Not only was the Bible read, and translated, and commented upon in German at St. Gall, as formerly at Fulda, but Greek and Roman classics were copied and studied for educational purposes. Notker Teutonicus is the great representative of that school, which continued to maintain its reputation for theological and classical learning, and for a careful cultivation of the national language, nearly to the close of.
At the court of the Saxon Emperors, though their policy was thoroughly German, there was little taste for German poetry. The Queen of Otto I. If some traces of their work have been preserved to us, we owe it again to the more national taste of the monks of St. Gall and Passau. They translate some of the German epics into Latin verse, such as the poem of the "Nibelunge," of "' Walther of Aquitain," and of" Ruodlieb. The eleventh century presents almost an entire blank in the history of literature. Under the Frankish or Salic dynasty, Germany had either to defend herself against the inroads of Hungarian and Slavonic armies, or it was the battle-field of violent feuds between the Emperors and their vassals.
The second half of that century was filled with the struggles be1 Lateinische Gedichte des X. Jahrhunderts, von J. Grimm und A. Gbttingen, Berlin, Sendschreiben, an Karl Lachmann. Leipzig, The clergy, hitherto the chief support of German literature, became estranged from the German people; and the insecurity of the times was unfavorable to literary pursuits. Williram's German had lost the classical correctness of Notker's language, and the "Merigarto," and similar works, are written in a hybrid style, which is neither prose nor poetry.
The Old High-German had become a literary language chiefly through the efforts of the clergy, and the character of the whole Old High-German literature is preeminently clerical. The Crusades put an end to the preponderance of the clerical element in the literature of Germany. They were, no doubt, the work of the clergy. By using to the utmost the influence which they had gradually gained and carefully fomented, the priests were able to rouse a whole nation to a pitch of religious enthusiasm never known before or after.
But the Crusades were the last triumph of the clergy; and with their failure the predominant influence of the clerical element in German society is checked and extinguished. From the first beginning of the Crusades the interest of the people was with the knight, —no longer with the priest. The chivalrous Emperors of the Hohenstaufen dynasty formed a new rallying point for all national sympathies.
Their courts, and the castles of their vassals, offered a new and more genial home to the poets of Germany than the monasteries of Fulda and St. Poetry changed hands. The poets took their inspirations from real life, though they borrowed their models from the romantic cycles of Brittany and Provence. Middle High-German, the language of the Swabian court, became the language of poetry.
The first Middle High-German poems are written by a nun; and the poetical translation of the Books of Moses, the poem on Anno, Bishop of Cologne, and the 1" Chronicle of the Roman Emperors," all continue to breathe the spirit of cloisters and cathedral towns. And when a new taste for chivalrous romances was awakened in Germany; when the stories of Arthur and his knights, of Charlemagne and his champions, of Achilles, 2Eneas, and Alexander, in their modern dress, were imported by French and Provencal knights, who, on their way to Jerusalem, came to stay at the castles of their German allies, the first poets who ventured to imitate these motley compositions were priests, not laymen.
A few short extracts from Konrad's "Roland" and Lamprecht's "'Alexander " are sufficient to mark this period of transition. Like Charlemagne, who had been changed into a legendary hero by French poets before he became again the subject of German poetry, another German worthy returned at the same time to his native home, though but slightly changed by his foreign travels, " Reinhard the Fox. The German Minnesainger in particular were far from being imitators of the Trouveres or Troubadours. Italian,1 early in the thirteenth century. But the great mass of German lyrics are of purely German growth.
Neither the Roinans, nor the lineal descendants of the Romans, the Italians, the Provellnals, the Spaniards, call claim that poetry as their own. It is Teutonic, purely Teutonic in its heart and soul, though its utterance, its rhyme and metre, its grace and imnagcery, have been touched by the more genial rays of the brilliant sun of a more southern sky.
The same applies to the great romantic poems of that period. The first impulse came fiom abroad. The subjects were borrowed from a foreign source, and the earlier poems, such as Heinrich von Veldecke's " 2Eneid," mighl-lt occasionally paraphrase the sentiments of French poets. But in the works of HEartmann von Aue, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and Gottfried von Strassburg, we breathe again the pure German air; and we cannot but regret that these men should have taken the subjects of their poems, with their unpronounceable names, extravagant conceits, and licentious manners, from foreign sources, while they had at home their grand mythology, their heroic traditions, their kings and saints, which would have been more worthy subjects than Tristan and Isold, Schionatulander and Sigune.
There were new thoughts stirring in the hearts and minds of those men of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. A hundred years before Dante, the German poets had gazed with their eyes wide open into that infinite reality which underlies our short existence on earth. To Wolfram, and to many a poet of his time, the human tragedy of this world presented the same unreal, transitory, and transparent aspect which we find again in Dante's " Divine Comedy. Beauty, love, virtue, happiness, - everything, in fact, that moves the heart of the poet, — has a hidden reference to something higher than this life; and the highest object of the highest poetry seems to be to transfer the mind to those regions where men feel the presence of a Divine power and a Divine love, and are lost in blissful adoration.
Tilhe beginning of the thirteenth century is as great an era in the history of German literature as the beginning of the nineteenth. The German mind was completely regenerated. Old words, old thoughts, old metres, old fashions, were swept away, and a new spring dawned over Germany. The various branches of the Teutonic race which, after their inroads into the seats of' Roman -civilization, had for a time become separated, were beginning to assume a national independence, - when suddenly a new age of migration threatened to set in. They marched to the East, carrying along with them the less polished, but equally enthusiastic, nobility of Germany.
From the very first the spirit of the Roman towns in Italy and Gaul had exercised a more civilizing influence on the Barbarians who had crossed the Alps and the Rhine, whereas the Germans of Germany proper had been left to their own resources, assisted only by the lessons of the Roman clergy. Now, at the beginning of the Crusades, the various divisions of the German race met again, but they met as strangers; no longer with the impetuosity of Frainks and Goths, but with the polished reserve of a Godefroy of Bouillon and the chivalrous bearing of a Frederick Barbarossa.
The German Emperors and nobles opened their courts to receive their guests with. Their festivals, the splendor and beauty of their tournaments, attracted crowds from great distances, and foremost among them poets and singers. It was here that high-born German poets learnt from French poets the subjects of their own romantic compositions. German ladies became the patrons of German poets; and the etiquette of French chivalry was imitated at the castles of German knights. Poets made bold for the first time to express their own feelings, their joys and sufferings, and epic poetry had to share its honors with lyric songs.
Henry II. Their daughter Mathilde was married to Henry the Lion, of Saxony, and one of the ProvenGal poets has celebrated her loveliness. Frenchmen became the tutors of the sons of the German nobility. French manners, dresses, dishes, and dances were the fashion everywhere. The poetry which flourished at the castles was soon adopted by the lower ranks. Travelling poets and jesters are frequently mentioned, and the poems of the "Nibelunge" and "Gudrun," such as we now possess them, were composed at that time by poets who took their subjects, their best thoughts and expressions, from the people, but imitated the language, the metre, and the manners of the court poets.
The most famous courts to which the German poets resorted, and where they were entertained with generous hospitality, were the court of Leopold, Duke of. At the present day, when not only the language, but even the thoughts of these poets have become to most of us unintelligible and strange, we cannot claim for their poetry more than an historical interest.
But if we wish to know the men who took a leading part in the Crusades, who fought with the Emperors against the Pope, or with the Pope against the Emperors, who lived in magnificent castles like that of the Wartburg, and founded cathedrals like that of Cologne , we must read the poetry which they admired, which they composed or patronized.
The subjects of their Romances cannot gain our sympathy. They are artificial, unreal, with little of humanity, and still less of nationality in them. But the mind of a poet like Wolfram von Eschenbach rises above all these difficulties. He has thoughts of his own, truly human, deeply religious, and thoroughly national; and there are expressions and comparisons in his poetry which had never been used before.
His style, however, is lengthy, his descriptions tiresome, and his characters somewhat vague and unearthly. As critics, we should have to bestow on Wolfram von Eschenbach, on Gottfried von Strassburg, even on Hartman von Aue and Walther von der Vogelweide, as much of blame as of praise. But as historians, we cannot value them too highly. If we measure them with the poets that preceded and those that followed them, they tower above all like giants. From the deep marks which they left behind, we discover that they were men of creative genius, men who had looked at.
But the heyday of German chivalry and chivalrous poetry was of short duration. Toward the end of the thirteenth century we begin to feel that the age is no longer aspiring, and hoping, and growing. The world assumes a different aspect. Its youth and vigor seem spent; and the children of a new generation begin to be wiser and sadder than their fathers. The Crusades languish. Their object, like the object of many a youthful hope, has proved unattainable. The Knights no longer take the Cross "' because God wills it;" but because the Pope commands a Crusade, bargains for subsidies, and the Emperor cannot decline his commands.
Walther von der Vogelweide already is most bitter in his attacks on Rome. Walther was the friend of Frederick II. He was a sovereign of literary tastes, - himself a poet and a philosopher. Harassed by the Pope, he retaliated most fiercely, and was at last accused of a design to extirpate the Christian religion. The ban was published against him, and his own son rose in rebellion.
Germany remained faithful to her Emperor, and the Emperor was successful against his son. But he soon died in disappointment and despair. With him the star of the Swabian dynasty had set, and the sweet sounds of the Swabian lyre died away with the last breath of Corradino, the last of the Hohenstaufen,. Germany was breaking down under heavy burdens. It was visited by the papal interdict, by famine, by pestilence. Sometimes there was no Emperor, sometimes there were two or three.
Rebellion could not be kept under, nor could crime be punished. The only law was the "Law of the Fist. Who was to listen to romantic poetry? There was no lack of poets or of poetry. Rudolf von Ems, a poet called Der Stricker, and Konrad von Wiirzburg, all of them living in the middle of the thirteenth century, were more fertile than Hartmann von Aue and Gottfried von Strassburg.
They complain, however, that no one took notice of them, and they are evidently conscious themselves of their inferiority. Lyric poetry continued to flourish for a time, but it degenerated into an unworthy idolatry of ladies, and affected sentimentality. There is but one branch of poetry in which we find a certain originality, the didactic and satiric.
The first beginnings of this new kind of poetry carry us back to the age of Walther von der Vogelweide. Many of his verses are satirical, political, and didactic; and it is supposed, on very good authority, that Walther was the author of an anonymous didactic poem, 1" Freidank's Bescheidenheit. London, This thoughtful essay contains some important information on Thoinasin.
Hor isr tAis Xo be accounted for? Poetry was evidently changing hands again. The Crusades had made the princes and knights the representatives and leaders of the whole nation; and during the contest between the imperial and the papal powers, the destinies of Germany were chiefly in the hands of the hereditary nobility. The literature, which before that time was entirely clerical, had then become worldly and chivalrous. But now, when the power of the emperors began to decline, when the clergy was driven into taking a decidedly anti-national position, when the unity of the empire was well-nigh destroyed, and princes and prelates were asserting their independence by plunder and by warfare, a new element of society rose to the surface, - the middle classes,- the burghers of the free towns of Germany.
They were forced to hold together,in order to p rotect themselves against their former protectors. They fortified their cities, formed corporations, watched over law and morality, and founded those powerful leagues, the first of which, the Hansa, dates from Poetry also took refuge behind the walls of free towns; and at the fireside of the worthy citizen had to exchange her gay, chivalrous, and1 romantic strains, for themes more subdued, practical, and homely. This accounts for such works as Hug o von Trimberg's "Renner," as well as for the general character of the poetry of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
Poetry became a trade like any other. Guilds were formed, consisting of mastersingers and their apprentices. Heinrich Frauenlob is called the first Meistersanger; and during the four. After order had been restored by the first Hapsburg dynasty, the intellectual and literary activity of Germany retained its centre of gravitation in the middle classes. Rudolf von Hapsburg was not gifted with a poetical nature, and contemporaneous poets complain of his want of liberality. Attempts were made to revive the chivalrous poetry of the Crusades by Hugo von Montfort and Oswald von Wolkenstein in the beginning of the fifteenth century, and again at the end of the same century by the "' Last of the German Knights," the Emperor Maximilian.
But these attempts could not but fail. The age of chivalry was gone, and there was nothing great or inspiring in the wars which the Emperors had to wage during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries against their vassals, against the Pope, against the precursors of the Reformation, the Hussites, and against the Turks. In Fritsche Closener's " Chronicle " there is a description of the citizens of Strassburg defending themselves against their bishop in ; in Twinger's' Chronicle " a picture of the processions of the Flagellants and the religious enthusiasm of that time , The poems of Suchenwirt and Halbsuter represent the wars of Austria against Switzerland , and Niclas von Weyl's translation gives us a glimpse into the Council of Constance and the Hussite wars, which were soon to follow.
The poetry of those two centuries, which was written by and for the people, is interesting historically, but, with few exceptions, without any further worth. The poets wish to amuse or to instruct their humble patrons, and they do this, either by giving them the dry bones of VOL.
It might seem, indeed, as if all the high and noble aspirations of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries had been lost and forgotten during the fourteenth and fifteenth. And yet it was not quite so. There was one class of men on whom the spirit of true nobility had descended, and whose works form a connecting chain between the great era of the Crusades and the still greater era of the Reformation.
These are the socalled Mystics,- true Crusaders, true knights of the Spirit, many of whom sacrificed their lives for the cause of truth, and who at last conquered from the hands of the infidels that Holy Sepulchre in which the true Christian faith had been lying buried for centuries.
The name of Mystics, which has been given to these men, is apt to mislead. Their writings are not dark or unintelligible, and those who call them so must find Christianity itself unintelligible and dark. There is more broad daylight in Eckhart and Tauler than in the works of all the Thomists and Scotists. Eckhart was not a dreamer. He had been a pupil of Thomas Aquinas, and his own style is sometimes painfully scholastic. But there is a fresh breeze of thought in his works, and in the works of his disciples.
They knew that whenever the problems of man's relation to God, the creation of the world, the origin of evil, and the hope of salvation come to be discussed, the sharpest edge of logical reasoning will turn, and the best defined terms of metaphysics die away into mere mu. They knew that the hard and narrow categories of the schoolmen do greater violence to the highest truths of religion than the soft, and vague, and vanishing tones with which they tried to shadow forth in the vulgar language of the people the distant objects which transcend the horizon of human understanding.
They did not handle the truths of Christianity as if they should or could be proved by the syllogisms of our human reasoning. Nevertheless these Mystics were hard and honest thinkers, and never played with words and phrases. Their faith is to them as clear and as real as sunshine; and instead of throwing scholastic dust into the eyes of the people, they boldly told them to open their eyes and to look at the mysteries all around them, and to feel the presence of God within and without, which the priests had veiled by the very revelation which they had preached.
For a true appreciation of the times in which they lived, the works of these Reformers of the Faith are invaluable. Without them we should try in vain to explain how a nation which, to judge from its literature, seemed to have lost all vigor and virtue, could suddenly rise and dare the work of a reformation of the Church. With them we learn how that same nation, after groaning for centuries under the yoke of superstition and hypocrisy, found in its very prostration the source of an irresistible strength.
The higher clergy contributed hardly anything to the literature of these two centuries; and what they wrote would better have remained unwritten. At St. Gall, toward the end of the thirteenth century, the monks, the successors of Notker, were unable to sign their names. The Abbot was a nobleman who composed love-songs, a branch of poetry at all events out of place in the monastery founded by St. It is only among the lower clergy that we find the traces of genuine Christian piety and intellectual activity, though frequently branded by obese prelates and obtuse magistrates with the names of mysticism and heresy.
The orders of the Franciscans and Dominicans, founded in and , and intended to act as clerical spies and confessors, began to fraternize in many parts of Germany with the people against the higher clergy. The people were hungry and thirsty after religious teaching. They had been systematically starved, or fed with stones. Part of the Bible had been translated for the people, but what Ulfilas was, free to do in the fourth century, was condemned by the prelates assembled at the Synod of Trier in Nor were the sermons of the itinerant friars in towns and villages always to the taste of bishops and abbots.
We possess collections of these discourses, preached by Franciscans and Dominicans under the trees of cemeteries, and from the church-towers of the villages. Brother Berthold, who died in , was a Franciscan. He travelled about the country, and was revered by the poor like a saint and prophet. The doctrine he preached, though it was the old teaching of the Apostles, was as new to the peasants who came to hear him, as it had been to the citizens of Athens who came to hear St. The saying of St Chrysostom that Christianity had turned many a peasant into a philosopher, came true again in the time of Eckhart and Tauler.
Yet in secret they were yearning after that forbidden Bible. They knew that there were translations, and though these translations had. In , we find the first complete version of the Bible into German, by Matthias of Beheim. Several are mentioned after this. The new religious fervor that had been kindled among the inferior clergy, and among the lower and middle classes of the laity, became stronger; and, though it sometimes degenerated into wild fanaticism, the sacred spark was kept in safe hands by such men as Eckhart died , Tauler died , and the author of the German Theology.
Men like these are sure to conquer; they are persecuted justly or unjustly; they suffer and die, and all they thought and said and did seems for a time to have been in vain. But suddenly their work, long marked as dangerous in the smooth current of society, rises above the surface like the coral reefs in the Pacific, and it remains for centuries the firm foundation of a new world of thought and foith. Without the labors of these Reformers of the Faith, the Reformers of the Church would never have found a whole nation waiting to receive, and ready to support them.
There are two other events which prepared the way of the German Reformers of the sixteenth century: the foundation of universities, and the invention of printing. Their importance is the same in the literary and in the political history of Germany. The intellectual and moral character of a nation is formed in schools and universities; and those who educate a people have always been its real masters, though they may go by a more modest name.
Under the Roman Empire public schools had been supported by the government, both at Rome and in the chief towns of the Provinces. We know of their existence in Gaul and. With the decline of the central authority, the salaries of the grammarians and rhetors in the Provinces ceased to be paid, and the pagan gymnasia were succeeded by Christian schools, attached to episcopal sees and monasteries. Whilst the clergy retained their vigor and efficiency, their schools were powerful engines for spreading a half clerical and half classical culture in Germany.
During the Crusades, when ecclesiastical activity and learning declined very rapidly, we hear of French tutors at the castles of the nobility, and classical learning gave way to the superficial polish of a chivalrous age. And when the nobility likewise relapsed into a state of savage barbarism, new schools were wanted, and they were founded by the towns, the only places where, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, we see any evidence of a healthy political life.
The first town schools are mentioned in the beginning of the fourteenth century, and they were soon followed by the high schools and universities. These universities are a novel feature in the history of German and of European civilization. They are not ecclesiastical seminaries, not restricted to any particular class of society; they are national institutions, open to the rich and the poor, to the knight, the clerk, the citizen. They are real universities of learning: they profess to teach all branches of knowledge, - theology and law, medicine and philosophy.
They contain the first practical acknowledgment of the right of every subject to the highest education, and through it to the highest offices in Church and State. Neither Greece. It was the nation itself, when forsaken by its clergy and harassed by its nobility, which called these schools into life; and it is in these schools and universities that the great men who inaugurate the next period of literaturethe champions of political liberty and religious freedom- were fostered and formed.
The invention of printing was in itself a reformation, and its benefits were chiefly felt by the great masses of the people. The clergy possessed their libraries, where they might read and study if they chose; the castles contained collections of MSS. The art of printing admitted that large class to the same privileges which had hitherto been enjoyed almost exclusively by clergy and nobility: it placed in the hands of the third estate arms more powerful than the swords of the knights, and the thunderbolts of the priests: it was a revolution in the history of literature more eventful than any in the history of mankind.
Poets and philosophers addressed themselves no longer to emperors and noblemen, to knights and ladies, but to the people at large, and especially to the middle classes, in which henceforth the chief strength of the nation resides. The years from to form a period of preparation for the great struggle that was to inaugurate the beginning of the sixteenth century. It was an age "' rich in scholars, copious in pedants, but poor in genius, and barren of strong thinkers.
We shall here pass on more rapidly, dwelling only on the men in whose writings the political and social changes of Germany can best be studied. A change of language invariably betokens a change in the social constitution of a country. In Germany, at the time of the Reformation, the change of language marks the rise of a new aristocracy, which is henceforth to reside in the universities. Literature leaves its former homes. It speaks no longer the language of the towns.
It addresses itself no longer to a few citizens, nor to imperial patrons, such as Maximilian I. It indulges no longer in moral saws, didactic verses, and prose novels, nor is it content with mystic philosophy and the secret outpourings of religious fervor. For a time, though but for a short time, German literature becomes national.
Poets and writers wish to be heard beyond the walls of their monasteries and cities. They speak to the whole nation; nay, they desire to be heard beyond the frontiers of their country. Luther and the Reformers belonged to no class, - they belonged to the people. The voice of the people, which during. This is a novel sight in the history of Germany. We have seen in the first period the gradual growth of the clergy, from the time when the first missionaries were massacred in the marshes of Friesland to the time when the Emperor stood penitent before the gates of Canossa.
We have seen the rise of the nobility, from the time when the barbarian chiefs preferred living outside the walls of cities to the time when they rivaled the French cavaliers in courtly bearing and chivalrous bravery.
Nor were the representatives of these two orders, the Pope and the Emperor, less powerful at the beginning of the sixteenth century than they had been before. Charles V. Let us think, then, of these two ancient powers: the Emperor with his armies, recruited in Austria, Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Burgundy, and with his treasures brought from Mexico and Peru; and the Pope with his armies of priests and monks, recruited from all parts of the Christian world, and armed with the weapons of the Inquisition and the thunderbolts of excommunication: let us think of their former victories, their confidence in their own strength, their belief in their divine right: and let us then turn our eyes to the small University of Wittenberg, and into the bleak study of a poor Augustine monk, and see that monk.
We call the Reformation the work of Luther; but Luther stood not alone, and no really great man ever stood alone. The secret of their greatness lies in their understanding the spirit of the age'in which they live, and in giving expression with the full power of faith and conviction to the secret thoughts of millions. Luther was but lending words to the silent soul of suffering Germany, and no one should call himself a Protestant who is not a Lutheran with Luther at the Diet of Worms, and able to say with him in the face of princes and prelates, " Here I stand; I canido" otherwise; God help me: Amen.
If this national struggle took at first an aspect chiefly religious, it was because the German nation had freedom of thought and of belief more at heart than political freedom. But political rights also were soon demanded, and demanded with such violence, that during his own life-time Luther had to repress the excesses of enthusiastic theorists and of a violent peasantry. Luther's great influence on the lit. After the Reformation, nearly all eminent men in Germany- poets, philosophers, and historians - belonged to the Protestant party, and resided chiefly in the universities.
The universities were what the monasteries had been under Charlemagne, the castles under Frederick Barbarossa, - the centres of gravitation for the intellectual and political life of the country. The intellectual sceptre of Germany was wielded by a new nobility, - a nobility that had risen from the ranks, like the priests and the knights, but which, for a time at least, kept itself from becoming a caste, and from cutting away those roots through which it imbibed its vigor and sustained its strength.
It had its castles in the universities, its tournaments in the diets of Worms and Augsburg, and it counted among its members, dukes and peasants, divines and soldiers, lawyers and artists. This was not, indeed, an hereditary nobility, but on that very ground it is a nobility which can never become extinct. The danger, however, which threatens all aristocracies, whether martial, clerical, or municipal, was not averted from the intellectual aristocracy of Germany.
The rising spirit of caste deprived the second generation of that power which men like Luther. The moral influence of the universities in Germany was great, and it is great at the present day. But it would have been greater and more beneficial if the conceit of caste had not separated the leaders of the nation from the ranks whence they themselves had arisen, and to which alone they owed their position and their influence.
It was the same with the priests, who would rather form a hierarchy than be merged in the laity. It was the same with the knights, who would rather form a select society than live among the gentry. Both cut away the ground under their feet; and the Reformers of the sixteenth century fell into the same snare before they were aware of it.
We wonder at the eccentricities of the priesthood, at the conceit of the hereditary nobility, at the affectation of majestic stateliness inherent in royalty. But the pedantic display of learning, the disregard of the real wants of the people, the contempt of all knowledge which does not wear the academic garb, show the same foible, the same conceit, the same spirit of caste among those who, from the sixteenth century to the present day, have occupied the most prominent rank in the society of Germany. Professorial knight-errantry still waits for its Cervantes.
Nowhere have the objects of learning been so completely sacrificed to the means of learning, nowhere has that Dulcinea, - knowledge for its own sake, - with her dark veil and her barren heart, numbered so many admirers; nowhere have so many windmills been fought, and so many real enemies been left unhurt, as in Germany, particularly during the last two centuries. New universities have been founded: Marburg, in ; Kanigsberg, in ; Jena, in ; Helmstadt, in ; Giessen, in It was considered more learned and respectable to teach in Latin, and all lectures at the universities were given in that language.
Luther was sneered at because of his little German tracts which " any village clerk might have written. National poems, for instance, Brant's " Ship of Fools," were translated into Latin in order to induce the German professors to read them. The learned doctors were ashamed of their honest native names. All this might look very learned, and professorial, and imposing; but it separated the professors from the people at large; it retarded the progress of national education, and blighted the prospects of a national policy in Germany.
Everything promised well at the time of the Reformation; and a new Germany might have risen before a new France, if, like Luther, the leaders of. But when to speak Latin was considered more learned than to speak German, when to amass vast information was considered more creditable than to digest and to use it, when popularity became the same bugbear to the professors which profanity had been to the clergy, and vulgarity to the knights, Luther's work was undone; and two more.
Ambitious princes and quarrelsome divines continued the rulers of Germany, and, towards the end of the sixteenth century, everything seemed drifting back into the Middle Ages. Then came the Thirty Years' War, a most disastrous war for Germany, which is felt in its results to the present day. If, as a civil, and religious contest, it had been fought out between the two parties, - the Protestants and Roman Catholics of Germany, - it would have left, as in England, one side victorious; it would have been brought to an end before both were utterly exhausted.
But the Protestants, weakened by their own dissensions, had to call in foreign aid. England, the true ally of Germany, was too weak at home to make her influence felt abroad. At the close of the war, the Protestants received indeed the same rights as the Roman Catholics; but the nation was so completely demoralized that it hardly cared for the liberties guaranteed by the treaty of Westphalia.
The physical and moral vigor of the nation was broken. The population of Germany is said to have been reduced by one half. Thousands of villages and towns had been burnt to the ground. The schools, the churches, the universities, were deserted. A whole generation had grown up during the war, particularly among the lower classes, with no education at all. The merchants of Germany, who formerly, as 2Eneas Sylvius said, lived more hand. The Hansa was broken up. Holland, England, and Sweden had taken the wind out of her sails.
In the Eastern provinces, commerce was suspended by the inroads of the Turks; whilst the discovery of America, and of the new passage to the East Indies, had reduced the importance of' the mercantile navy of Germany and Italy in the Mediterranean. Where there was any national feeling left, it was a feeling of shame and despair, and the Emperor and the small princes of Germany might have governed even more selfishly than they did, without rousing opposition among the people.
What can we expect of the literature of such times? Popular poetry preserved some of its indestructible charms. The Meistersinger went on composing according to the rules of their guilds, but we look in vain for the raciness and honest simplicity of Hans Sachs. Some of the professors wrote plays in the style of Terence, or after English models, and fables became fashionable in the style of Phoadrus. But there was no trace anywhere of originality, truth, taste, or feeling, except in that branch which, like the palm-tree, thrives best in the desert, - sacred poetry.
Paul Gerhard is still without an equal as a poet of sacred songs; and many of the best hymns which are heard in the Protestant churches of Germany date from the seventeenth century. Soon, however, this class of poetry also degenerated on one side into dry theological phraseology, on the other into sentimental and almost erotic affectation. There was no hope of a regeneration in German literature, unless either great political and social events should rouse the national mind from its lan.
Now, after the Thirty Years' War, there was no war in Germany in which the nation took any warm interest. When the Protestants would no longer fight his battles, Louis roused the Turks. Vienna was nearly taken, and Austria owed its delivery to Johann Sobiesky. By the treaty of Ryswick , all the country on the left side of the Rhine was ceded to France, and German soldiers fought under the banners of the Great Monarch.
The only German prince who dared to uphold the honor of the empire, and to withstand the encroachments of Louis, was Frederick William, the great Elector of Prussia He checked the arrogance of the Swedish court, opened his towns to French Protestant refugees, and raised the house of Brandenburg to a European importance. In the same year in which his successor, Frederick III. Prince Eugene and Marlborough restored the peace and the political equilibrium of Europe. In England, the different parties in Parliament, the frequenters of the clubs and coffee-houses, were then watching every move on the political chess-board of Europe, and criticising the victories of their generals and the treaties of their ambassadors.
In Germany, the nation took but a passive part. It was excluded from all real. While the policy of Louis XIV. No doubt, the literature of France stood far higher at that time than that of Germany. But the professorial poets who had failed to learn the lessons of good taste from the Greek and Roman classics, were not likely to profit by an imitation of the spurious classicality of French literature. They heard the great stars of the court of Louis XIV. They were delighted to hear that in France, in Holland, and in Italy, it was respectable to write poetry in the modern vernacular, and set to work in good earnest.
After the model of the literary academies in Italy, academies were founded at the small courts of Germany. Men like Opitz would hardly have thought it dignified to write verses in their native tongue had it not been for the moral support which they received from these academies and their princely patrons.
His first poems were written in Latin, but he afterwards devoted himself completely to German poetry. He became a member of the " Order of the Palm-tree," and the founder, of what is called the First Silesian School. Opitz is the true representative of the classical poetry of the VOL. Germany had not yet recovered from the terrible fate brought upon her by foreigners as a consequence of the great reformation. The glory of Luther's mighty work his people paid for, in the thirty years' war, by the most terrible ruin that ever befell a great nation.
Subsequently, divided into hundreds of little states, Germany fell an easy prey, at the beginning of this century, to the most skillful general of the age who had sole control of the immense resources, not only of France, but of a large number of allied German and Italian states.
The national regeneration, though it was only a partial one, which caused and followed the expulsion of the French in , found Goethe too old a man to be stimulated by it. His Charles A. Schiller, who was ten years younger and endowed with a different temper, was far more under the influence of the events of his time, especially the French revo- lution ; his tendency was more readily fixed, because he lacked the wide range of the older poet and was less likely to be diverted from the line of work which gave him at once such brilliant promise of success.
Schiller had suffered oppression, hence his fiery outburst of suppressed feeling in the Robbers. Goethe had more or less enjoyed life — he had been rather fortunate in all he had undertaken, hence his temper remained genial ; it never became revolutionary ; and while he very well saw that with the success of the French revolution, after the cannonade of Valmy, a new era of history had begun cf. Cam- pagne in Frankreich he judged rightly that the fanatical fury of the French did not suit the Germans. His life became con- templative, because no great misfortune stirred his indignation ; his poetry epic and lyric rather than dramatic, because the con- flicts in which he was involved were of an inward, personal nature, and he stood aloof from the greater political life that goes on in a great state and throbs at a great capital.
Hence the absence of violent contrasts in his dramas, of passion un- controlled, and wickedness pure and simple. His Mephistopheles even is not a devil of such incarnate wickedness as Shakespeare's Iago. There is not a ray of humanity in Iago, but Goethe's Mephistopheles is at least humorous at times, and he never tries to appear better than he is. Is Iago, therefore, a more artistic figure than Mephistopheles? I doubt that greatly, but he is undoubtedly a more dramatic one. Goethe was imbued with the modern view of natural history which sees in the world an infinite series of transitions, and nowhere an abrupt contrast.
He did not believe in com- pletely bad men as Shakespeare did, and, therefore, he did not paint such. In this we cannot help finding his undoubted superiority over Shakespeare and almost all other poets of the 44 Goethe. But he knew that men can be very weak when tempted, and he painted such men with the irresistible truthful- ness of genius. This is already clearly visible in his Werther and his Goets. The striking originality of these two works can be denied only by a doctrinaire of the worst type — and by Professor Dowden, let us add, when he is not quite himself.
But in all of these we meet with not a single character that is thoroughly bad or so moved by passion, or by a wicked purpose, as to excite our indignation. They satisfy the demands of the highest intelligence, and it is true that the highest intelligence, any more than the best taste, is not found with the multitude. It is, however, also true, and deserves to be noted as a proof of the marvelous power of the poet's genius, that, though devoid of the popular elements of intense passion and ferocious hatred, some of his works have had a popular success of the most pronounced type.
No play on the stage is more successful, even in a popular sense, than Faust ; few equal Egmont in effectiveness — one must have seen the play well acted to appreciate this — ; while Hermann und Dorothea has always been dear to the whole German people, and has been praised by other nations wherever it has become known. Tasso and Iphigenie as dramas are great and perfect works of art, but they appeal to the cultured few rather than the masses ; and the same may be said of the two great novels.
Whether or not Goethe might have produced more dramas of a type to attract the masses, if he had been placed in a city like London in the stirring age of Elizabeth, or in Paris at the court of a luxurious and glory-loving king like Louis XIV. If Professor Dowden, or any one else, should answer it in the negative, I should feel that no particular injustice were done to Goethe.
Goethe would not be Charles A.
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The dramatic intensity of Othello and Macbeth is very different from the moral and soulful pathos in Faust, Egmont, Tasso, Iphigenie ; but to say that the former is necessarily superior to the latter is to assume that one knows to the very core the art and the genius of both Shakespeare and Goethe.
Professor Dowden may be justified in his assumption of such a knowledge, but that it is an assumption and nothing else will scarcely be doubted by any one who will take the pains to study the works of Goethe. Chicago, Iu,. In the library of the University of Gottingen, under the cipher Cod. PhiloL, , is to be found the manuscript of a Low German ballad, which according to the introductory title had been composed to commemorate the futile attempt of Gen- eral Piccolomini to take the town of Gottingen during the thirty years' war in The ballad had been composed by a Gottingen student and seems to have enjoyed much popularity among the townspeople.
A further search revealed the fact that there existed also a printed copy of the poem upon a sheet of coarse unsized paper, and, further, that the manuscript was only a copy of the printed text made evidently by some one who desired to obtain the words and was unable to purchase a printed copy, the edition having been most likely very limited. This I judge to be the case as the title of the piece clearly states, that it was printed at the request of many good friends by a local printer and presumably, therefore, had a very limited circulation.
Be that, however, as it may, the MS. As alluring as it is to imagine that the song was written shortly after the events it describes and sung by the happy burghers in gratitude for their deliverance, the length of time which elapsed before it was printed in renders this im- probable. It is more likely that its student author was not a contemporary of Piccolomini but that he lived a century later and being perhaps a native of Gottingen, had become interested in this episode of the town's history and so worked it up into ballad form.
This is, however, only a theory and it is possible that further search might reveal additional evidence which would definitely settle the date of composition. The manuscript was purchased for the Gottingen library by Professor Roessler in together with various other manuscripts and original documents.
The ballad does not appear in Ditfurth's collection of Historische Volkslieder and, as far as I have been able to discover, has never been reprinted. Before giving the text of the poem, it will perhaps be well to describe in brief the events which it commemorates. It was toward the close of the thirty years' war when the imperial forces laid siege to the town of Gottingen. The Arch- duke inarched with his entire army to Einbeck, a 'small town about twenty miles north of Gottingen, which he captured in a few days. Taking up his headquarters at Northeim, about twelve miles from Gottingen, he sent a summary demand to this latter place to surrender.
This the magistrates refused to do, pleading as an excuse their duty and oath to their sovereign the Duke of Braunschweig-Liineburg. Thereupon Archduke Leopold, with the Bavarian general Octavio Piccolomini and the imperial army, made his appearance before the town. This was on October 21 of the year In all probability Pic- colomini was the actual leader of the forces as in the ballad he plays the principal role. In the surrounding villages they threw up breastworks and dug trenches. The inhabitants of the town courageously made two sorties, in both of which they were successful, capturing among others a lieutenant-colonel, a captain and a lieutenant.
The besiegers replied by a pro- longed bombardment of the town, lasting from between eight and nine in the evening to two o'clock in the morning. In spite of the fact that large fire-balls weighing about one hundred and fifty pounds were thrown into the town, but comparatively little damage was done, especially by fire, owing to the vigilance of the citizens.
During the bombardment, says the historian, there was visible between eleven and twelve o'clock, as a special token of the grace of God, directly over the town, a clearly defined rainbow adorned with the appropriate colors. After vainly attempting to take the town, in the night of the sixth of November, the imperial army abandoned the siege and stole silently away.
So much for the historical account of the siege. Without stopping long to inquire into the veracity of the historian or as to the probability of such an extraordinary phenomenon as a rainbow at midnight, it might be said in passing that such an occurrence is not impossible. Provided only that the moon was Daniel B.
Nah sihner eigenen Meldie. Picclemin, wat wuttu dauhn, Wuttu verdeinen dat Kayser L,ohn, En grater Generahl blieven, Sau maustu henna Gbttingen thein, Un maust sei da verdrieven. Asze hei nun boven Elligehusen kam, Da deen dei Kayserschen gegen ohiri stahn, Sei wohren hahch vermahten, Sei deen tau Boveden ower marcheren, Sei wollen den Rosen upfraten.
Oberste Rose sprack sine Saldaten an, Jii Brunswikker daut nah Gottingen gahn, Un daut jock tapper wehren, Un wenn dei Kayserscben acbter jock kobmen, Will eck meek bable iimkahren. Asze recbt dei Scharmiitzel soil ergabn, Un nun ein Kabrl bihn annern stahn, Da deen dei Kaysersclien uhtrihten; Sei leipen uht der ersten in dei annern Scbantze, Dat Gewehr deen sei wegschmihten.
Hei siilwenst wohrt gefangen nohinen, Dat dorfft hei neimand klagen. Asze hei dei Schantze un weer flickt, Un naher nah der Stadt herruckt, Woll hei nich langer teufen. Hei brochte achte Stiicke an der Thahl, Dei sollen Gottingen bedreufen. Dat hett meek leider Wunder. Wat was 6t doch vor Einbeck gauth, Dei Borgers hadden ennen schlechten Mauth, Asze wie dat Fiier nin schmehten, Dei Gottingers lachet osk noch dartau uht, Soil osk dat nich verdreiten.
Isz denn nun hier kein mann bekand, Dei osk brocht in ein anner Land, Wie mochten hie werden erschlagen, Un wenn dei Schweden achter osk kohmen, Konne wie dat nich verdragen. Sau geht denn hen den Brick den Brack, Vor Gottingen konne wie nich blieven. Dei Papen hadden nich gerne vernohmen, Dat sey nich wohrn in Gottingen kohmen. For as is well known, and has been very ably expressed in an article Der Bauer und die Kunst Preussiscke Jahrbiicher, January, , the gulf which education and refinement has to-day placed between the cultured classes and the peasants did not formerly exist.
In physiognomy and in nature the upper classes and peasants during the Middle Ages and down almost to the eighteenth century were practically identical. This humor is especially instanced in one passage of our poem which, however, because of its broadness is offensive to modern ears.
Still it is entirely free from cynicism and illustrates only the naive standpoint of a man who is accustomed to call a spade a spade. Although beneath the title of the poem stand the words, Nah sihner eignen Meldie, the unknown author owed the metre of the song and the very rhymes of the opening stanzas to another Low German song very popular at the time. The opening stanzas are as follows : Due Krequi, hor, wat wultu dohn?
Wultu verwarft'n dat grote L,ohn, En got Frantzose bliefen? So mostu hen na Trier gahn De Dutschen dar weg driefen. Ach setestu biem Griitte-Pott, Et mochte dick wol baten. The similarity of this song to the other is too obvious to be overlooked and one is at once tempted to consider one as an imitation of the other. If we assume that the Gottingen poem was written but a short time before the date of its printing, the poem on the battle of Treves might very well have served as a model for the former. The similarity, however, is confined mainly to the opening stanza and this leads us to consider a second possibility, namely, that each poem arose independently of the other but in imitation of an older poem whose popularity and circulation were such as to cause it to be taken as the model for many poems of like nature.
An investigation has shown that this is, in fact, the case, the model being the famous ballad of Henneke Knecht, published by Bohme, Altdeutsches Liederbtich, as No. The author of the poem on the battle of Treves puts us on the right track by remarking under the title of the poem: "To singen na der Wiese: Henneke Knecht wat wultu dohn," etc. This ballad of Henneke Knecht is a capitally humorous account of a young farmer's lad, who runs away to sea in the belief that the life of a sailor must be infinitely superior to the dull drudgery of the farm. No sooner, however, does he begin to feel the discomforts of that woeful malady seasickness than he wishes himself once more home.
It is, as Bohme says, a good example of the failure to observe the advice of the old proverb: "Schuster bleib bei deinem Leisten. Baring, who was the first to rescue it from oblivion, speaks of it as follows: "Es ist das Henneke Knechts-Lied vor Jahren so bekannt gewesen, dass es Dayiiel B. Skumway, 55 fast bei alien Zusamrnenkunften, bey der Wiegen, und von den Kindern auf der Gassen auch sogar denen Vogeln vorgepfiffen und gesungen worden ist. A comparison of the three ballads shows that the author of the one on the battle of Treves followed the Hcnneke Knecht closely in the first two stanzas and then, inspired by his own theme, struck out on independent lines and does not seem to have glanced at or thought of the model again.
The result is a poem of decided merit, perfectly original with the exception of the opening stanzas. The unknown Gottingen student, who described the siege of the town, evidently considered his muse too feeble to attempt an independent flight, or else felt that the very similarity of his poem to the original might guarantee its popularity, and followed the older poem so slavishly that almost every stanza bears evidence of copying. Ik geve dek en par nier schoh, den plog kanst du wol driven. Compare with that the first stanza of our poem : Picclemin, wat wuttu dauhn, Wuttu verdeinen dat Kayser L,ohn, En grater Generahl blieven, Sau maustu henna Gottingen thein, Un maust sei da verdrieven.
It will be noticed that each stanza consists of five lines, the first two rhyming with each other, then the third and fifth rhyming, while the fourth is in all cases unrhymed. With the 56 A Low German Ballad. The first half of the second stanza is similarly identical. In Henneke Knecht it runs : Henneke sprak sek en trotzich wort ' ' Ik wil nenen buren deinen vort solk arbeit wil ek haten.
This our author has retained as follows : Picclemin sprak en hastig Wohrt Eck will deu Kayser deiuen fohrt Den Brunswikker helpen kahten. Even the word Jiastig which he substituted for trotzich occurs in the next stanza of H. The first line of the fourth stanza of H. Similarly the beginning of the fourth stanza : Asze hei nun boven Elligehusen kam Da deen dei Kayserschen gegen ohm stahn seems to have been modeled on the sixth stanza of H. For the thirteenth stanza our author borrows the rhyme Sakk: Drakk from the eighth of H.
The remainder of the poem is freer from imitation of the older one. Only in two places is a similarity to be found. The twelfth stanza of H. This we find reproduced in the nineteenth stanza of our poem: Isz denn nu hier kein mann bekand Dei bsk brocht in ein anner land The opening line of the concluding stanza is likewise copied from H. With reference to the dialect, the two poems are quite inde- pendent. This is, of course, to be expected as the form of so popular a ballad as H. Most probably he had learnt it orally and in the forms of his native dialect.
The dialect of our poem is as well as I can make out that of Gottingen. Older 6 appears in the Gottingen poem as an, e. The vowel of the pret. Old at appears in H. The diphthong io appears in H. In both poems, however, verdienen appears as verdeinen. Original e before r appears in Gottingen as a: harte Herz as usual in Plattdeutsch ; in H.
This would seem to point to a dialect bordering on the Midland German as does also the retention of the old qu in the preterite of kommen. Jellinghaus, Zur Einteilnng der niederdeutschen Mundartcn, p. An exception to this is found in the pret. This agrees with Jellinek's description of the dialect p. The rhyme with schot may have influenced the spelling of grot, as older au generally appears as 5, cf. In the case of Lohn, High German may have influenced the spelling, as it rhymes with dauhn. The Gottingen poem is not entirely free from High German forms. In many cases these are proper names or technical terms, such as Oberste y Daniel B.
In one or two cases, however, High German forms occur where no good reason exists. This is especially the case in the rhyme Seiten: gleiten, where H. The name of the deity also occurs in High German form : Gott. This is, however, to be expected as the L,ow German had yielded before this time to the High German as the language of the Church. University of Pennsylvania. The play gained great popularity from the very start, so that it made conquest of the stage throughout Germany and Austria-Hungary in an astonishingly short time.
I have before me the thirty- fourth edition S. Fischer, Berlin , published in , when the play was hardly one year old. Woerner in her excellent little book on Gerhart Hauptmann. It is indeed the mysterious maiden from the strange land of romanticism, the Mignon of the end of the nineteenth century, who offers the treasures of symbolism, fairy tale and wilful fancy to our work-a-day world. This is the only one of Hauptmann's plays entirely in metrical form ; the metres employed are the tragic iambic verse of five stresses ; the heroic couplet ; Knittelvers, and irregular lyrical metres.
It has five acts, and following the example of Ibsen no divi- sion into scenes within the acts. In the subsequent narrative of the action of the play I shall take the liberty of forming somewhat arbitrary groups of events according to dramatic con- sanguinity, if that term may be permitted, instead of the tradi- tional and merely formal division according to the entries and exits of the characters. In Act I we are at once introduced into the atmosphere which pervades the whole play, that of mountain and forest, meadow and fountain, and the mysteries of its teeming life in the guise of the creations of the fairy tale.
There is a little gold-haired elf, Rautendelein Red Annie , mischievous, careless, eager for life, concerned only about the sunshine and the joys of her present existence ; there is Nickelmann, the watersprite, who inhabits a fountain, ugly, old, froglike, whose " Brekekekex, quorax, quorax " reminds us of Aristophanes' Frogs. He wants the lovely Rautendelein for his wife, but is scorned by her. Next appears the Waldschrat, the traditional satyr, the goatlike wanton of the woods, representing the baser side of animal existence, sensual, vulgar, fond of any kind of mischief regard- less of the consequences.
The second scene begins with Heinrich, severely injured, dragging himself upon the mountain. He is still a young man, surely not beyond the thirties, a bell founder by profes- sion. We learn his story from his conversation with the other persons of the scene, Rautendelein and Wittichen, the old woman of the forest, who is the only one speaking a dialect — the dialect of the Silesian mountains, Hauptmann's native place — and is full of homely wisdom and woodcraft. While hauling a bell that he had cast for a church on the top of the mountain to its place of destination, wagon, bell and himself had suddenly been hurled down a precipice into a lake which had swallowed up the bell.
A mystery surrounds the event. Heinrich has no distinct recollection of it. We are left to infer that the spirits of the woods, hating the bell and the religious tendencies symbolized by it, caused the disaster. At the same time we are made to feel that Heinrich's suffering, perhaps even his fall, is due to some mysterious psychic cause. As Rautendelein speaks to him, a strange transformation takes place in him. A glow of warmth, passion, hope and enthusiasm comes over him. He entreats her not to leave him — to kiss him. In this scene lies the beginning of the dramatic action.
Rautendelein cannot 62 Die Vcrsunkenc Glocke. She sees his tears and is perplexed, for being an elf she does not know tears. Heinrich falls asleep exhausted, and Rautendeleiu draws a magic circle about him to keep off intruders. In the third scene appear, allured by the Waldschrat's mock- ing cries of help, the preacher, schoolmaster and barber from Heinrich's village, who have gone forth to seek him.
The three are typical representatives of life in a small village ; the preacher of the comfortable conventional Christianity, intolerant to fanaticism, determined to maintain the existing order under all circumstances. The schoolmaster stands for shallow and pedantic rationalism. He does not believe in witchcraft or ghosts, but charges his manifest dread to the possible presence of thieves, murderers and smugglers in the woods.
The barber is the vicious, vulgar gossip monger that makes him a familiar figure in popular stories in Germany. They find Heinrich and Wittichen. There is an encounter between them and Wittichen in which their two conflicting views of life are plainly exposed. They take Heinrich with them. In a closing scene fairy life holds full sway again as in the beginning. After a chorus of elves the dramatic action moves one step farther. Rautendelein suddenly discovers tears dropping from her eyes : the symbol of her transformation. She now feels sympathy, yearning for human society, and determines to follow Heinrich.
Nickelmann tries vainly to dissuade her. The act ends with her departure and a final mournful " Quorax! Act II. The second act is also expository. The scene is laid in Heinrich's home " in the valley," at the foot of the mountain forest. The first scene gives a charming picture of conjugal love and devotion. His wife, Magda, has dressed their two children for the celebration of her husband's masterpiece, which is to take place as soon as a white flag announces that the bell is safely hung in its place.
Magda's grief, her solicitude, her attempts to cure and encourage, are extremely pathetic. In a dialogue between husband and wife it becomes clear that he has ceased to love her. The poet evidently wants to give us the impression that he has outgrown the world in which they have been happy together. To her he is the master who has reached the pinnacle of fame, while he tells her that this bell was not perfect but had a hidden crack.
He wishes to die. Magda leaves the house in order to bring in a woman known for great healing powers. We feel that the tie between husband and wife is broken: the third step iu the dramatic action. As soon as Magda has gone, Rautendelein conies disguised as a servant maid. At first Heinrich thinks he dreams. Very soon, however, after she " has opened his eyes by a kiss," his hopefulness and zest return. She puts him to sleep through incantations. Upon awakening Heinrich bursts out into the words of joy and hope, p.
Aus welchem Schlaf erwach' ich. Welches Morgens Sonne dringt durch's offne Fenster, mir die Hand vergoldend? O Morgenluft! Nun, Himmel, ist's dein Wille, ist diese Kraft, die durch mich wirkt und wiihlt, dies gliihend neue Drangen meiner Brust: ist dies ein Wink, ein Zeichen deines Willens — wolan, so wollt ich, wenn ich je erstunde, noch einmal meinen Schritt ins Leben wenden, noch einmal wiinschen, streben, hoffen, wagen — und schaffen, schaffen.
Perceiving the signs of his recovery she bursts into a cry of joy. There the act ends. The knot is now tied, the tension is very high. Frau Magda thinks her husband is given back to her ; the observer is in sus- pense. The following act dispels all doubt. Heinrich belongs to Rautendelein. The third act is, with the exception of the closing words, by far the weakest of the play.
There is no progress whatever in the dramatic action. The purpose of the act is to show Heinrich in his new calling. Heinrich has left wife and children, and his human brethren in the village, to dwell in the mountains with Rautendelein. There, near his workshops, this act takes place. It has only two scenes. The first is a fairy scene between Nickelmann, Waldschrat, and later Rautendelein, for the purpose of acquainting the audience with the occur- rences intervening between the second and third acts.
Nickel- mann mourns the loss of Rautendelein to Heinrich, Waldschrat mocks him with insinuating vulgarities, and Rautendelein is happy and proud. The second part of the act is given to a lengthy dialogue between the preacher and Heinrich. The former comes to reclaim Heinrich for his wife and children, and for human society, looking upon him as a victim of the superhuman powers of Rautendelein. The irreconcilable conflict between the views of the preacher and Heinrich, the Christian and the pagan, becomes more and more manifest. At last, as the preacher sees the hopelessness of his appeals to his priestly authority, he reminds Heinrich of his duty toward his deserted wife and children.
Heinrich has nothing to answer, but words of pity as sounding as they are insincere, and the excuse that he has no power to help them. The act ends with the very impressive words of the preacher in speaking of the submerged bell, p. Denkt an mich! The catastrophe comes in the fourth act. We find Heinrich in his workshop in the midst of his activity with six dwarves assisting him.
We learn to our surprise that he, the bell founder, has expanded his capacities to an astonishing degree. He is erecting a building, half temple, half kingly castle, on the Martin Schidze. Besides, he is mining the hidden treasures of the earth. In short, he has become a sort of Prometheus. But his activity is nervous and restless. He scolds his helpers, and maltreats them with the cruelty of the man that has to drown the insistent voice of remorse and doubt in his own mind. The preacher's words begin to show their effect.
After giving expression to his self-tormenting thoughts in a monologue he falls asleep on his couch. Nickelmann appears to him from a water trough, not iii his usual character of a comparatively subordinate water sprite, but as an evil spirit, a tormentor, the embodiment of the evil conscience, like the evil spirit appearing to Gretchen in the cathedral scene in Faust. He recounts Heiurich's guilty deeds in fiendish glee to him and tells him that all his efforts will be futile. Upon awakening, Heinrich calls for Rautendelein who vainly tries to comfort him.
We begin to see that her power over him is waning.
Body "Kronenburger Str."
All her entreaties, her love, her devotion, admiration and unbounded confidence in him cannot give him the old ambition and hopefulness. The voice of doubt in his heart will not be silenced. Suddenly the mocking calls of the Waldschrat are heard outside, announcing the arrival of the enraged villagers bent on stoning Heinrich and burning his work. A stone flung through the window strikes Rautendelein. Heinrich rushes out driving off the aggressors.
After his victorious return, at the end of a scene between him and Rautendelein, over which the anguish of impending disaster hangs like a thundercloud, Heinrich lends voice to his final estrangement from his spirit of life, Rautendelein. His words, P- 1 37' " Sieh: tief und ungeheuer dehnt der Raum mid kiilil zur Tiefe sich, wo Menschen wofmen. Ich bin em Mensch. Kannst du dies fassen, Kind ; fremd und daheim dort unten — so hier oben fremd und daheim.
Kannst du das fassen? He feels himself a different being from her. The disaster now is unavoidable. It is introduced by a scene of an almost dreadful dramatic power. As Heinrich is continu- ing' his dialogue with Rautendelein, he pauses at intervals to listen to sounds from below. We have the words of the preacher at the end of the third act still in our ears : " Sie klingt euch wieder, Meister.
And there, something comes creeping slowly up the mountain from the lake, dragging something heavy upon the slope of the mountain. It approaches nearer and nearer. Heinrich recognizes the spirits of his two children carrying a pitcher filled with " something salt and bitter," as they tell him. It is the tears of their deserted mother. We see the whole situation as in a flash of lightning. Heinrich's wife has found her death in the silent lake, both his children have died — his guilt could not be brought before his and our eyes with more crushing force. And the bell is the herald of his guilt.
The old preacher spoke truth. In the madness of his despair Heinrich curses Rautendelein and casts her out. Act V. Winners Archive. ISPO Textrends. Digital Sourcing. Sport Goes on the "Outdoor Mission" in More news. ISPO Newsletter. News Ticker daily. ISPO Newsletter monthly. Everything about new products, news, trends, business strategies and analyses from the world of sports - fresh in your mailbox!
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