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nature of the government and other institutions of the country. It is, moreover, identified with the history, and planted in the affections and most cherished associations of the people. But here, where, as aforetime in Israel, there is no king, and every man, in matters of religion above all others, does that which is right in his own eyes, it is in vain to expect submission to ecclesiastical rule. The arm of the Church, once so potent, will not now be endured; and its thunders, if it venture to utter any, will be heard, except for the discord, with a quiet indifference. No power but spiritual power, which is the power of truth and righteousness, will in these days prevail: and a church going to law may end in a church going to ruin.

F. P.

ART. VI. - Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature. Ed

ited by GEORGE Ripley. Vol. III. Containing Select Minor Poems, translated from the German of Goethe and Schiller, with Notes. By JOHN S. DWIGHT. Boston. 1839.

The enterprise of Mr. Ripley from its commencement awakened our strongest interest. The first volume of his specimens of foreign literature, prepared by his own hand, increased our confidence in his success, not only from the important character of the writings which he translated, but equally from the clear analysis, the liberal criticism, the hearty hospitality with which he welcomed to our language and our country, the most distinguished philosophers of France. The style of the preliminary chapter, the richness of illustration, the lucid development of doctrines, the happy exposition of incidents and characters, were well suited to establish for the Editor a high reputation for ability and elegant scholarship, as well as learning.

The volume before us, the third of the series of Mr. Ripley, as a work of art, has bigher pretensions than its predecessors. The choice efforts of Goethe and Schiller, the two chief representatives of the highest success of Germany in literature, are here repeated in our language. This is done chiefly by Mr. Dwight, who has acquitted himself admirably. He under

stands fully the poems he would translate ; he penetrates into all their meaning; he represents to himself the state of mind, the mood, the conceit, which gave birth to each little gem; and he rather reproduces, than copies. His volume, very unequal, and having inequalities' even in the version of the same little work, is yet superior to any English volume of translations from the German. He proves himself to be familiar with German culture, to have a mind enriched by various study, to have felt, to have reflected; to have gained the valuable accomplishment of a good knowledge of the German, and to possess in an eminent degree, what is far more valuable and perhaps more rare, a thorough knowledge of his own language and ready skill in its use. Some of his translations have indeed been too readily written ; they bear marks of haste; and haste is always imperfect. But we have seen no volume from the German in our language, which shows more love of the pursuit, or more success in the result. The general expression of opinion in his favor should excite our young friend to a still severer discipline of his powers.

The character of the writings selected by Mr. Dwight is so various, and from poets so opposite in their natural tendencies and in their lives, that directly or incidentally allusions are made to the various theories of art, and to the chief philosophical speculations, for which Germany has been famous. Goethe and Schiller are an antithesis. Schiller, though ennobled, remained in sympathies essentially plebeian; Goethe, had “the predicate" and the indifference of an Excellency”: Schiller was proudly independent, exhausting his life in strenuous, unrelenting industry, rather than receive a pension ; Goethe had no scruple in accepting from a prince enough for wants which he declares were not little. Schiller had a heart which would throb, and a mind which would utter itself freely; to Goethe the affections were inanimate subjects for dissection, and he always considered before he spoke. Schiller's writings bear evidence of discipline in the sublime philosophy of Kant; Goethe had no philosophy, no creed, no principles.

A great poet is the mirror of his time; just as a great philosopher is the exponent of its general culture. It is said of Goethe that he is the representative of his age. In one sense he is so. The philosophy of Descartes had introduced the spirit of skepticism; Voltaire, beginning with skepticism, had proceeded to the work of analysis ; and in the general proving - 3D s. VOL. VIII. NO. III.



to which all things were subjected, a generation seemed resolved on considering what was to be thrown away and not what was to be preserved. The Titans went forth to destroy; and in the overthrow of ancient superstitions, of ancient forms of government and thought, the old world seemed coming to an end. At this period Goethe appeared. He came before the European mind was ready to rebuild ; and after it had caused the old institutions to totter. The age had destroyed former systems; and had as yet produced no new ones. Faith in verbal inspiration was gone; and it was still rather the fashion to deny the existence of the soul, than to look for sources of truth within it. This is the character of Goethe as a writer. He is not a destructive. He came into a world of ruins; but he had not vigor to continue the warfare, nor creative power to rebuild. And thus he floated down the current passively; adhering to the past, yet knowing that it was the past ; no iconoclast himself, yet knowing that the old images, before which men bowed down, were demolished. His works have no glimmering of faith ; he cries hist! and lets the multitude continue to adore the idol which he knows to be broken. The infidelity of Goethe reaches to the affections and to intelligence. He writes of love ; and it is, to recount its sufferings, and leave the sincere lover to shoot himself. He writes of a hero, the liberator of his country, the martyr for its independence; and confounding patriotism with libertinism, he casts aside the father of a family, whom history had extolled, to represent a reckless seducer. He writes of a scholar, outwatching the bear, becoming wise with stores of all knowledge, and makes his philosopher so dissatisfied by his acquisitions, as to sell his soul to the Devil for the opportunity of sensual enjoyment. Everywhere the pages of Goethe are stamped with evidence, that he has no faith in reason, or in the affections; in God, in man, or in woman. Will you have the type of Goethe's mind? Behold it in his conduct. In his earlier life he joined the army of Prussians, when it invaded France to restore the Bourbons. He was no Roman Catholic; he knew that legitimacy was a worn out superstition; he knew that the old noblesse of France had lost its vitality; and yet he gives his early efforts in arms to compel the worship of the public at deserted shrines and broken altars. Such was he in early manhood; such was he as a writer ; such was he throughout his pilgrimage. Goethe, the legitimatist poet, who in youth was indifferent to God, and reverential only towards rank and the Bourbons, — Goethe, who, in his maturity, while his country was trodden under foot by foreign invaders, quietly studied Chinese or made experiments in natural philosophy, — Goethe, who wrote a fulsome marriage-song to grace the nuptials of Napoleon, - Goethe, the man of letters, who, in his age becoming an Excellency and a Duke's minister, almost alone, with but one stout ally, stood out against the freedom of the press, -Goethe is the poet, who represents the morals, the politics, the imagination, the character, of the broken-down aristocracy, that hovered in the skirts of defeated dynasties, and gathered as a body-guard round the bier of legitimacy.

Goethe is very far inferior to Voltaire, not in genius and industry only, but still more in morality. In point of morality and manliness, Voltaire was immeasurably his superior. The Frenchman had humanity; he felt for the persecuted; he had courage, and dealt vigorous blows for men who were wronged. His influence was felt in softening the asperity of codes, in asserting freedom of mind, in denouncing the severity that could hate protestantism and philosophy even to disfranchisement, exile, and the shedding of blood. But Goethe never risked a frown of a German prince for anybody. He was a prudent man, and, in the great warfare of opinion, kept quietly out of harm's way. On religious subjects, he mystified; on political subjects, he was discreetly silent, except that he adored rank; worshipping birth, like intellect, and ever ready with flattery for the ruling powers of the day.

Goethe has sometimes been the favorite, or rather the divinity, of men, who rely on the spontaneous actions of the human powers, and reverence impulse, as the voice of God. But will à just analysis sustain their preference ? In one sense the writings of Goethe teach the sovereignty of impulse. The moral of Wilhelm Meister is, even according to the poet's own interpretation, simply this :— Young man, yield to your passions ; intrigue with a woman and desert her; neglect the business entrusted to you; go strolling through the country in the train of a company of actors ; talk about art; see all sorts of people, and exercise all your powers with reference to art, and not to such inconsiderable things as right and wrong, and you will be led to the highest elevation of human virtue. — In any other sense Goethe is not the creature of impulse. He never was carried away by a holy enthusiasm for truth or freedom.

On the contrary, Goethe was one of the most wary, calculating, circumspect people of his times. He did not speak unpleasant things in a tone louder than a whisper ; he kept his thoughts to himself if bis thoughts were likely to give offence in high places. In all his works, - except perhaps. in some of the feeble, rambling, ill-conceived, diffusely-executed productions of his extreme age, there is not a line, which would by possibility excite the distrust, alarm the sensitiveness, or twinge the conscience of an approved profligate aristocrat; the empress of Austria will find in every line of his poems to persons, that the poet knew the awful distance between himself and the high personages whom he flattered; and the emperor Francis could consider his politics soundly and most legitimately orthodox. A free press was to him not at all a desirable thing. He himself had already so ruled his spirit, that the words it uttered had no need to fear an imperial censor. Royalists, says Goethe, and, reader, we quote him word for word, Royalists, says our poet of impulse, whom the lovers of spontaneity adore, Royalists, says his Excellency Von Goethe, minister to the Grand Duke, "Royalists, who have the power in their hands, should not talk but act. They may march troops, and behead, and hang. That is all right. But to argue is not their proper way. I have always been a royalist. I have let others babble. I understood my course, and knew what my object was. There is spontaneity with a vengeance; famous workings of the inner light; profound reverence for “the objective”! In history, his judgments are analagous. Marathon was a name that found no interpreter in his breast. The field, on which the hopes of human freedom were redeemed, was in his view eclipsed by Waterloo. Or hear him explain the true foundation of parties. The spirit of reform, during Goethe's life, had been virtually yet beneficently active ; had wrought the most salutary changes in Germany itself. But Goethe's insight is deeper. “Much is said," exclaims the objective” Minister of State, the rival, as he himself has expressed it, of Napoleon, of Frederick II., and of Luther, “ Much is said of aristocracy and democracy; but the whole affair is simply this : In youth, when we possess nothing, we are democrats; but when we have come to possess something of our own, we wish to be secure.” But this is not the best of Goethe's political lucubrations. Here follows his definition of freedom. Freedom, and, reader, we quote word for word, “ Freedom consists in

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