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النشر الإلكتروني

GERMAN PLAYWRIGHTS.

gard to virtue; indeed a distinct patronage both | burg looks after him surprised; the rest kneel
of Providence and the Devil. In this manner, round the corpse; the Requiem faintly con-
does Dr. Klingemann compound his dramatic tinues;" and what is still more surprising, "the
electuaries, no less cunningly than Dr. Kitch-curtain falls." Such is the simple action and
ener did his "peptic persuaders;" and truly of stern catastrophe of this Tragedy; concerning
the former we must say, that their operation is which it were superfluous for us to speak far-
nowise unpleasant; nay, to our shame be it ther in the way of criticism. We shall only add
spoken, we have even read these Plays with a that there is a dreadful lithographic print in it,
certain degree of satisfaction; and shall de- representing "Ludwig Derrient as Ahasuer;"
clare that if any man wish to amuse himself in that very act of "stepping solemnly inte
the wood;" and uttering these final words:
We
irrationally, here is the ware for his money.
Ich aber wandle weiter-weiter-weiter!”
have heard of Herr Derrient as of the best
actor in Germany; and can now bear testimo-
A most truculent,
ny, if there be truth in this plate, that he is one
of the ablest-bodied men.
rawboned figure, "with bare legs and red
leather shoes;" huge black beard; eyes turned
inside out; and uttering these extraordinary
words:" But I go on-on-on!"

Klingemann's latest dramatic undertaking is Ahasuer; a purely original invention, on which he seems to pique himself somewhat; confessing his opinion that now when the "birth-pains" are over, the character of Ahasuer may possibly do good service in many a future drama. We are not prophets, or sons of prophets; so shall leave this prediction resting on its own basis. Ahasuer, the reader will be interested Now, however, we must give a glance at to learn, is no other than the Wandering Jew or Shoemaker of Jerusalem, concerning whom Klingemann's other chief performance in this there are two things to be remarked. The first line, the tragedy of Faust. Dr. Klingemann is the strange name of this Shoemaker: why admits that the subject has been often treated; do Klingemann and all the Germans call the that Goethe's Faust in particular has "dramatic man Ahasuer, when his authentic Christian points," (dramatische momente:) but the business name is John; Joannes a Temporibus Christi, or, is to give it an entire dramatic superficies, to for brevity's sake, simply Joannes a Temporibus? make it an ächt dramatische, a “genuinely" draThis should be looked into. Our second re-matic tragedy. Setting out with this laudable mark is of the circumstance that no Historian intention, Dr. Klingemann has produced a or Narrator, neither Schiller, Strada, Thuanus, Faust, which differs from that of Goethe in Monroc, nor Dugald Dalgetty, makes any men- more than one particular. The hero of this tion of Ahasuer's having been present at the piece is not the old Faust, doctor in philosophy, Battle of Lützen. Possibly they thought the driven desperate by the uncertainty of human fact too notorious to need mention. Here, at knowledge: but plain John Faust, the printer, all events, he was; nay, as we infer, he must and even the inventor of gunpowder; driven have been at Waterloo also; and probably at desperate by his ambitious temper, and a total Trafalgar, though in which fleet is not so clear; deficiency of cash. He has an excellent wife, for he takes a hand in all great battles and na- an excellent blind father, both of whom would tional emergencies, at least is witness of them, fain have him be peaceable, and work at his being bound to it by his destiny. Such is the pe- trade; but being an adept in the black art, he culiar occupation of the Wandering Jew, as determines rather to relieve himself in that brought to light in this Tragedy: his other way. Accordingly he proceeds to make a conspecialities, that he cannot lodge above three tract with the Devil, on what we should consinights in one place; that he is of a melancho-der pretty advantageous terms; the devil being lic temperament; above all, that he cannot die, bound to serve him in the most effectual mannot by hemp or steel, or Prussic-acid itself, butner, and Faust at liberty to commit four mortal must travel on till the general consummation, sins before any hair of his head can be harmed. -are familiar to all historical readers. Ahas- However, as will be seen, the devil proves Yorkuer's task at this Battle of Lützen seems to shire; and Faust naturally enough finds himhave been a very easy one; simply to see the self quite jockeyed in the long run. Lion of the North brought down; not by a cannon-shot, as is generally believed, but, by the traitorous pistol-bullet of one Heinyn von Warth, a bigoted Catholic, who had pretended to desert from the Imperialists, that he might find some such opportunity. Unfortunately, Heinyn, directly after this feat, falls into a sleepless, half rabid state; comes home to Castle Warth, frightens his poor wife and worthy old noodle of a Father; then skulks about, for some time, now praying, oftener curs-ger," with a rubicund, indeed quite bricking and swearing; till at length the Swedes coloured face, which Faust at first mistakes for Lay hold of him and kill him. Ahasuer, as the effect of hard drinking. However, it is a usual, is in at the death: in the interim, how- remarkable feature of this Stranger, that ever, he has saved Lady Heinyn from drowning, always on the introduction of any religious though as good as poisoned her with the look topic, or the mention of any sacred name, he of his strange stony eyes; and now his busi- strikes his glass down on the table, and gene ness to all appearance being over, he signifies rally breaks it. For some time, strong language that he must begone; thereapon, he “steps solemnly into the wood; Wasa-Faust's affairs go

Another characteristic distinction of Klingemann is his manner of imbodying this same Evil Principle, when at last he resolves on introducing him to sight; for all these contracts and preliminary matters are very properly managed behind the scenes; only the main points of the transaction being indicated to the spectator by some thunder-clap, or the like. Here is no cold mocking Mephistopheles; but a swaggering, jovial, West-India-looking "Stran

after his grand bargain. on triumphantly, on the

M

great scale, and he seems to feel pretty comfortable. But the Stranger shows him "his wife," Helena, the most enchanting creature in the world; and the most cruel hearted,-for notwithstanding the easy temper of her husband, she will not grant Faust the smallest encouragement, till he have killed Käthe, his own living helpmate, against whom he entertains no manner of grudge. Nevertheless, reflecting that he has a stock of four mortal sins to draw upon, and may well venture one for such a prize, he determines on killing Käthe. But here matters take a bad turn; for having poisoned poor Käthe, he discovers, most unexpectedly, that she is in the family way; and therefore that he has committed not one sin but two! Nay before the interment can take place, the is farther reduced, in a sort of accidental self-defence, to kill his father; thus accomplishing his third mortal sin; with which third, as we shall presently discover, his whole allotment is exhausted, a fourth, that he knew not of, being already on the score against him! From this point, it cannot but surprise us that bad grows worse: catchpoles are out in pursuit of him, " black masks" dance round him in a most suspicious manner, the brick-faced stranger seems to laugh at him, and Helena will nowhere make her appearance. That the sympathizing reader may see with his own eyes how poor Faust is beset at this juncture, we shall quote a scene or two. The first may, properly enough, be that of those "black masks."

SCENE SEVENTH. A lighted Hall. In the distance is heard quick dancing-music. Masks pass from time to time over the Stage, but all dressed in black, and with vizards perfectly close. After a pause, FAUST plunges wildly in, with a full goblet in his hand.)

FAUST (rushing stormfully into the foreground.) Ha! Poison, 'stead of wine, that I intoxicate me! Your wine makes sober,-burning fire bring us! Off with your drink!-and blood is in it too!

(Shuddering, he dashes the goblet from his hand.) My father's blood,-I've drunk my fill of that! (With increasing tumult.) Yet curses on him! curses, that he begot me ! Curse on my mother's bosom, that it bore me! Curse on the gossip crone that stood by her, And did not strangle me, at my first scream! How could I help this being that was given me } Accursed art thou, Nature, that hast mock'd me! Accursed I, that let myself be mock'd! And thou strong Being, that to make thee sport, Enclosedst the fire-soul in this dungeon, That so despairing it might strive for freedomAccur... (He shrinks terror-struck.)

No, not the fourth.... the blackest sin!

No! No! (In the excess of his outbreaking anguish, he hides his face in his hands.

O, I am altogether wretched!
(Three black Masks come towards him.)

FIRST MASK.

Hey! merry friend!

SECOND MASK.

Hey! Merry brother!

THIRD MASK (reiterating with a cutting tone.) Merry! TAUST (breaking out in wild humour, and looking round among them.

Hour Merry, then!

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Ha! ha! ha!

HELENA.

One kiss!

Take it!!

(The mask and head-dress fall from her: and she grins at him from a death's head: loud thunder: and the music ends, as with a shriek, in dissonances.)

FAUST (staggers back.)

HELENA.

The couch is ready, there! Come, Bridegroom, to thy fire-nuptials! (She sinks, with a crashing thunder-peal, into the ground, out of which issue flames.)

All this is bad enough; but mere child's-play to the "Thirteenth Scene," the last of this strange eventful history: with some parts of which we propose to send our readers weeping to their beds.

SCENE THIRTEENTH.

(The STRANGER hurls FAUST, whose face is deadly pale, back to the stage, by the hair.)

FAUST.

Ha, let me fly!-Come! Come!

STRANGER (with wild thundering tone.)
"T is over now!

STRANGER (laughing aloud.)

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Ha, down! Down!

(Thunder, lightning, and fire. Both sink. The Curtain falls.)

On considering all which supernatural transactions, the bewildered reader has no theory for it, except that Faust must, in Dr. Cabanis's phrase, have laboured under "obstructions in

FAUST.

That horrid visage!-throwing himself, in a tremor, the epigastric region," and all this of the Devi

on the STTANGER's breast.) Thou art my Friend!

Protect me!!

and Helena, and so much murder and carous ing, have been nothing but a waking dream, or other atrabilious phantasm; and regrets that the poor Printer had not rather applied to some Abernethy on the subject, or even, by

Down, thou accursed!

(He drags him by the hair towards the back-ground; at this moment, amid violent thunder and lightning, the scene changes into a horrid wilderness; in the back-ground

of which, a yawning Chasm: into this the Devil hurls

Faust; on all sides Fire rains down, so that the whole interior of the Cavern seems burning: a black veil descendo over both, so soon as Faust is got under.)

FAUST (huzzaing in wild defiance.)

one sufficient dose of Epsom-salt, on his own prescription, have put an end to the whole matter, and restored himself to the bosom of his afflicted family.

but, after all, it can profit him but little; nay many times, what is sugar to the taste may be sugar-of-lead when it is swallowed. Better were it for Müllner, we think, had fainter Such, then, for Dr. Klingemann's part, is his thunders of applause, and from fewer theatres, method of constructing Tragedies; to which greeted him. For what good is in it, even method it may perhaps be objected that there were there no evil? Though a thousand caps is a want of originality in it; for do not our own leap into the air at his name, his own stature British Playwrights follow precisely the same is no hair's breadth higher; neither even can plan? We might answer that, if not his plan, the final estimate of its height be thereby in at least, his infinitely superior execution of it, the smallest degree enlarged. From gainsaymust distinguish Klingemann: but we rather ers these greetings provoke only a stricter think his claim to originality rests on a different scrutiny; the matter comes to be accurately ground, on the ground, namely, of his entire known at last; and he, who has been treated contentment with himself and with this his with foolish liberality at one period, must make dramaturgy; and the cool heroism with which, up for it by the want of bare necessaries at on all occasions, he avows that contentment. another. No one will deny that Müllner is a Here is no poor, cowering, underfoot Play-person of some considerable talent: we underwright, begging the public for God's sake not stand he is, or was once, a Lawyer; and can to give him the whipping which he deserves; believe that he may have acted, and talked, but a bold perpendicular Playwright, avowing and written, very prettily in that capacity: himself as such; nay, mounted on the top of but to set up for a Poet was quite a different his joinery, and therefrom exercising a sharp enterprise, in which we reckon that he has critical superintendence over the German altogether mistaken his road, and these mobDrama generally. Klingemann, we under-cheers have led him farther and farther astray. stand, has lately executed a theatrical Tour, as Don Quixote did various Sallies; and thrown stones into most German Playhouses, and at various German Playwriters; of which we have seen only his assault on Tieck; a feat comparable perhaps to that "never-imagined adventure of the Windmills." Fortune, it is said, favours the brave; and the prayer of Burns's Kilmarnock weaver is not always unheard of Heaven. In conclusion, we congratulate Dr. Klingemann on his Manager-dignity the Brunswick Theatre; a post he seems made for, almost as Bardolph was for the Eastcheap waitership.

Several years ago, on the faith of very earnest recommendation, it was our lot to read one of Dr. Müllner's Tragedies, the Albanäserinn; with which, such was its effect on us, we could willingly enough have terminated our acquaintance with Dr. Müllner. A palpable imitation of Schiller's Braut von Messina; without any philosophy or feeling that was not either perfectly commonplace or perfectly false, often both the one and the other; inflated, indeed, into a certain hollow bulk, but altogether with out greatness; being built throughout on mere rant and clangour, and other elements of the most indubitable Prose: such a work could But now, like his own Ahasuer, Doctor not but be satisfactory to us respecting Dr. Klingemann must "go on-on-on;" for ano-Müllner's genius as a Poet; and time being ther and greater Doctor has been kept too long precious, and the world wide enough, we had waiting, whose seven beautiful volumes of privately determined that we and Dr. Müllner Dramatische Werke might well secure him a were each henceforth to pursue his own better fate. Dr. Müllner, of all these Play- course. Nevertheless, so considerable has wrights, is the best known in England; some been the progress of our worthy friend, since of his works have even, we believe, been then, both at home and abroad, that his labours translated into our language. In his own are again forced on our notice: for we reckon country, his fame, or at least notoriety, is also the existence of a true Poet in any country to supreme over all; no Playwright of this age be so important a fact, that even the slight promakes such a noise as Müllner; nay, many bability of such is worthy of investigation. there are who affirm that he is something far Accordingly, we have again perused the Albetter than a Playwright. Critics of the sixth banaserinn, and along with it, faithfully exand lower magnitudes, in every corner of Ger- amined the whole Dramatic works of Müllner, many, have put the question a thousand times: published in seven volumes, on beautiful paWhether Müllner is not a Poet and Dramatist? per, in small shape, and every way very fit for To which question, as the higher authorities handling. The whole tragic works, we should maintain an obstinate silence, or, if much rather say: for three or four of his comic perpressed, reply only in groans, these sixth-formances sufficiently contented us; and some magnitude men have been obliged to make two volumes of farces, we confess, are still answer themselves; and they have done it with unread. We have also carefully gone through, an emphasis and vociferation calculated to dis- and with much less difficulty, the Prefaces, pel all remaining doubts in the minds of men. Appendices, and other prose sheets, wherein In Müllner's mind, at least, they have left little; the Author exhibits the "fata libelli" defends a conviction the more excusable, as the play- himself from unjust criticisms, reports just going vulgar seem to be almost unanimous in ones, or himself makes such. The toils of sharing it; and thunders of applause, nightly this task we shall not magnify, well knowing through so many theatres, return him loud that man's life is a fight throughout: only acclaim. Such renown is pleasant food for the having now gathered what light is to be had on hungry appetite of a man, and naturally he this matter, we proceed to speak forth our ver rolls it as a sweet morsel under his tongue: I dict thereon; fondly hoping that we shall then

have done with it, for an indefinite period of | which indeed is no very mighty affair; Grilltime. parzer being naturally but a treble pipe in Dr. Müllner, then, we must take liberty to these matters; and Klingemann blowing believe, in spite of all that has been said or through such an enormous coach-horn, that sung on the subject, is no Dramatist; has never the natural note goes for nothing, becomes a written a Tragedy, and in all human probabi- mere vibration in that all-subduing volume of lity will never write one. Grounds for this sound. At the same time, it is singular enough harsh, negative opinion, did the "burden of that neither Grillparzer nor Klingemann should proof" lie chiefly on our side, we might state be nearly so tough reading as Müllner, which, in extreme abundance. There is one ground, however, we declare to be the fact. As to however, which, if our observation be correct, Klingemann, he is even an amusing artist; would virtually include all the rest. Dr. Müll- there is such a briskness and heart in him; so ner's whole soul and character, to the deepest rich is he, nay, so exuberant in riches, so full root we can trace of it, seems prosaic, not of explosions, fire-flashes, execrations, and all poetical; his Dramas, therefore, like whatever manner of catastrophes: and then, good soul, else he produces, must be manufactured, not he asks no attention from us, knows his trade created; nay, we think that his principle of better than to dream of asking any. Grillmanufacture is itself rather a poor and second-parzer again is a sadder and perhaps a wiser hand one. Vain were it for any reader to companion; long-winded a little, but peaceable search in these seven volumes for an opinion and soft-hearted: his melancholy, even when any deeper or clearer, a sentiment any finer or he pules, is in the highest degree inoffensive, higher, than may conveniently belong to the and we can often weep a tear or two for him, commonest practising advocate: except stilting if not with him. But of all Tragedians, may heroics, which the man himself half knows to the indulgent Heavens deliver us from any be false, and every other man easily waives farther traffic with Dr. Müllner! This is the aside, there is nothing here to disturb the qui- lukewarm, which we could wish to be either escence of either heart or head. This man is cold or hot. Müllner will not keep us awake, a Doctor Utriusque Juris, most probably of good while we read him; yet neither will he, like juristic talent; and nothing more whatever. Klingemann, let us fairly get asleep. Ever His language, too, all accurately measured and anon, it is as if we came into some smooth into feet, and good current German, so far as a quiescent country; and the soul flatters herself foreigner may judge, bears similar testimony. that here at last she may be allowed to fall Except the rhyme and metre, it exhibits no back on her cushions, the eyes meanwhile, poetical symptom; without being verbose, it is like two safe postillions, comfortably conductessentially meager and watery; no idiomatic ing her through that flat region, in which are expressiveness, no melody, no virtue of any nothing but flax-crops and milestones; and kind; the commonest vehicle for the com- ever and anon some jolt or unexpected noise monest meaning. Not that our Doctor is des- fatally disturbs her; and looking out, it is no titute of metaphors and other rhetorical further- waterfall or mountain chasm, but only the vil ances; but that these also are of the most lanous highway, and squalls of October wind. trivial character: old threadbare material, To speak without figure, Dr. Müllner does scoured up into a state of shabby-gentility; seem to us a singularly oppressive writer; and mostly turning on "light" and "darkness;" perhaps, for this reason, that he hovers too "flashes through clouds," "fire of heart," near the verge of good writing; ever tempting "tempest of soul," and the like, which can us with some hope that here is a touch of poeprofit no man or woman. In short, we must try; and ever disappointing us with a touch repeat it, Dr. Müllner has yet to show that of pure Prose. A stately sentiment comes there is any particle of poetic metal in him; tramping forth with a clank that sounds poetic that his genius is other than a sober clay-pit, and heroic: we start in breathless expectation, from which good bricks may be made; but waiting to reverence the heavenly guest; and, where, to look for gold or diamonds were sheer alas, he proves to be but an old stager dressed waste of labour. in new buckram, a stager well known to us, nay, often a stager that has already been drummed out of most well-regulated communities. So it is ever with Dr. Müllner: no feeling can be traced much deeper in him than the tongue; or perhaps when we search more strictly, instead of an ideal of beauty, we shall find some vague aim after strength, or in defect of this, after mere size. And yet how cunningly he manages the counterfeit! A most plausible, fair-spoken, close-shaven man; a man whom you must not, for decency's-sake, throw out of the window; and yet you feel that being palpably a Turk in grain, his intents are wicked and not charitable!

When we think of our own Maturin and Sheridan Knowles, and the gala-day of popularity which they also once enjoyed with us, we can be at no loss for the genus under which Dr. Müllner is to be included in critical physiology. Nevertheless, in marking him as a distinct Playwright, we are bound to mention that in general intellectual talent he shows himself very considerably superior to his two German brethren. He has a much better taste than Klingemann; rejecting the aid of plush and gunpowder, we may say, altogether; is even at the pains to rhyme great part of his Tragedies; and on the whole, writes with a certain care and decorous composure, to which But the grand question with regard to Mül the Brunswick Manager seems totally indif- ner, as with regard to these other Playwrights, ferent. Moreover, he appears to surpass is: where lies his peculiar sleight of hand in Grillparzer, as well as Klingemann, in a cer- this craft? Let us endeavour, then, to find out tain force both of judgment and passion; his secret, his recipe for play-making; and

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