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that he did not wish to enter with the same fervour into worldly events. However turbid they may be in themselves, from the religious medium through which he views them, they appear to him perfectly bright. This fortunate man escaped from the wild labyrinths of doubt into the citadel of belief, from whence he viewed and portrayed the storms of the world with undisturbed tranquillity of soul; human life was to him no longer a dark riddle. Even his tears reflect the image of heaven, like dew drops on a flower in the sun. His poetry, whatever its object may apparently be, is an incessant hymn of joy on the majesty of the creation ; he celebrates the productions of nature and human art with an astonishment always joyful and always new, as if he saw them for the first time in an unworn festal splendour. It is the first awaking of Adam, coupled with an eloquence and skill of expression, with a thorough acquaintance with the most mysterious relations of nature, such as high mental cultivation and mature contemplation can alone give. When he compares the most remote, the greatest and the smallest, stars and flowers, the sense of all his metaphors is the mutual attraction of created things to one another on account of their common origin, and this delightful harmony and unity of the world is again with him merely a refulgence of the eternal love which embraces the universe.

Calderon still flourished at a time when a strong inclination began to manifest itself in the other coun

tries of Europe, to that mannerism of taste in the arts, and those prosaic views in literature, which in the eighteenth century obtained such universal dominion. He is consequently to be considered as the last summit of the romantic poetry. All its magnificence is lavished in his works, as in fireworks, the most gaudy colours, the most dazzling cascades and circles, are usually reserved for the last explosion.

The Spanish theatre continued to be cultivated in the same sense, for nearly a generation after Calderon. All, however, which was produced in that time may be considered as a mere echo of the preceding productions, and nothing new and truly peculiar appeared, which deserves to be named after Calderon. A great barrenness is afterwards perceptible. Single attempts have been made to produce regular tragedies, that is to say, after the French cut. Even the declamatory drama of Diderot has found its imitators. I recollect having

read a Spanish play, the object of which was to recommend the abolition of the torture. The exhilaration to be expected from such a work may easily be conceived. Those Spaniards who are runaways from their old national taste extol highly the prosaical and moral dramas of Moratin; but we see no reason for seeking in Spain what we have as good, or, more correctly speaking, equally bad at home. The majority of the spectators have preserved themselves tolerably exempt from those foreign influences; when a bel esprit undertook a number of years ago to reduce a justly admired

piece of Moreto (El parecido en la corte) to a conformity with the three unities, the pit at Madrid were thrown into such a commotion, that the players could only appease them by announcing the piece for the next day in its genuine shape.

When external circumstances, for instance, the influence of the clergy, the oppression of the censure, and even the jealous vigilance of the people for the preservation of their old manners, oppose in any country the introduction of what passes in neighbouring states for a progress in mental cultivation, it frequently happens that the better description of heads will entertain an undue longing for the forbidden fruit, and that they first begin to admire some depravity in art, when it has elsewhere ceased to be fashionable. Certain mental maladies are so epidemical in an age, that a nation never can be secure from infection till it has once been innoculated. However, the Spaniards, it would appear, with respect to the passive illumination of the last generation, have come off with the chicken pox, while the disfiguring variolous scars are but too visible in the features of other nations. Living nearly in an insular situation, they have slept the eighteenth century, and how could they in the main have applied their time better? Should the Spanish poetry again awake in old Europe, or in the other hemisphere, it would certainly have a step to make, from instinct to consciousness. What the Spaniards have hitherto loved from native inclination, they must

learn to reverence on clear principles, and, unconcerned at the criticism which has in the interval sprung up, proceed to fresh creations in the spirit of their great poets.



Origin of the German theatre.-Hans Sachs.-Gryphius.-The age of Gottsched.-Wretched imitation of the French.-Lessing, Goethe, and Schiller.-Review of their works.-Their influence on chivalrous dramas, affecting dramas, and family pictures.-Prospect for futurity.

In its cultivated state, the German theatre is much younger than any of those of which we have already spoken, and we are not therefore to wonder, if the store of our literature in valuable original works, in this department, is also much more scanty.

Little more than half a century ago, the German literature was at the very lowest ebb in point of talent, and since that time when greater exertions first began to be made, the Germans have proceeded with gigantic strides. If the dramatic art has not been cultivated with the same success, and I may add with the same zeal, as other departments, the cause must rather perhaps be attributed to a number of unfavourable circumstances than to any want of talents.

The rude beginnings of the stage with us are as old as in other countries.* The oldest drama which we

*The first mention of the mysteries or spiritual representations in Germany, with which I am acquainted, is to be found in the

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