Page:Selected Orations Swedish Academy 1792.djvu/28

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28
AN ORATION BY M. DE ROSENSTEIN.

the polite literature of the Swedish nation, under the auspices which it now enjoys, attain their summit by a progress as rapid as did our military glory in the reign of Gustavus-Adolphus! This is no presumptuous wish, if we recollect the advances which the Swedish language has already made, and if we advert to the present state of literature among us. We have instances, in which our language has expressed, with an energy worthy of Greece and Rome, and perhaps surpassing every modern language, the most bold, sublime, and generous sentiments of liberty. We have heard it, by the irresistible power of eloquence, dissipate prejudices, convey truths, suppress one sensation, excite another, subdue inveterate antipathies, recal unanimity; warm, excite, transport; and, by its varied and yet united effects, infuse into the mind acquiescence and conviction. We possess compositions of the utmost excellence in point of lucid order, force, depth of thought, chastity of expression, neatness, harmony, elegance, and variety of style. Some are distinguished by that vigour, and that precision of genius, in which the ancients excelled, and which the moderns have found so difficult to attain. It is worthy of notice, that the authors who have charmed the public most, are those who have had the least occasion to adopt foreign expressions. Our poetry, we can assert without partiality, is in a higher degree of perfection than the poetry of most other nations at the period when they began to cultivate their language. The epic poem, the ode, the drama, evince that the Swedish language is sublime, masculine, pathetic, flexible, and sonorous; while our philosophic poems prove it energetic, ingenious, clear, and expressive. In Atis and Camilla (it is allowable to cite this masterly

performance,