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ments of the sultaness, and without any apparent intention of yielding.*
The translations of Wieland we have been obliged to pass over; nor can we do more now than refer to two. One of these is his version of the twenty-two principal dramas of Shakespeare, in eight volumes. Would not this have been a great work by itself? The other translation we refer to, is that of the works of Lucian, in six octavo volumes. But we find we must come rapidly to a close; not, however, without adding a few observations on our author's more prominent characteristics. In undertaking to do so, the first thought that strikes us, is that there is no affectation in Wieland. He seldom aims at the pathetic. If he is sometimes sublime, it is without effort, apparently without intention. Indeed, he rather avoids this kind of writing ; not that he dislikes to startle the imagination or wring the heart; but he had always a horror of bombast. This will account for the scrupulous chasteness of his language, and the uniform elegance of his style; indeed, he is sometimes so cautious against the use of superfluous words, that he falls into the worse error of obscurity. His delight is, to please the fancy; to take his reader from the flower garden to the grotto, haunted by choirs of nymphs, sacrificing to the blind deity; and thence back to the boudoir; to the brilliant drawing-room ; to the Tusculan disputations; or to an Athenian “feast of reason and flow of soul.” In none of these scenes is there anything gloomy, as in Klopstock; anything bitter or sarcastic, as in Voltaire; or yet anything that provokes the loud laugh, as in Swift. Wit he undoubtedly has; but he rather seeks to conceal the consciousness of it, than makes any attempt to display it. In this respect, he is more like Fielding than any other writer.
As already intimated, no writer takes more liberties with the thoughts of others. There is scarcely a page of his without classical, oriental, or mediæval allusions; which, beautiful as they are in themselves, would be a source of bewilderment to the general reader, in ordinary hands.
-Just da jede sehne
Canto vii., v. 19.
But, without the least semblance of pedantry, Wieland indicates their source and meaning, as it were by accident rather than design; and this not only enhances their beauty, but, also, renders them more forcible and striking. True, some allusions are introduced, which do not seem favorable either to virtue or religion, especially in those fascinating legends into which he introduces the Epicurean philosophy, and teaches that it is only superstition that regards even licentiousness as unlawful when it affords pleasure. But this, too, is only a proof of his versatility; for, in treating other subjects, he is equally skilful and eloquent in showing that, however suitable the doctrines of Epicurus were in his own time, their adoption at the present day would be fraught with evil. “On retrouve chez loui,” says an eminent French critic, " les idées grivoises de Crebillon, et les plaisanteries de Hamilton. Il vous fait encadrer dans sa mosaique les plus beaux vers de Colardeau, de Pezay, de Dorat, et il se donne par fois un air de sagasse qui groupe à merveille avec ces images libertines. On l'appelle le Petrone due Nord, mais il a bien plus de gout et de finesse.
On cache son livre aux demoiselles qui ont grand soin de le savoir par coeur."
Gruber, though an enthusiastic admirer of the author of Oberon, has scarcely exaggerated his merits in the following glowing passage :
“Years hence, and centuries hence,” says M. Gruber, our children and their children will walk in pilgrimage to this grave, and relate to one another that, during a long life, Wieland strove unweariedly after truth, exercised goodness, and delineated beauty; and how sincerely zealous he was for the glory of German literature, which he peculiarly brought into honor among foreigners. If the proper fountain of poetry flowed less abundantly in him than in some others, yet he has directed the fairest tributary streams of Greece, Rome, England, Italy, and France, into the channel, whence, to us, he has fed so wide a lake of glittering waters. He, singly, may be said to have renewed among us Lucian and Horace, Xenophon and Shaftesbury, Ariosto and Cervantes, Voltaire and Chaulieu, Sterne and Metastasio. He has furnished models of didactic poetry, such as no other nation can exhibit; he introduced the romantic epopea, and has hitherto been equalled by no imitator; he gave us our first philosophic romances; and, notwithstanding the changes of fashion to which that class of literature is peculiarly exposed, several of them retain a permanent classical rank. He founded our vernacular opera; his writings have peculiarly improved the language of polished conversation; he enabled German to supersede French, and led the Graces into Gothic halls; his philosophy is cheerful, his irony gentle, his indulgence liberal, and his perseverance in struggling against error, darkness, and oppression, truly praiseworthy. The fear of man was no more known to him, than the fear of death ; nor can he be said to have had the fear of God; it was rather a filial love towards the Father of All, that dwelt in him. To reason
about the interests of mankind impartially, and to bring to bear the inferences of that reason, formed the cordial purpose and eager business of his philanthropic life. Hallowed be thy memory, thou charming singer, thou sound philosopher, thou meritorious German, thou noble man!"
It is almost needless to say that Wieland was remarkably healthy, since he was in the habit of attending the theatre in his eightieth year. It was in January, 1813, he was attacked by the illness that put an end to his long, laborious, and honorable life. For some hours he suffered much pain, but he bore it with patience. It is worthy of remark, that the last words he uttered were a quotation from Shakespeare: “To be or not to be," &c. No prince could have been buried with greater pomp.
His last wish was, that his remains should
repose beside those of his wife, Anna Dorothea Hildebrandt, and Sophia Brentano. He had himself planned his monument-a plain triangular pyramid, with a name on each side, and above all, the following lines, written by himself:
“ Liebe und Freundschaft umschlang die verwandten Seelen in Leben ;
Und ihr sterbliches deckt dieser gemeinsame Stein."
For several days the corpse lay in state, in a splendid coffin; · the head alone was visible, with the favorite black velvet calotte, appropriately surmounted now with a wreath of laurel. Copies of Oberon and Musarion were placed under the wreath, and beside them, on .a cushion of white satin, lay the orders of the Legion of Honor and of St. Anne. The Amalia Lodge of Freemasons requested the honor of burying the patriarch of German literature, at their own pense; Stockmann composed the sacred music suitable for the occasion ; the funeral oration was pronounced by M. Gunther.
* Love and friendship united these kindred souls in life ;
And their mortal part is covered by this common stone.
ART. V.-1. An Historical Sketch of the Origin, Progress and Pre
sent State of Gas-lighting. By WILLIAM MATHEWS. London:
1857. 2. Advantages of Gas-light in Private Houses. By J. 0. N.
RUTTER, F. R. A. S. London : 1850. 3. L'Année. Scientifique et Industrielle. Par Louis FIGURIER.
It is a remarkable fact that it is those, who boast loudest of our modern discoveries, inventions and improvements, that appreciate them least, while enjoying their benefits. Nor has any exception been made, in this respect, in favor of gaslight. Those who first proposed to use it in public and private, as a substitute for candles, lamps, &c., were laughed at, as visionaries or charlatans. Neither was ridicule the only weapon with which they were assailed. Some attacked them from the pious point of view, undertaking to prove that there must be something diabolical in the whole affair, since there was nothing to justify it in the Bible ; but, on the contrary, that it was more than probable that it was one of those « abominations" alluded to in Revelations, as designed by Satan to lure the unwary to his own regions. Fortunately, no particular Church is chargeable with these silly notions ; they were entertained by a certain class among the members of all Churches. Catholics and Protestants thought in turn that, let the ungodly say what they would, the true source of the new light was the lake that burneth with'fire and brimstone." The only difference was, that when one sect took a certain view of the case, the
the other took the opposite ; the same as, when the Catholics condemned Galileo, the Protestants cried shame, and then, when it was thought he was forgiven, they cried shame again. The spirit of superstition and bigotry had subsided, if it had not altogether disappeared, in Mr. Murdock's time; and we may remark, in passing, that it has not been confined to any religion. Innovations on received opinions have always encountered opposition. If the Inquisition at Rome persecuted Galileo, Copernicus received no better treatment from the learned universities of Germany, but rather worse ; for no indulgence was given to the latter--no kind friends of genius and science opened their doors to him. To continue the
comparison, gas-light fared no worse than the medicine now called Peruvian bark, which, under its original name of Jesuit's bark, was long regarded by many well-meaning people as nothing less horrible than a poison that would kill the soul as well as the body; and for no better reason than that it was discovered by the Jesuits. In a similar manner the Catholics may reproach the Protestants for having persisted for two hundred years in rejecting the Gregorian calendar, because it was invented by the Pope. Thus, in 1582, the Julian calendar was reformed by Gregory XIII. ; but it was not until 1752 that the change was recognized as an improvement in England, when the Julian deficiency had amounted to eleven days. Even to the present day the Mohammedans in all parts of the world adhere to the old style, because it was the style of the Prophet; whereas, they say, our style is an unwarrantable and impious innovation, by the. Roman mufti, under the pretence that he knew more about the secrets of the heavens than Mohammed, who had explored them all!
We might easily add to these instances of opposition to what in time gained the approbation of all Christendom; but we trust we have said enough to console those who were opposed to one of the best of modern improvements, with the reflection that, absurd and short-sighted as they have been, they can refer to abundant examples to keep them in countenance. But even after the availability of gas, as the best and cheapest light, was fully demonstrated, it was still asserted that its use was attended with innumerable evils. One party held that it was a deadly poison ; another, that it was, if possible, more dangerous in one's room than a barrel of gunpowder ; while a third felt sure that it would be the ruin of all fine furniture, paintings, clothes, &c. Had these fears been confined to the vulgar, there would be no reason to wonder at them; in that case they were no more than might have been expected. But they were shared by dukes, earls, lords, and even by doctors, who called themselves learned and scientific. More than once investigations were made before a select committee of the British Parliament, which are curiously illustrative of this fact. What is particularly remarkable is, that some of those who claimed to be inventors committed blunders in relation to the matter which are nearly as ludicrous as those of their less fortunate neighbors. A Mr. Accum undertook to explain the whole process of gas