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Reynard is that of Lübeck, in 1498; of which | differ essentially from Hinrek's; still more so there is a copy, understood to be the only one, does the French Roman du nouveau Renard, still extant in the Wolfenbüttel Library. This composed "by Jacquemars Gielée at Lisle, oldest Edition is in the Low-German or Saxon about the year 1290," which yet exists in tongue, and appears to have been produced by manuscript: however, they sufficiently verify Hinrek van Alkmer, who in the Preface calls that statement, by some supposed to be feigned, himself "Schoolmaster and Tutor of that noble of the German redactor's having "sought and virtuous Prince and Lord, the Duke of Lor- rendered" his work from the Walloon and raine;" and says farther, that by order of this French; in which latter tongue, as we shall same worthy sovereign, he "sought out and soon see, some shadow of it had been known rendered the present Book from the Walloon and and popular, long centuries before that time. French tongue into German, to the praise and For besides Gielee's work, we have a Renard honour of God, and wholesome edification of Couronné of still earlier, a Renard Contrefait of whoso readeth therein." Which candid and somewhat later date: and Chroniclers inform business-like statement would doubtless have us that, at the noted Festival given by Philip continued to yield entire satisfaction; had it the Fair, in the beginning of the fourteenth not been that, in modern days, and while this century, among the dramatic entertainments, first Lübeck Edition was still lying in its dusty was a whole Life of Reynard; wherein it must recess unknown to Bibliomaniacs, another not surprise us that he "ended by becoming account, dated some hundred years later, and Pope, and still, under the Tiara, continued to supported by a little subsequent hearsay, had eat poultry." Nay, curious inquirers have been raked up: how the real Author was discovered on the French and German borders, Nicholas Baumann, Professor at Rostock; some vestige of the Story even in Carlovingian how he had been Secretary to the Duke of times, which, indeed, again makes it a German Juliers, but was driven from his service by original: they will have it that a certain Reinwicked cabals; and so in revenge composed hard, or Reinecke, Duke of Lorraine, who, in this satirical adumbration of the Juliers Court; the ninth century, by his craft and exhaustless putting on the title-page, to avoid conse- stratagems worked strange mischief in that quences, the feigned tale of its being rendered region, many times overreaching King Zwenti from the French and Walloon tongue, and the bald himself, and at last, in his stronghold of feigned name of Hinrek van Alkmer, who, for Durfos, proving impregnable to him,—had in the rest, was never Schoolmaster and Tutor at satirical songs of that period been celebrated Lorraine, or anywhere else, but a mere man as a fox, as Reinhard the Fox, and so given rise of straw, created for the nonce, out of so many afar off to this Apologue, at least to the title of Letters of the Alphabet. Hereupon excessive it. The name Isegrim, as applied to the Wolf, debate, and a learned sharp-shooting, with vic- these same speculators deduce from an Austory-shouts on both sides; into which we trian Count Isengrin, who, in those old days, nowise enter. Some touch of human sym- had revolted against Kaiser Arnulph, and pathy does draw us towards Hinrek, whom, if otherwise exhibited too wolfish a disposition. he was once a real man, with bones and Certain it is, at least, that both designations sinews, stomach and provender-scrip, it is were in universal use during the twelfth cenmournful to see evaporated away into mere tury; they occur, for example, in one of the Vowels and consonants: however, beyond a two sirventes which our Coeur-de-Lion has left kind wish, we can give him no help. In Lite- us: "ye have promised me fidelity," says he, rary History, except on this one occasion, as "but ye have kept it as the Wolf did to the seems indisputable enough, he is nowhere men- Fox," as Isangrin did to Reinhart. Nay, perioned or hinted at. haps the ancient circulation of some such Song, or Tale, among the French, is best of all evinced by the fact that this same Reinhart, or Renard, is still the only word in their language for Fox; and thus, strangely enough, the Proper may have become an Appellative; and sly Duke Reinhart, at an era when the French tongue was first evolving itself from the rubbish of Latin and German, have insinuated his name into Natural as well as Political History.
From all which, so much at least would ap pear: That the Fable of Reynard the Fox, which in the German version we behold completed, nowise derived its completeness from the individual there named Hinrek van Alkmer, or from any other individual, or people: but rather, that being in old times universally cur rent, it was taken up by poets and satirists of all countries; from each received some accesrude and symple englyssh in thabbey of Westminster, and fynnyshed the vi daye of Juyn the yere of our lord 1481, the 21 yere of the regne of Kynge Edward the iiijth." *Flögel, (iii. 31,) who quotes the Histoire Litteraire des Troubadours, t. i. p. 63.
Leaving Hinrek and Nicolaus, then, to fight out their quarrel as they may, we remark that the clearest issue of it would throw little light on the origin of Reinecke. The victor could at most claim to be the first German redactor of this Fable, and the happiest; whose work had superseded and obliterated all preceding ones whatsoever; but nowise to be the inventor thereof, who must be sought for in a much remoter period. There are even two printed versions of the Tale, prior in date to this of Lübeck: a Dutch one, at Delft in 1484; and one by Caxton in English, in 1481, which seems to be the earliest of all. These two
* Caxton's Edition, a copy of which is in the British Museum, bears title: Hystorye of Reynart the Fore: and begins thus: It was aboute the tyme of Pentecoste or Whytsontyde that the wodes comynly be lusty and gladsome, and the trees clad with levys and blossoms, and the grounds with herbes and flowers sweete smellyng"-where, as in many other passages, the fact that Caxton and Alkmer had the same original before them is manifest enough. Our venerable Printer says in conclusion: "I have not added ne mynnsshed but have followed as nyghe as I can my copye whych was in dutche; and by me Willm Caxton translated in to this
Thus has our old Fable, rising like some River in the remote distance, from obscure rivulets, gathered strength out of every valley, out of every country, as it rolled on. It is European in two senses; for as all Europe con
sion or improvement; and properly has no single author. We must observe, however, that as yet it had attained no fixation or consistency; no version was decidedly preferred to every other. Caxton's and the Dutch appear, at best, but as the skeleton of what after-tributed to it, so all Europe has enjoyed it. wards became a body; of the old Walloon Among the Germans, Reinecke Fuchs was long version, said to have been discovered lately, a House-book and universal Best-companion: we are taught to entertain a similar opinion: it has been lectured on in Universities, quoted in the existing French versions, which are all in Imperial Council-halls; it lay on the toilette ulder, either in Gielée's, or in the others, there of Princesses, and was thumbed to pieces on is even less analogy. Loosely conjoined, there- the bench of the Artisan; we hear of grave fore, and only in the state of dry bones, was it men ranking it only next to the Bible. Neither, that Hinrek, or Nicolaus, or some Lower-Saxon as we said, was its popularity confined to whoever he might be, found the story; and home; Translations ere long appeared in blowing on it with the breath of genius, raised French, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, Engit up into a consistent Fable. Many additions lish: nor was that same stall-honour, which and some exclusions he must have made; was has been reckoned the truest literary celebrity, probably enough assisted by personal experi- refused it here; perhaps many a reader of ence of a Court, whether that of Juliers or these pages may, like the writer of them, resome other; perhaps also he admitted personal collect the hours, when, hidden from unfeeling allusions, and doubtless many an oblique gaze of pedagogue, he swallowed The most glance at existing things: and thus was pro-pleasant and delightful History of Renard the Fox, duced the Low-German Reineke de Fos, which like stolen waters, with a timorous joy. version, shortly after its appearance, had extinguished all the rest, and come to be, what it still is, the sole veritable representative of Reynard, inasmuch as all subsequent translations and editions have derived themselves from it.
So much for the outward fortunes of this remarkable Book. It comes before us with a character such as can belong only to a very few; that of being a true world's-Book, which through centuries was everywhere at home, the spirit of which diffused itself into all languages and all minds. These quaint sopic figures have painted themselves in innumerable heads; that rough, deep-lying humour has been the laughter of many generations. So that, at worst, we must regard this Reinecke as an ancient Idol, once worshipped, and still interesting for that circumstance, were the sculp ture never so rude. We can love it, moreover, as being indigenous, wholly of our own creation: it sprang up from European sense and character, and was a faithful type and organ of these.
The farther history of Reinecke is easily traced. In this new guise, it spread abroad over all the world, with a scarcely exampled rapidity; fixing itself also as a firm possession in most countries, where, indeed, in this character, we still find it. It was printed and rendered, innumerable times: in the original dialect alone, the last Editor has reckoned up more than twenty Editions; on one of which, for example, we find such a name as that of Heinrich Voss. It was first translated into High-German in 1545; into Latin in 1567, by Hartmann Schopper, whose smooth style and rough fortune keep him in memory with Scholars† a new version into short German verse appeared next century; in our own times, Goethe has not disdained to re-produce it, by means of his own, in a third shape: Of Soltau's version, into literal doggerel, we have already testified. Long generations before, it had been manufactured into Prose, for the use of the people, and was sold on stalls; where still, with the needful changes in spelling, and printed on grayest paper, it tempts the specu-dedicating it to the Emperor, with doleful complaints, lative eye. fruitless or not is unknown. For now poor Hartmann, no longer an Autobiographer, quite vanishes, and we can understand only that he laid his wearied back ons day in a most still bed, where the blanket of the Night softly enwrapped him and all his woes.--His Book is entitled Opus poeticum de admirabili Fallacia et Astutia Vulpecula Reinekes, &c. &c.; and in the Dedication and Preface contains all these details.
* Besides Caxton's original, of which little is known among us but the name, we have two versions; one in 1667, "with excellent Morals and Expositions," which was reprinted in 1681, and followed in 1684 by a continuation, called the Shifts of Reynarding the Son of Reynard, of English growth; another in 1708, slightly altered from the former, explaining what appears doubtful or allegorical; "it being originally written," brave editor elsewhere, "by an eminent Statesman of says the the German Empire, to show some Men their Follies, and correct the Vices of the Times he lived in." Not appears here; also there are "curious Devices, or Pieonly Reynardine but a second Appendix, Cawood the Rook, tures."-Of editions "printed for the Flying-S'ation.
But independently of all extrinsic considerations, this Fable of Reinecke may challenge a judgment on its own merits. Cunningly constructed, and not without a true poetic life, we must admit it to be: great power of concep tion and invention, great pictorial fidelity, a warm, sunny tone of colouring, are manifest enough. It is full of broad, rustic mirth; inexhaustible in comic devices; a World-Saturnalia, where Wolves tonsured into Monks, and
* See Scheller; (Reineke de Fos, To Brunswyk, 1825;) Vorrede.
+ While engaged in this Translation, at Freiburg in Baden, he was impressed as a soldier, and carried, apparently in fetters, to Vienna, having given his work to another to finish. At Vienna he stood not long in the ranks; having fallen violently sick, and being thrown out into the streets to recover there. He says, "he was without bed, and had to seek quarters on the muddy pavement, in a Barrel." Here too, in the night, some excessively straitened individual stole from him his cloak and sabre. However, men were not all hyenas; one Josias Hufnagel, unknown to him, but to whom by his writings he was known, took him under roof, procured medical assistance, equipped him anew; so that "in the harvest season, being half-cured, he could return or rather re-crawl to Frankfort on the Mayn." There too a Magister Johann Cuipius, Christian Egenolph's son-in-law, kindly received him," and encouraged bim to finish his Translation; as accordingly he did,ors," we say nothing.
nigh starved by short commons, Foxes pilgrim- at heart, and furnished even with shoes, cut ing to Rome for absolution, Cocks pleading from the living hides of Isegrim and Isegrim's at the judgment-bar, make strange mummery.much-injured spouse, his worst enemies. How, Nor is this wild Parody of Human Life with- the Treasures not making their appearance, out its meaning and moral: it is an Air-pa- but only new misdeeds, he is again haled to geant from Fancy's Dream-grotto, yet Wis- judgment; again glozes the general ear with dom lurks in it; as we gaze, the vision be- sweetest speeches; at length, being challenged comes poetic and prophetic. A true Irony to it, fights Isegrim in knightly tourney, and by must have dwelt in the Poet's heart and head; the cunningest, though the most unchivalrous here, under grotesque shadows, he gives us method, not to be farther specified in polite the saddest picture of Reality; yet for us with writing, carries off a complete victory; and out sadness; his figures mask themselves in having thus, by wager of battle, manifested his uncouth, bestial vizards, and enact, gambol- innocence, is overloaded with royal favour; ing their Tragedy dissolves into sardonic created Chancellor, and Pilot to weather the grins. He has a deep, heartfelt Humour, Storm; and so, in universal honour and ausporting with the world and its evils in kind thority, reaps the fair fruit of his gifts and la mockery: this is the poetic soul, round which bours. the outward material has fashioned itself into living coherence. And so, in that rude old Apologue, we have still a mirror, though now tarnished and time-worn, of true magic reality; and can discern there, in cunning reflex, some image both of our destiny and of our duty: for now, as then, “Prudence is the only virtue sure of its reward," and cunning triumphs where Honesty is worsted; and now, as then, it is the wise man's part to know this, and cheerfully look for it, and cheerfully defy it:
Of the Fable, and its incidents and structure, it is perhaps superfluous to offer any sketch; to most readers the whole may be already familiar. How Noble, King of the Beasts, holding a solemn Court, one Whitsuntide, is deafened on all hands with complaints against Reinecke; Hinze the Cat, Lampe the Hare, Isegrim the Wolf, with innumerable others, having suffered from his villany, Isegrim especially, in a point which most keenly touches honour; nay, Chanticleer the Cock, (Henning de Hane,) amid bitterest wail, appearing even with the corpus delicti, the body of one of his children, whom that arch-knave has feloniously murdered with intent to eat. How his indignant Majesty thereupon despatches Bruin the Bear to cite the delinquent in the King's name; how Bruin, inveigled into a Honey-Expedition, returns without his errand, without his ears, almost without his life; Hinze the Cat, in a subsequent expedition, faring no better. How at last Reinecke, that he may not have to stand actual siege in his fortress of Malapertus, does appear for trial, and is about to be hanged, but on the gallows-ladder makes a speech unrivalled in forensic eloquence, and saves his life; nay, having incidentally hinted at some Treasures, the hiding-pinched with hunger, asks whether she will place of which is well known to him, rises sell her foal: she answers, that the price is into high favour; is permitted to depart on written on her hinder hoof; which document that pious pilgrimage to Rome he has so much the intending purchaser, being "an Erfurt graduate," declares his full ability to read; but finds there no writing, or print, save only the print of six horsenails on his own mauled visage. And abundance of the like; sufficient
It has been objected that the animals in Rienecke are not Animals, but Men disguised; to which objection, except in so far as grounded on the necessary indubitable fact that this is an Apologue or emblematic Fable, and no Chapter of Natural History, we cannot in any considerable degree accede. Nay, that very contrast between Object and Effort, where the Passions of men develope themselves on the Interests of animals, and the whole is huddled together in chaotic mockery, is a main charm of the picture. For the rest, we should rather say, these bestial characters were moderately well sustained: the vehement, futile vociferation of Chanticleer; the hysterical promptitude, and earnest profession and protestation of poor Lampe the Hare; the thickheaded ferocity of Isegrim; the sluggish, glut tonous opacity of Bruin; above all, the craft, the tact, and inexhaustible knavish adroitness of Reinecke himself, are in strict accuracy of costume. Often also their situations and occupations are bestial enough. What quantities of bacon and other provant do Isegrim and Reinecke forage; Reinecke contributing the scheme, for the two were then in partnership,-and Isegrim paying the shot in broken bones! What more characteristic than the fate of Bruin, when, ill-counselled, he introduces his stupid head into Rustefill's half-split log, has the wedges whisked away, and stands clutched there, as in a vice, and uselessly roaring, disappointed of honey, sure only of a beating without parallel! Not to forget the Mare, whom, addressing her by the title of Good-wife, with all politeness, Isegrim, sore
Ut vulpis adulatio
Here through his own world moveth,
Most like to Reynard's proveth.*
If Reinecke is nowise a perfect Comic Epos, it has various features of such, and, above all, a genuine Epic spirit, which is the rarest fea
Whereby shall each to wisdom turn,
Ut vulpis adulatio
Nu in de werlde blikket:
Sic hominis et ratio
Gelyk dem Fos sik shikket.—Motto to Reinecke.
to excuse our old Epos on this head, or altoge-| ther justify it. Another objection, that, namely, which points to the great, and excessive coarseness of the work, here and there, it cannot so readily turn aside; being indeed rude, oldfashioned, and homespun, apt even to draggle in the mire: neither are its occasional dulness and tediousness to be denied; but only to be set against its frequent terseness and strength, and pardoned as the product of poor humanity, from whose hands nothing, not even a Reincke de Fos, comes perfect.
He who would read, and still understand this old Apologue, must apply to Goethe, whose version, for poetical use, we have found infinitely the best; like some copy of an ancient, bedimmed, half-obliterated woodeut, but new-done on steel, on India-paper, and with all manner of graceful, yet appropriate appendages. Nevertheless, the old Low-German original has also a certain charm, and, simply as the original, would claim some notice. It is reckoned greatly the best performance that was ever brought out in that dialect; interesting, moreover, in a philological point of view, especially to us English; being properly the language of our old Saxon Fatherland; and still curiously like our own, though the two, for some twelve centuries, have had no brotherly communication. One short specimen, with the most verbal translation, we shall here insert, and then have done with Reinecke:
"De Greving was Reinken broder's söne,
The Badger was Reinke's brother's son, De sprak do, un was sêr köne.
He spake there, and was (sore) very (keen) bold. He forantworde in dem Hove den Fos,
He (for-answered) defended in the Court the fox, De dog was sèr falsh un lôs.
That (though) yet was very false and loose. He sprak to deme Wulve also ford:
He spake to the Wolf so forth:
Here Isegrim, it is ein ôldspråken word,
Master Isegrim, it is an old-spoken word,
The (fiends) enemy's mouth (shapeth) bringeth seldom advantage!
So do ji ôk by Reinken, mimen ôm.
So do ye (eke) too by Reinke, mine (eme) uncle.
It sholde ju nigt dünken gôd,
It should you not (think) seem good,
That ye him here so forspake
Un de ôlden stükke hyr förräken.
That let ye all (after stand) stand by.
It is yet to some gentlemen well known,
Umme Isegrim's willen, fylna was dod.
He brought mine uncle into great (need) straits,
Right in the way, and stood (adventure) chance.
Mark, were him eke the fishes (sour) dear-bought?
And mine uncle (there-self) even there perceived,
But he stirred himself not (little nor great) more or less;
Do mende he dat he were dôd;
Then (meaned) thought he that he was dead;
He hadde ôk gêrne der fishe begërd,
He (had) would have also fain of the fishes required,
Men Isegrim hadde se alle fortêrd.
But Isegrim had them all consumed.
He hadde getan dat he wolde barsten,
Whereby it would appear, if we are to believe Grimbart the Badger, that Reinecke was not only the cheater in this case, but also the cheatee; however, he makes matters straight again in that other noted fish expedition, where Isegrim minded not to steal but to catch fish, and having no fishing-tackle, by Reinecke's advice, inserts his tail into the lake, in winterseason; but before the promised string of trouts, all hooked to one another, and to him, will bite, is frozen in, and left there to his own bitter meditations.
We here take leave of Reineke de Fos, and of the whole Esopic genus, of which it is almost the last, and by far the most remarkable example. The Age of Apologue, like that of Chivalry and Love-singing, is gone; for no thing in this Earth has continuance. If we
ask, where are now our People's Books? the answer might give room for reflections. Hinrek van Alkmer has passed away, and Dr. Birkbeck has risen in his room. What good and evil lie in that little sentence !-But doubtless the day is coming when what is wanting here will be supplied; when as the Logical, so likewise the Poetical susceptibility and faculty of the people, their Fancy, Humour, Imagination, wherein lie the main elements of spiritual life,-will no longer be left uncultivated, barren, or bearing only spontaneous thistles, but in new and finer harmony, with an improved Understanding, will flourish in new vigour; and in our inward world there
TAYLOR'S HISTORIC SURVEY OF GERMAN
[EDINBURGH REVIEW, 1831.]
GERMAN Literature has now for upwards of half a century been making some way in England; yet by no means at a constant rate, rather in capricious flux and reflux,-deluge alternating with desiccation: never would it assume such moderate, reasonable currency, as promised to be useful and lasting. The history of its progress here would illustrate the progress of more important things; would again exemplify what obstacles a new spiritual object, with its mixture of truth and of falsehood, has to encounter from unwise enemies, still more from unwise friends; how dross is mistaken for metal, and common ashes are solemnly labelled as fell poison; how long, in such cases, blind Passion must vociferate before she can awaken Judgment; in short, with what tumult, vicissitude, and protracted difficulty, a foreign doctrine adjusts and locates itself among the homeborn. Perfect ignorance is quiet, perfect knowledge is quiet; not so the transition from the former to the latter. In a vague, all-exaggerating twilight of wonder, the new has to fight its battle with the old; Hope has to settle accounts with Fear: thus the scales strangely waver; public opinion, which is as yet baseless, fluctuates without limit; periods of foolish admiration and foolish execration must elapse, before that of true inquiry and zeal according to knowledge can begin.
will again be a sunny Firmament and verdant Earth, as well as a Pantry and culinary Fire; and men will learn not only to recapitulate and compute, but to worship, to love; in tears or in laughter, hold mystical as well as logical communion with the high and the low of this wondrous Universe; and read, as they should live, with their whole being. Of which glorious consummation there is at all times, seeing these endowments are indestructible, nay, essentially supreme, in man, the firmest ulterior certainty, but, for the present, only faint prospects and far-off indications. Time brings Roses!
Thirty years ago, for example, a person of influence and understanding thought good to emit such a proclamation as the following: "Those ladies, who take the lead in society, are loudly called upon to act as guardians of the public taste as well as of the public virtue. They are called upon, therefore, to oppose, with the whole weight of their influence, the
* Historic Survey of German Poetry, interspersed with various Translations. By W. Taylor, of Norwich. 3 vols. 8vo, London, 1830.
irruption of those swarms of Publications now daily issuing from the banks of the Danube, which, like their ravaging predecessors of the darker ages, though with far other and more fatal arms, are overrunning civilized society. Those readers, whose purer taste has been formed on the correct models of the old classic school, see with indignation and astonishment the Huns and Vandals once more overpowering the Greeks and Romans. They behold our minds, with a retrograde but rapid motion, hurried back to the reign of Chaos and old Night, by distorted and unprincipled Compositions, which, in spite of strong flashes of genius, unite the taste of the Goths with the morals of Bagshot."-"The newspapers announce that Schiller's Tragedy of the Robbers, which inflamed the young nobility of Germany to enlist themselves into a band of highwaymen, to rob in the forests of Bohemia, is now acting in England by persons of quality!"*
Whether our fair Amazons, at sound of this alarm-trumpet, drew up in array of war to discomfit those invading Compositions, and snuff out the lights of that questionable private theatre, we have not learned; and see only that, if so, their campaign was fruitless and needless. Like the old Northern Immigrators, those new Paper Goths marched on resistless whither they were bound; some to honour, some to dishonour, the most to oblivion and the impalpable inane; and no weapon or artillery, not even the glances of bright eyes, but only the omnipotence of Time, could tame and assort them. Thus, Kotzebue's truculent armaments, once so threatening, all turned out to be mere Fantasms and Night apparitions; and so rushed onwards, like some Spectre Hunt, with loud howls indeed, yet
Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education By Hannah More. The Eighth Edition, p. 41.