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Title: Visits and Sketches at Home and Abroad, Vol. 1 (of 3)

Author: Mrs. Jameson

Release date: July 23, 2011 [eBook #36818]
Most recently updated: January 7, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Julia Miller, David Garcia and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
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Engraved by C. E. Wagstaff.
Group from the Fresco in the King of Bavaria's Palace at Munich. Painted by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.
Published by Saunders & Otley 1834.












Preface vii

Sketches of Art, Literature, and Character, Part I.
in Three Dialogues.

I. A Scene in a Steam Boat 4
A Singular Character 20
Gallery at Ghent 25
The Prince of Orange's Pictures 27
A Female Gambler 38
Cologne—the Medusa 44
Professor Walraf 51
Schlegel and Madame de Staël 55
Story of Archbishop Gerard 64
Heidelberg—Elizabeth Stuart 68
An English Fanner's idea of the Picturesque 85
II. Frankfort 88
The Theatre, Madame Haitzinger 92
The Versorgung Haus 98
The Städel Museum 103
Dannecker, Memoir of his Life and Works 106
German Sculpture—Rauch, Tieck, Schwanthaler 147
III. Goethe and his daughter-in-law 160
The German Women 167
German Authoresses 177
[vi] German Domestic Life and Manners 187
German Coquetterie and German Romance 199
The Story of a Devoted Sister 205

Sketches of Art, Literature, and Character, Part II.
Memoranda at Munich, Nuremberg, and Dresden.

I. Munich 241
The Theatre—representation of "Egmont" 245
Leo von Klenze 250
The Glyptothek—its general arrangement—Egina Marbles—Account of the Frescos of Cornelius—Canova's Paris and Thorwaldson's Adonis 252-273
The Opera at Munich, the Kapel Meister Stuntz 274
The Poems of the King of Bavaria 279
A public day at the New Palace 281
Thoughts on Female Singers—Their condition and destiny 284
The Munich Gallery—Thoughts on Pictures—their moral influence 287
Rubens and the Flemish Masters 295
The Gallery of Schleissheim 304
The Boisserée Gallery—The old German School of Painting—Its Effects on the Modern German School of Art 304
Representation of the Braut von Messina 310
The Hofgarten at Munich 313
The King's passion for Building 316



It seems a foolish thing to send into the world a book requiring a preface of apologies; and yet more absurd, to presume that any deprecation on the part of the author could possibly win indulgence for what should be in itself worthless.

For this reason, and with a very deep feeling of the kindness I have already experienced from the public, I should now abandon these little volumes to their destiny without one word of preface or remark, but that a certain portion of their contents seems to require a little explanation.

It was the wish and request of my friends, [viii] many months ago, that I should collect various literary trifles which were scattered about in print or in manuscript, and allow them to be published together. My departure for the continent set aside this intention for the time. I had other and particular objects in view, which still keep full possession of my mind, and which have been suspended not without reluctance, in order to prepare these volumes for the press;—neither had I, while travelling in Germany, the slightest idea of writing any thing of that country: so far from it, that except during the last few weeks at Munich, I kept no regular notes: but finding on my return to England, that many particulars which had strongly excited my interest, with regard to the relative state of art and social existence in the two countries, appeared new to those with whom I conversed,—after some hesitation, I was induced to throw into form the few memoranda I had made on the spot. They are now given to the public in the first and second volumes of this little collection, with a very sincere [ix] feeling of their many imperfections, and much anxiety with regard to the reception they are likely to meet with; yet in the earnest hope that what has been written in perfect simplicity of heart, may be perused both by my English and German friends, particularly the artists, with indulgence; that those who read and doubt may be awakened to inquiry, and those who read and believe may be led to reflection; and that those who differ from, and those who agree with the writer, may both find some interest and amusement in the literal truth of the facts and impressions she has ventured to record.

It was difficult to give sketches of art, literature, and character, without making now and then some personal allusions; but though I have often sketched from the life, I have adhered throughout to this principle—never to give publicity to any name not already before the public, and in a manner public property.

Two of the tales of the third volume, "The False One," and "The Indian Mother," were written at different times, to prove that I could [x] write in a style which should not be recognised as mine even by my most intimate friends, and the ruse so far succeeded, that both, as I am informed, have been attributed to other writers.

A. J.

May 1834.






(a parrot, perched)




And so we are to have no "Sentimental Travels in Germany" on hot-pressed paper, illustrated with views taken on the spot?





You have unloaded Time of his wallet only to deal out his "scraps of things past," his shreds of remembrance, in beggarly, indolent fashion, over your own fire-side? You are afraid of being termed an egotist; you, who within these ten minutes have assured me that not any opinion of any human being should prevent you from doing, saying, writing—any thing—


Finish the sentence—any thing, for truth's sake. But how is the cause of truth to be advanced by the insolent publication of a mass of crude thoughts and hasty observations picked up here and there, "as pigeons pick up peas," and which now lie safe within the clasps of those little green books? You need not look at them; they do not contain another Diary of an Ennuyée, thank Heaven! nor do I feel much inclined to play the Ennuyeuse in public.



"Take any form but that, and my firm nerves shall never tremble;" but with eyes to see, a heart to feel, a mind to observe, and a pen to record those observations, I do not perceive why you should not contribute one drop to that great ocean of thought which is weltering round the world!


If I could.


There are people, who when they travel open their eyes and their ears, (aye, and their mouths to some purpose,) and shut up their hearts and souls. I have heard such persons make it their boast, that they have returned to old England with all their old prejudices thick upon them; they have come back, to use their own phrase, "with no foreign ideas—just the same as they went:" they are much to be congratulated! I hope you are not one of these?



I hope not; it is this cold impervious pride which is the perdition of us English, and of England. I remember that in one of my several excursions on the Rhine, we had, on board the steamboat, an English family of high rank. There was the lordly papa, plain and shy, who never spoke to any one except his own family, and then only in the lowest whisper. There was the lady mamma, so truly lady-like, with fine-cut patrician features, and in her countenance a kind of passive hauteur, softened by an appearance of suffering, and ill-health. There were two daughters, proud, pale, fine-looking girls, dressed à ravir, with that indescribable air of high pretension, so elegantly impassive—so self-possessed—which some people call l'air distingué, but which, as extremes meet, I would rather call the refinement of vulgarity—the polish we see bestowed on debased material—the plating over the steel—the stucco over the brick-work!


Good; you can be severe then!



I spoke generally: bear witness to the general truth of the picture, for it will fit others as well as the personages I have brought before you, who are, indeed, but specimens of a species. This group, then, had designedly or instinctively entrenched themselves in a corner to the right of the steersman, within a fortification of tables and benches, so arranged as to forbid all approach within two or three yards; the young ladies had each their sketch-book, and wielded pencil and Indian rubber, I know not with what effect,—but I know that I never saw either countenance once relax or brighten, in the midst of the divine scenery through which we glided. Two female attendants, seated on the outer fortifications, formed a kind of piquet guard; and two footmen at the other end kept watch over the well-appointed carriages, and came and went as their attendance was required. No one else ventured to approach this aristocratic Olympus; the celestials within its precincts, though not exactly seated "on golden stools at golden tables," like the divinities in the [6] song of the Parcæ, 1 showed as supreme, as godlike an indifference to the throng of mortals in the nether sphere: no word was exchanged during the whole day with any of the fifty or sixty human beings who were round them; nay, when the rain drove us down to the pavilion, even there, amid twelve or fourteen others, they contrived to keep themselves aloof from contact and conversation. In this fashion they probably pursued their tour, exchanging the interior of their travelling carriage for the interior of an hotel; and every where associating only with those of their own caste. What do they see of all that is to be seen? What can they know of what is to be known? What do they endure of what is to be endured? I can speak from experience—I have travelled in that same style. As they went, so they return; happily, or rather pitifully, unconscious of the narrow circle in which move their factitious enjoyments, their confined experience, their half-awakened sympathies! And I should tell you, that in the same steam-boat were two German girls, under the care [7] of an elderly relative, I think an aunt, and a brother, who was a celebrated jurisconsulte and judge: their rank was equal to that of my countrywomen; their blood, perhaps, more purely noble, that is, older by some centuries; and their family more illustrious, by God knows how many quarterings; moreover, their father was a minister of state. Both these girls were beautiful;—fair, and fair-haired, with complexions on which "the rose stood ready with a blush;" and one, the youngest sister, was exquisitely lovely—in truth, she might have sat for one of Guido's angels. They walked up and down the deck, neither seeking nor avoiding the proximity of others. They accepted the telescopes which the gentlemen, particularly some young Englishmen, pressed on them when any distant or remarkable object came in view, and repaid the courtesy with a bright kindly smile; they were natural and easy, and did not deem it necessary to mount guard over their own dignity. Do you think I did not observe and feel the contrast?



If nations begin at last to understand each other's true interests—morally and politically, it will be through the agency of gifted men; but if ever they learn to love and sympathize with each other, it will be through the medium of you women. You smile, and shake your head; but in spite of a late example, which might seem to controvert this idea, I still think so;—our prejudices are stronger and bitterer than yours, because they are those which perverted reason builds up on a foundation of pride; but yours, which are generally those of fancy and association, soon melt away before your own kindly affections. More mobile, more impressible, more easily yielding to external circumstances, more easily lending yourselves to different manners and habits, more quick to perceive, more gentle to judge;—yes, it is to you we must look, to break down the outworks of prejudice—you, the advanced guard of humanity and civilization!

"The gentle race and dear,

By whom alone the world is glorified!"


Every feeling, well educated, generous, and truly refined woman, who travels, is as a dove sent out on a mission of peace; and should bring back at least an olive-leaf in her hand, if she bring nothing else. It is her part to soften the intercourse between rougher and stronger natures; to aid in the interfusion of the gentler sympathies; to speed the interchange of art and literature from pole to pole: not to pervert wit, and talent, and eloquence, and abuse the privileges of her sex, to sow the seeds of hatred where she might plant those of love—to embitter national discord and aversion, and disseminate individual prejudice and error.


Thank you! I need not say how entirely I agree with you.


Then tell me, what have you brought home? if but an olive-leaf, let us have it; come, unpack your budget. Have you collected store of anecdotes, [10] private, literary, scandalous, abundantly interspersed with proper names of grand-dukes and little dukes, counts, barons, ministers, poets, authors, actors, and opera dancers?




Cry you mercy!—I did but jest, so do not look so indignant! But have you then traced the cause and consequences of that undercurrent of opinion which is slowly but surely sapping the foundations of empires? Have you heard the low booming of that mighty ocean which approaches, wave after wave, to break up the dikes and boundaries of ancient power?


I? no; how should I—skimming over the surface of society with perpetual sunshine and favouring airs—how should I sound the gulfs and shoals which lie below?



Have you, then, analysed that odd combination of poetry, metaphysics, and politics, which, like the three primeval colours, tinge in various tints and shades, simple and complex, all literature, morals, art, and even conversation, through Germany?


No, indeed!


Have you decided between the different systems of Jacobi and Schelling?


You know I am a poor philosopher; but when Schelling was introduced to me at Munich, I remember I looked up at him with inexpressible admiration, as one whose giant arm had cut through an isthmus, and whose giant mind had new modelled the opinions of minds as gigantic as his own.



Then you are of this new school, which reveals the union of faith and philosophy?


If I am, it is by instinct.


Well, to descend to your own peculiar sphere, have you satisfied yourself as to the moral and social position of the women in Germany?


No, indeed!—at least, not yet.


Have you examined and noted down the routine of the domestic education of their children? (we know something of the public and national systems.) Can you give some accurate notion of the ideas which generally prevail on this subject?



O no! you have mentioned things which would require a life to study. Merely to have thought upon them, to have glanced at them, gives me no right to discuss them, unless I could bring my observations to some tangible form, and derive from them some useful result.


Yet in this last journey you had an object—a purpose?


I had—a purpose which has long been revolving in my mind—an object never lost sight of;—but give me time!—time!


I see;—but are you prepared for consequences? Can you task your sensitive mind to stand reproach and ridicule? Remember your own story of Runckten the traveller, who, when about to commence his expedition into the desarts of [14] Africa, prepared himself, by learning beforehand to digest poisons; to swallow without disgust reptiles, spiders, vermin——


"Thou hast the most unsavoury similes!"


Take a proverb then—"Bisogna coprirsi bene il viso innanzi di struzzicare il vespaio."


I will not hide my face; nor can I answer you in this jesting vein, for to me it is a serious thought. There is in the kindly feeling, the spontaneous sympathy of the public towards me, something which fills me with gratitude and respect, and tells me to respect myself; which I would not exchange for the greater éclat which hangs round greater names;—which I will not forfeit by writing one line from an unworthy motive; nor flatter, nor invite, by withholding one thought, opinion, or sentiment, which I believe to [15] be true, and to which I can put the seal of my heart's conviction.


Good! I love a little enthusiasm now and then; so like Britomart in the enchanter's palace, the motto is,

"Be bold, be bold, and every where be bold!"


I should rather say, be gentle, be gentle, every where be gentle; and then we cannot be too bold. 2


Well, then, I return once more to the charge. Have you been rambling about the world for these six months—yet learned nothing?


On the contrary.



Then what, in Heaven's name, have you learned?


Not much; but I have learned to sweep my mind of some ill-conditioned cobwebs. I have learned to consider my own acquired knowledge but as a torch flung into an abyss, making the darkness visible, and showing me the extent of my own ignorance.


Then give us—give me, at least—the benefit of your ignorance; only let it be all your own. I honour a profession of ignorance—if only for its rarity—in these all-knowing times. Let me tell you, the ignorance of a candid and not uncultivated mind is better than the second-hand wisdom of those who take all things for granted; who are the echoes of others' opinions, the utterers of others' words; who think they know, and who think they think: I am sick of them all. Come, refresh me with a little ignorance—and be serious.



You make me smile; after all, 'tis only going over old ground, and I know not what pleasure, what interest it can impart, beyond half an hour's amusement.


Sceptic! is that nothing? In this harsh, cold, working-day world, is half an hour's amusement nothing? Old ground!—as if you did not know the pleasure of going over old ground with a new companion to refresh half-faded recollections—to compare impressions—to correct old ideas and acquire new ones? O I can suck knowledge out of ignorance, as a weazel sucks eggs!—Begin.


Where shall I begin?


Where, but at the beginning? and then diverge as you will. Your first journey was one of mere amusement?



Merely, and it answered its purpose; we travelled à la milor Anglais—a partie carrée—a barouche hung on the most approved principle—double-cushioned—luxurious—rising and sinking on its springs like a swan on the wave—the pockets stuffed with new publications—maps and guides ad infinitum; English servants for comfort, foreign servants for use; a chess-board, backgammon tables—in short, surrounded with all that could render us entirely independent of the amusements we had come to seek, and of the people among whom we had come to visit.


Admirable—and English!


Yes, and pleasant. I thought, not without gratitude, of the contrast between present feelings and those of a former journey. To abandon oneself to the quickening influence of new objects without care or thought of to-morrow, with a [19] mind awake in all its strength; with restored health and cheerfulness; with sensibility tamed, not dead; possessing one's soul in quiet; not seeking, nor yet shrinking from excitement; not self-engrossed, nor yet pining for sympathy; was not this much? Not so interesting, perhaps, as playing the Ennuyée; but, oh! you know not how sad it is to look upon the lovely through tearful eyes, and walk among the loving and the kind, wrapped as in a death-shroud; to carry into the midst of the most glorious scenes of nature, and the divinest creations of art, perceptions dimmed and troubled with sickness and anguish: to move in the morning with aching and reluctance—to faint in the evening with weariness and pain; to feel all change, all motion, a torment to the dying heart; all rest, all delay, a burthen to the impatient spirit; to shiver in the presence of joy, like a ghost in the sunshine, yet have no sympathy to spare for suffering. How could I remember that all this had been, and not bless the miracle-worker—Time? And apropos to the miracles of time—I had on this first journey, one source of amusement, which I am sorry I cannot [20] share with you at full length; it was the near contemplation of a very singular character, of which I can only afford you a sketch. Our Chef de voyage, for so we chose to entitle him who was the planner and director of our excursion, was one of the most accomplished and most eccentric of human beings: even courtesy might have termed him old, at seventy; but old age and he were many miles asunder, and it seemed as though he had made some compact with Time, like that of Faust with the devil, and was not to surrender to his inevitable adversary till the very last moment. Years could not quench his vivacity, nor "stale his infinite variety." He had been one of the prince's wild companions in the days of Sheridan and Fox, and could play alternately blackguard and gentleman, and both in perfection; but the high-born gentleman ever prevailed. He had been heir to an enormous income, most of which had slipped through his fingers unknownst, as the Irish say, and had stood in the way of a coronet, which, somehow or other, had slipped over his head to light on that of his eldest son. He had lived a [21] life which would have ruined twenty iron constitutions, and had suffered what might well have broken twenty hearts of common stuff; but his self-complacency was invulnerable, his animal spirits inexhaustible, his activity indefatigable. The eccentricities of this singular man have been matter of celebrity; but against each of these stories it would be easy to place some act of benevolence, some trait of lofty gentlemanly feeling, which would at least neutralize their effect. He often told me that he had early in life selected three models, after which to form his own conduct and character; namely, De Grammont, Hotspur, and Lord Herbert of Cherbury; and he certainly did unite, in a greater degree than he knew himself, the characteristics of all three. Such was our Chef, and thus led, thus appointed, away we posted on, from land to land, from city to city—


Stay—stay. This is galloping on at the rate of Lenora, and her phantom lover—

"Tramp, tramp across the land we go,

Splash, splash across the sea!"

Take me with you, and a little more leisurely.



I think Bruges was the first place which interested me, perhaps from its historical associations. Bruges, where monarchs kissed the hand to merchants, now emptied of its former splendour, reminded me of the improvident steward in scripture, that could not dig, and to beg was ashamed. It had an air of grave idleness and threadbare dignity; and its listless, thinly-scattered inhabitants looked as if they had gone astray among the wide streets and huge tenantless edifices. There is one thing here which you must see—the tomb of Charles the Bold, and his daughter, Mary of Burgundy. The tomb is of the most exquisite workmanship, composed of polished brass and enamelled escutcheons; and there the fiery father and the gentle daughter lie, side by side, in sculptured bronze, equally still, cold, and silent. I remember that I stood long gazing on the inscription, which made me smile, and made me think. There was no mention of defeat and massacre, disgraceful flight, or obscure death. "But," says the epitaph, after enumerating his titles, his exploits, and his virtues, "fortune, who had [23] hitherto been his good lady, ungently turned her back upon him on such a day of such a year, and oppressed him"—an amusing instance of mingled courtesy and naïveté. Ghent was our next resting place. The aspect of Ghent, so familiarized to us of late by our travelled artists, made a strong impression upon me, and I used to walk about for hours together, looking at the strange picturesque old buildings coëval with the Spanish dominion, with their ornamented fronts and peaked roofs. There is much trade here, many flourishing manufactories, and the canals and quays often exhibited a lively scene of bustle, of which the form, at least, was new to us. The first exposition, or exhibition, of the newly-founded Royal Academy of the Netherlands was at this season open. You will allow it was a fair opportunity of judging of the present state of painting, in the self-same land, where she had once found, if not a temple, at least a home.


And learned to be homely—but the result?



I can scarce express the surprise I felt at the time, though it has since diminished on reflection. All the attempts at historical painting were bad, without exception. There was the usual assortment of Virgins, St. Cecilias, Cupids and Psyches, Zephyrs and Floras;—but such incomparable atrocities! There were some cabinet pictures in the same style in which their Flemish ancestors excelled—such as small interior conversation pieces, battle pieces, and flowers and fruit; some of these were really excellent, but the proportion of bad to good was certainly fifty to one.


Something like our own Royal Academy.


No; because with much which was quite as bad, quite as insipid, as coarse in taste, as stupidly presumptuous in attempt, and ridiculous in failure, as ever shocked me on the walls of Somerset House, there was nothing to be compared to the [25] best pictures I have seen there. As I looked and listened to the remarks of the crowd around me, I perceived that the taste for art is even as low in the Netherlands as it is here and elsewhere.


And, surely, not from the want of models, nor from the want of facility in the means of studying them. You visited, of course, Schamp's collection?


Surely; there were miracles of art crowded together like goods in a counting-house, with wondrous economy of space, and more lamentable economy of light. Some were nailed against doors, inside and out, or suspended from screens and window-shutters. Here I saw Rubens' picture of Father Rutseli, the confessor of Albert and Isabella: one of those heads more suited to the crown than to the cowl—grand, sagacious, intellectual, with such a world of meaning in the eye, that one almost shrunk away from the [26] expression. Here, too, I found that remarkable picture of Charles the First, painted by Lely during the king's imprisonment at Windsor—the only one for which he sat between his dethronement and his death: he is still melancholy and gentlemanlike, but not quite so dignified as on the canvass of Vandyke. This is the very picture that Horace Walpole mentions as lost or abstracted from the collection at Windsor. How it came into Schamp's collection, I could not learn. A very small head of an Italian girl by Correggio, or in his manner, hung close beside a Dutch girl by Mieris: equally exquisite as paintings, they gave me an opportunity of contrasting two styles, both founded in nature—but the nature, how different! the one all life, the other life and soul. Schamp's collection is liberally open to the public, as well as many others; if artists fail, it is not for want of models.


Perhaps for want of patronage? Yet I hear that the late king of the Netherlands sent several [27] young artists to Italy at his own expense, and that the Prince of Orange was liberal and even munificent in his purchases—particularly of the old masters.


When I went to see the collection of the Prince of Orange at Brussels, I stepped from the room in which hung the glorious Vandykes, perhaps unequalled in the world, into the adjoining apartment, in which were two unfinished portraits disposed upon easels. They represented members of the prince's family; and were painted by a native artist of fashionable fame, and royally patronised. These were pointed out to my admiration as universally approved. What shall I say of them? Believe me, that they were contemptible beyond all terms of contempt! Can you tell me why the Prince of Orange should have sufficient taste to select and appropriate the finest specimens of art, and yet purchase and patronize the vilest daubs ever perpetrated by imbecility and presumption?



I know not, unless it be that in the former case he made use of others' eyes and judgment, and in the latter, of his own.


I might have anticipated the answer; but be that as it may, of all the galleries I saw in the Netherlands, the small but invaluable collection he had formed in his palace pleased me most. I remember a portrait of Sir Thomas More, by Holbein. A female head, by Leonardo da Vinci, said to be one of the mistresses of Francis I., but this is doubtful; that most magnificent group, Christ delivering the keys to St. Peter, by Rubens, once in England; about eight or ten Vandykes, masterpieces—for instance, Philip IV. and his minister Olivarez, and a Chevalier le Roy and his wife: all that you can imagine of chivalrous dignity, and lady-like grace. But there was one picture, a family group, by Gonsalez, which struck me more than all the rest put together. I had never seen any production of this painter, [29] whose works are scarcely known out of Spain; and I looked upon this with equal astonishment and admiration. There was also a small, but most curious collection of pictures, of the ancient Flemish and German schools, which it is now the fashion to admire, and, what is worse, to imitate. The word fashion does not express the national enthusiasm on this subject which prevails in Germany. I can understand that these pictures are often most interesting as historic documents, and often admirable for their literal transcripts of nature and expression, but they can only possess comparative excellence and relative value; and where the feeling of ideal beauty and classic grace has been highly cultivated, the eye shrinks involuntarily from these hard, grotesque, and glaring productions of an age when genius was blindly groping amid the darkness of ignorance. To confess the truth, I was sometimes annoyed, and sometimes amused, by the cant I heard in Germany about those schools of painting which preceded Albert Durer. Perhaps I should not say cant—it is a vile expression; and in German [30] affectation there is something so very peculiar—so poetical, so—so natural, if I might say so, that I would give it another name if I could find one. In this worship of their old painters, I really could sympathize sometimes, even when it most provoked me. Retzsch, whom I had the delight of knowing at Dresden, showed me a sketch, in which he had ridiculed this mania with the most exquisite humour: it represented the torso of an antique Apollo (emblematical of ideal grace), mutilated and half buried in the earth, and subject to every species of profanation; it serves as a stool for a German student, who, with his shirt-collar turned down, and his hair dishevelled, and his cap stuck on one side, à la Rafaelle, is intently copying a stiff, hard, sour-looking old Madonna, while Ignorance looks on, gaping with admiration. No one knows better than Retzsch the value of these ancient masters—no one has a more genuine feeling for all that is admirable in them; but no one feels more sensibly the gross perversion and exaggeration of the worship paid to them. I wish he would publish this good-humoured [31] little bit of satire, which is too just and too graceful to be called a caricature.

I must tell you, however, that there were two most curious old pictures in the Orange Gallery, which arrested my attention, and of which I have retained a very distinct and vivid recollection; and that is more than I can say of many better pictures. They tell, in a striking manner, a very interesting story: the circumstances are said to have occurred about the year 985, but I cannot say that they rest on any very credible authority.

Of these two pictures, each exhibits two scenes. A certain nobleman, a favourite of the Emperor Otho, is condemned to death by his master on the false testimony of the Empress (a sort of Potiphar's wife), who has accused him of having tempted her to break her marriage vow. In the back-ground we see the unfortunate man led to judgment; he is in his shirt, bare-footed and bare-headed. His wife walks at his side, to whom he appears to be speaking earnestly, and endeavouring to persuade her of his innocence. A friar precedes them, and a crowd of people [32] follow after. On the walls of the city stand the Emperor and his wicked Empress, looking down on the melancholy procession. In the foreground, we have the dead body of the victim, stretched upon the earth, and the executioner is in the act of delivering the head to his wife, who looks grim with despair. The severed head and flowing blood are painted with such a horrid and literal fidelity to nature, that it has been found advisable to cover this portion of the picture.

In the foreground of the second picture, the Emperor Otho is represented on his throne surrounded by his counsellors and courtiers. Before him kneels the widow of the Count: she has the ghastly head of her husband in her lap, and in her left-hand she holds firmly and unhurt the red-hot iron, the fiery ordeal by which she proves to the satisfaction of all present the innocence of her murdered lord. The Emperor looks thunderstruck; the Empress stands convicted, and is condemned to death; and in the back-ground, we have the catastrophe. She is bound to a stake, the fire is kindled, and she suffers the terrible [33] penalty of her crime. These pictures, in subject and execution, might be termed tragico-comico-historical; but in spite of the harshness of the drawing, and the thousand defects of style and taste, they fix the attention by the vigour of the colouring and the expression of the heads, many of which are evidently from the life. The story is told in a very complete though very inartificial manner. The painter, Derick Steuerbout, was one of the very earliest of the Flemish masters, and lived about 1468, many years before Albert Durer and Holbein. I have heard that they were painted for the city of Lorraine, and until the invasion of the French, they remained undisturbed, and almost unnoticed, in the Hotel-de-Ville.


Does this collection of the Prince of Orange still exist at Brussels?


I am told that it does—that the whole palace, [34] the furniture, the pictures, remain precisely as the prince and his family left them: that even down to the princess's work-box, and the portraits of her children which hang in her boudoir, nothing has been touched. This does not speak well for king Leopold's gallantry; and, in his place, I think I would have sent the private property of my rival after him.


So would not I, for this is not the age of chivalry, but of common sense. As to the pictures, the Belgians might plead that they were purchased with the public money, therefore justly public property. No, no; he should not have a picture of them—"If a Vandyke would save his soul, he should not; I'd keep them, by this hand!" that is, as long as I had a plausible excuse for keeping them; but the princess should have had her work-box and her children by the first courier. What more at Brussels?



I can recollect no more. The weather was sultry: we dressed, and dined, and ate ices, and drove up and down the Allée Verte, and saw I believe all that is to be seen—churches, palaces, hospitals, and so forth. We went from thence to Aix-la-Chapelle and Spa. As it was the height of the season, and both places were crowded with gay invalids, perhaps I ought to have been very much amused, but I confess I was ennuyée to death.


This I can hardly conceive; for though there might have been little to amuse one of your turn of mind, there should have been much to observe.


There might have been matter for observation, or ridicule, or reflexion, at the moment, but nothing that I remember with pleasure. Spa I disliked particularly. I believe I am not in my nature cold or stern; but there was something in the shallow, [36] tawdry, vicious gaiety of this place, which disgusted me. In all watering-places extremes meet; sickness and suffering, youth and dissipation, beggary and riches, collect together; but Spa being a very small town, a mere village, the approximation is brought immediately under the eye at every hour, every moment; and the beauty of the scenery around only rendered it more disagreeable: to me, even the hill of Annette and Lubin was polluted. Our Chef de voyage, who had visited Spa fifty years before, when on his grand tour, walked about with great complacency, recalling his youthful pleasures, and the days when he used to gallant his beautiful cousin, the Duchess of Rutland, of divine memory. While the rest of the party were amused, I fell into my old, habit of thinking and observing, and my contemplations were not agreeable. But instead of dealing in these general remarks, I will sketch you one or two pictures which have dwelt upon my memory. We had a well-dressed laquais-de-place, whose honesty and good-humour rendered him an especial favourite. His wife being ill, I went to see [37] her; to my great surprise he conducted me to a little mud hovel, worse than the worst Irish cabin I ever heard described, where his wife lay stretched upon some straw, covered with a rug, and a little neglected ragged child was crawling about the floor, and about her bed. It seems then, that, this poor man, who every day waited at our luxurious table, dressed in smiles, and must habitually have witnessed the wasteful expenditure of the rich, returned every night to his miserable home, if home it could be called, to feel the stings of want with double bitterness. He told me that he and his wife lived the greater part of the year upon water-gruel, and that the row of wretched cabins, of which his own formed one, was inhabited by those who, like himself, were dependent upon the rich, extravagant, and dissipated strangers for the little pittance which was to support them for a twelvemonth. Was not this a fearful contrast? I should tell you that the benevolence of our Chef rendered this poor couple independent of change or chance for the next year. My other picture is in a different style. You know that at [38] Spa the theatre immediately joins the ball-room. As soon as the performances are over, the parterre is laid down with boards, and in a few minutes metamorphosed into a gambling saloon. One night curiosity led me to be a spectator at one of the rouge et noir tables. While I was there, a Flemish lady of rank, the Baroness B——, came in, hanging on the arm of a gentleman; she was not young, but still handsome. I had often met her in our walks, and had been struck by her fine eyes, and the amiable expression of her countenance. After one or two turns up and down the room, laughing and talking, she carelessly, and as if from a sudden thought, seated herself at the table. By degrees she became interested in the game, her stakes became deeper, her countenance became agitated, and her brow clouded. I left her playing. The next evening when I entered, I found her already seated at the table, as indeed I had anticipated. I watched her for some time with a painful interest. It was evident that she was not an habitual gambler, like several others at the same table, whose hard impassive features never [39] varied with the variations of the game. There was one little old withered skeleton of a woman, like a death's head in artificial flowers, who stretched out her harpy claws upon the rouleaus of gold and silver, without moving a muscle or a wrinkle of her face,—with hardly an additional twinkle in her dull grey eye. Not so my poor baroness, who became every moment more agitated and more eager: her eyes sparkled with an unnatural keenness, her teeth became set, and her lips drawn away from them, wore, instead of the sweet smile which had at first attracted my attention, a grin of desperation. Gradually, as I looked at her, her countenance assumed so hideous, and, I may add, so vile an expression, that I could no longer endure the spectacle. I hastened from the room—more moved, more shocked than I can express; and often, since that time, her face has risen upon my day and night dreams like a horrid supernatural mask. Her husband, for this wretched woman was a wife and a mother, came to meet her a few days afterwards, and accompany [40] her home; but I heard that in the interval she had attempted self-destruction, and failed.


The case is but too common; and even you, who are always seeking reasons and excuses for the delinquencies of your sex, would hardly find them here.


And unless I could know what were the previous habits and education of the victim, through what influences, blest or unblest, her mind had been trained, her moral existence built up—should I condemn? Who had taught this woman self-knowledge?—who had instructed her in the elements of her own being, and guarded her against her own excitable temperament?—what friendly voice had warned her ignorance?—what secret burden of misery—what joyless emptiness of heart—what fever of the nerves—what weariness of spirit—what "thankless husband or faithless [41] lover" had driven her to the edge of the precipice? In this particular case I know that the husband bore the character of being both negligent and dissipated; and where was he,—what were his haunts and his amusements, while his wife staked with her gold, her honour, her reason, and her life? Tell me all this before we dare to pass judgment. O it is easy to compute what is done! and yet, who but the Being above us all, can know what is resisted?


You would plead then for a female gambler?


Why do you lay such an emphasis upon female gambler? In what respect is a female gambler worse than one of your sex? The case is more pitiable;—more rare—therefore, perhaps, more shocking; but why more hateful?


You pose me.



Then I will leave you to think;—or shall I go on? for at this rate we shall never arrive at the end of our journey. I was at Aix-la-Chapelle, was I not? Well, I spare you the relics of Charlemagne, and if you have any dear or splendid associations with that great name, spare your imagination the shock it may receive in the cathedral at Aix, and leave "Yarrow unvisited." 3 Luckily the theatre at Aix is beautiful, and there was a fine opera, and a very perfect orchestra; the singers tolerable. It was here I first heard the Don Juan and the Freyschutz performed in the German fashion, and with German words. The Freyschutz gave me unmixed pleasure. In the Don Juan I missed the recitative, and the soft Italian flow of syllables, from which the music had been divorced; so that the ear, long habituated to that marriage of sweet sounds, was disappointed; but to listen without pleasure and excitement was impossible. I remember that on looking round, after Donna Anna's song, I was surprised to see our Chef de voyage bathed in [43] tears; but, no whit disconcerted, he merely wiped them away, saying, with a smile, "It is the very prettiest, softest thing to cry to one's self!" Afterwards, when we were in the carriage, he expressed his surprise that any man should be ashamed of tears. "For my own part," he added, "when I wish to enjoy the very high sublime of luxury, I dine alone, order a mutton cutlet, cuite à point, with a bottle of Burgundy on one side, and Ovid's epistle of Penelope to Ulysses on the other; and so I read, and eat, and cry to myself. And then he repeated with enthusiasm—

"Hanc tua Penelope lento tibi mittit Ulysse:
Nil mihi rescribas attamen ipse veni;"

his eyes glistening as he recited the lines; he made me feel their beauty without understanding a word of their sense. "Strangest, and happiest of men!" I thought as I looked at him, "that after living seventy years in this world, can still have tears to spare for the sorrows of Penelope!" Well, our next resting place was Cologne.



You pause?—you have nothing to say of Cologne? No English traveller, except your professed tourists and guide-book makers, ever has; of the crowds who pass through the place, on their way up or down the Rhine, how few spend more than a night or a day there! their walk is between the Rheinberg and the cathedral; they look, perhaps, with a sneering curiosity at the shrine of the Three Kings; cut the usual jests on the Leda and the Cupid and Psyche; 4 glance at the St. Peter of Rubens; lounge on the bridge of boats; stock themselves with eau-de-Cologne, and then away! And yet this strange old city, which a bigoted priesthood, a jealous magistracy, and a variety of historical causes, have so long kept isolated in the midst of Europe, with its Roman origin, its classical associations, the wild gothic superstitions of which it has been the theatre; its legion of martyrs, its three kings and eleven thousand virgins, and the peculiar [45] manners and physiognomy of the people, strangely take the fancy. What has become of its three hundred and fifty churches, and its thirty thousand beggars?—Thirty thousand beggars! Was there ever such a splendid establishment of licensed laziness, and consecrated rags and wallets! What a magnificent idea does it give one of the inexhaustible charity, and the incalculable riches of the inhabitants! but the French came with their besom of purification and destruction; and lo! the churches were turned into arsenals, the convents into barracks; and from its old-accustomed haunts, "the genius of beggary was with sighing sent." I really believe, that were I again to visit Cologne, I would not be content with a mere superficial glance, as heretofore.


And you would do well. To confess the truth, our first impressions of the place were exceedingly disagreeable; it appeared a huge, rambling, gloomy old city, whose endless narrow dirty streets, and dull dingy-looking edifices, were any thing but [46] inviting. Nor on a second and a third visit were we tempted to prolong our stay. Yet Cologne has since become most interesting to me from a friendship I formed with a Colonese, a descendant of one of the oldest families of the place. How she loved her old city!—how she worshipped every relic with the most poetical, if not the most pious veneration!—how she looked down upon Berlin with scorn, as an upstart city, "une ville ma chére, qui n'a ni histoire, ni antiquité." The cathedral she used to call "mon Berceau," and the three kings "mes trois pères." Her profound knowledge of general history, her minute acquaintance with the local antiquities, the peculiar customs, the wild legends, the solemn superstitions of her birth-place, added to the most lively imagination and admirable descriptive powers, were to me an inexhaustible source of delight and information. It appears that the people of Cologne have a distinct character, but little modified by intercourse with the surrounding country, and preserved by continual intermarriages among themselves. They have a dialect, and songs, and ballads, and music, [47] peculiar to their city; and are remarkable for an original vein of racy humour, a revengeful spirit, an exceeding superstition, a blind attachment to their native customs, a very decided contempt for other people, and a surpassing hatred of all innovations. They never admitted the jurisdiction of the electors of Cologne, and, although the most bigoted people in the world, were generally at war with their archbishops. Even Napoleon could not make them comformable. The city is now attached to Prussia, but still retains most of its ancient privileges, and all its ancient spirit of insubordination and independence. When, in 1828, the king of Prussia wished to force upon them an unpopular magistrate, the whole city rose, and obliged the obnoxious president to resign; the government, armed with all its legal and military terrors, could do nothing against the determined spirit of this half-civilized, fearless, reckless, yet merry, good-humoured populace. A history of this grotesque revolution, which had the same duration as the celebrated trois jours de Paris, and exhibited [48] in its progress and issue some of the most striking, most characteristic, most farcical scenes you can imagine, were worthy of a Colonese Walter Scott. How I wish I could give you some of my friend's rich graphic sketches and humorous pictures of popular manner! but I feel that their peculiar spirit would evaporate in my hands. The event is celebrated in their local history as "la Revolution du Carnaval:" and this reminds me of another peculiarity of Cologne. The carnival is still celebrated there with a degree of splendour and fantastic humour, exceeding even the festivities of Rome and Naples in the present day; but as the season of the carnival is not the season for flight with our English birds of passage, few have ever witnessed these extraordinary Saturnalia. Such is the general ignorance or indifference relative to Cologne, that I met the other day with a very accomplished man, and a lover of art, who had frequently visited the place, and yet he had never seen the Medusa.



Nor I, by this good light!—I never even heard of it!


And how shall I attempt to describe it? Unless I had the "large utterance of the early gods," or could pour forth a string of Greek or German compounds, I know not in what words I could do justice to the effect it produced upon me. This wondrous mask measures about two feet and a half in height; 5 the colossal features, and I may add, the colossal expression, grand without exaggeration—so awfully vast, and yet so gloriously beautiful; the full rich lips curled with disdain—the mighty wings overshadowing the knit and tortured brow—the madness in the large dilated eyes—the wreathing and recoiling snakes, came upon me like something supernatural, and impressed me at once with astonishment, horror, and admiration. I was quite unprepared for what I beheld. As I [50] stood before it my mind seemed to elevate and enlarge itself to admit this new vision of grandeur. Nothing but the two Fates in the Elgin marbles, and the Torso of the Vatican, ever affected me with the same inexpressible sense of the sublime: and this is not a fragment of some grand mystery, of which the remainder has been "to night and chaos hurled;" it is entire, in admirable preservation, and the workmanship as perfect as the conception is magnificent. I know not if it would have affected another in the same manner. For me, the ghastly allegory of the Medusa has a peculiar fascination. I confess that I have never wholly understood it, nor have any of the usual explanations satisfied me; it appears to me, that the Greeks, in thus blending the extremes of loveliness and terror, had a meaning, a purpose, more than is dreamt of by our philosophy.


But, how came this wonderful relic to Cologne, of all places in the world?



It stopped there on its road to England.


By what perverse destiny?—was it avarice on our part, or force or fraud on that of others?


It was, as Desdemona says, "our wretched fortune:" but the story, with all its circumstances, does so much honour to human nature, that it has half reconciled me to our loss. You must have heard of Professor Wallraf of Cologne, one of the canons of the cathedral, who, with his professorship and his canonship together, may have possessed from five to seven hundred francs a year. He was one of those wonderful and universal scholars, of whom we read in former times—men who concentrated all their powers and passions, and intellectual faculties, in the acquirement and advancement of knowledge, without any selfish aim or object, and from the mere abstract love of science. Early in life this man formed the [52] resolution to remove from his native city the reproach of self-satisfied ignorance and monastic prejudices, which had hitherto characterized it; and in the course of a long existence of labour and privation, as professor and teacher, he contrived to collect together books, manuscripts, pictures, gems, works of art, and objects of natural history, to an immense amount. In the year 1818, on recovering from a dangerous illness, he presented his whole collection to his native city; and the magistracy, in return, bestowed on him a pension of three thousand francs for the remainder of his life. He was then more than seventy. About the same time a dealer in antiquities arrived from Rome, bringing with him this divine Medusa, with various other busts and fragments: he was on his way to England, where he hoped to dispose of them. He asked for his whole collection twelve thousand francs, and refused to sell any part of it separately. The city refused to make the purchase, thinking it too dear, and Wallraf, in despair at the idea of this glorious relic being consigned to other lands, mortgaged [53] his yearly pension in order to raise the money, purchased the Medusa, presented it to the city, and then cheerfully resumed his accustomed life of self-denial and frugality. His only dread was lest he should die before the period was expired. He lived, however, to pay off his debt, and in three months afterwards he died. 6 Was not this admirable? The first time I saw the Medusa I did not know this anecdote; the second time, as I looked at it, I thought of Wallraf, and felt how much a moral interest can add to the charm of what is in itself most perfect.


I will certainly make a pilgrimage to this Medusa. She must be worth all the eleven thousand virgins together. What next?


Instead of embarking in the steam-boat, we posted along the left bank of the Rhine, spending a few days at Bonn, at Godesberg, and at Ehrenbreitstein; but I should tell you, as you allow me [54] to diverge, that on my second journey, I owed much to a residence of some weeks at Bonn. There I became acquainted with the celebrated Schlegel, or I should rather say, M. le Chevalier de Schlegel, for I believe his titles and his "starry honours" are not indifferent to him; and in truth he wears them very gracefully. I was rather surprised to find in this sublime and eloquent critic, this awful scholar, whose comprehensive mind has grasped the whole universe of art, a most agreeable, lively, social being. Of the judgments passed on him in his own country, I know little, and understand less; I am not deep in German literary polemics. To me he was the author of the lectures on "Dramatic Literature," and the translator of Shakspeare, and, moreover, all that was amiable and polite: and was not this enough?


Enough for you, certainly; but, I believe that at this time Schlegel would rather found his fame on being one of the greatest oriental critics of the age, than on being the interpreter of the beauties of Calderon and Shakspeare.



I believe so; but for my own part, I would rather hear him talk of Romeo and Juliet, and of Madame de Staël, than of the Ramayana, the Bhagvat-Gita, or even the "eastern Con-fut-zee." This, of course, is only a proof of my own ignorance. Conversation may be compared to a lyre with seven chords—philosophy, art, poetry, politics, love, scandal, and the weather. There are some professors, who, like Paganini, "can discourse most eloquent music" upon one string only; and some who can grasp the whole instrument, and with a master's hand sound it from the top to the bottom of its compass. Now, Schlegel is one of the latter: he can thunder in the bass or caper in the treble; he can be a whole concert in himself. No man can trifle like him, nor, like him, blend in a few hours' converse, the critic, philologist, poet, philosopher, and man of the world—no man narrates more gracefully, nor more happily illustrates a casual thought. He told me many interesting things. "Do you know," said he one morning, as I was looking at a beautiful edition of Corinne, bound in red morocco, the gift [56] of Madame de Staël; "do you know that I figure in that book?" I asked eagerly in what character? He bid me guess. I guessed playfully, the Comte d'Erfeuil. "No! no!" said he, laughing, "I am immortalized in the Prince Castel-Forte, the faithful, humble, unaspiring, friend of Corinne."


To any man but Schlegel, such an immortality were worth a life. Nay, there is no man, though his fame extended to the ends of the earth, whom the pen of Madame de Staël could not honour.


He seemed to think so, and I liked him for the self-complacency with which he twined her little myrtle leaf with his own palmy honours. Nor did he once refer to what I believe every body knows, her obligations to him in her De l'Allemagne.


Apropos—do tell me what is the general opinion of that book among the Germans themselves.



I think they do not judge it fairly. Some speak of it as eloquent, but superficial: 7 others denounce it altogether as a work full of mistakes and flippant, presumptuous criticism: others again affect to speak of it, and even of Madame de Staël herself, as things of another era, quite gone by and forgotten; this appeared to me too ridiculous. They forget, or do not know, what we know, that her De l'Allemagne was the first book which awakened in France and England a lively and general interest in German art and literature. It is now five-and-twenty years since it was published. The march of opinion, and criticism, and knowledge of every kind, has been so rapid, that much has become old which then was new; but this does not detract from its merit. Once or twice I tried to convince my German friends that they were exceedingly ungrateful in abusing Madame de Staël, but it was all in vain; so I sat swelling with indignation to hear my idol traduced, and called—O profanation!— "cette Staël."



But do you think the Germans could at all appreciate or understand such a phenomenon as Madame de Staël must have appeared in those days? She whisked through their skies like a meteor, before they could bring the telescope of their wits to a right focus for observation. How she must have made them open their eyes!—and you see in the correspondence between Goethe and Schiller what they thought of her.


Yes, I know that with her lively egotism and Parisian volubility, she stunned Schiller and teased Goethe: but while our estimate of manner may be allowed to be relative and comparative, our estimate of character should be positive and abstract. Madame de Staël was in manner the Frenchwoman, accustomed to be the cynosure of a salon, but she was not ridiculous or egoiste in character. She was, to use Schlegel's expression, "femme grande et magnanime jusque dans les replis de son âme." The best proof is the very spirit in which she viewed Germany, in spite of [59] all her natural and national prejudices. To apply your own expression, she went forth, in the spirit of peace, and brought back, not only an olive leaf, but a whole tree, and it has flourished. She had a universal mind. I believe she never thought, and still less made, any one ridiculous in her life. 8


At Bonn much of my time was spent in intimate and almost hourly intercourse with two friends, one of whom I have already mentioned to you—a rare creature!—the other, who was herself the daughter of a distinguished authoress, 9 was one of the most generally accomplished women I ever met with. Opposed to each other in the constitution of their minds—in all their views of literature and art, and all their experience of life—in their tastes, and habits, and feelings—yet mutually appreciating each other: both were distinguished by talents of the highest order and by great originality of character, and both were German, and very essentially German: English society and English education would never have produced two such women. Their conversation prepared me to form correct ideas of what I was to see and hear, and guarded me against the mistakes and hasty conclusions of vivacious travellers. At [61] Bonn I also saw, for the first time, a specimen of the fresco painting, lately revived in Germany with such brilliant success. By command of the Prussian Board of Education the hall of the university of Bonn is to be painted in fresco, and the work has been entrusted to C. Hermann, Götzenberger, and Förster—all, I believe, pupils of Cornelius. The three sides of the hall are to represent the three faculties—Theology, Jurisprudence, and Philosophy; the first of these is finished, and here is an engraving of it. You see Theology is throned in the centre. The four evangelists, with St. Peter and St. Paul, stand on the steps of the throne; around her are the fathers and doctors of the church, and (which is the chief novelty of the composition) grouped together with a very liberal disregard to all religious differences; for there you see pope Gregory, and Ignatius Loyola, and St. Bernard, and Abelard, and Dante; and here we have Luther, and Melanchthon, and Calvin, and Wickliff, and Huss. On the opposite side of the hall, Philosophy, under which head are comprised all science, poetry, and art, is represented [62] surrounded by the great poets, philosophers, and artists, from Homer, Aristotle, and Phideas, down to Shakspeare, Raffaelle, Goethe, and Kant. Jurisprudence, which is not begun, is to occupy the third side. The cartoons pleased me better than the paintings, for the drawing and grouping are really fine; but the execution struck me as somewhat hard and mannered. I shall have much to say hereafter of the fresco painting in Germany; for the present, proceed we on our journey.

Tell me, had you a full moon while you were on the Rhine?


Truly, I forget.


Then you had not; for it would so have blended with your recollections, that as a circumstance it could not have been forgotten; and take my advice, when next you are off on your annual flight, consult the calendar, and propitiate the fairest of all the fair Existences of heaven to give [63] you the light of her countenance. If you never took a solitary ramble, or, what is better, a tête-à-tête drive through the villages and vineyards between Bonn and Plittersdorf, when the moon hung over the Drachenfels, when the undulating outlines of the Seven Mountains seemed to dissolve into the skies, and the Rhine was spread out at their feet like a lake—so ample, and so still;—if you have never seen the stars shine through the ruined arch of the Rolandseck, and the height of Godesberg, with its single giant tower, stand out of the plain,—black, and frowning against the silvery distance, then you have not beheld one of the loveliest landscapes ever presented to a thoughtful worshipper of nature. There is a story, too, connected with the ruins of Godesberg:—one of those fine tragedies of real life, which distance all fiction. It is not so popular as the celebrated legend of the brave Roland, and his cloistered love; but it is at least as authentic. You know that, according to tradition, the castle of Godesberg was founded by Julian the Apostate; another, and a more interesting apostate, was the cause of its destruction.


Gerard 10 de Truchses, Count Waldbourg, who was archbishop and elector of Cologne in 1583, scandalized his see, and all the Roman Catholic powers, by turning Protestant. According to himself, his conversion was owing to "the goodness of God, who had revealed to him the darkness and the errors of popery;" but according to his enemies, it was owing to his love for the beautiful Agnes de Mansfeld, canoness of Gersheim; she was a daughter of one of the greatest Protestant houses in Germany; and her two brothers, bigoted Calvinists, and jealous of the honour of their family, conceived themselves insulted by the public homage which a Catholic priest, bound by his vows, dared to pay to their sister. They were yet more incensed on discovering that the love was mutual, and loudly threatened vengeance to both. Gerard renounced the Catholic faith, and the lovers were united. He was excommunicated and degraded, of course; but he insisted on his right to retain his secular dominions and privileges, and refused to resign the electorate, which the emperor, [65] meantime, had awarded to Ernest of Bavaria, bishop of Liege. The contest became desperate. The whole of that beautiful and fertile plain, from the walls of Cologne to the Godesberg, grew "familiar with bloodshed as the morn with dew;" and Gerard displayed qualities which showed him more fitted to win and wear a bride, than to do honour to any priestly vows of sanctity and temperance. Attacked on all sides,—by his subjects, who had learned to detest him as an apostate, by the infuriated clergy, and by the Duke of Bavaria, who had brought an army to enforce his brother's claims,—he carried on the struggle for five years, and at last, reduced to extremity, threw himself, with a few faithful friends, into the castle of Godesberg. After a brave defence, the castle was stormed and taken by the Bavarians, who left it nearly in the state we now see it—a heap of ruins.

Gerard escaped with his wife, and fled to Holland, where Maurice, Prince of Orange, granted him an asylum. Thence he sent his beautiful and devoted wife to the court of Queen Elizabeth, to [66] claim a former promise of protection, and supplicate her aid, as the great support of the Protestant cause, for the recovery of his rights. He could not have chosen a more luckless ambassadress; for Agnes, though her beauty was somewhat impaired by the persecutions and anxieties which had followed her ill-fated union, was yet most lovely and stately, in all the pride of womanhood; and her misfortunes and her charms, as well as the peculiar circumstances of her marriage, excited the enthusiasm of all the English chivalry. Unhappily the Earl of Essex was among the first to espouse her cause with all the generous warmth of his character, and his visits to her were so frequent, and his admiration so indiscreet, that Elizabeth's jealousy was excited even to fury. Agnes was first driven from the court, and then ordered to quit the kingdom. She took refuge in the Netherlands, where she died soon afterwards; and Gerard, who never recovered his dominions, retired to Strasbourg, where he died. So ends this sad eventful history, which, methinks, would make a very pretty romance. The tower [67] of Godesberg, lasting as their love and ruined as their fortunes, still remains one of the most striking monuments in that land, where almost every hill is crowned with its castle, and every castle has its tale of terror, or of love. 11

Another beautiful picture, which, merely as a picture, has dwelt on my remembrance, was the city of Coblentz and the fort of Ehrenbreitstein, as viewed from the bridge of boats under a cloudless moon. The city, with its fantastic steeples and masses of building, relieved against the clear deep blue of the summer sky—the lights which sparkled in the windows reflected in the broad river, and the various forms and tall masts of the craft anchored above and opposite—the huge hill, with its tiara of fortifications, which, in the sunshine and in the broad day, had disappointed me by its formality, now seen under the soft moonlight, as its long lines of architecture and abrupt angles were projected in brightness or receded in shadow, had altogether a most sublime effect. But apropos to [68] moonlights and pictures—of all the enchanted and enchanting scenes ever lighted by the full round moon, give me Heidelberg! Not the Colosseum of Rome—neither in itself, nor yet in Lord Byron's description, and I have both by heart—can be more grand; and in moral interest, in poetical associations, in varying and wondrous beauty, the castle of Heidelberg has the advantage. In the course of many visits, Heidelberg became to me familiar as the face of a friend, and its remembrance still "haunts me as a passion." I have known it under every changeful aspect which the seasons, and the hours, and the changeful moods of my own mind, could lend it. I have seen it when the sun, rising over the Geisberg, first kindled the vapours as they floated away from the old towers, and when the ivy and the wreathed verdure on the walls sparkled with dewy light: and I have seen it when its huge black masses stood against the flaming sunset; and its enormous shadow, flung down the chasm beneath, made it night there, while daylight lingered around and above. I have seen it when mantled in all the bloom and foliage of summer, [69] and when the dead leaves were heaped on the paths, and choked the entrance to many a favourite nook. I have seen it when crowds of gay visitors flitted along its ruined terraces, 12 and music sounded near; and with friends, whose presence endeared every pleasure; and I have walked alone round its desolate precincts, with no companions but my own sad and troubled thoughts. I have seen it when clothed in calm and glorious moonlight. I have seen it when the winds rushed shrieking through its sculptured halls, and when grey clouds came rolling down the mountains, folding it in their ample skirts from the view of the city below. And what have I seen to liken to it by night or by day, in storm or in calm, in summer or in winter! Then its historical and poetical associations—


There now!—will you not leave the picture, [70] perfect as it is, and not for ever seek in every object something more than is there?


I do not seek it—I find it. You will say—I have heard you say—that Heidelberg wants no beauty unborrowed of the eye; but if history had not clothed it in recollections, fancy must have invested it in its own dreams. It is true, that it is a mere modern edifice compared with all the classic, and most of the gothic ruins; yet over Heidelberg there hangs a terror and a mystery peculiar to itself: for the mind which acquiesces in decay, recoils from destruction. Here ruin and desolation make mocks with luxurious art and gay magnificence. Here it is not the equal, gradual power of time, adorning and endearing what yet it spares not, which has wrought this devastation, but savage war and elemental rage. Twice blasted by the thunderbolt, three times consumed by fire, ten times ravaged, plundered, desecrated by foes, and at last dismantled and abandoned by its own princes, it is still strong to endure and [71] mighty to resist all that time, and war, and the elements may do against it—and, mutilated rather than decayed, may still defy centuries. The very anomalies of architecture and fantastic incongruities of this fortress-palace, are to me a fascination. Here are startling and terrific contrasts. That huge round tower—the tower of Frederic the Victorious—now "deep trenched with thunder fires," looks as if built by the Titans or the Huns; and those delicate sculptures in the palace of Otho-Henry, as if the genius of Raffaelle or Correggio had breathed on the stone. What flowing grace of outline! what luxuriant life! what endless variety and invention in those half-defaced fragments! These are the work of Italian artists, whose very names have perished;—all traces of their existence and of their destinies so utterly lost, that one might almost believe, with the peasantry, that these exquisite remains are not the work of mortal hands, but of fairies and spirits of air, evoked to do the will of an enchanter. The old palatines, the lords of Heidelberg, were a magnificent and magnanimous race. Louis III., Frederic the [72] Victorious, Frederic II., Otho-Henry, were all men who had stepped in advance of their age. They could think as well as fight, in days when fighting, not thinking, was the established fashion among potentates and people. A liberal and enlightened spirit, and a love of all the arts that humanise mankind, seem to have been hereditary in this princely family. Frederic I. lay under the suspicion of heresy and sorcery, in consequence of his tolerant opinions, and his love of mathematics and astronomy. His personal prowess, and the circumstance of his never having been vanquished in battle, gave rise to the report, that he was assisted by evil demons; and for years, both before and after his accession, he was under the ban of the secret tribunal. Heidelberg was the scene of some of the mysterious attacks on his life, but they were constantly frustrated by the fidelity of his friends, and the watchful love of his wife.

It was at Heidelberg this prince celebrated a festival, renowned in German history, and, for the age in which it occurred, most extraordinary. He [73] invited to a banquet all the factious barons whom he had vanquished at Seckingen, and who had previously ravaged and laid waste great part of the palatinate. Among them were the Bishop of Metz and the Margrave of Baden. The repast was plentiful and luxurious, but there was no bread. The warrior guests looked round with surprise and inquiry. "Do you ask for bread?" said Frederic, sternly; "you, who have wasted the fruits of the earth, and destroyed those whose industry cultivates it? There is no bread. Eat and be satisfied; and learn henceforth mercy to those who put the bread into your mouths." A singular lesson from the lips of an iron-clad warrior of the middle ages.

It was Frederic II. and his nephew Otho-Henry, who enriched the library, then the first in Europe next to the Vatican, with treasures of learning, and who invited painters and sculptors from Italy to adorn their noble palace with the treasures of art. In less than one hundred years those beautiful creations were defaced or utterly destroyed, and all the memorials and records of their authors [74] are supposed to have perished at the time when the ruthless Tilly stormed the castle, and the archives and part of the library of precious MSS. were taken to litter his dragoons' horses, during a transient scarcity of straw. 13—You groan!


The anecdote is not new to me; but I was thinking, at the moment, of a pretty phrase in the letters of the Prince de Ligne, "la guerre—c'est un malheur—mais c'est le plus beau des malheurs."


O if there be any thing more terrific, more disgusting, than war and its consequences, it is that perversion of all human intellect—that depravation [75] of all human feeling—that contempt or misconception of every Christian precept, which has permitted the great, and the good, and the tenderhearted, to admire war as a splendid game—a part of the poetry of life—and to defend it as a glorious evil, which the very nature and passions of man have ever rendered, and will ever render, necessary and inevitable. Perhaps the idea of human suffering—though when we think of it in detail it makes the blood curdle—is not so bad as the general loss to humanity, the interruption to the progress of thought in the destruction of the works of wisdom or genius. Listen to this magnificent sentence out of the volume now lying open before me—"Who kills a man, kills a reasonable creature—God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself. Many a man lives a burthen to the earth, but a good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life. It is true, no age can restore a life, whereof perhaps there is no great loss: and revolutions of ages do not oft recover the loss of [76] rejected truth, for the want of which whole nations fare the worse; therefore we should be wary how we spill the seasoned life of man preserved and stored up in books."


"Methinks we do know the fine Roman hand." Milton, is it not?


Yes; and after this, think of Milton's Areopagitica, or his Paradise Lost, under the hoofs of Tilly's dragoon horses, or feeding the fishes in the Baltic! It might have happened had he written in Germany instead of England.


Do you forget that the cause of the thirty years war was a woman?


A woman and religion; the two best or worst things in the world, according as they are understood [77] and felt, used and abused. You allude to Elizabeth of Bohemia, who was to Heidelberg what Helen was to Troy?

One of the most interesting monuments of Heidelberg, at least to an English traveller, is the elegant triumphal arch raised by the palatine Frederic V. in honour of his bride—this very Elizabeth Stuart. I well remember with what self-complacency and enthusiasm our Chef walked about in a heavy rain, examining, dwelling upon every trace of this celebrated and unhappy woman. She had been educated at his country-seat, and one of the avenues of his magnificent park yet bears her name. On her fell a double portion of the miseries of her fated family. She had the beauty and the wit, the gay spirits, the elegant tastes, the kindly disposition, of her grandmother, Mary of Scotland. Her very virtues as a wife and a woman, not less than her pride and feminine prejudices, ruined herself, her husband, and her people. When Frederick hesitated to accept the crown of Bohemia, his high-hearted wife exclaimed—"Let me rather eat dry bread at [78] a king's table than feast at the board of an elector;" and it seemed as if some avenging demon hovered in the air, to take her literally at her word, for she and her family lived to eat dry bread—aye, and to beg it before they ate it; but she would be a queen. Blest as she was in love, in all good gifts of nature and fortune, in all means of happiness, a kingly crown was wanting to complete her felicity, and it was cemented to her brow with the blood of two millions of men. And who was to blame? Was not her mode of thinking the fashion of her time, the effect of her education? Who had

"Put in her tender heart the aspiring flame

Of golden sovereignty?"

For how many ages will you men exclaim against the mischiefs and miseries, caused by the influence of women; thus allowing the influence, yet taking no thought how to make that influence a means of good, instead of an instrument of evil!

Elizabeth had brought with her from England some luxurious tastes, as yet unknown in the [79] palatinate; she had been familiarized with the dramas of Shakspeare and Fletcher, and she had figured in the masques of Ben Jonson. To gratify her, Frederic added to the castle of Heidelberg the theatre and banqueting-room, and all that beautiful group of buildings at the western angle, the ruins of which are still called the English palace. She had inherited from her grandmother, or had early imbibed from education, a love of nature and of amusements in the open air, and a passion for gardening; and it was to please her, and under her auspices, that Frederic planned those magnificent gardens, which were intended to unite within their bounds, all that nature could contribute or art devise; had they been completed, they would have rendered Heidelberg a pleasure-palace, fit for fairy-land. Nor were those designs unworthy of a prosperous and pacific sovereign, whose treasury was full, whose sway was just and mild, whose people had long enjoyed in tranquillity the fruits of their own industry. When I had the pleasure of spending a few days with the Schlossers, at their beautiful [80] seat on the Necker, (Stift Neuburg,) I went over the ground with Madame de Schlosser, who had seen and studied the original plans. Her description of the magnitude and the sumptuous taste of these unfinished designs, while we stood together amid a wilderness of ruins, was a commentary on the vicissitudes of this world, worth fifty moral treatises, and as many sermons.

"For in the wreck of IS and WAS,

Things incomplete and purposes betray'd,

Make sadder transits o'er Truth's mystic glass,

Than noblest objects utterly decay'd."

Close to the ruins of poor Elizabeth's palace, there where the effigies of her handsome husband, and his bearded ancestor Louis V. look down from the ivy-mantled wall, you remember the beautiful terrace towards the west? It is still,—after four centuries of changes, of disasters, of desolation,—the garden of Clara. When Frederic the Victorious assumed the sovereignty, in a moment of danger and faction, he took, at the same time, a solemn vow never to marry, that the rights of his infant nephew, the son of the late [81] palatine, should not be prejudiced, nor the peace of the country endangered by a disputed succession. He kept his oath religiously, but at that very time he loved Clara Dettin de Wertheim, a young girl of plebeian origin, and a native of Augsburg, whose musical talents and melody of voice had raised her to a high situation in the court of the late princess palatine. Frederick, with the consent of his nephew, was united to Clara by a left-hand marriage, an expedient still in use in Germany, and, I believe, peculiar to its constitution; such a marriage is valid before God and man, yet the wife has no acknowledged rights, and the offspring no supposed existence. Clara is celebrated by the poets and chroniclers of her time, and appears to have been a very extraordinary being in her way. In that age of ignorance, she had devoted herself to study—she could sympathize in her husband's pursuits, and share the toils of government—she collected round her the wisest and most learned men of the time—she continued to cultivate the beautiful voice which had won the heart of Frederic, and her song and her lute [82] were always ready to soothe his cares. Tradition points out the spot where it is said she loved to meditate, and, looking down upon the little hamlet, on the declivity of the hill, to recall her own humble origin; that little hamlet, embowered in foliage, and the remembrance of Clara, have survived the glories of Heidelberg. Her descendants became princes of the empire, and still exist in the family of Lowenstein.

Then, for those who love the marvellous, there is the wild legend of the witch Jetta, who still flits among the ruins, and bathes her golden tresses in the Wolfsbrunnen; but why should I tell you of these tales—you, whose head is a sort of black-letter library?


True; but it is pleasant to have one's old recollections taken down from their shelves and dusted, and placed in a new light; only do not require, even if I again visit Heidelberg, that I should see it as you have beheld it, with your quick spirit of association, and clothed in the hues [83] of your own individual mind. While you speak, it is not so much the places and objects you describe, as their reflection in your own fancy, which I see before me; and every different mind will reflect them under a different aspect. Then, where is truth? you say. If we want information as to mere facts—the situation of a town, the measurement of a church, the date of a ruin, the catalogue of a gallery—we can go to our dictionaries and our guides des voyageurs. But if, besides form and outline, we must have colouring too, we should remember that every individual mind will paint the scene with its own proper hues; and if we judge of the mind and the objects it represents relatively to each other, we may come at the truth, not otherwise. I would ask nothing of a traveller, but accuracy and sincerity in the expression of his opinions and feelings. I have then a page out of the great book of human nature—the portrait of a particular mind; when that is fairly before me I have a standard by which to judge: I can draw my own inferences. Will you not allow that it is possible to visit [84] Heidelberg, and to derive the most intense pleasure from its picturesque beauty, without dreaming over witches and warriors, palatines and princes? Can we not admire and appreciate the sculpture in the palace of Otho-Henry, without losing ourselves in vague, wondering reveries over the destinies of the sculptors?


Yes; but it is amusing, and not less instructive, to observe the manner in which the individual character and pursuits shall modify the impressions of external things; only we should be prepared for this, as the pilot makes allowance for the variation of the needle, and directs his course accordingly. It is a mistake to suppose that those who cannot see the imaginative aspect of things, see, therefore, the only true aspect; they only see one aspect of the truth. Vous étes orfêvre, Monsieur Josse, is as applicable to travellers as to every other species of egotist.

Once, in an excursion to the north, I fell into conversation with a Sussex farmer, one of that [85] race of sturdy, rich, and independent English yeomen, of which I am afraid few specimens remain: he was quite a character in his way. I must sketch him for you; but only Miss Mitford could do him justice. His coat was of the finest broad-cloth; his shirt-frill, in which was stuck a huge agate pin, and his neckcloth, were both white as the snow; his good beaver shone in all its pristine gloss, and an enormous bunch of gold seals adorned his watch-chain; his voice was loud and dictatorial, and his language surprisingly good and flowing, though tinctured with a little coarseness and a few provincialisms. He had made up his mind about the Reform Bill—the Catholic Question—the Corn Laws—and about things in general, and things in particular; he had doubts about nothing: it was evident that he was accustomed to lay down the law in his own village—that he was the tyrant of his own fire-side—that his wife was "his horse, his ox, his ass, his any thing," while his sons went to college, and his daughters played on the piano. London was to him merely a vast congregation of pestilential [86] vapours—a receptacle of thieves, cut-throats and profligates—a place in which no sensible man, who had a care for his life, his health, or his pockets, would willingly set his foot; he thanked God that he never spent but two nights in the metropolis, and at intervals of twenty-seven years: the first night he had passed in the streets, in dread of fire and vermin; and on the last occasion, he had not ventured beyond Smithfield. What he did not know, was to him not worth knowing; and the word French, which comprised all that was foreign, he used as a term, expressing the most unbounded abhorrence, pity, and contempt. I should add, that though rustic, and arrogant, and prejudiced, he was not vulgar. We were at an inn, on the borders of Leicestershire, through which we had both recently travelled; my farmer was enthusiastic in his admiration of the country. "A fine country, madam—a beautiful country—a splendid country!"

"Do you call it a fine country?" said I, absently, my head full of the Alps and Appenines, the Pyrenean, and the river Po.


"To be sure I do; and where would you see a finer?"

"I did not see any thing very picturesque," said I.

"Picturesque!" he repeated with some contempt; "I don't know what you call picturesque; but I say, give me a soil, that when you turn it up you have something for your pains; the fine soil makes the fine country, madam!"





I observed the other evening, that in making a sort of imaginative bound from Coblentz to Heidelberg, you either skipped over Frankfort, or left it on one side.


Did I?—if I had done either, in my heart or my memory, I had been most ungrateful; but I thought you knew Frankfort well.


I was there for two days, on my way to [89] Switzerland, and it rained the whole time from morning till night. I have a vision in my mind of dirty streets, chilly houses, dull shops, dingy-looking Jews, dripping umbrellas, luxurious hotels, and exorbitant charges,—and this is all I can recollect of Frankfort.


Indeed!—I pity you. To me it was associated only with pleasant feelings, and, in truth, it is a pleasant place. Life, there, appears in a very attractive costume: not in a half-holiday, half-beggarly garb, as at Rome and Naples; nor in a thin undress of superficial decency as at Berlin; nor in a court domino, hiding, we know not what—as at Vienna and Munich; nor half motley, half military, as at Paris; nor in rags and embroidery, as in London; but at Frankfort all the outside at least is fair, substantial, and consistent. The shops vie in splendour with those of London and Paris; the principal streets are clean, the houses spacious and airy, and there is a general appearance of cheerfulness and tranquillity, mingled with the luxury of wealth and the [90] bustle of business, which, after the misery, and murmuring, and bitterness of faction, we had left in London, was really a relief to the spirits. It is true, that during my last two visits, this apparent tranquillity concealed a good deal of political ferment. The prisons were filled with those unfortunate wretches who had endeavoured to excite a popular tumult against the Prussian and Austrian governments. The trials were going forward every day, but not a syllable of the result transpired beyond the walls of the Römer Saal. Although the most reasonable and liberal of the citizens agreed in condemning the rashness and folly of these young men, the tide of feeling was evidently in their favour: for instance, it was not the fashion to invite the Prussian officers, and I well remember that when Goethe's Egmont was announced at the theatre, it was forbidden by the magistracy, from a fear that certain scenes and passages in that play might call forth some open and decided expression of the public feeling; in fact, only a few evenings before, some passages in the Massaniello had been applied and applauded [91] by the audience, in a manner so ill-bred, that the wife of one of the ministers of the Holy Alliance, rose and left her box, followed by some other old women,—male and female. The theatre is rather commodious than splendid; the established company, both for the opera and the regular drama, excellent, and often varied by temporary visits of great actors and singers from the other theatres of Germany. On my first visit to Frankfort, which was during the fair of 1829, Paganini, then in the zenith of his glory, was giving a series of concerts; but do not ask me any thing about him, for it is a worn-out subject, and you know I am not one of the enthusiastic, or even the orthodox, with regard to his merits.


You do not mean—you will not tell me—that with all your love of music, you were insensible to the miraculous powers of that man?


I suppose they were miraculous, as I heard [92] every one say so round me; but I listened to him as to any other musician, for the sake of the pleasure to be derived from music, not for the sake of wondering at difficulties overcome, and impossibilities made possible—they might have remained impossibilities for me. But insensible I was not to the wondrous charm of his tone and expression. I was thrilled, melted, excited, at the moment, but it left no relish on the palate, if I may use the expression. To throw me into such convulsions of enthusiasm, as I saw this man excite here and on the continent, I must have the orchestra with all its various mingling world of sound, or the divine human voice breathing music and passion together; but this is a matter of feeling, habit, education, like all other tastes in art.

I think it was during our third visit to Frankfort that Madame Haitzinger-Neumann was playing the gast-rolles, for so they courteously denominate the parts filled by occasional visitors, to whom, as guests, the precedence is always given. Madame Haitzinger is the wife of Haitzinger, the tenor singer, who was in London, and sung in the [93] Fidelio, with Madame Devrient-Schrœder. She is one of the most celebrated actresses in Germany for light comedy, if any comedy in Germany can be called light, in comparison with the same style of acting in France or England. Her figure is rather large—


Like most of the German actresses—for I never yet saw one who had attained to celebrity, who was not much too embonpoint for our ideas of a youthful or sentimental heroine—


Not Devrient-Schrœder?


Devrient is all impassioned grace; but I think that in time even she will be in danger of becoming a little—how shall I express it with sufficient delicacy?—a little too substantial.


No, not if a soul of music and fire, informing a [94] feverish, excitable temperament, which is to the mantling spirit within, what the high-pitched instrument is to the breeze which sweeps over its chords,—not if these can avert the catastrophe; but what if you had seen Mademoiselle Lindner, with a figure like Mrs. Liston's—all but spherical—enacting Fenella and Clärchen?


I should have said, that only a German imagination could stand it! It is one of Madame de Staël's clever aphorisms, that on the stage, "Il faut menager les caprices des yeux avec le plus grand scrupule, car ils peuvent detruire, sans appel tout effet sérieux;" but the Germans do not appear to be subject to these caprices des yeux; and have not these fastidious scruples about corporeal grace; for them sentiment, however clumsy, is still sentiment. Perhaps they are in the right.


And Mademoiselle Lindner has sentiment; she must have been a fine actress, and is evidently a [95] favourite with the audience. But to return to Madame Haitzinger;—she is handsome, with a fair complexion, and no very striking expression; but there is a heart and soul, and mellowness in her acting, which is delicious. I could not give you an idea of her manner by a comparison with any of our English actresses, for she is essentially German; she never aimed at making points; she was never broadly arch or comic, but the general effect was as rich as it was true to nature. I saw her in some of her favourite parts: in the comedy of "Stille Wasser sind tief;" (our Rule a Wife and Have a Wife, admirably adapted to the German stage by Schrœder;) in the "Mirandolina," (the famous Locandiera of Goldoni,) and in the pretty lively vaudeville composed for her by Holtei, "Die Wiener in Berlin," in which the popular waltzes and airs, sung in the genuine national spirit, and enjoyed by the audience with a true national zest, delighted us foreigners. Herr Becker is an excellent actor in tragedy and high comedy. Of their singers I could not say so much—there were none I should [96] account first-rate, except Dobler, whom you may remember in England.

One of the most delightful peculiarities of Frankfort, one that most struck my fancy, is the public garden, planted on the site of the ramparts; a girdle of verdure and shade—of trees and flowers circling the whole city; accessible to all and on every side,—the promenade of the rich, the solace of the poor. Fifty men are employed to keep it in order, and it is forbidden to steal the flowers, or to kill the singing birds which haunt the shrubberies.


And does this prohibition avail much in a population of sixty thousand persons?


It does generally. A short time before we arrived some mischievous wretch had shot a nightingale, and was caught in the fact. His punishment was characteristic; his hands were tied behind him, and a label setting forth his crime was [97] fixed on his breast: in this guise, with a police officer on each side, he was marched all round the gardens, and made the circuit of the city, pursued by the hisses of the populace and the abhorrent looks of the upper classes; he was not otherwise punished, but he never again made his appearance within the walls of the city. This was the only instance which I could learn of the infraction of a law which might seem at least nugatory.

Of the spacious, magnificent, well-arranged cemetery, its admirable apparatus for restoring suspended animation, and all its beautiful accompaniments and memorials of the dead, there was a long account published in London, at the time that a cemetery was planned for this great overgrown city; and in truth I know not where we could find a better model than the one at Frankfort; it appeared to me perfection.

The institutions at Frankfort, both for charity and education, are numerous as becomes a rich and free city; and those I had an opportunity of examining appeared to me admirably managed. [98] Besides the orphan schools, and the Burger schule, and the school for female education, established and maintained by the wives of the citizens, there are several infant schools, where children of a year old and upwards are nursed, and fed, and kept out of mischief and harm, while their parents are at work. These are also maintained by subscription among the ladies, who take upon them in turns the task of daily superintendence; and I shall not easily forget the gentle-looking, elegant, well-dressed girl, who, defended from the encroachments of dirty little paws by a large apron, sat in the midst of a swarm of thirty or forty babies, (the eldest not four years old,) the very personification of feminine charity! But the hospital for the infirm poor—Das Versorgung Haus—pleased me particularly; 'tis true, that the cost was not a third—what do I say? not a sixth of the expense of some of our institutions for the same purpose. There was no luxury of architecture, nor huge gates shutting in wretchedness, and shutting out hope; nor grated windows; nor were the arrangements on so large a scale as in that [99] splendid edifice, the Hopital des Vieillards, at Brussels;—a house for the poor need not be either a prison or a palace. But here, I recollect, the door opened with a latch; we entered unannounced, as unexpected. Here there was perfect neatness, abundance of space, of air, of light, of water, and also of occupation. I found that, besides the inmates of the place, many poor old creatures, who could not have the facilities or materials for work in their own dwellings, or whose relatives were busied in the daytime, might find here employment of any kind suited to their strength or capacity,—for which, observe, they were paid; thus leaving them to the last possible moment the feeling of independence and usefulness. I observed that many of those who seemed in the last stage of decrepitude had hung round their beds sundry little prints and pictures, and slips of paper, on which were written legibly, texts from scripture, moral sentences, and scraps of poetry. The ward of the superannuated and the sick was at a distance from the working and eating rooms; and all breathed around that peace and quiet [100] which should accompany old age, instead of that "life-consuming din" I have heard in such places. On the pillow of one bed, there was laid by some chance a bouquet of flowers.

In this ward there was an old man nearly blind and lethargic; another old man was reading to him. I remarked a poor bed-ridden woman, utterly helpless, but not old, and with good and even refined features; and another poor woman, seated by her, was employed in keeping the flies from settling on her face. To one old woman, whose countenance struck me, I said a few words in English—I could speak no German, unluckily. She took my hand, kissed it, and turning away, burst into tears. No one asked for any thing even by a look, nor apparently wanted any thing; and I felt that from the unaffected good-nature of the lady who accompanied us, we had not so much the appearance of coming to look at the poor inmates as of paying them a kind visit;—and this was as it should be. The mild, open countenances of the two persons who managed the establishment, pleased me particularly; and the manner of the matron [101] superintendent, as she led us over the rooms, was so simple and kind, that I was quite at ease: I experienced none of that awkward shyness and reluctance I have felt when ostentatiously led over such places in England—feeling ashamed to stare upon the misery I could not cure. In such cases I have probably attributed to the sufferers a delicacy or a sensibility, long blunted, if ever possessed; but I was in pain for them and for myself.

One thing more: there was a neat chapel; and we were shown with some pride the only piece of splendour in the establishment. The communion plate of massy silver was the gift of two brothers, who had married on the same day two sisters; and these two sisters had died nearly at the same time—I believe it was actually on the same day. The widowed husbands presented this plate in memory of their loss and the virtues of their wives; and I am sorry I did not copy the simple and affecting inscription in which this is attested. There was also a silver vase, which had been presented as an offering by a poor miller whom [102] an unexpected legacy had raised to independence.

I might give you similar sketches of other institutions, here and elsewhere, but I did not bestow sufficient attention on the practical details, and the comparative merits of the different methods adopted, to render my observations useful. Though deeply interested, as any feeling, thinking being must be on such subjects, I have not studied them sufficiently. There are others, however, who are doing this better than I could:—blessings be on them, and eternal praise!—My general impression was, pleasure from the benevolence and simplicity of heart with which these institutions were conducted and superintended, and wonder, not to be expressed, at their extreme cheapness.

The day preceding my visit to the Versorgung Haus, I had been in a fever of indignation at the fate of poor R——, one of the conspirators, who had become insane from the severity of his confinement. I had descanted with great complacency on our open tribunals and our trials by jury, and [103] yet I could not help thinking to myself, "Well, if we have not their state-prisons, neither have they our poor-houses!"


It is plain that the rich, charitable, worldly prosperous, self-seeking, Frankfort, would be your chosen residence after all!


No—as a fixed residence I should not prefer Frankfort. There is a little too much of the pride of purse—too much of the aristocracy of wealth—too much dressing and dinnering—and society is too much broken up into sets and circles to please me: besides, it must be confessed, that the arts do not flourish in this free imperial city.

The Städel Museum was opened just before our last visit to Frankfort. A rich banker of that name bequeathed, in 1816, his collection of prints and pictures, and nearly a million and a half of florins, for the commencement and maintenance of this institution, and they have certainly begun [104] on a splendid scale. The edifice in which the collection is arranged is spacious, fitted up with great cost, and generally with great taste, except the ceilings, which, being the glory and admiration of the good people of Frankfort, I must endeavour to describe to you particularly. The elaborate beauty of the arabesque ornaments, their endless variety, and the vivid colouring and gilding, reminded me of some of the illuminated manuscripts; but I was rather amused than pleased, and rather surprised to see art and ornament so misplaced—invention, labour, money, time, lavished to so little purpose. No effect was aimed at—none produced. The strained and wearied eye wandered amid a profusion of unmeaning forms, and of gorgeous colours, which never harmonized into a whole: and after I had half broken my neck by looking up at them through an opera glass, in order to perceive the elegant interlacing of the minute patterns and exquisite finish of the workmanship, I turned away laughing and provoked, and wondering at such a strange perversion, or rather sacrifice, of taste.



But the collection itself?—


It is not very interesting. It contains some curious old German pictures; Städel having been, like others, smitten with the mania of buying Van Eyks and Hemlings and Schoréels. Here, however, these old masters, as part of a school, or history of art, are well placed. There are a few fine Flemish paintings—and, in particular, a wondrous portrait by Flinck, which you must see. It is a lady in black, on the left side of the door—of—I forget which room—but you cannot miss it: those soft eyes will look out at you, till you will feel inclined to ask her name, and wonder the lips do not unclose to answer you. Of first-rate pictures there are none—I mean none of the historical and Italian schools: the collection of casts from the antique is splendid and well-selected.


But Bethmann, the banker, had already set an [106] example of munificent patronage of art: when he shamed kings, for instance, by purchasing Dannecker's Ariadne—one of the chief lions of Frankfort, if fame says true.


How! have you not seen it?


No—unhappily. The weather, as I have told you, was dreadful. I was discouraged—I procrastinated. That flippant observation I had read in some English traveller, that "Dannecker's Ariadne looked as if it had been cut out of old Stilton cheese," was floating in my mind. In short, I was careless, as we often are, when the means of gratifying curiosity appear secure, and within our reach. I repent me now. I wish I had settled to my own satisfaction, and with mine own eyes, the disputed merits of this famous statue; but I will trust to you. It ought to be something admirable. I do not know much of Dannecker, or his works, but by all accounts he [107] has not to complain of the want of patronage. To him cannot be applied the pathetic common-place, so familiar in the mouths of our young artists, about "chill penury," the struggle to live, the cares that "freeze the genial current of the soul," the efforts of unassisted genius, and so forth. Want never came to him since he devoted himself to art. He appears to have had leisure and freedom to give full scope to his powers, and to work out his own creations.


Had he? Had he indeed? His own story would be different, I fancy. Dannecker, like every patronized artist I ever met with, would execrate patronage if he dared. Good old man! The thought of what he might have done, and could have done, breaks out sometimes in the midst of all his self-complacent naïve exultation over what he has done. I will endeavour to give you a correct idea of the Ariadne, and then I will tell you something of Dannecker himself. His history is a good commentary upon royal patronage.


I had heard so much of this statue, that my curiosity was strongly excited. A part of its fame may be owing to its situation, and the number of travellers who go to visit Bethmann's Museum, as a matter of course. I used to observe that all travellers, who were on the road to Italy, praised it, and all who were on their way home criticised it. As I ascended the steps of the pavilion in which it is placed, the enthusiasm of expectation faded away from my mind: I said to myself, "I shall be disappointed!"—Yet I was not disappointed.

The Ariadne occupied the centre of a cabinet, hung with a dark grey colour, and illuminated by a high lateral window, so that the light and shade, and the relief of the figure, were perfectly well managed and effective. Dannecker has not represented Ariadne in her more poetical and picturesque character, as, when betrayed and forsaken by Theseus, she stood alone on the wild shore of Naxos, "her hair blown by the winds, and all about her expressing desolation." It is Ariadne, immortal and triumphant, as the bride of Bacchus. [109] The figure is larger than life. She is seated, or rather reclined, on the back of a panther. The right arm is carelessly extended: the left arm rests on the head of the animal, and the hand supports the drapery, which appears to have just dropped from her limbs. The head is turned a little upwards, as if she already anticipated her starry home; and her tresses are braided with the vine leaves. The grace and ease of the attitude, so firm, and yet so light; the flowing beauty of the form, and the position of the head, enchanted me. Perhaps the features are not sufficiently Greek: for, though I am not one of those who think all beauty comprised in the antique models, and that nothing can be orthodox but the straight nose and short upper lip, still to Ariadne the pure classical ideal of beauty, both in form and face, are properly in character. A cast from that divine head, the Greek Ariadne, is placed in the same cabinet, and I confess to you, that the contrast being immediately brought before the eye, Dannecker's Ariadne seemed to want refinement, in comparison. It is true, that the moment chosen by the German [110] sculptor required an expression altogether different. In the Greek bust, though already circled by the viny crown, and though all heaven seems to repose on the noble arch of that expanded brow, yet the head is declined, and a tender melancholy lingers round the all-perfect mouth, as if the remembrance of a mortal love—a mortal sorrow—yet shaded her celestial bridal hours, and made pale her immortality. But, Dannecker's Ariadne is the flushed queen of the Bacchante, and, in the clash of the cymbals and the mantling cup, she has already forgotten Theseus. There is a look of life, an individual truth in the beauty of the form, which distinguishes it from the long-limbed vapid pieces of elegance called nymphs and Venuses, which

"Stretch their white arms, and bend their marble necks,"

in the galleries of our modern sculptors. One objection struck me, but not till after a second or third view of the statue. The panther seemed to me rather too bulky and ferocious. It is true, it is not a natural, but a mythological panther, such as we see in the antique basso-relievos, and the [111] arabesques of Herculaneum: yet, methinks if he appeared a little more conscious of his lovely burthen, more tamed by the influence of beauty, it would have been better. However, the sculptor may have had a design, a feeling, in this very point, which has escaped me: I regret now that I did not ask him. One thing is certain, that the extreme massiveness of the panther's limbs serves to give a firmness to the support of the figure, and sets off to advantage its lightness and delicacy. It is equally certain that if the head of the animal had been ever so slightly turned, the pose of the right arm, and with it the whole attitude, must have been altered.

The window of the cabinet is so contrived, that by drawing up a blind of stained glass, a soft crimson tint is shed over the figure, as if the marble blushed. This did not please me: partly from a dislike to all trickery in art; partly because, to my taste, the pale colourless purity of the marble is one of the beauties of a fine statue.

It is true that Dannecker has been unfortunate in his material. The block from which he cut his figure is imperfect and streaky; but how it could [112] possibly have suggested the idea of Stilton cheese I am at a loss to conceive. It is not worse than Canova's Venus, in the Pitti palace, who has a terrible black streak across her bosom. M. Passavant, 14 who was standing by when I paid my last visit to the Ariadne, assured me, that when the statue was placed on its pedestal, about sixteen years ago, these black specks were scarcely visible, and that they seemed to multiply and grow darker with time. This is a lamentable, and, to me, an unaccountable fact.


And, I am afraid, past cure: but now tell me something of the sculptor himself. After looking on a grand work of art, we naturally turn to look into the mind which conceived and created it.



Dannecker, like all the great modern sculptors, sprung from the people. Thorwaldson, Flaxman, Chantrey, Canova, Schadow, Ranch—I believe we may go farther back, to Cellini, Bandinelli, Bernini, Pigalle—all I can at this moment recollect, were of plebeian origin. When I was at Dresden, I was told of a young count, of noble family, who had adopted sculpture as a profession. This, I think, is a solitary instance of any person of noble birth devoting himself to this noblest of the arts.


Do you forget Mrs. Darner and Lady Dacre?


No; but I do not think that either the exquisite modelling of Lady Dacre, or the meritorious attempts of Mrs. Damer, come under the head of sculpture in its grand sense. By-the-bye, when Horace Walpole said that Mrs. Damer was the first female sculptor who had attained any [114] celebrity, he forgot the Greek girl, Lala, 15 and the Properzia Rossi of modern times.

Dannecker was born at Stuttgardt in 1758. On him descended no hereditary mantle of genius; it was the immediate gift of Heaven, and apparently heaven-directed. His father was a groom in the duke's stable, and appears to have been merely an ill-tempered, thick-headed boor. How young Dannecker picked up the rudiments of reading and writing, he does not himself remember; nor by what circumstances the bent of his fancy and genius was directed to the fine arts. Like other great men, who have been led to trace the progress of their own minds, he attributed to his mother the first promptings to the fair and good, the first softening and elevating influences which his mind acknowledged. He had neither paper nor pencils; but next door to his father there lived a stone-cutter, whose blocks [115] of marble and free-stone were every day scrawled over with rude imitations of natural objects in chalk or charcoal—the first essays of the infant Dannecker. When he was beaten by his father for this proof of idleness, his mother interfered to protect or to encourage him. As soon as he was old enough, he assisted his father in the stable; and while running about the precincts of the palace, ragged and bare-foot, he appears to have attracted, by his vivacity and alertness, the occasional notice of the duke himself.

Duke Charles, the grandfather of the present king of Wurtemburg, had founded a military school, called the Karl Schüle, (Charles' School,) annexed to the Hunting Palace of the Solitude. At this academy, music and drawing were taught as well as military tactics. One day, when Dannecker was about thirteen, his father returned home in a very ill-humour, and informed his family that the duke intended to admit the children of his domestics into his new military school. The boy, with joyful eagerness, declared his intention of [116] going immediately to present himself as a candidate. The father, with a stare of astonishment, desired him to remain at home, and mind his business; on his persisting, he resorted to blows, and ended by locking him up. The boy escaped by jumping out of the window; and, collecting several of his comrades, he made them a long harangue in praise of the duke's beneficence, then placing himself at their head, marched them up to the palace, where the whole court was assembled for the Easter festivities. On being asked their business, Dannecker replied as spokesman—"Tell his highness the duke we want to go to the Karl-schüle." One of the attendants, amused, perhaps, with this juvenile ardour, went and informed the duke, who had just risen from table. He came out himself and mustered the little troop before him. He first darted a rapid scrutinizing glance along the line, then selecting one from the number, placed him on his right-hand; then another, and another, till only young Dannecker and two others remained on his left. Dannecker has since acknowledged that he suffered for [117] a few moments such exquisite pain and shame at the idea of being rejected, that his first impulse was to run away and hide himself; and that his surprise and joy, when he found that he and his two companions were the accepted candidates, had nearly overpowered him. The duke ordered them to go the next morning to the Solitude, and then dismissed them. When Dannecker returned home, his father, enraged at losing the services of his son, turned him out of the house, and forbade him ever more to enter it; but his mother (mother like) packed up his little bundle of necessaries, accompanied him for some distance on his road, and parted from him with blessings, and tears, and words of encouragement and love.

At the Karl-schüle Dannecker made but little progress in his studies. Nothing could be worse managed than this royal establishment. The inferior teachers were accustomed to employ the poorer boys in the most servile offices, and in this, so called, academy, he was actually obliged to learn by stealth: but here he formed a friendship with Schiller, who, like himself, was an [118] ardent genius pining and writhing under a chilling system; and the two boys, thrown upon one another for consolation, became friends for life. Dannecker must have been about fifteen when the Karl-schüle was removed from the Solitude to Stuttgard. He was then placed under the tuition of Grubel, a professor of sculpture, and in the following year he produced his first original composition. It was a Milo of Crotona modelled in clay, and was judged worthy of the first prize. Dannecker was at this time so unfriended and little known, that the duke, who appears to have forgotten him, learnt with astonishment that this nameless boy, the son of his groom, had carried off the highest honours of the school from all his competitors. For a few years he was employed in the duke's service in carving cornices, Cupids, and caryatides, to ornament the new palaces at Stuttgard and Hohenheim: this task-work, over which he often sighed, may possibly have assisted in giving him that certainty and mechanical dexterity in the use of his tools for which he is remarkable. About ten years were thus passed; [119] he then obtained permission to travel for his improvement with an allowance of three hundred florins a-year from the duke. With these slender means Dannecker set off for Paris on foot. There, for the first time, he had opportunities of studying the living model. His enthusiasm for his art enabled him to endure extraordinary privations of every kind; for out of his little pension of £23 a-year he had not only to feed and clothe himself, but to purchase all the materials for his art, and the means of instruction; and this in an expensive capital, surrounded with temptations which an artist and an enthusiastic young man finds it difficult to withstand. He told me himself that day after day he has studied in the Louvre dinnerless, and dressed in a garb which scarce retained even the appearance of decency. He left Paris, after a two years' residence, as simple in mind and heart as when he entered it, and considerably improved in his knowledge of anatomy and in the technical part of his profession. The treasures of the Louvre, though far inferior to what they now are, had let in a flood of ideas upon his mind, among [120] which (as he described his own feelings) he groped as one bewildered and intoxicated, amazed rather than enlightened.


But Dannecker must have been poor in spirit as in pocket—simple, indeed, if he did not profit by the opportunities which Paris afforded of studying human nature, noting the passions and their physiognomy, and gaining other experiences most useful to an artist.


There I differ from you. Would you send a young artist—more particularly a young sculptor—to study the human nature of London or Paris?—to seek the ideal among shop-girls and opera-dancers? Or the sublime and beautiful among the frivolous and degraded of one sex, the money-making or the brutalized of the other? Is it from the man who has steeped his youthful prime in vulgar dissipation, by way of "seeing life," as it is called, who has courted patronage at the [121] convivial board, that you shall require that union of lofty enthusiasm and patient industry, which are necessary, first to conceive the grand and the poetical, then consume long years in shaping out his creation in the everlasting marble?


But how is the sculptor himself to live during those long years? It must needs be a hard struggle. I have heard young artists say, that they have been forced on a dissipated life merely as a means of "getting on in the world," as the phrase is.


So have I. It is so base a plea, that when I hear it, I generally regard it as the excuse for dispositions already perverted. The men who talk thus are doomed: they will either creep through life in mediocrity and dependence to their grave; or, at the best, if they have parts, as well as cunning and assurance, they may make themselves the fashion, and make their fortune; they may be [122] clever portrait-painters and bust-makers, but when they attempt to soar into the historical and ideal department of their art, they move the laughter of gods and men; to them the higher, holier fountains of inspiration are thenceforth sealed.


But think of the temptations of society!


I think of those who have overcome them. "Great men have been among us," though they be rare. Have we not had a Flaxman? But the artist must choose where he will worship. He cannot serve God and Mammon. That man of genius who thinks he can tamper with his glorious gifts, and for a season indulge in social excesses, stoop from his high calling to the dregs of earth, abandon himself to the stream of common life, and trust to his native powers to bring him up again;—O believe it, he plays a desperate game!—one that in nearly ninety-nine cases out of a hundred is fatal.



I begin to see your drift; but you would find it difficult to prove that the men who executed those works, on which we now look with wonder and despair, lived like anchorites, or were unexceptionable moral characters.


Will you not allow that they worked in a different spirit? Or do you suppose that it was by the possession of some sleight-of-hand that these things were performed?—That it was by some knack of chiselling, some secret of colouring now lost, that a Phidias or a Correggio still remain unapproached, and, as people will tell you, unapproachable?


They had a different nature to work from.


A different modification of nature, but not a different nature. Nature and truth are one, and [124] immutable, and inseparable as beauty and love. I do maintain that, in these latter times, we have artists, who in genius, in the power of looking at nature, and in manual skill, are not beneath the great ancients, but their works are found wanting in comparison; they have fallen short of the models their early ambition set before them; and why?—because, having genius, they want the moral grandeur that should accompany it, and have neglected the training of their own minds from necessity, or from dissipation or from pride, so that having imagination and skill, they have yet wanted the materials out of which to work. Recollect that the great artists of old were not mere painters or mere sculptors, who were nothing except with the pencil or the chisel in their hand. They were philosophers, scholars, poets, musicians, noble beings, whose eyes were not ever on themselves, but who looked above, before, and after. Our modern artists turn coxcombs, and then fancy themselves like Rafaelle; or they are greedy of present praise, or greedy of gain; or they will not pay the price for immortality; or they have sold their [125] glorious birthright of fame for a mess of pottage.

Poor Dannecker found his mess of pottage bitter now and then, as you shall hear. He set off for Italy, in 1783, with his pension raised to four hundred florins a year, that is, about thirty pounds: he reached Rome, on foot, and he told me that, for some months after his arrival, he suffered from a terrible depression of spirits, and a painful sense of loneliness: like Thorwaldson, when he too visited that city some years afterwards, a friendless youth, he was often home-sick and heart-sick. At this time he used to wander about among the ruins and relics of almighty Rome, lost in the sense of their grandeur, depressed by his own vague aspirations—ignorant, and without courage to apply himself. Luckily for him, Herder and Goethe were then residing at Rome; he became known to them, and their conversation directed him to higher sources of inspiration in his art than he had yet contemplated—to the very well-heads and mother-streams of poetry. They showed him the distinction between the spirit and [126] the form of ancient art. Dannecker felt, and afterwards applied some of the grand revelations of these men, who were at once profound critics and inspired poets. He might have grasped at more, but that his early nurture was here against him, and his subsequent destinies as a court sculptor seldom left him sufficient freedom of thought or action to follow out his own conceptions. While at Rome he also became acquainted with Canova, who, although only one year older than himself, had already achieved great things. He was now at work on the monument of the Pope Ganganelli. The courteous, kind-hearted Italian would sometimes visit the poor German in his studio, and cheer him by his remarks and encouragement.

Dannecker remained five years at Rome; he was then ordered to return to Stuttgard. As he had already greatly distinguished himself, the Duke of Wurtemburg received him with much kindness, and promised him his protection. Now, the protection and the patronage which a sovereign accords to an artist [127] generally amounts to this: he begins by carving or painting the portrait of his patron, and of some of the various members of his patron's family. If these are approved of, he is allowed to stick a ribbon in his button-hole, and is appointed professor of fine arts, with a certain stipend, and thenceforth his time, his labour, and his genius belong as entirely to his master as those of a hired servant; his path is marked out for him. It was thus with Dannecker; he received a pension of eight hundred florins a year and his professorship, and upon the strength of this he married Henrietta Rapp. From this period his life has passed in a course of tranquil and uninterrupted occupation, yet, though constantly employed, his works are not numerous; almost every moment being taken up with the duties of his professorship, in trying to teach what no man of genius can teach, and in making drawings and designs after the fancies of the Grand Duke. He was required to compose a basso-relievo for the duke's private cabinet. The subject which he chose was as appropriate as it was beautifully treated—Alexander [128] pressing his seal upon the lips of Parmenio. He modelled this in bas-relief, and the best judges pronounced it exquisite; but it did not please the duke, and instead of receiving an order to finish it in marble, he was obliged to throw it aside, and to execute some design dictated by his master. The original model remained for many years in his studio; but a short time before my last visit to him he had presented it as a birth-day gift to a friend. The first great work which gave him celebrity as a sculptor, was the mausoleum of Count Zeppelin, the duke's favourite, in which the figure of Friendship has much simplicity and grace: this is now at Louisberg. While he was modelling this beautiful figure, the first idea of the Ariadne was suggested to his fancy, but some years elapsed before it came into form. At this time he was much employed in executing busts, for which his fine eye for living nature and manly simplicity of taste peculiarly fitted him. In this particular department of his art he has neither equal nor rival, except our Chantrey. The best I have seen are those of Schiller, Gluck, and [129] Lavater. Never are the fine arts, never are great artists, better employed than when they serve to illustrate and to immortalize each other! About the year 1808, Dannecker was considered, beyond dispute, the first sculptor in Germany; for as yet Rauch, Tieck, and Schwanthaler had not worked their way up to their present high celebrity. He received, in 1811, an intimation, that if he would enter the service of the king of Bavaria, he should be placed at the head of the school of sculpture at Munich, with a salary three times the amount of that which he at present enjoyed.—


Which Dannecker declined?


He did.


I could have sworn to it—extempore! What is more touching in the history of men of genius than that deep and constant attachment they have [130] shown to their early patrons! Not to go back to the days of Horace and Mecænas, nor even to those of Ariosto and Tasso and the family of Este, or Cellini and the Duke of Florence, or Lucas Kranach, and the Elector John Frederic— 16 do you remember Mozart's exclamation, when he was offered the most magnificent remuneration if he would quit the service of Joseph II. for that of the Elector of Saxony—"Shall I leave my good Emperor?" In the same manner Metastasio rejected every inducement to quit the service of Maria Theresa,——


Add Goethe and the Duke of Weimar, and a hundred other instances. The difficulty would be to find one, in which the patronage of the great has not been repaid ten thousand fold in gratitude and fame. Dannecker's love for his native city, [131] and his native princes, prevailed over his self-interest; his decision was honourable to his heart; but it is not less certain that at Munich he would have found more enlightened patronage, and a wider scope for his talents. Frederic, the late king of Wurtemburg, who had married our princess royal, was a man of a coarse mind and profligate habits. Napoleon had gratified his vulgar ambition by making him a king, and thereupon he stuck a huge, tawdry gilt crown on the top of his palace, the impudent sign of his subservient majesty. I never looked at it without thinking of an overgrown child and its new toy; he also, to commemorate the acquisition of his kingly titles, instituted the order of the Wurtemburg crown, and Dannecker was gratified by this new order of merit, and a bit of ribbon in his button-hole.

But in the mean time the model of the Ariadne remained in his studio, and it was not till the year 1809 that he could afford to purchase a block of marble, and begin the statue on speculation. It occupied him for seven years, but in the interval [132] he completed other beautiful works. The king ordered him to execute a Cupid in marble, for which he gave him the design. It was a design which displeased the pure mind and high taste of Dannecker; he would not so desecrate his divine art: "c'etait travailler pour le diable!" said he to me, in telling the story. He therefore only half fulfilled his commission; and changing the purpose and sentiment of the figure, he represented the Greek Cupid at the moment that he is waked by the drop of burning oil from Psyche's lamp. An English general, I believe Sir John Murray, saw this charming statue, in 1814, and immediately commanded a work from the sculptor's hands: he wished, but did not absolutely require, a duplicate of the statue he so admired. Dannecker, instead of repeating himself, produced his Psyche, whom he has represented—not as the Greek allegorical Psyche, the bride of Cupid, "with lucent fans, fluttering"—but as the abstract personification of the human soul; or, to use Dannecker's own words, "Ein rein, sittlich, sinniges Wesen,"—a pure, moral, intellectual being. [133] As he had an idea that Love had become moral and sentimental after he had been waked by the drop of burning oil, so I could not help asking him whether this was Psyche, grown reasonable after she had beheld the wings of Love? He has not in this beautiful statue quite accomplished his own idea. It has much girlish grace and simplicity, but it wants elevation; it is not sufficiently ideal, and will not stand a comparison either with the Psyche of Westmacott, or that of Canova. The Ariadne was finished in 1816, but the sculptor was disappointed in his hope that this, his masterpiece, would adorn his native city. The king showed no desire to possess it, and it was purchased by M. Bethmann, of Frankfort, for a sum equal to about one thousand pounds. Soon after the Ariadne was finished, Dannecker conceived, in a moment of pious enthusiasm, his famous statue of the Redeemer, which has caused a great deal of discussion in Germany. This was standing in his work-room when we paid our first visit to him. He told me what I had often heard, that the figure had visited him in a dream three several [134] times; and the good old man firmly believed that he had been divinely inspired, and predestined to the work. While the visionary image was fresh in his imagination, he first executed a small clay model, and placed it before a child of five or six years old;—there were none of the usual emblematical accompaniments—no cross—no crown of thorns to assist the fancy—nothing but the simple figure roughly modelled; yet the child immediately exclaimed, "The Redeemer!" and Dannecker was confirmed in his design. Gradually the completion of this statue became the one engrossing idea of his enthusiastic mind: for eight years it was his dream by night, his thought by day; all things else, all the affairs and duties of life, merged into this. He told me that he frequently felt as if pursued, excited by some strong, irresistible power, which would even visit him in sleep, and impel him to rise from his bed and work. He explained to me some of the difficulties he encountered, and which he was persuaded that he had perfectly overcome only through divine aid, and the constant study of the Scriptures. [135] They were not few nor trifling. Physical power, majesty, and beauty, formed no part of the character of the Saviour of the world: the glory that was around him was not of this earth, nor visible to the eye; "there was nothing in him that he should be desired;" therefore to throw into the impersonation of exceeding humility and benignity a superhuman grace, and from material elements work out a manifestation of abstract moral grandeur—this was surely not only a new and difficult, but a bold and sublime enterprize.

You remember Michael Angelo's statue of Christ in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva at Rome?


Perfectly; and I never looked at it without thinking of Neptune and his trident.


The same thought occurred to me, and must inevitably have occurred to others. Dannecker is not certainly so great a man as Michael Angelo, [136] but here he has surpassed him. Instead of emulating the antique models, he has worked in the antique spirit—the spirit of faith and enthusiasm. He has taken a new form in which to clothe a grand poetical conception. Whether the being he has represented be a fit subject for the plastic art, has been disputed; but it appears to me that Dannecker has more nearly approached the christian ideal than any of his predecessors; there is nothing to be compared to it, except Titian's Christo della Moneta, and that is a head merely. The sentiment chosen by the sculptor is expressed in the inscription on the pedestal: "Through me, to the Father." The proportions of the figure are exceedingly slender and delicate; the attitude a little drooping; one hand is pressed on the bosom, the other extended; the lips are unclosed as in the act to speak. In the head and facial line, by carefully throwing out every indication of the animal propensities, and giving added importance and development to all that indicates the moral and intellectual faculties, he has succeeded in embodying a species of ideal, of which there is no other [137] example in art. I have heard, (not from Dannecker himself,) that when the head of the Jupiter Tonans was placed beside the Christ, the merely physical grandeur of the former, compared with the purely intellectual expression of the latter, reminded every one present of a lion's head erect and humanized.


But what were your own impressions? After all this eulogium, which I believe to be just, tell me frankly, were you satisfied yourself?


No—not quite. The expression of the mouth in the last finished statue (he has repeated the subject three times) is not so fine as in the model, and the simplicity of the whole bordered on meagreness. This, I think, is a general fault in all Dannecker's works. He has of course avoided nudity, but the flowing robe, which completely envelopes the figure, is so managed as to disclose the exact form of the limbs. One little circumstance will give you an idea [138] of the attention and accuracy with which he seized and embodied every touch of individual character conveyed in Holy Writ. In the original model he had made the beard rather full and thick, and a little curled, expressing the prime of manhood; but recollecting that in the gospel the Saviour is represented as sinking under the weight of the cross, which the first man they met accidentally was able to carry, he immediately altered his first conception, and gave to the beard that soft, flowing, downy texture which is supposed to indicate a feeble and delicate temperament.

I shall not easily forget the countenance of the good and gifted old man, as, leaning on the pedestal, with his cap in his hand, and his long grey hair waving round his face, he looked up at his work with a mixture of reverence and exultation, saying, in his imperfect and scarce intelligible French, "Oui, quand on a fait comme cela, on reste sur la terre!" meaning, I suppose, that this statue had ensured his immortality on earth. He added, "They ask me often where are the models after which I worked? and I answer, here, and [139] here;" laying his hand first on his head, then on his heart.

I remember that when we first entered his room he was at work on one of the figures for the tomb of the late Queen Catherine of Wurtemburg. You perhaps recollect her in England when only Duchess of Oldenburg?


Yes; I remember, as a youngster, joining the mob who shouted before the windows of the Pulteney-hotel, and hailed her and her brother Alexander as if they had been a newly descended Jupiter and Juno! O verily, times are changed!


But in that woman there were the elements of a fine nature. She had the talents, the strength of mind, and far-reaching ambition of her grandmother, Catherine of Russia, but was not so perverted. During her short reign as Queen of Wurtemburg, the influence of her active mind was [140] felt through the whole government. She founded, among other institutions, a school for the daughters of the nobility connected with the court,—in plain English, a charity-school for the nobility of Wurtemburg, who are among the most indigent and most ignorant of Germany. There are a few, very few, brilliant exceptions. One lady of rank said to me, "As to an English governess, that is an advantage I can never hope to have for my daughters. The princesses have an English governess, but we cannot dream of such a thing." The late queen really deserved the regrets of her people. The king, whose sluggish mind she ruled or stimulated, is now devoted to his stables and hunting. He has married another wife, but he has erected to the honour of Catherine a splendid mausoleum, on the peak of a high hill, which can be seen from almost every part of the city; and on the summer evenings when the red sun-set falls upon its white columns it is a beautiful object. The figure on which Dannecker was occupied, represented Prayer, or what he called, "La triomphe de la Prière;" it recalled to my mind Flaxman's [141] lovely statue of the same subject,—the "Our Father which art in Heaven," but suffered by the involuntary comparison. On the rough base of the statue he had tried to spell the name of Chantrey, but not very successfully. I took up a bit of chalk and wrote underneath, in distinct characters, Francis Chantrey.

"I grow old," said he, looking from his work to the bust of the late queen which stood opposite. "I have carved the effigies of three generations of poets, and as many of princes. Twenty years ago I was at work on the tomb of the Duke of Oldenburg, and now I am at work upon her's who gave me that order. All die away: soon I shall be left alone. Of my early friends none remain but Goethe. I shall die before him, and perhaps he will write my epitaph." He spoke with a smile, not foreseeing that he would be the survivor.

Three years afterwards 17 I again paid Dannecker a visit, but a change had come over him: his feeble, trembling hand could no longer grasp the mallet, or guide the chisel; his eyes were dim; his fine [142] benevolent countenance wore a childish, vacant smile, now and then crossed by a gleam of awakened memory or thought—and yet he seemed so perfectly happy! He walked backwards and forwards, from his Christ to his bust of Schiller, with an unwearied self-complacency, in which there was something mournful, and yet delightful. While I sat looking at the magnificent head of Schiller, the original of the multifarious casts and copies which are dispersed through all Germany, he sat down beside me, and taking my hands between his own, which trembled with age and nervous emotion, he began to speak of his friend. "Nous etions amis dès l'enfance; aussi j'y ai travaillé avec amour, avec douleur—on ne peut pas plus faire." He then went on—"When Schiller came to Louisberg, he sent to tell me that he was very ill—that he should not live very long, and that he wished me to execute his bust. It was the first wish of my own heart. I went immediately. When I entered the house, I found a lady sitting on the canapé—it was Schiller's wife, and I did not know her; but she knew me. [143] She said, 'Ah! you are Dannecker!—Schiller expects you;'—then she ran into the next room, where Schiller was lying down on a couch, and in a moment after he came in, exclaiming as he entered, 'Where is he? where is Dannecker?' That was the moment—the expression I caught—you see it here—the head raised, the countenance full of inspiration, and affection, and bright hope! I told him that to keep up this expression he must have some of his best friends to converse with him while I took the model, for I could not talk and work too. O if I could but remember what glorious things then fell from those lips! Sometimes I stopped in my work—I could not go on—I could only listen." And here the old man wept; then suddenly changing his mood, he said—"But I must cut off that long hair; he never wore it so; it is not in the fashion, you know!" I begged him for heaven's sake not to touch it; he then, with a sad smile, turned up the sleeve of his coat and showed me his wrist, swelled with the continual use of his implements—"You see I cannot!" And I could not help wishing at the moment, that while his [144] mind was thus enfeebled, no transient return of physical strength might enable him to put his wild threat in execution. What a noble bequest to posterity is the effigy of a great man, when executed in such a spirit as this of Schiller! I assure you I could not look at it, without feeling my heart "overflow in silent worship" of moral and intellectual power, till the deification of great men in the old times appeared to me rather religion than idolatry. I have been affected in the same manner by the busts of Goethe, Scott, Homer, Milton, Howard, Newton;—never by the painted portraits of the same men, however perfect in resemblance and admirable in execution.


Painting gives us the material, sculpture the abstract, ethical aspect of the man. In the bust, whatever is common-place, familiar, and actual, is thrown out or kept down: in a picture it is not only retained, but, in most cases, it is necessarily obtrusive. Goethe, in a blue coat and metal buttons, and a white neckcloth, would not recall [145] the author of the "Iphigenia;" still less does that wrinkled, decrepit-looking face, in the gallery at Hardwicke, portray Boyle, the philosopher.


Dannecker told me that he first modelled the head of Schiller the exact size of life, and conscientiously rendered each, even the slightest, individual trait; yet this head appeared to every one smaller than nature, and to himself almost mesquin. 18 He was in despair. He repeated the bust in a colossal size; and the development of the intellectual organization, on a larger scale, immediately gave what was wanting:—it appeared to the eye or to the mind's eye as only the size of life. He showed me a beautiful basso-relievo of the Muse of Tragedy, listening with an inspired look to the revelations of the Muse of History. This admirable little group struck me the more, because long ago I had clothed nearly the same idea in imperfect words.

I took leave of Dannecker with emotion: I [146] shall never see him again! But he is one of those who cannot die; to use his own expression—"Quand on a fait comme cela, on reste sur la terre." When Canova, then a melancholy invalid, paid him a visit, he was so struck by the child-like simplicity, the pure unworldly nature, the genuine goodness, and lively happy temperament of the German sculptor, that he gave him the surname of il Beato; and if the epithet blessed can, with propriety, be bestowed on any mortal, it is on him whose long life has been one of labour and of love; who has left behind him lasting memorials of his genius; who has never profaned the talents which God has given him to any unworthy purpose:—but in the midst of all the beautiful and exciting influences of poetry and art, has kept from youth to age a soul serene, a conscience and a life pure in the sight of God and man. Such was our own Flaxman—such is Dannecker!


Who are now the principal sculptors in Germany?



Rauch, of Berlin; Christian Frederic Tieck, the brother of the celebrated poet and critic, Ludwig Tieck; and Schwanthaler, of Munich. Rauch is the court sculptor of Berlin. He has, like Dannecker, 19 his professorship, his order of merit, 20 and, I believe, one or two places under the government, besides constant employment in his art. He works by the piece, as the labourers say. But though he too has yoked his genius to the car of power and patronage, he has done great things. The statue of the late queen of Prussia is reckoned his chef-d'œuvre, and is not, perhaps, exceeded in modern sculpture. It was conceived and worked out in all the inspiration of love and grief; as Dannecker would say, "Mit Lieb und Schmerzen." He had been attached to the queen's personal [148] service, and shared, in an intense degree, the enthusiastic, devoted affection with which all her subjects regarded that beautiful and amiable woman. This statue he executed at Carrara; and a living eagle, which had been taken captive among the Appenines, was the original of that magnificent eagle he has placed at her feet:—nothing, you see, like going at once to nature! In the course of twenty-five years Rauch has executed sixty-nine busts, of which twenty are colossal. Among his numerous other works, designed or executed within the same time, there is the colossal statue of Blucher, now at Breslau; this is in bronze, upon a granite pedestal. There is another statue of Blucher at Berlin, of which the pedestal, rich with bas-reliefs, is also in bronze. Rauch has been employed for the last twenty years in modelling field-marshals and generals, and has devoted his best powers to vanquish the difficulties presented by monotonous faces, drilled figures, military uniforms, and regimental boots and buttons; and all that man can do, I am told he has done. I have seen some of his busts, which are quite admirable. [149] At Peterstein, near Munich, I saw his statue of a little girl, about ten years old, which, in its simplicity, truth, and elegance, reminded me of Chantrey's Lady Louisa Russell, though in conception and manner as distinct as possible. The full length of Goethe, in his dressing-gown, of which there is such an infinitude of casts and copies throughout Germany, is also by Rauch.

Christian Tieck is the old and intimate friend of Rauch. They live, or did live, under the same roof, and it is not known that a moment of jealousy or rivalship ever disturbed the union between these two celebrated and gifted men, who, starting nearly at the same time, 21 have run their brilliant career together in the self-same path, and, whatever judgment the world or posterity may form of their comparative merits, seem determined to enter the temple of immortality hand in hand. Tieck's works are dispersed from one end of Germany to the other. His statue of Neckar; his busts of Madame de Staël, of her second husband [150] Rocca, of the Duke and Duchess de Broglie, and of A. W. Schlegel, I have seen; and all, particularly the busts of Rocca and Schlegel are exceedingly fine. At Munich, at Dresden, and at Weimar, I saw many of his works; and at Manheim the bust of Madame de Heygendorf, 22 full of beauty, and life, [151] and expression. At Berlin, Tieck has been employed for many years in designing and executing the sculptured ornaments of the new theatre. There is a colossal Apollo; a Pegasus, striking the fountain of Helicon from the rock, colossal Muses, and a variety of other heathen perpetrations—all (as I am assured) exceedingly fine in their way. I believe his seated statue of Iffland (the Garrick of Germany) is considered one of his chef-d'œuvres. He also, like Rauch, has been much employed in modelling generals and trophies, in memory of the late war.

Schwanthaler, the son of a statuary of Munich, is still a young man; his works first began to create a sensation in Germany in the year 1823. In spirit and fire, and creative talent, in a fine classic feeling for his art, he appeared to me to be treading in the steps of Flaxman, and like him, he is a profound and accomplished scholar, who has sought inspiration at the very fountain of Greek poetry. His basso-relievo of the battle of the ships in the Iliad, his games of Greece, his designs from the Theogony of Hesiod, and a [152] variety of other works which I have seen, appeared to me full of imagination, and in a pure and vigorous style of art. Of him, and some other sculptors, you will find more particulars in the note-book I kept at Munich; we will look over it together one of these days.


Thank you; but I must needs ask you a question. In the works you have enumerated, nothing has struck me as new, or in a new spirit, except perhaps the Christ of Dannecker, and the statue of the queen of Prussia. Now, why should not sculpture have its Gothic (or romantic) school, as well as its antique, or classical school?


And has it not?


If you allude to the sculpture of the middle ages, that has not become a school of art, like their architecture and their painting: yet can it be true [153] that there is something in our modern institutions, our northern descent, our christian faith, inimical to the spirit of sculpture?—and, while poetry in every other form is regenerate around us, that in sculpture alone we are doomed to imitate, never to create?—doomed to the servile reproduction of the same ideas? that this alone, of all the fine arts, is to belong to some peculiar mode of existence, some peculiar mode of thinking, feeling, and believing? "Qui me delivrera des Grecs et des Remains?"—who will deliver me from gods and goddesses, and from all these

"Repetitions, wearisome of sense,

Where soul is dead, and feeling hath no place?"


You are little better than a heretic in these matters. But I will admit thus much—that the classical and mythological sculpture of our modern artists, is to the ancient marbles, what Racine's tragedies are to those of Sophocles; that we are so far condemned to the "repetition wearisome of forms," from which the ancient spirit has [154] evaporated; but that is not the fault of the subjects, but of the manner of treating them, for never can the beautiful mythology of ancient Greece, which has woven itself into our earliest dreams of poetry, become a "creed out-worn." Its forms, and its symbols, and its imagery, have mingled with every branch of art, and become a universal language. It is the deification of the material world; and therefore, that art, which in its perfection may be called the apotheosis of form, finds there its proper region and element.


You do not suppose that, with all my Gothic tastes, I am such a Goth as not to feel the truth of what you say? But I am an enemy to the exclusive in every thing; and—pardon me—your worship of the Elgin marbles and the Niobe, is, I think, a little too exclusive. All I ask is, that modern sculpture should be allowed, like painting and poetry, to have its romantic, as well as its classical school.



It has been otherwise decided.


But it has not been otherwise proved. There has been much theoretical eloquence and criticism expended on the subject, but I deny that the experiment has been fairly and practically brought before us. I know very well you are ready with a thousand instances of attempt and failure, but may we not seek the cause in the mistaken application of certain classical, or, I should say, pedantic ideas on the subject? If I ask for Milton's Satan, standing like a tower in his spiritual might, his thunder-scarred brow wreathed with the diadem of hell, why am I to be presented with an Athlete, or an Achilles? Why would Canova give us for the head of Dante's Beatrice that of a muse, or an Aspasia? and for Petrarch's Laura, a mere tête de nymphe? I contend that to apply the forms suggested by the modern poetry demands a different spirit from that of classic art. How to apply or modify the example bequeathed [156] to us by the great masters of old, Flaxman has shown us in his Dante. And why should we not have in sculpture a Lear as well as a Laocoon? a Constance as well as a Niobe? a Gismunda as well as a Cleopatra?——


Or a Tam o'Shanter as well as a laughing Faun?


When I am serious and poetical, which is not often, I will not allow you to be perverse and ironical!


See, here is a passage which I have just found among Mrs. Austin's beautiful specimens of translation: "The critic of art ought to keep in view, not only the capabilities, but the proper objects of art. Not all that art can accomplish ought she to attempt. It is from this cause alone, and because we have lost sight of these principles, that art [157] among us has become more extensive and difficult, and less effective and perfect." 23


Very well,—and very true:—but who shall bring a rule and compass to measure the capabilities of art, and define its proper objects? May there not exist in the depths or heights of philosophy and art, truths yet to be revealed, as there are stars in heaven, whose light has not yet reached the naked eye? and why should not criticism have its telescope for truth, as well as its microscope for error? Art may be finite; but who shall fix its limits, and say, "thus far shalt thou go?" There are those who regard the distant as the unattainable, the unknown as the unexisting, the actual as the necessary;—are you one of such, O you of little faith! For my own part, I look forward to a new era in sculpture. I believe that the purely natural and the purely ideal are one, and susceptible of forms and modifications as yet untried. For Nature, the infinite, sits within her tabernacle, not made by [158] human hands, and Genius and Love are the cherubim, to whom it is permitted to look into her unveiled eyes, and reflect their light; Art is the priestess of her divine mysteries, and Criticism, the door-keeper of her temple, should be Janus-headed, looking forward as well as backward. Reason estimates what has been done; Imagination alone divines what may be done. But I am losing myself in these reveries. To attempt something new,—perfectly new in style and conception—and spend, like Dannecker, eight years in working out that conception—and then perhaps eight years more waiting for a purchaser, and this in a country where one must eat and pay taxes—truly, it is not easy.





You have been frowning and musing in your chair for the last half-hour, with your fore-finger between the leaves of your book—where were your thoughts?


They were far—very far! I am afraid that I appear very stupid?


O not at all! you know there are stars which appear dim and fixed to the eye, while they are [160] taking flights and making revolutions, which imagination cannot follow nor science compute.


Upon my word, you are very sublimely ironical—my thoughts were not quite so far.


May one beg, or borrow them?—What is your book?


Mrs. Austin's "Characteristics of Goethe." I came upon a passage which sent back my thoughts to Weimar. I was again in his house; the faces, the voices of his grandchildren were around me; the room in which he studied, the bed in which he slept, the old chair in which he died,—and, above all, her in whose arms he died—from whose lips I heard the detail of his last moments—


What! all this emotion for Goethe?



For Goethe!—I should as soon think of weeping because the sun set yesterday, which now is pouring its light around me! Our tears are for those who suffer, for those who die, for those who are absent, for those who are cold or lost—not for those who cannot die, who cannot suffer,—who must be, to the end of time, a presence and an existence among us! No.

But I was reading here, among the Characteristics of Goethe, who certainly "knew all qualities, with a learned spirit in human dealings," that he was not only the quick discerner and most cordial hater of all affectation;—but even the unconscious affectation—the nature de convention,—the taught, the artificial, the acquired in manner or character, though it were meritorious in itself, he always detected, and it appeared to impress him disagreeably. Stay, I will read you the passage—here it is.

"Even virtue, laboriously and painfully acquired, was distasteful to him. I might almost affirm, that a faulty but vigorous character, if it [162] had any real native qualities as its basis, was regarded by him with more indulgence and respect than one which, at no moment of its existence, is genuine; which is incessantly under the most unamiable constraint, and consequently imposes a painful constraint on others. 'Oh,' said he, sighing, on such occasions, 'if they had but the heart to commit some absurdity, that would be something, and they would at least be restored to their own natural soil, free from all hypocrisy and acting: wherever that is the case, one may entertain the cheering hope that something will spring from the germ of good which nature implants in every individual. But on the ground they are now upon, nothing can grow.' 'Pretty dolls,' was his common expression when speaking of them. Another phrase was, 'That's a piece of nature,' (literally, das ist eine Natur, that is a nature,) which from Goethe's lips was considerable praise." 24

This last phrase threw me back upon my remembrances. I thought of the daughter-in-law of [163] the poet,—the trusted friend, the constant companion, the devoted and careful nurse of his last years. It accounted for the unrivalled influence which apparently she possessed—I will not say over his mind—but in his mind, in his affections; for in her he found truly eine Natur—a piece of nature, which could bear even his microscopic examination. All other beings who approached Goethe either were, or had been, or might be, more or less modified by the action of that universal and master spirit. Consciously, or unconsciously, in love or in fear, they bowed down before him, and gave up their individuality, or forgot it, in his presence; they took the bent he chose to impress, or the colour he chose to throw upon them. Their minds, in presence of his, were as opake bodies in the sun, absorbing in different degrees, reflecting in various hues, his vital beams; but HER'S was, in comparison, like a transparent medium, through which the rays of that luminary passed,—pervading and enlightening, but leaving no other trace. Conceive a woman, a young, accomplished, enthusiastic woman, who had qualities to [164] attach, talents to amuse, and capacity to appreciate, Goethe; who, for fourteen or fifteen years, could exist in daily, hourly communication with that gigantic spirit, yet retain, from first to last, the most perfect simplicity of character, and this less from the strength than from the purity and delicacy of the original texture. Those oft-abused words, naïve, naïveté, were more applicable to her in their fullest sense than to any other woman I ever met with. Her conversation was the most untiring I ever enjoyed, because the stores which fed that flowing eloquence were all native and unborrowed: you were not borne along by it as by a torrent—bongré, malgré,—nor dazzled as by an artificial jet d'eau set to play for your amusement. There was the obvious wish to please—a little natural coquetterie—vivacity without effort, sentiment without affectation, exceeding mobility, which yet never looked like caprice; and the most consummate refinement of thought, and feeling, and expression. From that really elegant and highly-toned mind, nothing flippant nor harsh could ever proceed; slander died away in her [165] presence; what was evil she would not hear of; what was malicious she would not understand; what was ridiculous she would not see. Sometimes there was a wild, artless fervour in her impulses and feelings, which might have become a feather-cinctured Indian on her savannah; then, the next moment, her bearing reminded you of the court-bred lady of the bed-chamber. Quick in perception, yet femininely confiding, uniting a sort of restless vivacity with an indolent gracefulness, she appeared to me by far the most poetical and genuine being of my own sex I ever knew in highly-cultivated life: one to whom no wrong could teach mistrust; no injury, bitterness; one to whom the common-place realities, the vulgar necessary cares of existence, were but too indifferent;—who was, in reality, all that other women try to appear, and betrayed, with a careless independence, what they most wish to conceal. I draw from the life,—now, what would you say to such a woman if you met with her in the world?


I should say—she had no business there.





I repeat that the woman you have just portrayed is hardly fit for the world.


Say rather, the world is not fitted for her. As the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, so the world was made for man, not man for the world—still less woman.


Do you know what you mean?


I think I do, though I am afraid I can but ill-explain myself. By the world, I mean that system of social life in all its complicate bearings by which we are surrounded; which was, I suppose, devised at first with a reference to the wants, the happiness, and the benefit of men, but for which no man was specifically created; his being has [167] a high and individual purpose beyond the world. Now, it seems to me one reason of the low average of what we call character, that we judge a human soul, not as it is abstractedly, but simply in relation to others, and to the circumstances around it. If it be in harmony with the world, and worldly, we praise it—it is a very respectable soul; if so constituted, that it is in discord with a world, (which, observe, all our philosophers, our pastors, and our masters, unite to assure us, is a sad wicked place, and must be reformed or renounced forthwith,) then—I pray your attention to this point—then the fault, the bitter penalty, lies not upon this said wicked world,—O no!—but on that unlucky "piece of nature," which in its power, its goodness, its purity, its truth, its faith, and its tenderness, stands aloof from it. Is it not so?


Do you apply this personally?


No, generally; but I return to her who [168] suggested the thought, and whom I ought not, perhaps, to have made the subject of such a conversation as this: it is against all my principles, contrary to my custom; and, in truth, I speak of one in whom there is so much to love, that we cannot praise without being accused of partiality; and so much to admire, that we could not censure without being suspected of envy. I might as well be silent therefore. Yet shall such a woman bear such a name, and hold such a position as the mother of Goethe's posterity; 25—shall she be rendered by both a mark for observation, from one end of Europe to the other;—shall she be "condemned to celebrity," and shall it be allowed to ignorance, or ill-nature, or vanity, to prate of her;—and shall it be forbidden to friendship even to speak?—that were hardly just. Of those effusions of her creative and poetical talents, which charm her friends, I say nothing, because in all probability neither you nor the public will ever benefit [169] by them. I met with several other women in Germany who possessed striking poetical genius, and whose compositions were equally destined to remain unknown, except to the circle of their immediate friends and relatives.


Mr. Hayward, in his notes to his translation of Faust, remarks on the strong prejudice against female authorship, which still exists in Germany; but he has hopes that it will not endure, and that something may be done "to unlock the stores of fancy and feeling which the Ottilies and the Adèles have hived up." Tell me—did you find this prejudice entertained by the women themselves, or existing chiefly on the part of the men?


It was expressed most strongly by the women, but it must have originated with the men. All your prejudices you instil into us; and then we are not satisfied with adopting them, we exaggerate [170] them—we mix them up with our fancies and affections, and transmit them to your children. You are "the mirrors in which we dress ourselves."


For which you dress yourselves!


Psha!—I mean that your minds and opinions are the mirrors in which we form our own. You legislate for us, mould us, form us as you will. If you prefer slaves and playthings to companions and helpmates, is that our fault? In Germany I met with some men who, perhaps out of compliment, descanted with enthusiasm on female talent, and in behalf of female authorship; but the women almost uniformly spoke of the latter with dread, as something formidable, or with contempt, as of something beneath them: what is an unworthy prejudice in your sex, becomes, when transplanted into ours, a feeling;—a mistaken, but a genuine, and even a generous feeling. Many women, who have sufficient sense and simplicity [171] of mind to rise above the mere prejudice, would not contend with the feeling: they would not scruple to encounter the public judgment in a cause approved by their own hearts, but they have not courage to brave or to oppose the opinions of friends and kindred—


Or risk the loss of a lover. You remember the axiom of that clever Frenchman, 26 who certainly spoke the existing opinions of his country only a few years ago, when he said—"Imprimer, pour une femme de moins de cinquante ans c'est mettre son bonheur à la plus terrible des lotteries; si elle a un amant elle commencera par le perdre."


I really believe that in Germany the latter catastrophe would be in most cases inevitable; and where is the woman who knowingly would risk it?



All, however, have not lovers to lose, or husbands to displease, or friends to affront; and if the women, in compliance with our self-revolving egotism, affect to prostrate themselves, and undervalue one another—do the men allow it to this extent? Do not the Germans most justly boast, that in their land arose the first feeling of veneration for women, the result of the Christian dispensation, grafted on the old German manners? Do they not point to their literature and their institutions, as more favourable to your sex than any other? Does not even Madame de Staël exalt the fine earnestness of the German feeling towards you, infinitely above the system of French gallantry?—that flimsy veil of conventional good-breeding, under which we seek to disguise the demoralization of one sex, and the virtual slavery of the other? Have I not heard you say, that it is the present fashion among the poets, artists, and writers of Germany, to defer in all things to the middle ages? Are not the maxims and sentiments of chivalry ready on their lips, the [173] forms and symbols of the old chivalrous times to be traced in every department of literature and art among them?


All this is true; and I will believe that all this is something more than mere theory, when I see the Germans less slovenly in their interior, and less egotistical in their domestic relations. The theme is unwelcome, unpleasant, ungraceful,—in fact, I can scarcely persuade myself to say one word against those high-minded, benevolent, admirable, and "most-thinking people;" so I will not dwell upon it: but I must confess that the personal negligence of the men, and the forbearance of the women on this point, astonished me. I longed to remind these worshippers of the age of chivalry of that advice of St. Louis to his son—"Il faut être toujours propre et bien proprement habillé, afin d'être mieux aimé de sa femme;" the really good-natured and well-bred Germans will, I am sure, forgive this passing remark, and allow its truth: they did at once agree [174] with me, that the tavern-life of the men, more particularly the clever professional men in the south of Germany, (another remnant, I presume, either of the age of chivalry, or the Bürschen-sitten—I know not which,) was calculated to retard the social improvement and refinement of both sexes. And, apropos to chivalry, the fact is, that the institutions of a generous but barbarous period, invented to shield our helplessness, when women were exposed to every hardship, every outrage, have been much abused, and must be considerably modified to suit a very different state of society. That affectation of poetical homage, which your strength paid to our weakness, when the laws were not sufficient to defend us, we would now gladly exchange for more real honour, more real protection, more equal rights. I speak thus, knowing that, however open to perversion these expressions may be, you will not misapprehend me; you know that I am no vulgar, vehement arguer about the "rights of women;" and, from my habitual tone of feeling and thought, the last to covet any of your masculine privileges.



I do perfectly understand you; but, pray what are our strictly masculine privileges, that you should covet them? Fighting! getting drunk! and keeping a mistress!—I beg your pardon if I shock your delicacy; but certainly, upon the score of masculine privileges, the less that is said the better: there are nations in which it is a masculine privilege to sit and smoke, while women draw the plough. It was some time ago,—and now, in some countries, it is still a masculine privilege to cultivate the mind at all; and in Germany, apparently, it is still a masculine privilege to publish a book without losing caste in society; whereas here, in England, we have fallen into the opposite extreme; female authorship is in danger of becoming a fashion,—which Heaven avert! I should be sorry to see you women taking the pen you have hitherto so honoured, in the same spirit in which you used to make filigree, cobble shoes, and paint velvet.


It is too true that mere vanity and fashion have [176] lately made some women authoresses;—more write for money, and by this employment of their talents earn their own independence, add to the comforts of a parent, or supply the extravagance of a husband. Some, who are unhappy in their domestic relations, yet endowed with all that feminine craving after sympathy, which was intended to be the charm of our sex, the blessing of yours, and somehow or other has been turned to the bane of both, look abroad for what they find not at home; fling into the wide world the irrepressible activity of an overflowing mind and heart, which can find no other unforbidden issue,—and to such "fame is love disguised." Some write from the mere energy of intellect and will; some few from the pure wish to do good, and to add to the stock of happiness and the progress of thought; and many from all these motives combined in different degrees.


And have none of these motives produced authoresses in Germany?



Yes; but fashion and vanity, and the love of excitement, have not as yet tempted the German women to print their effusions; their most distinguished authoresses have become so, either from real enthusiasm or from necessity; and in the lighter departments of literature they boast at present some brilliant names. I will run over a few.

There is Helmina von Chezy—but before I speak of her, I should tell you of her famous grandmother, Anna Louisa Karshin, though she belonged to the last century. The Karshin was the daughter of a poor innkeeper and brewer, in a little village of Silesia. She spent her early years in herding cows. She learned to read by stealth, by stealth she became a poetess; was first married to a boorish sulky weaver, secondly to a drunken tailor, and suffered for years every extremity of poverty and misery; at one time she travelled about the neighbouring country, the first example of an itinerant poetess, declaiming her own verses, and always ready with an ode or a sonnet to celebrate a wedding, or hail [178] a birthday. In this strange profession she excited much astonishment—went through some singular, but not disreputable adventures—and earned considerable sums of money, which her husband spent in drink and profligacy. Gifted with as much energy as genius, she struggled through all, and gradually became known to several of the critics and poets of the last century, particularly Count Stolberg and Gleim, and obtained the title of the German Sappho. She found means to reach Berlin, where she worked her way up to distinction, and supported herself, two children, and an orphan brother, by her talents. She was recommended to Frederick the Great as worthy of a pension, and—would you believe it?—that munificent patron of his country's genius, sent her a gratuity of two dollars, in a piece of paper. This extraordinary and spirited woman, who had probably subsisted for half her life on charity, instantly returned them to the niggardly despot, after writing in the envelope four lines impromptu, which are yet repeated in Germany. I am not quite sure that I remember [179] them accurately, and it is no matter, for they have not much either of poetry or point.

"Zwey Thaler sind zu wenig;

Zwey Thaler macht kein Glück;

Zwey Thaler gebt kein König;

Fritz, hier send ich sie zurück."

She died in 1791, and a selection of her poems was published in the following year.

The granddaughter of the Karshin, the more celebrated Helmina von Chezy, is likewise a poetess; her principal work is a tale of chivalry, in verse, Die drei Weissen Rosen, (The three White Roses) which was published in 18—, and she wrote the opera of Euryanthe, for Weber to set to music. Her songs and lighter poems are, I am told, exceedingly beautiful.

Caroline Pichler, of Vienna, I need only mention. I believe her historical romances have been translated into half-a-dozen languages. The Siege of Vienna is reckoned her best.

Madame Schoppenhauer, the daughter of a senator of Dantzic, is celebrated for her novels, travels, and works on art. She resided for many years [180] at Weimar, where she drew round her a brilliant literary circle, which the talents of her daughter farther adorned. Since Goethe's death she has fixed her residence at Bonn, where it is probable the remainder of her life will be spent. One of the best of her novels, "Die Tante," has been translated by Madame de Montolieu, under the title of "La Tante et la Nièce." Another very pretty little book of hers, "Ausflucht an dem Rhein," I should like to see translated. Beside being an excellent writer on art, Madame Schoppenhauer is herself no mean artist. Moreover, she is a kind-hearted, excellent old lady, with a few old lady-like prejudices about England and the English, which I forgave her,—the more easily as I had to thank her in my own person for many and kind attentions.

Madame von Helvig, of Weimar, (born Amalia von Imhoff,) was the friend of Schiller, under whose auspices her first poems were published. Her rare knowledge of languages, her learning and critical taste in works of arts, have distinguished her almost as much as her genius for poetry.


The second wife of the Baron de la Motte-Fouquet, was a very accomplished woman, and the author of several poems and romances.

Frederica Brun, (born Münter,) the daughter of a learned ecclesiastic of Gotha, is celebrated for her prose writings, and particularly her travels in Italy, where she resided at different periods. Madame Brun was a friend of Madame de Staël, who mentions her in her de l'Allemagne, and describes the extraordinary talents for classical pantomime possessed by her daughter Ida Brun.

Louisa Brachmann is, I believe, more renowned for her melancholy death than her poetical talents; both together have procured her the name of the "German Sappho." The wretched woman threw herself into the river at Halle, and perished, as it was said, for the sake of some faithless Phaon. This was in 1822, when she must have been between forty and fifty; and pray observe, I do not notice this fact of her age in ridicule. A woman's heart may overflow inwardly for long, long years, till at last the accumulated sorrow bursts the bounds of reason, and then all at once [182] we see the result of causes to which none gave heed, and of secret agonies to which none gave comfort—in folly, madness, destruction. Whatever might have been the cause,—thus she died. Her works in prose and verse may be found in every bookseller's shop in Germany. There is also a life of this unhappy and gifted woman by professor Schutz.

Fanny Tarnow is one of the most remarkable and most fertile of all the modern German authoresses. Her genius was developed by misfortune and suffering: while yet an infant, she fell from a window two stories high, and was taken up, to the amazement of the assistants, without any apparent injury, except a few bruises; but all the vital functions suffered, and during ten or twelve years she was extended on a couch,

neither joining in any of the amusements of childhood, nor subjected to the usual routine of female education. She educated herself. She read incessantly, and, as it was her only pleasure, books of every description, good and bad, were furnished her without restraint. She was about eleven years [183] old when she made her first known poetical attempt, inspired by her own feelings and situation. It was a dialogue between herself and the angel of death. In her seventeenth year she was sufficiently recovered to take charge of her father's family, after he had lost, by some sudden misfortune, his whole property. He held subsequently, a small office under government, the duties of which were principally performed by his admirable daughter. Her first writings were anonymous, and for a long time her name was unknown. Her most celebrated novel, the "Thekla," was published in 1815; and from this time she has enjoyed a high and public reputation. Fanny Tarnow resides, or did reside, in Dresden.

I have yet another name here, and not the least interesting, that of Johanna von Weissenthurn, one of the most popular dramatic writers in Germany. She was educated for the stage, even from infancy, her parents and relations being, I believe, strolling players. She lived, for many years, a various life of toil, and adventure, and excitement; such, perhaps, as Goethe describes in [184] the Wilhelm Meister; a life which does sometimes blunt the nicer feelings, but is sure to develop talent where it exists. Johanna at length rose through all the grades of her profession, and became the first actress at the principal theatre at Vienna. She played in the "Phœdra," before Napoleon, when he occupied the Austrian capital in 1806, and the conqueror sent to her, after the performance, a complimentary message, and a gratuity of three thousand francs; but her lasting reputation is founded on her dramatic works, which are played in every theatre in Germany. The plots, which, I am told, are remarkable for fancy and invention, have been borrowed, without acknowledgment, both by French and English playwrights. I was quite charmed with one of her pieces which I saw at Munich, (Die Erben—the Heirs,) and with another which was represented at Frankfort. Johanna von Weissenthurn has also written poems and tales.

I have come to the end of my memoranda on this subject, and regret it much. I might easily give you more names, and quote second-hand the [185] opinions I heard of the merits and characteristics of these authoresses; but I speak of nothing but what I know, and not being able to form any judgment myself, I will give none. Only it appears to me that the Germans themselves assign to no female writer the same rank which here we proudly give to Joanna Baillie and Mrs. Hemans. I could hear of none who had ever exercised any thing like the moral influence possessed by Maria Edgeworth and Harriet Martineau, in their respective departments; nor could learn that any German woman had yet given public proof that the most feminine qualities were reconcilable with the highest scientific attainments—like Mrs. Marcet and Mrs. Somerville.


You said the other night, that you had not formed any opinion as to the moral and social position of the women in Germany; but you must have brought away some general impressions of manner and character;—frankly, were they favourable or unfavourable?



Frankly, they were most favourable. Remember that I am not prepared with any general sweeping conclusions: I cannot assure you from my own knowledge, that among my own sex the proportion of virtue and happiness is greater in Germany than in England. On the contrary—

——In every land

I saw, wherever light illumineth,

Beauty and anguish walking hand in hand,

The downward slope to death.

In every land I thought that, more or less,

The stronger, sterner nature overbore

The softer, uncontroll'd by gentleness,

And selfish evermore! 27

—Why do you smile?


You amuse me with the perseverance with which you ring the changes on your favourite text, in prose and in verse; and yet, to adopt [187] Voltaire's witty metaphor, we are the hammers and you the anvils all the world over. But is that all? You need not have gone to Germany to verify that!


No, sir; it is not all. In the first place, you know I have a sufficient contempt for our English intolerance, with regard to manners—


Why, yes; with reason. The influence of mere manner among our fashionable people, and the stress laid upon it as a distinction, have become so vulgarized and abused, that I should be relieved even by a reaction which should throw us out of the insipidity of conventional manner into primeval rudeness.


No, no, no!—no extremes: but though so sensible to the ridicule of referring the social habits, opinions, customs, of other nations, to the [188] arbitrary standard of our own, still I could not help falling into comparisons; certain distinctions between the German and the English women struck me involuntarily. In the highest circles a stranger finds society much alike every where. A court-ball—the soirée of an ambassadress—a minister's dinner—present nearly the same physiognomy. It is in the second class of society, which is also every where, and in every sense, the best, that we behold the stamp of national character. I was not condemned to see my German friends always en grande toilette; I had better opportunities of judging and appreciating their domestic habits and manners, than most travellers enjoy.

I thought the German women, of a certain rank, more natural than we are. The moral education of an English girl is, for the most part, negative; the whole system of duty is thus presented to the mind. It is not "this you must do;" but always "you must not do this—you must not say that—you must not think so;" and if by some hardy, expanding nature, the question [189] be ventured, "Why?"—the mamma or the governess are ready with the answer—"It is not the custom—it is not lady-like—it is ridiculous!" But is it wrong?—why is it wrong?—and then comes answer, pat—"My dear, you must not argue—young ladies never argue." "But, mamma, I was thinking——" "My dear, you must not think—go write your Italian exercise," and so on! The idea that certain passions, powers, tempers, feelings, interwoven with our being by our almighty and all-wise Creator, are to be put down by the fiat of a governess, or the edict of fashion, is monstrous. Those who educate us imagine that they have done every thing, if they have silenced controversy, if they have suppressed all external demonstration of an excess of temper or feeling; not knowing, or not reflecting, that unless our nature be self-governed and self-directed by an appeal to those higher faculties, which link us immediately with what is divine, their labour is lost.

Now, in Germany the women are less educated to suit some particular fashion; the cultivation [190] of the intellect, and the forming of the manners, do not so generally supersede the training of the moral sentiments—the affections—the impulses; the latter are not so habitually crushed or disguised; consequently the women appeared to me more natural, and to have more individual character.


But the English women pique themselves on being natural, at least they have the word continually in their mouths. Do you know that I once overheard a well-meaning mother instructing her daughter how to be natural? You laugh, but I assure you it is a simple fact. Now, I really do not object to natural insipidity, but I do object to conventional insipidity: I object to a rule of elegance which makes the negative the test of the natural. It seems hard that those who have hearts and souls must needs put them into a strait-waistcoat, in order to oblige those who choose to have none; and be guilty of the grossest affectation, to escape the imputation of being affected!



I think there is less of this among the Germans; more of the individual character is brought into the daily intercourse of society—more of the poetry of existence is brought to bear on the common realities of life. I saw a freshness of feeling—a genuine (not a taught) simplicity, which charmed me. Sometimes I have seen affectation, but it amused me; it consisted in the exaggeration of what is in itself good, not in the mean renunciation of our individuality—the immolation of our soul's truth to a mere fashion of behaviour. As Rochefoucauld called hypocrisy, (that last extreme of wickedness,) "the homage which vice pays to virtue;" so the nature de convention, that last and worst excess of affectation, is the homage which the artificial pays to the natural.

The German women are much more engrossed by the cares of housekeeping than women of a similar rank of life in England. They carry this too far in many instances, as we do the opposite extreme. In England, with our false, conventional refinement, we attach an idea of vulgarity [192] to certain cares and duties, in which there is nothing vulgar. To see the young and beautiful daughter of a lady of rank running about, busied in household matters, with the keys of the wine-cellar and the store-room suspended to her sash, would certainly surprise a young Englishwoman, who, meantime, is netting a purse, painting a rose, or warbling some "Dolce mio Bene," or "Soavi Palpiti," with the air of a nun at penance. The description of Werther's Charlotte, cutting bread and butter, has been an eternal subject of laughter among the English, among whom fine sentiment must be garnished out with something finer than itself; and no princess can be suffered to go mad, or even be in love, except in white satin. To any one who has lived in Germany, the union of sentiment and bread and butter, or of poetry with household cares, excites no laughter. The wife of a state minister once excused herself from going with me to a picture gallery, because on that day she was obliged to reckon up the household linen; she was one of the most charming, truly elegant, and accomplished women [193] I ever met with. At another time, I remember that a very accomplished woman, who had herself figured in a court, could not do something or other—I forget what—because it was the "grösse Wäsche," (the great wash,) an event by the way which I often found very mal-a-propos, and which never failed to turn a German household upside down. You must remember that I am not speaking of tradesmen and mechanics, but of people of my own, or even a superior rank of life. It is true that I met with cases in which the women had, without necessity, sunk into mere domestic drudges—women whose souls were in their kitchen and their household stuff—whose talk was of dishes and of condiments; but then the same species of women in England would have been, instead of busy with the idea of being useful, frivolous and silly, without any idea at all.


And whether a woman put her soul into an apple tart, or a new bonnet, signifies little, if there be no capacity there for any thing better. [194] I hate mere fine ladies; but equally avoid those who seem born to "suckle fools and chronicle small beer." The accomplishments which embellish social life—the cultivation which raises you to a companionship with men—I cannot spare these to make mere nurses and housewifes, as I conceive the generality of the German women aim to be, and which I have been told the opinions of the men approve.


As to what we term accomplishments, there was certainly much less exhibition and parade of them in society; they formed less an established and necessary part of education than with us; but, of really accomplished, well-informed women, believe me I found no deficiency—far otherwise: if the inclination or the talent existed, means and opportunity were not wanting for mental culture of a very high species. I met with fewer women who drew badly, sang tolerably, or rather intolerably, scratched the harp, and quoted Metastasio; but I met with quite as many women who, [195] without pretension, were finished musicians, painted like artists, possessed an extensive acquaintance with their own literature, and an uncommon knowledge of languages; and were, besides, very good housewives after the German fashion. More or less acquaintance with the French language was a matter of course, but English was preferred: every where I met with women who had cultivated with success, not our language merely, but our literature. Shakspeare, whether studied in English, or in some of their excellent translations, I found a species of household god, whose very name was breathed with reverence, as if it were that of a supernatural being. Lord Byron, and Sir Walter Scott, and Campbell, are familiar names. Wordsworth and Shelley are beginning to be known, but they are pronounced more difficult of comprehension than Shakspeare himself; yet I met with a German lady who could repeat Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner" by heart. Of our great modern poets, Crabbe appeared the least understood and appreciated in Germany, for the obvious reason, that [196] his subjects and portraits are almost exclusively national. There are, however, several German editions of his works. The men read him as a study. The only German lady I met with who had read his works through, pronounced them "not poetry." Bulwer is exceedingly popular among the women; so is Moore. Some of those who most admired the latter, gave as one reason that "his English style was so easy."


Of all our poets, Moore should seem the least allied to a German taste. Shall I confess to you? He reminds me perpetually of Prince Potemkin's larder, in which you could always have petits-patés and champagne, ad libitum, but never a morsel of bread or a drop of water!


The simile is e'en too wickedly just; but I except his Irish ballads: by the way, I was pleased to find some of our beautiful Irish melodies almost naturalized in Germany, and sung either [197] with Moore's words, or German versions of them. I remember that at Stift-Neuberg I heard the air of Ally Croker sung to an excellent translation of Moore's words, 28 and with as much of the national spirit and feeling as if we had been on the banks of the Shannon instead of the banks of the Neckar. The singer, an amateur, and a most extraordinary musical genius, who had joined our circle from Heidelberg, did not understand, or at least did not speak, English; yet there was no Irish, or Scotch, or English air which he had not at the ends of his fingers; and when he struck up, "Of noble race was Shenkin," it was as if all the souls of all the Welsh harpers since High-born Hoel had inspired him. This gifted person was, however, of your sex, and our discourse, at present, is of mine.

I heard an English lady, who had resided for some time in Germany, remark, that the "German mothers spoiled their children terribly;" in other words, the children lived more habitually with the mothers, were under little restraint, and behaved in the drawing-room much as if they were [198] in the nursery, and were treated, as they grew up, on more equal terms.

That high exterior polish, those brilliant conversational talents, which I have seen in many English and French women, must be rare among the Germans: they are too simple, and too much in earnest. The trifling of a polished French woman is often most graceful; the trifling of an Englishwoman gracious and graceful; but the trifling of a German woman is, in comparison, heavy work; to use a common expression, it is not in them. I met with one satirical woman. You know I once ventured to assert that no woman is naturally satirical, and to touch upon the causes which foster this artificial vice—and here was a case in point. It was that of a mind which had originally been a piece of nature's noblest handiwork, first bruised, then gradually festered by the action of all evil influences.


And, "lilies that fester are far worse than weeds," so singeth the poet; but do you make the [199] cause also the excuse? How many minds have endured the most withering influences of misery and mischief, if not untouched, at least uninjured—unembittered!


I grant you: but before we assume the power of judging, of computing the degree of virtue in the latter case, of vice in the former, we should look to the original conformation of the human being—the material exposed to these influences. Fire hardens the clay and dissolves the metal. This plate of tempered steel, on which I am going to etch, shall corrode, effervesce, be absolutely decomposed by the action of a few drops of nitrous acid, which has no effect whatever on this lump of wax. Now, carry this analogy into the consideration of the human character—it will spare us a long argument.

As to the chapter of coquettes—


Ah! glissez, mortel, n'appuyez pas!



And why not?—Don't you know that I meditate, with the assistance of certain professorins, a complete Natural History of Coquettes, (in quarto,) which shall rival the famous Dutch treatise on Butterflies, in heaven knows how many folio volumes? In the first part of this stupendous work we intend to treat systematically of every known species, from the coquetterie instinctive, which may be termed the wild genus, indigenous in all females, up to the coquetterie calculée et philosophique, the most refined specimen reared in the hot-bed of artificial life. In the second part, we shall treat the whole history of Coquetterie, from that first pretty experiment of dear Mamma Eve, when she turned away from Adam,

"——As conscious of her worth,

That would be woo'd and not unsought be won,"

down to—to—how shall I avoid being personal?—down to the Lady Adeline Amundevilles of our own day. With some women coquetterie is an instinct; with others, an amusement; with others, [201] a pursuit; with others, a science. With the German women it is a passion: they play the coquette as they do every thing else, with sentiment, with good faith, with enthusiasm.


Why then it is no longer coquetterie—it is love!


I beg your pardon; it is something very different. True, perhaps, "that thin partitions do the bounds divide;" but, to a nice observer, the division is not the less complete. In short, you can imagine nothing more distinct than an English coquette and a German coquette; in the first case, one is reminded of Dryden's fanciful simile—

"So cold herself, while she such warmth express'd,

'Twas Cupid bathing in Diana's stream!"

But, in the latter case, it is Diana bending the bow, and brandishing the darts of Cupid; and with an unsuspicious gaucherie, which now and then turns the point against her own bosom.


I observed, and I verified my own observations, by the information of some intelligent medical men, that there is less ill-health among the superior rank of women, in Germany, than with us; all that class of diseases, which we call nervous, which in England have increased, and are increasing in such a fearful ratio, are far less prevalent; doubtless, because the habits of social life are more natural. The use of noxious stimulants among the better class of women is almost unknown, and rare among the very lowest classes—would to heaven we could say the same! No where, not even at Munich, one of the most profligate of the German capitals, was I ever shocked by the exhibition of female suffering and depravity in another form, as in the theatres and the streets of London.

I have been asked twenty times since my return to England, whether the German women are not very exaltée—very romantic? I could only answer, that they appeared to me less calculating, less the slaves of artificial manners and modes of thinking; more imaginative, more governed by [203] natural feeling, more enthusiastic in love and religion, than with us. If this is what my English friends term exaltée, I certainly cannot think the German women would have reason to be offended by the application of the word to them, however satirically meant. Perhaps it may be from necessity, that they are generally more simple in their tastes, and more frugal in their expenses; they had certainly a most formidable idea of the extravagance of fashionable English women, and of our luxurious habits. I believe that they are sometimes difficult of access, and apparently inhospitable, because they suspect us of scoffing at their simplicity, at the homeliness of their accommodations, and their housewively occupations. For my own part I slipped so quietly and naturally into all their social and domestic habits, and cared so little about the differences and distinctions, which some of the English thought it fine to be always remarking and lamenting, that my German friends used to express their surprise, by saying—"Savez vous, ma chère, que vous ne me faites pas de tout l'effet d'une Anglaise!"—an odd species of [204] compliment, but certainly meant as such. It is true that I was sometimes a little tired of the everlasting knitting and cross-stitch; and it is true I may at times have felt the want of certain external luxuries, with which we are habitually pampered in this prodigal land, till they become necessaries; but I would be well content to exchange them all a thousand times over, for the cheap mental and social pleasures—the easy intercourse of German life.


Apropos to German romance. I met with a striking instance of it even in my short and rapid journey across part of the country. A lady of birth and rank, who had been dame d'honneur in the court of a sovereign princess, (a princess by the way of very equivocal reputation,) on the death of a lover, to whom she had been betrothed, devoted herself thenceforth to the service of the sick in the hospitals; she could not enter a religious order, being a Protestant, but she fulfilled all the offices of a vowed Sister of Charity. When [205] she applied to the physician for leave to attend the hospital at ——, he used every endeavour to dissuade her from her undertaking—all in vain! Then he tried to disgust her by imposing, in the first instance, duties the most fearful and revolting to a delicate woman; she stood this test, and persisted. It is now five years since I saw her; perhaps she may by this time be tired of her charitable, or rather her romantic, self-devotion.


No, that she is not. I know to whom you allude. She follows steadily and quietly the same pious vocation in which she has persevered for fifteen years, and in which she seems resolved to die.

Now, in return for your story, though I knew it all before, I will tell you another; but lest you should suspect me of absolute invention and romancing, I must tell you how I came by it.

I was travelling from Weimar to Frankfort, and had stopped at a little town, one or two [206] stages beyond Fulda; I was standing at the window of the inn, which was opposite to the post-house, and looking at a crowd of travellers who had just been disgorged from a huge Eil-wagen or post-coach, which was standing there. Among them was one female, who, before I was aware, fixed my attention. Although closely enveloped in a winter dress from head to foot, her height, and the easy decision with which she moved, showed that her figure was fine and well-proportioned; and as the wind blew aside her black veil, I had a glimpse of features which still farther excited my curiosity. I had time to consider her, as she alighted and walked over to the inn alone. She entered at once the room—it was a sort of public saloon—in which I was; summoned the waiter, whom she addressed in a good-humoured, but rather familiar style, and ordered breakfast; not a cup of chocolate or caffee au lait, as became a heroine, for you see I was resolved that she should be one, but a very substantial German breakfast—soup, a cutlet, and a pint (eine halbe flasche) of good wine: it was then [207] about ten o'clock. While this was preparing, she threw off her travelling accoutrements; first a dark cloak, richly lined with fur; one or two shawls; a sort of pelisse, or rather surtout, reaching to the knees, with long loose sleeves, such as you may see in the prints of Tartar or Muscovite costumes; this was made of beautiful Indian shawl, lined with blue silk, and trimmed with sables: under these splendid and multifarious coverings she wore a dress of deep mourning. Her figure, when displayed, excited my admiration: it was one of the most perfect I ever beheld. Her feet, hands, and head, were small in proportion to her figure; her face was not so striking—it was pretty, rather than handsome; her small mouth closed firmly, so as to give a marked and singular expression of resolution and decision, to a physiognomy otherwise frank and good-humoured. Her eyes, also small, were of a dark hazel, bright, and with long blonde eyelashes. Her abundant fair hair was plaited in several bands, and fastened on the top of her head, in the fashion of the German peasant girls. Her voice would have been deemed [208] rather high-pitched, for "ears polite," but it was not deficient in melody; and though her expression was grave, and even sad, upon our first encounter, I soon found that mirth, and not sadness, was the natural character of her mind, as of her countenance. When any thing ridiculous occurred, she burst at once into a laugh—such a merry, musical peal, that it was impossible not to sympathize in it. Her whole appearance and manner gave me the idea of a farmer's buxom daughter: nothing could be more distinct from our notions of the lady-like, yet nothing could be more free from impropriety, more expressive of native innocence and modesty; but the splendour of her dress did not exactly suit with her deportment—it puzzled me. I observed, when she drew off her glove, that she wore a number of silver rings of a peculiar fashion, and among them a fine diamond. She walked up and down while her breakfast was preparing, seemingly lost in painful meditations; but when it appeared, she sat down and did justice to it, as one who had been many hours without food. While she was thus engaged, the [209] conducteur of the Eil-wagen and one of the passengers came in, and spoke to her with interest and respect. Soon afterwards came the mistress of the inn, (who had never deigned to notice me, for it is not the fashion in Germany;) she came with an offer of particular services, and from the conversation I gathered, to my astonishment, that this young creature—she seemed not more than two or three and twenty—was on her way home, alone and unprotected, from—can you imagine?—even from the wilds of Siberia! But then what had brought her there? I listened, in hopes of discovering, but they all spoke so fast that I could make out nothing more. Afterwards, I had occasion to go over to a little shop to make some purchase. On my return, I found her crying bitterly, and my maid, also in tears, was comforting her with great volubility. Now, though my having in German, like Orlando's beard, was not considerable, and my heroine spoke still less French, I could not help assisting in the task of consolation—never, certainly, were my curiosity and interest more strongly excited! Subsequently we [210] met at Frankfort, where she was lodged in the same hotel, and I was enabled to offer her a seat in my vehicle to Mayence. Thus, I had opportunities of hearing her whole history related at different times, and in parts and parcels; and I will now endeavour to give it to you in a connected form. I may possibly make some mistake with regard to the order of events, but I promise you faithfully, that where my recollection of names, or dates, or circumstances, may fail me, I will not, like Mademoiselle de Montpensier, make use of my imagination to supply the defects of my memory. You shall have, if not the whole truth, at least as much of it as I can remember, and with no fictitious interpolations and improvements. Of the animation of voice and manner, the vivid eloquence, the graphic spirit, the quick transitions of feeling, and the grace and vivacity of gesture and action with which the relation was made to me by this fine untutored child of nature, I can give you no idea—it was altogether a study of character, I shall never forget.

My heroine—truly and in every sense does she [211] deserve the name—was the daughter of a rich brewer and wine merchant of Deuxponts. 29 She was one of five children, two much older and two much younger than herself. Her eldest brother was called Henri: he had early displayed such uncommon talents, and such a decided inclination for study, that his father was determined to give him all the advantages of a learned education, and sent him to the university of Erlangen, in Bavaria, whence he returned to his family, with the highest testimonies of his talents and good conduct. His father now destined him for the clerical profession, with which his own wishes accorded. His sister fondly dwelt upon his praises, and described him, perhaps with all a sister's partiality, as being not only the pride of his family, but of all his fellow-citizens, "tall, and handsome, and good," of a most benevolent enthusiastic temper, and devoted to his studies. When he had been at home for some time, he attracted the notice of one of the [212] princes in the north of Germany, with whom he travelled, I believe, in the capacity of secretary. The name of the prince, and the particulars of this part of his life, have escaped me; but it appeared that, through the recommendation of this powerful patron, he became professor of theology in a university of Courland, I think at Riga, or somewhere near it, for the name of this city was continually recurring in her narrative. Henri was at this time about eight-and-twenty.

While here, it was his fate to fall passionately in love with the daughter of a rich Jew merchant. His religious zeal mingled with his love; he was as anxious to convert his mistress as to possess her—and, in fact, the first was a necessary preliminary to the second; the consequences were all in the usual style of such matters. The relations discovered the correspondence, and the young Jewess was forbidden to see or to speak to her lover. They met in secret. What arguments he might use to convert this modern Jessica, I know not, but they prevailed. She declared herself convinced, and consented to fly with him beyond [213] the frontiers, into Silesia, to be baptized, and to become his wife.

Apparently their plans were not well-arranged, or were betrayed; for they were pursued by her relations and the police, and overtaken before they reached the frontiers. The young man was accused of carrying off his Jewish love by force, and this, I believe, at Riga, where the Jews are protected, is a capital crime. The affair was brought before the tribunal, and the accused defended himself by declaring that the girl had fled with him by her own free will; that she was a Christian, and his betrothed bride, as they had exchanged rings, or had gone through some similar ceremony. The father Jew denied this on the part of his daughter, and Henri desired to be confronted with the lady who was thus said to have turned his accuser. Her family made many difficulties, but by the order of the judge she was obliged to appear. She was brought into the court of justice pale, trembling, and supported by her father and others of her kindred. The judge demanded whether it was by her own will that she [214] had fled with Henri Ambos? She answered in a faint voice, "No." Had then violence been used to carry her off? "Yes." Was she a Christian? "No." Did she regard Henri as her affianced husband? "No."

On hearing these replies, so different from the truth,—from all he could have anticipated, the unfortunate young man appeared for a few minutes stupified; then, as if seized with a sudden frenzy, he made a desperate effort to rush upon the young Jewess. On being prevented, he drew a knife from his pocket, which he attempted to plunge into his own bosom, but it was wrested from him; in the scuffle he was wounded in the hands and face, and the young lady swooned away. The sight of his mistress insensible, and his own blood flowing, restored the lover to his senses. He became sullenly calm, offered not another word in his own defence, refused to answer any questions, and was immediately conveyed to prison.

These particulars came to the knowledge of his family after the lapse of many months, but of his subsequent fate they could learn nothing. Neither [215] his sentence nor his punishment could be ascertained; and although one of his relations went to Riga, for the purpose of obtaining some information—some redress—he returned without having effected either of the purposes of his journey. Whether Henri had died of his wounds, or languished in a perpetual dungeon, remained a mystery.

Six years thus passed away. His father died: his mother, who persisted in hoping, while all others despaired, lingered on in heart-wearing suspense. At length, in the beginning of last year, (1833,) a travelling merchant passed through the city of Deuxponts, and inquired for the family of Ambos. He informed them that in the preceding year he had seen and spoken to a man in rags, with a long beard, who was working in fetters with other criminals, near the fortress of Barinska, in Siberia; who described himself as Henri Ambos, a pastor of the Lutheran church, unjustly condemned, and besought him with tears, and the most urgent supplications, to convey some tidings of him to his unhappy parents, and [216] beseech them to use every means to obtain his liberation.

You must imagine—for I cannot describe as she described—the feelings which this intelligence excited. A family counsel was held, and it was determined at once that application should be made to the police authorities at St. Petersburgh, to ascertain beyond a doubt the fate of poor Henri—that a petition in his favour must be presented to the Emperor of Russia; but who was to present it? The second brother offered himself, but he had a wife and two children; the wife protested that she should die if her husband left her, and would not hear of his going; besides, he was the only remaining hope of his mother's family. The sister then said that she would undertake the journey, and argued that as a woman she had more chance of success in such an affair than her brother. The mother acquiesced. There was, in truth, no alternative; and being amply furnished with the means, this generous, affectionate, and strong-minded girl, set off alone, on her long and perilous journey. "When my mother gave [217] me her blessing," said she, "I made a vow to God and my own heart, that I would not return alive without the pardon of my brother. I feared nothing; I had nothing to live for. I had health and strength, and I had not a doubt of my own success, because I was resolved to succeed; but ah! liebe madame! what a fate was mine! and how am I returning to my mother!—my poor old mother!" Here she burst into tears, and threw herself back in the carriage; after a few minutes she resumed her narrative.

She reached the city of Riga without mischance. There she collected the necessary documents relative to her brother's character and conduct, with all the circumstances of his trial, and had them properly attested. Furnished with these papers, she proceeded to St. Petersburgh, where she arrived safely in the beginning of June, 1833. She had been furnished with several letters of recommendation, and particularly with one to a German ecclesiastic, of whom she spoke with the most grateful enthusiasm, by the title of M. le Pasteur. She met with the utmost difficulty in obtaining from the police the [218] official return of her brother's condemnation, place of exile, punishment, &c.; but at length, by almost incredible boldness, perseverance, and address, she was in possession of these, and with the assistance of her good friend the pastor, she drew up a petition to the emperor. With this she waited on the minister of the interior, to whom, with great difficulty, and after many applications, she obtained access. He treated her with great harshness, and absolutely refused to deliver the petition. She threw herself on her knees, and added tears to entreaties; but he was inexorable, and added brutally—"Your brother was a mauvais sujet; he ought not to be pardoned, and if I were the emperor I would not pardon him." She rose from her knees, and stretching her arms towards heaven, exclaimed with fervour—"I call God to witness that my brother was innocent! and I thank God that you are not the emperor, for I can still hope!" The minister, in a rage, said—"Do you dare to speak thus to me! Do you know who I am?" "Yes," she replied; "you are his excellency the [219] minister C——; but what of that? you are a cruel man! but I put my trust in God and the emperor; and then," said she, "I left him, without even a curtsey, though he followed me to the door, speaking very loud and very angrily."

Her suit being rejected by all the ministers, (for even those who were most gentle, and who allowed the hardship of the case, still refused to interfere, or deliver her petition,) she resolved to do, what she had been dissuaded from attempting in the first instance—to appeal to the emperor in person: but it was in vain she lavished hundreds of dollars in bribes to the inferior officers; in vain she beset the imperial suite, at reviews, at the theatre, on the way to the church: invariably beaten back by the guards, or the attendants, she could not penetrate to the emperor's presence. After spending six weeks in daily ineffectual attempts of this kind, hoping every morning, and almost despairing every evening—threatened by the police, and spurned by the officials—Providence raised her up a friend in one of her own sex. Among some ladies of rank, who became interested in her story, [220] and invited her to their houses, was a Countess Elise, something or other, whose name I am sorry I did not write down. One day, on seeing her young protegée overwhelmed with grief, and almost in despair, she said, with emotion, "I cannot dare to present your petition myself, I might be sent off to Siberia, or at least banished the court; but all I can do I will. I will lend you my equipage and servants. I will dress you in one of my robes; you shall drive to the palace the next levee day, and obtain an audience under my name; when once in the presence of the emperor you must manage for yourself. If I risk thus much, will you venture the rest?" "And what," said I, "was your answer?" "Oh!" she replied, "I could not answer; but I threw myself at her feet, and kissed the hem of her gown!" I asked her whether she had not feared to risk the safety of her generous friend? She replied, "That thought did strike me—but what would you have?—I cast it from me. I was resolved to have my brother's pardon—I would have sacrificed my own life to obtain it—and, God forgive [221] me, I thought little of what it might cost another."

This plan was soon arranged, and at the time appointed my resolute heroine drove up to the palace in a splendid equipage, preceded by a running footman, with three laced laquais in full dress, mounted behind. She was announced as the Countess Elise ——, who supplicated a particular audience of his majesty. The doors flew open, and in a few minutes she was in the presence of the emperor, who advanced one or two steps to meet her, with an air of gallantry, but suddenly started back——

Here I could not help asking her, whether in that moment she did not feel her heart sink?

"No," said she firmly; "on the contrary, I felt my heart beat quicker and higher!—I sprang forward and knelt at his feet, exclaiming, with clasped hands—'Pardon, imperial majesty!—Pardon!'" "Who are you?" said the emperor, astonished; "and what can I do for you?" He spoke gently, more gently than any of his ministers, and overcome, even by my own hopes, I burst [222] into a flood of tears, and said—"May it please your imperial majesty, I am not Countess Elise ——, I am only the sister of the unfortunate Henri Ambos, who has been condemned on false accusation. O pardon!—pardon! Here are the papers—the proofs. O imperial majesty!—pardon my poor brother!" I held out the petition and the papers, and at the same time, prostrate on my knees, I seized the skirt of his embroidered coat, and pressed it to my lips. The emperor said, "Rise—rise!" but I would not rise; I still held out my papers, resolved not to rise till he had taken them. At last the emperor, who seemed much moved, extended one hand towards me, and took the papers with the other, saying—"Rise, mademoiselle—I command you to rise." I ventured to kiss his hand, and said, with tears, "I pray of your majesty to read that paper." He said, "I will read it." I then rose from the ground, and stood watching him while he unfolded the petition and read it. His countenance changed, and he exclaimed once or twice, "Is it possible?—This is dreadful!" When he had [223] finished, he folded the paper, and without any observation, said at once—"Mademoiselle Ambos, your brother is pardoned." The words rung in my ears, and I again flung myself at his feet, saying—and yet I scarce know what I said—"Your imperial majesty is a god upon earth; do you indeed pardon my brother? Your ministers would never suffer me to approach you; and even yet I fear——!" He said, "Fear nothing: you have my promise." He then raised me from the ground, and conducted me himself to the door. I tried to thank and bless him, but could not; he held out his hand for me to kiss, and then bowed his head as I left the room. "Ach ja! the emperor is a good man,—ein schöner, feiner, Mann! but he does not know how cruel his ministers are, and all the evil they do, and all the justice they refuse, in his name!"

I have given you this scene as nearly as possible in her own words. She not only related it, but almost acted it over again; she imitated alternately, her own and the emperor's voice and manner; and such was the vivacity of her [224] description that I seemed to hear and behold both, and was more profoundly moved than by any scenic representation I can remember.

On her return she received the congratulations of her benefactress, the Countess Elise, and of her good friend the pastor, but both advised her to keep her audience and the emperor's promise a profound secret. She was the more inclined to this; because, after the first burst of joyous emotion, her spirits sank. Recollecting the pains that had been taken to shut her from the emperor's presence, she feared some unforeseen obstacle, or even some knavery on the part of the officers of government. She described her sufferings during the next few days, as fearful; her agitation, her previous fatigues, and the terrible suspense, apparently threw her into a fever, or acted on her excited nerves so as to produce a species of delirium, though, of course, she would not admit this. After assuring me very gravely that she did not believe in ghosts, she told me that one night, after her interview with the emperor, she was reading in bed, being unable to sleep; [225] and on raising her eyes from her book she saw the figure of her brother, standing at the other end of the room; she exclaimed, "My God, Henri! is that you!" but without making any reply, the form approached nearer and nearer to the bed, keeping its melancholy eyes fixed on her's, till it came quite close to the bed side, and laid a cold heavy hand upon her.


The night-mare, evidently.


Without doubt; but her own impression was as of a reality. The figure, after looking at her sadly for some minutes, during which she had no power either to move or speak, turned away; she then made a desperate effort to call out to the daughter of her hostess, who slept in the next room—"Luise! Luise!" Luise ran in to her. "Do you not see my brother standing there?" she exclaimed with horror, and pointing to the other end of the room, whither the image, [226] conjured up by her excited fancy and fevered nerves, appeared to have receded. The frightened, staring Luise, answered, "Yes." "You see," said she, appealing to me—"that though I might be cheated by my own senses, I could not doubt those of another. I thought to myself, then, my poor Henri is dead, and God has permitted him to visit me. This idea pursued me all that night, and the next day; but on the following day, which was Monday, just five days after I had seen the Emperor, a laquais, in the imperial livery, came to my lodging, and put into my hands a packet, with the "Emperor's compliments to Mademoiselle Ambos." It was the pardon for my brother, with the Emperor's seal and signature: then I forgot every thing but joy!"

Those mean, official animals, who had before spurned her, now pressed upon her with offers of service, and even the Minister C—— offered to expedite the pardon himself to Siberia, in order to save her trouble; but she would not suffer the precious paper out of her hands: she determined to carry it herself—to be herself the bearer of glad [227] tidings:—she had resolved that none but herself should take off those fetters, the very description of which had entered her soul; so, having made her arrangements as quickly as possible, she set off for Moscow, where she arrived in three days. According to her description, the town in Siberia, to the governor of which she carried an official recommendation, was nine thousand versts beyond Moscow; and the fortress to which the wretched malefactors were exiled was at a great distance beyond that. I could not well make out the situation of either, and, unluckily, I had no map with me but a road map of Germany, and it was evident that my heroine was no geographer. She told me that, after leaving Moscow, she travelled post seven days and seven nights, only sleeping in the carriage. She then reposed for two days, and then posted on for another seven days and nights.





Alone! and wholly unprotected, except by her own innocence and energy, and a few lines of recommendation, which had been given to her at St. Petersburgh. The roads were every where excellent, the post-houses at regular distances, the travelling rapid; but often, for hundreds of miles,

there were no accommodations of any kind—scarce a human habitation. She even suffered from hunger, not being prepared to travel for so many hours together without meeting with any food she could touch without disgust. She described, with great truth and eloquence, her own sensations as she was whirled rapidly over those wide, silent, solitary, and apparently endless plains. "Sometimes," said she, "my head seemed to turn—I could not believe that it was a waking reality—I could not believe that it was myself. Alone, in a strange land,—so many hundred leagues from my own home, and driven along as if through the air, with a rapidity so different from any thing I had been used to, that it almost took away my breath."


"Did you ever feel fear?" I asked.

"Ach ja! when I waked sometimes in the carriage, in the middle of the night, wondering at myself, and unable immediately to collect my thoughts. Never at any other time."

I asked her if she had ever met with insult? She said she had twice met with "wicked men;" but she had felt no alarm—she knew how to protect herself; and as she said this, her countenance assumed an expression which showed that it was not a mere boast. Altogether, she described her journey as being grausam, (horrible,) in the highest degree, and, indeed, even the recollection of it made her shudder; but at the time there was the anticipation of an unspeakable happiness, which made all fatigues light, and all dangers indifferent.

At length, in the beginning of August, she arrived at the end of her journey, and was courteously received by the commandant of the fortress. She presented the pardon with a hand which trembled with impatience and joy, too great to be restrained, almost to be borne. The officer looked [230] very grave, and took, she thought, a long time to read the paper, which consisted only of six or eight lines. At last he stammered out, "I am sorry—but the Henri Ambos mentioned in this paper—is dead!" Poor girl! she fell to the earth.

When she reached this part of her story she burst into a fresh flood of tears, wrung her hands, and for some time could utter nothing but passionate exclamations of grief. "Ach! lieber Gott! was für ein schreckliches Schicksal war das meine!" "What a horrible fate was mine! I had come thus far to find—not my brother—nur ein Grab!" (only a grave!) she repeated several times, with an accent of despair. The unfortunate man had died a year before. The fetters in which he worked had caused an ulcer in his leg, which he neglected, and, after some weeks of horrid suffering, death released him. The task-work, for nearly five years, of this accomplished, and even learned man, in the prime of his life and mental powers, had been to break stones upon the road, chained hand and foot, and confounded with the lowest malefactors.


In giving you thus conscientiously, the mere outline of this story, I have spared you all comments. I see, by those indignant strides majestical, that you are making comments to yourself; but sit down and be quiet, if you can: I have not much more to tell!

She found, on inquiry, that some papers and letters, which her unhappy brother had drawn up by stealth, in the hope of being able at some time to convey them to his friends, were in the possession of one of the officers, who readily gave them up to her; and with these she returned, half broken-hearted, to St. Petersburgh. If her former journey, when hope cheered her on the way, had been so fearful, what must have been her return? I was not surprised to hear that, on her arrival, she was seized with a dangerous illness, and was for many weeks confined to her bed.

Her story excited much commiseration; and a very general interest and curiosity was excited about herself. She told me that a great many persons of rank invited her to their houses, and made her rich presents, among which were the [232] splendid shawls and the ring, which had caught my attention, and excited my surprise, in the first instance. The Emperor expressed a wish to see her, and very graciously spoke a few words of condolence. "But they could not bring my brother back to life!" said she, expressively. He even presented her to the Empress. "And what," I asked, "did the Empress say to you?" "Nothing; but she looked so,"—drawing herself up.

On receiving her brother's pardon from the Emperor, she had written home to her family; but she confessed that since that time she had not written—she had not courage to inflict a blow which might possibly affect her mother's life; and yet the idea of being obliged to tell what she dared not write, seemed to strike her with terror.

But the strangest event of this strange story remains to be told; and I will try to give it in her own simple words.

She left Petersburgh in October, and proceeded to Riga, where those who had known her brother received her with interest and kindness, [233] and sympathized in her affliction. "But," said she, "there was one thing I had resolved to do, which yet remained undone. I was resolved to see the woman who had been the original cause of all my poor brother's misfortunes. I thought if once I could say to her, 'Your falsehood has done this!' I should be satisfied; but my brother's friends dissuaded me from this idea. They said it was better not; that it could do my poor Henri no good; that it was wrong; that it was unchristian; and I submitted. I left Riga with a voiturier. I had reached Pojer, on the Prussian frontiers, and there I stopped at the Douane, to have my packages searched. The chief officer looked at the address on my trunk, and exclaimed, with surprise, 'Mademoiselle Ambos! Are you any relation of the Professor Henri Ambos?'—'I am his sister.' 'Good God! I was the intimate friend of your brother! What has become of him?' I then told him all I have now told you, liebe madame!—and when I came to an end, this good man burst into tears, and for some time we wept together. The kutscher, [234] (driver,) who was standing by, heard all this conversation, and when I turned round, he was crying too. My brother's friend pressed on me offers of service and hospitality, but I could not delay; for, besides that my impatience to reach home increased every hour, I had not much money in my purse. Of three thousand dollars, which I had taken with me to St. Petersburgh, very little remained, so I bade him farewell, and I proceeded. At the next town, where my kutscher stopped to feed his horses, he came to the door of my calèche, and said, 'You have just missed seeing the Jew lady, whom your brother was in love with; that calèche which passed us by just now, and changed horses here, contained Mademoiselle S——, her sister, and her sister's husband!' Good God! imagine my surprise! I could not believe my fortune: it seemed that Providence had delivered her into my hands, and I was resolved that she should not escape me. I knew they would be delayed at the Custom-house. I ordered the man to turn, and drive back as fast as possible, promising him a reward of a dollar if he overtook [235] them. On reaching the Custom-house, I saw a calèche standing at a little distance. I felt myself tremble, and my heart beat so—but not with fear. I went up to the calèche—two ladies were sitting in it. I addressed the one who was the most beautiful, and said, 'Are you Mademoiselle Emilie S——?' I suppose I must have looked very strange, and wild, and resolute, for she replied, with a frightened manner—'I am; who are you, and what do you want with me?' I said, 'I am the sister of Henri Ambos, whom you murdered!' She shrieked out; the men came running from the house; but I held fast the carriage-door, and said, 'I am not come to hurt you, but you are the murderess of my brother, Henri Ambos. He loved you, and your falsehood has killed him. May God punish you for it! May his ghost pursue you to the end of your life!' I remember no more. I was like one mad. I have just a recollection of her ghastly, terrified look, and her eyes wide open, staring at me. I fell into fits; and they carried me into the house of my brother's friend, and laid me on a [236] bed. When I recovered my senses, the calèche and all were gone. When I reached Berlin, all this appeared to me so miraculous—so like a dream—I could not trust to my own recollection, and I wrote to the officer of Customs, to beg he would attest that it was really true, and what I had said when I was out of my senses, and what she had said; and at Leipsic I received his letter, which I will show you." And at Mayence she showed me this letter, and a number of other documents; her brother's pardon, with the Emperor's signature; a letter of the Countess Elise ——; a most touching letter from her unfortunate brother; (over this she wept much;) and a variety of other papers, all proving the truth of her story, even to the minutest particulars. The next morning we were to part. I was going down the Rhine, and she was to proceed to Deuxponts, which she expected to reach in two days. As she had travelled from Berlin almost without rest, except the night we had spent at Frankfort, she appeared to me ready to sink with fatigue; but she would not bid me farewell that [237] night, although I told her I should be obliged to set off at six the next morning; but kissing my hand, with many expressions of gratitude, she said she would be awake and visit me in my room to bid me a last adieu. As there was only a very narrow passage between the two rooms, she left her door a little open that she might hear me rise. However, on the following morning she did not appear. When dressed, I went on tiptoe into her room, and found her lying in a deep calm sleep, her arm over her head. I looked at her for some minutes, and thought I had never seen a finer creature. I then turned, with a whispered blessing and adieu, and went on my way.

This is all I can tell you. If at the time I had not been travelling against time, and with a mind most fully and painfully occupied, I believe I should have been tempted to accompany my heroine to Deuxponts—at least I should have retained her narrative more accurately. Not having made any memoranda till many days afterwards, all the names have escaped my recollection; but [238] if you have any doubts of the general truth of this story, I will at least give you the means of verifying it. Here is her name, in her own handwriting, on one of the leaves of my pocket-book—you can read the German character;

Bety Ambos von Zweibruken.








Sept. 28th.—A week at Munich! and nothing done! nothing seen! My first excursions I made to-day—from my bed to the sofa—from the sofa to the window. Every one told me to be prepared against the caprices of the climate, but I did not imagine that it would take a week or a fortnight to be acclimatée.

What could induce the princes of Bavaria to plant their capital in the midst of these wide, marshy, bleak, barren plains, and upon this rough unmanageable torrent,—"the Isar rolling rapidly,"—when they might have seated themselves by the majestic Danube? The Tyrolean Alps stretching south and west, either form a barrier [242] against the most genial airs of heaven, or if a stray zephyr find his way from Italy, his poor little wings are frozen to his back among the mountain snows, and he drops shivering among us, wrapt in a misty cloud. I never saw such fogs: they are as dense and as white as a fleece, and look, and feel too, like rarefied snow;—but as no one else complains, I think it must be indisposition which makes me so peevish and so chilly. Sitting at the window being my best amusement, I do not like to find the only objects which are to give me a foretaste of the splendour of Munich, quite veiled from sight, and shrouded in mist, even for a few morning hours.

I am lodged in the Max-Joseph's-Platz, opposite to the theatre: a situation at once airy, quiet, and cheerful.

The theatre is in itself a beautiful object; the portico, of the Corinthian order, is supported by eight pillars; the ascent is by a noble flight of steps, with four gigantic bronze candelabras at the corners; and nothing, at least to my unlearned eyes, could be more elegant—more purely classical [243] and Greek, than the whole, were it not for the hideous roof upon the roof,—one pediment, as it were, riding on the back of the other. Some internal arrangement of the theatre may render this deformity necessary, but it is a deformity, and one that annoys me whenever I look at it.

On the right, I have the new palace, which forms one side of the square: a long range of plain, almost rustic, architecture; altogether a striking, but rather a pleasing contrast, to the luxuriant grace of the theatre. Just now, when I looked out, what a beautiful scene! The full moon, rising over the theatre, lights up half the white columns, and half are lost in shade. The performances are just over; (half-past nine!) crowds of people emerging from the portico into the brilliant moonshine, (many of them military, in glittering accoutrements,) descend the steps, and spread themselves through the square, single, or in various groups; carriages are drawing up and drawing off,—and all this gay confusion is without the least noise or tumult. Except the occasional low roll of the carriage-wheels over the [244] well-gravelled road, I hear no sound, though within a few yards of the spot. It looks like some lovely optical or scenic illusion; a moving picture, magnified.

Oct. 4th.—To my great consternation—summoned in form before the police, and condemned to pay a fine of ten florins for having omitted to fill up specifically a certain paper which had been placed in my hands on my arrival. In the first place, I did not understand it; secondly, I never thought about it; and thirdly, I had been too ill to attend to it. I made a show of resistance, but it was all in vain, of course;—my permission to reside here is limited to six weeks, but may be renewed.

Last night I was induced, but only upon great persuasion, to venture over to the theatre. I had been tantalised so long by looking at the exterior! Then it was a pleasant evening—broad daylight; and the whole theatre being heated by stoves to an even regulated warmth according to the season, I was assured that once within the doors there would be no danger of fresh indisposition from draughts or cold.


Entering the box, my first glance was of course at the stage. The drop-scene, or curtain, a well painted copy of Guido's Aurora, pleased me infinitely more than the beautiful drop-curtain at Manheim: that was very elegant, but this is more than elegant. It harmonized with the place, and in my own mind it touched certain chords of association, which had long been silent. It was as if the orchestre had suddenly welcomed me with some delicious, often-heard, and well-remembered piece of music: the effect upon the senses was similar—nor can I describe it;—but, surprised and charmed, I kept my eyes fixed for some minutes upon the picture: the light being thrown full upon it, while the rest of the theatre was comparatively in deep shade, like all the foreign theatres, rendered it more effective. The rest of the decorations corresponded in splendour; the two colossal muses, as Caryatides supporting the king's state box, the noble columns of white and gold, and the Caryatides on each side of the proscenium, were all in fine taste. The size and proportions of the interior seemed most happily [246] calculated for seeing and hearing. On the whole, I never beheld a theatre which so entirely satisfied me—no one more easily pleased, and no one less easily satisfied!

When I looked down on the parterre, I beheld a motley assemblage in various costumes: there were a great number of the military; there were the well-dressed daughters of people of some condition, in the French fashion of two or three years back; there were girls in the Tyrolean costume, with their scarlet boddices and silver chains; and the women of Munich, with their odd little two-horned caps of rich gold or silver brocade,—forming altogether a singular spectacle. As for the scenery, it was very well, but would bear no comparison to Stanfield's glorious illusions.

The inducement held out to me to-night was to see Ferdinand Eslair play the Duke of Alva in "Egmont." Eslair, formerly one of the first actors at Manheim, when Manheim boasted the first theatre in Germany, is esteemed the finest tragedian here, and the Duke of Alva is one of his best characters. It appeared to me a superb piece [247] of acting; so quietly stern, so fearfully hard and composed: it was a fine conception cast in bronze:—in this consisted its beauty and truth as a whole. Some of his silent passages, and his by-play, were admirable. He gave us, in the scene with Egmont, an exact living transcript of Titian's famous picture of the Duke of Alva; the dress, the attitude, the position of the helmet and the glove on the table beside him, every thing was so well calculated, at once so unobtrusive and so unexpected, that it was like a recognition. Egmont was well played by Racke, but did not strike me so much. Mademoiselle Schöller, who plays the young heroines here, is a pupil of Madame Schröder, (the German Siddons,) and promises well; but she wants development; she wants the power, the passion, the tenderness, the energy of Clärchen. Clärchen is a plebeian girl, but an impassioned and devoted woman—she is a sort of Flemish Juliet. There is the same truth of nature and passion, the same impress of intense and luxuriant life—but then it is a different life—it is a Rubens compared to a Titian—and such Clärchen ought to [248] be. Now to give all the internal power and poetry, yet preserve all the external simplicity and homeliness of the character,—to give all the abandon, yet preserve all the delicacy,—to give the delicacy, yet keep clear of all super-refinement, and in the concentrated despair of her last scene (where she poisons herself) to be calm without being cold, and profoundly tragic without the usual tragedy airs, must be difficult—exceedingly difficult; in short, to play Clärchen, as I conceive the character ought to be played, would require a young actress, uniting sufficient genius to conceive it aright, with sufficient delicacy and judgment not to colour it too highly: there was no danger of the latter mistake with Mademoiselle Schöller, in whose hands Clärchen became a mere pretty affectionate girl. In that lovely scene with Egmont in the third act, which might be contrasted with Juliet's balcony scene, as a test of the powers of a young actress, Mademoiselle Schöller was timid even to feebleness; the change of manner, when Clärchen substitutes the tender familiarity of the second person singular (Du) for the [249] tone of respect in which she before addressed her lover, should have been felt and marked, so as to have been felt and remarked: but this was not the case. In short, I was disappointed by this scene.

The Flemish costumes were correct and beautiful. The Prince of Orange, in particular, looked as if he had just walked out of one of Vandyke's pictures.

After seeing this fine tragedy—surely enough for one evening's amusement—I was at home and in bed by half-past ten. They manage these things better here than in England.

Friday.—Dinner at the French ambassador's five o'clock. I mark this, because extraordinarily late at Munich. The plebeian dinner hour is twelve, or earlier; the general hour, one; the genteel hour, two; the fashionable hour, three; but five is super-elegant—in the very extreme of finery—like a nine o'clock dinner in London. There were present some French and Austrians of [250] high rank, who had all visited England; and the conversation turning on our English aristocratic society—the only society they knew any thing about—I had another proof of the ridicule with which foreigners treat our assumption of superior morality and domestic happiness. But the person who fixed my attention was Leo von Klenze, the celebrated architect, and deservedly a favourite of the king, who has, I believe, bestowed on him the superfluous honours of nobility. With the others, I had no sympathies—with him a thousand, though he knew it not. I looked at him with curiosity—with interest. I liked his plain, but marked and clever countenance, and his easy manners. I felt an unconscious desire to be agreeable, and longed to make him talk; but I knew that this was not the place or the moment for us to see each other to the greatest advantage. We had, however, some little conversation—a kind of beginning. He told me at dinner that the Glypthothek, (the gallery of sculpture here,) was planned and built by the present king, [251] when only prince royal, and the expenses liquidated from his private purse, out of his yearly savings. He spoke with modesty of himself—with gratitude and admiration of the king, of whose talent, vivacity, impatience, and enthusiasm for art and artists I had already heard some characteristic anecdotes.

After coffee, part of the company dispersed to the opera, or elsewhere; others remained to lounge and converse. After the opera, we re-assembled with additions, and then tea, and cards, and talk, till past eleven. Madame de Vaudreuil receives almost every evening, and this seems to be the general routine.

Oct. 6.—They are now celebrating here the Volksfest, (literally the "people's feast,") or annual fair of Munich, and this has been a grand day of festivity. There have been races, a military review, &c.; but, except the race-horses in their embroidered trappings, which were led past my window, and a long cavalcade of royal carriages and crowds of people, in gay and grotesque costumes, hurrying by, I have seen nothing, being [252] obliged to keep my room; so I listened to the firing of the cannon, and the shouts of the populace, and thought.

Oct. 8.—First visit to the Glypthothek—just returned—my imagination, still filled with "the blaze, the splendour, and the symmetry,"—excited as I never thought it could be again excited after seeing the Vatican; but this is the Vatican in miniature. Can it be possible that this glorious edifice was planned by a young prince, and erected out of his yearly savings? I am wonder-struck! I was not prepared for any thing so spacious, so magnificent, so perfect in taste and arrangement.

I do not yet know the exact measurement of the building; but it contains twelve galleries, the smallest about fifty, and the largest about one hundred and thirty feet in length. It consists of a square, built round an open central court, and the approach is by a noble portico of eight Ionic columns, raised on a flight of steps. As it stands in an open space, a little out of the town, with trees planted on either side, the effect is very [253] imposing and beautiful. There are no exterior windows, they all open into the central court.

From the portico we enter a hall, paved with marble. Over the principal door is the name of the king, and the date of the erection. Two side doors lead to the galleries. Over the door on the left there is an inscription to the honour of Leo von Klenze, the architect of the building. Over the door on the right, is the name of Peter Cornelius, the painter, by whom the frescos were designed and chiefly executed. Thus the king, with a noble magnanimity, uniting truth and justice, has associated in his glory those to whom he chiefly owes it—and this charmed me. It is in much finer feeling, much higher taste, than those eternal (no, not eternal!) great N's of that imperial egotist, Napoleon, whose vulgar appetite for vulgar fame would allow no participation.

I walked slowly through the galleries so excited by the feeling of admiration, that I could make no minute or particular observations. The floors are all paved with marbles of various colours—the walls, to a certain height, are stuccoed in imitation [254] of grey or dark green marble, so as to throw out the sculpture, and give it the full effect. The utmost luxury of ornament has been lavished on the walls and ceilings, some in painting, some in relief; but in each, the subjects and ornaments are appropriate to the situation, and as each gallery has been originally adapted to its destination, every where the effect to be produced has been judiciously studied. The light is not too great, nor too generally diffused—it is poured in from high semicircular windows on one side only, so as to throw the sculpture into beautiful relief. Two lofty and spacious halls are richly painted in fresco, with subjects from the Greek mythology, and the whole building would contain, I suppose, six times, or ten times, the number of works of art now there; at the same time all are so arranged that there appears no obvious deficiency. The collection was begun only in 1808, and since that time the king has contrived to make some invaluable acquisitions. I found here many of the most far-famed relics of ancient art, many that I had already seen in Italy; for instance, the Egina [255] marbles, the Barberini Faun, the Barberini Muse, or Apollo, the Leucothoë, the Medusa Rondanini above all, the Ilioneus; but I cannot now dwell on these. I must go again and again before I can methodise my impressions and recollections.

Oct. 11.—Yesterday and to-day, at the Glypthothek, where the cushioned seats, though rather more classical than comfortable, enabled me to lounge away the time, unwearied in body as in mind.

The arrangement of the galleries is such as to form not only a splendid exhibition and school of art, but a regular progressive history of the rise and decline of sculpture. Thus we step from the vestibule into the Egyptian gallery, of which the principal treasure is the colossal Antinous of Rossoantico, with the attributes of Osiris.

I admired in this room the exquisite beauty and propriety of the basso-relievo over the door, designed and modelled by Schwanthaler. It is of course intended to be symbolical of the birth of art among the Egyptians. Isis discovers the body of her lost husband Osiris, concealed in a sarcophagus: [256] she strikes it with the mystic wand, and he stands revealed, and restored to her. The imitation of the Egyptian style is perfect.

From the Egyptian, we step into the Etruscan gallery, of which the ceiling is painted in the most vivid and beautiful colours. The third room contains the famous Egina marbles, which I had seen at Rome when Thorwaldson was engaged in restoring them. To appreciate the classical beauty and propriety of the arrangement of these singular relics, we must call to mind their history, their subject, and their original destination. Thus Æacus, the first king of the Island of Ægina, was the son of Jupiter, or rather Zeus, (for the Greek designations are infinitely more elegant and expressive than the Roman.) The temple was dedicated to Zeus, and the groups which adorned the pediments represented the history of the two branches of the Æacidæ, descended from Telamon and Peleus, sons of Æacus. On two long tables or stands of marble, supported by griffins, imitated from those which originally ornamented the temple, are ranged the two groups of figures: [257] neither group is quite entire. Of that which represents the fight of Telamon and Hercules with Laomedon, King of Troy, there are only five figures remaining; and of the other group, the conflict for the body of Patroclus, there are ten figures. Along the walls, on tables of marble, are ranged a variety of fragments from the same temple, which must have been splendidly rich in sculpture, within and without. On the ceiling of this room, the four Æacidæ, Æacus, Peleus, Achilles, and Neoptolemus, are represented in relief, by Schwanthaler. There is also a small model of the western front of the temple restored, and painted as it is proved to have been originally; (for instance, the field of the Tympanum was of a sky blue.) This model is fixed in the wall opposite to the window. It is extremely curious and interesting, but I thought not well placed as an ornament. 30


I remember asking W——, who has been in every part of the world, what was the most beautiful scene he had ever beheld, taking natural beauty and poetical associations together? He replied, after a little thought, "A sunset from the temple of Ægina;"—and I can conceive this. Lord Byron introduces it into his Grecian Sunset—but as an object—

"On old Ægina's steep and Idra's Isle,

The god of gladness sheds his parting smile."

From the Ægina gallery we enter the Hall of Apollo. The ceiling of this room, splendidly decorated in white and gold, represents the emblems of the four principal cities of Greece, viz. the Athenian owl, the winged-horse of Corinth, the Chimera of Sicyon, and the wolf of Argos.

The chief glory of this apartment is that [259] celebrated colossal statue, once known as the Barberini muse, now considered by antiquarians as an Apollo, and supposed to be the work of Ageladas, the master of Phidias. It is certainly older than the sculptures of the Parthenon. In its severe massy grandeur, there is something of the heaviness and formality of the most ancient Greek school, and in point of style it forms a link between the Ægina marbles and the Elgin marbles. It should seem that the eyes of this statue were once represented by gems—the orifices remain, surrounded by a ring of bronze.

In the same room are those two sublime busts which almost take away one's breath—the colossal head of Pallas, resembling that of the Minerva of Velletri, now in the Vatican; and the Achilles.

The next room is the Hall of Bacchus. The ceiling is richly ornamented with all the festive emblems of the god, in white and gold relief. In the centre we have that wondrous statue, the gigantic Sleeping Satyr, called by some the Barberini Faun. Antiquaries and connoisseurs refer this work either to Scopas or Praxiteles, and, from [260] the situation in which it was discovered, suppose it to have once ornamented the tomb of Adrian. I cannot tell how this may be, but here we behold with astonishment the grotesque, the elegant, and the sublime mingled together, and each in perfection: how, I know not; but I feel it is so. I once saw a drawing of this statue, which gave me the idea of something coarse and heavy; whereas, in the original, the delicate beauty of the workmanship, and the inimitable sleepy abandonment of the attitude, soften the effect of the colossal forms. I would place this statue immediately after the Elgin marbles; it is, with all its excellence, a degree lower in style.

In this gallery I found the famous head of the laughing faun, called from the greenish stain on the cheek, the fauno colla macchia, and also a sarcophagus, representing in the most exquisite sculpture, the marriage of Bacchus and Ariadne. The blending of the idea of death with the fullness of life, and even with the most luxuriant and festive associations of life, is common among the Greeks, and, from one or two known instances, [261] appears to have been carried to an extreme which makes one shrink; still, any thing rather than our detestable death's head and cross bones! In nature, and in poetry, death is beautiful. It is the diseases and vices of artificial life which have rendered it lamentable, terrible, disgusting.

Fixed in the wall, opposite to the window, there is a bas relief of amazing beauty—the marriage of Neptune and Amphitrite. It is a piece of lyric poetry.

The Hall of Niobe contains few objects; but among them some of the most perfect specimens of Grecian art; and first, the Ilioneus.

It was because the Grecian sculptors were themselves poets and creators, that "marble grew divine" beneath their hands, and became so instinct with the indestructible spirit of life, that their half-defaced ruins retain their immortality: else how should we stand shivering with awe before those tremendous fragments—the sister Fates in the Elgin marbles! Or, how should I, who am incapable of estimating the technical perfection of art, stand entranced—as to-day I stood—before the [262] Ilioneus? It was not merely admiration; it was the overpowering sentiment of harmonious and pathetic beauty running along every nerve—such a feeling as music has sometimes awakened. I suppose the Ilioneus stands alone, like the Torso of the Vatican—the ne plus ultra of grace, as the latter is of grandeur.

The first time I ever saw a cast of this divine statue was in the vestibule of Goethe's house, at Weimar. It immediately fixed my attention. Afterwards I saw another in Dannecker's studio, and from him I learned its history. It was discovered about ten years ago at Prague, in the possession of a stone-mason, and is supposed to have formed part of the collection of ancient works of art which the Emperor Rodolph collected in Italy about 1600. 31 A certain Dr. Barth purchased it [263] for a trifle, and brought it to Vienna, where Dannecker happened to be at that time, and was called upon with others to pronounce on its merits and value. It was at once attributed to the hand, either of Praxiteles or Scopas, and on farther and minute examination, the style, the proportions, and the evident purport of the figure, have decided that it belongs to the group of Niobe and her children. It has attained the appellation of Ilioneus, which Ovid gives to the youngest of her sons. It represents a youth kneeling. The head and arms are wanting; but the supplicatory expression of the attitude, the turn of the body, so deprecating, so imploring; the bloom of adolescence, which seems absolutely shed over the cold marble, the unequalled delicacy and elegance of the whole, touched me unspeakably.

The King of Bavaria is said to have paid for this exquisite relic 15,000 florins—a large sum for a little potentate; but for the object itself, its value is not to be computed by money. Its weight in gold were poor in comparison.

In the same room is the Medusa Rondanini, the [264] common model of almost all the Medusa heads, but certainly not equal to the sublime colossal mask at Cologne. There is also an antique duplicate of the Mercury of the Belvidere; another of the Venus of Cnidos; another (most beautiful) of one of the sons of Niobe, recumbent, lifeless; and some other master-pieces.

These six rooms occupy one side of the building, and contain altogether one hundred and forty-seven specimens of ancient art.

I do not quite understand Flaxman's division of ancient art into three periods—the heroic age, the philosophic age, and the age of perfection. Perhaps if he had lived to correct his essays, he would have made this more clear. According to his distinction, would not the group of the Niobe belong to the age of perfection?—and the Parthenon to the philosophic age? which, allowing his definition of the two styles, I cannot grant. I suppose these six galleries include a period of about seven hundred years; (putting the dateless antiquity of some of the Egyptian relics out of the question.) We begin with the heavy motionless forms, "looking [265] tranquillity," which yet have often a certain dignity; then the stiff hard elaborate figures of the earliest Greek school, with their curled heads and perpendicular draperies, in some of which dawns the first feeling of vigour and grace, as in the Ægina marbles; the next is the union of grandeur and elegance; and the next is the utmost poetical refinement. I recollect that somewhere in Boswell's life of Johnson, a conversation is recorded as taking place at the table of Sir Joshua Reynolds; in the course of which Sir Joshua remarked, that it was impossible to conceive what the ancient writers meant, when they represented sculpture as having passed its zenith when the Apollo and the Laocoon were produced. None of the great scholars or artists then present could explain the mystery—now no longer a mystery. When Sir Joshua made this remark, the Elgin marbles were unknown in England.

Between this range of galleries, and a corresponding range on the opposite side, are two immense halls, called the Fest-Saale, or banqueting halls, and as yet containing no sculpture. Here [266] the painter Cornelius has found "ample space and verge enough" for his grand conceptions, and the subjects are appropriate to the general destination of the whole building. The frescos in the first hall, (Götter-Saal, or hall of the gods,) present a magnificent view of the whole Greek mythology.

Whatever may be thought of the conception and execution of certain parts, on minute examination the grand, yet simple arrangement of the whole design addresses itself to the understanding, while the splendour of colour, and variety of the grouping, seize on the imagination: certainly, when we look round, the first feeling is not critical. But this beautiful, progressive, and pictorial development of the old mythology, as it must have been the result of profound learning and study, ought to be considered methodically to understand all its merit; for instance, in the centre of the roof we have the primeval god, Eros, in four compartments; first, with the dolphin, representing water; secondly, with the eagle, representing light or fire; thirdly, with the peacock, representing air; and lastly, with Cerberus, representing earth. Disposed around these [267] primeval elements, we have the seasons of the year, and the day. The spring, as Psyche, is followed by the history of Aurora, (the morning,) in four compartments. The summer, as Ceres, is followed by the noon, i. e. the history of Helios or Apollo, in four compartments. The autumn, as Bacchus; and then evening, expressed in the history of Diana. Winter, as Saturn, and the history of night, and the divinities which preside over it. These twenty-four compartments, of various forms and sizes, compose the ceiling, intermingled with ornaments of rich and rare device, and appropriate arabesques, combining, with much fancy and invention, all the classical emblems and allegories, such as satyrs, fauns, syrens, dryads, Graces, Furies, &c. &c.

But the grand summary is reserved for the walls. On one side is represented the kingdom of Olympus, with Jove in his state, the assemblage of the gods, and the apotheosis of Psyche. The opposite side represents the domain of Pluto, with the infernal gods, and the story of Orpheus. The third side, over against the window, is the triumph [268] of Neptune and Amphitrite, surrounded by the sea-gods.

The figures in these three frescos are colossal, about eight feet in height. The colouring of the flesh is a little too red and dingy, and in some of the attitudes I thought that the energy was strained into contortion; but through the whole there is a grand poetic feeling. All the designs are by Peter Cornelius, executed by himself, with the aid of professor Zimmerman, Schlotthauer, Heinrich Hess, and a number of pupils and assistants.

There are also along the frieze some beautiful bas-reliefs; and over the two doors are two alto-relievos by Schwanthaler, the one representing Cupid and Psyche in each others arms, the symbol of immortal love: the other, the re-union of Ceres and Proserpine, emblematical of eternal life after death. This is all I can remember, except that the painting of this hall occupied six years, and was finished in 1826.

Oct. 11.—A small vestibule divides the two great halls. This is painted with the history of Prometheus and Pandora; but, owing to the [269] unavoidable disposition of the light, much of the beauty is lost.

From this vestibule we enter the second great banqueting hall, or the Hall of the Trojans, painted like the former in fresco, and on the same enormous scale, but with a different distribution of the parts. It represents chiefly the history of those demigods and heroes who contended in the Trojan war. Thus, in the centre of the ceiling we have first the original cause of the war, the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, and the appearance of the goddess of Discord, with her fatal apple. Around this are the twelve gods who were present at the feast, modelled in relief by Schwanthaler. Then follow twelve compartments, containing the most striking scenes of the Iliad, divided and adorned by the most rich and fanciful arabesques, combining the exploits or histories of the Grecian heroes, which are not included in the Iliad. The figures in these compartments are the size of life. On the walls we have the three principal incidents of the Trojan war; first, the wrath of Achilles; secondly, opposite to the window, the [270] fight for the body of Patrocles, and Achilles shouting to the warriors. There is wonderful energy and movement in this picture. The third is the destruction of Troy. The figure of Hecuba sitting in motionless horror and despair, with her dishevelled grey hair, her daughters clinging to her;—the beautiful attitudes of Polyxena and Cassandra; the silent remorse of Helen; the wild fury of the conquerors, and the vigour and splendour of the whole painting, render this composition exceedingly striking:—I did not quite like the figure of Priam. All these designs are by Cornelius, and executed partly by him, and partly under his direction by Zimmermann, Schlotthauer, and their pupils. The arabesques are by Eugene Neureuther: and there are two admirable and spirited bas-reliefs by Schwanthaler—one representing the battle of the ships, and the other the combat of Achilles with the river gods.

The paintings in this hall were finished in 1830.

We then enter the range of galleries, devoted to the later Greek, and the Roman sculpture. The first, corresponding in size and situation with the [271] Hall of Niobe, contains nothing peculiarly interesting, except the famous figure of the young warrior anointing himself after the bath, and called the Alexander.

The next gallery is the Roman Hall, about one hundred and thirty feet in length, and forms a glorious coup d'œil. The utmost luxury of architectural decoration has been lavished on the ceilings; and the effect of the marble pavement, with the disposition of the busts, candelabræ, altars, as seen in perspective, is truly and tastefully magnificent. I particularly admired the ceiling, which is divided into three domes, adorned with bas-reliefs, taken from the Roman history and manners: these were designed by Schwanthaler. I cannot remember any thing remarkable in this gallery; or rather, there were too many things deserving of notice, for me to note all. The standing Agrippina has, however, dwelt on my mind; and an exceeding fine bust of Octavius Cæsar, crowned with the oak leaves.

A small room contains the sculpture in coloured marble, porphyry, and bronze; and the last is the [272] hall of modern sculpture. In the centre of the ceiling is a phœnix, rising from its ashes, and around it the heads of four distinguished sculptors—Nicolo da Pisa, the restorer of the art in the fourteenth century; Michael Angelo, Canova, and Thorwaldson.

Two of the most celebrated productions of modern sculpture are here:—the Paris of Canova, and the Adonis of Thorwaldson. As they are placed near to each other, and the aim is alike in both to exhibit the utmost perfection of youthful and effeminate beauty, the merits of the two artists were fairly brought into comparison. Thorwaldson's statue reminded me of the Antinous; Canova's recalled the young Apollo. I hardly know which to prefer as a conception; but the material and workmanship of the Paris pleased me most. The marble of Thorwaldson's statue, though faultless in purity of tint, has a coarse gritty grain, and glitters disagreeably in certain lights, as if it were spar or lump-sugar; whereas the smooth close compact grain of Canova's marble, which is something of a creamy white, seemed to me [273] infinitely preferable to the eye. This, however, is hyper-criticism: in both, the feeling is classically and beautifully true. The soft melancholy of the countenance and attitude of Adonis, as if anticipative of his early death, and the languid self-sufficiency of Paris, appeared to me equally admirable. There is also in this room a duplicate by Canova of his Venus, in the Pitti palace; a girl tying her sandal, by Rodolph Schadow—a pendant, I presume, to his charming Filatrice, now at Chatsworth; and some fine busts. I looked round in vain for a single specimen of English art. I thought it just possible that some work of Flaxman, or Chantrey, or Gibson, might have found its way hither—but no!—

Oct. 12.—Last night to the opera with a pleasant party; but, tired and over-excited with my morning at the Glyptothek, I wanted soothing, and was not in a humour for the noisy florid music of Wilhelm Tell. It is an opera which, as it becomes familiar, tires, and does not attach—just like some clever people I have met with. Pellegrini (not the Pelligrini we had in England, but a fixture [274] here, and their best male singer—a fine basso cantante) acted Tell. I say acted, because he did not merely sing his part—he acted it, and well; so well, that once I felt my eyes moisten. Madame Spitzeder sang in Matilda von Hapsburg tolerably. Their first tenor, Bayer, I do not like; his intonation is defective. The decorations and dresses are beautiful. As for the dancing, it is not fair to say any thing about it. Unfortunately the first bars of the Tyrolienne brought Taglioni before my mind's eye, and who or what could stand the comparison? How she leapt like a stag! bounded like a young faun! floated like the swan-down on the air! Yet even Taglioni, though she makes the nearest approach to it, does not complete my idea of a poetical dancer; but as she improved upon Herbelet, we may find another to improve upon her. One more such artist—I use the word in the general and German sense, not in the French meaning—one more such artist, who should bring modesty, and sense, and feeling, into this lovely and most desecrated art, might do something to retrieve it—might introduce the [275] necessity for dancers having heads as well as heels, and in time revolutionize the whole corps de ballet.

Wednesday.—This morning, M. Herman Stuntz, the King's chapel-master, called on me. I had heard of him as a fine composer, and also much of his opera, produced for the Scala at Milan, the Costantino il Grande. I was pleased to find him not a musician only, like most musicians, but intelligent and enthusiastic on other subjects, and with that childlike simplicity of mind and manner, so often combined with talent. We touched upon every thing from the high sublime to the deep absurd—ran round the whole circle of art in a sort of touch-and-go style, and his naïveté and originality pleased me more and more. He said some true and delightful things about music; but would insist that of all languages the English is the most difficult to ally to musical sounds—infinitely worse than German. He complained of the shut mouth, the claquement des dents, and the predominance of aspirates in our pronunciation. I objected to the guttural sounds, and the open mouths, and the yaw yaw of [276] the Germans. Then followed an animated discussion on vocal sounds and musical expression, and we parted, I believe, mutually pleased.

The father of Stuntz is a Swiss—a man of letters, an enthusiast, a philosopher, an artist; in short, a most extraordinary and eccentric character. He entirely educated his two children, of whom the son, Herman Stuntz, takes a high rank as a composer; and the daughter is a distinguished female artist, but, being nobly married, she now only paints pictures to give them away, and those who possess them are, with reason, extremely proud of the possession.

In the evening, Madame Meric, prima-donna aus London, as the play-bills set forth, made her first appearance in the Gazza Ladra. She is engaged here for a limited time, and takes the gast-rolles—that is, she plays the first parts as a matter of course—in short, she is a STAR. The regular prima-donna is Madame Scheckner-Wagen. Meric has talent, voice, style, and unwearied industry; but she has not genius, neither is her organ first-rate. Comparisons in some cases are unjust as [277] well as odious. Yet was it my fault that I remembered in the same part the syren Sontag, and the enchantress Malibran? Meric, besides being a fine singer, is an amiable woman;—married to an extravagant, dissipated husband, and working to provide for her child—a common fate among the women of her profession.

——Sat up late reading, for the third or fourth time, a chance volume of Madame Roland's works. What a complete French woman! but then, what a mind! how large in capacity! how stored with knowledge! how strong in conscious truth! how finely toned! how soft, and yet how firm! What wonderful industry united to the quickest talent! Some things written at eighteen and twenty have most surprised me; some passages in the "Vie privée," and the "Appel," have most charmed me. She is not very eloquent, and I should think had not a playful or poetic fancy. There is an almost total want of imagery in her style; but great power, unaffected elegance, with a sort of negligence at times, which adds to its beauty. Then, [278] to remember that all I have just read was written in a prison, in daily, hourly expectation of death! but that excites more interest than surprise, for a situation of strong excitement of mind and passion, with external repose and solitude, must be favourable to this development of the faculties, where there is character as well as talent. Some of her disclosures are a little too naïve. I am amused by the quantity of feminine vanity which is mixed up with all this loftiness of spirit, this real independence of soul. Madame de Staël had not more vanity, whatever they may say; but it was less balanced by self-esteem—it required more sympathy. Then we have those two admirable women * * and * *. What exquisite feminine vanity is there! Yet, happily, in both instances how far removed from all ill-nature and presumption, and how unconsciously betrayed! I should think Joanna Baillie, among our great women, must be most exempt from this failing, perhaps, because, of all the five, she has the most profound sense of religion. Lavater said, that "the characteristic of every woman's physiognomy was [279] vanity." A phrenologist would say that it was the characteristic of every woman's head. How far, then, may a woman be vain with a good grace and betray it without ridicule? By vanity, I mean now, a great wish to please, mingled with a consciousness of the powers of pleasing, and not what Madame Roland describes,—"cette ambition constante, ce soin perpetuel d'occuper de soi, et de paraitre autre ou meilleur que l'on n'est en effet," for this is diseased vanity.

Dr. Martius 32 lent me two pretty little volumes of "Poems, by Louis I. king of Bavaria," the present king—the first royal author we have had, I believe, since Frederic of Prussia—the best since James I. of Scotland. These poems are chiefly lyrical, consisting of odes, sonnets, epigrams. Some are addressed to the queen, others to his children, others to different ladies of the court, whom he is said to have particularly admired, and [280] a great number were composed during his tour in Italy in 1817. Of the merit of these poems I cannot judge; and when I appealed to two different critics, both accomplished men, one assured me they were admirable; the other shrugged up his shoulders—"Que voulez vous? c'est un Roi!" The earnest feeling and taste in some of these little poems pleased me exceedingly—of that alone I could judge: for instance, there is an address to the German artists, which contains the following beautiful lines: he is speaking of art—

"In der Stille muss es sich gestalten,

Wenn es kräftig wirkend soll ersteh'n;

Aus dem Herzen nur kann sich entfalten,

Das was wahrhaft wird zum Herzen geh'n.

Ja! ihr nehmet es aus reinen Tiefen,

Fromm und einfach, wie die Vorweit war,

Weckend die Gefühle, welche schliefen,

Ehrend zeugt's von Euch und immerdar.

Sklavisch an das Alte euch zu halten,

Eures Strebens Zweck ist dieses nicht

Seyd gefasst von himmlischen Gewalten,

Dringet rastlos zu dem hehren Licht!"


Which may be thus literally rendered—

"To rise into vigorous, active influence, it (art) must spring up and develop itself in secrecy and in silence; out of the heart alone can that unfold itself which shall truly go to the heart again.

"Yes! pious and simple as the old world was, ye draw it (art) from the same pure depths, awakening the feelings which slumber! and it shall bear honourable witness of ye—and for ever!

"Slavishly to cling to antiquity, this is not the end of your labours! Be ye, therefore, upheld by heavenly power; press on, and rest not, to the high and holy light!"

Methinks this magnificent prince deserves, even more than his ancestor, Maximilian I., to be styled the Lorenzo de' Medici of Bavaria. The power to patronize, the sentiment to feel, the genius to celebrate art, are rarely united, even in individuals. He must be a noble being—a genius born in the purple, on whose laurels there rests not a bloodstain, perhaps not even a tear!

This is a holiday. I was sitting at my window, translating some of these poems, when I saw a crowd round the doors of the new palace; for it is [282] a day of public admission. Curiosity tempted me to join this crowd;—no sooner thought than done. I had M. de Klenze's general order for admittance in my pocket-book, but wished to see how this was managed, and mingled with the crowd, which was waiting to be admitted en masse. I was at once recognized as a stranger, and every one with simple civility made way for me. Groups of about twenty or thirty people were admitted at a time, at intervals of a quarter of an hour, and each group placed under the guidance of one of the workmen as cicerone. He led them through the unfinished apartments, explaining to his open-mouthed auditors the destination of each room, the subjects of the pictures on the walls and ceilings, &c. &c. There were peasants from the south, in their singular dresses, mechanics and girls of Munich, soldiers, travelling students. I was much amused. While the cicerone held forth, some merely wondered with foolish faces, some admired, some looked intelligent, and asked various questions, which were readily answered—all seemed pleased. Every thing was done in order: two [283] groups were never in the same apartment; but as one went out, another entered. Thus many hundreds of these poor people were gratified in the course of the day. It seemed to me a wise as well as benevolent policy in the king thus to appeal to the sympathy, and gratify the pride, of his subjects of all classes, by allowing them—inviting them, to take an interest in his magnificent undertakings, to consider them national as well as royal. I am informed that these works are carried on without any demands on the Staatskasse, (the public treasury,) and without any additional taxes: so far from it, that the Bavarian House of Representatives curtailed the supplies by 300,000 florins only last year, and refused the king an addition to the civil list, which he had requested for the travelling expenses of two of his sons. The king is said to be economical in the extreme in his domestic expenses, and not very generous in money to those around him—unlike his open-hearted, open-handed father, Max-Joseph; in short, there are grumblers here as elsewhere, but strangers and posterity will not sympathize with them.


This is the fourth time I have seen this splendid and truly royal palace, but will make no memoranda till I have gone over the whole with Leo von Klenze. He has promised to be my cicerone himself, and I feel the full value of the compliment. Count V—— told me last night, that he (De Klenze) has made for this building alone upwards of seven hundred drawings and designs with his own hand.

Oct. 13.—Called on my English friends, the C * * s, and found them pleasantly settled in a beautiful furnished lodging near the Hofgarten, for which they pay twenty-four florins (or about two pounds) a month. We had some conversation about music, (they are all musicians,) and the opera, and Malibran, whom they have lately seen in Italy; and Pasta, whom they had visited at Como; and they confirmed what Mr. J. M. Stuntz and M. K. had all told me of her benevolence and excellent character. I could not find that any new genius had arisen in Italy to share the glory of our three queens of the lyrical drama,—Pasta, Malibran, and Schröder Devrient. Other singers have more or less talent and feeling, more [285] or less compass of voice, facility, or agility; but these three women possess genius, and stamp on every thing they do their own individual character. Of the three, Pasta is the grandest and most finished artist; Malibran the most versatile in power and passion; while Schröder Devrient has that energy of heart and soul—that capacity for exciting, and being excited, which gives her such unbounded command over the feelings and senses of her audience. 33 So far we were agreed; but as the conversation went on, I was doomed to listen to a torrent of commonplace and sarcastic criticism on the private habits of these and other women of the same profession: one was accused of vulgarity, another of bad temper, and another of violence and caprice: one was suspected of a penchant for porter, another had been heard to swear, or—something very like it. Even pretty lady-like Sontag was reproached with some trifling breach of mere conventional manner,—she had [286] used her fingers where she should have taken a spoon, or some such nonsense. My God! to think of the situation of these women! and then to look upon those women, who, fenced in from infancy by all the restraints, the refinements, the comforts, the precepts of good society,—the one arranging a new cap, the other embroidering a purse, the third reading a novel, all satisfied with petty occupations and amusements, "far, far removed from want and grief and fear,"—now sitting in judgment, and passing sentence of excommunication on others of their sex, who have been steeped in excitement from childhood, their nerves for ever in a state of tension between severest application and maddening flattery; cast on the world without chart or compass—with energies misdirected, passions uncontrolled, and all the inflammable and imaginative part of their being cultivated into excess as a part of their profession—of their material! O when will there be charity in the world? When will human beings, women especially, show mercy and justice to each other, and not judge of results, without a reference to [287] causes? and when will reflection upon these causes lead to their removal? They are evils which press upon few, but are reflected on many, inasmuch as they degrade art and the pursuit of art;—but all can sneer, and few can think.

I begin at length to feel my way among the pictures here. Hitherto I have been bewildered. I have lounged away morning after morning at the gallery of the Hofgarten, at Schleissheim, and at the Duc de Leuchtenberg's; and returned home with dazzled eyes and a mind overflowing, like one "oppressed with wealth, and with abundance sad," unable to recall or to methodize my own impressions.

Professor Zimmermann tells me that the king of Bavaria possesses upwards of three thousand pictures: of these about seventeen hundred are at Schleissheim; nine hundred in the Munich gallery; and the rest distributed through various palaces. The national gallery, or Pinakothek, which is now building under the direction of Leo von Klenze, is destined to contain a selection from [288] these multifarious treasures, of which the present arrangement is only temporary.

The king of Bavaria unites in his own person the three branches of the House of Wittelsbach: the palatines of the Rhine, the dukes of Deuxponts, and the electors of Bavaria, all sovereign houses, and descended from Otto von Wittelsbach, who received the investiture of the dukedom of Bavaria in 1180. Thus it is that the celebrated gallery once at Dusseldorf, formed under the auspices of the elector John William; the various collections at Manheim, Deuxponts, and Heidelberg, are now concentrated at Munich, where, from the days of Duke Albert V. (1550) up to the present time, works of art have been gradually accumulated by successive princes.

Somebody calls the gallery at Munich, the court of Rubens; and Sir Joshua Reynolds says that no one should judge of Rubens who had not studied him at Antwerp and Dusseldorf. I begin to feel the truth of this. My devoted worship of the Italian school of art rendered me long—I will not say blind to the merits of the Flemish painters—for [289] that were to be "sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing!" but, in truth, without that full feeling of their power which I have since acquired.

Certainly we have in these days mean ideas about painting—mean and false ideas! It has become a mere object of luxury and connoisseurship, or virtù: unless it be addressed to our personal vanity, or to the puerile taste for ornament, show, furniture,—it is nothing. The noble art which was once recognized as the priestess of nature, as a great moral power capable of acting on the senses and the imagination of assembled human beings—as such applied by the lawgivers of Greece, and by the clergy of the Roman Catholic church,—how is it now vulgarized in its objects! how narrowed in its application! And if it be said, that in the present state of society, in these calculating, money-making, political, intellectual times, we are acted upon by far different influences, rendering us infinitely less sensible to the power of painting, then I think it is not true, and that the cultivated susceptibility to other moral or poetical excitements—as politics or literature—does [290] not render us less sensible to the moral influence of painting; on the contrary: but she has fallen from her high estate, and there are none to raise her. The public—the national spirit, is wanting; individual patronage is confined, is misdirected, is arbitrary, demanding of the artist any thing rather than the highest and purest intellectual application of his art, and affording nor space nor opportunity for him to address himself to the grand universal passions, principles, and interests of human nature! Suppose a Michael Angelo to be born to us in England: we should not, perhaps, set him to make a statue of snow, but where or how would his gigantic genius, which revelled in the great deeps of passion and imagination, find scope for action? He would struggle and gasp like a stranded Leviathan!

But this is digressing: the question is, may not the moral effect of painting be still counted on, if the painter be himself imbued with the right spirit? 34


There is, in the academy at Antwerp, a picture by Rubens, which represents St. Theresa kneeling before Christ, and interceding for the souls in purgatory. The treatment of the subject is exceedingly simple; the upper part of the picture is occupied by the Redeemer, with his usual attributes, and the saint, habited as a nun. In the lower part of the picture, instead of a confused mob of tormented souls, and flames, and devils with pitchforks, the painter has represented a few heads as if rising from below. I remember those of Adam, Eve, and Mary Magdalene. I remember—and never shall forget—the expression of each! The extremity of misery in the countenance of Adam; the averted, disconsolate, repentant wretchedness of Eve, who hides her face in her hair; the mixture of agony, supplication, hope, in the face of the Magdalene, while a cherub of pity extends [292] his hand to her, as if to aid her to rise, and at the same time turns an imploring look towards the Saviour. As I gazed upon this picture, a feeling sank deep into my heart, which did not pass away with the tears it made to flow, but has ever since remained there, and has become an abiding principle of action. This is only one instance out of many, of the moral effect which has been produced by painting.

To me it is amusing, and it cannot but be interesting and instructive to the philosopher and artist, to observe how various people, uninitiated into any of the technicalities of art, unable to appreciate the amount of difficulties overcome, are affected by pictures and sculpture. But in forming our judgment, our taste in art, it is unsafe to listen to opinions springing from this vague kind of enthusiasm; for in painting, as in music—"just as the soul is pitched, the eye is pleased."

I amuse myself in the gallery here with watching the countenances of those who look at the pictures. I see that the uneducated eye is caught by subjects in which the individual mind [293] sympathizes, and the educated taste seeks abstract excellence. Which has the most enjoyment? The last, I think. Sensibility, imagination, and quick perception of form and colour, are not alone necessary to feel a work of art; there must be the power of association; the mind trained to habitual sympathy with the beautiful and the good; the knowledge of the meaning, and the comprehension of the object of the artist.

In the gallery here there are eighty-eight pictures of Rubens—some among the very finest he ever painted; for instance, that splendid picture, Castor and Pollux carrying off the daughters of Leucippus, so full of rich life and movement; the destruction of Sennacherib's host; Rubens and his wife, full lengths, seated in a garden; that wonderful picture of the defeat of the Amazons; the meeting of Jacob and Laban; the picture of the Earl of Arundel and his wife, with other figures, full lengths; 35 and a series of the designs for the [294] large paintings of the history of Marie de' Medici, now in the Louvre. His group of boys with fruits and flowers, exhibits the richest, loveliest combination of colours ever presented to the eye; and on that wonderful picture of the fallen (or rather falling) angels, he has lavished such endless variety of form, attitude, and expression, that it would take a day to study it. It is not a large picture: the eye, or rather the imagination, easily takes in the general effect of tumult, horror, destruction, but the understanding dwells on the [295] detail with still increasing astonishment and admiration. These are a few that struck me, but it is quite in vain to attempt to particularize.

One may begin by disliking Rubens in general, (I think I did,) but one must end by standing before him in ecstacy and wonder. It is true, that always luxuriant, he is often gross and sensual—he can sometimes be brutally so. His bacchanalian scenes are not like those of Poussin, classical, godlike debauchery, but the abandoned drunken revelry of animals—the very sublime of brute licentiousness; and painted with a breadth of style, a magnificent luxuriance of colour, which renders them more revolting. The physique predominates in all his pictures, and not only to grossness, even to ferocity. His picture here of the slaughter of the Innocents, makes me sick—it has absolutely polluted my imagination. Surely this is not the vocation of high art.—And as for his martyrdoms—they are worse than Spagnoletto's.

For all this, he is the Titan of painting: his creations are "of the earth and earthy," but he [296] has called down fire and light from heaven, wherewith to animate and to illumine them.

Rubens is just such a painter as Dryden is a poet, and vice versâ: his women are just like Dryden's women, gross, exaggerated, unrefined animals: his men, like Dryden's men, grand, thinking, acting animals. Like Dryden, he could clothe his genius in thunder, dip his pencil in the lightning and the sunbeams of heaven, and rush fearlessly upon a subject which others had trembled to approach. In both we see a singular and extraordinary combination of the plainest, coarsest realities of life, with the loftiest imagery, the most luxurious tints of poetry. Both had the same passion for allegory, and managed it with equal success. "The thoughts that breathe and words that burn" of Dryden, may be compared to the living, moving forms, the glowing, melting, dazzling hues of Rubens, under whose pencil

"Desires and adorations,

Winged persuasions and wild destinies,

Splendours, and glooms, and glimmering incarnations

Of hopes, and fears, and twilight fantasies,—"


took form and being—became palpable existences: and yet with all this inventive power, this love of allegorical fiction, it is life, the spirit of animal life, diffused through and over their works; it is the blending of the plain reasoning with splendid creative powers;—of wonderful fertility of conception with more wonderful facility of execution; it is the combination of truth, and grandeur, and masculine vigour, with a general coarseness of taste, which may be said to characterise both these great men. Neither are, or can be, favourites of the women, for the same reasons.

There must have been something analogous in the genius of Rubens and Titian. The distinction was of climate and country. They appear to have looked at nature under the same aspect, but it was a different nature,—the difference between Flanders and Venice. They were both painters of flesh and blood: by nature, poets; by conformation, colourists; by temperament and education, magnificent spirits, scholars, and gentlemen, lovers of pleasure and of fame. The superior sentiment and grace, the refinement and elevation of Titian [298] he owed to the poetical and chivalrous spirit of his age and country. The delicacy of taste which reigned in the Italian literature of that period influenced the arts of design. As to the colouring—we see in the pictures of Rubens the broad daylight effects of a northern climate, and in those of Titian, the burning fervid sun of a southern clime, necessarily modified by shade, before the objects could be seen: hence the difference between the glow of Rubens, and the glow of Titian: the first "i' the colours of the rainbow lived," and the other bathed himself in the evening sky; the one dazzles, the other warms. I can bring before my fancy at this moment, the Helen Forman of Rubens, and Titian's "La Manto;" the "man with a hawk" of Rubens, and Titian's "Falconer;" can any thing in heaven or earth be more opposed? Yet in all alike, is it not the intense feeling of life and individual nature which charms, which fixes us? I know not which I admire most; but I adore Titian—his men are all made for power, and his women for love.

And Rembrandt—king of shadows!


And sky-engendered—son of mysteries!

was not he a poet? He reminds me often of the Prince Sorcerer, nurtured "in the cave of Domdaniel, under the roots of the sea." 36 Such an enchanted "den of darkness" was his mill and its skylight to him; and there, magician-like, he brooded over half-seen forms, and his imagination framed strange spells out of elemental light and shade. Thence he brought his unearthly shadows; his dreamy splendours; his supernatural gleams; his gems flashing and sparkling with internal light; his lustrous glooms; his wreaths of flaming and embossed gold; his wicked wizard-like heads—turbaned, wrinkled, seared, dusky; pale with forbidden studies—solemn with thoughtful pain—keen with the hunger of avarice—and furrowed with an eternity of years! I have seen pictures of his in which the shadowy background is absolutely peopled with life. At first all seems palpable darkness, apparent vacancy; but figure after figure emerges—another and another; they glide into [300] view, they take shape and colour, as if they grew out of the canvass even while we gaze; we rub our eyes, and wonder whether it be the painter's work or our own fancy!

Of all the great painters Rembrandt is perhaps least understood; the admiration bestowed on him, the enormous prices given for his pictures, is in general a fashion—a mere matter of convention—like the price of a diamond. To feel Rembrandt truly, it is not enough to be an artist or an amateur picture-fancier—one should be something of a poet too.

There are nineteen of his pictures here; of these "Jesus teaching the doctors in the temple," though a small picture, impressed me with awe,—the portraits of the painter Flinck and his wife, with wonder. All are ill-hung, with their backs against the light—for them the worst possible situation.

Van Dyck is here in all his glory: there are thirty-nine of his pictures. The celebrated full-length, "the burgomaster's wife in black," so often engraved, does not equal, in its inexpressible, [301] unobtrusive elegance, the "Lady Wharton," at Devonshire House. 37 Then we have Wallenstein with his ample kingly brow; fierce Tilly; the head of Snyders; the lovely head of the painter's wife, Maria Ruthven,—sweet-looking, delicate, golden-haired, and holding the theorbo, (she excelled in music, I believe,) and virgins, holy families, and other scriptural subjects. His famous picture of Susanna does not strike me much.

The four apostles of Albert Durer—wonderful! In expression, in calm religious majesty, in suavity of pencilling, and the grand, pure style of the heads and drapery, quite like Raffaelle. I compared, yesterday, the three portraits—that of Raffaelle, by himself; (the famous head once in the Altaviti palace, and engraved by Morghen;) Albert Durer, by himself; and Giorgione, by himself. Raffaelle is the least handsome, and rather disappointed me; the eyes, in particular, rather project, and have an expression which is not pleasing; the mouth and the brow are full of power and passion. Albert Durer is beautiful, [302] like the old heads of our Saviour; and the predominant expression is calm, dignified, intellectual, with a tinge of melancholy. This picture was painted at the age of twenty-eight: he was then suffering from that bitter domestic curse, a shrewish, avaricious wife, who finally broke his heart. Giorgione is not handsome, but it is a sublime head, with such a large intellectual development, such a profound expression of sentiment! Giorgione died of a faithless mistress, as Albert Durer died of a scolding wife. 38


By Paris Bordone, of Trevigi, there is a head of a Venetian lady, in a dress of crimson velvet, with dark splendid eyes which tell a whole history. By Murillo, there are eight pictures—not one in his most elevated style, but all perfect miracles of painting and of nature. There are thirty-three pictures of Vander Werff, a number sufficient to make one's blood run cold. One, a Magdalene, is of the size of life; the only large picture by this elegant, elaborate, soulless painter I ever saw: he is to me detestable.

By Joseph Vernet there are two delicious landscapes, a morning and an evening. I cannot farther particularize; but there are specimens of almost every known painter; those, however, of Titian, Correggio, Julio Romano, and Nicolo Poussin, are very few and not of a very high class, while those of the early German painters, and the Dutch, and the Flemish schools, are first-rate.

There is one English picture—Wilkie's "Opening of the Will:" it is very much admired here, [304] and looked upon as a sort of curiosity. I wish the artists of the two countries were better known to each other: both would benefit by such an intercourse.

At the palace of Schleissheim 39 there are nearly two thousand pictures: of these some hundreds are positively bad; some hundreds are curious and valuable, as illustrating the history and progress of art; some few are really and intrinsically admirable.

But the grand attraction here is the far-famed Boisserée Gallery, which is arranged at Schleissheim, until the Pinakothek is ready for its reception. This is the collection about which so many volumes have been written, and which has excited such a general enthusiasm throughout Germany. This enthusiasm, as a fashion, a mania, is beginning to subside, but the impress it has left upon art, and [305] the tone it has given to the pursuit, the feeling of art, will not so soon pass away. The gallery derives its name from two brothers, Sulpitz and Melchior Boisserée, 40 who, with a friend (Bertram) were employed for many years in collecting from various convents, and old churches, and obscure collections of family relics, the productions of the early painters of Germany, from William of Cologne, called by the Germans "Meister Wilhelm," down to Albert Durer and Holbein.

The productions of the Greek or Byzantine painters found their way into Germany, as into Italy, in the thirteenth century, and Wilhelm of Cologne appeared to have been the Cimabue of the north—the founder of that school of painting called the Byzantine-Niederrheinische, or Flemish school, and the precursor of Rubens, as Cimabue was the precursor of Michael Angelo.

Out of this stiff, and rude, and barbarous style of art, arose and spread the Alt-Deutsche, or Gothic school of painting, which produced successively, [306] Van Eyck, (1370,) Hemling, Wohlgemuth, 41 Martin Schoen, Mabuse, Johan Schoreel, Lucas Kranach, Kulmbach, Albert Altorffer, Hans Asper, Johan von Mechlem, Behem, Albert Durer, and the two Holbeins. I mention here only those artists whose pictures fixed my attention; there are many others, and many pictures by unknown authors. Albert Durer was born exactly one hundred years after Van Eyck.

The Boisserée gallery contains about three hundred and fifty pictures; but I did not count them; and no official catalogue has yet been published. The subjects are generally sacred; the figures are heads of saints, and scenes from Scripture. A few are portraits; and there are a few, but very few, subjects from profane history. The painters whose works I at once distinguished from all others, were Van Eyck, Johan Schoreel, Hemling, and Lucas Kranach. I can truly say that the two pictures of Van Eyck, representing St. Luke painting the portrait of the Virgin, and the offering of the three [307] kings; and that of Johan Schoreel, representing the death of the Virgin Mary, perfectly amazed me. I remember also several wondrous heads by Lucas Kranach; one by Behem, called, I know not why, "Helena:" and a picture of Christ and the little children, differing from all the rest in style, with something of the Italian grace of drawing, and suavity of colour. The artist, Sedlar, had studied in Lombardy, probably under Correggio; (one of the children certainly might call Correggio father.) The date on this extraordinary production is 1530. Of the painter I know nothing. The general and striking faults, or rather deficiencies of the old German school of art, are easily enumerated. The most flagrant violations of taste and costume, 42 bad drawing of the figure [308] and extremities, faulty perspective; stiff, hard meagre composition, negligence or ignorance of all effect of chiaro-scuro. But what, then, is the secret of the interest which these old painters inspire, of the enthusiasm they excite, even in these cultivated days? It arises from a perception of the mind they brought to bear upon their subjects, the simplicity and integrity of feeling with which they worked, and the elaborate marvellous beauty of the execution of parts. I could give no idea in words of the intense nature and expression in some of the heads, of the grand feeling united to the most finished delicacy in the conception and painting of countenance, of the dazzling splendour of colouring in the draperies, and the richness of fancy in the ornaments and accessories.

But I do fear that the just admiration excited by this kind of excellence, and a great deal of national enthusiasm, has misled the modern German artists to a false, at least an exaggerated estimate, and an injudicious imitation, of their favourite models. It has produced or encouraged that [309] general hardness of manner, that tendency to violent colour, and high glazy finish, which interfere too often with the beauty, and feeling, and effect of their compositions, at least in the eyes of those who are accustomed to the free broad style of English art. 43


Thursday Evening.—At the theatre. Schiller's "Braut von Messina." This was the first time I had ever seen the tragic choruses brought on the stage, in the genuine style of the Greek drama; [311] and the deep sonorous voice and measured recitation (I could almost say recitative) of Eslair, who was at the head of the chorus of Don Manuel—the emphatic lines being repeated or echoed by his followers—as well as the peculiar style of the whole representation, impressed me with a kind of [312] solemn terror. It was wholly different from any thing I had ever witnessed, and was rather like a poem declaimed on the stage, than what we are accustomed to call a play. I was fortunate in seeing Madame Schröder in Donna Isabella, for she does not often perform, and it is one of the finest parts of this grand actress. Don Manuel and Don Cæsar were played by Forst and Schunke—both were young, very well looking, and good actors. Beatrice was played by Madll. Shöller. The costumes were beautiful, and all the arrangements of the stage contrived with the most poetical effect. One scene in the first act, where Donna Isabella stands between her two sons, a hand on the shoulder of each, beseeching them to be reconciled; while they remain silent, turning from each other with folded arms, and dark averted faces;—the chorusses drawn up on each side, all dressed alike, all precisely in the same attitude, leaning on their shields, with lowering looks fixed on the group in the centre, was admirably managed; and, from the effect that it produced, made me feel that uniformity may be one [313] element of the sublime. Afterwards, a very lively soirée.

Friday.—The Hofgarten at Munich is a square, planted with trees, and gravelled, and serving as a public promenade. On one side is the royal palace; opposite to it, the picture gallery; on the east, the king's riding house, and on the west, a long arcade, open towards the garden which connects the palace and the picture gallery; under this arcade are shops, cafés, restaurateurs, &c. as in the Palais Royal at Paris.

But what distinguishes this arcade from all others, is the peculiar style of decoration. It is painted in fresco by the young artists who studied under Cornelius. There is, first, a series of sixteen compartments, about eleven feet in length, containing subjects from the history of Bavaria. They are all by various artists, and of course of different degrees of merit, generally better in the composition than the painting, but some have great vigour and animation in both respects.

For instance, Otho von Wittelsbach receiving [314] from the emperor, Frederic Barbarossa, the investiture of the dukedom of Bavaria in 1180, painted by Zimmermann.

The marriage of Otho the Illustrious, to Agnes, Countess Palatine of the Rhine, in 1225, painted by my friend, Wilhelm Röckel, of Schleissheim, to whom I am indebted for many polite attentions.

The engagement between Louis the Severe, of Bavaria, and the fierce fiery Ottocar, king of Bohemia, upon the bridge at Mühldorf, in 1258, painted by Stürmer of Berlin. This is very animated and terrific. I think the artist had Rubens' defeat of the Amazons full in his mind.

The victory of the emperor, Louis of Bavaria, over Frederic of Austria, his competitor for the empire in 1322, painted by Hermann of Dresden.

The storming of Godesberg, when the unfortunate Archbishop Gerard, and Agnes of Mansfield had taken refuge there in 1583, 44 painted by Gassen of Coblentz.


Maximilian I. in 1623, invested with the forfeit electorate of the Palatine Frederic V. 45 painted by Eberle of Dusseldorf.

Maximilian Joseph I. father of the present king, bestowing on his people a new constitution and representative government in 1818, painted by Monten of Dusseldorf.

These have dwelt on my memory. Over all the pictures, the name of the subject and the date are inscribed in large gold letters, so that those who walk may read. The costumes and manners of each epoch have been attended to with the most scrupulous accuracy; and I see every day groups of soldiers, and of the common people, with their children, standing before these paintings, spelling the titles, and discussing the various subjects represented. The further end of the arcade is painted with a series of Italian scenes, selected by the king after his return from Italy, and executed by Rottmann of Heidelberg, a young landscape-painter of great merit, as De Klenze assures me, and he is a judge of genius. Under each picture [316] is a distich, composed by the king himself. These are in distemper, I believe: freely, but rather hastily executed, and cold and ineffective in colour, perhaps the fault of the vehicle. The ceilings and pillars are also gaily painted with arabesques, and other ornaments; and at the upper end there is a grand seated figure, looking magnificent and contemplative, and calling herself Bavaria. This is well painted by Kaulbach.

I walk through these arcades once or twice every day, as I have several friends lodged over them; and can seldom arrive at the end without pausing two or three times.

I learn that the king's passion for building, and the forced encouragement given to the enlargement and decoration of his capital, has been carried to an excess, and, like all extremes, has proved mischievous, at least for the time. He has rendered it too much a fashion among his subjects, who are suffering from rash speculations of this kind. Many beautiful edifices in the Ludwig's Strasse, and the neighbourhood of the Maximilian's Platz, and the Karoline's Platz, remain [317] untenanted. A suite of beautiful unfurnished apartments, and even a pretty house in the finest part of Munich may be had for a trifle. Some of these new houses are enormous. Madame M. told me that she has her whole establishment on one floor, but then she has twenty-three rooms.

Though the country round Munich is flat and ugly, a few hours' journey brings us into the very midst of the Tyrolian Alps. In June or July all the people fly to the mountains, and baths, and lakes in South Bavaria, and rusticate among the most glorious scenery in the world. "Come to us," said my friend, Luise K——; "come to us in the summer months, and we will play at Arcadia."

And truly, when I listened to her description of her mountain life, and all its tranquil, primitive pleasures, and all the beauty and grandeur which lie beyond that giant-barrier which lifts itself against the evening sky, and when I looked into those clear affectionate eyes—"dieser Blick voll Treu und Gute," and beheld the expression of a settled happiness, the light of a heart at peace with itself and all the world, reflected on the [318] countenances of her children—a recollection of the unquiet destiny which drives me in an opposite direction came over me—

Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound

Upon a wheel of fire, which mine own tears

Do scald like molten lead.

(a medusa mask)





To Page 179, Vol. i.

Therese Huber, who died in 1829, was a woman every way remarkable, in her domestic history, in her position, her writings, and her character. She was employed by Cotta to edit his famous "Morgenblatt," in her time the most esteemed and the most influential of the literary periodicals of Germany, and which she conducted for many years with extraordinary energy and success; she wrote also several romances, published under her husband's name, and long attributed to him even by her most intimate friends. Therese Huber is distinguished by a profound knowledge of her own sex, and by her just and admirable views of our destination and [320] situation in society. Some of her private letters have been published, since her death, with those of Caroline Woltmann, in the "Deutsche Briefe," and they place in yet stronger light the fine original powers of this gifted woman.



Page 2,line16,for great, read green.
43 14,for altamen, read attamen.
46 5,omit patrician.
47 2,for 'vengeful, read revengeful.
95 2,for Haitsinger, read Haitzinger.
95 12,for tiefe, read tief.
95 21,for Becher, read Becker.
147 2,in the note, for Hienrich, read Heinrich.
147 3,in the note, for Wladimer, read Wladimir.
181 1,for first, read second.
184 17,for Erden, read Erben.
193 5,for wsäche, read wäsche.
197 14,after since, insert "High-born Hoel."
211 9,for Elangau, read Erlangen.
230 10,for liebe, read lieber.
230 11,for schrecklich Schichsal, read schreckliches Schicksal.
230 13,for grab, read Grab.
252 19,for twelve, read eight.
270 16,for Neurather, read Neureuther.
291 1,in the note, for par, read pas; and for pas read par.


1 (return)
In Goethe's Iphigenia.

2 (return)
Over another iron door was writt,

Be not too bold.
Fairy Queen, Book iii. Canto XI.

3 (return)
See Wordsworth's Poems.

4 (return)
Two celebrated antique gems which adorn the relics of the Three Kings.

5 (return)
It is nearly twice the size of the famous and well known Medusa Rondinelli, now in the Glyptothek at Munich.

6 (return)
Professor Wallraff died on the 18th of March, 1824.

7 (return)
Amongst others, Jean Paul, in the "Heidelberger Jahrbücher der Literatur," 1815.

8 (return)
Since the above passage was written, Mrs. Austin has favoured me with the following note: "Goëthe admired, but did not like, still less esteem, Madame de Staël. He begins a sentence about her thus—'As she had no idea what duty meant,' &c.

"However, after relating a scene which took place at Weimar, he adds, 'Whatever we may say or think of her, her visit was certainly followed by very important results. Her work upon Germany, which owed its rise to social conversations, is to be regarded as a mighty engine which at once made a wide breach in that Chinese wall of antiquated prejudices, which divided us from France; so that the people across the Rhine, and afterwards those across the channel, at length came to a nearer knowledge of us; whence we may look to obtain a living influence over the distant west. Let us, therefore, bless that conflict of national peculiarities which annoyed us at the time, and seemed by no means profitable.'"—Tag- und Jahres Hefte, vol. 31, last edit.

To that WOMAN who had sufficient strength of mind to break through a "Chinese wall of antiquated prejudices," surely something may be forgiven.

9 (return)
Johanna Schopenhauer, well known in Germany for her romances and her works on art. Her little book, "Johan van Eyk und seine Nachfolger," has become the manual of those who study the old German schools of painting.

10 (return)
Or Gebhard, for so the name is spelt in the German histories.

11 (return)
For the story of Archbishop Gebhard and Agnes de Mansfeld, see Schiller's History of the Thirty Years' War, and Coxe's History of the House of Austria.

12 (return)
The gardens and plantations round the castle are a favourite promenade of the citizens of Heidelberg, and there are in summer bands of music, &c.

13 (return)
When Gustavus Adolphus took Mayence, during the same war, he presented the whole of the valuable library to his chancellor, Oxenstiern; the chancellor sent it to Sweden, intending to bestow it on one of the colleges; but the vessel in which it was embarked foundered in the Baltic sea, and the whole went to the bottom.

14 (return)
M. Passavant is a landscape-painter of Frankfort, an intelligent, accomplished man, and one of the few German artists who had a tolerably correct idea of the state of art in England. He is the author of "Kunstreise durch England und Belgium."

15 (return)
She was cotemporary with Cleopatra, (B. C. 33,) and was particularly celebrated for her busts in ivory. The Romans raised a statue to her honour, which was in the Guistiniani collection.—V. Pliny.

16 (return)
Lucas Kranach (1472) was one of the most celebrated of the old German painters; from a principle of gratitude and attachment, he shared the imprisonment of the elector John Frederic, during five years.

17 (return)
In September, 1833.

18 (return)
His own expression.

19 (return)
Dannecker has been ennobled; his proper titles run thus—Johan Heinrich von Dannecker, Hofrath, (court counsellor,) knight of the orders of the Wurtemburg crown, and of Wladimir, and professor of sculpture at Stuttgardt.

20 (return)
Rauch is knight of the Red Eagle, and member of the senate.

21 (return)
Christian Rauch was born in 1777, and Christian Frederic Tieck in 1776.

22 (return)
Formerly Madame Jageman, the principal actress of the theatre at Weimar. Her talents were developed under the auspices of Goethe and Schiller. She was the original Thekla of the Wallenstein, and the original Princess Leonora of the Tasso. In these two characters she has never yet been equalled. The quietness, amounting to passiveness, in the external delineation of the Princess in Tasso, affords so little material for the stage, that Madame Wolff, then the first actress, preferred the character of Leonora Sanvitale, and Madame Jageman was supposed to derogate in accepting that of the Princess. Such is the consummate, but evanescent delicacy of the conception, that Goethe never expected to see it developed on the stage; and at the rehearsal he threw himself back in his chair, and shut his eyes, that the image which lived in his imagination might not be profaned by any tasteless exaggeration of action or expression. He soon opened them, however, and before the rehearsal was finished, started off the chair, and nearly embraced the actress. She looked and felt the part as only a woman of exceeding taste and delicacy would have done; the very tone of her mind, and the character of her beauty, fitted her to represent the fair, gentle, fragile, but dignified Leonora.

23 (return)

24 (return)
Characteristics of Goethe, vol. i. p. 29.

25 (return)
I believe it was in allusion to this distinction, and her own noble birth, that her father-in-law used to call her playfully, "die kleine Ahnfrau," (the little ancestress.)

26 (return)
M. Besle, otherwise the Comte de Stendhal, and, I believe, he has half a dozen other aliases.

27 (return)
Alfred Tennyson.

28 (return)
"Thro' Erin's isle, to sport awhile," &c.

29 (return)
In the German maps, Zweibrücken; the capital of those provinces of the kingdom of Bavaria, which lie on the left bank of the Rhine.

30 (return)
The entire grouping of these figures is from the design of Mr. Robert Cockerell, one of the original discoverers, who in ascertaining their relative position has been guided in some measure by the situation in which their fragments were found strewed in front of the temple, and overwhelmed with masses of the frieze and pediment; but has been much more indebted to his own artist-like feeling, and architectural skill. He is of opinion that the western pediment contained several other figures besides the ten which have been restored.

31 (return)
The character of the Emperor Rodolph would be one of the most interesting speculations in philosophical history. He was evidently a fine artist, degraded into a bad sovereign—a man whose constructive and imaginative genius was misplaced upon a throne. The melancholy, and incipient madness which hovered over him, was possibly the result of the natural faculties suppressed or perverted.

32 (return)
The celebrated traveller, natural philosopher, and botanist. He has the direction of most of the scientific institutions at Munich.

33 (return)
I remember Madame Devrient, in describing the effect which music had upon herself, pressing her hand upon her bosom, and saying, with simple but profound feeling, "Ah! cela use la vie!"

34 (return)
"A l'exposition de Paris (1822) on a vu un millier de tableaux représentant des sujets de l'Ecritoire Sainte, peints par des peintres qui n'y croient pas du tout: admirés et jugés par des gens qui n'y croient pas beaucoup, et enfin payés par des gens qui, apparemment, n'y croient pas, non plus.

"L'on cherche après cela le pourquoi de la décadence de l'art!"

35 (return)
Of this celebrated picture, Sir Joshua Reynolds says, that it is miscalled, and certainly does not contain the portraits of the Earl and Countess of Arundel. Perhaps he is mistaken. It appears that the Earl of Arundel, of James the First's time, (the collector of the Arundelian marbles,) with his Countess, sat to Rubens in 1620, and that "Robin the Dwarf" was introduced into this picture, which was not painted in England, but at Brussels. Rubens was at this time at the height of his reputation, and when requested to paint the portrait of the Countess of Arundel, he replied, "Although I have refused to execute the portraits of many princes and noblemen, especially of his lordship's rank yet from the Earl I am bound to receive the honour he does me in commanding my services, regarding him as I do, in the light of an evangelist to the world of art, and the great supporter of our profession."—(See Tierney's History and Antiquities of the Castle and Town of Arundel.)

36 (return)
In Southey's Thalaba.

37 (return)
Now removed with the other Vandykes to Chatsworth.

38 (return)
See a curious letter of Pirkheimer on the death of Albert Durer, quoted in the Foreign Quarterly Review, No. 21. "In Albert I have truly lost one of the best friends I had in the whole world, and nothing grieves me deeper than that he should have died so painful a death, which, under God's providence, I can ascribe to nobody but his huswife, who gnawed into his very heart, and so tormented him that he departed hence the sooner; for he was dried up to a faggot, and might nowhere seek him a jovial humour or go to his friends." (After much more, reflecting on this intolerable woman, he concludes with edifying naïveté;) "She and her sister are not queans; they are, I doubt not, in the number of honest, devout, and altogether God-fearing women, but a man might better have a quean who was otherwise kindly, than such a gnawing, suspicious, quarrelsome, good woman, with whom he can have no peace or quiet neither by day nor by night."

39 (return)
Schleissheim is a country palace of the king of Bavaria, about six miles from Munich; it has originally been a beautiful building, but is not now inhabited, and looks forlorn and dilapidated. The pictures are distributed, without any attempt at arrangement, through forty-five rooms.

40 (return)
Natives, I believe, of Cologne.

41 (return)
Albert Durer was the scholar of Wohlgemuth.

42 (return)
I particularly recollect a picture, containing many hundred figures, all painted with the elaborate finish of a miniature, and representing the victory of Alexander over Darius. All the Persians are dressed like Turks, while Alexander and his host are armed to the teeth, in the full costume of chivalry, with heraldic banners, displaying the different devices of the old Germanic nobles, the cross, the black eagle, &c. &c.

43 (return)
The observations of Mr. Phillips, (Lectures on the History and Principles of Painting,) on Giotto, and the earliest Italian school, apply in a great measure to the early German painters, and I cannot refuse myself the pleasure of quoting them.—"As it appears to me, that painting at the present time, is swerving among us from the true point of interest, tending to ornament, to the loss of truth and sentiment, I think I cannot do better than endeavour to restrain the encroachment of so insidious a foe, to prevent, if possible, our advance in so erroneous and fatal a course, by showing how strong is the influence of art where truth and simplicity prevail; and that, where no ornament is to be found—nay, where imperfections are numerous; where drawing is frequently defective, perspective violated, colouring employed without science, and chiaro-scuro rarely, if ever thought of. The natural question then is, what can excite so much interest in pictures, where so much is wanting to render them perfect? I answer, that which leads to the forgetfulness of the want of those interesting and desirable qualities in the pictures of Giotto, is the excitation caused by their fulness of feeling—well-directed, ardent, concentrated feeling! by which his mind was engaged in comprehending the points most worthy of display in the subject he undertook to represent, and led to the clearness and intelligence with which he has selected them; add to this the simplicity and ability with which he has displayed that feeling." * * * "This is the first true step in the natural system of the art, or of the application of it, and this was Giotto's more especially. The rest is useful, as it assists the influence of this, the indispensable. This, to continue the figure, taken from the stage, (in a previous part of the Lecture,) is as Garrick acting Macbeth or Lear in a tie-wig and a general's uniform of his day; the passion and the character reaching men's hearts, notwithstanding the absurd costume. If the art be found thus strong to attract the mind, to excite feeling and thought, and to engage the heart, by the mere force of unadorned truth in the important points, and without the aid of the valuable auxiliaries I have above alluded to, is it not manifest that in its basis it is correct? and that the utmost force of historical painting is to be sought by continual emendation of this system, maintaining the spirit of its simplicity, supplying its wants, calling in the aid of those auxiliaries within reasonable bounds, not permitting them to usurp the throne of taste and attraction, but rather requiring them to assist in humbler guise to maintain and strengthen the legitimate authority of feeling.

After reading these beautiful passages, written by a man who unites the acute discriminative judgment of a practical artist with the finest feeling of the ultimate object and aim of high poetical art, I felt almost tempted to expunge my own superficial and imperfect notes, (above written,) and should have done so, but for the hope that my deficiencies will induce some one more competent in taste and knowledge to take up the subject of the early German painters. It is certain that the modern historical painters of Germany are working on the principle here laid down by Mr. Phillips, particularly Overbeck and Wach, which they have derived from a study of their national school of art; but other enthusiasts should remember that the redeeming excellence of this school was feeling, and that feeling can never be a matter of mere imitation. I cannot understand why the omissions of ignorance should be confounded with the achievements of native genius, by those for whom "knowledge has unlocked her ample stores," and to whom the recovery of those "rich spoils of time," the antique marbles, must have revealed the wide difference between "the simplicity of elegance" and "the simplicity of indigence."

44 (return)
See p. 56.

45 (return)
See p. 66.

Transcriber's Note: Errata as given in the original have been applied to the text. Other than the most exceedingly obvious typographical errors, all inconsistent spelling, hyphenation, diacriticals, archaic usage, etc. have been preserved as printed in the original. The boldface used for the signature on page 238 indicates characters in a Fraktur typeface.