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ress, and the language of the heart must assert its supremacy. On all sides there must be flexibility, new and wide departures from traditional restraints, a standard of poetic excellence sufficiently adaptive to give the fullest scope to the personality of the poet. The main error by which this transition was occasioned, and against which it protested, was the imperious demand that the poet should surrender his individuality to the rules of this or that poetic teacher, and be anybody but himself.
The heart, after all, is the central power in human history, in life and in literature, and though for a time suppressed in its action, is sure at length to assert itself, and even more vigorously than before. It is of this reaction to poetic freedom and feeling that Taine speaks: "At length poetry has again become life-like; we no longer listen to words, but we feel emotions. It is no longer an author but a man who speaks." They could not, and would not, longer side with those who steadily set themselves against the natural expression of emotion in verse. They sighed for the childlike simplicity of Chaucer's time, and could not but remember with regret the uncurbed liberty of Elizabethan days. Even in the interval between
Milton and Dryden, a true literary freedom was more or less enjoyed, and as the bounds of human progress were widening in all directions, and the human mind was freer than ever, they felt that the poetry of the immediate future must be in sympathy with the time and become a true exponent of its innermost character and life.
THE HISTORICAL CAUSES OF THE TRANSITION
Among these causes, as more specific, we notice briefly :
1. The influence of Germany upon England. With the first classical period in German Literature (1190-1300) - the period of the Minnesänger
we have little, if anything, to do, inasmuch as it occurred previous to the settlement of our literature as national. The second classical period (1760-1830) is almost identical in its limits with the Impassioned Era in England. Hence, its influence would be marked as to degree and character. Here we find the six most illustrious names
of German poetry -Klopstock, Lessing, Wieland,
Herder, Schiller, and Goethe. Their most notable followers also are found here Lavater, Nicolai, Müller, Richter, Uhland, Tieck, Novalis, and the brothers Schlegel. Such an order of poetical tal
ent as this would create its own fitting opportunities, and taking into account the historic relations of the two nations, nothing is more natural than the results that we see. English authors, fully aware of the literary treasures across the channel, eagerly resorted thither to bring them to Britain. Thus we find Coleridge, in 1798, a member of the University at Göttingen. Returning to England, the influence of German study is sufficiently attested by his translation of Schiller's "Wallenstein," and by his calling the special attention of British scholars to the prevailing philosophy of Germany. We find Sir Walter Scott also thoroughly aroused by the newly awakened interest in German literature prevalent in Edinburgh. Becoming versed in the language, he applied himself at once to the work of translation in the "Lenore" of Bürger; the "Erl König" and "Götz von Berlichingen" of Goethe. Among the works of Shelley, we note translations from "Faust," while upon Southey and Wordsworth the same influence is evident. This being so, the question of special interest is, How did this become a help to English poetry in the sphere of passion? The answer is partly found in the fact that English thought in all departments was quickened by contact with Germany.
The German mind, even in its criticisms and speculations, is creative and original rather than imitative, calling into play at every point all the discerning and suggestive powers of the soul. The influence was thus stimulating, calling the poets of the time away from slavish adherence to any school or literary formula, and bidding them seek a wider and freer range. The effect was all in the direction of feeling rather than form. This love of the emotional is clearly seen in the conflict waged between the schools of Gottsched and Bodmer in Germany, with their centers respectively at Leipsic and Zurich. The one contended for the poetry of form, the other for that of spirit and power. The one was the school of imitation and of culture, based on Gallic models; the other, the school of passion and imagination, based on natural feeling. It was the old historic struggle of the letter and the spirit; and the fact of interest is, that as in England so in Germany, the literature of the spirit prevailed. The lyric beauty of the early Minnelieder reappears in Schiller, gives an impassioned character to the poetry ever after, and impresses itself upon the poetry of England. The formal laws of the schools had given place to nature and human life, and the literature of Britain
was just ready to receive what Germany was ready to give a poetry of the heart.
2. A second and more potent cause of the new awakening is found, as we think, in the revolutionary character of the times. The erratic Rousseau did not have reference to his own country simply when he wrote, "We are drawing near to a state of crisis an age of revolution." Such a period was far too practical in its working and far too evident in its origin to be concealed. All Europe was more or less interested in the issues. As far back as the downfall of the Roman Empire its history is traceable. At the opening of European civilization after the Middle Ages, its presence is apparent, while all along the line of English development it is also visible. In the struggle between Saxon and Norman; between the Barons and the King at Runnymede; in the times of Elizabeth and of Charles we see it, until, in the Revolution of 1688, royal prerogative yields to popular privilege, and English liberties are, for the first time, permanently adjusted. The benefits, however, thus secured were too pronounced to be enjoyed with moderation by England. She soon begins the abuse of her freedom, and once more, at least, a revolution is needed to impress upon the British