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gilt letters, of such Philosophy and Art as is | fool in low-lying, high-fenced lanes: retracing the footsteps of the former, to discover where he deviated, whole provinces of the Universe are laid open to us; in the path of the latter, granting even that he have not deviated at all, little is laid open to us but two wheel-ruts and two hedges.

here taught in the form of Grammar and Rhetorical Compend: yet Coleridge's works were triumphantly condemned by the whole reviewing world, as clearly unintelligible; and among readers they have still but an unseen circulation; like living brooks, hidden for the present under mountains of froth and theatrical snowpaper, and which only at a distant day, when these mountains shall have decomposed themselves into gas and earthly residuum, may roll forth in their true limpid shape, to glad den the general eye with what beauty and everlasting freshness does reside in them. It is admitted, too, on all hands, that Mr. Coleridge is a man of "genius," that is, a man having more intellectual insight than other men; and strangely enough, it is taken for granted, at the same time, that he has less intellectual insight than any other. For why else are his doctrines to be thrown out of doors, without examination, as false and worthless, simply because they are obscure? Or how is their so palpable falsehood to be accounted for to our minds, except on this extraordinary ground; that a man able to originate deep thoughts (such is the meaning of genius) is unable to see them when originated; that the creative intellect of a Philosopher is destitute of that mere faculty of logic which belongs to "all Attorneys, and men educated in Edinburgh ?" The Cambridge carrier, when asked whether his horse could "draw inferences," readily replied, "Yes, any thing in reason;" but here, it seems, is a man of genius who has no similar gift.

On these grounds we reckon it more profitable, in almost any case, to have to do with men of depth, than with men of shallowness: and were it possible, we would read no book that was not written by one of the former class; all members of which we would love and venerate, how perverse soever they may seem to us at first; nay, though, after the fullest investigation, we still found many things to pardon in them. Such of our readers as at all participate in this predilection will not blame us for bringing them acquainted with Novalis, a man of the most indisputable talent, poetical and philosophical; whose opinions, extraordinary, nay, altogether wild and baseless as they often appear, are not without a strict coherence in his own mind, and will lead any other mind, that examines them faithfully, into endless considerations; opening the strangest inquiries, new truths, or new possibilities of truth, a whole unexpected world of thought, where, whether for belief or denial, the deepest questions await us.

In what is called reviewing such a book as this, we are aware that to the judicious craftsman two methods present themselves. The first and most convenient is for the Reviewer to perch himself resolutely, as it were, on the shoulder of his Author, and therefrom to show as if he commanded him, and looked down on him by natural superiority of stature. Whatsoever the great man says or does, the little man shall treat him with an air of knowingness and light condescending mockery; professing, with much covert sarcasm, that this and that other is beyond his comprehension, and cunningly asking his readers if they comprehend it! Herein it will help him mightily, if besides description, he can quote a few passages, which, in their detached state, and taken most probably in quite a wrong acceptation of the words, shall sound strange, and to certain hearers, even absurd; all which will be easy enough, if he have any handiness in the business, and address the right audience; truths, as this world goes, being true only for those that have some understanding of them; as, for instance, in the Yorkshire Wolds, and Thames Coal-ships, Christian men enough might be found, at this day, who, if you read them the Thirty-ninth of the Principia, would "grin intelligence from ear to ear." On the other hand, should our Reviewer meet with any passage, the wisdom of which, deep, plain, and palpable to the simplest, might cause misgivings in the reader, as if here were a man of half-unknown endowment, whom perhaps it were better to wonder at than laugh at, our Reviewer either quietly suppresses it, or citing it with an air of meritorious candour, calis upon his Author, in a tone of command and encouragement, to lay aside his transcendental crotchets, and write always thus, and he will admire him. Whereby the reader again feels

We ourselves, we confess, are too young in the study of human nature to have met with any such anomaly. Never yet has it been our fortune to fall in with any man of genius, whose conclusions did not correspond better with his premises, and not worse, than those of other men; whose genius, when it once came to be understood, did not manifest itself in a deeper, fuller, truer view of all things human and divine, than the clearest of your so laudable "practical men" had claim to. Such, we say, has been our uniform experience; so uniform, that we now hardly ever expect to see it contradicted. True it is, the old Pythagorean argument of "the master said it," has long ceased to be available: in these days, no man, except the Pope of Rome, is altogether exempt from error of judgment; doubtless a man of genius may chance to adopt false opinions; nay, rather, like all other sons of Adam, except that same enviable Pope, must occasionally adopt such. Nevertheless, we reckon it a good maxim, that "no error is fully confuted till we have seen not only that it is an erior, but how it became one;" till finding that it clashes with the principles of truth, established in our own mind, we find also in what way it had seemed to harmonize with the principles of truth established in that other mind, perhaps so unspeakably superior to ours. Treated by this method it still appears to us, according to the old saying, that the errors of the wise man are literally more instructive than the truths of a fool. For the wise man travels in lofty, far-seeing regions; the

comforted; proceeds swimmingly to the con- case, a Samson is to be led forth, blinded and clusion of the "Article," and shuts it with a manacled, to make him sport. Nay, might it victorious feeling, not only that he and the not, in a spiritual sense, be death, as surely it Reviewer understand this man, but also that, would be damage, to the small man himself? with some rays of fancy and the like, the man For is not this habit of sneering at all greatis little better than a living mass of darkness. ness, of forcibly bringing down all greatness to In this way does the small Reviewer triumph his own height, one chief cause which keeps over great Authors: but it is the triumph of a that height so very inconsiderable? Come of fool. In this way, too, does he recommend it what may, we have no refreshing dew for himself to certain readers, but it is the recom- the small man's vanity in this place, nay, mendation of a parasite, and of no true servant. rather, as charitable brethren, and fellow-sufThe servant would have spoken truth, in this ferers from that same evil, we would gladly lay case; truth, that it might have profited, how- the sickle to that reed-grove of self-conceit, ever harsh: the parasite glosses his master which has grown round him, and reap it altowith sweet speeches, that he may filch ap-gether away, that so the true figure of the plause, and certain "guineas per sheet," from world, and his own true figure, might no longer him; substituting for Ignorance, which was be utterly hidden from him. Does this our harmless, Error which is not so. And yet to brother, then, refuse to accompany us, without the vulgar reader, naturally enough, that flat- such allurements? He must even retain our tering unction is full of solacement. In fact, best wishes, and abide by his own hearth. to a reader of this sort few things can be more Farther, to the honest few that still go along alarming than to find that his own little Parish, with us on this occasion, we are bound in juswhere he lived so snug and absolute, is, after tice to say that, far from looking down on all, not the whole Universe; that beyond the Novalis, we cannot place either them or ourhill which screened his house from the west selves on a level with him. To explain so wind, and grew his kitchen vegetables so strange an individuality, to exhibit a mind of sweetly, there are other hills and other ham- this depth and singularity before the minds of lets, nay, mountains and towered cities; with readers so foreign to him in every sense, would all which, if he would continue to pass for a be a vain pretension in us. With the best will, Geographer, he must forthwith make himself and after repeated trials, we have gained but a acquainted. Now this Reviewer, often his fel- feeble notion of Novalis for ourselves; his low Parishioner, is a safe man; leads him Volumes come before us with every disad pleasantly to the hill top; shows him that in-vantage; they are the posthumous works of a deed there are, or seem to be, other expanses, man cut off in early life, while his opinions, these, too, of boundless extent: but with only far from being matured for the public eye cloud mountains, and fatamorgana cities; the were still lying crude and disjointed before his true character of that region being Vacuity, or own: for most part written down in the shape at best a stony desert tenanted by Gryphons of detached aphorisms, "none of them," as he and Chimæras. says himself, "untrue or unimportant to his Surely, if printing is not, like courtier speech, own mind," but naturally requiring to be re"the art of concealing thought,” all this must be modelled, expanded, compressed, as the matter blamable enough. Is it the Reviewer's real cleared up more and more into logical unity; trade to be the pander of laziness, self-conceit, at best but fragments of a great scheme which and all manner of contemptuous stupidity on he did not live to realize. If his editors, Friedthe part of his reader; carefully minister-rich Schlegel and Ludwig Tieck, declined coming to these propensities; carefully fencing off menting on these Writings, we may well be whatever might invade that fool's-paradise excused for declining to do so. "It cannot be with news of disturbance? Is he the priest of our purpose here," says Tieck, "to recommend Literature and Philosophy, to interpret their the following Works, or to judge them; promysteries to the common man; as a faithful bable as it must be that any judgment delivered preacher, teaching him to understand what is at this stage of the matter would be a premaadapted for his understanding, to reverence ture and unripe one: for a spirit of such what is adapted for higher understandings originality must first be comprehended, his will than his? Or merely the lackey of Dullness, understood, and his loving intention felt and striving for certain wages, of pudding or praise, replied to; so that not till his ideas have taken by the month or quarter, to perpetuate the reign root in other minds, and brought forth new of presumption and triviality on earth? If the ideas, shall we see rightly, from the historical latter, will he not be counselled to pause for an | sequence, what place he himself occupied, and instant, and reflect seriously, whether starva- what relation to his country he truly bore." tion were worse or were better than such a dog's-existence?

Meanwhile, Novalis is a figure of such importance in German Literature, that no stu

Our reader perceives that we are for adopt-dent of it can pass him by without attention. ing the second method with regard to Novalis ; If we must not attempt interpreting this Work that we wish less to insult over this highly- for our readers, we are bound at least to point gifted man, than to gain some insight into him; out its existence, and according to our best that we look upon his mode of being and knowledge, direct such of them as take an inthinking as very singular, but not, therefore, terest in the matter how to investigate it farther necessarily very contemptible; as a matter, in for their own benefit. For this purpose, it may fact, worthy of examination, and difficult be- be well that we leave our Author to speak yond most others to examine wisely and with chiefly for himself; subjoining only such exprofit. Let no small man expect that, in this positions as cannot be dispensed with for even

verbal intelligibility, and as we can offer on our own surety with some degree of confidence. By way of basis to the whole inquiry, we prefix some particulars of his short life; a part of our task which Tieck's clear and graceful Narrative, given as "Preface to the Third Edition," renders easy for us.

Friedrich von Hardenberg, better known in Literature by the pseudonym "Novalis," was born on the 2d of May, 1772, at a country residence of his family in the Grafschaft of Mansfield, in Saxony. His father, who had been a soldier in youth, and still retained a liking for that profession, was at this time Director of the Saxon Salt-works; an office of some considerable trust and dignity. Tieck says, "he was a vigorous, unweariedly active man, of open, resolute character, a true German. His religious feelings made him a member of the Herrnhut Communion; yet his disposition continued gay, frank, rugged, and downright." The mother also was distinguished for her worth; "a pattern of noble piety and Christian mildness;" virtues which her subsequent life gave opportunity enough for exercising.


On young Friedrich, whom we may continue to call Novalis, the qualities of his parents must have exercised more than usual influence; for he was brought up in the most retired manner, with scarcely any associate but a sister one year older than himself, and the two brothers that were next to him in age. A decidedly religious temper seems to have diffused itself, under many benignant aspects, over the whole family: in Novalis especially it continued the ruling principle through life; manifested no less in his scientific speculation, than in his feelings and conduct. In childhood he is said to have been remarkable chiefly for the entire, enthusiastic affection with which he loved his mother; and for a certain still secluded disposition, such that he took no pleasure in boyish sports, and rather thunned the society of other children. Tieck mentions that, till his ninth year, he was reckoned nowise quick of apprehension; but, at this period, strangely enough, some violent biliary disease, which had almost cut him off, seemed to awaken his faculties into proper life, and he became the readiest, eagerest learner in all branches of his scholarship.

In his eighteenth year, after a few months of preparation in some Gymnasium, the only instruction he appears to have received in any public school, he repaired to Jena; and continued there for three years; after which he spent one season in the Leipzig University, and another," to complete his studies," in that of Wittenberg. It seems to have been at Jena that he became acquainted with Friedrich Schlegel; where also, we suppose, he studied under Fichte. For both of these men he conceived a high admiration and affection; and both of them had, clearly enough, "a great and abiding effect on his whole life." Fichte, in particular, whose lofty eloquence, and clear calm enthusiasm are said to have made him irresistible as a teacher, had quite gained Novalis to his doctrines; indeed the Wissen

Schelling, we have been informed, gives account of Fichte and his Wissenschaftslehre, to the following

schaftslehre, which, as we are told of the latter, "he studied with unwearied zeal," appears to to have been the groundwork of all his future speculations in Philosophy. Besides these metaphysical inquiries, and the usual attainments in classical literature, Novalis seems "to have devoted himself with ardour to the Physical Sciences, and to Mathematics, the basis of them :" at an early period of his life, he had read much History" with extraordinary eagerness;" Poems had from of old been "the delight of his leisure;" particularly that species denominated Mährchen, (Traditionary Tale,) which continued a favourite with him to the last; as almost from infancy it had been a chosen amusement of his to read these compositions, and even to recite such, of his own invention. One remarkable piece of that sort he has himself left us, inserted in Heinrich von Offerdingen, his chief literary performance.

But the time had now arrived, when study must become subordinate to action, and what is called a profession be fixed upon. At the breaking out of the French War, Novalis had been seized with a strong and altogether unexpected taste for a military life: however, the arguments and pressing entreaties of his friends ultimately prevailed over this whim; it seems to have been settled that he should follow his father's line of occupation; and so about the end of 1794, he removed to Arnstadt in Thuringia; "to train himself in practical affairs under the Kreis-Amtmann Just.” In this Kreis-Amtmann (manager of a Circle) he found a wise and kind friend; applied himself honestly to business; and in all his serious calculations, may have looked forward to a life as smooth and commonplace as his past years had been. One incident, and that too of no unusual sort, appears in Tieck's opinion to have altered the whole form of his existence.

"It was not very long after his arrival at Arnstadt, when in a country mansion of the neighbourhood, he became acquainted with Sophie von K- -The first glance of this fair and wonderfully lovely form was decisive for his whole life; nay, we may say that the feeling, which now penetrated and inspired him, was the substance and essence of his whole life. Sometimes, in the look and figure of a child, there will stamp itself an expression, which, as it is too angelic and etherially beautiful, we are forced to call unearthly or celestial; and commonly at sight of such purified and almost transparent faces there comes on us a fear that they are too tender and delicately fashioned for this life that it is Death, or Immortality, which looks forth so expressively on us from these glancing eyes; and too often a quick decay converts our mournful foreboding into certainty. Still more affecting are such figures, when their first period is happily passed over, and they come before us blooming on the eve of maidhood. All persons, that have known this wondrous loved one of our Friend, agree in testifying that no description can express in what grace and celestial harmony the fair being moved,

effect: "The Philosophy of Fichte was like lightning; it appeared only for a moment, but it kindled a fire which will burn for ever."

"while I was looking into the red Morning. My
grief is boundless as my love. For three years
she has been my hourly thought. She alone
But it
bound me to life, to the country, to my occu
pations. With her I am parted from all; for
now I scarcely have myself any more.
has grown Evening; and I feel as if I had to
travel early; and so I would fain be at rest,
in her spirit would I live, be soft and mild-
and see nothing but kind faces about me;-all
And again, some weeks
hearted as she was."
Yesterday I was twenty-five
later: "I live over the old, bygone life here, in
still meditation.
years old. I was in Grüningen, and stood be-
side her grave. It is a friendly spot; enclosed
with a simple white railing; lies apart, and
high. There is still room in it. The Village,
with its blooming gardens, leans up around the
hill; and at this point and that the eye loses
itself in blue distances. I know you would
have liked to stand by me, and stick the flowers,
my birthday gifts, one by one into her hillock.
This time two years, she made me a gay pre-
sent, with a flag and national cockade on it. To-
day her parents gave me the little things which
she, still joyfully, had received on her last birth.
day. Friend,-it continues Evening, and will
soon be Night. If you go away, think of
me kindly, and visit, when you return, the still
house, where your Friend rests for ever, with
the ashes of his beloved. Fare you well!”—
Nevertheless, a singular composure came over
him: from the very depths of his griefs, arose
a peace and pure joy, such as till then he had
never known.


what beauty shone in her, what softness and majesty encircled her. Novalis became a poet every time he chanced to speak of it. She had concluded her thirteenth year when he first saw her: the spring and summer of 1795 were the blooming time of his life; every hour that he could spare from business he spent in Grüningen; and in the fall of that same year he obtained the wished-for promise from Sophie's parents."

Unhappily, however, these halcyon days were of too short continuance. Soon after this, Sophie fell dangerously sick "of a fever, attended with pains in the side;" and her lover had the worst consequences to fear. By and by, indeed, the fever left her; but not the pain, "which by its violence still spoiled for her many a fair hour," and gave rise to various apprehensions, though the Physician asserted that it was of no importance. Partly satisfied with this favourable prognostication, Novalis had gone to Weissenfels, to his parents, and was full of business; being now appointed Auditor in the department of which his father was Director; through winter the news from Grüningen were of a favourable sort; in spring he visited the family himself, and found his Sophie to all appearance well. But suddenly, in summer, his hopes and occupations were interrupted by tidings that, "she was in Jena, and had undergone a surgical operation." Her disease was an abscess in the liver: it had been her wish that he should not hear of The her danger till the worst were over. Jena surgeon gave hopes of a recovery though a slow one; but ere long the operation had to be repeated, and now it was feared that his patient's strength was too far exhausted. The young maiden bore all this with inflexible courage, and the cheerfulest resignation: her Mother and Sister, Novalis, with his Parents, and two of his Brothers, all deeply interested in the event, did their utmost to comfort her. In December, by her own wish, she returned home; but it was evident that she grew weaker and weaker. Novalis went and came between Grüningen and Weissenfels, where also he found a house of mourning; for Erasmus, one of these two Brothers, had long been sickly, and was now believed to be dying.

"In this season," observed Tieck, "Novalis lived only to his sorrow: it was natural for him to regard the visible and the invisible world as one; and to distinguish Life and Death, only by his longing for the latter. At the same time, too, Life became for him a glorified Life; and his whole being melted away as into a bright, conscious vision of a higher Existence. From the sacredness of Sorrow, from heartfelt love, and the pious wish for death, his temper, and all his conceptions are to be explained: and it seems possible that this time, with its deep griefs, planted in him the germ of death, if it soon snatched away from us. was not, in any case, his appointed lot to be so

"The 17th of March," says Tieck, "was the fifteenth birthday of his Sophie; and on the 19th about noon she departed. No one durst tell Novalis these tidings: at last his Brother Carl undertook it. The poor youth shut himself up, and after three days and three nights of weeping, set out for Arnstadt, that there with his true friend he might be near the spot, which now hid the remains of what was dearest to him. On the 14th of April, his Brother Erasmus also left this world. Novalis wrote to inform his Brother Carl of the event, who had been obliged to make a journey into Lower Saxony: Be of good courage,' said he, 'Erasmus has prevailed; the flowers of our fair garland are dropping off Here, one by one, that they may be united Yonder, lovelier and for ever.'


"He remained many weeks in Thuringia; and came back comforted and truly purified, to his engagements: which he pursued more zealously than ever, though he now regarded himself as a stranger on the earth. In this period, some earlier, many later, especially in the Autumn of this year, occur most of those compositions, which, in the way of extract and selec tion, we have here given to the Public, under the title of Fragments: so likewise the Hymns to the Night."

Among the papers published in these Vofumes are three letters written about this time, which mournfully indicate the author's mood. "It has grown Evening around me," says he,

Such is our Biographer's account of this matter, and of the weighty inference it has led him to.

We have detailed it the more minutely, and almost in the very words of the text, the judging on what grounds Tieck rests his opibetter to put our readers in a condition for nion, that herein lies the key to the whole spi ritual history of Novalis, that "the feeling which now penetrated and inspired him, may be said to have been the substance of his Life" It


would ill become us to contradict one so well standing, that "Sophie, as may be seen also in qualified to judge of all subjects, and who en- his writings, continued the centre of his joyed such peculiar opportunities for forming thoughts; nay, as one departed, she stood in a right judgment of this: meanwhile we may higher reverence with him than when visible say that, to our own minds, after all considera- and near;" and hurrying on, almost as over an tion, the certainty of this hypothesis will nowise unsafe subject, declares that Novalis felt neverbecome clear. Or rather, perhaps, it is to the theless "as if loveliness of mind and person expression, to the too determinate and exclusive might in some measure replace his loss;" and language in which the hypothesis is worded, so leaves us to our own reflections on the matthat we should object; for so plain does the ter. We consider it as throwing light on the truth of the case seem to us, we cannot but be- above criticism; and greatly restricting our aclieve that Tieck himself would consent to ceptance of Tieck's theory. Yet perhaps, after modify his statement. That the whole philo- all, it is only in a Minerva-Press Novel, or to sophical and moral existence of such a man the more tender Imagination, that such a proas Novalis should have been shaped and de- ceeding would seem very blamable. Constancy, termined by the death of a young girl, almost in its true sense, may be called the root of all a child, specially distinguished, so far as is excellence; especially excellent is constancy shown, by nothing save her beauty, which at in active well-doing, in friendly helpfulness to any rate must have been very short-lived, will those that love us, and to those that hate us: doubtless seem to every one a singular conca- but constancy in passive suffering, again, in tenation. We cannot but think that some re- spite of the high value put upon it in Circulating sult precisely similiar in moral effect might Libraries, is a distinctly inferior virtue, rather have been attained by many different means; an accident than a virtue, and, at all events, is nay, that by one means or another, it would not of extreme rarity in this world. To Novalis, have failed to be attained. For spirits like his Sophie might still be as a saintly presence, Novalis, earthly fortune is in no instance so mournful and unspeakably mild, to be worsweet and smooth, that it does not by and by shipped in the inmost shrine of his memory: teach the great doctrine of Entsagen, of "Re- but worship of this sort is not man's sole businunciation," by which alone, as a wise man ness; neither should we censure Novalis that well known to Herr Tieck has observed," can he dries his tears, and once more looks abroad the real entrance on Life be properly said to with hope on the earth, which is still, as it was begin." Experience, the grand School-master, before, the strangest complex of mystery and seems to have taught Novalis this doctrine | light, of joy as well as sorrow. Life belongs very early by the wreck of his first passionate to the living; and he that lives must be prewish; and herein lies the real influence of So-pared for vicissitudes." The questionable cirphie von K. on his character; an influence cumstance with Novalis is his perhaps too great which, as we imagine, many other things might rapidity in that second courtship; a fault or and would have equally exerted: for it is less misfortune the more to be regretted, as this the severity of the Teacher than the aptness of marriage also was to remain a project, and only the Pupil that secures the lesson; nor do the the anticipation of it to be enjoyed by him. purifying effects of frustrated Hope, and Affec- It was for the purpose of studying minetion that in this world will ever be homeless, de- ralogy, under the famous Werner, that Novalis pend on the worth or loveliness of its objects, had gone to Freyberg. For this science he had but on that of the heart which cherished it, and great fondness, as indeed for all the physical can draw mild wisdom from so stern a disap-sciences: which, if we may judge from his pointment. We do not say that Novalis con- writings, he seems to have prosecuted on a tinued the same as if this young maiden had great and original principle, very different both not been; causes and effects connecting every from that of our idle theorizers and generalman and thing with every other extend through izers, and that of the still more melancholy all Time and all Space; but surely it appears un-class who merely "collect facts," and for the just to represent him as so altogether pliant in torpor or total extinction of the thinking faculty, the hands of Accident; a mere pipe for Fortune strive to make up by the more assiduous use to play tunes on; and which sounded a mystic, of the blowpipe and goniometer. The comdeep, almost unearthly melody, simply because mencement of a work, entitled the Disciples at a young woman was beautiful and mortal. Sais, intended, as Tieck informs us, to be a Physical Romance," was written in Freyberg, at this time: but it lay unfinished, unprosecuted; and now comes before us as a very mysterious fragment, disclosing scientific depths, which we have not light to see into, much less means to fathom and accurately measure. The various hypothetic views of "Nature," that is, of the visible Creation, which are here given out in the words of the several "Pupils," differ, almost all of them, more or less, from any that we have ever else where met with. To this work we shall have occasion to refer more particularly in the sequel.


We feel the more justified in these hardhearted and so unromantic strictures on reading the very next paragraph of Tieck's Narrative. Directly on the back of this occurrence, Novalis goes to Freyberg; and there in 1798, it may be therefore somewhat more or somewhat less than a year after the death of his first love, forms an acquaintance, and engagement to marry, with a "Julie von Ch- -!" Indeed, ever afterwards, to the end, his life appears to have been more than usually cheerful and happy. Tieck knows not what well to say of this betrothment, which in the eyes of most Novelreaders will have so shocking an appearance: he admits that "perhaps to any but his intimate The acquaintance which Novalis formed, friends it may seem singular;" asserts, notwith-soon after this, with the elder Schlegel, (August

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