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as unhappy love shall continue to excite sympathy, and the contrasts of the middle ages, interest those, who trace to those ages the germs of their national peculiarities and virtues.
The works of Goethe are of the utmost variety. Indeed there are no two, which have the same character. Other writers advance in the career of their choice ; Goethe is universal; and in each department, which he has attempted, has left but one example of his powers. But let it not be inferred, that his works are deficient in the exquisite skill of the accomplished master. All that he has attempted, assumes, under his hand, an aspect of beauty. With the step of healthy activity, he passes where he will His sound judgment, bis brilliant, clear, and quick imagination, his feelings, natural, philanthropic, and serene, enable him to move successfully, where other men would be bewildered; and to pass through unknown paths, as if through familiar scenes. He walks, like the enchanted hero of an eastern romance, through the hundred halls of the palace of invention, and all the gates fly open at his approach ; but hardly has he entered, when the portals close again, so that none can follow in his footsteps. Does this seem exaggeration ? observe the number and diversified character of his works ; then count the numerous imitations of them, and observe the vast difference between the productions of Goethe and those of the best of his followers. Scrutinize the defects even of powerful minds in the same department; comparison will lead but to the acknowledgment of Goethe's supremaoy.
Is a key to his writings demanded ? Something that shall serve to characterize them generally? We have it in this; his truth to nature. Goethe never turned in disgust from the world, in which he has his being. Life and man are his themes. He does not require to annihilate every thing that is clear and individual around him, in order to gain free exercise for fancy in an ideal world. He stands out in open day, and contends for the victory in letters in the distinct light of real life. His eye sees, his heart feels, his genius dares to imitate nature. He is like the fabled giants, who were strongest, when their feet touched the earth. There is in him no trace of sickliness of mind, no lines worn by a diseased imagination, no puny worshippings of vulgar weakness. All is clear, individual, and marked; his personages are not fairies, nor sylphs; his characters are not imitations of remote forms of life, where failure in the picture could not be discovered. The beings, who move, speak, and act in his works, are real men and women, of veriest flesh and blood, whose hearts you may hear beat, whose veins you may see swell, whose pulsations you may feel as they throb. Above all poets of his time, he has succeeded in depicting woman, in weakness and in strength, in the pride and comeliness of virtue, in the irresistible charms of imagination and good sense, in mercy, in sympathy, in love, in sorrow, in hope, and in death. His works are a panorama of human life.
His manner is generally exquisitely finished. Let every young man take lesson from the master in this; he always wrote with difficulty. He held it a duty to labour, and did not take advantage of his talent to write with slovenly facility. Yet he leaves upon his works, no traces of the labour which their preparation cost him ; we are introduced at once to a splendid and highly finished edifice, but all the instruments of preparation are removed, and nothing is before us but the beautiful results.
Goethe can never be a favourite with those, who demand the recurrence of a class of ideas, or are pleased only with a certain limited range of character. He delineates not a portion of the world, but the whole. Misfortune moves freely over the earth, and joy selects for itself no aristocracy ; in like manner the poet has allowed his inspiration to wander freely into all classes of society, and to bring back likenesses from all.
It is another characteristic of Goethe, that he does not excel in fragments merely. His works, as such, merit admiration. It is not in parts that he deserves praise, so much as in the whole. To the reflecting mind he furnishes abundant lessons; those who clap their hands only at fine lines, and care little for the perfection of workmanship in the whole, Goethe takes no pains to please. He is uniform and sustained ; and the noblest passages derive their highest charms from their exact adaptation to the characters and situations where they occur.
The character of Goethe's mind is that of self-possession. No pining passion prostrates the energy of will; no crazed imagination corrupts the healthy exercise of judgment. The author of Werther is the very last man, who would have killed himself for love; the poet who has delineated Tasso's exquisite sensibility, was never a misanthrope or a hypochondriac. The stream of life came for him from a clear fountain, and during all its course has reflected the light of day in its natural splendour. This it is, which distinguishes him from Rousseau and from Byron, from Tasso and from Schiller.
Do we therefore express unlimited admiration for all the efforts of Goethe? By no means. The rules of a just morality, remote alike from prudery and fanaticism, would yet condemn several of his productions. · His Roman elegies, for instance, are loose and of heathenish voluptuousness; deficient in moral grace, though occasionally beautiful in their forms; they would have won new laurels for Propertius; but nineteen centuries and an uncompromising religion should have led the poet to better scenes than love in a tippling house, though Rome, and the beauties of the arts, and the creations of mythology, are managed in the back-ground, with a skill that almost lulls the scruples of criticism to rest.
Space fails us to enter upon the analysis of the works of Goethe. Faust is universally acknowledged to be his chief production. It is marked by a potent intellect and an intimate acquaintance with human virtue. In all its scenes, there seems to be reality; in its character, individuality. Vice is described in the fathomless depths of its misery. The details of the work are often gross and offensive; the general effect is beyond that of any other production of poetry, to fill the soul with horror at vice, to make us shudder and shrink from a career, that leads to unsated possession and interminable wo. Milton invests Satan with the majesty of an archangel, but Mephistopheles is a very devil, ridiculing all noble feeling, scoffing at human knowledge and human aspirations, mean, low, and detestable; and yet he holds Faust so rivetted to him, that the poor victim neither can nor will free himself from subjection. Faust pretends to command, and all the while is hurried on by his base companion from one excess to another, till his mind becomes without principle and without hope, an abyss of gloom.
Byron's Manfred was probably suggested by Goethe's Faust. The poems are as unlike each other as the poets. Manfred is a noble spirit, that struggles with himself, corrupts and destroys himself, in the excitement of restless solitude. He is a being whose energies are thrown back upon themselves, and who perishes by the intense action of his own powers. Switzerland, its glaciers, and its innocent inhabitants, its waterfalls, ils stern, awful sublimity, are in keeping with the spirit of the piece; but the action, all passes within Manfred's own mind. Now Goethe's drama describes the travels of a philosopher through the world, with the devil for his valet. Natural scenery furnishes no part of the attractions of the piece. We see but the man, who wanders among his kind with the foul fiend at his elbow, prompting him to every thing wrong, and turning every generous emotion into torture. The dramatic life which is exhibited in Faust is nowhere to be found in Byron. Goethe can send a city out of its gates to celebrate Easter day after European fashion, or carry his reader to a drinking house, or the chamber of a student, or the cottage of an innocent girl, or assemble a throng in the streets; and the beings, whom he calls up, come forth in distinct shapes, full of life and motion, and swayed by human impulses.
And so at the close, we have but again to concede to Goethe that quality, which distinguishes Scott, and in which Shakspeare was of all English writers pre-eminent-Truth in his descriptions. His persons are not creatures of romance and the stage, but are of real life; and as he has drawn his inspiration from the inexhaustible sources of natural feelings, so his reputation will be safe in all the vicissitudes of literary taste.
Art. VII.—Johnson's English Dictionary, as improved by
Todd, and abridged by Chalmers; with Walker's Pronouncing Dictionary combined: To which is added, Walker's Key to the Classical Pronunciation of Greek, Latin and Scripture Proper Names. Edited by JOSEPH E. WORCESTER. 8vo. Boston, 1828.
The present edition of Johnson's Dictionary seems to be entitled to a more particular notice, than the ordinary re-publication of such a work would require ; because in point of utility, it is superior to any one hitherto published in this country; and it is, besides, printed in stereotype, with so much accuracy, that it will probably for a long time be the only edition which will be consulted as an authority.
We have already had several American editions of Johnson and Walker ; but either from faults in the English copies, or from blunders in our reprints, or perhaps from both these causes together, none has come under our notice, upon which such entire reliance could be placed, as on the present. To illustrate this remark by one instance only, which occurs to us at this moment. The word legislature, a term which is in continual use from one end of the United States to the other, and the pronunciation of which varies in different parts of our country, has probably remained thus unsettled, in consequence of mere typographical errors in the notation of the dictionaries. In some of the common editions of Walker, both the large and the small, the notation of the final syllable of this word is ture, instead of tshure; which would naturally lead the reader to consider this syllable as an accented one, and of course to pronounce it legislature,(sounding the u as in pure,) or, according to the old-fashioned mode, of the New England states in particular, legislatoore. Yet every one who has attended to the principles of pronunciation, and the analogies of the language, would know, that this final syllable is un-accented, and, consequently, whether we place the principal accent on the penultima, legislature, (as Johnson and several other lexicographers formerly did,) or upon its first syllable, législature, according to the orthoepists of the present day, still the notation of the final syllable ought to be like that of the un-accented final syllable of other words of the same class ; which, according to Walker's method, would be tshúre, as in nomencláture, nature, créature, etc. Accordingly we find in Walker's fourth edition, in quarto, which is the most correct, and the last that was revised by the author himself, the potation of this word is led-jis-la-tshure; which is very properly followed by the present American editor. We have noticed this as one instance in which our iexicographers and critics have idly disputed among themselves, and with the orthoepists of our mother country, literally about words, and about the authority of Walker as an orthoepist ; some of the disputants condemning him as inconsistent with himself, and as a teacher of a vicious pronunciation, while others have vainly attempted to vindicate him, where his printer and not himself should be held responsible, and where he would never have thought of defending his own work. The editor of the present volume, who has been long and advantageously known to every American reader, as an indefatigable and highly estimated labourer in another department of literature, has very judiciously selected as his standard, Walker's fourth edition, already mentioned, and of which the laborious and exact author himself says, with his accustomed modesty “ This edition, the result of much fatigue and anxiety, has, I flatter myself, fewer faults than any work of the same delicacy, extent, and complexity ;” a remark, which we believe will be fully warranted by a comparison with any book in our language.
It is by no means qur intention, at this day, to attempt the idle task of reviewing the merits of Johnson or Walker. They have both obtained an established character in their respective departments; and the introductory remark of the present editor's preface, is perfectly well founded in regard to both of them-that “to Dr. Johnson is universally conceded the first rank among English lexicographers, and to Mr. Walker is assigned a similar rank among English orthoepists." We are well aware, that some writers in England and America have denied them any thing like that rank; but the great body of readers and speakers in both countries have acquiesced in giving them that elevated station, and have looked upon the few who have asssailed their fame, rather as malcontents in the republic of letters, than as men who were vindicating the essential rights of our language.
To assert that blunders are not to be found in Johnson's dictionary, particularly in the Etymological part, would be to claim for it a degree of perfection, which does not fall to the lot of any human production ; and which he, great as his abilities were, would never have claimed with one half the boldness which we have seen in some of his assailants, who have not possessed one half of his merits. Johnson, himself, as Boswell relates, candidly declared that he “had not satisfied his own expectations."
The first and most deeply felt attack ever made upon his Dictionary, was by that second Ishmael, John Horne Tooke, who, with the adroitness of a practised combatant, skilfully selected for his point of attack, the most vulnerable part of the workthe Etymologies ; and a part, too, for which Johnson could