greater earnestness and zeal both anti-jacobin and anti-gallican. To this hour I cannot find reason to approve of the first war either in its commencement or its conduct. Nor can I understand, with what reason either Mr. Percival (whom I am singular enough to regard as the best and wisest minister of this reign) or the present administration, can be said to have pur