Page:A history of Hungarian literature.djvu/96

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popular songs into literature at a time when they were ignored or despised by persons of culture. Csokonai died at the early age of thirty-two. It is said of Correggio that one of his own masterpieces caused his death, and Csokonai lost his life through his activity as a writer and speaker. He had written a poem On Immortality, for the occasion of the funeral of a distinguished lady ; he read it himself in the churchyard during the ceremony, thereby taking a severe chill which soon proved fatal. A curious controversy known as the Arcadian Coniroversy arose after his death, amusing on account of the naïve ignorance it displayed. Kazinczy suggested as an epitaph to be engraved on the poet's tombstone the words : "I, too, have been in Arcadia." The poet's fellow townsmen, the worthy, matter-of-fact burgesses of Debreczen, did not know what it meant. They looked up the name Arcadia in Barthélemy's popular Le Jeune Anacharsis, and there discovered the following state- ment : "In Arcadia there were excellent fields for the rearing of domestic animals, especially asses." They felt hurt, and the ensuing controversy would have furnished a suitable theme for Csokonai's muse. Another of the burgesses of Debreczen was Michael Fazekas (1760-1819). He took part as an officer in the wars against Napoleon and went to France. Once he and his victorious soldiers entered a French château, which they were entitled to pillage. But Fazekas went straight to the library, sat down, read there for a few hours, put back the book he had been reading, and left without taking a single thing. The influence of French literature may be seen in his works. A comic narrative poem, though written in