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feet long, by eightyone wide, affording accommodations of a very superior kind for a library, reading rooms, and a musical saloon. A stronger indication of a desire to diffuse knowledge and encourage intellectual refinement and good taste, or a more honorable testimony of a spirit of literary improvement, could not have been given. It was a remark of Mr Hinkley in his Address on the occasion of laying the corner stone of this building, that intelligence and virtue are the strength and beauty of a republic, and every true patriot must rejoice to witness any new means for their advancement.' Nothing could be more just, or better expressed, and while the citizens of Baltimore exhibit such tokens of their patriotism, they will build monuments, more durable than marble or brass, of their love of country and freedom, of their respect for the wise who have planned, and the brave who have defended our political and civil institutions.
ART. V.-Johann Gottfried von Herder's sümmtliche Werke. Zur schönen Literatur und Kunst.
John G. Herder's complete Works, relating to Belles Lettres and the Arts.
Or the men of letters in Germany, who contributed to elevate the reputation and improve the taste of their country, few were so distinguished for variety of attainments, industry, and the love of pure morality, as Herder. Without pos
sessing great originality, he had still that power of genius, which gives life to acquisitions, and knew how to enrich and strengthen his mind by diligence in study and the faithful exertion of his faculties. The character of his mind was poetic; yet as nature had denied him the highest qualifications of the poet, and he was conscious of his own inability to tread firmly in the heaven of invention,' he contented himself with occupations suited to his capacities, taking the widest range through the literature of almost every age and nation, to which he could gain access, and returning from his excursions with noble spoils. He knew how to estimate the excellence of others; he could hold his mind aloof from the objects by which he was immediately surrounded, and enter upon the
study of a foreign work, as if he had been of the country, for which it was originally designed. Being possessed of great skill in the use of his own language, he was able to transfer into it the lighter graces no less than the severe lessons of foreign poets. To turn over some parts of his works is as to walk in a botanical garden, where the rare and precious plants of other countries, which thrive in climates the most distant and most different, are artificially yet safely collected, and planted without injury in soils suited to their natures. The ancient songs of the Scots, the pleasing ballads of the olden times in England, the little poems, which have been revived in the recent popular selections from the early English writers, the tales and canzons of the French, the Spaniards, the Italians, are many of them to be found among his works, neatly and accurately translated into the German.
But not only the beauties of the literature of the west, the finest sayings of Sadi and other oriental poets, the Greek convivial songs, the most blooming flowers from the Grecian Anthology, those odes of Horace, those poems of Persius and other Latin authors, which breathed a high moral spirit, are introduced in his pages, and either arranged in separate collections, or pleasantly interwoven amidst his criticisms, his moral reasonings, and his remarks on history and man. Indeed some of the volumes of his works may be compared to a fanciful piece of mosaic, composed of costly stones from all parts of the world, and if not always arranged in the very best taste, at least always rich in themselves, and well fitted to gratify the observer. He did more than translate. Wherever he found a beautiful idea, a just and happy image or allegory, he would seize upon it, and, giving it a form suited to his own taste, present it to the world anew. Deeply versed in biblical criticism, he often met amidst the rubbish of verbal commentators and allegorical expositors, many curious and instructive fables, narrations, proverbs, and comparisons. These he did not fail to select, to amplify and arrange, and thus put in currency again many a bright thought, which lay covered with the rust of learning, or buried under a mass of useless criticisms. He collected the ballads of the Spanish Cid, and formed of them a continued poem; he seized on ideas in the eastern as in the classic mythology, and wrought them into beautiful and instructive fictions; he se
lected from the writings of men, whose minds had an influence on their age, the thoughts which characterised them, and thus gathered a magazine of practical wisdom. In fables, dialogues, and familiar letters, in poems and allegories, imitated, translated, or original, he alike endeavored to please and to teach lessons of goodness. It may be said of Herder, that he passed his life in tranquil industry, possessed of a delicate perception of the beautiful, cherishing in himself and others a love of learning, creating as it were anew the thoughts of the wise and good, and always employed in disseminating a knowledge of what seemed to him the elements of virtue, and cherishing and promoting whatever can improve or adorn humanity.
And what is humanity? Herder would have answered, the best part of human nature; the sum of good affections, generous dispositions, and noble principles of action, by which man is capable of being moved and guided. This idea of humanity was one, which possessed his affections and his reverence. It was the favorite subject of his thoughts, and he delighted to believe and to gather proofs, that men are becoming more and more humane. Others have loved to revile mankind, in the bitter spirit of satire, with the vindictive temper of misanthropy, to speak evil, not of the manners of their own times only, but of human nature, and so to deny the best and most cheering part of the creed of philanthropy. Herder had no fondness for collecting examples of human folly or crime. He felt that the world is full of beauty and excellence, and that man is the fairest and most exalted part of the visible creation, and, being by the character of his mind opposed to that cold and distrustful selfishness, which will not confide in others, he loved to warm his heart with contemplating the examples of purity and disinterested virtue, of highminded patriotism and ardent devotedness to the welfare of mankind. And he, who is conversant with Herder's writings, will be disposed to think, that the world has been rich in such examples, and that men, who have been gifted beyond measure by a bountiful and gracious Providence, have almost always associated the light of virtue with the brilliancy of genius.
Herder was the son of a poor Prussian schoolmaster. He received his literary education in Königsberg, at a time,
when the chair of philosophy in that very respectable university was filled by Kant, who, as a metaphysician, has had perhaps no rival among his countrymen but Fichte;* and though Herder devoted himself eagerly to the study of theology, yet he was deeply interested in pursuits, connected with philosophy and elegant literature. Hardly twentyone years of age, amidst all his cares as a responsible instructer at the Gymnasium of Riga, he came before the public in 1765, with criticisms on the men and subjects, which then attracted most generally the attention of his countrymen. German litera
ture had received a powerful impulse, and was rapidly rising; Herder felt the inspiration, which had been breathed into Klopstock and Lessing, and the other fine minds of that day, and was desirous of accomplishing his part in guiding the taste and thoughts of the public. Though so young he wrote with freedom, and considering that a public declaration of opinion must be a sincere one, he did not reason coldly on matters of taste, but communicated bis ideas and sentiments with all that warmth, in which they existed in his mind. His manner was not without pretensions, but his work was obvi ously the production of a man, who thought clearly, pursued his end with unwavering steadiness, and expressed himself with youthful sincerity. In this he acted wisely. If a young man dares to praise and blame those, whose reputation is already established, it is his safest course to explain the impressions, which their works have made upon himself, and to tell the truth frankly. Indeed, even in despotic countries, this has appeared the least dangerous plan of action, and the least likely to give offence. How shall you contrive,' said the duke of Burgundy to the Abbè Choisy, to insert in your history, that Charles the Sixth was a fool?' "My Lord,' replied he, 'I shall say, he was a fool.' Lewis the Fourteenth began censuring his historian, Mezerai, for delineating Lewis
*There is no justice in considering Kant, as the only great writer on metaphysics in Germany. He was the earliest in point of time, in the new school, but Fichte has at this time certainly as many followers, and perhaps as many admirers, as the sage of Königsberg. In Fichte's Addresses to the German nation, delivered in Berlin, many excellent, and withal some very extravagant notions on the subject of education, may be found. His little treatise on the end of man, Ueber die Bestimmung des Menschen, is well fitted to convey a general idea of his manner, while its doctrine will please those, who do not, disregard the speculative sciences, and are not disposed to sneer at contemplative habits of thought.
the Eleventh as a tyrant. Sire,' replied he, with great humility, why was he a tyrant?" The criticisms of Herder were well received, notwithstanding their novelty and boldness, for the German public, not less than any other, is willing now and then, that new opinions should be started, and ancient prejudices be somewhat alarmed, especially if the new opinions are just ones. Lessing, whose thoughts and criticisms are always clear and discriminating, prophecied of the young scholar, that he would either become a coxcomb, or one of the greatest of the German writers. It did not long remain a question, which of these he would become. Supported by an inward consciousness of worth, and a pleasant foreboding of his future usefulness and honor, he confirmed his independence in thought and action, and soon began to enjoy the honors, which a vast nation pays to its literary benefactors, the guardians of its morals, and the patient instructers of its youth.
To one, who has not considered how much may be accomplished by uninterrupted industry, how large the prospect is, which the student may command from his seclusion, it may seem impossible, that Herder should have known so many languages, and the literature contained in them, and have known them so well. But he not only wrote on subjects connected with letters, like a man of taste and feeling, but also on subjects of theology like a man of learning. His Letters relating to the Study of Theology are full of instruction and good sentiments, and his work On the Spirit of the Hebrew Poetry, though written subsequently to the lectures of Lowth, is full of original, profound, and interesting criticism, exhibiting the majesty of the Scriptures in many new views, and illustrating the rich imagery, the brilliant and sublime thoughts and language of the ancient prophets. Herder reverenced the inspired men as the oracles of God, only in so far as revelations of wisdom and goodness are common to all the superior minds, with which Providence has blessed the world. Whilst these views are rejected, there still can be but one opinion of the successful effort, which he has made to vindicate the character of the Hebrew Scriptures, and illustrate their claim to admiration for the beauties of their poetry.