صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]


one-eyed Concubine.' Now it came to pass that the time arrived when they were to act, and the Angel asked them: Whom seek ye here?' and they answered, as Eulenspiegel had taught and hidden them, and said: 'We seek the Parson's one-eyed Concubine.' Whereby did the Parson observe that he was made a mock of. And when the Parson's Concubine heard the same, she started out of the Grave, and aimed a box at Eulenspiegel's face, but missed him, and hit one of the simple persons, who were representing the Three Marys. This latter then returned her a slap on the mouth, whereupon she caught him by the hair. But his wife seeing this, came running thither, and fell upon the Parson's Harlot. Which thing the Parson discerning, he threw down his flag, and sprang forward to his Harlot's assistance. Thus gave they one another hearty thwacking and basting, and there was great uproar in the Church. But when Eulenspiegel perceived that they all had one another by the ears in the Church, he went his ways, and came no more back."*

These and the like pleasant narratives were the People's Comedy in those days. Neither was their Tragedy wanting; as indeed both spring up spontaneously in all regions of human Life; however, their chief work of this latter class, the wild, deep, and now world-renowned, Legend of Faust, belongs to a somewhat later date.f

guages, as in his own, an Eulenspiegeleret, an Espieglerie, or dog's trick, so named after him, still, by consent of lexicographers, keeps his memory alive. We may say, that to few mortals has it been granted to earn such a place in Universal History as Tyll: for now after five centuries, when Wallace's birth-place is unknown even to the Scots; and the admirable Crichton still more rapidly is grown a shadow; and Edward Longshanks sleeps unregarded save by a few Antiquarian English,--Tyll's native village is pointed out with pride to the traveller, and his tombstone, with a sculptured pun on his name, an Owl, namely, and a Glass, still stands, or pretends to stand, "at Müllen, near Lubeck," where, since 1350, his once nimble bones have been at rest. Tyll, in the calling he had chosen, naturally led a wandering life, as place after place became too hot for him; by which means he saw into many things with his own eyes: having been not only over all Westphalia and Saxony, but even in Poland, and as far as Rome. That in his old days, like other great men, he became an Autobiographer, and in trustful winter evening, not on paper, but on air, and to the laughter-lovers of Müllen, composed this work himself, is purely an hypothesis; certain only that it came forth originally in the dialect of this region, namely, the Platt-Deutsch; and was therefrom translated, probably about a century afterwards, into its present High German, as Lessing conjectures, by one Thomas Mürner, who on other grounds is not unknown to antiquarians. For the rest, write it who might, the Book is here, "abounding," as a wise Critic remarks, "in inventive humour, in rough merriment and broad drollery, not without a keen rugged shrewdness of insight; which properties must have made it irresistibly captivating to the popular sense; and, with all its fantastic extravagancies and roguish crotchets, in many points instructive."

From Tyll's so captivating achievements, we shall here select one to insert some account of; the rather as the tale is soon told, and by means of it, we catch a little trait of manners, and, through Tyll's spectacles, may peep into the interior of a Household, even of a Parsonage, in those old days.

"It chanced after so many adventures, that Eulenspiegel came to a Parson, who promoted him to be his Sacristan, or as we now say, Sexton. Of this Parson it is recorded that he kept a Concubine, who had but one eye; she also had a spite at Tyll, and was wont to speak evil of him to his master, and report his rogueries. Now while Eulenspiegel held this Sextoncy, the Easter-season came, and there was to be a play set forth of the Resurrection of Our Lord. And as the people were not learned, and could not read, the Parson took his Concubine and stationed her in the holy Sepulchre by way of Angel. Which thing Eulenspiegel seeing, he took to him three of the simplest persons that could be found there, to enact the Three Marys; and the Parson himself, with a flag in his hand, represented Christ. Thereupon spake Eulenspiegel to the simple persons: When the Angel asks you, whom ye seek, ye must answer, The Parson's

Thus, though the Poetry which spoke in rhyme was feeble enough, the spirit of Poetry could nowise be regarded as extinct; while Fancy, Imagination, and all the intellectual faculties necessary for that art, were in active exercise. Neither had the Enthusiasm of

Flögel, iv. 290. For more of Eulenspiegel, see Görres's Ueber die Volksbücher.

Johann Faust, the Goldsmith and partial Inventor of To the fifteenth century, say some who fix it on Printing: tothesixteenth century, say cthers, referring it to Johann Faust, Doctor in Philosophy; which individual Wittenberg (where he might be one of Luther's pupils,) did actually, as the Tradition also bears, study first at then at Ingolstadt, where also he taught, and had a Famulus named Wagner, son of a clergyman at Wasserberg. Melancthon, Tritheim, and other credible witnesses, some of whom had seen the man, vouch sufficiently for these facts. The rest of the Doctor's history is much more obscure. He seems to have been of a vehement, unquiet the occult science of Conjuring, by aid of which two temper; skilled in Natural Philosophy, and perhaps in gifts, a much shallower man, wandering in Need and Mephistopheles, have worked wonders enough. NeverPride over the world in those days, might, without any theless, that he rode off through the air on a wine-cask, from Auerbach's Keller at Leipzig, in 1523, seems quesvern, still mutely asserts it to the toper of this day. tionable; though an old carving, in that venerable TaAbout 1560, his term of Thaumaturgy being over, he disappeared: whether, under feigned name, by the rope Devil, near the village of Rimlich, between Twelve of some hangman; or "frightfully torn in pieces by the and One in the morning," let each reader judge for himself. The latter was clearly George Rudolf abominable Sins of Dr. Johann Faust came out at HamWeidman's opinion, whose Veritable History of the burg in 1599; and is no less circumstantially announced in the old "People's-Book, That everywhere-infamous Arch-Black-Artist and Conjurer, Dr. Faust's Compact with the Devil, Wonderful-Walk and Conversation, and terrible End, printed, seemingly without date, at Köin (Cologne) and Nurnberg; read by every one; written by we know not whom." See again, for farther insight, Görres's Ueber die deutschen Volksbücher. Another Work, (Liepzig, 1824,) expressly "On Faust and the ed much in Germany, is also referred to.-Conv. Lexi Wandering Jew," which latter, in those times, wander.. con, Faust.

neart, on which it still more intimately de- | guage, after repeated renovations and changes pends, died out; but only taken another form. of dialect, they are still read, have, with In lower degrees it expressed itself as an ardent his other writings, been characterized, by zeal for Knowledge, and Improvement; for spiri- a native critic worthy of confidence, in these tual excellence such as the time held out and terms: prescribed. This was no languid, low-minded age, but of earnest busy effort; in all provinces of culture, resolutely struggling forward. Classical Literature, after long hindrances, had now found its way into Germany also: old Rome was open, with all its wealth, to the intelligent eye; scholars of Chrysoloras were fast unfolding the treasures of Greece. School Philosophy, which had never obtained firm footing among the Germans, was in all countries drawing to a close; but the subtile, piercing vision, which it had fostered and called into activity, was henceforth to employ itself with new profit on more substantial interests. In such manifold praiseworthy endeavours the most ardent mind had ample


"They contain a treasure of meditations, hints, indications full of heartfelt piety, which still speak to the inmost longings and noblest wants of man's Mind. His style is abrupt, compressed, significant in its conciseness; the nameless depth of feelings struggles with the phraseology. He was the first that wrested from our German speech the fit expression for ideas of moral Reason and Emotion, and has left us riches in that kind, such as the zeal for purity and fulness of language in our own days cannot leave unheeded."-Tauler, it is added, "was a man who, imbued with genuine Devotedness, as it springs from the depths of a soul strengthened in self-contemplation, and, free and all-powerful, rules over Life and Effort, attempted to train and win the people A higher, purer enthusiasm, again, which no for a duty which had hitherto been considered longer found its place in chivalrous Minstrel- as that of the learned class alone: to raise the sy, might still retire to meditate and worship Lay-world into moral study of Religion for in religious Cloisters, where, amid all the cor- themselves, that so, enfranchised from the ruption of monkish manners, there were not bonds of unreflecting custom, they might reguwanting men who aimed at, and accomplish- late Creed and Conduct by strength self-ac ed, the highest problem of manhood, a life of quired. He taught men to look within; by spiritual Truth. Among the Germans, espe- spiritual contemplation to feel the secret of cially, that deep-feeling, deep-thinking, devout their higher Destiny; to seek in their own temper, now degenerating into abstruse theoso-souls what from without is never, or too scan. phy, now purifying itself into holy eloquence, tily afforded; self-believing, to create what, by and clear apostolic light, was awake in this the dead letter of foreign Tradition, can never era; a temper which had long dwelt, and still be brought forth."* dwells there; which ere long was to render that people worthy the honour of giving Europe a new Reformation, a new Religion. As an example of monkish diligence and zeal, if of nothing more, we here mention the German Bible of Mathias von Behaim, which, in his Hermitage at Halle, he rendered from the Vulgate, in 1343; the Manuscript of which is still to be seen in Leipzig. Much more conspicuous stand two other German Priests of this Period; to whom, as connected with Literature also, a few words must now be devoted.

Known to all Europe, as Tauler is to Germany, and of a class with him, as a man of antique Christian walk, of warm, devoutly-feeling, poetic spirit, and insight and experience in the deepest regions of man's heart and life, follows, in the next generation, Thomas Hamerken, or Hammerlein, (Malleolus ;) usually named Thomas à Kempis, that is, Thomas of Kempen, a village near Cologne, where he was born in 1388. Others contend that Kampen in Overyssel was his birthplace; however, in either case, at that era, more especially, considering what he did, we can here regard him as a Deutscher, a German. For his spiritual and intellectual character we may refer to his works, written in the Latin tongue, and still known; above all, to his far-famed work De Imitatione Christi, which has been praised by such men as Luther, Leibnitz, Haller; and, what is more, has been read, and continues to be read, with

Johann Tauler is a name which fails in no Literary History of Germany: he was a man famous in his own day as the most eloquent of preachers; is still noted by critics for his intellectual deserts; by pious persons, especially of the class called Mystics, is still studied as a practical instructor; and by all true inquirers prized as a person of high talent and moral worth. Tauler was a Dominican Monk; moral profit, in all Christian languages and seems to have lived and preached at Stras- communions, having passed through upwards burg; where, as his grave-stone still testifies, of a thousand editions, which number is yet he died in 1361. His devotional works have daily increasing. A new English Thomas à been often edited: one of his modern admirers Kempis was published only the other year. has written his biography; wherein perhaps But the venerable man deserves a word from this is the strangest fact, if it be one, that once us, not only as a high, spotless Priest, and in the pulpit "he grew suddenly dumb, and father of the Church, at a time when such did nothing but weep; in which despondent were rare, but as a zealous promotor of learnstate he continued for two whole years." Then, ing, which, in his own country, he accomplished however, he again lifted up his voice, with much to forward. Hammerlein, the son of new energy and new potency. We learn far- poor parents, had been educated at the famous ther, that he "renounced the dialect of Philo- school of Deventer; he himself instituted a sophy, and spoke direct to the heart in language

of the heart." His Sermons, composed in Wachler, Vorlesungen über die Geschichte der deutLatin and delivered in German, in which lan-man National Literature,) b. i. s. 131. schen National-literatur (Lectures onthe History of Ger

similar one at Zwoll, which long continued the grand classical seminary of the North. Among his own pupils we find enumerated Moritz von Spiegelberg, Rudolf von Lange, Rudolf Agricola, Antonius Liber, Ludwig Dringenberg, Alexander Hegius; of whom Agricola, with other two, by advice of their teacher, visited Italy to study Greek; the whole six, united through manhood and life, as they had been in youth and at school, are regarded as the found ers of true classical literature among the Germans. Their scholastico-monastic establishments at Derventer, with Zwoll and its other numerous offspring, which rapidly extended themselves over the Northwest of Europe from Artois to Silesia, and operated powerfully both in a moral and intellectual view, are among the characteristic redeeming features of that time; but the details of them fall not within our present limits.*


who re-appeared when his teeth were grown. Not till industry and social cultivation had everywhere spread, and risen supreme, could that brood, in detail, be extirpated or tamed.

the only misery in such a state of things. For Neither was this miserable defect of police the Saddle-eating Baron, even in pacific circumstances, naturally looked down on the fruit-producing Burgher; who, again, feeling himself a wiser, wealthier, better, and, in time, a stronger man, ill brooked this procedure, and retaliated, or, by quite declining such communications, avoided it. Thus, throughout long centuries, and after that old code of Club-Law had been well-nigh abolished, the effort of the nation was still divided into two courses; the Noble and the Citizen would not work together, freely imparting and receiving their several gifts; but the culture of the polite arts, and mutual disadvantage, each on its separate that of the useful arts, had to proceed with footing. Indeed that supercilious and too marked distinction of ranks, which so ridiculously characterized the Germans, has only in very recent times disappeared.

If now, quitting the Cloister and Library, we look abroad over active Life, and the general state of culture and spiritual endeavour as manifested there, we have on all hands the cheering prospect of a society in full progress. The Practical Spirit, which had pressed forward into Poetry itself, could not but be busy and successful in those provinces where its home specially lies. Among the is true, so far as political condition was conans, it cerned, the aspect of affairs had not changed for the better. The Imperial Constitution was weakened and loosened into the mere semblance of a Government; the head of which had still the title, but no longer the reality of sovereign power; so that Germany, ever since the times of Rudolf, had, as it were, ceased to be one great nation, and become a disunited, often conflicting aggregate of small nations. Nay, we may almost say, of petty districts, or even of households: for now, when every pitiful Baron claimed to be an independent potentate, and exercised his divine right of peace and war, too often in plundering the industrious Burgher, public Law could no longer vindicate the weak against the strong: except the venerable unwritten code of Faustrécht, (Club-Law,) there was no other valid. On every steep rock, or difficult fastness, these dread sovereigns perched themselves; studding the country with innumerable Raubschlösser, (Robber-Towers,) which now in the eye of the picturesque tourist look interesting enough, but in those days were interesting on far other grounds. Herein dwelt a race of persons, proud, ignorant, hungry; who, boasting of an endless pedigree, talked familiarly of living on the produce of their "Saddles," (vom Sattel zu leben,) that is to say, by the profession of highwaymen, for which, unluckily, as mentioned, there was then no effectual gallows. Some, indeed, might plunder as the eagle, others as the vulture and crow; but, in general, from men cultivating that walk of life, no profit in any other was to be looked for. Vain was it, however, for the Kaiser to publish edict on edict against them; nay, if he destroyed their Robber-Towers, new ones were built; was the old wolf hunted down, the cub had escaped,

strength of the country lay in the middle Nevertheless here, as it ever does, the classes; which were sound and active, and, in The Free towns, which, in Germany as elsespite of all these hindrances, daily advancing. where, the sovereign favoured, held within their walls a race of men as brave as they of the Robber-Tower, but exercising their bravery on fitter objects; who, by degrees, too, ventured into the field against even the greatest of these kinglets, and in many a stout fight taught them a juristic doctrine, which no head, with all its helmets, was too thick for taking in. The Four Forest Cantons had already testified in this way; their Tells and Stauffachers preaching, with apostolic blows and knocks, like so many Luthers; whereby, from their remote Alpine glens, all lands and all times have heard them, and believed them. By dint of such logic it began to be understood everywhere, that a Man, whether clothed in purple cloaks or in tanned sheep-skins, wielding the sceptre or the ox-goad, is neither Deity nor Beast, but simply a Man, and must comport himself accordingly.


strength into every peaceable community; the But commerce of itself was pouring new Hanse League, now in full vigour, secured the fruits of industry over all the North. The havens of the Netherlands, thronged with ships from every sea, transmitted or collected their wide-borne freight over Germany; where, far inland, flourished market-cities, with their cunning workmen, their spacious warehouses, and merchants who in opulence vied with the richest. Except perhaps in the close vicinity of Robber-Towers, and even there not always nor altogether, Diligence, good Order, peaceful abundance were everywhere conspicuous in Germany. Petrarch has celebrated, in warm terms, the beauties of the Rhine, as he wit nessed them; the rich, embellished, cultivated aspect of land and people: Eneas Sylvius. afterwards Pope Pius the Second, expresses himself, in the next century, with still greater seen both," that the King of Scotland did not emphasis; he says, and he could judge, having

•See Eichhorn's Geschichte der Literatur, b. ii. s. 134.

live so handsomely as a moderate Citizen of Nürnberg" indeed Conrad Celtes, another contemporary witness, informs us, touching these same citizens, that their wives went abroad loaded with the richest jewels, that "most of their household utensils were of silver and gold." For, as Eneas Sylvius adds, "their mercantile activity is astonishing; the greater part of the German nation consists of merchants." Thus, too, in Augsburg, the Fugger family, which sprang, like that of the Medici, from smallest beginnings, were fast rising into that height of commercial greatness, such that Charles V., in viewing the Royal Treasury at Paris, could say, "I have a weaver in Augsburg able to buy it all with his own gold."* With less satisfaction, the same haughty Monarch had to see his own Nephew wedded to the fair Philippine Welser, daughter of another merchant in that city, and for wisdom and beauty the paragon of her time.† In this state of economical prosperity, Literature and Art, such kinds of them at least as had a practical application, could not want encouragement. It is mentioned as one of the furtherances to Classical Learning among the

Germans, that these Free Towns, as well as
numerous petty Courts of Princes, exercising
a sovereign power, required individuals of
some culture to conduct their Diplomacy; one
man able at least to write a handsome Latin
style was an indispensable requisite. For a
long while even this small accomplishment
was not to be acquired in Germany; where,
such had been the troublous condition of the
Governments, there were yet, in the beginning
of the fourteenth century, no Universities:
however, a better temper and better fortune
began at length to prevail among the German
Sovereigns; the demands of the time insisted
on fulfilment. The University of Prague was
founded in 1348, that of Vienna in 1364;" and
now, as if to make up for the de'ay, princes
and communities on all hauds made haste to
establish similar Institutions; so that before
the end of the century we find three others,
Heidelberg, Cologne, Erfurt; in the course of
the next no fewer than eight more, of which
Leipzig (in 1404) is the most remarkable.
Neither did this honourable zeal grow cool in
the sixteenth century, or even down to our
own, when Germany, boasting of some forty
great Schools and twenty-two Universities,
four of which date within the last thirty years,
may fairly reckon itself the best school-pro-
vided country in Europe; as, indeed, those
who in any measure know it are aware that it

Charles had his reasons for such a speech. This same Auton Fugger, to whom he alluded here, had often stood by him in straits, showing a munificence and even generosity worthy of the proudest princes. During the celebrated Diet of Augsburg, in 1530, the Emperor lodged for a whole year in Auton's house; and Auton was a man to warm his Emperor "at a fire of cin-is also indisputably the best educated.

namon wood," and to burn therein "the bonds for large

sums owing him by his majesty." For all which, Auton and his kindred had countships and princeships in abundance; also the right to coin money, but no solid bullion to exercise such right on; which, however, they repeatedly did on bullion of their own. This Auton left

six millions of gold-crowns in cash: "besides precious articles, jewels, properties in all countries of Europe, and both the Indies.' The Fuggers had ships on every sea, wagons on every highway; they worked the Carinthian Mies; even Albrecht Dürer's Pictures must pass through their warehouses to the Italian market. However, this family had other merits than their mountains of metal, their kindness to needy sovereigns, and even their all-embracing spirit of commercial enterprise. They were famed for acts of general beneficence, and did much charity where no imperial thanks were to be looked for. To found Hospitals and Schools, on the

most liberal scale, was a common thing with them. In the sixteenth century, three benevolent brothers of the House purchased a suburb of Augsburg; rebuilt it with small commodious houses, to be let to indigent industrious burghers for a trifling rent: this is the well-buted a share,-the largest share, at least of known Fuggerei, which, still existing, with its own walls such shares as can be appropriated and fixed and gate, maintains their name in daily currency there. -The founder of this remarkable family did actually on any special contributor, belongs to Gerdrive the shuttle in the village of Göggingen, near Augs- many. Copernic, Hevel, Kepler, Otto Guericke, burg, about the middle of the Fourteenth century; "but are of other times; but in this era also the in 1619," says the Spiegel der Ehren, (Mirror of Honour,) spirit of Inquiry, of Invention, was especially busy. Gunpowder, (of the thirteenth century,) though Milton gives the credit of it to Satan, has helped mightily to lessen the horrors of war: thus much at least must be admitted in its favour, that it secures the dominion of

"the noble stem had so branched out that there were

forty-seven Counts and Countesses belonging to it, and of young descendants as many as there are days in the year." Four stout boughs of the same noble stem, in

the rank of Princes, still subsist and flourish. "Thus in the generous Fuggers," says that above-named Mirror, "was fulfilled our Saviour's promise: Give, and it shall be given you.'"-Conv. Lexicon, Fugger-Geschlecht.

The Welsers were of patrician descent, and had for many centuries followed commerce at Augsburg, where, next only to the Fuggers, they played a high part. It was they, for example that, at their own charges, first colonized Venezuela; that equipped the first German ship to India, "the Journal of which still exists;" they united with the Fuggers to lend Charles V. twelve Tonnen Gold, 1,200,000 Florins. The fair Philippine, by her pure charms and honest wiles, worked out a reconciliation with Kaiser Ferdinand the First, her Father-in law; lived thirty happy years with her husband; and had medals struck by him, Diva Philippine, in honour of ber, when (at Innspruck in 1580) he became a widower. -Conv, Lexicon, Welser.

Still more decisive are the proofs of national activity, of progressive culture among the Germans, if we glance at what concerns the practical Arts. Apart from Universities and learned show, there has dwelt, in those same Nürnbergs and Augsburgs, a solid, quietlyperseverant spirit, full of old Teutonic character and old Teutonic sense; whereby, ever and anon, from under the bonnet of some rugged German artisan or staid Burgher, this and the other World's Invention has been starting forth, where such was least of all looked for. Indeed with regard to practical Knowledge in General, if we consider the present history and daily life of mankind, it must be owned that while each nation has contri

There seems to be some controversy about the precedence here: Bouterwek gives Vienna, with a date 1333, as the earliest; Koch again puts Heidelberg, 1346, in front; the dates in the Text profess to be taken from Meiner's Geschichte der Enstehung und Entwickelung der Hoken Schulen unsers Erdtheils, (History of the Origin and Development of High Schools in Europe.) Göttingen, 1802. The last established University is that of München, (Munich,) in 1826. Prussia alone has 21,000 Public Schoolmasters, specially trained to their profession, sometimes even sent to travel for improvement at the cost of Government. What says "the most enlightened nation in the world" to this -Eats its pudding, and says little or nothing.

civilized over savage man: nay, hereby, in | devised, not for working out new paths, which personal contests, not brute Strength, but was their ulterior issue, but, in the mean while, Courage and Ingenuity, can avail; for the for proceeding more commodiously on the old Dwarf and the Giant are alike strong with path. In the Prague University, it is true, pistols between them. Neither can Valour whither Wickliffe's writings had found their now find its best arena in War, in Battle, way, a teacher of more earnest tone had risen, which is henceforth a matter of calculation in the person of John Huss, Rector there; and strategy, and the soldier a chess-pawn to whose Books, Of the Six Errors and Of the shoot and be shot at: whereby that noble Church, still more his energetic, zealously quality may at length come to reserve itself polemical Discourses to the people, were yet for other more legitimate occasions, of which, unexampled on the Continent. The shameful in this our Life-Battle with Destiny, there are murder of this man, who lived and died as beenough. And thus Gunpowder, if it spread the seemed a Martyr; and the stern vengeance havoc of War, mitigates it in a still higher which his countrymen took for it, unhappily degree; like some Inoculation,-to which may not on the Constance Cardinals, but on less an extirpating Vaccination one day succeed! offensive Bohemian Catholics, kept up during It ought to be stated, however, that the claim twenty years, on the Eastern Border of Gerof Schwartz to the original invention is du- many, an agitating tumult, not only of opinion, bious; to the sole invention altogether un- but of action: however, the fierce, indomitable founded the recipe stands under disguise in Zisca being called away, and the pusillanimous the writings of Roger Bacon; the article itself Emperor offering terms, which, indeed, he did was previously known in the East. not keep, this uproar subsided, and the national activity proceeded in its former course.

Far more indisputable are the advantages of Printing and if the story of Brother In German Literature, during those years, Schwartz's mortar giving fire and driving his nothing presents itself as worthy of notice pestle through the ceiling, in the city of Mentz, here. Chronicles were written; Class-books as the painful Monk and Alchymist was acci- for the studious, edifying Homilies, in varied dentally pounding the ingredients of our first guise, for the busy, were compiled: a few Gunpowder, is but a fable,-that of our first Books of Travels made their appearance, Book being printed there is much better ascer- among which Translations from our too fabu tained. Johann Gutenberg was a native of lous countryman, Mandeville, are perhaps the Mentz; and there, in company with Faust and most remarkable. For the rest, Life continued Schöffer, appears to have completed his inven- to be looked at less with poetic admiration tion, between the years 1440 and 1449: the than in a spirit of observation and comparison; famous "Forty-two line Bible" was printed not without many a protest against clerical there in 1455. Of this noble art, which is and secular error; such, however, seldom like an infinitely intensated organ of Speech, rising into the style of grave hate and hostility, whereby the Voice of a small transitory man but playfully expressing themselves in satire, may reach not only through all earthly Space, The old effort towards the Useful; in Litera but through all earthly Time, it were needless ture, the old prevalence of the Didactic, espe to repeat the often-repeated praises; or specu-cially of the Esopic, is everywhere manifest. late on the practical effects, the most moment- Of this Esopic spirit, what phases it succesous of which are, perhaps, but now becoming sively assumed, and its significance in these, visible. On this subject of the Press, and its there were much to be said. However, in German origin, a far humbler remark may be place of multiplying smaller instances and in place here; namely, that Rag-paper, the aspects, let us now take up the highest; and material on which Printing works and lives, with the best of all Apologues, Reynard the Fox, was also invented in Germany some hundred terminates our survey of that Fable-loving and fifty years before. "The oldest specimens time. of this article yet known to exist," says Eichhorn, "are some Documents, of the year 1318, in the Archives of the Hospital at Kaufbeuern. Breitkopf (Vom Ursprung der Spielkarten, On the Origin of Cards) has demonstrated our claim to the invention; and that France and England borrowed it from Germany, and Spain from Italy."+

On the invention of Printing there followed naturally a multiplication of Books, and a new activity, which has ever since proceeded at an accelerating rate, in the business of Literature; but for the present, no change in its character or objects. Those Universities, and other Establishments and Improvements, were so many tools which the spirit of the time had

As to the Dutch claim, it rests only on vague local traditions, which were never heard of publicly till their Lorenz Coster had been dead almost a hundred and fifty years; so that, out of Holland, it finds few partisans.

† Bii. s. 91.-"The first German Paper-mill we have sure account of," says Koch, "worked at Nürnberg in 1390."-Vol. i. p. 35.

The story of Reinecke Fuchs, or, to give it the original Low-German name, Reineke de Fos, is, more than any other, a truly European per formance: for some centuries, a universal household possession and secular Bible, read everywhere, in the palace and the hut; it still interests us, moreover, by its intrinsic worth, being on the whole the most poetical and meritorious production of our Western World in that kind; or perhaps of the whole World, though in such matters, the West has geuerally yielded to, and learned from, the East.

Touching the origin of this Book, as often happens in like cases, there is a controversy, perplexed not only by inevitable ignorance, but also by anger and false patriotism. Inte this vexed sea we have happily no call to venture; and shall merely glance for a moment, from the firm land, where all that can specially concern us in the matter stands secured and safe. The oldest printed Edition of our acuat

« السابقةمتابعة »