Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

the by-ways! Look at those light-footed fellows!" And I remarked, emerging from a little lane, five or six uncommonly active young men, but reckless and vagabondlooking, each with a stick in his hand, and four, five, or more bladders slung over his shoulder, and dangling against him.

2

"And who are they?" asked I. "All smugglers," answered he; "brave, open, daylight fellows, who care no more for a gendarme or Customhouse officer' than for you and I. They have just come back from selling their tobacco in France, and are well laden with brandy in return. They have made a round to avoid the village, and are now on their road, fearing neither man nor

[ocr errors]

As he spoke, two mounted gendarmes appeared: a loud shout from the smugglers gave the salutation" —and in an instant the whole gang were across the hedges, and away into the thick-planted fields beyond. The gendarmes put spur to their horses, drew their swords, looked in a terrible passion, and kicked up quantities of dust, galloped about, up some lanes, down others, swore quite like troopers, and at last rode off in a quiet pace, side by side, having no doubt done their duty most faithfully.T. C. GRATTAN, National Traits.

1 Real-by-ways, echten Bursche der Schleichwege; active, here rührig. 2 Daylight-fellows, Bursche die das Licht nicht scheuen.

3 Custom-house officer, Zollbeamter, Turn they tobacco by 'they have just sold their tobacco.'

Brandy, here Cognac.

[ocr errors]

5 Translate gave the salutation by, erscholl als Gruß.

The popular phrase to swear like a trooper is rendered idioma tically by wie ein Landsknecht fluchen.

XXVI.

GERMAN POPULAR BOOKS.

The Germans, if they did not as yet excel in the higher department of typography, were by no means negligent of their own great invention. The books, if we include the smallest, printed in the Empire between 1470 and the close of the century, amount to several thousand editions. A large proportion of these were in their own language. They had a literary public, as we may call it, not merely in their courts and universities, but in their respectable middle class, the burghers of the free cities, and, perhaps, in the artisans whom they employed. Their reading? was almost always with a serious end; but no people so successfully cultivated the art of moral and satirical fable. These, in many instances, spread with great favour through Cisalpine Europe. Among the works of this kind, in the fifteenth century, two deserve mention; the "Eulenspiegel," popular afterwards in England by the name of "Howleglass," and a superior and better-known production, the "Narrenschiff," or "Ship of Fools," by Sebastian Brandt of Strasburg, the first edition of which is referred by Brunet to 1494. The Latin translation, which bears the title of 1488 in an edition printed at Lyons, ought to be placed,5 according to the same bibliographer, ten years later, a numerical letter having probably been omitted.*

3

1 Turn were-of by 'did by no means neglect.'

2 Render reading by Lecture; turn was by 'had;' end here 3wed.

3 Cisalpine, cisalpinisch, to be preceded here by the definite article.

It was translated

4 Is referred...to 1494, wird...auf das Jahr 1494 festgesezt.

5 To be placed, here angegeben werden. The preposition auf should be supplied before ten. Numerical letter, Zahlbuchstabe.

Besides the explanation quoted by Hallam, there are two more versions to account for the contradictory date between the original and the translation; some biographers being of opinion that there existed an original German edition previous to that of 1494, and others that the Latin translation was made from the author's manuscript.

into English by Barclay, and published early in1 1509. It is a metrical satire on the follies of every class, and may possibly have suggested to Erasmus his "Encomium Moriæ."2 But the idea was not absolutely new; the theatrical company,3 established at Paris under the name of "Enfants de Sans Souci," as well as the ancient office of jester or fool in our courts and castles, implied the same principle of satirizing mankind with ridicules in general, that every man should feel more pleasure from the humiliation of his neighbours than pain from his own. Brandt does not show much poetical talent; but his morality is clear and sound; he keeps the pure and right-minded reader on his side; and in an age when little better came into competition, his characters of men, though more didactic than descriptive, did not fail to please.* influence such books of simple fiction and plain moral would possess over a people may be judged by the delight they once gave to children, before we had learned to vitiate the healthy appetite of ignorance by premature refinements and stimulating variety.-HENRY HALLAM, Introduction to the Literature of Europe.

1 Early in at the beginning of the year.

2 The German for Encomium Moria is Lob der Narrheit, but the original Latin title may be retained.

The

3 Theatrical company, Schau, spieler-Gesellschaft.

4 Satirizing...with ridicules, auf fatirische Weise...zuverspotten.

5 Of-fiction, ungekünftelter Fabel.

* The fact that the Narrenschiff was called the 'Secular Bible,' and that Geiler von Kaiserberg, a celebrated contemporary preacher, could venture to choose some of the chapters as texts for his sermons, will fully bear out the author's statement. It may be added here that the poem, which was written in the Suabian dialect, was also rendered into French and Dutch.

XXVII.

STRAWBERRY WEATHER.

(WRITTEN IN JUNE.)

If our article on this subject should be worth little (especially as we are obliged to be brief, and cannot bring to our assistance much quotation or other helps,) we beg leave to say, that we mean to do little more in it than congratulate the reader on the strawberry season, and imply those pleasant interchanges of conventional sympathy which give rise to the common expressions about the weather or the state of the harvest-things which everybody knows what everybody else will say about them, and yet upon which everybody speaks. Such a charm has sympathy, even in its commonest aspect. A. A fine day to-day.

B. Very fine day.

A. But I think we shall have rain.
B. I think we shall.1

And so the two speakers part, all the better pleased with one another merely for having uttered a few words, and those words such as either of them could have reckoned upon beforehand, and has interchanged a thousand times. And justly are they pleased. They are fellow-creatures living in the same world, and all its phases are of importance to them, and themselves to one another.

The meaning of the word is: "I feel as you do," or "I am interested in the same subject, and it is a pleasure to me to let you see it." What a pity that mankind do not vent2 the same feelings of good-will and a mutual understanding on fifty other subjects! And many dobut all might and, as Bentham says, "with how little trouble !"

1 Turn I think we shall by I think it also.'

2 Render vent by äußern, and understanding by Verständniß.

There is strawberry weather, for instance, which is as good a point of the weather to talk about as rain or sun. If the phrase seems a little forced,1 it is perhaps not so much as it seems; for the weather, and fruit, and colour, and the birds, &c. &c. all hang together; and for our parts, we would fain think, and can easily believe, that without this special degree of heat (while we are writing), or mixture of heat and fresh air, the strawberries would not have their special degree of colour and fragrance. The world answers to the spirit that plays upon it as musical instruments to musicians; and if cloud, sunshine, and breeze (the fine playing of Nature) did not descend upon earth precisely as they do at this moment, there is good reason to conclude that neither fruit, nor anything else, would be precisely what it is. The cuckoo would want2 tone, and the strawberries relish.-LEIGH HUNT, The Seer.

XXVIII.

PROGRESS OF MANKIND.

Man is progressive3 not only as an individual, but as a race. Here, still more, is his superiority to all other animals apparent. He is, in some measure, the heir of the discoveries, the inventions, the thoughts, and the labours of all foregoing time; and each man has, in some measure, for his helper the results of the accumulated knowledge of the world. But the transmission of experience and knowledge from generation to generation is the fundamental condition of progress throughout the successive ages of the life of mankind. To a large extent, of course, we cannot but profit from the labour of our

1 Forced, say gefünftelt.

2 The...would want, dem würde es

...fehlen.

an...

3 Turn progressive by progresses.

« IndietroContinua »