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judgment, or rather feeling, in the scene where Thekla, the daughter of Wallenstein, receives the news of her lover's death. I annex it at length in Mr. Coleridge's excellent translation, for the gratification of those who cannot read it in the original German.
The KLA, the swepish cAPTAIN, LADY NEUBRUNN.
cAPTAIN [respectfully approaching her].
Princess—I must entreat your gentle pardon—
The KLA [with dignity].
I fear you hate my presence, For my tongue spake a melancholy word.
I am firm.
We lay, expecting no attack, at Neustadt,
Their horses at full speed, broke thro' the lines,
[The KLA betrays agitation in her gestures. The Officer pauses till she makes a sign to him to proceed.
Both in van and flanks
[The KLA, as giddy, grasps a chair.
Known by his plume,
[Thekla, who has accompanied the last speech with all the marks of increasing agony, trembles through her whole frame, and is falling. The LADY NEUBRUNN runs to her, and receives her
in her arms. NEU BRUNN. My dearest lady CAPTAIN. I retire. THERLA. 'Tis over.
Proceed to the conclusion.
- Wild despair
The KLA [faltering].
- And where— Where is—You have not told me all.
cAPTAIN [after a pause].
NEUBRUNN [to THERLA, who has hidden her countenance]. Look up, my dearest lady
The KLA. Is it far from hence 3
THEKLA. Which is the way ?
You go by Tirschenreit And Falkenberg, through our advanced posts.
- The KLA.
Who Is their commander?
[Thekla steps to the table, and takes a ring from a casket.
* THEKLA. You have beheld me in my agony, And shown a feeling heart. Please you, accept [giving him the ring. A small memorial of this hour. Now go! cAPTAIN [confused]. Princess—
[THEKLA silently makes signs to him to go, and turns from him. The CAPTAIN lingers, and is about to speak. LADY NEUBRUNN repeats the signal, and he retires.
Here we have no studied lamentations—not a superfluous word is spoken; and yet those few short questions wring the heart of the reader. A more touching scene can hardly be imagined than these simple words produce; and why? Because they are the very words of nature. Let him who would write finely remember it.
The present age has to contend with two faults in style: —on the one hand, there is an inclination, in graver works, to imitate the inversions and rounded periods of the Latin, which are quite foreign to the genius and character of the English language: on the other, our poets and dramatists have set up the age of Elizabeth as a pattern of excellence, and filled their pages with antiquated expressions which are no longer familiar to us, and therefore sound quaint and odd, and thus impair the effect they were intended to produce. The exact middle way is not often taken; and it is generally allowed, though few set about to explain the reason why, that a good idiomatic English style is rare in these days, and that rivals to ..opeae. to Bacon, or to Jeremy Taylor are not to be ound. Before closing this part of the subject, it may be well to give some proof that my observations on the use of our forefather's language are well founded, and that our best writers make such large use of it, that the goodness of a style may almost be measured by the proportion of words of Teutonic derivation which it contains. In the following examples all the words not belonging to the Teutonic family are marked in italics.
TRANSLATORS OF THE BIBLE.
“And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon; sor they heard that they should eat bread there. And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth. And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake Is he yet alive? And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health; he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.”—Genesis.
“The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at rest and is quiet, they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon; saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us. Hell from beneath is moved for thee, to meet thee at thy coming. It stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak, and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we ?—art thou become like unto us?”—Isaiah.