Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/325

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
303
PROSELYTES.

Story of Barläus," he said. "Do you recollect that, in the epistle dedicatory prefixed to his poems, he maintains that the three L's are incompatible with matrimony, Libri, Liberi and Libertas, as they do not co-operate well? Poor fellow, he wrote epithalamiums for all the world, and could not have a wedding of his own."

"He wrote a lovely Carmen on the wedding of my Uncle Overbeck, in Hamburg," Kerkering threw in. Oldenburg continued:

"If a truly sublime and thoroughly poetic soul had dwelt in Barläus, and the professor not peeped out from every hole and corner in him, the denied possession of his Tesselschade and his own pure love for her alone might have made him become as a fragrant garden of heavenly poetic bloom. If Dante had embraced his Beatrice, if Laura had cooked bread-soup for Petrarch, never would the one have raised himself to be the Homer of the Christian cosmography by his immortal canzones, and the eternal harmony of Petrarch's sonnets would have been drowned in the cries of fretful children. Poetry is not the vulture of fable that perpetually consumes life; it is the flame from which the phoenix springs rejuvenescent, and with uninjured flight soars heavenward. For individual men, as well as for struggling humanity, the highest possession would be disgust and death, or happy delirium."