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PRIXCIPAL POETICAL AND PKOSE WKITERS WHO FLOURISHED DCRING THIS PEltlOD.
CHRISTIAN FRIEDB. DANIEL SCHDBART (1739-1791) Was born at Obersontheim, on the 20th of March 1739, and pursued his studies at Jena. Fired with the enthusiastic feelings and strong passions of youth, he quickly became one of those creative writers, in whom the spirit of the "Sturm und Drangzeit" might most palpably be recognised. Schubart was endowed with a vigorous and ardent ingenuity. He had a great capacity for rhetorical displays, a feeling for music, and a turn for humour, although capable of being moved by the sentimental and pathetic. When he left the university he was as enthusiastic and as unmanageable as ever; he nevertheless took holy orders, and preached with great energy and fire, often ex tempore, and sometimes even in verse! Yet, neither as a preacher, a didactician, an author, or a musical composer, did he appear to be in his proper element. At length he published a political journal, to which he gave the title of "Die Deutsche Chronik." His political creed was, by many degrees, too liberal for the age in which he lived. Under these circumstances, the duke-regnant of Wurtemberg, in the year 1777, issued an order for Schubart's arrest and imprisonment in the fortress of Hohenasperg, whither he was immediately conveyed, and where he languished for ten entire years, without being once arraigned or brought to trial, or without being suffered to know the precise crime of which he was held guilty. A hymn, which Schubart wrote upon Frederic the Great, procured his liberation. Schubart's muse was far from being inactive during his captivity : his "Fiirstengruft" and his "Ewige Jude" (now very celebrated), were perhaps his best poems. Itwasalsoin prison that he com
posed his remarkable and interesting autobiography. Upon being set at liberty, in 1787, Sehubart accepted the office of theatrical poet at Stuttgard. His works abound with bold metaphors; and a German critic says of him: "Er fasste zuweilen die Dichterharfe mit beiden Handen, statt mit leisen Fingerspitzen ihre zarten Saiten zu beriihren, oftmals aber wird es so angstlich Gestohn, wie wenn die zertriimmerte Harfe die letzten Todesaccorde weine." In addition to his other talents, Sehubart was a pianist, and composer of no inconsiderable fame, and was the founder of the public declamatory concerts. He died at Stuttgart, on the 10th of October 1791.
ALOYS BLUMAXJER (1755-1798) Was born on the 21st of December, 1755, at Steier, in Austria. He was a Jesuit, but on the abolition of that order, he established himself as a bookseller at Vienna. He died on the 16th March 1798.
The vein of this writer lay in comic and humorous poetry. His travestie of Virgil's " jEneid" is a very clever piece of burlesque, and several other of his pieces evince readiness of hand, and abound with lively and poetic passages. Most of his compositions, however, betray poverty of invention, without either spirit or force; and they are still more objectionable on the score of vulgarity and indecency.
The best of his efforts are, —" Glaubensbekenntnisse eines nach Wahrheit ringenden " (poetical and philosophic), "Die Buchdruckerkunst," "Eile des Lebens," "Die Donaufahrt" (an exquisite portraiture of natural scenery), "An die Donau," and " Meine Wunsche."
FRIEDRICH VON MATTHISON (1761-1831)
Was born on the 23rd of January 1761, at Hohendodeleben,
near Magdeburg. He studied theology in Halle, in 1749,
where he became reader and companion to the reigning
duchess of Anhalt Dessau. In 1812 he was appointed chief 158 MATTHISON.
librarian at Stuttgart, with the title of "Legationsrath."
He died on the 12th of March 1831.*
This poet possesses great skill in depicting the beauties of the landscape, and in this branch of his art stands preeminent. "The man who could compose such a poem as the ' Elysium,'" says Schiller, "must bear stamped upon his soul the seal of initiation into the higher and sublimer mysteries of his art, and be welcomed as the apostle of a sterling loveliness of style." The distinctive feature of Matthison's muse is that of a soft and winning melancholy, and a tone of contemplative reverie. He is a master in depicting what may be called the "natural picturesque," and in giving expression to the accents of love and friendship. Among Matthison's most approved works are: "Opferlied," "Mondscheingemalde," "Geisternahe," " Der Alpenwandrer," " Das Kloster," "Der Fremdling," "Die Grazien," "Der Genfersee," "Die Kinderjahre," "Der Herbstabend," "Feenreigen," "Stummes Dulden," and "Die Abendlandschaft," whilst his elegy," Auf den Ruinen eines Bergschlosses" is the most celebrated of all. He also published an elaborate anthology, extending to twenty volumes, which included specimens of all the poets, major and minor, who nourished during the preceding century.
FREIHERR JOHANN GATTDENZ VON SALIS SEEWIS (1762-1834) Was born at Seewis (Graubiindten), on the 26th of December 1762. He was a captain of the Swiss guard at Versailles, and died on the 29th of January 1834, at Malan, in Graubiindten.
A kindred spirit to Matthison, but of a deeper cast. His poetry is correct and refined. It develops the true meaning of the expression, " pleasant tears," and the grave, subdued
* Dr. Doring, Matthisons Leben. 1833.
happiness to be found in awakening the memory of past sorrows. Amongst his most beautiful poems are: "An ein Thal," " Herbstlied," " Märzlied," " Das Grab," and " Ermunterung."
JOHANN PETER HEBEL (1760-1826) Was born on the llth of May 1760, at Hausen, in Baden; was professor and " Kirchenrath" there, and died September 22nd 1826.
Herel is a poet of a very peculiar vein; his " Allemannischen Gedichte" forcibly reminds us of the spirit of the "Minnesänger." His poems are written in a dialect spoken in the southern part of Germany (on the Schwarzwald), with a characteristic heartiness of feeling, and in a simple but classic " Volksstyl." He preferred the form of the idyllic and pastoral, using the most simple and natural images.
The poems of this author are something more than mere lovely transcripts of nature, they are pictures of the thoughts and manners of the simple classes of society to which they principally relate. For simplicity, na'iveti, and nationality, they are unsurpassed. His beautiful pastoral piece, entitled, " Die Wiese" is without a parallel in its particular way; while the following are of great merit: "Freude in Ehren," " Das Liedlein vom Kirschbaum," "Der Schmelzofen," "Der Morgenstern," "Die Mutter am Christabend," "Der Käfer," "Der Bettler," "Sonntagsfriihe," "Der Winter," " and Die Vergänglichkeit."
SAMUEL GOTTLIEB BUERDE (1753-1831)
at the head of the chancery court, and died on the 28th of
A tone of real piety and much facility and harmony of expression distinguishes—" Erzahlungen von einer Reise durch die Schweiz und Italien" and the " Geistlichen Poesien " of this author. His translation of Milton's " Para
160 CONZ. —KIND.
dise Lost" is at least clever. "Das verlassene Dorf" and "Der Wanderer" are good specimens of his powers; while " Die Gebirgsmahrchen des Riibezahl (the far-famed Spirit of the Silesian Mountains), are characteristic and entertaining.
CARL PHILIPP CONZ (1762-1827) Was born on the 28th of October, at Lorch, in Wiirtemberg; became doctor of philosophy and professor of the humanities at Tubingen, and died on the 20th of June 1827. Conz was a philosophizing poet, of no great name. He possessed, however, richness and vigour of thought, but the force of his conceptions was weakened by the awkward and unrythmical character of his style.
Conz's translation of "iEschylus" approaches, in metre and structure, to the form of the original, but it is tame and unsatisfying. "Abendphantasie," "Beim Sonnenuntergang," "Gesanges Macht," exhibit his poetical genius in its best light.
JOHANN FRIEDRICH KIND (1768-1843) Was born at Leipsic, on the 4th of March, 1768, where he studied Jurisprudence: he practised in Dresden as a barrister, and died in July 1843.
Kind has a charming fancy, and is peculiarly apt in the descriptive. He is skilful in the groupings of his characters, although their personal elaboration is strikingly defective. As a dramatic author, he preferred to bring out picturesque plays (" Malerische Schauspiele.") In Vandyk's "Landleben" he introduced a new scenic effect, the tableaux vivants ("lebende Bilder"), which have since become very popular throughout Europe.
To Kind we are indebted for the dramatic part of " Der Freischiitz," which forms the libretto to Weber's admirable music. Kind's minor poems exhibit an easy and correct style of versification, and the most remarkable of them are: "Der Stieglitz" and the legend of " Der grosse Christoph."