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stimulant, but among the weakest of his tragedies, and com'posed apparently in ill health.' The author of Pizarro is supremely stimulant; he of Torquato Tasso is too quotidian to be stimulant.' We had understood that alcohol was stimulant in all its shapes; opium also, tobacco, and indeed the whole class of narcotics; but heretofore found Poetry in none of the Pharmacopoeias. Nevertheless, it is edifying to observe with what fearless consistency Mr Taylor, who is no half-man, carries through this theory of stimulation. It lies privily in the heart of many a reader and reviewer; nay, Schiller, at one time, said that Molière's old woman seemed to have become sole Editress of all Reviews;' but seldom, in the history of Literature, has she had the honesty to unveil, and ride triumphant, as in these volumes. Mr Taylor discovers that the only Poet to be classed with Homer is Tasso; that Shakspeare's Tragedies are cousinsgerman to those of Otway; that poor, moaning, monotonous Macpherson is an epic poet. Lastly, he runs a laboured parallel between Schiller, Goethe, and Kotzebue; one is more this, the other more that; one strives hither, the other thither, through the whole string of critical predicables; almost as if we shouldcompare scientifically Milton's Paradise Lost, the Prophecies of Isaiah, and Mat Lewis's Tales of Terror.
Such is Mr Taylor; a strong-hearted oak, but in an unkindly soil, and beat upon from infancy by Trinitarian and Tory Southwesters such is the result which native vigour, wind-storms, and thirsty mould have made out among them; grim boughs dishevelled in multangular complexity, and of the stiffness of brass; a tree crooked every way, unwedgeable and gnarled. What bandages or cordages of ours, or of man's, could straighten it, now that it has grown there for half a century? We simply point out that there is excellent tough knee-timber in it, and of straight timber little or none.
In fact, taking Mr Taylor as he is and must be, and keeping a perpetual account and protest with him on these peculiarities of his, we find that on various parts of his subject he has profitable things to say. The Göttingen group of Poets, Bürger and 'his set, such as they were, are pleasantly delineated. The like may be said of the somewhat earlier Swiss brotherhood, whereof Bodmer and Breitinger are the central figures; though worthy, wonderful Lavater, the wandering Physiognomist and Evangelist, and Protestant Pope, should not have been first forgotten, and then crammed into an insignificant paragraph. Lessing, again, is but poorly managed; his main performance, as was natural, reckoned to be the writing of Nathan the Wise; we have no original portrait here, but a pantagraphical reduced copy of
some foreign sketches or scratches, quite unworthy of such a man, in such a historical position, standing on the confines of Light and Darkness, like Day on the misty mountain tops. Of Herder also there is much omitted; the Geschichte der Menscheit scarcely alluded to; yet some features are given, accurately and even beautifully. A slow-rolling grandiloquence is in Mr Taylor's best passages, of which this is one: if no poetic light, he has occasionally a glow of true rhetorical heat. Wieland is lovingly painted, yet on the whole faithfully, as he looked some fifty years ago, if not as he now looks: this is the longest article in the Historic Survey, and much too long; those Paganizing Dialogues in particular had never much worth, and at present have scarcely any.
Perhaps the best of all these Essays is that on Klopstock. The sphere of Klopstock's genius does not transcend Mr Taylor's scale of poetic altitudes; though it perhaps reaches the highest grade there; the stimulant' theory recedes into the background; indeed there is a rhetorical amplitude and brilliancy in the Messias which elicits in our critic an instinct truer than his philosophy is. He has honestly studied the Messias, and presents a clear outline of it; neither has the still purer spirit of Klopstock's Odes escaped him. We have English Biographies of Klopstock, and a miserable Version of his great Work; but perhaps there is no writing in our language that offers so correct an emblem of him as this analysis. Of the Odes we shall here present one, in Mr Taylor's translation, which though in prose, the reader will not fail to approve of. It is perhaps the finest passage in this whole Historic Survey:
THE TWO MUSES.
'I saw tell me, was I beholding what now happens, or was I beholding futurity?—I saw with the Muse of Britain the Muse of Germany engaged in competitory race-flying warm to the goal of coro
Two goals, where the prospect terminates, bordered the career: Oaks of the forest shaded the one; near to the other waved Palms in the evening shadow.
Accustomed to contest, stepped she from Albion proudly into the arena; as she stepped, when, with the Grecian Muse and with her from the Capitol, she entered the lists.
She beheld the young trembling rival, who trembled yet with dignity; glowing roses worthy of victory streamed flaming over her cheek, and her golden hair flew abroad.
Already she retained with pain in her tumultuous bosom the contracted breath; already she hung bending forward towards the goal;
already the herald was lifting the trumpet, and her eyes swam with intoxicating joy.
Proud of her courageous rival, prouder of herself, the lofty Britoness measured, but with noble glance, thee, Tuiskone: "Yes, by the bards, I grew up with thee in the grove of oaks :
"But a tale had reached me that thou wast no more. Pardon, O Muse, if thou beest immortal, pardon that I but now learn it. Yonder at the goal alone will I learn it.
"There it stands.
But dost thou see the still further one, and its crowns also? This represt courage, this proud silence, this look which sinks fiery upon the ground, I know:
"Yet weigh once again, ere the herald sound a note dangerous to thee. Am I not she who have measured myself with her from Thermopyla, and with the stately one of the Seven Hills ?"
She spake the earnest decisive moment drew nearer with the herald. "I love thee," answered quick, with looks of flame, Teutona, "Britoness, I love thee to enthusiasm ;
"But not warmer than immortality and those Palms: touch, if so wills thy genius, touch them before me; yet will I, when thou seizest it, seize also the crown.
"And, O how I tremble! O ye Immortals, perhaps I may reach first the high goal: then, O then, may thy breath attain my loosestreaming hair!"
The herald shrilled. They flew with eagle-speed. The wide career smoked up clouds of dust. I looked. Beyond the Oak billowed yet thicker the dust, and I lost them.'
This beautiful allegory,' adds Mr Taylor, 'requires no illus'tration; but it constitutes one of the reasons for suspecting that the younger may eventually be the victorious Muse.' We hope not; but that the generous race may yet last through long centuries. Tuiskone has shot through a mighty space, since this Poet saw her what if she were now slackening her speed, and the Britoness quickening hers?
If the Essay on Klopstock is the best, that on Kotzebue is undoubtedly the worst, in this book, or perhaps in any book written by a man of ability in our day. It is one of those acts which, in the spirit of philanthropy, we could wish Mr Taylor to conceal in profoundest secrecy; were it not that hereby the 'stimulant' theory, a heresy which still lurks here and there even in our better criticism, is in some sort brought to a crisis, and may the sooner depart from this world, or at least from the high places of it, into others more suitable. Kotzebue-whom all nations, and kindreds, and tongues, and peoples, his own people the foremost, after playing with him for some foolish hour, have swept out of doors as a lifeless bundle of dyed rags,—is here scientifically examined, measured, pulse-felt, and pronounced to
be living, and a divinity. He has such prolific invention,' abounds so infine situations,' in passionate scenes, is so soulharrowing, so stimulant. The Proceedings at Bow Street are stimulant enough, neither is prolific invention, interesting situations, or soul-harrowing passion wanting among the Authors that compose there; least of all if we follow them to Newgate, and the gallows: but when did the Morning Herald think of inserting its Police Reports among our Anthologies? Mr Taylor is at the pains to analyze very many of Kotzebue's productions, and translates copiously from two or three: how the Siberian Governor took on when his daughter was about to run away with one Benjowsky, who, however, was enabled to surrender his prize, there on the beach, with sails hoisted, by looking at 'his wife's picture;' how the people lift young Burgundy from the Tun,' not indeed to drink him, for he is not wine but a Duke; how a certain stout-hearted West Indian, that has made a fortune, proposes marriage to his two sisters, but finding the ladies reluctant, solicits their serving-woman, whose reputation is not only cracked, but visibly quite rent asunder, accepts her nevertheless, with her thriving cherub, and is the happiest of men;-with more of the like sort. On the strength of which we are assured that, according to my judgment, Kotzebue is the greatest dramatic genius that Europe has evolved since 'Shakspeare.' Such is the table which Mr Taylor has spread for pilgrims in the Prose Wilderness of Life: thus does he sit like a kind host, ready to carve ; and though the viands and beverage are but, as it were, stewed garlic, Yarmouth herrings, and blue-ruin, praises them as stimulant,' and courteously presses the universe to fall to.
What a purveyor with this palate shall say to Nectar and Ambrosia, may be curious as a question in Natural History, but hardly otherwise. The most of what Mr Taylor has written on Schiller, on Goethe, and the new Literature of Germany, a reader that loves him, as we honestly do, will consider as unwritten, or written in a state of somnambulism. He who has just quitted Kotzebue's Bear-garden, and Fives- court, and pronounces it to be all stimulant and very good, what is there for him to do in the Hall of the Gods? He looks transiently in; asks with mild authority; Arian or Trinitarian? Quotidian or 'Stimulant?' and receiving no answer but a hollow echo, which almost sounds like laughter, passes on, muttering that they are dumb idols, or mere Nürnberg waxwork.
It remains to notice Mr Taylor's Translations. Apart from the choice of subjects, which in probably more than half the cases is unhappy, there is much to be said in favour of these. Com
pared with the average of British Translations, they may be pronounced of almost ideal excellence; compared with the best Translations extant, for example, the German Shakspeare, Homer, Calderon, they may still be called better than indifferent. One great merit Mr Taylor has: rigorous adherence to his original; he endeavours at least to copy with all possible fidelity the turn of phrase, the tone, the very metre, whatever stands written for him. With the German language he has now had a long familiarity, and, what is no less essential, and perhaps still rarer among our Translators, has a decided understanding of English. All this of Mr Taylor's own Translations: in the borrowed pieces, whereof there are several, we seldom, except indeed in those by Shelley and Coleridge, find much worth; sometimes a distinct worthlessness. Mr Taylor has made no conscience of clearing those unfortunate performances even from their gross blunders. Thus, in that excellent version by Miss Plumptre,' we find this statement: Professor Müller could not utter a period without introducing the words with under, whether they had business there or not;' which statement, were it only on the ground that Professor Müller was not sent to Bediam, there to utter periods, we venture to deny. Doubtless, his besetting sin was mitunter, which indeed means at the same time, or the like, (etymologically, with among,) but nowise with under. One other instance we shall give, from a much more important subject. Mr Taylor admits that he does not make much of Faust: however, he inserts Shelley's version of the Mayday Night; and another scene, evidently rendered by quite a different artist. In this latter, Margaret is in the Cathedral during High-Mass, but her whole thoughts are turned inwards on a secret shame and sorrow an Evil Spirit is whispering in her ear; the Choir chant fragments of the Dies ira; she is like to choke and sink. In the original, this passage is in verse; and, we presume, in the translation also,-founding on the capital letters. The concluding lines are these:
I feel imprison'd. The thick pillars gird me.
EVIL SPIRIT. Where wilt thou lie concealed? for sin and shame Remain not hidden-woe is coming down.