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HAT praises are, without reason, lavished on the dead, and that the honours due only to excellence are paid to antiquity, is a complaint likely to be always continued by those who, being able to add

nothing to truth, hope for eminence from the heresies of paradox; or those who, being forced by disappointment upon consolatory expedients, are willing to hope from posterity what the present age refuses, and flatter themselves that the regard which is yet denied by envy will be at last bestowed by time.

Antiquity, like every other quality that attracts the notice of mankind, has undoubtedly votaries that reverence it, not from reason, but from prejudice. Some seem to admire indiscriminately whatever has been long preserved, without considering that time has sometimes co-operated with chance; all, perhaps, are more willing to honour past than present excellence; and the mind contemplates genius through the shades of age, as the eye surveys the sun through artificial opacity. The great contention of criticism is to find the faults of the moderns and the beauties of the ancients. While an author is yet living, we estcem his powers by his worst performance, and when he is dead we rate them by his best.

The reverence due to writings that have long subsisted arises, therefore, not from any credulous confidence in the superior wisdom of past ages, or gloomy persuasion of the degeneracy of mankind, but is the consequence of acknowledged and indubitable positions, that what has been longest known has been most considered, and what is most considered is best understood.

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(Long fellow.) the valley of the Pegnitz, where across broad

meadow-lands Rise the blue Franconian mountains, Nuremberg,

the ancient, stands.


Quaint old town of toil and traffic, quaint old town

of art and song, Memories haunt thy pointed gables, like the rooks that round them


Memories of the Middle Ages, when the emperors, rough and bold,
Had their dwelling in thy castle, time-defying, centuries old ;
And thy brave and thrifty burghers boasted, in their uncouth rhyme,
That their great imperial city stretched its hand through every clime.
In the courtyard of the castle, bound with many an iron band,
Stands the mighty linden planted by Queen Cunigunde's hand;
On the square the oriel window, where, in old heroic days,
Sat the poet Melchior singing Kaiser Maximilian's praise.

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Everywhere I see around me rise the wondrous

world of Art :
Fountains wrought with richest sculpture standing

in the common mart ;


And above cathedral doorways saints and bishops

carved in stone,
By a former age commission'd as apostles to our own.

In the church of sainted Sebald sleeps enshrined his

holy dust,
And in bronze the Twelve Apostles guard from age

to age their trust;

In the church of sainted Lawrence stands a pix of

sculpture rare,
Like the foamy sheaf of fountains, rising through

the painted air.

Here, when Art was still religion, with a simple,

reverent heart,
Lived and labour'd Albrecht Dürer, the Evangelist

of Art;

Hence in silence and in sorrow, toiling still with

busy hand,
Like an emigrant he wander'd, seeking for the Better



Emigravit is the inscription on the tombstone where

he lies;
Dead he is not,—but departed,—for the artist never


Fairer seems the ancient city, and the sunshine seems more fair,
That he once has trod its pavement, that he once has breathed its air!


Through these streets so broad and stately, these obscure and dismal

lanes, Walk'd of yore the Mastersingers, chanting rude poetic strains.

From remote and sunless suburbs, came they to the friendly guild, Building nests in Fame's great temple, as in spouts the swallows


As the weaver plied the shuttle, wove he too the mystic rhyme,
And the smith his iron measures hammer'd to the anvil's chime;

Thanking God, whose boundless wisdom makes the flowers of poesy

bloom In the forge's dust and cinders, in the tissues of the loom.

Here Hans Sachs, the cobbler-poet, laureate of the gentle craft, Wisest of the Twelve Wise Masters, in huge folios sang and laugh’d.

But his house is now an ale-house, with a nicely sanded floor,
And a garland in the window, and his face above the door ;

Painted by some humble artist, as in Adam Puschman's song,
As the old man grey and dove-like, with his great beard white and


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