A survey of Danish literature part 4
A SURVEY OF DANISH LITERATURE, FROM THE EARLIEST PERIOD TO THE PRESENT TIME.
By Mrs. Bushby. Part IV.
In the previous parts of this slight survey of Danish literature, all those authors have been mentioned who, having taken the highest stand in their own country, from an early date up to a recent period, were the best entitled to he brought before the notice of the reaaing public of a foreign nation. There have been others, perhaps very meritorious, but whose claims were not of that lasting nature to warrant their being classed among the supporters of the literary renown of their native land. If it has been a matter of some difficulty to make a selection from the writers of past centuries, and from those of a more recent date who are now no more, there is still greater difficulty in choosing from among the writers of the present day those to whom to assign—not indeed the leading place—but their due position in the ranks of living Danish authors.
Time, that great leveller, though it may enhance the merits, and soften die demerits of those who have flourished in very remote ages, around whom is cast the venerable halo of antiquity, divests the bygone of a later creation of all that prestige with which it was surrounded by the passions, or the enthusiasm, of contemporary judges, and by the fashion of the day. So that, aided also by unprejudiced critics and biographers, those of succeeding generations are enabled to form a tolerably correct estimate of the labours of such as have passed away at no very distant period. But living authors are not generally made the subjects of biography, and though critics do not spare them, criticisms vary so much, and opinions are often so conflicting, that it is infinitely more difficult to do strict justice to living authors than to dead ones.
Among the living authors of Denmark, Nicolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig takes a high stand. He was born at Udby, in Zealand, in 1783, and is much admired by many in his native country as a preacher, a poet, and an historian. He is also celebrated as a theological writer, and for his knowledge of Anglo-Saxon. As a preacher and theologian he is eloquent, but bigoted and intolerant. There can be no doubt that Grundtvig is a pious man, though he carries his zeal too far; nor can there be a doubt of his learning, though his acquirements in Anglo-Saxon, and other old languages, make him rather pedantic. Among his works may be mentioned, "Bjowulfe Drape," a Gothic heroic poem from the Anglo-Saxon, published in 1820; a thick volume of " Kvcedlinger eller Smaakvad"—small poems, bearing on its title-page the date of 1815. The greater number of these are on his favourite subject, the fables of the Scandinavian mythology—a subject on which he has enlarged, both in prose and verse, in. another work, entitled, "Nordens Mytologi," "The Mythology of the North/' The last named is an earlier production than the "Smaakvad," it having appeared in Copenhagen in 1808, and having been written before Grundtvig took orders. In the preface to this work, he assumes much credit to himself for his extensive insight " paa Asalaeren," which means, into the knowledge of the gods of the Valhalla; and rather sneers at " the many learned men in the North, who knew every blossom in the garden of Arcadia, yet would almost start with surprise at the name of Yggdrasill.99* That the fables of the Northern mythology are very curious, some interesting, and a few extremely beautiful, must be allowed by all who know anything of them; but they hardly demand such veneration, and so much study, as the Rev. Mr. Grundtvig claims for them. Grundtvig's poetry is liked by his countrymen, as being peculiarly NortJiern. There is a good deal of imagery in it, and some feeling, but it wants variety.
Bernhard Severin Ingemann, born 1789, a professor at Soroe, and a contemporary of Grundtvig, is a far more pleasing writer. He also dwells much on the olden times ; but it is the real history of his country that he elucidates, and places before his readers in interesting points of view. Ingemann writes everything well; it is impossible that he should do otherwise, with accurate historical knowledge, with a well-stored memory, with inexhaustible treasures of imagination, brilliant fancy, force, and purity of feeling, vast powers of description, poetic taste, and complete command of language. The great Oehlenschlseger has said, in his last volume of poems (" Digte Kunsten"), published in 1849, that,
If thou wouldst seek these mental gifts to know, Which artists ever on their work bestow— Hark! In the subject's choice, its scope, indeed, In its arrangement, 'tis Good-sense we need.
To exorcise those shades from vanished days,
On which, through dim mists of the past, we gaze—
And even living spirits to command,
We and Imagination must go hand in hand.
And that those phantoms which we summon near, May not as cold and spectral forms appear, But play like beings of this life their parts— Feeling must lend her aid, and warm their hearts.
And to be sometimes pensive, sometimes gay, To glean from crowds, and bid them go or stay, To choose if on your canvas shall be traced Dark eve, or morning's dawn—these rest with Taste.
- The ash Yggdrasill—mentioned in the "Voluspa," and prose "Edda," "a high tree, sprinkled with the purest water; it stands ever green over the Urdar fountain." According to Finn Magnusen, this ash Yggdrasill was the symbol of universal nature. Other writers say it was the emblem of human life. Grundtvig has a theory of his own. So that none of the writers on Scandinavian mythology agree as to what this fancied ash-tree was really meant to shadow forth.
All those requisite ingredients in the composition of an artist—and by " artists" Oehlenschläger did not mean painters alone—are happily united in Ingemann. In his historical romances, which are decidedly his best works, " those shades from vanished days," those phantoms whom he has summoned, play their parts with spirit and life-like truth; he has, indeed, " re-animated departed generations," and the principal events and personages of his tales are strictly historical—not merely fictitious characters, and fancied scenes with borrowed names, forming a sort of masquerade. Though foreign readers cannot take so much interest in his historical heroes and heroines as Danes do, yet all must admit that the incidents, the descriptions, the delineation of passions and feelings, are most effective, and that one is carried back with the author's ideas to the period of which they tell. Ingemann's principal historical romances are, "Waldemar Seier," " Waldemar the Victorious;" " Erik Menveds Barndom," " The Childhood of Erik Menved;" " Kong Erik og de Fredlose," " King Erik and the Outlaws;" and " Prince Otto of Denmark and his Contemporaries." To these may be added two historical poems—'\Waldemar the Great and his Men," and " Queen Margrethe." Of these, " Waldemar the Victorious" and * King Erik and the Outlaw?" may be enjoyed by the English reader through the medium of Miss Chapman's admirable translations. In perusing her version of these charming works, one forgets that one is reading a translation, so thoroughly does she enter into the spirit of the original. Her translations of some of Oehlenschlasger's best dramas have before been mentioned. Miss Chapman would, doubtless, kindly permit some extracts to be given here from either of her two works ; but as we have determined to borrow nothing, we shall take part of a scene or two from " The Childhood of Erik Menved." This romance, in three volumes, dwells much more on the deeds, or rather misdeeds, of King Erik Christo-pherson, the father of Erik Menved, than on any notice of that prince's childhood.
Erik Christopherson, or Glipping (a nickname bestowed on him in consequence of his having a habit of winking his eyelids continually), was one of the worst kings that ever reigned in Denmark. Vicious in his private character, treacherous, cruel, and timid, he was hated and despised; and though some few of the nobility adhered faithfully to him from loyalty to the crown, a conspiracy was formed against him by several others, at the head of which was Marshal Stig Andersen, whose beautiful wife the ungrateful king had grievously injured and insulted, when the brave Marshal Stig was leading the Danish troops against the enemies of his profligate sovereign. The conspirators assumed the disguise of monks—the grey brothers—and one of their number was the king's confidential and favourite attendant, and, as the deluded monarch fancied, personal friend, Kammersvend Rane. It was he who, according to Ingemann's tale, basely lured his royal master to a lonely building, where he was murdered by the conspirators, who then set fire to the barn where the deed was perpetrated; the blind, deranged father of Stig Andersen's wife perishing by chance in the flames. The real hero and heroine of the romance are Drost Peder Hessel, a chivalrous, superior character; and the Lady Inge, the clever, amiable, loyal, and high-minded daughter of a Danish nobleman, who himself was weak and wavering in his policy—too pusillanimous to be a decided conspirator, too discontented to -be a faithful adherent of the monarchy. There is a Duke Waldemar introduced, a cousin of the king, who plays, or endeavours to play, a somewhat similar game to that attempted by the Duke of Augustenburg lately-—with only this difference, that Duke Waldemar almost openly aspired to the throne. There is a young girl, a beautiful and interesting somnambulist, who holds rather a prominent station in the romance. The king, having seen her, has taken a fancy to her, and he is aided in his pursuit of this Aase, who resides with her grandfather, by his infamous favourite, Rane. It appears in the course of the narrative that Rane, who was the king's professed friend, but secret enemy, having found out the retreat of the young girl and her aged relative, made use of this knowledge to lure the king into the toils prepared for him.
King Erik Glipping is on a visit at one of the castles of his noble adherent, Drost* Peder; during his stay there, some daring outlaws and pirates are captured in the vicinity of the castle, and the king, always delighting in condemnations and executions, insists on passing sentence on these men without any legal trial. Among them is a young knight, the brother of one of his most stanch supporters, whom the king's own insults and severity had rendered desperate; but this claim to his clemency does not soften the feelings of the bloodthirsty monarch. In his interview with the outlaws, King Erik shows at once his ferocity and his timidity. Soon after the prisoners are secured the king declares to his host, Drost Peder, that before the evening closed in their execution should take place; adding,
" We shall then be able to sleep in peace, and there will be nothing to interfere to-morrow with the pleasures of the chase."
The Drost petitions for some delay; he demurs at thus hurrying the poor wretches into eternity, and begs hard that they may at least be allowed to see a priest.
" There is no time for that," said the king. " I will not sleep under the same roof with robbers and murderers; if / am to be your guest, Drost Hessel, your other guests, who were uninvited, must sleep upon the wheel to-night."
" If it please you to command it, my liege," replied the Drost, " they can be sent forthwith to the dungeon-keep at Viborg, and then it will not be necessary for your grace either to sleep under the same roof with them, or to hasten this bloody tragedy. There are men among them who are not born to end their lives in so hurried and fearful a manner."
" No one is born to such a fate," said the king, losing himself for a moment in thought. "If any one had his destiny sung to him in his cradle, it might benefit him in after-life. We ourselves do not know what may be in store for us. Is there any person of rank among them ?"
" There is at least one among them who did not always herd with the outcasts of mankind, and who, even now, has some remains of honour and feeling. His high birth and former situation are now, indeed, the strongest witnesses against him. You yourself, my king, bestowed knighthood upon him."
" That shall not avail him—he must die. Who is he ?"
" Sir Lave Rimaardson, her gracious majesty's kinsman, and brother to the loyal Bent Rimaardson.'
- Drost was the title attached to a high office in the royal household.
The king started; he cheeked his hone, and gaaed at Drost Peder with an inquiring look, which betrayed much of secret suspicion; then his eyelids began to wink violently.
"The queen's kinsman, said you —the outlawed Lave Rimaardson — he who dared to incite the peasantry to revolt against me ? And you would now protect a rebel, and make intercession for so dangerous an'offender, Drost to Protect him I would not, Herre King; but for a sinner I Bhall dare to intercede. Mercy is the first attribute of the great Judge of all mankind. I would pray your majesty to remember that the culprit's brother is one of the most faithful adherents of the crown, and that he is connected to the royal family itself."
"Ha! I shall show you and all my subjects that when justice is in question, I take no cognizance of friendship or relationship, of high birth or noble breeding; no, nor of princely descent. I will see Sir Lave Rimaardson die upon the wheel before the sun go down .... no more !
Another influential nobleman tries to dissuade the king from carrying out his wishes with such unseemly haste, and to let the law take its usual course—hut in vain. The warder now entered the knights hall with a guard of armed men, between two rows of whom walked Niels Ufred and his comrades; they entered boldly, while Sir Lave Rimaardson hung back, as if ashamed of his companionship with them.
"Who is your leader ? demanded the king.
"I," replied Niels Ufred, with so fierce a look that the king recoiled a few steps.
" What is your name ?"
" That, every child in Denmark knows," replied the rover, scornfully. " With the mere mention of it mothers terrify their children into obedience. At my name the weak and the cowardly scream and turn pale; aye, and many a lusty gallant, too, has quailed at it. . . . Were this arm but free, Herre King, it would not give you time to hear my name to the end. I am called Niels Ufred, at your service. If you did your duty as a king, as well as I do mine as a rover, it would be better for your poor subjects."
" You confess then that you are a freebooter, and that all those fellows are your accomplices?"
" If we were to deny it, we should be base and pitiful scoundrels; you are, very likely, accustomed to lies and deceit at your court, but I and my comrades are not versed in such accomplishments."
"'Tis well !" said the king. ..." Prepare to die this very hour!"
" It amounts to the same thing; coone soon, or come late, Herre King, we shall all go the same way. But if you will let me live till to-morrow, I shall tell you a piece of news that may be of service to you, and perhaps prevent our meeting so soon in another place."
The king opened his eyes wide, and cast an uneasy look towards Kammersvend Rane, who gave him a furtive glance in return, and pointed to the hilt of a poniard which peeped forth from a pocket in the breast of the rover's dress.
"So," said the king, turning again towards the freebooter, "you would work on my fears, or my curiosity, fellow, that you may escape—break out, perhaps, and commit fresh outrages; but I am too old a bird to be caught by chaff. If you have no better plea to urge, you shall not live beyond this hour."
"So be it; I shaft but go before you. . . . Since you will have me to beyour herald in the other world, I must e'en take upon myself the office; but you will repent it. . . . We shall soon meet again."
He is ordered away, and the young knight is called on.
" Stand forward, Lave Rimaardson," cried the king. And the wild, misguided youth stepped forward, while every one present regarded him with looks of sympathy and compassion, except the king and Rank, who betrayed mucli anxiety as he watched his countenance. " It was you on whom with this sword I conferred knighthood about three years ago," said the king; "now your arms in your native halls shall be broken with ignominy, and your reversed shield shall be hung beneath the gallows, in token of your disgrace. Do you avow your connexion with these vile and insolent pirates ?
" Yes, King Erik Christopherson ; and I avow still more. Could you and I but have met alone in the caves of Daugbery for one half-hour, you should as surely not have beheld the sun set as I expect not to see it"
"Ha! treason!—madman!" cried the king, starting back. "If you deem by such audacious speech to win a moment's reprieve, you deceive yourself. Had you a thousand accomplices I would not spare you the time to name them.*"
" Therein you are wise, King Erik,"* answered the fettered knight, with a scornful laugh. " Lose no time, for you have none to spare. When your hour of reckoning comes, you will have more to answer for than those you now doom to the rack and the wheel.....If the brave Stig Andersen does not take a bloody revenge upon the destroyer of his peace, if the unfortunate Lady Inge-borg's blind, heart-broken, and deranged father cannot grope his way with his dagger to that false heart, King Erik, there is no longer a particle of honour left in Denmark, a particle of warm blood stirring in the veins of the Danish nobility, and they will deserve to have no better monarch than you are."
The king became suddenly as white as a corpse; he foamed at the mouth with rage, and his hand grasped the hilt of his sword. In another moment he had drawn it from its scabbard, and, like a maniac, he rushed upon the prisoner, who stood immovable and laughing scornfully. But Drost Peder sprang forward and forced himself between the prisoner and the enraged monarch. "Hold, Herre King!" he exclaimed. "Your grace is no executioner to fell a bound and helpless victim. In my house a deed shall not be perpetrated which would stain the honour of the crown."
The king's fury seemed calmed in a moment; he returned the sword slowly to its scabbard; but at the same time he cast a withering look on the noble Drost.
"Well!" he exclaimed^ coldly, "you are right, Drost Hessel; I had nearly forgotten my royal dignity .... but you have also nearly forgotten your respect to your sovereigu, in presuming thus to school him."
The king's adventure with the beautiful somnambulist is a curious scene: he is exceedingly terrified by the visions which she relates while in a state of deep slumber and perfect unconsciousness. Duke Waldemar's imprisonment—the Lady Inge's solitary, dreamy existence in her father's remote castle, until the stirring events of the times draw her into active life and participation in some wild scenes—the struggles in her mind between patriotic feelings and duty to her father—the murder-scene, and many others, are extremely well described. " Prince Otto of Denmark" is a shorter work, but one also of great interest. There are many striking scenes in it; but of one in particular we may give an outline, though it ie too long to give a translation of it. A young lady of noble family is placed by her relatives as a boarder in a convent, where she is to be strictly guarded, and made to go through various penances, until she shall consent to marry the person they have chosen for her husband. One evening, during vespers, a young knight makes his appearance in the chapel, is taken suddenly ill, declares himself dying, and calls for the prior to shrive him before he departs. The prior leaves the high altar, and hastens to the stranger-penitent, who, murmuring in a failing voice that he hears spirits calling him to death and judgment, sinks into the arms of the priest, and whispers a bequest of all that he owns to the convent; praying only that he may be buried there.
Meantime, the nuns, novices, and boarders, have all been driven off to their cells by the prioress, who had overheard a faint scream from one of them. It is determined between the prior and prioress that some one shall watch the body during the night, for all honour is to be paid the remains of the stranger, whose last act was to give his worldly goods to the pious establishment. The prioress inflicts this office, by way of a hardship, on Agnete, the boarder, who was not inclined to matrimony, and bestows a lecture on her for not obeying her family's wishes by marrying "Ridder Podebusch." The young lady, however, declares that she will never marry any one; that she wishes to become a nun, and that she will give all her maternal inheritance to the convent, if the prioress will only grant her a home and a grave. The prioress communicates this new turn of affairs to the prior ; they felicitate themselves on two windfalls in one day, and the prioress, returning to Agnete, releases her from the threatened penance of watching by the dead body. To her surprise, however, Agnete entreats to-be permitted to perform this melancholy task, and the prioress, who has become very indulgent and obliging all of a sudden, tells her she shall do exactly as she pleases. It ends in the damsel shutting herself up in the cold church at midnight, alone with the dead body. Lights are burning round the coffin, and when certain that no human eye is upon her, Agnete throws herself upon the corpse in a passion of grief, and pours out her love for him who she thinks is no more. But the young knight is not dead; and when he hears that he had been " her thought and her dream from her childhood," he raises himself up in his coffin, and after having frightened her almost into a fainting fit, assures her that he is living, that he participates in all her feelings, and that it was to aid her to escape that he had played the part of a corpse. None of the inmates of the convent cared to enter the chapel in the dead of night; so the lovers were enabled to make good their retreat, and by dawn of day they were in happy safety with a friend of the adventurous youth. Ingemann wickedly hints, that the younger nuns wished some more dead men would come to carry them all off too.
Ingemann introduces so many dramatis persona into his novels, that one is rather bewildered by their numbers; but he contrives to make them all efficient, and bearing different characteristics. He is called "the Walter Scott of Denmark." We cannot honestly say that he is quite equal to the Wizard of the North, but he does not fall far short of him. It is certainly a compliment to the real Walter Scott, that the greatest praise which foreign nations can bestow on their best writers of historical romances, is to call them •' the Walter Scott" of their country. Ingemann is a poet and dramatist, as well as a writer of romances. " De Sorte Riddere," " The Black Knights," is a long poem in nine cantos. Kings and warriors, troubadours and lovely damsels, pilgrims and nuns, angels and necromantic dwarfs, all enter into the machinery of this "Romantic Epos," as the author terms the work. Among his minor poems are some beautiful little morceaux. In his tragedies he does not succeed so well—with the exception of " Blanca," his masterpiece, which would be effective on any stage. The groundwork of this drama is jealousy; and he depicts that overwhelming passion with the glowing pencil of an Alfieri, and the vivid truthfulness of a Joanna Baillie. Ingemaan's greatest admirers must admit that his tragedy, " Turnus," is poor. In the « Ksempen for Valhal," " Battle for the Valhalla," the scene is laid in Iceland; it reads well, but would not probably be liked on the stage. " Loveridderen," " the Lion Knight," has more incidents, and some fine tragic scenes. Ubald, the Lion Knight, and leader of the Lion League, was a foundling brought up by a noble couple. Sir Benno, his benefactor, has an only daughter, and as the protege, becomes greatly distinguished in the career of arms, Benno determines he shall marry her. The young couple are much attached to each other, but both seem to feel an unaccountable reluctance to unite their fates. Johanna, the daughter, thus expresses it:
Strange, strange misgivings cling unto my heart: Without my Ubald this fair worid to me A wilderness would seem ....
.........yet from the good
I would not yield, my soul, still shuddering, turns.
He, on his part, declares :
My soul, unauiet, ever seeks some good, Unfound, unknown!—aye, even when with thee, My best beloved! But what that good may be, Hides my dark fate.
Those undefined feelings are at length traced to the fact, unknown to themselves, that they are half-brother and sister. Ubald being the son of Sir Benno and a gipsy-woman, who, in her revenge for having been cast off by the knight when he married, is the mysterious instigator of all manner of evil, ending in perfidy and murder. But our partiality for Ingemann must not make us neglect other authors.
Steen Steensen Blicher, a clergyman, born in 1782, is known as a lyrical poet and a good novelist. His tales, which are not long, deal principally in descriptions of rural society and provincial manners, with a sprinkling of low life. He became first known to the Danish world by his translation of " Ossian"—a poem, or rather poems, which harmonise with the taste of the nations of the North, and are exceedingly admired among them, and also by the Germans. It was in 1807 that Blicher's " Ossian" appeared ; he has continued to write from that time, and, among other works, has published his " Samlede Digte," " Collected Poems," in two volumes; " A Summer Tour in Sweden;" " Winter Occupations," a volume containing five tales and two Jutland poems; another work, w Min Tidsalder," by subscription; and a collection of nine tales, the names of some of which are, " En Landsbydegns Dagbog," " A Parish Clerk's Journal," "The Priest of Thorning/' «Fruentimnlerhaderen,,, "The Woman-Hater;" "Xjeltonngliv," « Baecal Life,"—a carious title. Bli-cher commences it with, " I have two things to apologise for, the title and the tale. The former is plain and coarse, and perhaps will be distasteful to delicate and refined tastes; the latter equally so. It is true, that the portraitures of rascals among the great always form the most interesting portions of histories and romances; but then they are not called by that name ; besides, such piquant characters look very different when they appertain to the higher ranks than when they belong to the peasantry, who do not dine upon dainties. Who can deny that Claudius and Mes-salina, Pope Sergius and Marozia, Front de Boeuf and Ulrica, lived right rascally lives ? But it is true, they lived in palaces, not amidst shepherds' huts. What sits well on princely personages, holy prelates, roving knights, is not pardonable in Jutland gipsies; Nero was a great monster, Jens Longknife a vulgar rascal." In speaking further of these Jutland gipsies, he quotes, with some humour, a passage from a French tourist, which, he says, has more truth in it than the Frenchman thought, " En Dannemarc il y a une nation qui s'apelle Rieltrings (rascals), elle n'est pas si bien cultive'e que les autres Danois." A Danish traveller might make the same sage observation in regard to the "gamins" of Paris. Blusher's tales are difficult to translate, because they are much interlarded with provincialisms and cant phrases in use among the inferior classes of society.
Johan Ludwig Heiberg, born in 1791, a son of the P. A. Heiberg who was banished in 1800, is one of the leading authors of Denmark. He is extremely clever, and does not excel in lighter literature alone, although he is best known as a writer of novels and vaudevilles. Professor Heiberg has introduced a new style of drama on the Danish stage. His pieces are neither tragedies, comedies, nor farces, but they have generally dramatic effect, witty dialogue, and amusing incidents. Most of them are written with a view of showing off the powers of his talented wife, Fru Heiberg, who is one of the first of living actresses, and a great favourite in Copenhagen. Among his vaudevilles there are " Et Eventyri Rosenberg Have," "An Adventure in Rosenberg Garden;" "De Uadskillelige," "The Inseparables;" "De Danske i Paris," "The Danes in Paris;" "Nei," "No;" "Nina;" "Fata Morgana," and several others. To give some idea of Heiberg's style, we shall take an extract from the little one-act vaudeville " No,"* in which the heroine of the piece refuses one admirer, and accepts* the other, with the same monosyllable, " no." There are only four individuals introduced, Justice Gamstrup, a testy old gentleman; Sophia, his niece; Hammer, her admirer, a student of law, who lodges in the house with the uncle and niece ; and Link, a parish clerk, formerly a schoolmaster, who has been selected by Gamstrup as a husband for his niece, link arrives by invitation from the uncle, and stumbles upon Hammer, in whom he discovers a former pupil. Sophia has her uncle's orders to receive this elderly admirer; and at the same time Hammer makes her promise that she will not utter one word but no to anything and everything he may
- The "Danes in Paris," "No," and "Elverhoi," "the Fairy Mount," of Heiberg, the " Battle for the Valhalla," and the " lion Knight," of Ingemann, have all been translated into English by the writer of this article.
say, and then retires where he can overhear the conversation. Link, on entering, bows low, and says:
Most honoured young lady, you know, of course, who I am ?
Sophia '(Aside, In regard to this question I can, with truth, indulge Hammer in his wish). No.
lank. Doubtless the worthy justice has informed you that a certain person, for a certain purpose, intends to take a certain liberty with you .... that is to say, wishes to pay his most respectful respects to you ?
Link. That is most extraordinary. He wrote me that his lovely niece was quite aware of my coming. I don t understand it at all. Do you ?
Link. I am placed in a very awkward position .... my name .... esteemed young lady . . is . . link.
Sophia (inquiringly). No?
Link. Yes, of a surety. I reside at Grenaa. You know, of course, where Grenaa is ?
Sophia (drawling out the word, as if trying to remember). N—o.
Link. It lies on the coast, the east coast. I am not without a pretty fair reputation in the town, and, moreover, have no reason to complain of the receipts of my office. After sundry attempts at conversation, to which she never makes any reply hut "no" Link exclaims:
Well, I shan't stand shilly-shallying any longer. After all I have been saying) you can't doubt my intentions, so I'll e'en come to the point at once. I love you—I------
Sophia (with pretended astonishment). No!
Link. Not no, but yes. It is the positive truth; and now I shall make so bold as to ask you the important question at once. Suppose I were to say to you—"Miss Gamstrup, here stand I before you. My condition and my circumstances are known to you—you see my figure, my air, my manner, my dress. Will you, seeing all that I present to your consideration, make me happy by bestowing on me your dear little hand, and your not less dear little heart?" Suppose I were to say all this to you, what would you answer ?
Link. That is rather an unpleasant word, but you smile while you say it, therefore perhaps you don't mean it. Come, now, you don't really mean it ?
Link. Thank Heaven! that's just what I thought. You mean to give me every hope ?
Link. Why not? I cannot understand you at all. Ah! you are joking, I see ; but pray let me have no more no's from your pretty mouth. I shall be satisfied with an equally short answer, which I shall dictate myself. Y—e—s, what does that spell ?
Link. Nay, nay, pardon me—it spells yes. (Aside.) Her education must have been dreadfully neglected.
(Link sings.) A lesson let me give to you : In no, there are but letters two ; It is a word short, but not sweet, Which folks don't often like to meet. Yes, like the Graces, numbers three, And oh! but say that word to me! Now, y—e—s, how do they go ? They make—let's hear—they make a------
Link. You don't understand me, I'm afraid ?
(Link sings again.) Then I will try, and try again, Until I make my meaning plain. Yes is an easy word to spell— I'm sure that you would do it well. Suppose you write down y—e—s On paper, ranging them just so ; I'm sure the word they make you'll guess.
Pronounce it now—they make a-----
Link. By no manner of means; that's not the word they make. You don't seem to understand me yet ? Sophia. No.
(Link sings again.) Sophia, dear, why will you grieve Your lover so ? I can't believe You are so dull of comprehension ; To tease me must be your intention. But pray, put coquetry apart, And don't pretend to be so slow ; I'm sure you know the word by heart—
Come y—e—s will make a------
Link. Do you seriously mean to assert that the letters y—e—s spell no t Sophia (sneeringly). No.
IAnk. Ah, very well; you do understand spelling, then, I see. But how am I to understand you ? You are silent. Did you mean no as an answer to my question ? Will you not have me ? Sophia. No. Link. On no account? Sophia. No.
Link. Really, this is very delightful. But pray, give me some reason—some cause for your refusal ? Sophia (decidedly). No.
Link. You speak as if my feelings were of no consequence. I don't know why you should treat me in this way. Please, miss, answer me once for all. Do—you—not—like me ?
Sophia. No—no—no—no—no ! (She runs into her apartment.) Link. The deuce take the girl! But she's an idiot, a downright idiot. I shall waste no more words upon her.
When the uncle enters, Link complains to him of his niece's conduct; and old Gamstrup, suspecting that Hammer has something to do with it, and seeing him approaching, orders Sophia to answer nothing hut no to him, and retires with Link to listen. Hammer comes in, and fancying Sophia alone, addresses her:
Now I can speak out openly. May I dare to hope that we understand each other? That you know my sentiments, I cannot doubt. But I, Sophia, can I have misunderstood yours ?
Sophia (tenderly). No.
Hammer. Oh, then I am the happiest fellow on earth! You love no one else?
Hammer (kneeling). And now, when I lay my hand and my heart at yoor feet, when I vow eternal love and fidelity to yon, you will not disbeftve me? Sopkia. No.
Hammer. You will not forsake me ? Sophia. No.
Hammer. Nor deny me this dear hand ? Sophia. No.
Hammer. You will never repent of your engagement to me ? Sophia. No.
Hammer. Never cease to love me ? Sophia. No.
Gamstrup and Zt'n£ rush from their hiding-place, and Gamstrup exclaims, "Hold—stop! This is more than enough!" But matters are speedily set to rights by Hammer's telling that he has just come into a fortune ; upon which Link withdraws his suit, and the uncle his opposition. The vaudeville is wound up with a song and chorus, the last verse of which Sophia addresses to the audience. It ends with,
Your favour, then, may you bestow
Upon this bagatelle;
And while we bid you now farewell, Dash not our hopes with—No!
Heiberg's " Elverhoi," " Fairy Mount/' a graceful opera in five acts, is founded on an old superstition, and its music introduces some of the ancient Scandinavian airs. The air of, Far o'er the waves the mermaid's song is heard, is a wild and beautiful melody; originally a Swedish peasant song and dance, called "Redens Polska." It is somewhat surprising that no manager of an English theatre has yet been found enterprising enough to try some of these northern novelties—all pertinaciously adhering to the old beaten track of adaptations from the French stage.
Johan Ludwig Heibergis also the author, in most instances, and editor in others, of some tales which are extremely popular. Among these are "En Hverdags Historic," " AnEvery-day History ;" "DeLyse Naetter," "Bright Nights;" «Mesalliance," "To Tidsaldre," "The Two Ages," "Forlaeggerjagt," "The Hunt for a Publisher,"* "The Young and the Old Heart," and many others. Heiberg publishes all his novels as merely edited by himself! Some of them are attributed to his mother, the Countess Gyllenborg. This lady, formerly the wife of Heiberg's father, the banished dramatical writer, was divorced from him, and married afterwards a Swedish nobleman, who, for political faults, also, was exiled from his own country, and took up his abode in Denmark. To English people, the mention of a divorce suggests'the idea of some flagrant misconduct; but it is not necessarily connected with guilt in Denmark. Divorces are much more easily obtained there than in Great Britain. If two people live unhappily together, and wish to dissolve their marriage, the Danish laws admit the possibility of their doing so ;f and so entirely
- Some of Heiberg's tales are in process of translation; and may be offered at a future day to English readers, if they are successnil in their " Hunt for. a. Publisher."
We know a curious case of one of these separations. A lady and gentleman cm their marriage he annulled, that they may legally many any one else. Not does this absolutely involve a loss of respectability. It is not common, however, to find this legal license made use of*
Carstens Hauch, born 1791, of a good family, was a professor at Kiel, which he left when the Holstein war unhappily broke out. He resides now on the island of iErbe, and still contributes to the literary stores of his country, which he has enriched with dramas, poems, and novels. Hauch is a most prolific as well as a favourite writer. Among his works may be named hie " Iris," a miscellany, containing poetry and prose. His " two poems," one of which is called " The Sailor's return Home ;" his "Lyrical Poems;" "Rosaura," a lyrical drama; " The Contrasts," two dramatic poems; " The Siege of Maestricht," " The Death of Charles V.," "Tiberius," and " Svend Grathe," tragedies ; "A Polish Family," a romance, Ac, &c. The most celebrated work of Henrik Hens, who was born in 1798, is "King Renews Daughter,"a drama which has been beautifully translated into English by Miss Chapman. He is the author of some other plays, and also of some poems ; among the latter are his " Poetiske Epistler fra Paradis," published in 1831, and his " Lyrical Dramatic Poems," published ten years later. Among the former, " En Eneste Feil," " A Single Fault," "Love and the Police," and " The Corsairs." There are some specimens of Hera's poetry in Christian Winther's " Collection of One hundred and five Danish Romances;" one of them, the "Troubadour," is extremely pretty. There are in the same volume some good specimens of Hauch's short poems—of course, some of Winther's own, and those of his near relative, Paul Moller. Christian Winther and Paul Mttller are both poets of the present day ; the latter has translated the "Odysee" into Danish, as well as having written original poems. Winther is also a writer of novels—for this department of literature has now plenty of votaries in Denmark.
Among these, the writers who publishes under the names of St. Hermidad and Carl Bernhard, hold prominent places. Their works are clever and lively, and graphic in their descriptions. "Et aar i Kibbenhavn," "A Year in Copenhagen/' in two volumes; "Lykkens Yndling," "Fortune's Favourite," "Old Souvenirs," "A Country Family," " The Commissioner," " Chronicles from the Times of Erik of Pomerania," " Chronicles from the Times of Christian II.," and other works, show that Mr. St. Aubain is not a loiterer in the path he has chosen for himself. If these pages should ever meet the eye of that talented author, we must hope that he will pardon us for giving the name he modestly desires to conceal.* Professor Sibbern is another distinguished writer; his most admired were betrothed in Copenhagen at a very early age, and after a short acquaintance. The gentleman was obliged by circumstances to spend some years in a distant colony. They were at length enabled to meet and to marry. But both had changed in feelings, habits, and everything else; they were miserable. The lady insisted on a divorce, which was obtained; she was a Lutheran, and married again. He, being a Roman Catholic, could not be released from his vows without a dispensation from the Pope. He was not rich enough, or energetic enough, to procure this; so he remains in the peculiar position of an unmarried and yet a married man!
- It is at least believed in Copenhagen that Carl Bernhard, which is admitted to be a fictitious name, and Mr. St. Aubain, are one and the same.
work is entitled " Gabrieli's Posthumous Letters." The first volume of these letters was published in 1826 or 1827; the remainder about two years ago.
Hans Christian Andersen is probably better known in England than any other Danish writer. He was born at Odensee, Funen, in 1805, in an humble rank of society, and has raised himself entirely by his own genius. It would be needless here to give any outline of his life, that having been sufficiently dwelt on by the translators of his works. Those which have appeared in English consist of tales, longer and shorter, fairy legends, and fanciful stories of various kinds. His longest romance is the " Im-prowisatore," of which that popular and accomplished authoress, Mrs. Howitt, has given to the British public a spirited translation. The same lady has also rendered into English, " O. T.," published by Andersen, in 1836, and " Kun en Spillemand" (" Only a Fiddler"), which came out in Denmark the following year. Andersen's dramatic works, which are inferior to his romances, legends, and " Eventyr," have not been generally successful in Denmark ; but his poetry is much admired. His poems are less known in this country than his prose works. They are extremely pretty: some of them full of feeling, some very fanciful, others humorous. Andersen partakes more of the nature of the dove than of that of the eagle; he seeks no lofty eyrie—he gazes not on the blazing sun with an eye bright as its meridian rays; he loves to linger among shady groves, and on, the margin of limpid streams; his fancy revels amidst mermaids' caves and scenes of fairy land. One is reminded, when reading his " Eventyr," and little poems, of the sort of peaceful, dreamy pleasure, which one enjoys when loitering, on a warm summer's day, under embowering trees, listening to the rustling of the leaves, to the lulling sound of some rivulet near, or to the distant dashing of the waves on a level shore. All very soothing and sweet; but a kind of listless enjoyment, to which an active mind could not long submit. Andersen tells, himself, in one of his little poems, what he loves :
I love the ocean when 'tis raging wildly ; I love it, when its waves are flowing mildly, And the moon beams upon its waters blue. I love the mountains, and their torrents, too ; And the deep dales and forests green I love, And the still night, with its bright stars above; The sunset's golden tints, dim twilight sweet, And the white hoar-frost, crisp beneath one's feet.
But hate—what do I hate ? Oh! I hate nought, Except each evil and each hitter thought, And sin, that fain would harbour in my breast. Children I love—in innocence how bless'd! And minstrelsy I love, and birds, and flowers, . And all that's beauteous in this world of ours. I love my friends—and woman! one alone I loved ; she was a bride, and yet I own, That disappointed love I cherish still;— Yes, love those sorrows that my bosom fill! . I love to think upon the grave s repose, And yonder world where the freed spirit goes,These lines, headed "Hvad jeg elsker," " What I love," are in a volame of poems, dedicated to Oehlenschlseger, and show, at least, what an amiable man Andersen is. " The Dying Child'* has been one of the most praised of Andersen's minor poems, and it has been translated into several languages. That our readers may judge of it for themselves, we give a close English version of it: Mother,lam tired, and I would fain go sleep ;
Oh! let me near thy heart once more sweet slumber seek; But thou must promise first thou wilt no longer weep,
For so scalding are thy tears, that they burn upon my cheek. The stormy wind blows loudly, and I shiver with the cold ;
But in ray dreams, dear mother, all—all is calm around ; And little cherubs smiling, I fancy I behold,
When my weary eyes are closed, and I hear no startling sound.
Mother, dost thou see yon angel at my side ?
The sweet songs that he sings, oh, mother, dost thou hear? See, see! he has two wings,spread out so white and wide;
Oh 1 surely, 'twas our Lord himself, who bade him thus appear! Green, and gold, and red, before my eyes are blending;
These, doubtless, are bright flow'rets brought me from the sky, By yonder shining being, on my bed attending.
Shall I have wings, too, mother, tell me, when I die?
Why dost thou tremble thus ? my hands why dost thou press ?
Why dost thou lay thy cheek, dear mother, close to mine ? Oh ! I can feel 'tis moist, but it does not burn the less;
What dost thou fear for me ? I am for ever thine. Thou must no longer sigh so sadly as thou hast.
If thou wilt still weep on, then I will weep with thee; • Bnti oh! I feel so faint—my eyes are closing fast—
Oh! mother—mother, see, the angel's kissing me!
One of Andersen's own favourites is " Soldaten," " The Soldier." It has been translated into German, by Charaisso. The following is from the Danish original:
The drums are beating with a muffled sound; How long the way seems to yon fatal ground! Would all were over, and he"were at rest; My heart is breaking—bursting in my breast! I had, in this wide world, one only friend ; 'Tis he, who to his doom of death'they send, With music's clanging strains and martial show; And I, paraded with the rest, must go! For the last time God's sun doth he behold ; Soon, soon for him will all be dark and cold! And now he kneels—and now his eyes they bind— Oh I may his soul eternal mercy find! The nine have fired—not one without a sigh : Eight of the whizzing balls have passed him by ; One only took sure aim of all the nine— The ball that struck him in the heart was—mine! One more specimen of his verses we stall give, for the sentiment conveyed in them is inexpressibly charming:
rax cor. Where beat the wild waves on the strand, A little cot is seen to stand; Around it smiles no patch of green, Nor shrub, nor flow'ret gay, 1 ween ; But sky alone, and sea, and sand, The view that cottage can command; Yet there a paradise is found— Love doth within its walls abound.
Nor gold, nor silver there appear, But two who hold each other dear. On smiling lips affection lies, And eyes look into loving eyes; No angry thought can there find birth— Forgotten is the whole wide earth, With all its joys, its pomp, it9 strife-— Heart mingles there with heart for life !
When it is considered how humble was Andersen's training in childhood, how scanty his early education, a considerable degree of genius cannot be denied to him. By the force of his talents alone, he has raised himself from being the inmate of a plebeian roof to becoming the guest, and the honoured guest, of princes. The vanity which poor Andersen, in his simplicity, has not the art to conceal, may well be pardoned to one who has thus made his way in the world of letters and in the world of society.
F. Schaldemose, Carl Bagger, Emil Aarestrup, H. P. Hoist, and P. F. Paludan Muller, are all poets of the present day; the two last named being among the leading authors of Denmark. Paludan Muller was born in 1809. His most esteemed works are "Adam Homo," a poem, published in 1842; «Dandserinden," "The (female) Dancer;" " Venus,"a dramatic poem ; " Zuleima's Flight," a tale; " Love at Court," a play ; poems published in 1836, viz.: "Adventures in a Forest," and " Alfand Rose," and " Dryaden's Biyllup," " The Dryad's Bridal," a dramatic poem, published in 1844.
Hans Peter Holst, another popular favourite among living authors, has brought out, besides other works, " Ude og Hiemme," " Out and Home," reminiscences of travel; in the same year, 1843, " New Portfolio;" also novels, New Year's gifts, poems, &c. A somewhat recent work of his, the second edition of which came out in 1850, has made a great sensation in Denmark. It is entitled, " Den lille Hornblaeser," " The little Hornblower," and is a poem in various parts, or numbers, written during the excitement of the Schleswig-Holstein war—very spirited and patriotic indeed. It gives, among other scenes, the departure for the seat of war, the bivouac, the assault, after the battle, &c, and ends with the return home. The volume is inscribed, in two loyal verses, to the King of Denmark, Frederick VII., who made himself so popular during the war. There are some splendid verses in this poem; it is impossible to read it without entering into the glowing and excited feelings of the poefe who places in the most vivid manner before his readers the stirring scenes which he describes. One can fancy one sees the thick cold mist hanging over the field, which is so soon to become the theatre of the fearful battle; that, as the wind occasionally scatters the fog, a glimpse is caught of the enemy's martial columns, with their bayonets glancing even in that unoaiv-tain light. Then come the hasty movement in the camp—the trumpets' blasts: And to the stormy strife they rush, And to that bloody game J Again—
And the earth trembles 'neath the shock Of the fearful cannons' roar, t And flames light up those massive walls
Where all was gloom before! He tells how—
The best, the dearest blood gushed down Into the thirsty ground; And how—
.... Death, with its grisly hand,
Seizes its victims fast; And corpse of friend and foe, in peaee On the same field are cast.
The whole poem is original in its conception, and well wrought up in its execution; and if Hoist had never written another line, would have entitled him to a distinguished niche among his country's best authors.
An extremely clever writer, of another stamp, is M. Goldschmidt, a Jew. He was born, according to his own statement, in October, 1819, at Vordingborg, on the Baltic, near Nestved, in Zealand. He received his education at the university of Copenhagen, where he was remarked for his talents, and his success in all his studies. He was for some time the editor of Corsaren—The Corsair—a weekly, and, under Goldschmidt's management, a clever periodical; something between Punch and the AthencBum. It noticed new books, and musical and theatrical matters, and it likewise ridiculed men and manners. The illustrations, however (of those numbers that we have seen at least), were by no means so good as those which are found in Punch. The Corsair has fallen off since Goldschmidt withdrew from conducting it. He is now the editor of a monthly magazine—the best in Copenhagen—entitled Nord og Syd-^ North and South. Goldschmidt is the author of a tale in which much light is thrown on the manners, habits, and religious ceremonies of the Jews. It is still more interesting, as it describes the feelings, towards Christians, of a well educated, intellectual, and sensitive Jew. The battle, in his own mind, between his inclination for the society of his Christian fellow-creatures and his shrinking from their real or apprehended coldness and disdain. The galling consciousness that a brand had been set upon him from his cradle, that to imbibe and cherish a prejudice—as he would call it—against himself and all his race, is made a point of duty and religion among the beings who, in all other respects, are like himself—all this is painted with a masterly hand, with the hand of one who has studied the workings of the human heart One charm of Goldschmidt's very original and striking tale is, that he has copied or borrowed from nobody, either in his own language, or that of any other land.
Two translations of this talented work have appeared in English. The one, called " Jacob Bendixen," after its hero, in three volumes; the other, entitled " The Jew of Denmark," in one volume, which is the size of the original. Some readers have been disappointed with the conclusion of this tale; the non-conversion to Christianity of its Jewish hero. One clever critic has said, that there might have been " a gradual and almost unconscious conversion of the Jew—bit by bit of the ceremonial law being thrown aside, until he stood face to face with the naked spirituality of Judaism alone—an easy convert to Christianity by the imperceptible workings of his own mind. Love encouraging what reason had begun, and reason clinching the conclusions of love." Such, undoubtedly and naturally, would have been made the result had a Christian written the work; but it would have been unnatural and unworthy m a Jewish author to have made his hero (whom he did not wish to portray as a despicable character) become a renegade to the faith in which he himself believes. . Goldschmidt's tale, " A Jew," was published under ' the assumed name of " Adolph Meyer." He is now bringing out a second edition of it, in Copenhagen, with some alterations.
J. M. Thiele, the compiler of " Transactions of the Scandinavian Literary Society/' author of " Letters from England and Scotland," of a collection of " Danske Folkesagn," in two volumes,—viz., old traditions, ghost stories, fairy legends, superstitions, &c,—is also the writer of a life of Thorwaldsen, which has been recently translated into German, and may, therefore, probably find its way to England, through the medium of a re-translation. Some of Thiele's popular traditions are very curious and amusing, and in them can be traced the subjects, or, at least, groundwork, of many modern Danish poems. Odensee is one of the favourite scenes of several of these wild legends; and this may, perhaps, account for H. C. Andersen's fondness for these " Eventyr." No doubt such fancy-lore was as common in the cottage as in the rural dwellings of the rich, and he had, therefore, most likely heard from his infancy of wizards and Spaae-wives, spectres, mermaids, and the Elfin race, way-wolves, enchanted rocks, and all the wonders and mysteries connected with St. Canute's church at Odensee. Among the numerous old sayings and superstitious beliefs related in this work of Thiele, are to be found most of those prevalent in Scotland, as well as those common in different parts of England, and in Germany. The ceremonies to be performed on St John's Eve, on Christmas Eve, New-Year's night, &c, resemble those so well described by Walter Scott and Burns. There are some superstitions, however, different; for instance, " One must never weep over the dying, or, at least, let tears drop on them, for, then, they will not find rest in their graves,"—" One must cut one's nails on a Friday, that will bring good luck,"—" When a party are assembled at table on a Christmas evening, and one of them wishes to know if any among them will die before the following Christmas, he or she must silently leave the room, and, going outside, must peep through a pane of glass in the window. The individual who is then seen sitting at the table without a head, isf to die before the expiration of the following year." In these volumes are anecdotes of flying midnight huntsmen,—of trees that turn at night into whole colonies of Utile elves,—of castles suddenly sinking into the earth, and their site becoming lakes. Such, it is said, was the origin of Dal-lerup Lake, in Zealand. The lord of the castle, who was " an ungodly and wicked person," persisted in his evil courses in spite of all the remonstrances made to him by a monk. So one night, as he and his two brothers were drinking and carousing, behold! the castle " sank suddenly deep into the ground," and a lake, which has remained ever since, appeared on the vacated spot! • Kammerraad* J. C. Riise has published many volumes of what he terms " Historical and Geographical Archives," a " Library for Young People," and similar instructive works. Paggaard is a writer on geology, and Martensen on theology. Bille, of travels and voyages; his " Reise omkring Jorden," " Voyage round the World," is a work much esteemed. C. F. Allen, the professor of Danish history at the university of Copenhagen, has published one of the best histories extant of his own country; it has already gone through three editions. He brings his history down to the death of King Frederick VI., who was succeeded by Christian VIII. Of the good old Frederick, Professor Allen truly says, " that he had seen many sorrowful days, but had ever sought to promote the welfare of his people, whose love had followed him to the grave."
Professor Carl Christian Rafn, the president, and Professor Wegener, the vice-president, of the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries, stand high among the leading literati of Copenhagen. Professor Rafn has translated several Icelandic sagas, and is the author of the celebrated and very learned work, entitled " Antiquitates Aniericanae." There remains now only to mention the female writers of Denmark. The list is a short one; for, however clever, well-informed, and superior the Danish ladies may be, few of them have chosen to emerge from the privacy of domestic life, and place their names before the world. Nor are the names of those few by any means so well known as are the names of some of the authoresses of a neighbouring country. None have attempted to rival that charming Swedish writer, the late Baroness Knorring—Miss F. Bremer—or the still brighter star in Swedish literature, that most talented and admirable writer, Madame Emilie Flygare Carlen.
Upwards of two hundred years ago, a learned Danish lady, Birgitte Thott, published several translations of Greek and Latin works, which were more valued then than original compositions. She does not appear to have had any imitators or followers in her literary career, for we do not hear again even of one stray female writer, until the earlier part of this present century; when Mrs. Hegerman Lindencrone appeared as an authoress, and distinguished herself much as a translator from the German, and an original writer. Among her poems may be mentioned one on the death of Foersom, the Danish translator of Shakspeare. The Countess Gyllenborg, before spoken of, who publishes in conjunction with her celebrated son, J. L. Heiberg; Miss Cecilie Beyer, the able translator of some of Calderon's plays, and who has also written pretty lyric poems; and Miss Fibige, said to be the authoress of the work entitled • A Danish title.
'* Clara Raphael," are the principal writes of the female sex in Denmark "Clara Raphael," published in 1851, consists of twelve letters, written a young lady ai if to an intimate friend. Tb* principal subject is, emancipation of her own sex; and the book, of winch Johan Ludwjg Heiberg is the editor, and to which he has affixed a very complimentary preface, has created, by all accounts, a great sensation in Copenhagen. It would be hardly possible to convey a just idea of this little work, by any short extracts, yet we shall give one or two. In letter 3rd we find:
For the first time in my life I regret that I am not a man. How destitute in aim, how unsubstantial Is our life, compared to theirs! Is it right that the half of the human species should be shut out from all employment calling forth the powers of the mind ? Or has oar Creator really made "us of such inferior materials (as I have heard one of these interesting gentlemen here, in the country, in sober earnestness assert), that we must, automaton-like, content ourselves with the trivial labours which are indicated to us as our portion in this life? Have our minds then no energy—our souls no inspiration? Men have a thousand paths to improvement, besides their studies, they have as free an interchange of thought with their friends as they can wish. But we! among our compeers, how seldom do we find those who are interested in anything beyond mere trifles! And gentlemen seldom condescend to take the trouble of wasting even a little of their wisdom in serious conversation with ladies. Everything tends to efface any peculiar individual stamp or property in the character of a young girl. "That is not liked—it is not feminine to speak so—one must not be different from other people," &c. Half so much coquetry and silly vanity would not be found among our sex, if custom permitted the development of natural inclination in each individual. But girls, poor things! have now spiritual stays laeed on before they know how to think.
In another letter to her "Dear Mathilde," Clara writes : We were talking the other day of death, and I said, I was surprised, when those we loved died, that we did not rejoice/or them that they had passed to a better life. Every one stared at me, as if I had fallen from the moon. " But," said Camilla, " would you not feel for your own loss ?" " Yes/* I replied, " I would grieve for the loss to me of the dead; but I am convinced that sorrow would subside in reflecting on the happiness of the one taken from me.7' And what do you think Madame Stax exclaimed ? That I was a complete egotist— that the person who could speak thus, could never have given a thought to another being but her own self!! The general ideas about life and death are sadly perverted. When one who has been long weary of this world passes into eternal life, it is said, " that poor person is dead!" They speak of life, and forget everlasting life; they speak of death, and forget eternity!
But we must not forget that all things must have an end ; and that'it is time to bring to a conclusion this slight survey of a literature which has hitherto been but little known in Britain. We shall only add the hope that this impartial, and we can affirm, correct, outline of Danish authors and their works, may have been interesting to some of the readers of the New Monthly Magazine.