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home, or those who are here with me. I guess all the incurably infected' have come with me. Or what public men have come more boldly forward on the present occasion, than that Castor and Pollux of our philosophical world, the twin arch-speculators, Fichte and Schleiermacher?-Your excellency will forgive me for saying it, but it is possible that the tendency to useless abstract speculation may assist even where an outward war is carried on against it; and yourself, at this present moment, might certainly be judged a most unpractical person to overlook in your estimate of the moral materials before you in Germany, a thing, which, whether you approve it or not, is and must be an essential element of the national mind.' This was plain enough, and the baron looked a little angry at first, but speedily recovering his composure, replied with a smile, After all, the fault is with myself, a practical and speculating by the ell here with a mere speculator about
In this direct-hitting, thoroughly practical Prussian baron we seem to recognise the type of a new phasis of the German mind, whose first appearance dates from this very era of the Liberation war. Before that era, whether in the artistical voluptuousness of Goethe, the vast intellectual mensuration of Kant, or the wild and brilliant careerings of Richter, we find every thing in German literature, only not what is directly practical and political. The year 1813, however, with its terrible severity of battle, and glorious but dearly earned laurels, gave a definite, practical, and political direction to the lawless bickerings and random undulations of the German soul; the cosmopolite became a patriot, the artist a historian, and the philosopher a politician. This change in the national caste of thought brought along with it naturally a change in the style and expression of the national literature; the formal and academic, the involved, unwieldy, and perplexed, yielded to the clear, the direct, the vigorous, and the flexible, in language. The Breslau Naturphilosoph,' when he doffed the gown and donned the cloak, indicated unconsciously to himself a change from the speculative to the practical, which the whole nation was destined to make; and if the new character be as yet only partially adopted, and imperfectly sustained by the general mass, this is but natural, and was prefigured also in the first martial experiments of the professor. Aller Anfang ist schwer,' says the proverb: a new trade is always difficult.' Of this, the following account of Steffens' doings at the battle of Lützen
affords characteristic evidence.
"On the evening of the 1st of May I sat, anxious, and full of expectation, alone in a hut; although I felt a deep interest in the issue of the approaching contest, I was by no means in good spirits, and must, alas! confess that what disquieted me was something purely personal. I had been violently taken out of my former narrow sphere, and transplanted,
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as it seemed, into a wider one; but my present position, unfortunately, was one of which I was utterly ignorant. Yes, to that moment I had during my whole life been absolute master of my own occupation, now I had to submit to the thought of another as an instrument to carry it into execution; but in the first place, I knew not what that thought was, nor what peculiar sphere of activity it would shape out for me; and in the second place, even when set in motion, I knew not whether I might not prove more a hindrance than a help in a situation so strange To act cheerfully as an instrument in the hands of others, the individual must, at least, know his relation to the whole of which he is a part; but I felt myself suddenly, and in a moment the most critical for the cause I had espoused, transported into the midst of a bustling activity of which I knew neither the scope nor the detail; every body was busy around me, I alone had nothing to do: no one spoke to me, for to me no one had any thing to say. There is something terribly humiliating in such a situation; the accumulated patriotic longings of years had now worked themselves up to a climax, and nevertheless seemed destined, on the very verge of the perfect deed, to end in powerlessness. I paced restlessly up and down the little room, when a horse at full gallop stopped before my quarters. Its rider hastily entered, and delivered into my hands a letter from Scharnhorst; I expected an order. Has he at length, thought I, succeeded in getting me some definite employment for this important day? Between hope and fear I unsealed the letter.
"Lieber Steffens,' said he, 'I am sorry that I must ask back from you the horse which I lent you; and I lament much that you will thereby be put out of condition for taking any share in the impending battle. It is the horse which I am accustomed to ride on critical occasions; you must, therefore, be content to wait, in the rear of the army, the expected good issue of the battle.' I delivered him the horse, and my situation was now more comfortless than ever. One thing was plain, I must appear upon the field of battle, otherwise I would have been perfectly affronted, and have felt myself incapable of showing my face with any honour in the future course of the war. I had heard the name of the village in which the Jäger battalion of the guard was quartered; there was a full mile between me and it; I lost no small time before I could find a guide, and when I arrived daylight was fast approaching. The commander of the battalion was asleep, but I caused him to be roused, and adjured him to put me in a condition to get a horse. He complied, and I was led to a boor, who, however, at first stoutly opposed the requisition. At length, however, he yielded, and produced the animal! It was a sorry bay, an old, lean, broken-down cart-horse; the haunch bones stood out like two steep rocky walls-the ribs could be counted. I swung myself into a miserable saddle that the boor drew out of a lumber-room, and bestrode the deep-hollowed backbone of the brute; it required great exertion to set the stiff legs into motion; hard and stubborn, it had long lost all feeling for bit and bridle. Never did Prussian knight appear more laughably and strangely mount
ed. The valise which had hitherto been carried by the guide, was now strapped on behind me; but I had much ado before I could stimulate the unwieldy beast into a trot. In the meantime I was utterly ignorant in what direction the field of battle lay. The day began to dawn, and I discovered some troops in the distance; in my ignorance I could not tell whether they were the enemy's men or our own; but I rode up to them, and reached a wide field, sloping gradually upwards. Here I discovered Prussian infantry forming a long front. How it happened I cannot say ; but before I knew, my horse was standing in front of the line, and directly in the way of the advancing troops. A noble-looking officer, who could not but be surprised at the sight of so strange a cavalier, came with an angry look towards me, and cried out, Was Teufel haben Sie hier zu thun?' (What the devil business have you here?) In Altenburg General York had been pointed out to me- -and full of terror, I now recognised him; I was unable to answer a word; but I have a dim recollection of endeavouring, for some minutes, in extreme desperation, to make the stubborn brute move from the spot. How I at length got out of the way I don't know. When on a future occasion I made the personal acquaintance of this great general, I informed him under what circumstances I had first encountered him, and he was vastly delighted. After much riding about and interrogating, I found Scharnhorst. 6 Keep close by me,' said he; and Lieutenant Greulich, one of his adjutants, had the goodness to give me the horse of one of his baggage-waggons. It was now about mid-day; the battle commenced, but I had no idea whatever of the position of our own or our enemy's troops. The roar of the cannon was heard in all directions; but the enemy, posted probably behind the village of Gross-Görschen, I could nowhere discover.
"I rode beside Gneisenau, among the officers who formed the escort of Marshal Blücher. The enemy stood in front of the village; a cavalry attack on our side took place, and I was all at once in the midst of a shower of balls. Prince Henry's horse was shot beneath him. attack was repulsed. How I at first came into the attack-how I again got out of it, I never knew. Only one thing I remember-the impression which the grape shot of the enemy made on me. I felt as if the balls were coming from all directions towards me in thick masses—as if no one could possibly escape-as if I were in the midst of a violent shower of rain, and yet somehow or other was not wet. At the same time, I cannot say that I was in the least affected by fear; the whole affair seemed to me rather strange and curious than terrible. Gneisenau was quite in his element; almost merry. After the attack I received from him a commission to General Wittgenstein; what it was I don't exactly remember: but now began the dark side of that day for me. rode on; I looked round about me; a heavy cannonade from the enemy was going on in all quarters. I did not know where I might find Wittgenstein. Every thing about me appeared in confusion, and covered as with a dark veil. I felt a mysterious quaking; a strange undulation shook my inmost frame, became more apparent; it was evi
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41 dent that I was under the influence of the cannon fever; however, I found Wittgenstein, executed my commission, and returned to Gneisenau. Here I found every thing in motion. Every man had his appointed employment, and knew his relative position, only I was without any definite occupation, and no one concerned himself about me; thus situated the feeling of my powerlessness overcame me, and I was conscious that I must appear in my present place as a supernumerary spectator. I heard that Scharnhorst had been carried away wounded from the field of battle. Gneisenau had disappeared; the others were strangers to me, and I quickly found myself alone, with the balls of the enemy whistling around me.
One is almost tempted, in reading this, to agree with Görres, who, when Steffens met him at Coblentz, after the battle of Leipzig, did not scruple to express his disapprobation of the professor's military recreations altogether; for, der Gelehrte,' said he, ist verpflichtet sich für sein geistiges Werk zu erhalten.' (It is the duty of the man of letters to spend and be spent only in the cause of letters.) And to the same purpose Schelling would frequently add a postscript to his letters to Steffens, Wozu und warum solten wir uns in die Verirrungen der Welt hineinstürzen? Ist doch unser Reich nicht von dieser Welt.'-(Wherefore, and for what purpose, should we plunge ourselves into the perplexities of this world? Our kingdom is not of this world.) But the benefit which an academic man like Steffens conferred on his country, by taking part in the military movement of the times, consisted not so much in the amount of his individual services in the field, as in the moral influence of his presence and example. The presence of so many distinguished volunteers was, to the professional soldier, a continual living remembrancer, that in this war not a common point of international policy, or the mere military point of honour, but the dearest interests, the very existence of fatherland, was at stake; and when we bear in mind how gallantly the raw militiamen at Dennewitz carried the day over the experienced French soldiery, we shall, perhaps, be inclined to think that even the most unmilitary Professor Steffens, on his scraggy Rosinante, stumbling on before the front line of General York's advancing columns, was not there altogether without a purpose.
ART. III.-La Peste di Milano del 1630; libri cinque dal Canonico della Scala, Giuseppe Ripamonti, Istoriografo Milanese; volgarizzati per la prima volta dal originale Latino. (The Plague of Milan in the Year 1630. In five books, by Joseph Ripamonti, Canon of La Scala, Historiographer of Milan. Now translated for the first time from the original Latin.) Da FRANCESCO CUSANI: con Introduzione e Note. 4to. pp. 400. Milano. 1841.
Ir is surprising that this history of the tremendous pestilence, which almost depopulated Milan in 1630-just thirty-five years previous to the memorable plague-year of London-should have been suffered to remain till this time locked up in the barbarous and turgid Latin of the old canon of La Scala, its contemporary narrator. It is surprising, because this is one of those tales of terror and of marvel, which can never fail to excite the imagination, and, therefore, to command the interest of a very large body of readers. Combining the startling strangeness and the minuteness of detail by which fiction arrests our sympathies, with the absorbing interest inseparable from the constantly recurring consideration, that 'these things really were,' the story is eminently calculated to find popularity among those, who read merely for amusement. As long as the poet's 'mentem mortalia tangunt,' remains true, the circumstantial historian of any of those great calamities that, from time to time, have desolated cities, and wiped out the distinctions and inequalities of ranks and classes by the overwhelming influence of one common terror, will not want an audience. But there were circumstances attending the pestilence, which ravaged Lombardy in the seventeenth century, which may be reasonably deemed to render its history well worthy of the attention of other readers, than such as seek merely for amusement. The ethical and the political inquirer may both find phenomena in the story of Milan during that fatal year suggestive of much speculation and thought.
It might have been supposed, therefore, that some one would have ere this undertaken the task which Signor Cusani has now accomplished. But in this case, as in so many others of late years, it has been the novelist who first directed the attention of the reading world to the neglected and forgotten treasures of history. For we cannot but suppose that had Manzoni never written his celebrated novel- I promessi Sposi'-the old canon's striking history would have still remained shrouded in the repulsive garb in which it pleased him originally to clothe it.
In the vast, and indeed almost boundless continent of history,