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humour and heartıness, apt to be intolerably | He became a mark for calumny; the defence, long-winded; and of a maladroitness, a blank less butt at which every callow witling made ineptitude, which exposed him to incessant his proof-shot; his character was more deridicule and manifold mystifications from peo formed and mangled than that of any other ple of the world. Nevertheless, under all this man. What had he to gain! Insult and perrubbish, contends the friendly Biographer, secution; and with these, as candour bids us there dwelt, for those who could look more believe, the approving voice of his own connarrowly, a spirit, marred indeed in its beauty, science. To judge from his writings, he was and languishing in painful conscious oppres- far from repenting of the change he had made; sion, yet never wholly forgetful of its original his Catholic faith evidently stands in his own nobleness. Werner's soul was made for affec. mind as the first blessing of his life; and he tion; and often as, under his too rude colli- clings to it as to the anchor of his soul. Scarcesions with external things, it was struck into ly more than once in the Preface to his Mutteharshness and dissonance, there was a tone der Makkabüer) does he allude to the legions of which spoke of melody, even in its jarrings. falsehoods that were in circulation against A kind, a sad, and heartfelt remembrance of him; and it is in a spirit which, without enhis friends seems never to have quitted him : tirely concealing the querulousness of nature, to the last he ceased not from warm love 10 nowise fails in the meekness and endurance men at large; nay, to awaken in them, with which became him as a Christian. Here is a such knowledge as he had, a sense for what fragment of another Paper, published since was best and highest, may be said to have his death, as it was meant to be; which exformed the earnest
, though weak and unstable hibits him in a still clearer light. The reader aim of his whole existence. The truth is, his may condemn, or what will be better, pity and defects as a writer were also his defects as a sympathize with him; but the structure of this man: he was feeble, and without volition; in strange piece surely bespeaks any thing but inlife, as in poetry, his endowments fell into con- sincerity. We translate it with all its breaks fusion; his character relaxed itself on all sides and fantastic crotchets, as it stands before us : into incoherent expansion; his activity became gigantic endeavour, followed by most dwarfish rich Ludwig Zacharias Werner, a son,” &c.
“ TESTAMENTARY Inscription, from Friedperformance. The grand incident of his life, his adoption birth, with vacant spaces for the date of his
(here follows a statement of his parentage and of the Roman Catholic religion, is one on death,)—" of the following lines, submitted to which we need not heap further censure; for all such as have more or less felt any friendly already, as appears to us, it is rather liable to interest in his unworthy person, with the rebe too harshly than too leniently dealt with. There is a feeling in the popular mind, which, charitably to remember the poor soul of the
quest to take warning by his example, and in well-meant hatred of inconsistency, perhaps writer before God, in prayer and good deeds. in general too sweepingly condemns such changes. Werner, it should be recollected, kad at all periods of his life a religion; nay, he
“Begun at Florence, on the 24th of Septemhungered and thirsted after truth in this matter, ber, about eight in the evening, amid the still as after the highest good of man; a fact which distant sound of approaching thunder. Conof itself must, in this respect, set him far above cluded, when and where God will! the most consistent of mere unbelievers,-in whose barren and callous soul consistency, “ Motto, Device, and Watchword in Death: perhaps, is no such brilliant virtue. We par- Remittuntur ei peccata multa, quoniam dilexit mul don genial weather for its changes; but the tum!!!—Lucas, Caput vii. v. 47. steadiest of all climates is that of Greenland. Further, we must say that, strange as it may seem, in Werner's whole conduct, both before
“N. B. Most humbly and earnestly, and in and after his conversion, there is not visible the name of God, does the Author of this Writthe slightest trace of insincerity. On the whole, ing beg, of such honest persons as may find it
, there are fewer genuine renegades than men
to submit the same in any suitable way to are apt to imagine. Surely, indeed, that must
public examination. be a nature of extreme baseness, who feels that, in worldly good, he can gain by such a
« Fecisti nos, Domine, ad Te, et irrequietum est step. Is the contempt, the execration of all cor nostrum, donec requiescat in Te.---S. Augustinus. that have known and loved us, and of millions
“ Per multa dispergitur, et hic illucque quærit that have never known us, 10 be weighed (cor) ubi requiescere possit, et nihil invenit quod ei against a mess of pottage, or a piece of money? sufficiat, donec ad ipsum (sc. Deum) redcat.-S. We hope there are not many, even in the rank Bernardus. of sharpers, that would think so. But for Werner there was no gain in any way; nay, rather “In the name of God the Father, Son, and certainty of loss. He enjoyed or sought no Holy Ghost, Amen! patronage; with his own resources he was “The thunder came hither, and is still rollalready independent though poor, and on a ing, though now at a distance. The name of footing of good esteem with all that was most the Lord be praised! Hallelujah!—I BEGIN: estimable in his country. His little pension, “This Paper must needs be brief; because conferred on him, at a prior date, by a Catholic the appointed term for my life itself may al. Prince, was not continued after his conversion, ) .eady be near at hand. There are not waiting except by the Duke of Weimar, a Protestant.. samrler of 'mportant and unimportant men. who have left behind them in writing the de- join myself to Judaism, or to the Bramins on fence, or even sometimes the accusation, of the Ganges : but to that shallowest, drieste their earthly life. Without estimating such most contradictory, inanest Inanity of Protesto procedure, I am not minded to imitate it. With antism, never, never, never !" trembling I reflect that I myself shall first learn Here, perhaps, there is a touch of priestly, in its whole terrific compass what properly I of almost feminine vehemence; for it is to a was, when these lines shall be read by men; Protestant and an old friend that he writes: that is to say, in a point of Time which for me but the conclusion of his Preface shows him in will be no Time; in a condition wherein all a better light. Speaking of Second Parts, and experience will for me be too late !
regretting that so many of his works were un
finished, he adds: Ret tremende majestatis,
“ But what specially comforts me is the pros. Qui salvandos salvas gratis, Salva me, fons pietatis !!!
pect of our general Second Part; where, even
in the first Scene, this consolation, that there But if I do, till that day when All shall be laid all our works will be known, may not indeed open, draw a veil over my past life, it is not prove solacing for us all : but where, through merely out of false shame that I so order it; the strength of Him that alone completes all for though not free from this vice also, I would works, it will be granted to those whom He willingly make known my guilt to all and has saved, not only to know each other, but every one whom my voice might reach, could even to know Him, as by Him they are known ! I hope, by such confession, to atone for what I-With my trust in Christ, whom I have have done; or thereby to save a single soul not yet won, I regard, with the Teacher of from perdition. There are two motives, how the 'Gentiles, all things but dross that I ever, which forbid me to make such an open may win Him; and to him, cordially and personal revelation after death: the one, because lovingly do I, in life or at death, commit you the unclosing of a pestilential grave may be all, my beloved Friends and my beloved Enedangerous to the health of the uninfected looker- mies!". on; the other, because in my writings, (which On the whole, we cannot think it doubtful may God forgive me !) amid a wilderness of that Werner's belief was real and heartfelt. poisonous weeds and garbage, there may also But how then, our wondering readers may in be here and there a medicinal herb lying scat- quire, if his belief was real and not pretended, tered, from which poor patients, to whom it how then did he believe? He, who scoffs in might be useful, would start back with shud- infidel style at the truths of Protestantism, by dering, did they know the pestiferous soil on what alchemy did he succeed in tempering which it grew.
into credibility the harder and bulkier dogmas “So much, however, in regard to those good of Popery? Of Popery, too, the frauds and creatures as they call themselves, pamely, to gross corruptions of which he has so fiercely those feeble weaklings who brag of what they exposed in his Martin Luther! and this, more designate their good hearts,—so much must I over, without cancelling, or even softening his say before God, that such a heart alone, when vituperations, long after his conversion, in the it is not checked and regulated by forethought very last edition of that drama? To this and steadfastness, is not only incapable of question, we are far from pretending to have saving its possessor from destruction, but it is any answer that allogether satisfies ourselves. rather certain to hurry him, full speed, into much less that shall altogether satisfy others. that abyss, where I have been, whence 1-per- Meanwhile, there are two considerations which haps?!!!—by God's grace am snatched, and throw light on the difficulty for us: these, as from which may God mercifully preserve every some step, or at least, attempt towards a solu reader of these lines."-Werner's Letzte Leben- tion of it, we shall not withhold. The first lies stagen, (quoted by Hitzig, p. 80.)
in Werner's individual character and mode of * All this is melancholy enough; but it is not life. Not only was he born a mystic, not only like the writing of a hypocrite or repentant had he lived from of old amid freemasonry, and apostate. To Protestantism, above all things, all manner of cabalistic and other traditionary Werner shows no thought of returning. In al- chimeras; he was also, and had long been lusion to a rumour, which had spread, of his what is emphatically called dissolute ; a word having given up Catholicism, he says (in the which has now lost somewhat of its urigina Preface already quoted):
force; but which, as applied here is soill mon • A stupid falsehood'I must reckon it; since, just and significant in its etyLulogical, thas according to my deepest conviction, it is as in its common acception. Po was a man dis impossible that a soul in Bliss should return solute; that is, by a long course of vicious inback into the Grave, as that a man, who, like dulgences, enervated and loosened asunder. me, after a life of error and search has found Everywhere in Wera:r's life and actions, we the priceless jewel of Truth, should, I will not discern a mind relixed from its proper tensay, give up the same, but hesitate to sacrifice sion; no longer capable of effort and toilsome for it blood and life, nay, many things perhaps resolute vigilance; but floating almost pasfar dearer, with joyful heart, when the one good sively with the current of its impulses, in Jan. cause is concerned.”
guid, imaginative, Asiatic reverie. That such And elsewhere in a private letter:
a man skould discriminate, with sharp, fear“I not only assure thee, but I beg of thee to less logic, between beloved errors and unwelassure all men, if God should ever so withdraw come truths, was not to be expected. His belief he light of his grace from me, that I ceased to is lisely to have been persuasion rather than como be a Catholic, I would a thousand times sooner Iviction, both as it related to Religion, and to other subjects. What, or how much a man in they are men of earnest hearts, and seem to this way may bring himself to believe, with such have a deep feeling of devotion : but it should force and distinctness as he honestly and be remembered, that what forms the groundusually calls belief, there is no predicting. work of their religion, is professedly not De
But another consideration, which we think monstration but Faith; and so plianí a theory should nowise be omitted, is the general state of could not but help to soften the transition from religious opinion in Germany, especially among the former to the latter. That some such prinsuch minds as Werner was most apt to take ciple, in one shape or another, lurked in for his examplars. To this complex and high- Werner's mind, we think we can perceive ly interesting subject, we can for the present from several indications; among others, from do nothing more than allude. So much, how- the Prologue to his last tragedy, where, mysever, we may say: It is a common theory teriously enough, under the emblem of a Phoeamong the Germans, that every Creed, every nix, he seems to be shadowing forth the histoForm of worship, is a form merely; the mortal ry of his own Faith; and represents himself and everchanging body, in which the immortal even then as merely “climbing the tree, where and unchanging spirit of Religion is, with more the pinions of his Phenix last vanished," but or less completeness, expressed to the mate- not hoping to regain that blissful vision, till his rial eye, and made manifest and influen- eyes shall have been opened by death. tial among the doings of men. It is thus, for On the whole, we must not pretend to underinstance, chat Johannes Müller, in his Univer- stand Werner, or expound him with scientific sal History, professes to consider the Mosaic rigour: acting many times with only half conLaw, the creed of Mahomet, nay, Luther's Re- sciousness, he was always, in some degree, an formation; and, in short, all other systems of enigma to himself, and may well be obscure to Faith ; which he scruples not to designate, us. Above all, there are mysteries and unwithout special praise or censure, simply as sounded abysses in every human heart; and Vorstellungsarten,“ modes of Representation.” that is but a questionable philosophy which We could report equally singular things of undertakes so readily to explain them. ReliSchelling and others, belonging to the philoso- gious belief especially, at least when it seems phic class; nay of Herder, a Protestant clergy- heartfelt and well-intentioned, is no subject man, and even bearing high authority in the for harsh or even irreverent investigation. Church. Now, it is clear, in a country where He is a wise man that, having such a belief, such opinions are openly and generally pro- knows and sees clearly the grounds of it in fessed, a change of religious creed must be himself: and those, we imagine, who have comparatively a slight matter. Conversions explored with strictest scrutiny the secret of to Catholicism are accordingly by no means their own bosoms, will be least apt to rush unknown among the Germans: Friedrich with intolerant violence into that of other Schlegel, and the younger Count von Stolberg, men's. men, as we should think, of vigorous intellect, “ The good Werner,” says Jean Paul, “fell, and of character above suspicion, were col- like our more vigorous Hoffmann, into the poleagues, or rather precursors, of Werner in etical fermenting vat (Gührbottich) of our time, this adventure; and, indeed, formed part of where all Literatures, Freedoms, Tastes, and his acquaintance at Vienna. It is but, they Untastes are foaming through each other: and would pay perhaps, as if a melodist, inspired where all is to be found, excepting truth, dili. with harmony of inward music, should choose gence, and the polish of the file. Both would this instrument in preference to that, for giving have come forth clearer had they studied in voice to it: the inward inspiration is the grand Lessing's day."* We cannot justify Werner: concern; and to express it, the “deep majestic yet let him be condemned with pity! And · solemn organ" of the Unchangeable Church well were it could each of us apply to himmay be better fitted than the "scrannel pipe” self those words, which Hitzig, in his friendly of a withered, trivial, Arian Protestantism. indignation, would“ thunder in the ears” of That Werner, still more that Schlegel and Stol-many a German gainsayer: Take thou the bear berg, could, on the strength of such hypotheses, out of thine own eye ; then shalt thou see clearly 10 put off or put on their religious creed, like a take the mote out of thy brother's. bew suit of apparel, we are far from asserting;
* Letter to Hitzig, in Jean Paul's Leben, by Doering.
(FOREIGN Review, 1828.]
Novalis has rather tauntingly asserted of seems moderate; so that, on every account, Goethe, that the grand law of his being is to we doubt not but that these tasteful volumes conclude whatsoever he undertakes; that, let, will spread far and wide in their own country, him engage in any task, no matter what its arid by and by, we may hope, be met with here difficulties or how small its worth, he cannot in many a British library. quit it till he has mastered its whole secret, Hiiherto, in the First Portion, we have found finished it, and made the result of it his own. little or no alteration of what was already This, surely, whatever Novalis might think, is known; but, in return, some changes of ara quality of which it is far safer to have too rangement; and, what is more important, much than too little; and is, in a friendlier some additions of beretofore unpublished spirit, we admit that it does strikingly belong poems; in particular, a piece entitled " Helena, to Goethe, these his present occupations will a classico-romantic Phantasmagoria,” which oce not seem out of harmony with the rest of his cupies some eighty pages of Volume Fourth. life; but rather it may be regarded as a sin- It is to this piece that we now propose directe gular constancy of fortune, which now allowsing the attention of our readers. Such of him, after completing so many single enter these, as have studied Helena for themselves, prizes, to adjust deliberately the details and must have felt how little calculated it is, either combination of the whole; and thus, in per- intrinsically or by its extrinsic relations and secting his individual works, to put the last allusions, to be rendered very interesting or hand to the highest of all his works, his own. even very intelligible to the English public, literary character, and leave the impress of it and may incline to augur ill our enterprise. to posterity in that form and accompaniment Indeed, tv our own eyes it already looks dubiwhich he himself reckons fittest. For the last ous enough. But the dainty little “ Phantastwo years, as many of our readers may know, magoria," it would appear, has become a the venerable Poet has been employed in a pa- subject of diligent and truly wonderful specutient and thorough revisal of all his Writings; lation to our German neighbours; of which, an edition of which, designated as the “complete also, some vague rumours seem now to have and final” one, was commenced in 1827, under reached this country, and these likely enough external encouragements of the most flattering to awaken on all hands a curiosity," which, sort, and with arrangements for private co-ope- whether intelligent or idle, it were a kind of ration, which, as we learn, have secured the good deed to allay. In a Journal of this sort, constant progress of the work “ against every what little light on such a matter is at our accident." The first Lieferung, of five vo- disposal may naturally be looked for. lumes, is now in our hands; a second of like Helena, like many of Goethe's works, by no extent, we understand to be already on its way means carries its significance written on its hither; and thus by regular “Deliveries,” forehead, so that he who runs may read; but, from half-year to half-year, the whole Forty on the contrary, it is enveloped in a certain Volumes are to be completed in 1831. mystery, under coy disguises, which, to hasty
To the lover of German literature, or of readers, may not be only offensively obscure, literature in general, this undertaking will not but altogether provoking and impenetrable. be indifferent: considering, as he must do, the Neither is this any new thing with Goethe. works of Goethe to be among the most import- Often has he produced compositions, both in ant which Germany for some centuries has prose and verse, which bring critic and comsent forth, he will value their correctness and mentator into straits, or even to a total noncompleteness for its own sake; and not the plus. Some we have, wholly parabolic; some less, as forming the conclusion of a long pro- half-literal, half-parabolic; these latter are occess to which the last step was still wanting ; casionally studied, by dull heads, in the literal whereby he may not only enjoy the result, but sense alone; and not only studied, but coninstruct himself by following so great a mas- demned: for, in truth, the outward meaning ter through the changes which led to it. We seems unsatisfactory enough, were it not that can now add, that, to the mere book-collector ever and anon we are reminded of a cunning, also, the business promises to be satisfactory. manifold meaning which lies hidden under This Edition, avoiding any attempt at splen- it; and incited by capricious beckonings 10 dour or unnecessary decoration, ranks, never-evolve this, more and more completely, from theless, in regard to accuracy, convenience, its quaint concealment. and true, simple elegance, among the best spe. Did we believe that Goethe adopted this cimens of German typography. The cost, too, mode of writing as a vulgar lure, to confer on
his * Goethe's Sämmtliche Werke. Vollstandige Ausgabe
poems the interest which might belong to letzter Hand. (Goethe's Collective Works. Complete Edition, with his final Corrections.) First Portion, vols.
* See, for instance, the “Athenæum," No. vii., where !--v. 16mo and 8vo. Cotta : Stuttgard & Tübingen. an article stands headed with these words : Faust, 1827.
HELEN OF TROY, AND LORD BYRON.
80 many charades, we should hold it a very interpretation; or they remain, as in all prosaic poor proceeding. Of this most readers of minds the words of poetry ever do, a dead Goethe will know that he is incapable. Such letter: indications they are, barren in themjuggleries, and uncertain anglings for distinc- selves, but by following which, we also may tion, are a class of accomplishments to which reach, or approach, thai Hill of Vision where he has never made any pretension. The truth the poet stood, beholding the glorious scene is, this style has, in many cases, its own ap: which it is the purport of his poem to show propriateness. Certainly, in all matters of others. A reposing state, in which the Hill were Business and Science, in all expositions of brought under us, not we obliged to mount it, fact or argument, clearness and ready compre- might, indeed, for the present be more convehensibility are a great, often an indispensable, nient; but, in the end, it could not be equally object. Nor is there any man better aware of satisfying. Continuance of passive pleasure, this principle than Goethe, or who more rigo- it should never be forgotten, is here, as under rously adheres to it, or more happily exempli- all conditions of mortal existence, an impossi fies it, wherever it seems applicable. But in bility. Everywhere in life, the true question is, this, as in many other respects, Science and not what we gain, but what we do: so also in Poetry, having separate purposes, may have intellectual matters, in conversation, in readeach its several law. If an artist has con- ing, which is more precise and careful conceived his subject in the secret shrine of his versation, it is not what we receive, but what we own mind, and knows, with a knowledge be- are made to give, that chiefly contents and profits yond all power of cavil, that it is true and pure, us. True, the mass of readers will object; behe may choose his own manner of exhibiting cause, like the mass of men, they are too indoit, and will generally be the fittest to choose it lent. But if any one affect, not the active and well. One degree of light, he may find, will watchful, but the passive and somnolent line beseem one delineation ; quite a different de- of study, are there not writers, expressly gree of light another. The Face of Agamem- fashioned for him, enough and to spare? It is non was not painted but hidden in the old Pic- but the smaller number of books that become ture: the Veiled Figure at Sais was the most more instructive by a second perusal: the expressive in the Temple. In fact, the grand great majority are as perfectly plain as perfect point is to have a meaning, a genuine, deep, triteness can make them. Yet, if time is preand noble one; the proper form for embodying cious, no book that will not improve by rethis, the form best suited to the subject and to peated readings deserves to be read at all. the author, will gather round it almost of its And were there an artist of a right spirit; a own accord. We profess ourselves unfriendly man of wisdom, conscious of his high vocato no mode of communicating Truth; which tion, of whom we could know beforehand that we rejoice to meet with in all shapes, from that he had not written without purpose and earnest of the child's Catechism to the deepest poctical meditation, that he knew what he had written, Allegory. Nay, the Allegory itself may some- and had imbodied in it, more or less, the creatimes be the truest part of the matter. John tions of a deep and noble soul,-should we not Bunyan, we hope, is nowise our best theolo- draw near to him reverently, as disciples to a gian ; neither, unhappily, is theology our most master; and what task could there be more attractive science; yet, which of our compends profitable than to read him as we have deand treatises, nay, which of our romances and scribed, to study him even to his minutest poems, lives in such mild sunshine as the good meanings ? For, were not this to think as he old Pilgrim's Progress, in the memory of so many had thought, to see with his gifted eyes, lo men?
make the very mood and feeling of his great Under Goethe's management, this style of and rich mind the mood also of our poor and composition has often a singular charm. The little one? It is under the consciousness of reader is kept on the alert, ever conscious of some such mutual relation that Goethe writes, his own active co-operation ; light breaks on and his countrymen now reckon themselves him, and clearer and clearer vision, by degrees; bound to read him; a relation singular, we till at last the whole lovely Shape comes forth, might say solitary, in the present time; but definite, it may be, and bright with heavenly which it is ever necessary to bear in mind in radiance, or fading, on this side and that, into estimating his literary procedure. vague expressive mystery; but true in both To justify it in this particular, much more cascs, and beautiful with nameless enchant- might be said, were it our chief business at mnents, as the poet's own eye may have beheld present. But what mainly concerns us here, it. We love it the more for the labour it has is, to know that such, justified or not, is the given us; we almost feel as if we ourselves poet's manner of writing; which also must had assisted in its creation. And herein lies prescribe for us a correspondent manner of the highest merit of a piece, and the proper art studying him, if we study him at all. For the of reading it. We have not read an author till rest, on this latter point he nowhere expresses we have seen his object, whatever it may be, any undue anxiety. His works have invaria as he saw it. It is a matter of reasoning, and bly been sent furth without preface, withoui has he reasoned stupidly and falsely? We note or commen of any kind; but left, some should understand the circumstances which to times plain and direct, sometimes dim and his mind made it seem true, or persuaded him typical, in what iegree of clearness or obscu to write it, knowing that it was not so. In any rity he himself may have judged b'st, to be other way we do him injustice if we judge him. scanned, and glussed, and censur 1, and dis Is it of poetry? His words are so many sym- torted, as mighi please the innumer.ole multi bols, to which we ourselves must furnish the tude of critics, io whose verdict ne has been