Page:Poetry of the Magyars.djvu/77

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INTRODUCTION.

History of Hungary (Magyar századok, Buda, 1808—16) is entitled to distinction. Virág still lives at Buda, fall of literary activity.

Csokonai has contributed to literature both good and evil things. He is often slovenly, sometimes coarse, sometimes exalted. His Dorrotya has much of fine wit and sharp satire in it, but is often degraded by low vulgarity. He was badly trained, and vibrated, as it were, from scholastic trammels into an unrestrained freedom of style. Writing always and about all things, he disappointed the expectations he had created. Schedel says he had in him all the elements of a popular lyric poet. In his wiser and happier vein he is charming. He helped, however, to redeem Hungarian poetry from the artificial coldness which had long frozen its genial spirit, and, with Kazinczi, Verseghy, and Dayka, to give it a genuine national character. Csokonai's birth-place was Debretzen. In his twentieth year he was chosen to fill the chair of Poetry, but was speedily dismissed on account of his irregularities. The following year (1796) he went to Poson (Presburg), where he published a poem on the then sitting Diet, which won him great praise. In 1797, he became enamored of the lady to whom many of his lyrics are addressed under the name of Lilla.