Imagens das páginas

development. Goethe's earliest and but the best poetic rendering of any of latest works of creation are animated by the great works of modern continental the spirit of bis culture; every flight of literature which has appeared-was one his imagination was illuminated by the of his earliest conceptions; and the conlamp of criticism. While approaching tinuation of the theme constantly occuShakspeare in several of his dramatic pied the most prominent position in the works nearer than any other poet since horizon of his mind during his long life, the Elizabethan constellation, his origin- just at whose close the second part, or ality is of a secondary, not a primary “Hellena," was completed. The Fansı order, and his powers far less spontane- fable, which first appeared in a printed ous in their action than those evinced in form in 1588, had previously been selectthe dramatic universe of the being on ed for dramatization by many writers, whom Coleridge so appropriately bestows few subjects being more attractive than the title Murionous, or the Thousand that which represented the ambitious huSouled. It was from intense study of man intelligence aspiring to supernatural Shakspeare, indeed, whose immense su- power by the aid of the demoniac world, periority to himself G he reverently and even at the hazard of the soul itself. acknowledged, that his genius first de. The old marionette play, by an anony: veloped, like that of the most perfect mous author, took the lead; then followed poets of this later period; and to the in- Calderon's sacramental auto, “ Il Magico spiration thus derived is attributable Prodigioso,” a work displaying much of much of the peculiar excellence and the richness of the Spanish poetic genius, charm we find in his first dramatic com- and several fine scenes has been for some position, "Faust," in which the specula- time accessible by English readers in tive philosophy of a IIamlet and the witch M'Carthy's admirable translation. Of element of Macbeth united, give such Marlowe's “Life and Death of Doctor effect to the tenor of the legend. In the Faustus,” which appeared in 1580, it is same way his subsequent classical studies enough to say, that while written with inspired him to imitate the spirit and great poetic power throughout, it conforms of antiqnity—as that of Greece, tains a couple of the most striking situanot very perfecily, in his “Iphigenia” and tions and exquisite passages in British or “ Tasso;" and that of the Sicilian and any dramatic literature, while, perhaps, Roman elegy, in a surpassing manner, in not the least interesting of its merits is his“ Roman Elegies,” and “Herman and the vigorous and majestic blank verse in Dorothea.” In a word, Goethe seems which it is written, and which appears always to have placed a model before to have formed the model of that of him in the composition of his works, great Shakspeare. Marlowe follows closely the and small, from the drama and elegy to old tradition; and his drama has all the the

song. and epigram; but then, his in- air of being an imitation of the miracle terpretation and grasp of the special plays of the middle ages. Lessing conspirit of such ancient or modern, classic templated a work on this subject, and or Gothic subjects, which he studied, and wrote some scenes; and it is unnecessary his embodiment of the subjects with to add, the theme has been treated in a which they kindled his eclectic imagina- dramatic and romance form by many tion, was able and admirable indeed. On writers, Müller, Klingler, Loroz, Chunisthe other hand, Shakspeare, with less lit-so, Schink, Grabbe, Holter, Klongerman, erature but vaster power and more inde. Seybold, Bechstein, Gerle, and others. pendent capacity, trusted solely to the Goethe's “ Faust,” as he tells us, had mine of nature and genius within him: iis origin in a somewhat dark state of his hence the superior originality of his ideal mind, of which it represented the second ly real conceptions. Thus, the relative poetic phase, the speculative; the first. proportions of their respective genius, involving the over sensitive, culminat and their position as regards civilization, ing in a distaste for life, from being rendered the one par excellence the poet placed in antagonistic positions, having of nature, the other the poet of culture. already been developed in Werther. Into

The first part of “Faust”—which, as “Faust” Goethe threw a peculiar phase translated by Anster, is not only the of his nature and intellect, much, very finest reflection of the work we possess, I likely, in the same way as Shakspeare, in

Hamlet,” which character “ Faust” re- Easter morning, just as Faust is about sembles in its ideal, though placed in to commit suicide, the charming intera frame so different. Deutchland ist valling scenes of town life, the appearHamlet, as Freilingrath has said ; and ance and character of Mephistopheles, in embodying this conception, Goethe and the new view of interest thus opennot only reflected himself, but the ge- ed; the scenes between Faust and Marneric spiritual character of the German guerite, and the terrible results to which nation,* among whom the popularity of they lead ; the change, then, from human the poem, apart from its literary merit, to supernatural interest in the flight to is doubtless largely attributable to the the witch sabbath in the Hartz Moundelineation of the intellectual “Faust,” tains, and the pathetic and powerful the local traditions, and the inner mean- dramatic and poetic scene with which ing underlying several of its dramatic the poem terminates, combine, as we scenes and colloquies which is so attrac- have said, a series of elements artisticaltive to Germans, and characterizes so ly conceived and worked out, which we much of their objective or lyric poetry. might seek for in vain in any other mas

Taken as a whole, the first part of terpiece of modern times. While the in“Faust” is perhaps the most imagina- terest attaching to the human characters tive and generally attractive dramatic is accumulative throughout, the rapidity poem since Shakspeare; no other certain and range of the scenes resemble the y unites so many elements, natural and beautiful sublime and fantastic pictures supernatural, striking delineations of thrown by a magic lantern. Goethe, the character, variety of scene, human and light worshipper, is always most grandly artistic interest, diversities of poetic poetic when the sun is his subject; and form-heaven, earth, hell, with their be the song in the prologue, referred to, ings, embraced within its circuit, conform | Faust's evening meditation, and the sous to the stimulating and final effect. From of Ariel, in the second part, in which the the melancholy dedication to the last sound of the majestic orb rising in

space tragic scenes, the poem is in the highest is announced in the hymn of the spirit, degree original and unique.

are among his supremest imaginative In the prefatory dialogue between passages. poet and manager, we have the ideal and As a dramatic work, the first part of practical prose spirit of life brought into Faust is complete in itself; destiny and juxtaposition. Then comes the daring divinity have controlled the action up to prologue in heaven-derived from the the catastrophe and close. In this he opening of Job-and commencing with worked out the middle age legend and the hymn of the Archangels, the most his youthful poetic mood; the religious sublime Miltonic lyric which Goethe has and philosophical principle which constiproduced, and into which he has thrown tuted its ideal and dramatic end was satthe full sonorous music of the homoge-isfied in its dramatic evolution. In the neous Teutonic tongue

second part we again see reflecter

Goethe himself, no longer the aspiring “Die Sonne tont, nach alter Weise

enthusiast, but the mature man of culIn Brudersphären wettgesang, Und ihre vorgeschriebne reise

ture; and here the idea is not moral Vollendet sie mit donnergang."

philosophy, but that of art; here the The opening soliloquy of Faust, wea- viduality, but society.

universalist's life poem reflects not indi

. ried with life, from having exhausted the

As the first part was turned to shape fruitless domain of human knowledge; under the spontaneous influence of a true the appearance

of the spirit, the couver creative mood, so the second part of sation with Wagner, the mere man of Faust is a poem embodied under the di. acquirement, contrasted with the ambi- rection of the critical spirit—as it appears tious dreamer ; the chorus of spirits on

to us, a series of sketches whose person.

ages range through the antique and mid* German artists have surpassed all others, not cle ages, thrown off at various periods only in illustrating Faust, which is but natural, of Goethe's career, and strung together but also Shakspeare and Dante. Retche's outlines are to Faust what Lock's music is to Mac- at intervals on some ideal principle, beth,

which he possibly did not consecutively

comprehend, and which, in parts, despite demon recognizes, calls up the spirit of the luminous analysis of various com- Helena. He is overpowered with the mentators, remains delightfully vague to beauty of Helena, and, in a fit of jealGerman and less pleasingly so to foreign ousy with Paris, in some way violates readers. Taken in its entirety, it rather the conditions under which she is to reresembles the radiant phantasmagoria of main visible, so that she disappears. Mea poetic kaleidoscope than an organic phistopheles then takes Faust to his old conception of nature and imagination; college chamber, and scenes of modern and, we are inclined to think, will attract university life are produced, in which perusal now, as always, less for its alle. Wagner reäppears as a reputed alchegory or dramatic interest, scenic or in mist, in whose study we are introduced to dividual, than from the exquisite strains Homeniculus, a singular conception repof poetry, dramatic, descriptive, and resenting pure intelligence. He proposes lyric, with which it abounds. The vari- to take Faust to the valley of Peneios, ety of elements concentrated in the poem whither he leads him and Mephistophare still more numerous than those in the eles. The scene changes to Greece, first part; but, from their very range, and here commences his famous classical the effect is devoid of the homogeneity Walpurgis night, which forms so fine a which characterizes the latter. As a feature in the poem, and where numerdramatic work, it is perhaps the most ous figures — witches, griffins, sphinxes, purely ideal ever produced, in its remote- sirens, pigmies, Lamia, nereides, tritons, ness, marvellousness : its muse is truly and famous spirits of old

appear in the spirit of magic, and all ages are made different regions, such as the Pharsato resuscitate their forms at the incanta- lian plains, the lower and Upper Peneios, tions of its phantast genius. In the first and the Ægean sea-shore. The travels part of the poem Mephistopheles had of the trio are through the land of fable, promised to show Faust the great world, where, among other singular scenes, we and in the second he proceeds so to do. have a festival of the Ocean, in which In the first scene we find the aspiring Galatea appears. The colloqnies and spirit matured and calmed; and, while songs of those classical beings are less individual, he is made to take a less throughout conceived with the purest prominent part in the action of the piece. antique taste. The first scene opens with a twilight The object of Faust in this journey Swiss landscape, Faust lying on a flow- was to find Helena ; and the third act ery grass plot, trying to sleep, with Ariel of the drama opens with the portion of and a group of fairies hovering round the poem so designated, a work whose him, chanting songs representative of composition engaged Goethe at intervals scenic effects, and presently one descrip- many years. The act opens with the tive of sunrise; at which period he appearance of Helena before the palace awakes, with soul tranquillized, oblivious of Menelaus, to which she has just reof the past, and hopeful of the future. turned after the siege of Troy and subThe next scene is in the imperial palace sequent wanderings ; here she announces of the Kaiser, in which Mephistopheles to the chorus the hideous spectre she appears as court fool; and in which pres- had beheld on entering the palace ently a masque is held, in which a num- scene suggested by the opening of the ber of figures play a part-garden girls, “Furies " of Eschylus. Conversations punchinelloes, poets, mythologic forms; between her and Phorcyas, whose form all of whom are characterized with pro- Mephistopheles has taken, follow; in priety and beauty of discrimination—a which the manner of the Greek dramseries of ideals partly taken from nature, atists is accurately imitated ; and the partly from Goethe's Greek and other chorus sings a magnificent song, destudies. With the assistance of Mephis- scriptive of the fall of Troy. llelena, topheles, who has enriched the Emperor conscious that preparations are being by a scheme of paper money, Faust, who made for the sacrifice of a victim, fears holds a complex position at court, after that she will be chosen; and just as the a visit to the realm of the Mothers, pow. trumpet announces the approach of Menerful goddesses, who exist in a sphere of elaus, she is saved, a magic mist enpreexistent forms, whose sway the arch-velops her, and she is wafted to the


Gothic castle of Faust. Arrived she no extracts compatible with our space expresses her devotion to him in a fine would convey an adequate idea, it rescene, and forth with follow a number of mains to allude briefly to the mamer in others in which the Gothic and classic which it has been rendered into English elements are strangely, yet finely con- by Dr. Anster. Some Frenchman has trasted. The next scene is in Arcadia, said that an original work is a creation; where Faustus, Helena, and the fruit of a translation, a resurrection—not, howtheir amour, Euphorion, make their ap- ever, in the sense of its thus appearing pearance. The latter is said to represent in a more glorified form. And so it is the union of ancient and modern poetry; with respect to the greater number of but this charming conception seems such efforts as have been made to natrather intended to embody the joyous uralize the great compositions of antiq. spirit of youth, with its versatile desires uity, and of Europe, middle-aged and and aspiring aims. Space does not ad- modern, in British literature, in which mit of our indicating seriatim the series we find that, though the skeleton has of conversations which follow, or the been reproduced, and the meaning renmeaning which critics suppose to under- dered prosaically intelligible, all those lie them. Suffice to say that Euphorion indefinable beauties of diction, cognate dies, and is lamented in a beautiful dirge; with the action of the original writer's and Helena vanishes, leaving her robes imagination, and the genius of his lanbehind her, which take the form of guage, have evaporated during the transclouds, ou which Faust is wafted away formation. To account for this phenomto a high mountain, where he meets ena is simple, many of our renderings, Mephistopheles, who volunteers to satisfy especially from the classic authors, havhis new-born passion for fame, power, ing been mere matters of task-work; and glory. Then come scenes at the but the great and obvious cause is to be court of the Emperor, for whom Faustus found in the fact of the inferiority of the raises a battle of magic, and is recom- mind of the translator to that of the oripensed by him, being awarded the sea- ginal writer. Whereas, to produce a shore as a feoff. In the fifth act Faustus translation approximating perfection is still conceiving new plans of activity, for the differences of languages, even and after the representation of various those most closely filiated, render absoscenes of violence and outrage, the life lute perfection impossible — the genius of Faust, now purified by suffering and of the one should equal that of the exertion, tends to its end. The scene other. It rarely occurs that such affiniof his death, and those which follow, in ties and adaptabilities exist; but even which Mephistopheles and the angels apart from such conditions, the admiracontend for his soul, which is saved by ble German translations of Shakspeare, the latter, are among the most power- and some others of the great English fully written in the poem, which con- poets, demonstrate how much can be cludes with a magnificent philosophic done by that love of subject, assiduity, religious hymn. His body rests on the and taste, of which we have had so few earth, his soul ascends, a chorus of peni- examples in British literature. Much of tent saints, headed by Margnerite, ap- the verisimilitude attaching to similarpear, and invoke the protection of the ity of form also has been lost, by writers Virgin for the spirit which, after its pil- arbitrarily adopting species of verse and grimage of sin and sorrow, is finally metre different from the original ; of received into the bosom of Divinity, which we find an instance in Carey's whence it emanated.

“Dante," one of our best works of this Having thus indicated the structural class, but which, despite its literalness outline of the second part of “Faust,” and truth, is rendered intolerably stiff a work which, full of varied meaning, from being rendered in Miltonic hexas it is of profuse beauty of conception ameter. and depth of thought, requires not to be It is pleasing and hopeful to turn from perused merely, but studied, if the read the long array of indifferent English er would possess himself of the spirit poetic translations—in most of which a with which it is impregnated, and of caput mortuum is all that remains of the which, from its extent, tenor, and unity, foreign author, and some of the best of

which but resemble wax as compared to natural flowers, in which though the meaning is represented, the spirit has flown-to those of Dr. Anster, who, to the secondary advantages of a thorough familiarity with the language of Goethe, superadds the rare and primary one of being a poet himself. Of his rendering of the second part of the great work, in which the supremest of German poets embodied his philosophy of life and art, it is enough to say that its merits are fully equal to those displayed in his rendering of the first portion -- a work which, uniting the rare elements of literality with poetic spirit, the universal verdict of cultivated criticism has long indicated as the most complete poetic translation in English literature. Throughout the feeling and spirit of the original is represented with sympathetic power— the dramatic portions are rendered with truth and force, the lyric with harmonic vigor and animation. As we have above stated, the very nature of the poem renders it difficult to make adequate extracts, yet if space admitted we might make very many, as illustrations of the admirable manner in which it has been executed as—from the classical Walpurgis night-the soliloquy of Helena, her description of the phantom, the song in which the chorus depicts the destruction of Troy, etc. As a specimen of the lyric portion, however, take the sunrise song of Ariel : “Hearken! hark! the storm of sunriseSounding but to spirits' earsAs the hours fling wide the portals of the East, and day appears. How the rock-gates, as the chariot Of the Sun bursts through, rebound! Roll of drum and wrath of trumpet, Crashing, clashing, flashing round. Unimaginable splendorUnimaginable sound ! Light is come, and in the tumult Sight is deadened-hearing drowned."

Comes there to my listless seeming, In between my doubt and dreaming, Flinging back the folds of night, One sweet vision crowned with light. For a little gracious minute Heaven is opened, and within it Sings a white and saintly maiden, Lost to me, but found to Aidenn. Ah! when she kept her tryst with me The blossoms budded on the tree; As whisperingly she told her love The sunlight kissed her from above ; The sun set crimson on the sea, The silver mists came o'er the lea, And still we told the sweet tale o'er, And dreamed upon the silent shore. But the glorious summer light Is blotted grimly by the night ; And the sweetest flowers that blow Lie buried underneath the snow. I remember, in my sorrow, One to-day without a morrow, When the angels called her sister, Took her in their arms, and kissed her. In the silence memories taunt me, In the gloom these dead dreams haunt me; But amidst the shades of night Sings a maiden, robed in light.

-Frederick R. Nugent.

British Quarterly.


The name of Sir Francis Palgrave deservedly holds high place among our writers of English history. In his own especial department - inquiry into the rise and progress of our legal and political institutions during the earlier portion of the middle ages—there are few, indeed, who could be compared with him, either for wide range of historical knowledge, or for careful discrimination in selecting his authorities, and deducing his views. Like all independent writers he occasionally indulges in paradox, and bis narrative-mostly so lucid and pictorial - sometimes becomes perplexing by its discursiveness; but, with these slight drawbacks, his works are a most

St. James's Magazine.


Come the shadows deepening slowly,
Come the night winds singing lowly,
Coine the meinories overcast
Of the unforgotten past.

* The History of Normandy and of England. By Sir Francis PALGRAVE, K.B., (late) Deputy Keeper of her Majesty's Public Records. Ñols. III. and IV. Macmillan & Co.

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