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most important remains of the Theotiscan, or the transitional state of the Teutonic language from the Gothic to the old Ger. man of the Swabian period. Of this period—the polished dialect of which is analogous to that of our Chaucer, and which leaves the philosophic student in doubt, whether the language has not since then lost more in sweetness and flexibility, than it has gained in condensation and copiousness)—I read with sedulous accuracy the Minnesinger (or singers of love, the Provença!
Hung o'er him with her looks of love,
For us she bore the heavenly Lord !* Most interesting is it to consider the effect, when the feelings are wrought above the natural pitch by the belief of something mysterious, while all the images are purely natural. Then it is, that religion and poetry strike deepest.
38 [See note E. in the Appendix. S. C.]
* [Otfridi Evang., Lib. I., cap. xl., 1. 73–108, contained in Schilter's Thesaurus Antiqui: tatum Teutonicarum, pp. 50–51. The translation is a little condensed but faithful in sense í sball give a few couplets of the original to show the rhyme and metre.
Tho bot si mit gilusti
thio kindisgun brusti,
Er n'ist in erdringe
ther ira lob irsinge.
Dag man ni rinit,
ouh sunna ni biscinit, Ther iz io bibringe,
tho er es biginne. A.CI
poets of the Swabian court) and the metrical romances; and then abored through sufficient specimens of the master singers, their jegenerate successors; not however without occasional pleasure rom the rude, yet interesting strains of Hans Sachs, the cobbler f Nuremberg." of this man's genius five folio volumes with
Of nuble columns are extant in print, and nearly an equal number n manuscript; yet the indefatigable bard takes care to inform is readers, that he never made a shoe the less, but had virtuously ceared a large family by the labor of his hands.
In Pindar, Chaucer, Dante, Milton, and many more, we have instances of the close connexion of poetic genius with the love of liberty and of genuine reformation. The moral sense at least will not be outraged, if I add to the list the name of this honest shoemaker (a trade by the bye remarkable for the production of philosophers and poets). His poem entitled The MORNING STAR, was the very first publication that appeared in praise and support of Luther; and an excellent hymn of Hans Sachs, which has been deservedly translated into almost all the European languages, was commonly sung in the Protestant churches, when. ever the heroic reformer visited them.
In Luther's own German writings, and eminently in his translation of the Bible, the German language commenced. I mean the language as it is at present written ; that which is called the High-German, as contra-distinguished from the Platt-Teutsch, the dialect of the flat or northern countries, and from the OberTeutsch, the language of the middle and Southern Germany, The High German is indeed a lingua communis, not actually the native language of any province, but the choice and fragrancy of all the dialects. From this cause it is at once the most copi. ous and the most grammatical of all the European tongues.
Within less than a century after Luther's death the German was inundated with pedantic barbarisms. A few volumes of this period I read through from motives of curiosity; for it is not easy to imagine anything more fantastic, than the very appear. ance of their pages. Almost every third word is a Latin word with a Germanized ending, the Latin portion being always
39 (See note F. in the Appendix S. C.)
printed in Roman letters, while in the last syllable the German character is retained.
At length, about the year 1620, Opitz arose, whose genius more nearly resembled that of Dryden than any other poet, who at present occurs to my recollection.' In the opinion of Lessing, the most acute of critics, and of Adelung, the first of Lexicographers, Opitz, and the Silesian poets, his followers, not only restored the language, but still remain the models of pure dic. tion. A stranger has no vote on such a question ; but after repeated perusal of the works of Opitz my feelings justified the verdict, and I seemed to have acquired from them a sort of tact for what is genuine in the style of later writers.
Of the splendid era, which commenced with Gellert, Klopstock, Ramler, Lessing, and their compeers, I need not speak." With the opportunities which I enjoyed, it would have been disgraceful not to have been familiar with their writings; and I have already said as much as the present biographical sketch requires concerning the German philosophers, whose works, for the greater part, I became acquainted with at a far later period. 4?
Soon after my return from Germany's I was solicited to under. take the literary and political department in the Morning Post ;" and I acceded to the proposal on the condition that the paper should thence forward be conducted on certain fixed and announced principles, and that I should neither be obliged nor requested to deviate from them in favor of any party or any event. In consequence, that Journal became and for many years continued anti-ministerial indeed, yet with a very qualified approbation of the opposition, and with far greater earnestness and zeal both anti-Jacobin and anti-Gallican. To this hour I cannot find reason to approve of the first war either in its commencement or its conduct. Nor
40 [See note G. in the Appendix. S. C.]
43 (Mr. Coleridge arrived in London from Germany on the 27th of November, 1799. S. C.]
44 [The reader is referred to the end of the Biographical Supplement in vol ii., for remarks of Mr. Stuart, who edited the Morning Post from August, 1795, to August, 1803, on this part of the B. L. from the present pragraph. S. C.]
can I understand, with what reason either Mr. Percival (whom I am singular enough to regard as the best and wisest minister of this reign), nor the present Administration, can be said to have pursued the plans of Mr. Pitt. The love of their country,
and perseverant hostility to French principles and French ambition, are indeed honorable qualities common to them and to their predecessor. But it appears to me as clear as the evidence of facts can render any question of history, that the successes of the Percival and of the existing ministry have been owing to their having pursued measures the direct contrary to Mr. Pitt's. Such for instance are the concentration of the national force to one object; the abandonment of the subsidizing policy, so far at least as neither to goad nor bribe the continental courts into war, till the convictions of their subjects had rendered it a war of their ow seeking; and above all, in their manly and generous reliance on the good sense of the English people, and on that loyalty.which is linked to the very heart of the nation by the system of credit and the interdependence of property.
45 Lord Grenville has lately re-asserted in the House of Lords) the imminent danger of a revolution in the earlier part of the war against France. I doubt not, that his Lordship is sincere ; and it must be flattering to his feelings to believe it. But where are the evidences of the danger, to which a future historian can appeal? Or must he rest on an assertion ! Let me be permitted to extract a passage on the subject from The Friend. “I have said that to withstand the arguments of the lawless, the antiJacobins proposed to suspend the law, and by the interposition of a particular statute to eclipse the blessed light of the universal sun, that spies and informers might tyrannize and escape in the ominous darkness. Oh! if these mistaken men, intoxicated with alarm and bewildered by that panic of property, which they themselves were the chief agents in exciting, had ever lived in a country where there really existed a general disposition to change and rebellion! Had they ever travelled through Sicily; or through France at the first coming on of the revolution; or even, alas ! through too many of the provinces of a sister island; they could not but have shrunk from their own declarations concerning the state of feeling and opinion at that time predominant through Great Britain. There was a time—(Heaven grant that that time may have passed by)!-when by crossing a narrow strait, they might have learned the true symptoms of approaching danger, and have secured themselves from mistaking the meetings and idle rant of such sedition, as shrank appalled from the sight of a constable, for the dire murmuring and strange consternation which precer'es the storm or earth. Be this as it may, I am persuaded that the Morning Post proved a far more useful ally to the Government in its most important objects, in consequence of its being generally considered as moderately anti-ministerial, than if it had been the avowed eulogist of Mr. Pitt. The few, whose curiosity or fancy should lead them to turn over the journals of that date, may find a small proof of this in the frequent charges made by the Morning Chronicle, that such and such essays or leading paragraphs hard
quake of national discord. Not only in coffee-houses and public theatres, but even at the tables of the wealthy, they would have heard the advocates of existing Government defend their cause in the language and with the tone of men, who are conscious that they are in a minority. But in England, when the alarm was at its highest, there was not a city, no, not a town or village, in which a man suspected of holding democratic principles could move abroad without receiving some unpleasant proof of the hatrerl in which his supposed opinions were held by the great majority of the people; and the only instances of popular excess and indignation were on the side of the government and the established church. But why need I appeal to these invidious facts ? Turn over the pages of history and seek for a single instance of a revolution having been effected without the concurrence of either the nobles, or the ecclesiastics, or the monied classes, in any country, in which the influences of property had ever been predominant, and where the interests of the proprietors were interlinked! Examine the revolution of the Belgic provinces under Philip II. ; the civil wars of France in the preceding generation; the history of the American rerolution, or the yet more recent events in Sweden and in Spain; and it will be scarcely possible not to perceive that in England from 1791 to the peace of Amiens there were neither tendencies to confederacy nor actual confederacies, against which the existing laws had not provided both sufficient safezuards and an ample punishment. But, alas ! the panic of property had been struck in the first instance for party purposes ; and when it became general, its propagators caught it themselves and ended in believing their own lie; eren as our bulls in Borrowdale sometimes run mad with the echo of their own bellowing. The consequences were most injurious. Our attention was concentrated on a monster, which could not survive the convulsions, in which it had been brought forth, even the enlightened Burke himself too often talking and reasoning, as if a perpetual and organized anarchy had been a possible thing! Thus while we were warring against French doctrines, we took little heed whether the means by which we attempted to overthrow them, were not likely to aid and augment the far more formidable evil. of French ambition. Like children we ran away from the yelping of a cur, and took shelter at the henls of a vicious war horse.” (Vol. II., Essay i., 4th edit.),