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Novalis in his character of Poet, properly so Light was snapped asunder. Vanishes the called; the Pupils al Sais being fully more of Glory of Earth, and with it my Lamenting a scientific than poetic nature. As hinted rushes together the infinite Sadness into a new above, we do not account his gifts in this i unfathomable World: thou Night's-inspiration, latter province as of the first, or even of a Slumber of Heaven, camest over me; the scene high order; unless, indeed, it be true, as he rose gently aloft; over the scene hovered my himself maintains, that “the distinction of enfranchised new-born spirit; to a cloud of dust Poet and Philosopher is apparent only, and to that grave changed itse rough the cloud I bethe injury of both.” In his professedly poetical held the transfigured features of my Beloved. In compositions, there is an indubitable prolixity, her eyes lay Eternity; I clasped her hands, and a degree of languor, not weakness but slug. my tears became a glittering indissoluble chain. gishness; the meaning is too much diluted; Centuries of Ages moved away into the distance, and diluted, we might say, not in a rich, lively, like thunder-clouds. On her neck I wept, for varying music, as we find in Tieck, for ex- this new life, enrapturing tears.-It was my ample; but rather in a low-voiced, not un. first only Dream; and ever since then do I feel melodious monotony, the deep hum of which this changeless everlasting faith in the Heaven is broken only at rare intervals, though some of Night, and its Sun my Beloved.” times by tones of purest, and almost spiritual What degree of critical satisfaction, what sofiness. We bere allude chiefly to his un insight into the grand crisis of Novalis's spimetrical pieces, his prose-fictions: indeed the ritual history, which seems to be here shametrical are few in number; for the most part dowed forth, our readers may derive from this on religious subjects; and in spite of a decided Third Hymn to the Night, we shall not pretend truthfulness both in feeling and word, seem to to conjecture. Meanwhile, it were giving them bespeak no great skill or practice in that form a false impression of the Poet, did we leave him of composition. In his prose style he may be here; exhibited only under his more mystic accounted happier; he aims in general at aspects: as if his Poetry were exclusively a simplicity, and a certain familiar expressive thing of Allegory, dwelling amid Darkness and ness; here and there, in his more elaborate Vacuity, far from all paths of ordinary mortals passages, especially in his Hymns to the Night, and their thoughts. Novalis can write in the he has reminded us of Herder.

most common style, as well as in this most unThese Hymns to the Night, it will be remem- common one; and there too not without orie bered, were written shortly after the death of ginality. By far the greater part of his First his mistress : in that period of deep sorrow, volume is occupied with a Romance, Heinrich or rather of holy deliverance from sorrow. von Ofterdingen, written, so far as it goes, much Novalis himself regarded them as his most in the every-day manner; we have adverted finished productions. They are of a strange the less to it, because we nowise reckon it veiled, almost enigmatical character; never- among his most remarkable compositions. theless, more deeply examined, they appear Like many of the others, it has been left nowise without true poetic worth; there is a as a Fragment; nay, from the account Tieck vastness, an immensity of idea; a still solem- gives of its ulterior plan, and how from the nity reigns in them, a solitude almost as of solid prose world of the first part, this “Apo. extinct worlds. Here and there, too, some theosis of Poetry” was to pass, in the Second, lightbeam visits us in the void deep; and we into a mythical, fairy, and quite fantastic world, cast a glance, clear and wondrous, into the critics have doubted, whether, strictly speaksecrets of that mysterious soul. A full com- ing, it could have been completed. From this meotary on the Hymns to the Night would be an work, we select two passages, as specimens of exposition of Novalis's whole theological and Novalis's manner in the more common style of moral creed; for it lies recorded there, though composition; premising, which in this one insymbolically, and in lyric, not in didactic lan- stance we are entitled to do, that whatever exguage. We have translated the third, as the cellence they may have will be universally shortest and simplest; imitating its light, half- appreciable. The first is the introduction to measured style; above all, decyphering its the whole Narrative, as it were, the text of the vague deep-laid sense, as accurately as we whole; the“Blue Flower” there spoken of being could. By the word “Night," it will be seen, Poetry, the real object, passion and vocation Novalis means much more than the common of young Heinrich, which, through manifold opposite of Day. “Light" seems, in these adventures, exertions, and sufferings, he is to poems, to shadow forth our terrestrial life; seek and find. His history commences thus: Night the primeval and celestial life:

“ The old people were already asleep; the * Once when I was shedding bitter tears, clock was beating its monotonous tick on the when dissolved in pain my Hope had melted wall; the wind blustered over the rattling winaway, and I stood solitary by the grave that in dows; by turns, the chamber was lighted by its dark narrow space concealed the Form of the sheen of the moon. The young man lay my life; solitary as no other had been; chased restless in his bed; and thought of the stranger by unutterable anguish; powerless; one thought and his stories. Not the treasures, is it' and that of misery ;-here now as I looked said he to himself, that have awakened in me round for help; forward could not go, nor back- so unspeakable a desire; far from me is all coward, but clung 10 a transient extinguished vetousness; but the Blue Flower is what I long Life with unutterable longing ;-!0, from the to behold. It lies incessantly in my heart, and azure distance, down from the heights of my I can think and fancy of nothing else. Never old Blessedness, came a chill Breath of Dusk, did I feel so before: it is as if, till now, I had and suddenly the band of Birth, the fetter of been dreaming, or as if sleep had carried me into another world; for in the world I used undressed himself and stept into the basin. He to live in, who'troubled himself about flowers? felt as if a sunset cloud were floating round him; Such wild passion for a Flower was never a heavenly emotion streamed over his soul; in heard of there. But whence could that stran-' deep pleasure innumerable thoughts strove to ger have come? None of us ever saw such blend within him; new, unseen images arose, à man; yet I know not how I alone was so which also melted together, and became visicaught with his discourse; the rest heard the ble beings around him; and every wave of that very same, yet none seems to mind it. And love'y element pressed itself on him like a soft then that I cannot even speak of my strange bosom. The food seemned a Spirit of Beauty, condition! I feel such rapturous contentment; which from moment to moment was taking and only then when I have not the Flower form round the youth. rightly before my eyes, does so deep heartfelt " Intoxicated with rapture, and yet conscious an eagerness come over me, these things no one of every impression, he floated sofils down that will or can believe. I could fancy I were mad, glittering stream, which flowed out from the if I did not see, did not think with such perfect basin into the rocks. A sort of sweel slumber clearness; since that day, all is far better known fell upon him, in which he dreamed indescribato me. I have heard tell of ancient times; how ble adventures, and out of which a new light animals and trees and rocks used to speak with a woke him. He found himself on a soft sward men. This is even my feeling; as if ihey were at the margin of a spring, which welled out on the point of breaking out, and I could see into the air, and seemed to dissipate itself there. in them, what they wished to say to me. There Dark-blue rocks, with many-coloured veins, must be many a word which I know not: did I rose at some distance; the daylight which enknow more, I could better comprehend these circled him was clearer and milder than the matters. Once I liked dancing ; now I had common; the sky was black-blue, and allorather think to the music.'—The young man lost gether pure. But what attracıed him infinitely himself, by degrees, in sweet fancies, and fell most was a high, light-blue Flower, which stood asleep. He dreamed first of immeasurable close by the spring, touching it with its broad distances, and wild unknown regions. He glittering leaves. Round it stood innumerable wandered over seas with incredible speed; flowers of all colours, and the sweetest perfuine strange animals he saw ; he lived with many filled the air. He saw nothing but the Blue varieties of men, now in war, in wild tumult, Flower; and gazed on it long with nameless now in peaceful huts. He was taken captive, tenderness. At last he was for approaching, and fell into the lowest wretchedness. All when all at once it began to move and change; emotions rose to a height as yet unknown to the leaves grew more resplendent, and clasped him. He lived through an infinitely variegated themselves round the waxing stem; the Flower life; died, and came back; loved to the highest bent itself towards him; and the petals showed passion, and then again was for ever parted like a blue spreading ruff, in which hovered a from his loved one. At length towards morn- lovely face. His sweet astonishment at this ing, as the dawn broke up without, his spirit transformation was increasing,—when suddenalso grew stiller, the images grew clearer and ly his mother's voice awoke him, and he found more permanent. It seemed to him he was himself in the house of his parents, which the walking alone in a dark wood. Only here and morning sun was already gilding." there did day glimmer through the green net. Our next and last extract is likewise of a Ere long he came to a rocky chasm, which dream. Young Heinrich with his mother mounted upwards. He had to climb over many travels a long journey to see his grandfather crags, which some former stream had rolled at Augsburg; converses, on the way, with down. The higher he came, the lighter grew merchants, miners, and red-cross warriors, the wood. At last he arrived at a little mea. (for it is in the time of the crusades ;) and soon dow, which lay on the declivity of the mountain. after his arrival, falls immeasurably in love Beyond the meadow rose a high cliff, at the with Matilda, the Poet Klingsohr's daughter, in foot of which he observed an opening, that whose face was that fairest one he had seen in seemed to be the entrance of a passage hewn his old vision of the Blue Flower. Matilda, it in the rock. The passage led him easily on, would appear, is to be taken from him by death for some time, to a great subterranean expanse, (as Sophie was from Novalis :) meanwhile, out of which from afar a bright gleam was vi- dreading no such event, Heinrich abandons sible. On entering, he perceived a strong beam himself with full heart to his new emotions: of light, which sprang as if from a fountain 10 “ He went to the window. The choir of the the roof of the cave, and sprayed itself into in- Stars stood in the deep hea.en; and in the numerable sparks, which collected below in a east, a while gleam announced the coming great basin: the beam glanced like kindled day. gold: not the faintest noise was to be heard, a “ Full of rapture, Heinrich eaclaimed: “You, sacred silence encircled the glorious sight. He ye everlasting Stars, ye silent wanderers, I call approached the basin, which waved and qui- you to witness my sacred oath. For Matilda vered with infinite hues. The walls of the will I live, and eternal faith shall unite my cave were coated with this fluid, which was not heart and hers. For me, loo, the morn of an hot but coul, and on the walls, threw out a faint everlasting day is dawning. The night is by. bluish light. He dipt his hand in the basin, to the rising Sun, I kindle myself, as a sacrifice and wetted his lips. It was as if the breath of that will never be extinguished.' a spirit went through him; and he felt himself “Heinrich was healed; and not till late, in his inmost heart strengthened and refreshed. towards morning, did he fall asleep. In strange An irresistible desire seized him in bathe; he dreams the thoughts of his soul imbodied themselves. A deep blue river gleamed from selected and exhibited here in such manner as the plain. On its smooth surface Boated a seemed the filtest for our cbject, and with a bark; Matilda was sitting there, and steering. hue wish on our part, that what little judg. She was adorned with garlands: was singing ment was in the meanwhile to be formerl of a simple Song, and looking over to him with such a man, might be a fair and honest one fond sadness. His bosom was full of anxiety. Some of the passages we have translated will He knew not why. The sky was clear, the appear obscure; others, we hope, are not with. stream calm. Her heavenly countenance was out symptoms of a wise and deep meaning; thu mirrored in the waves. All at once the bark rest may excite wonder, which wonder again began to whirl. He called earnestly to her. it will depend on each reader for himself She smiled, and laid down her helm in the whether he turn to right account or lo wrong boat, which continued whirling. An unspeak- account, whether he entertain as the parent of able terror took hold of him. He dashed into Knowledge, or as the daughter of Ignorance. the stream; but he could not get forward; the For the great body of readers, we are aware, water carried him. She beckoned, she seemed there can be little profit in Novalis, who rather as if she wished to say something to him; the employs our time than helps us to kill it; for bark was filling with water; yet she smiled such any farther study of him would be unadwith unspeakable affection, and looked cheer- visable. To others again, who prize Truth as fully into the vortex. All at once it drew her the end of all reading, especially to that class in. A faint breath rippled over the stream, who cultivate moral science as the developwhich flowed on as calm and glittering as be- ment of purest and highest Truth, we can re. fore. His horrid agony robbed him of con- commend the perusal and re-perusal of Novasciousness. His heart ceased beating. On lis with almost perfect confidence. If they returning to himself, he was again on dry land. reel, with us, thai the most profitable employ. It seemed as if he had floated far. It was a ment any book can give them, is to study strange region. He knew not what had passed honestly some earnest, deep-minded, truthwith him. His heart was gone. Unthinking loving Man, to work their way into his manner he walked deeper into the country. He felt of thought, till they see the world with his inexpressibly weary. A little well gushed eyes, feel as he felt, and judge as he judged, from a hill; it sounded like perfect bells. neither believing nor denying, till they can in With his hands he lified some drops, and some measure so feel and judge,—then we may wetted his parched lips. Like a sick dream, assert, that few books known to us are more lay the frighiful event behind him. Farther worthy of their attention than this. They will and farther he walked; flowers and trees find it, if we mistake not, an unfathomed mine spoke to him. He felt so well, so at home of philosophical ideas, where the keenest intelin the scene. Then he heard that simple lect may have occupation enough; and in Soog again. He ran after the sounds. Sud-such occupation, without looking farther, redenly some one held him by the clothes. •Dear ward enough. All this, if the reader proceed Henry,' cried a well-known voice. He looked on candid principles; if not, it will be all round, and Maltilda clasped him in her arms otherwise. To no man, so much as to Novalis, Why didst thou run from me, dear heart?' is that famous motto applicable: said she, breathing deep: 'I could scarcely

Leser, wie gefall' ich Dir ? overtake thee.' Heinrich wept. He pressed

Leser, wie gefüllst Du mir ? her to him. Where is the river ?' cried he

Reader, how likest thou me ? in tears.— Seest thou not its blue waves

Reader, how like I thee? above us ?' He looked up, and the blue river was flowing softly over their heads. Where For the rest, it were but a false proceeding are we, dear Matilda !'— With our Fathers.' did we attempt any formal character of Novalis ~Shall we stay together ?'—*For ever,' an- in this place; did we pretend with such means swered she, pressing her lips to his, and so as ours to reduce that extraordinary nature casping him that she could not again quit | under common formularies; and in few words hold. She put a wondrous, secret Word in his sum up the net total of his worth and worthmouth, and it pierced through all his being. lessness. We have repeatedly expressed our He was about to repeat it, when his Grand- own imperfect knowledge of the matter, and father called, and he awoke. He would have our entire despair of bringing even an approxi. given his life to remember that Word.” mate picture of it before readers so foreign

This image of Death, and of the River being to him. The kind words, " amiable enthusiast," the Sky in that other and eternal country," * poetic dreamer;" or the unkind ones, "Ger. seems to us a fine and touching one; there is man mystic," " crackbrained rhapsodist,” are in it a trace of that simple sublimity, that soft easily spoken and written ; but would avail still pathos, which are characteristics of Nova- little in this instance. If we are not altogether lis, and doubtless the highest of his specially mistaken, Novalis cannot be ranged under poetic gifts.

any of these noted categories; but, helongs to But on these, and what other gifts and de- a higher and much less known one, the signifificiencies pertain to him, we can no farther cance of which is perhaps also worth studying, insist: for now, after such multifarious quota- at all events, will not till afier long study bctions, and more or less stinted commentaries, come clear to us. we must consider our little enterprise in respect Meanwhile, let the reader accept some vague of Novalis to have reached its limits, to be, if not impressions of ours on this subject, since we completed, concluded. Our reader has heard have no fixed judgment to offer him. We him largely; on a great variety of topics, might say that the chief excellence, we have remarked in Novalis, is his to us truly wonder- opposite of inert; we hear expressly of his ful subtlety of intellect; his power of intense quickness and vehemence of movement. abstraction, of pursuing the deepest and most In regard to the character of his genius, or evanescent ideas, through their thousand com- rather perhaps of his literary significance, and plexities, as it were, with lynx vision, and to the form under which he displayed his genius, che very limits of human Thought. He was well Tieck thinks he may be likened io Dante. “ For skilled in mathematics, and, as we can easily him,” says he, “ it had become the most natubelieve, fond of that science; but his is a far ral disposition to regard the commonest and finer species of endowment than any required nearest as a wonder, and the strange, the superin mathematics, where the mind, from the natural as something common; men's everyvery beginning of Euclid to the end of Laplace, day life itself lay round him like a wonis assisted with visible symbols, with safe im- drous fable, and those regions which the most plements for thinking; nay, at least in what is dream of or doubt of as of a thing distant, incalled the higher mathematics, has often little comprehensible, were for him a beloved home. more than a mechanical superintendence 10 Thus did he, uncorrupted by examples, find exercise over these. This power of abstract out for himself a new method of delineation; meditation, when it is so sure and clear as we and in his multiplicity of meaning; in his view sometimes find it with Novalis, is a much of Love, and his belief in Love, as at once his higher and rarer one; its element is not mathe- Instructor, his Wisdom, his Religion; in this matics, but that Mathesis, of which it has been too thai a single grand incident of life, and one said many a Great Calculist has not even a deep sorrow and bereavement grew to be the notion. In this power truly, so far as logical essence of his Poetry and Contemplation,-he and not moral power is concerned, lies the alone among the moderns resembles the lofty summary of all Philosophic talent: which talent Dante; and sings us, like him, an unfathomaccordingly we imagine Novalis to have pos- able, mystic song, far different from that of sessed in a very high degree; in a higher de many imitators, who think to put on mysticism gree than almost any other modern writer we and put it off, like a piece of dress.” Conhave met with.

sidering the tendency of his poetic endeavours, His chief fault again figures itself to us as as well as the general spirit of his philosophy, a certain undue softness, want of rapid energy; this flattering comparison may turn out to be something which we might term passiveness ex- better founded than at first sight it seems to be. leuding both over his mind and his character. Nevertheless, were we required to illustrate There is a tenderness in Novalis, a purity, a Novalis in this way, which at all times must clearness, almost as of a woman; but he has be a very loose one, we should incline rather not, at least not at all in that degree, the em- to call him the German Pascal than the Gerphasis and resolute force of a man. Thus, in man Dante. Between Pascal and Novalis, a his poetical delineations, as we complained lover of such analogies might trace not a few above, he is too diluted and diffuse; not verbose points of resemblance. Both are of the purest, properly; not so much abounding in superflu- most affectionate moral nature; both of a bigh, ous words, as in superfluous circumstances, fine, discursive intellect; both are mathematiwhich indeed is but a degree better. In his cians and naturalists, yet occupy themselves philosophical speculations, we feel as if, under chiefly with Religion : nay, the best writings a different form, the same fault were now and of both are left in the shape of “ Thoughts," then manifested. Here again, he seems to us, materials of a grand scheme, which each of in one sense, too languid, too passive. He sits, them, with the views peculiar to his age, had we might say, among the rich, fine, thousand- planned, we may say, for the furtherance of fold combinations, which his mind almost of Religion, and which neither of them lived to itself presents him; but, perhaps, he shows too execute. Nor in all this would it fail to be little activity in the process, is too lax in sepa- carefully remarked, that Novalis was not the rating the true from the doubtful, is not even French but the Gernian Pascal; and from the at the trouble to express his truth with any la- intellectual habits of the one and the other, borious accuracy. With his stillness, with many national contrasts and conclusions might his deep love of Nature, his mild, lofty, spiritual be drawn; which we leave to those that have tone of contemplation, he comes before us in a taste for such parallels. a sort of Asiatic character, almost like our We have thus endeavoured to communicate ideal of some antique Gymnosophist, and with some views, not of what is vulgarly called, but the weakness as well as the strength of an of what is German Mystic; to afford English Oriental. However, it should be remembered readers a few glimpses into his actual housethat his works both poetical and philosophical, hold establishment, and show them by their as we now see them, appear under many dis- own inspection how he lives and works. We advantages; altogether immature, and not as have done it, moreover, not in the style of dedoctrines and delineations, but as the rude rision, which would have been so easy, but in draught of such; in which, had they been com- that of serious inquiry, which seemed so much pleted, much was to have changed its shape, more profitable. For this we anticipate pot and this fault with many others might have censure, but thanks, from our readers. Mysdisappeared. It may be, therefore, that this ticism, whatever it may be, should, like other is only a superficial fault, or even only the ap- actually existing things, be understood in wellpearance of a fault, and has its origin in these informed minds. We have observed, indeed, circumstances, and in our imperfect under that the old-established laugh on this subject standing of him. In personal and bodily ha- has been getting rather hollow of late; and bits, at least, Novalis appears to have been the seems as if, ere long, it would in a greai measure die away. It appears to us that, in Eng- I like that in nursery Spectres;" or, as Jean Paul land, there is a distinct spirit of tolerant and has it, “ Of the World will be made a Worldsober investigation abroad, in regard to this Machine, of the Æther a Gas, of God a Force, and other kindred matters; a persuasion, fast and of ihe Second World--a Cosün." We ra. spreading wider and wider, that the plummet ther think, such a day will not come. At all of French or Scotch Logic, excellent, nay, in- events, while the battle is still waging, and dispensable as it is for surveying all coasts that Coffin-and-Gas Philosophy has not yet seand harbours, will absolutely not sound the cured itself with Tithes and penal Statutes, let deep-seas of human Inquiry; and that many a there be free scope for Mysticism, or whatever Voltaire and Hume, well-gifted and highly me- else honestly opposes it. A fair field, and no ritorious men, were far wrong in reckoning favour, and the right vill prosper! that when their six hundred fathoms were out, sent time," says Jean Paul elsewhere, “is inthey had reached the bottom, which, as in the deed a criticising and critical time, hovering Atlantic, may lie unknown miles lower. Six betwixt the wish and the inability to believe; hundred fathoms is the longest, and a most a chaos of conflicting times; but even a chavaluable nautical line: but many men sound otic world must have its centre, and revolution with six and fewer fathoms, and arrive at pre- round that centre; there is no pure entire Concisely the same conclusion.

fusion, but all such presupposes its opposite, “The day will come,” said Lichtenberg, in before it can begin.” Sitter irony," when the belief in God will be

* Our pre


[EDINBURGH Review, 1829.)

It is no very good symptom either of nations /ture on such actions and imaginations, as or individuals, that they deal much in vatici- large communities of sane men have, in such nation. Happy men are full of the present, circumstances, entertained as sound wisdom. for its bounty suffices them; and wise men Witness long scenes of the French Revolution ! also, for its duties engage them. Our grand a whole people drunk with blood and arrogance, business undoubtedly is, not to see what lies and then wiih terror and cruelty, and with des. dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly peration, and blood again! Levity is no proat hand.

tection against such visitations, nor the utmost Know'st thou Yesterday, its aim and reason ! earnestness of character. The New England Work'st ihon well To-day, for worthy things ? Puritan burns witches, wrestles for months Then calmly wait the Morron's hidden season, with the horrors of Satan's invisible world, And fear not thou, what hap soe'er it brings !

and all ghastly phantasms, the daily and But man's “large discourse of reason” will hourly precursors of the Last Day; then sudlook “ before and after;" and, impatient of “the denly bethinks him that he is frantic, weeps ignorant present time,” will indulge in antici- bitterly, prays contritely, and the history of pation far more than profits him. Seldom can that gloomy season lies behind him like a the unhappy be persuaded that the evil of the frightful dream. day is sufficient for it; and the ambitious will And Old England has had her share of such noi be content with present splendour, but frenzies and panies; though happily, like paints yet more glorious triumphs, on the other old maladies, they have grown milder of cloud-curtain of the future.

late : and since the days of Titus Oates, have The case, however, is still worse with na. mostly passed without loss of men's lives, or tions. For here the prophets are not one, but indeed without much other loss than that of many; and each incites and confirms the reason, for the time, in the sufferers. In this other; so that the fatidical fury spreads wider mitigated form, however, the distemper is of and wider, till at last even Saul must join in it. pretty regular recurrence; and may be reckFor there is still a real magic in the action oned on at intervals, like other natural visitaand reaction of minds on one another. The tions; so that reasonable men deal with it, as casual deliration of a few becomes, by this the Londoners do with their fogs,-go cautin mysterious reverberation, the frenzy of many; ously out into the groping crowd, and patiently men lose the use, not only of their understand- carry lanterns at noon; knowing, by a wellings, but of their bodily senses; while the grounded faith, that the sun is still in existence, most obdurate, unbelieving hearts melt, like and will one day reappear. How often have the rest, in the furnace where all are cast as we heard, for the last fifty years, that the victims and as suel. It is grievous to think, country was wrecked, and fast sinking; wherethat this noble omnipotence of Sympathy has as, up to this date, the country is entire and been so rarely the Aaron's-rod of Truth and afloat! The “State in Danger” is a condition Virtue, and so often the Enchanter's-rod of of things, which we have witnessed a hundred Wickedness and Folly! No solitary miscre-times; and as for the church, it has seldom beer ant, scarcely any solitary maniac, would ven- out of “danger” since we can remember an.

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