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Dragoons, and so on. They have succeeded of noble descent, for instance, is allowed to in giving to twelve hundred men as many marry the daughter of any one but an officer, different uniforms, and different kinds of arms a person of high official rank, or in short of as are to be found in France or Austria. The one who is not presentable at court. It would, enormous expense which this military pomp for example, be quite an exception if a lieuentails upon the country has in former years tenant should be permitted to marry the been severely censured by the opposition in daughter of a wealthy merchant or manuthe Chambers, but in these days the govern- facturer; and very recently it happened that ment does not care much for either Chambers a young officer who, after several years, obor opposition ; the country pays whatever the tained leave to marry the daughter of one of ministry demands.
the richest bankers in Vienna, was removed, But it must be said to the credit of the as a mark of displeasure, from the capital to Hannoverian military that the officers are the garrison of a distant country town. This distinguished above their comrades in most measure has accomplished its purpose of isoother states of Germany, by their excellent lating the army from all other classes of behavior, refinement of manners, and the society. Every father who has a grown-up healthy tone of their intercourse with other daughter must close his door to an officer, in classes. The good old spirit, descended from the fear that an attachment might spring up those glorious times when a large part of which cannot lead to any honorable and happy those who now hold high rank fought in the result. In the civil service, the prejudice in Peninsula, as the Anglo-German legion, against favor of the nobility has during the last few Napoleon, has not been expelled by all the years become equally apparent. Since the efforts of the present governinent; nay, it has accession of the present king there has not even descended to a younger generation. I been any instance of a commoner being adFrom the circumstances of those times, it has vanced to one of the higher posts. Those also resulted, that a large part of the officers offices which require much knowledge and of the Hannoverian army are commoners by industry, and upon which the burden of busidescent; this fact, in a country where the ness falls, are open to him; but to the higher nobility enjoy so much preference, is apt to ones, which bring honor and emolument, create surprise. But on the battle-fields of nothing but a long line of ancestors can proTalavera and Victoria there were no questions cure admission. asked about noble lineage and great ancestors; With the exception of the favor of the and many of the sons of noble houses chose government and their own pride, it cannot be rather in those days to accept lucrative posts said that the Hannoverian nobility enjoy any in the luxurious court of Jerome at Cassel, very great advantages. They are in general than to encounter danger and fatigue in the too poor to be very influential. There are camps of Spain. And when these officers of single merchants in Hamburg, who own more the legion returned home, many of them by property than all the nobility of Lüneburg put dint of merit rose to the highest places, and the together. Hence there is a simplicity and then viceroy of the kingilom, the Duke of even poverty apparent which is very striking Cambridge, was far too noble-minded to allow to one who enters the country from Hamburg any difference of birth to operate to their or Bremen, the richest towns in Germany. disadvantage. Now, on the contrary, it is But, on the other hand, social life is in a the aim of the government to purify the much better footing than in the Hansetowns, army, and no commoner, unless as the son of where it rests so entirely upon a material an officer he is entitled to a commission, basis. There is in all classes a great degree would find it easy to procure one.
of solid refinement, together with simple eleBut in order to guard the corps of officers gance and hearty hospitality. Strangers are as much as possible from all intercourse with always pleased with the e Hannoverian towns, other classes, there appeared a short time since and cheerfully dispense with the advantages a general order respecting the marriage of which great cities afford. officers, of which Europe has never seen the The picture which has here been lightly equal. Every lieutenant who wishes to marry sketched, would represent any town in the must prove by undeniable documents, that he country of Hannover. A few words must be possesses a private income of at least eight devoted to a description of Lüneburg. The hundred dollars a year, every captain a thou- stillness and desolation, which are so striking sand, and every staff-officer twelve hundred. a feature in all Hannorerian towns, reign here Then there is a commission appointed for the in full force. The carrying trade into the express purpose of watching that an officer interior of Germany, all of which at one shall only marry in his own rank. No officer period passed through the town, has now been
diverted into the channels, and even the tic in the view of this great unbroken plain. splendid railway-station, which stands close It is only at intervals of many miles that here by, cannot bring back the departed life and and there a few trees and a solitary farmbustle. The stream of travellers is pouring house may be seen. The inbabitants of these perpetually past, but none seem to find any few isolated dwellings are a primitive and particular objects of interest to detain them quite distinct race who lead a simple and here. The town is very ancient, and has a patriarchal life, and support themselves by very respectable and friendly appearance. keeping a race of little black half-wild sheep, The houses are all built of red brick, and with very coarse wool, and flesh of an extravery massive with their tall gable ends to ordinary aromatic flavor. A journey through wards the street.
this region was formerly a serious and very The neighborhood of Lüneburg is likewise wearisome undertaking The roads were more pleasing than it is generally reputed to tolerably good, and the horses strong; but be. Beautiful limetrees surround the whole the post stations are generally at a distance place and along the banks of the Lüne there of eighteen to twenty miles from each other, are some very pretty green meadows, shaded and it frequently happens that during a whole by lofty vaks. But certainly one must not stage the eye is not relieved by resting upon form any very high expectations.
a single object. But now the rushing locomomay be said of the celebrated Lüneburg | tive carries us rapidly on to the capital, Hanheath, which commences in the neighborhood nover, and what then was a very long and and extends a vast distance in length and fatiguing day's journey, is easily accomplished breadth. In summer, when the heather is in 1 in a few hours.
Die Grenzboien. blossom, there is something extremely roman
LIFE AND WORKS OF LEOPARDI.
Giacomo Leopardi is a name which makes of a Dante (to use a German's remark), began the heart of almost every cultivated Italian his career by gaining the honorable suffrages beat with a certain sorrowful pity and a noble of a Niebuhr, a Creuzer, and an Angelo Maï. pride. To English ears it is a mere sound sig. Instructed by a priest in the rudiments of nifying nothing. It calls up no sweet memo- Latin (which was all the priest could teach), ries of harmonious verse ; it brings with it no at eight years of age he attacked, unaided, the compassion for the sufferings of a sad and Greek grammar, and soon went directly to the struggling spirit. The first occasion an Eng- text of the ancient ecclesiastical writers. His lishman ever mentioned the name in print was, father's library was rich in church literature. we believe, in a recent novel. Yet Germany In constant study of the Fathers, this child has long known and cherished Leopardi. Even deepened his religious fervor, and fed his inFrance, generally so backward in acknowledg- satiable appetite for learning. Having attained ing a foreigner, has, on several occasions, paid to a surprising facility in reading Greek, he tribute to his genius. The better to introduce went through, pen in hand, and in chronologihim to an English public, we have collected cal order, nearly the whole compass of Greek from his letters, from Ranieri, and from St. literature. At the age when most boys Beuve, something like a Memoir, which, with are still blundering over ivatw, or dog's-earing some observations on bis genius, we now submit the Analecta Minora, Leopardi was a savant. to our readers.
His precocity may be appreciated from one exDescended from the noble families of ample :- At the head of a manuscript containLeopardi and Antici, he was born at Recanati, ing a correct text of the Life of Plotinus, by in Ancona, 29th of June, 1798. His parents Porphyry, with a Latin translation and comwere orderly, religious people, and seem to mentary, there is this note by his father :have been careful to give a serious turn to his “Oggi 31 Agosto, 1814, questo suo lavoro mi education. It is a point worthy of notice at donò Giacomo mio primogenito figlio, che non the outset how he, who was hereafter to take so ha avuto maestro di lingua Greca, ed è in età high a place among poets, began by first labori- di anni 16, mese due, giornidue.” This very ously conquering for himself a place among MS. was communicated to Creuzer, who, in the the philologists : the poet upon whose lips ex third volume of his edition of Plotinus, has pired those accents which were born on the lips extracted from it the substance of several pages
of his addenda: thus the learned German, | imitations. The first is but another variation who had labored many years of his life at this of the old theme, Love crowned with Roses, subject, found materials in the work of a boy of but it has the true Greek naïveté in it. The sixteen !
second, “To the Moon," is longer, and generalLeopardi's mental history is crowded with ly preferred ; but, to our taste, though a better striking contrasts. We see him learned even ode, it is not so happy an imitation. He was among the erudite, and, at the same time, a only nineteen when he played this trick, a great poet; at one period grubbing like an circumstance which must be taken in exteluarchæologist, covered with the dust of folios ; ation of the offence. at another, borne away on the irresistible Although so ardent in pursuit of learning, wings of upward-soaring imagination. Nor is his faculties were not wholly engrossed by it; this all. The man who, with exquisite taste, for amidst these dry recondite studies he was appreciated the severe simplicity of the great groping his way in a far more arduous and imworks of Grecian art, first learned to know portant path — the study of his own being. Greece through the tawdry rhetoric of the The seeds of decay had early been sown in bis Fathers; and the bard who, of all others, constitution ; and now a hump grew out on deserves to be called the "poet of despair". his back, adding a source of moral anguish to whose scepticism exceeds that of Manfred or his physical pains. It is easy to understand! || even Lélia - began by planning sacred hymns the poignant humiliation which very sensitive! of fervent piety.
nature must endure from such a deformity; but Leopardi was self-taught. The limited in- by one other cruel contradiction in Leopardi's struction which he gained from two ecclesiastics fate, this grief was heightened beyond the comwas insignificant by the side of that which he mon lot; the energetic nature of his soul acquired for himself
. Unaided, he studied prompted him, above all things, to a life of French, Spanish, English, Greek, and even action. To such a spirit, deformity would Hebrew; the latter sufficiently to enter upon have operated only as one stimulus the more ; disputations with some learned Jews at An- but accompanied as it was with acute suffering
His studies had not, however, that and bodily debility, it made Leopardi feel that desultoriness which is usually noticeable among he was powerless and despised. Nerertheless, self-taught men, but were almost exclusively the chained eagle is an eagle still — his philological. Thus, before he attained ma- thoughts are with the sun. Leopardi could say turity, we find him compiling commentaries on of himself, in seriousness, that Nature had made the rhetoricians of the second century; writing him for suffering :his erudite little treatise on the vulgar errors of the ancients ;* collecting the fragments of the Fathers of the second century; translating and Nego, mi disse, anche la speme; e d'altro dissertating on the Batrachomyomachia: throw. Non brillin gli occhi tuoi se non di pianto : ing new light upon the life of Moschus, and translating the Idylls; translating the Odyssey, for she had thrown him helpless upon the Hesiod's Theogony, and the second book of the world; but the eagle was only chained, not Æneid. A strange preparation for a poet ! subdued. As examples of mere erudite industry, such Unfitted for a life of action, he sought acexploits would have done honor to a long ca- tivity in burrowing amidst the dust and obreer; as the productions of a boy, they excite scurity of the past. He lived a life of Thought ; unmingled astonishment.
and at his side sat Sorrow, as a perpetual enigma The love of mystification joined to a con and as a constant monitress, — "La parte più sciousness of power, which dictated the forge. inesplicabile dell'inesplicabile mistero dell' ries of Chatterton, Macpherson, and Allan universo.” He suffered, and asked himself if Cunningham, seduced Leopardi into the others suffered in the same way, — asked himscholar's trick of publishing a pretended Greek self whether it was just that he should suffer, hymn to Neptune. The translation was ac- having done no wrong. He looked abroad in companied by notes, in which erudite dust was the world, and saw sadness painfully legible on thrown in the eyes of the public, so as to de- its face; he looked far into the past, and still ceive the most suspicious. This production is the same mournful aspect met his eye. Of his included in his works ; as well as the two Odes own soul he asked the explanation of this mysof Anacreon, which he published at the same tery, and he became a poet. time, and which were said to have been found His two first canzoni were published in 1818. in the same place. These odes are capital | They are on the same theme the degradation * Saggio sopra gli errori popolari degli Antichi, | author's youth, because no trace of youth or
of Italy; and it would be idle to speak of the forming vol. iv. of his Opere.
A te la speme
inexperience is to be found in them. At let us rather say, it pours forth the same indigtwenty, Leopardi was old, ---- at least, in thought nant sorrow: for, in point neither of thought and suffering. We wish we could, without too nor expression, is it a reproduction of its pregreat a sacrifice of the original, translate the decessor. In its patriotic hatred towards first of these canzoni. Often as her poets France, the despoiler of Italy, we read the have reproached Italy — from Dante down- effects of that same spirit which animated a wards, there have been no more piercing, Körner and an Arndt ; with this additional manly, vigorous strains, than those which motive, that while the Germans only hated vibrate in the organ-peal of patriotism sent forth cruel enemy, Leopardi, hated the enemy, who, by Leopardi. Felicaja mourned over the fatal having conquered his country, sent her sons to gift of Beauty in a passionate music which has perish amidst the distant snows of Russia. stirred all hearts; but his sonnet is many de We have no means of ascertaining what grees below the ode by Leopardi, the irregular effect was produced by these two odes upon the but rhythmic march of which seizes hold of minds of his countrymen. His father, howyour soul and irresistibly hurries you along ever, so far from approving of the poet's patriwith it. Utter the name of Leopardi before otism, was highly indignant at it, and the any Italian, and he instantly bursts forth result was a painful dissidence between them. with,
Unhappily, this wound was rendered incurable
by the son's separation from the faith of his O patria mia, vedo le mura e gli archi
ancestors,—by what Leopardi used to call his E le colonne e i simulacri e l'erme
“philosophic conversion,” which happened Torri degli avi nostri,
soon afterwards. Ma la gloria non vedo,
Bred up a strict Catholic, Non vedo il lauro e il ferro ond'eran carchi
early nurtured in the writings of the Church's I nostri padri antichi. Or fatta inerme,
best defenders, he nevertheless passed, by Nuda la fronte e nudo il petto mostri. what steps is now unknown, from the submisOimè quante ferite,
sion of a fervent piety to the freedom of unChe lividor, che sangue! oh qual ti veggio limited scepticism. The paternal mansion then Formosissima donna! lo chiedo al cielo became insupportable to him, and he quitted E al mondo: dite, dite
it. The means of subsistence were parsimoniChi la ridusse a tale? E questo è peggio
ously afforded him, and at length altogether Che di catene ha carche ambe le braccia; Sì che sparte le chiome e senza velo
withdrawn. “Les détails précis,” adds St. Siede in terra negletta e sconsolata,
Beuve, “ qu'on pourrait donner sur certains Nascondendo la faccia
instans de détresse d'un si noble coeur seraient Tra le ginocchia, e piange.
It was in 1822 that Leopardi left Recanati, The sustained yet musical vehemence of this and first went to Rome. His reputation as a opening is continued throughout. Leopardi savant had preceded him, and he was employdoes not join the cry of those who exclaimed to draw up a catalogue of the Greek MSS. against Italy's fatal gift of Beauty. He feels in the Barberini Library. There he made the that Italy's greatness is not the cause of her acquaintance of Niebuhr, who at once properly abasement; but that her sons are no longer appreciated him, and introduced him to the worthy of her: their ancient
Chevalier Bunsen, with whom the poet contractliness have deserted them.
ed a strong friendship. Niebuhr bimself, the But these men, so supine in their country's greatest scholar of the age, found in Leopardi cause, are invincible when fighting for another, a sagacious and useful assistant, and return and this thought wrings from the poet a cry of for the observations by which he had profited, anguish. He then turns from the degeneracy paid a handsome tribute to his young friend.* of bis age to those happy antique times when Nor did his good will stop there; he endeavormen gloried in dying for their country; this leads ed to better the young scholar's condition, and him to think of the Thessalian passes, where obtained a promise from the Cardinal Gonsalvi a handful of men were stronger than the might to give him some employment. Unhappily, of Persia, stronger than fate itself; and then, the cardinal affixed a condition to bis promise, as St. Beuve says, “il refait hardiment le that Leopardi should take orders ; a condition, chant perdu de Simonide,"
of course, declined. Niebuhr subsequently ofThe second canzone, that on the proposed fered him a professorship in Berlin; but bis monument to Dante, is in the same strain : or, sickly frame forbade his residence in a north
ern climate, and he was forced to decline that • Revue des Deux Mondes, 1844. Vol. vii. p. 913. also. An able and interesting paper, wherein he has brought forward some biographical materials never before * Niebuhr, in prefatione ad Flavii Merobandis carpublished.
mina. Second Edition, p. 13.
While at Rome he published some of his inelegant, and was clipped; the narreté of namost important philological researches; and ture was ridiculed, and was banished : in fact, had to endure the jealousies and tracasseries health and simplicity were sacrificed to artificial of a certain Vangi, the librarian, whom he refinements. The Court was everything, and lashed in two satirical sonnets under the name nature labored under the disadvantage of nerer of Manzo (an os).* But to a poet the Eternal having been “presented.” The few master- || City could not be made vulgar by any petty pieces which genius produced in spite of the jealousies ; Rome was one continued inspira- trammels of the reigning taste, and which are tion to Leopardi. He walked amidst its masterpieces because created by men of genius, ruins, and felt that even in its ruins it was were cited as splendid examples of the truth sacred ground. “Vagando tuttavia solitario," of what critics taught; and to Europe the arsays Ranieri, “interogò lungamente quei si- gument seemed conclusive, because men did lenzi e quelle ruine, e lungamente in sul not understand that great works are the pro-,' tramonto del dì, pianse, al lontano pianto delle ducts of genius, not of system. Certain it is, campane, la passata e morta grandezza.” No that wherever you cast your eyes during the : one ever felt more thoroughly the real grandeur close of the seventeenth and throughout the of Rome, and he saw, in the recent discovery eighteenth centuries, the perruque of Louis of Fronto's Letters and Cicero's Republic, the XIV. is before you, stiff and pompous. The signs of a complete resuscitation of ancient trees and groves are not allowed their natural writers, which would force the moderns to catch proportions, but are trimmed into rigidity. something of their spirit. In the first Revival The muses are wigged. of Letters, how great was Italy! Shall there
re The reaction came. Lessing, the brilliant, be a second Revival, and no response be heard? restless, irregular, but intrepid captain of his The first produced a Dante, a Petrarch, an age, harassed the imperial forces on all sides, Ariosto, a Tasso, a Columbus ; the second will routed, and finally drove them ignominiously produce a new race, of whom Alfieri is the chief. from the field. Germany began to have a liter
Nothing can be more natural than that a ature of her own. England returned to Shaks poet and a scholar should look to literature as peare, Spenser, and her ballad literature ; so the regenerator of his country; and, conse- great was the reaction, so strong the feeling quently, to a second Revival of Letters as the against the French School, that even eminent one thing needful. So long as the love of poets could discuss, and without final agree letters survives, he says, Italy will not be dead; ment, too, the astonishing question, — Was and, as a commentary on this text, we refer to Pope a poet? Spain made an effort to throw his noble ode to Angelo Maï. The lines in it off the yoke of France, and began to inquire on Dante, Ariosto, and Tasso, are worthy of about Lopes de Vega, Calderon, and the canthe names they commemorate.
cionero. * France rose up against her own The date of this canzone, as St. Bcuve per- glory, and the école romantique sounded the tinently remarks, is the same as that of Man tocsin of revolt. In Italy the standard was zoni's Carmagnola (1820). “Le drapeau as openly raised. Everywhere men fought in d'une réforme littéraire flóttait enfin, toute this quarrel as if their liberties were insepaune jeune milice s'ebranlait à l'entour ;” and rably connected with the abrogation of the this period will form one of the most instruc-unities, as if on the permission to use familiar tive epochs in the history of literature, charac and even trivial language in poetry was staked terized as it is by the rising of five great
the whole interests of society. nations against the despotism of a system, and The outlines of the history of this reaction the spontaneous recurrence of each to its early have often been sketched, but one point has writers. The court of Louis XIV. had long not, we believe, bitherto been insisted on, and domineered over the literature of Europe. it is this : not only was the reaction against le
Taste in the fine arts was religiously accepted grand siècle felt throughout Europe, but in from French critics, and the critics could see each country the tendency of the New School nothing but le grand siècle. The rude strength was the same. This identity of principle is sugand healthy vigor of the early poets were uni- gestive, and nothing can be easier than the versally pronounced barbarous, because they proof of its universality. A strong predilection were (undeniably) against“ good taste. for the early national literature - a blind luxuriant foliage of luxuriant trees was thought reverence for the great Immortals who had
early thrown around the nation the lustre of The reader will doubtless recall Paul Louis' their genius — a preëminence given to Nature celebratcd quarrel with the Librarian Puccini, and and the so-called Natural above all conditions his change of the name into Puzzini. See that mar
of Art —- such were the characteristics of the vel of wit, pleasantry, and polemics, his Lettre à M. Renouard.
New School in each country.