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packets of them, tore them up and threw them relieved from his monastic trammels, and urged into the fire. it with the greater vehemence, by reason of the Werner endeavoured to restrain him, but in reciprocal love of Sperata and himself. His vain. Let me alone' cried Wilhelm; what should these miserable leaves do here? To me brothers sought the assistance of the family couthey give neither pleasant recollections nor plea- fessor who then declared the nature of their resant hopes. Shall they remain behind to vex lationship. To this revelation, Augustin turned me to the end of my life? Shall they perhaps a deaf ear; bidding them "Spare their idle one day serve the world for a jest, instead of tales" that "she was not his sister, but his wife." awakening sympathy and horror? Woe to me! 'We were shocked at the discovery, we demy doom is woe! Now I comprehend the wailing of the Poets, of the wretched whom neces-plored his situation, but we knew not how to help sity has rendered wise. How long did I look ourselves, for he declared with violence, that upon myself as invulnerable and invincible, and Sperata had a child by him in her bosom." (v. ii, alas! I am now made to see that a deep and p. 189.) This disclosure produced, of course, a early sorrow can never heal, can never pass feeling of discomfort in the family. The Conaway; I feel that I shall take it with me to my fessor began to talk of religion. grave. No! not a day of my life shall escape this anguish, which at last must crush me down; your Gods"-said the Reverend Augustin, “You and her image too shall stay with me, shall live never name them, save when you wish to befool and die with me."" us." The mental and moral conflict ensuing upon the discovery, however, drove Augustin What with Wilhelm's infirm health and indif- frantic. He fled from his home, and is not again ferent spirits, and what with his attentive and heard of until we meet him as a deranged satisfactory deportment at the counting-house, it Harper, singing legendary lays, or mystical is again considered advisable by the old people snatches. Wilhelm adds him to his retinue, to resume the object of sending him on a col- puts him in an asylum, and does every thing that lecting tour. This is done. He passes some he can to restore the obscured light of reason to time in the discharge of his unpleasant duties its original lustre. But in vain. Father Auguswith the usual success, and finally stops to recruit tin terminated his earthly career with a razor. himself and horse at a market town in his route. (v. ii, p. 212-214.) Here he meets with Mignon. "The daughter of The fearful crime which she had committed was enthusiasm, rapture, passion, and despair, she is concealed by a pious fraud from Sperata until of the earth, but not earthly," says Mr.. Carlyle, after the birth of her child, and she was amused (Pref. vol. i, p. xii). The history of Mignon and cheated by pretended stories and messages runs like a thread of gold through the tissue of from the absent Augustin (v. ii, p. 193). But as the narrative, connecting with the heart much soon as her child was weaned, and she had rethat were else addressed only to the head. Phi- covered some strength, her confessor portrayed losophy and eloquence might have done the rest;" her fault in the most terrific colors." He but this is Poetry in the highest meaning of the "took no small credit for the ingenuity with word. It must be for the power of producing which he contrived to tear the poor creature's such creations and emotions. that Goethe is by heart." "Her little girl meanwhile was growmany of his countrymen ranked at the side of ing; from her earliest years she had displayed Homer and Shakspeare, as one of the only three an extraordinary disposition. When still very men of genius that have ever lived" (Pref. xiii). young, she could run and move with wonIt behooves us therefore to be very careful in our derful dexterity. She sang beautifully, and attempted outline of her story, and very guarded learned to play upon the cithern almost of herin our comments upon it, should we be bold self," (v. ii, p. 194). The child was taken from enough to venture on any. It is this: the mother, and committed to a worthy family An old Italian nobleman (v. ii, p. 187 et seq.) on the sea shore. Here she soon displayed her having large estates and three sons, had a daugh- love of climbing. She liked to change clothes ter born to him late in life. As a similar circum- with the boys. Her wild walks and leapings stance occurring to one of his neighbors had been often led her to a great distance, but she always the source of much ridicule, he determined to came back. At last, she went out and did avoid it by bringing her up as the daughter of a not return again. It was conjectured that friend, and Sperata grew in loveliness with her she was drowned, though all our searching years. In the mean season, Augustin, one of could not find her body” (vol. ii, p. 195.) The his sons, had entered the cloister by command of unhappy mother walked from day to day along his Father. For awhile the duties of his convent the sea shore, gathering up little bones in the fond and the dreamy enthusiasm of his disposition, hope of finally obtaining all the remains of the enabled him to endure his involuntary vocation; lost object of her anguish and affections. Anbut on the death of his parent, he sought to be other pious fraud" was perpetrated. The



bones of a child's skeleton were gradually in- | had not face to push away," (v. i, pp. 389–390).
troduced instead of those which she had col- He knew not who had thus hovered around him,
lected. She fastened them together with ribands, but the physician who attended Mignon in her last
and joyfully watched over them. One night, illness told him, (v. ii, pp. 122–123) that though
whilst she slept, they were removed, and, as she it was not she who had thus caressed him, yet
believed, animated by the spirit of her child, had she had seen some one in white dress, a certain
ascended to Heaven. Now then her work on Philina, enter his chamber on that occasion, and
earth was done. She had lived and she had then her love for Meister "already keen and
loved. To the Holy One must she now go-and powerful in her little heart," "mingled with pas-
so in tranquillity she passed away.
sionate jealousy" and "the unacknowledged
longing of obscure desire" (uo feeling, no af-
fection, no scene, which Goethe describes is free
from a tinge of the licentious coloring in which
his imaginations seems to revel) "seized her
half developed nature with tremendous force."
Violent action of the heart and convulsions fol-

Du Heilegi, rufe dein kind zuriick,
Ich habe genossen das indische Glück,

Ich habe gelebt und geliebet.*


[Thekla's song in Schiller's Piccolomini. But no such good fortune as a friendly wave had befallen the offspring of sin and shame. Evil days were in store for her. She had fallen lowed, which ultimately produced her death, (v. into the hands of a street-dancer, who, by ii, p. 146), But ere this last event occurred, she reason of his admirable skill, had been surnamed had been placed under the care of Natalia, one the Great Devil," (v. i, p. 128). On his death of Meister's numerous ladye loves, through whose she fell into the hands of his brother, from whom instrumentality she was induced to change her Meister buys her for thirty crowns, but can learn boy's costume for a more becoming attire, and nothing of her parentage or history. At this when Wilhelm next sees her, "she looked like a time she is about fourteen years of age, refuses departing spirit"—and such she indeed was-for obstinately to wear the ordinary apparel of fe- but a little while, and she faded away

"Like a golden exhalation of the dawn."

males and adheres to her masculine attire, to which she is more accustomed. "Her countenance was not regular but striking; her brow Her body is embalmed (v. ii, p. 147) and her full of mystery; her nose extremely beautiful; her obsequies are celebrated in a style, novel at least mouth, although it seemed too closely shut for one if not impressive, by "boys, dressed in azure of her age; and though she often threw it to a side, with silver, waving broad fans of ostrich feathhad yet an air of frankness, and was very lovely," ers, and by invisible choruses" (v. ii, p. 180.) (v. i, p. 121). She exhibited a "fine brown complexion, beautiful though sparingly intermingled with red.” She exhibits wonderful fidelity and affection for Wilhelin, as her deliverer from an odious bondage, and when, during his journeyings, his party was attacked by robbers and himself wounded, "she drew her sword in sequences, so worthy of unqualified approbation.

This then is the story of Mignon, which has called for so much unbounded enthusiasm and applause from Goethe's admirers, such wild pæaus in honor of his genius as a Poet. For ourselves we frankly confess, that we see nothing in this story of incestuous love and its hapless con

Indeed it rather seems to us as an illustration of what we conceive to be the most pernicious element in his writings, we mean the insidious manner in which he saps and undermines the foundations of moral life, we speak not here of morals as a science, but of moral life as penetrating, vivifying, exalting the soul of man. True

the battle, and seeing her friend in peril, struck fiercely at the free-booters; one of whom had at length seized her by the arm, and threw her aside,” (v. i, 284,) whereby her arm was dislocated. Uncomplaining, unheeding her own pain, "she tried to staunch his wounds with her own hair," (v. i, p. 271) and for days waited on him, nor admitted her own sufferings until "pressed it is, that into the mouth of Mignon our author with questions," (v. i, p. 284) and it was then, puts his choicest songs, and in her girlish purity, "with her arm in a sling, she came forth with her unfriended helplessness and her early death, her attentions and her love, was eager in serving appeals most strongly to our sympathy. But and lively in entertaining him," (v. i, p. 285.) however well he may succeed in arousing or One night, when Meister had been carousing too touching our feelings, they should not be permitfreely with some play actors, he went to his bed, ted to warp our judgment. And that judgment nearly stupified with drink. A noise aroused must reprehend in the most decided manner an him, and he felt himself encircled with soft attempt to indirectly justify a connexion which arms, and his mouth shut with kisses, which he the laws of God and man alike condemn, and *To her Father in heaven may the daughter now go; against which every genuine human feeling reI have known all the joys that the world can bestowvolts. But we must pass to our outline of Meister's adventures.

I have lived-I have loved.-Bulwer's Translation.

Amongst other things which attracted his at- tume, reminding one forcibly of that adopted at tention in the market-town before spoken of, (v. the Massachusetts Phalanstery. After perusing i, p. 112,) was a fair-haired, pretty, and piquant the description it will be easily understood why girl, Philina, the friend of one Mr. Laertes. With "every one that met him stared with astonishthese two persons he soon scrapes an acquaint- ment," (v. ii, p. 267.)

ance, and they go on divers excursions together. Philina with her saucy ways soon piques our "It struck him that a waistcoat, over which, hero into a liking, which with equal quickness in case of need, one could throw a little short begets a jealous feeling on the part of Mr. Fried-mantle, was a very fit thing for a traveller. Long knit pantaloons and a pair of lacing boots seemed the true garb of a pedestrian. He next procured a fine silk sash, which he tied about him under the pretence, at first, of securing warmth for his person. On the other hand he freed his neck from the tyranny of stocks; and got a few strips of muslin sewed upon his shirt, making the pieces of considerable breadth, so that they presented the complete appearance of an ancient ruff. The beautiful silk neckerchief, the memorial of Mariana, which had once been saved from burning, now lay slackly tied beneath this muslin and a large feather, perfected the mask," (v. i, A round hat, with a parti-colored band, p. 252, 253.)


rich, a harum-sca: um youth of high birth, (the brother of Natalia, Lothario and the Countess, with all of whom Meister falls in subsequently,) who, for love of her, waits on her, incognito. Friedrich and Philina part; then resume their old relationship: part again; are friends again, and so on; until at last Friedrich is metamorphosed by time from the beardless youth into "a young officer in a red uniform with white pantaloons," (v. i, p. 401,)—a metamorphose not without its disagreeable results, since "Philina's figure becomes so ludicrous and shapeless, that she cannot bear to see herself," (v. ii, p. 162.) In one of these excursions Meister's party is joined by Their performances attracted the attention of a man having a half-clerical appearance, and a theatre-loving Count, who invited them to his whose conversation and deportment produce a castle, there to perform certain plays. This they decided impression. This proves to be Jarno, a did so much to the satisfaction of the Count, that "handsome man," who professes the truest, deep- their visit was prolonged. The Count's wife, est devotion to philosophy, "and whom by his sister to Natalia and Lothario, was young and deep and dignified mien you might have taken for beautiful. The result, at last, according to Goa clergyman," (v. i, p. 145;) but who is in fact a ethe's notions of human nature, manly honor, libertine of the worst kind, being governed in his womanly virtue, is of course "that Wilhelm amours by a spirit of cold sensuality, unredeem- appeared every day more interesting to the ed by a single passionate impulse; a man after Countess, while in him too a silent inclinaGoethe's own heart; in fact, such a man as was tion towards her was beginning to take root," Goethe himself. His philosophical theories are (v. i, p. 213,) to which feeling "their barmless but little else than a compound of Jacob Boeh- souls yielded without reserve.” The actresses had drawn upon them the attention of the young officers," whilst the actors "made more important conquests amongst the lady visiters,") amongst which, Laertes, the quondam friend of Philina, had captivated a certain Baroness, the intimate friend of the Countess. Him, the Barouess would have made useful on this occasion, but unluckily "happening ouce to cel

menism and sentimentality, interlarded with a good deal of dillettauti criticism on the Fine Arts. A tolerable idea of his style of conversation, and of the correctness of the opinion here advanced may be gathered from the dialogue between himself and Lothario, (v. ii, p. 19.)

Meister shortly after this abandons his business and joins a company of strolling actors. Of these we need say nothing further than to quote ebrate her praises" to her husband, he was “inhis own words to Jarno after his separation from structed a little in the habits of his wife," for them. 66 How vehemently they counterwork" the Baron with a grin replied-'I see how each other! It is only the pitifulest self-love, the matters stand; our fair friend has got a fresh innarrowest views of interest, that unite them. Of mate for her stalls."" This "luckless comparireciprocal accommodation they have no idea: son" to Circe" Igrieved poor Laertes to the backbiting and hidden spitefulness maintain a heart," whilst "the Baron continued without constant jealousy amongst them. In their lives mercy." "Every stranger thinks he is the first they are either rakes or simpletons," (v. ii, p. whom this delightful manuer of proceeding has 22.) This we consider sufficiently descriptive, concerned; but he is grievously mistaken,'” (v. i, and so pass on with the personal narrative of the p. 214.) The remarks of the Baron about his hero. His connexion with his theatrical com- wife very naturally disgusted Laertes with the rades produced however some changes in his no- adventure. He backed out of it, and could not tions on the subject of dress, which soon devel- be used therefore to forward the iuclination of oped themselves in an easy, and yet poetic cos- the Countess and Meister for each other: an in



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clination which the Baroness anxiously desired ciple of Religion," (Pref. x.) But to return to
to nurse into an indulgence, as her own in the story.
trigues with several men, especially of late with Wilhelm's next adventure is with a certain Au-
Jaruo, had not remained hidden from the Coun-relia, a widow, an actress and the sister of Man-
tess, whose pure soul could not look upon ager Serlo, whose troupe Meister had joined,
such levities without disapprobation." Failing which interesting female always carries a
with Laertes, Philina and Jarno, the high- sharp dagger. Of her, it is enough to say that
minded devotee of Philosophy, are called in to after she was a widow, she had been for a
assist her in trapping the pure Countess into the series of mouths on the most intimate terms with
levity of a little adultery with Meister, for which Mr. Lothario. In course of time, he went away,
"Jarno was richly rewarded," (v. i, p. 237.) An aud she became partially deranged. Phili-
interview between the Countess and Meister is na's brief account, (v. i, p. 298,) is "a hapless
contrived, (v. i, p. 238, 239, et. seq.) in which love affair with some nobleman, who has left her
"without knowing it, he found the Countess in a memorial." Indeed, Philina "calculated Au-
his arms; her lips were resting upon his, and relia's business. The death of her husband,
their warm mutual kisses were yielding to them the new acquaintance, the child's age; all
that blessedness, which mortals sip from the top- things agree." Aurelia's beauty and sorrow-
most sparkling foam on the freshly poured cup of ful laments overcame Meister. He gives vent
love. Her head lay on his shoulder; the dis- to some of those vows and sentiments which
ordered ringlets and ruffles were forgotten," justify the much admiring Mr. Carlyle in saying,
and so on, when "on a sudden she tore her-the hero is a milksop, whom with all his gifts,
self away," begged him in "the most tender it takes an effort to avoid despising," (Pref. x.)
and affecting voice, Fly, if you love me.' Wil- Whereupon the young woman "darted her hand
helm was out of the chamber and again in his into her pocket, pulled out her dagger quick as
own room, before he knew what he was doing," lightning, and scored with the edge and point of
(v. i, p. 243.) Whereupon Goethe apostropises it across his hand. He hastily drew back, but
the uucommitted "levity" thus: "Unhappy crea- the blood was already running down," (v. i, p.
tures! what singular warning of chance or des- 335.) Most men would shrink from an attach-
tiny tore them asunder.
ment for so vivacious a person. Not so with our
Now Mr. Carlyle in his preface, (xi,) has given hero. He faithfully attended her to the last, for
us to understand that to appreciate and relish she dies of course, and then obligingly undertook
this book properly, we must give it our profound- to deliver to Lothario a letter addressed to that
est study. "Not," says he, "not till after long person, which she entrusted to his care during
and patient and intense examination, do we begin her dying hours, (v. i. p. 421, 422.) Arrived at
to descry the earnest features of that beauty, Lothario's castle, he is shown into a handsome,
which has its foundation in the deepest nature of spacious hall, where he repeats before the mir-
man, and will continue to be pleasing through all rors a pathetic speech, which he had composed
ages." We submit, with great deference, that, for the occasion, assumes all sorts of dignified
setting God and religion wholly out of view, it postures, in which to deceive his Lordship, when
was not exactly the most honorable thing for Mr. all of a sudden a handsome man stepped in, ex-
Meister to accept the money, (v. i, p. 245,) the cused himself for keeping Meister wait, took the
hospitality and kindnesses of a gentleman, and letter, which he read very coolly, and then put
then in grateful return therefor rob him of the af- his visiter in charge of "the abbe," who marched
fections of his wife and try to seduce her. To us, him off to a very pretty chamber, where he re-
much study and patient examination would not, proached himself for his indifferent mode of do-
we fear, disclose the beautiful features of such a ing his errand, looked at some copper-plate en-
"levity." Nor would we find it in our individual gravings in his room, was "seized with an inde-
microcosm, to admire the mode in which "man scribable compassion: tears filled his eyes; he
and his concerns are represented in the first of wept, and did not recover his composure, till
European minds," (Carlyle, Pref. xi,) if a hus- slumber overpowered him,” (v. ii, p. 10, 11, 12.)
band's guests and friends are, for the purpose of Next morning, whilst at breakfast with the cler-
hiding their own guilty commerce, to con- gyman, Lydia, a young lady, one of Lothario's
trive projects for effecting his dishonor and numerous mistresses, rushes in and frantically
the ruin of his wife. There may be "touch-demands her lover. Just then he is brought back,
es of eloquence and poetry and tenderness," seriously wounded in a duel, fought on account
in all this, but our perceptions are too ob- of another mistress. Of course he is treated as
tuse, our moral faculties too uncultivated, to an invalid, and, as Lydia is rather importunate
enable us to descry the earnest features of its in her attentions, Meister is employed with a
beauty," or see in it the unfolding of the prin- cunning knave of a coachman," (v. ii, p. 27,)



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to carry her off to "a neat little country house,' ,"the writer in person, and with her the intelligence the residence of Theresa, another mistress of that Madame St. Albin was not Theresa's mothLothario, but with whom he had no existing re- er, so that Lothario is once more free to renew lations. The poor girl's grief is very great at his engagement with her, which he offers to do. discovering the fraud thus practised on her, and At first she refuses and sticks to Meister, who she naturally inveighs against Meister's guile has given way to an unbounded passion for Naand treachery, whilst he protests his inno- talia, a passion which is fully reciprocated, and cence, and says he is only "a guiltless tool." he is accordingly much perplexed. Things ultiHe takes great credit to himself, however, for mately adjust themselves, and Lothario and Thehaving thus successfully deceived a hapless, resa once more resume their ancient relations; helpless orphan. And though we have not yet Meister and Natalia are engaged; but as the discovered "the features of beauty" in such con- utmost confidence is not placed in Meister's staduct, doubtless "patient examination" will cause bility of character, he is sent on his "Travels" us to regard it as exceedingly honorable and for a year before the affair is to be consummated. meritorious. The development of this plot and counterplot occupies the whole of Book VIII. With "the Travels" we have nothing to do.

Meister, whose propensity for falling in love with cast off mistresses, is greater than that of any novel-hero we have ever met with, takes a walk

with "a handsome hunter-boy," (v. ii, p. 35,) who turns out to be Theresa. She tells him her history-of her acquaintance with and engagement to Lothario, how it was broken off by her intended discovering that one of his numerous amours had been with Madame St. Albin, a gay lady travelling under an assumed name, but who was Theresa's mother, and how she had never seen him more. Meister, as usual, makes love, and upon his return to Lothario's mansion, proposes marriage, and is accepted, but not until our susceptible friend had fallen in love with Natalia, the younger sister of the Countess and Lothario, and who, to increase his miseries, hands him Theresa's letter of acceptance, (v. ii, p. 130.)

Pending all this, and whilst he is staying at the castle, he is initiated into the mysteries of a certain secret society, under whose supervision his whole previous life has been passed, though unknown to him. Its principal members are the Abbe, Jarno, Lothario and friends. The mummeries are not very imposing or impressive, (v. ii, p. 86, 93,) and are not essential to the outline of this story. He receives his Indenture, and is told that his Apprenticeship is now completed, and his Mastership is begun. It can not fail to surprise every reader, however, who remembers the amours of Jarno and Lothario, to learn that the object of this semi-illuminati association is to "encourage the beautiful," "cultivate Nature's endowments" amongst its members, &c. The Indenture itself we will not extract as Meister pronounces it "surprising stuff."


After his initiation he is despatched to the mansion of Lothario's sister, who turns out to be a beautiful Amazon," who extended some kindness to him when he was wounded by the freebooters. Here Wilhelm receives Theresa's letter of acceptance-followed shortly after by

We have thus given a faithful outline-omitting the loves of the actors, as Meister tersely and sufficiently characterizes them as "rakes or simpletons"-of this world-famous novel, for whose moral beauty and religious spirit so much is claimed by Goethe's adherents and admirers. Concerning the Book itself, we have no comments to make. To those who can see it in any other light than as a production of the highest talent prostituted to the narration of lascivious scenes and stories, of exquisite purity of style expended in licentious descriptions, of marvellous gifts of poetry and song, deliberately employed in undermining all that is honorable or holy amongst men-to such its frequent perusal may afford much pleasure, and its patient examination develope earnest features of beauty. To us, it does not.


Dear ford-ily bout when

created such as there ?


Fate! seek me out some lake far off and lone,
Shut in by hills of green aud gradual rise,
And beautified with blue inverted skies-
Where not a breeze but comes with softened tone.
And if the waves awake, they only moan
With a low lulling music, like the rills
That make their home among those happy hills;
And let me find-left there by hands unknown-
A bark with mouldering sides and rifted sail,
Jnst strong enough to bear me from the shore,
But not to reach its tree-girt harbour more-
Oh, happy, happy rest! oh, world of wail!
How calmly I would tempt the peaceful deep,
And sink to death, as if I sank to sleep!


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