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THE MONK AND THE SHEPHERD.
"Why stand'st thou thus, in silent grief?
Oh! shepherd, tell to me; Beats there e'en here, a wounded heart,
That draws me unto thee?"
"And dost thou ask? oh! look below
On my beloved vale;
The woodland sere and pale."
"Yet sorrow not—what is thy grief?
What, but a mournful dream 1
The trees with blossoms beam.
"Then plant the cross, to which I kneel,
Within the verdant grove;
The sign of deathless love."
The " Robber" seems like a sketch of one of the bold outlaws of Sherwood Forest. The portrait would be no disgrace to Robin Hood himself.
'Twas on a pleasant day in spring,
When lo! along the rugged path,
"If 'stead of these wild flowers of May,"
"Thv basket bore the wealth of kings,
The beauteous pilgrim's parting form
Thro' meadows fair, she wander'd on,
Soon 'mid the garden's lavish blooms,
Then turned the robber back and sought
The "Landlady's Daughter" is one of the most popular of German songs, and is said to be a great favorite among the students of the various universities. We have either read somewhere, or the idea iourown, that a political meaning is couched in these verses, the dead daughter repre senting the spirit of German freedom, and the exclamations uttered by the three stn dents respectively, the sentiments with which its loss is regarded by different minds.
Once over the Rhine three students strayed, At our landlady's door a halt they made.
"Oh! landlady, hast thon good beer and wine. And where is that fair little daughter of thine P
"My wine and beer are fresh and clear;
As into the chamber they took their way,
Then quickly putting the death-veil by,
"Oh! would thou wert living, fair maiden,'
said he; "Forever henceforth, my beloved thou should" *
The second the veil o'er the features cast.
"Alas! that thou li'st on thy cold death-bierThou whom I've loved for so many a year."
The third quickly lifted again the veil,
"I love thee to-day, as through all the past— I will love thee hereafter while time shall la?t.
Here is a ballad of the days of th Northmen, containing more strength an nerve than is commonly found in Uhland poems.
THE BLIND KING.
"Give, robber, back, my child to mo, from out thy dungeon cleft;
Forth from his cavern, fierce and tall, the robber stood reveal'd,
Yet not a warrior leaves the ranks, nor maketh one reply;
'■ Oh! son, the foe is giant strong, and none his might withstand,
The deep abyss sends o'er the sea a roaring, surging sound,
Full soon the old king blithely cries, "Oh! what can now be seen?
Again 'tis silent all; the monarch stands with list'ning ear:
"A rushing sound, as if of oars, across the waves I hear."
"Returning now they're bringing back thy son with spear and shield—
With gleaming locks of golden hair, thy daughter dear Gunild."
A welcome from the lofty rock the hoary monarch gave:
■• Lines to a Nameless One" are somebat sentimental, and decidedly German spirit; but pure in feeling and pleasing expression.
Upon a mountain's summit,
Oh! might I stand with thee, Where vales and crested forests
We far beneath might see, On cv'ry side I'd show thee
Where vernal glories shine, And say, "Were I the owner,
One half at least were thine."
My heart's nnfathom'd secret,
Oh! could'st thou search and see, Whore all the songs are sleeping,
That God e'er gave to me, WTjene'er I strove for goodness,
My struggles thou would'st know, Which, ne er to thee recounted,
To thee their being owe.
The dead poet, though his earthly voice hushed forever, " still speaketh. The mortality of genius is his lot—he be»gs to that glorious company of
"dead but sceptred sovereigns Who still rule our spirits from their urns;"
and while his songs preserve the records
THE MINSTREL'S RETURN.
His pallid lips are songless now,
Adorns that once inventive brow.
They place around, in fair, white scrolls,
And in his arms all silent lies
The harp that late so clearly rang.
Tho' sunk in death's oblivious sleep,
And bitter grief it wakens still,
When mouths and years had roll'd their
Around his tomb the cypress grew,
Slept in the grave's deep slumber too.
Yet, as with quicken'd strength and power,
So now, with youth and grace renew'd,
He mingles with earth's living crowds,
The olden age, that deem'd him dead,
"Walter the True Knight" is a ballad of the middle ages, portraying man's fidelity and woman's inconstancy, contrary to the usual burthen of such ditties, and showing that all damsels were not, in those days, quite so devoted as the "nut brown maid in the old English song, who refused to abandon her lover, even when he informed her
"That he must to the greenwood goe,
The valiant Walter rode along,
Our Lady's church beside;
By sorrows deeply tried:
That voice of old so welcome 1"
"Whom see I here? the faithless maid,
By me belov'd of yore?
Of gold and gems thy store?" "Alas! that I my true one left! For Paradise from me is reft—
With thee again I find it."
With pitying hand he raised the maid,.
Upon his courser sprung,
With frail, white arms she clung.
And not upon thy bosom."
To Walter's castle on they rode,
There all was still and lone;
His blooming looks had flown. "These sunken eyes, these cheeks so white, Become thee well, thou faithful knight—
I love thee more than ever."'
The gentle maid the armor loosed,
"What see I here? a sable garb?
"For one beloved my sorrows flow,
Whom I on earth no more shall know,
She sank beside his feet, and there
"On me, poor^hapless penitent,
Oh! raise me up, and make me blest,
And let me on thy faithful breast
"Forbear, forbear, thou wretched child,
For vain is thy request;
And torpid is this breast.
And never more returneth."
Thus have we culled, here and there, a few scattered flowers from the wilderness of sweets in which we have lately been wandering; but, like all exotics, when transplanted from the parent soil, they have lost in the process much of their native freshness and vigor. And even if all their "original brightness" has not yet departed, the faint trace of its existence that may still remain, affords but little indication of their beauty when flourishing in a more genial clime. They resemble the plant which, in the masque itf "Comus," the shepherd gave to the attendant spirit:
"The leaf was darkish and had prickles on it. But in another country, as he said, Bore a bright, golden now'r,but not in this soil."*
A PLEA FOR PHILOSOPHY.
Sosa will have it, that all philosophy is ain; and that the time bestowed upon it, n onr colleges and elsewhere, is only rasted, or worse than wasted, in the pur■uit of a phantom that can never be ■eached, while it leads us away continually from the proper use of life. What nen need in this world, we are told, is not 'peculation, but an active apprehension of he living realities with which they are imnt-diately surrounded, and the proper practical use of these for the ends of their )wn existence. The world is a fact, broadly and palpably spread out before yai censes; and our life is a fact, which we are required to turn to right account, by making the best of it for ourselves and jthere, in the circumstances in which we nay happen to be placed. Why, then, huuld we occupy ourselves with things :hat lie wholly beyond the sphere of our Ktual existence, and that can only serve to disqualify us for understanding and a-jng the world as it is? The sense of the world is sufficiently clear of itself for such K are disposed to take things just as they •ire, without troubling their heads about ""hat they are pleased to call its inward spiritual constitution and design. We have had ample experiment besides of the >anity of philosophy, in the past history of it* own achievements. The world has been philosophizing since the days of Pythagoras at least, and from a still earlier date, and yet to what has it come in the Thi? Has its philosophy made it any wiser or better? Has it accomplished any ►olid gain whatever for the human race? I» the world improved in any respect by the long exploded systems of Greece, by the profound lucubrations of the schoolmen in the middle ages, or by the vast upheaving of thought which have had place ■nnce the days of Immanuel Kant, in the modern metaphysics of Germany? Is it not, in fact, a history of contradictions and confusions, from beginning to end—one
system continually surmounting another, only to be as certainly overwhelmed after the same fashion, in its turn? It will be time enough to challenge our respect for philosophy, when philosophy shall have come to some proper understanding, in the first place, of her own mind and meaning. When she shall have become once mistress of herself—a house no longer divided against itself, the very cavern of ^Eolus where all pent-up minds are struggling perpetually in fierce conflict—it will be time enough to think of proclaiming her mistress of the world, 'ftll then, let her be remanded to her proper dwelling place in the clouds, the land of. far-off shadows and dreams. The world has too much serious business on hand, to be interrupted by her pretensions, and may reasonably say, in the language of Nehemiah to Sanballat and Geshem the Arabian of old: "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down; why should the work cease, whilst I leave it and come down to you?"
All this is very comfortable doctrine, of course, for those who have no disposition and not much power, possibly, to think for themselves, while they have just as little wish or will to be bound by the thinking of others. Agrarianism, indeed, we may call it, of the most truly democraticiorder; for is it not something more to level thus the aristocracy of mind, than it is to bring down simply the aristocracy of birth or fortune? Is it not a species of self-exaltation, particularly soothing to the sense we commonly have of our own importance, to be able in this way to compare ourselves so favorably with what has generally been counted the highest order of the world's intellect, and the true nobility of its life? The man who can say of all philosophy, It is mere wind, must needs feel himself in this respect somewhat superior to the great minds which, in different ages, have counted it worthy of their attention and study. It is much, surely. for any one to have the thought clearlypresent in his own consciousness: "Pythagoras was a fool, Plato was a fool, Aristotle was a fool; all the old Greek philosophers were fools; the seraphic, irrefragable doctors of the school divinity, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventura, Duns Scotus, the whole of them together, were fools; and the same character belongs most eminently to the modern German thinkers, Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, and all who think it worth while to waste any time upon their speculations: but I am wise; for I have sense enough to know that all philosophy is nonsense, and that the less the world is troubled with it the better. My life is more rational, and likely to be of far more account at last, than theirs." This, we say, is comfortable; and it is not much wonder, perhaps, that philosophy should be in bad credit with so many persons, when so fair a premium in this way is made to rest on unthinking ignorance and sloth.
And then, the case becomes still worse, of course, when the prejudice of religion comes in, as it is always ready to do, in favor of the same conclusion. It is bad enough, we are told, that philosophy should pretend to interfere with the actual world, in its common life, abstracting men's minds from its practical realities, and amusing them with its own theoretic dreams; but when the evil is made to reach over, in the same form, to the sphere of religion and faith, it is something still more difficult to be endured. And is there not in fact an original, necessary opposition between revelation and philosophy? Is not faith the simple contrary of speculation'? Is it not written, "Let no man spoil you through philosophy;" plainly implying that we should have nothing.to do with it, in the business of Christianity? And is not the history of the church from the beginning full of instruction and warning, in the same direction? Have not all corruptions and heresies sprung from philosophy, undertaking to rule and set aside the simple doctrine of God's word? Witness the flood of Gnostic speculations in the second century; the subsequent errors «»f Origcn and his school; the scholastic subtleties of the Aristotelian theology, at a still later period; and above all, the ra^ta^ pantheistic systems, to which the
modern German philosophy has given birth. Philosophy and infidelity are found to have, in all ages, a close inward affinity for each other. The first may be considered the elder sister, if not in fact the proper natural mother of the second. That state of the church accordingly is to be accounted the most prosperous, in which religion is as little as possible the subject of speculation; and the man who meddles least with the contents of his faith, in the way of inward thought and reflection, is likely to show himself the best Christian, and make his way most successfully to heaven.
But now, in opposition to all such popular cant,—that can hardly be said for the most part to understand its own meaning,— it is at once an ample reply to say, that philosophy belongs to the very constitution of our life, and cannot be expelled from it therefore without the greatest violence and wrong. For what is it at last, more or less than the endeavor to know ourselves and the world, and. the form in which, at any given time, this knowledge reflects itself in our consciousness'? And can it be a question at all, whether it be proper and right for us to seek the knowledge of ourselves in this way? It lies in the idea of humanity itself, that it should comprehend within itself such a mode of existence, just as it necessarily includes also the life of art or the law of social, or political organization. The question whether philosophy is to be tolerated and approved, is precisely like the question whether we should approve and tolerate government or art. These are all so many several spheres only of our human existence itself, which are necessary to make it true and complete, and which cannot be sundered from it, without overthrowing, at the same time, its essential constitution. It is not by any arbitrary option or will of ours, that they come to have the right of being comprehended in the organic structure of the world; their right is as old as the world itself, and must stand as long as man and nature shall be found to endure. If any number of men, for instance, in vast world-convention assembled, should pretend to sit in judgment on the right and title of the fine arts, music, sculpture, poetry and the rest, to retain their place in the world, and at last