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peculiar subjectiveness,* by flinging the colour of the traveller's own mind over what he sees, only serves to give greater vivacity to his descriptions. Their impassioned imaginations, swayed by their æsthetic * philosophy, dispose them to kindle into enthusiastic rapture alike at the splendid remains of classic genius, at the brilliant revival of the fine arts in Italy during the middle ages, at the really admirable creations of modern talent, and even to contemplate with satisfaction the rude, stiff, imperfect, and half-faded attempts of second-rate or uncultivated powers; wbilst a genial joviality of temperament, curiously blended with these more etherial qualities, by equally disposing them always to delight in sunsbine, good wine, and female beauty, (without detriment to their eternal and inviolable fidelity to the “ beloved one"-die geliebte-left at home,) maintains their spiritual part in a constant state of complacency, favourable to the birth of generous admiration. All this we knew long before the “ Letters of one of the Living," written during a journey to and in Italy, met our eyes, and should have said as much, probably, in answer to any inquirer who might have questioned us touching German fitness for picturesque travelling. Yet so weary, so heart-sick, are we of Italian tours, with their eternal admeasurements of standing churches and fallen temples, with their cognoscente cant and technical slang-crammed descriptions of pictures and statues, that with a loathing reluctance, subdued only by a sense of duty, did we open these little volumes.
Virtue was here, as usual, its own reward. We found no more of such description than was indispensable from a professed æsthetiker and kunst-freund (friend of the arts), the letter-writer avowing a conviction, as complete as our own, of the impossibility of conveying by words any idea whatsoever of the merits of a picture or a statue, or of the effect of a building; and in lieu of all this we bave a more lively portraiture than we at this moment recollect having before met with of Italy, animate and inanimate. Amongst other points, the remarkable beauty of form of the Italian bills, the amphitheatrical or terrace arrangement of the towns built up a mountain side by the sea coast, such as Genoa and Naples, the vegetable wealth displayed in the wild luxuriance of oranges, lemons, myrtles, and an hundred plants that we are accustomed to see laboriously reared and preserved by horticultural skill and care, and the rich tints of a southern sea and sky, are presented to us with an intensity of delight, which, even more than the graphic truth of the descriptions, places the scenes before the reader's eye. But we seem actually transplanted amongst them when the traveller vivifies these scenes with the fervid Italian life, so unlike all his and our northern habits; when he exhibits to us the streets of Florence swarming with rival mountebanks eloquently baranguing, with story-tellers, &c. &c. ; when he leads us through the silence of the desert Campagna to the Eternal City, or to
Can it be necessary at this time of day to explain that, in modern German, subjective describes the character of mind wbich stamps external objects with its own feelings and opinions objective, that which is vividly impressed by them as they are? or that-esthetic-which being taken from the Greek word alolavojai, literally means perceptive-philosopby, signifies in the same creative and somewhat fanciful language, the philosophy of the sublime and beautiful--the theory of the fine arts and of poetry?
Naples, through a clamour, a hurry, and an uproar, that alarm him with fears of having arrived at the very out-breaking of an insurrection. We incline to translate part of his visit to Mount Vesuvius, as combining specimens of his descriptive style in both kinds. We must premise that our letter-writer was associated with a party of German artists.
“ Scarcely had the carriage stopped when we were surrounded, and ere we could put out a foot, already were we torn to pieces within it; a rabble springing upon us froin all sides, who grasped us by the head and the collar, by the coat-skirts and the legs, dragged us out, and, like so many bales of merchandize to be forwarded, packed us upon donkeys. Vainly we protested with hand and foot against such forwarding; vainly we clamoured for our intended guide, Signor Salvator, who had been recommended to us as the only rational being in Resina; every one screamed to us that he was either the brother or the cousin of Salvator, or Salvator himself. As our destiny seemed irrevocably fixed, we now begged as a favour to be led to an ion, where we might leave our baggage and take some refreshment. This was granted; those who had got possession of us, shoved us, with their donkeys, into a narrow, dirty yard, and fastened the gates behind us, to cut off further competition of other donkey men. Four or five of these worthies only were now with us, and, perceiving our advantage, I asked which was Salvator. One of the most impudent instantly stepped forward, assured us by all the saints that he was Salvator, and rudely pressed us to enter his house. I seized him by the throat, and said very loudly and distinctly, • Thou liar and cheat! I know Salvator, and thou art not be! But whichever of you will fetch me Salvator shall have these two carlini. This conduct, and the offered reward, staggered the whole pack; even without, the silver sound of the carlini had been heard, and it was not long ere the gates were thrown open: we found ourselves again at large, and saw the rout shrinking back before a stately man, distinguished from the rest not so much by his dress as by his port and behaviour. He said, “You would place yourselves under the protection of Salvator, and Salvator will take care that you are treated with respect. You other folks begone, and let none of you cross my threshold.' The crowd dispersed, raving and railing indeed, but we were free.” Under the conduct of this stately guide the party ascend the bill
, attended by a donkey loaded with provisions, that they may not be obliged to visit a hermit
, called by Salvator " a rogue, wbo sells sour wine for its weight in gold." The arrangement appears to bave been fortunate, inasmuch as the hermitage, which this strange sort of hermit vehemently urged them to enter as they passed, was occupied by a singing and dancing company of officers half-seas over, and of damsels no better than they should be.
“ Higher up, vegetation suddenly ceases, and we find ourselves upon the field of death, upon the territory of utter desolation. ... Amongst the glaciers and ice-fields of the Alps a shiver seizes us, but there we see how a kindly sunbeam steals a tear from the hard mass : we hear, rushing underneath, the streams by which they fertilize the valley far below; and amidst the crystal of the ice and snow, rays of light sport in a varying, moving, glitter of colours; whilst amid these black lava-clods, these petrified billows of mud, dwells no hope of light or life, and those fearful verses inscribed by Dante over the eternal gates of hell would be here in their proper place. Laboriously and cautiously does the mule climb over the scoria, through which a new path is gradually' trodden..... We first breathed freely as we reached the foot of the ash-cone inclosing the crater. We dismounted, and, surrounded by the
great blocks of basalt with which Vesuvius has here diced, we emptied a few bottles of tears (the celebrated wine called Lachrymæ Christi), and cast a consolatory glance over the sea and the happy landscape in the valley. Before us now lay the cone-shaped summit, formed of masses of pumice-stone and of lava, and of loose ashes: no path, no way leads upwards; every forward step buries the trace of its predecessor; and one often climbs without moving, as the advanced foot slides back again.”
Up this pleasant hill they run a race, and our friend, the living letterwriter, first reaches the ridge of the crater.
“ Fearfully it thundered beneath me; storm-winds roared as though the hurricane were passing; a double pillar of fame burst upwards, and with a fearful explosion the dread hell-jaws in the deep below vomited a red-hot stone-hail, which, like unparalleled fire-works, Aung thousands of balls of light and of rockets far above our heads.. Over the inside of the crater is poured out a sulphur-slime, cracked in many places by the heat underneath, and which exhibits not only the usual sulphur-yellow, but ever-changing tints of green, blue, red and orange; and as metallic colours notoriously surpass all others in brilliancy, we saw outspread before us, so long as the sun shove, a wonderously glittering carpet; which, however, despite the magnificence that charmed the eye, had something of the horror of a gaily variegated serpent-skin. The colours gain especial vivacity from the contrast of the black bill in the middle. The process of the eruption appears to have a very regular course. A subterraneous thunder is first heard, then follows a tempest of wind, fames burst out of the black hill through she double-mouthed crater, and thereupon follows a threefold discharge of stones: the whole process lasted uniforinly from eight to ten minutes. A more kindly and soothing spectacle drew us to the highest height of the ridge; this was the setting of the sun, that sank into the sea behind Ischia, and paried from the world with a glowing kiss. The green islands swam in the purple food of ocean, and the waves broke in golden foain on the garlanded shore.”
This grows longer than we had intended, and we must needs leave Mount Vesuvius abruptly, omitting even Signor Salvator's manifold virtues and confiilence in German travellers, because there is another passage which, with little reference to the living traveller liniself, we are bent upon extracting. At Rone the letter-writer met with Thorvaldsen, and as we Aatter ourselves that the Danish Life of the great artist, reviewed in our last number but one, may bave even increased the interest our readers would naturally feel in so extraordinary a man, we shall translate what is here said of The traveller is quitting the Roman Teatro Argentino, disgusted with the performance.
“ In the lobhy I inet Thorvaldsen, who, with much friendliness, recollected our former meetings at Berlin and Dresden. Late at night he accompanied me to my villa, and invited me to seek him in his workshop the next inorning. Since this visit I have seen the dear Thorvaldsen almost daily, either at his residence, adorned with the paintings of living artists, whom he patrovizes inore beneficially than many a prince, or in his workshop. We often visit the Vatican together, yet oftener some one of the taverns, where, mingling with bis youthful countrymen, unaffectedly discarding high thoughts, and enjoying life, he smokes his cigar and einpties his foglietta (an Italian measure of wine.) In his studio are casts of all the statues and bus-reliefs that he has completed during the three-and-thirty years he has lived in Röme. There too are a crowd of great works which, aided by numerous assistants, he still has in hand. To VOL. XI. XXI.
the little wooden out-house in which he wrought his first statue, a Jason, be has built on a second and a third larger room; and at length, the world of gods and heroes that he has collected requiring a complete Olympus, he has filled the lower story of the Barberini palace with them. With each of his productions some interesting moment of the artist's life is connected, and these he readily communicates to his friends in his simple, one might say childish, manner.”
This ready communicativeness does not quite agree with Professor Thiele's account of the difficulty of obtaining information from Thorvaldsen touching himself, and, truth to tell, we place more confidence in the Dane, wholly engrossed with his illustrious countryman, and who avouches his statements with bis name, than in our anonymous living traveller, whom, well as we like him, we suspect of some little colouring for effect. We trust him in essentials, but we doubt be embellishes common-place incidents, sometimes into romance, sometimes, when he stumbles upon English tourists, into farce; at least we can no otherwise understand his stories of English lords and ladies, unless, indeed, he may chance to bave now and then taken a Cheapside haberdasher for a British peer. Upon the present occasion the story he tells, as from Thorvaldsen's own mouth, is that of the Jason, and varies from Thiele's version of it only in minor details, thus confirming our opinion of our letter-writer's kind of veracity. Having so recently narrated this anecdote, we sball not repeat it. Our letter-writer tbus proceeds ;
“ Since then (Mr. Hope's visit) Thorvaldsen is become a rich, celebrated, and, in every sense, a great man: he is worth, perhaps, half a million of dollars; he is President of the Academy; he has been decorated with ribbons and stars by all the princes of Europe; and, what is thought much more of here, Pope Leo XII. bas visited him, the Protestant, in his workshop, where Thorvaldsen, in his working dress, chisel and hammer in hand, received the Holy Father standing, whilst all the company knelt around. And how little store does Thorvaldsen set by all these distinctions, how plain and simple is his nature, bow entirely does he belong to Art and Artist-life! But this artistlife distinguishes Rome from every other place, for here only do artists really enjoy their existence, since here they hold faithfully together in cheerful association. Of this artist-life Thorvaldsen is the heart and soul. He does not shut bimself up, grandee like; he thanks God when princes and princesses, bankers and ambassadors, let himn alone, for infinitely does he prefer spending a joyous evening, in a smoke-blackened tavern, with his young kinsmen in Art.
Every artist, whatever be his station or country, is certain of a cordial reception from Thorvaldsen; and never does it occur to him that he can let himself down, because, gladsomely mingling with young men as though they were his equals, be gives himself a jovial day amidst wine and song."
How far our readers may agree with the German traveller in admiring this preference of smoking and drinking with the mad youth of Germany, over associating with good company, we leave to themselves ; and were about to conclude, when the words " wine and song" reminded us that we had said nothing of our living letter-writer's poetry. In fact poetry is now, we believe, nearly as common as reading and writing in Germany; and it would be more requisite to mention, of any given author so eircumstanced, that he is not, than of all the rest that they are, poetical. With respect to the verses thickly scattered through these two
volumes, they are for the most part given as hasty effusions, when not as improvisations ; and we must say, that those we read appeared to us so thoroughly in that light-moreover, something less poetical than the prose descriptions—that the idea of translating any of them never crossed our brain.
Art. XIII.- A Grammar of the Anglo-Saron Tongue, with a Praris. By
Erasmus Rask, Professor of Literary History in, and Librarian to, the University of Copenhagen, &c. &c. A New Edition, enlarged and improved by the Author. Translated from the Danish by B. Thorpe.
Copenhagen. 1830. 8vo. pp. 224. The appearance of the present volume supplies what has long been a desideratum in English literature. It has been a cause of complaint to all who have investigated our early vernacular remains, that there have been no guides to direct them, and that each student had to form a Grammar and a Dictionary of Saxon for himself. It is no less surprising than distressing to notice the blunders into which Hickes has fallen, and in which Elstob, Lye, Manning, and, indeed, all who have written upon the subject, lave followed him most religiously.
We are much indebted to the distinguished foreign scholar who has at length freed us, to a certain degree, from this lamentable state of things by the publication of his Saxon Grammar. In its arrangement he has taken the liberty of thinking for himself, and by doing so has shown us the errors which have originated from a superstitious adherence to the dogmas of his predecessors. An extensive acquaintance with the early languages of the north bas enabled him to explore with greater safety the intricacies of our own, and by the aid of this species of com, parative anatomy he bas, in several instances, detected the springs wbich direct and influence certain peculiarities of formation, the principle of whicb would bave probably been bidden from one who bad directed his attention solely to the study of the Anglo-Saxon language.
The limits within which we are necessarily limited prevent us from offering to our readers more than a very general outline of the work. We would, however, direct the attention of the student to the important light which Rask has thrown upon the principles of the language, by what be has advanced regarding accentuation. The darkness in which this radical organization of the Saxon has bitherto lain is marvellous, the more especially when we notice its adoption in early manuscripts, and bow essential a knowledge of it is towards a comprehension of the elements of the tongue. A pretty extensive examination of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, in which lie the proofs of the truth or the incorrectness of Mr. Rask's system, enables us to say that these manuscripts fully support the soundness of his views, and that the few instances of misapprehension and omission discoverable in bis Grammar only leave the more room for us to wonder at their paucity. The division of nouns into simple and complex, of adjectives into definite and indefinite, are new to us in England; and the clearness of this arrangement forms an admirable contrast to the endless subdivisions, exceptions, and annotations,