Page images



January 21-22. WAILE ranging my German books this morning, I fell upon the “ Correggio" of Oehlenschläger, and “ Die Schuld” of Müllner; and I read both through carefully. The former pleased me more, the latter struck me less, than when I read them both for the first time a year ago.

One despairs of nothing since the success of “ Ion ;” but would it be possible, think you, that the tragedy of “ Correggio” could be exhibited in England with any thing like the success it met with in Germany? Here—in England I meanit might indeed “ fit audience find, though few," but would it meet with the same sympathy?would it even be endured with common patience by a mixed audience—such as hailed its appearance in Germany ?

Here is a tragedy, of which the pervading interest is not low ambition and the pride of kings; nor

Fragments of a Journal addressed to a Friend. written dur. Ing the author's residence in Canada, and first published in 1838


love, nor terror, nor murder, nor the rivalslip of princes, nor the fall of dynasties, nor any of the usual forms of tragic incident,—but art, high art -its power as developed within the individua: soul,-its influence on the minds of others. This idea is embodied in the character of Correggio yet he is no abstraction, but perfectly individual ized. All those traits of his life and peculiar hab its and disposition, handed down by tradition, are most carefully preserved, and the result is a most admirable portrait of the artist and the man. His gentleness, his tenderness, his sensitive modesty, his sweet, loving, retiring disposition, are all touched with exquisite delicacy. The outbreak of noble self-confidence, when he exclaimed, after gazing on Raffaelle's St. Cecilia, “Anch' io sono Pittore !” is beautifully introduced. The sight of the same picture sent La Francia home to his bed to die, so at least it is said ; but Correggio was not a man to die of another's excellence, though too often doubting his own. The anecdote of the man who was saved from the rapacity and vengeance of a robber, by an appeal to one of his pictures, and the story of his paying his apothecary with one of his finest works,* are also real incidents of the painter's life, introduced with the most pictu

resque effect.

Those who have travelled through the forests of Catholic Germany and Italy, must often have seen

• The Christ on the Mount of Olives, now, if I remember rightly, in possession of the Duke of Wellington.

a Madonna, or a Magdalen, in a rude frame,
shrined against the knotted trunk of an old oak
overshadowing the path; the green grass waving
round, a votive wreath of wild flowers hung upon
the rude shrine, and in front a little space worn
bare by the knees of travellers who have turned
aside from their journey to rest in the cool shade,
and put up an Ave Maria, or an Ora pro nobis. I
well remember once coming on such a Madonna
in a wild woodland path near Vollbrücken, in Up-
per Austria. Two little, half-naked children, and
a gaunt, black-bearded wood-cotter, were kneeling
before it, and from afar the songs of some peasants
gathering in the harvest were borne on the air.
The Magdalen of Correggio, the same which is
now in the Dresden gallery, and multiplied in
prints and copies through the known world, is
represented without any violent stretch of proba-
bility as occupying such a situation; nor are we
left in doubt as to the identity of the picture; it is
described in three or four exquisite lines. It is
beautiful,—is it not ?—where Correggio comments
on his work, as he is presenting it to the old her.
mit :-
“ Ein sündhaft Mädchen, das mit Reu' und Angst

Wie ein gescheuchtes Reh zum Dickicht floh,
Um der nachstellung ferner zu entgehen.
Doch ist es schön von einem Weibe, meyn ich,
Einmal gefallen wieder sich zu heben;
Es gibt sehr wen'ge Männer, die das können.”
* An erring maiden, that in fear and penitence

Flies, like timid hind, to the deep woods,

And the reply of Silvestro places the lovely form before us, painted in words.

Welch schön Gemähldal
Der dunkle Schattenwald, die blonden Haare,
Die weisse Haut, das himmel blau Gewand
Die Jugendfülle und der Todtenkopf,
Das Weiberhafte und das grosse Buch,
Ihr habt mit vieler Kunst die Gegensätze
In schöner Harmonie hier auf-gelöst.” *

The manner in which Correggio betrays his regret on parting with his picture, is also natural and most exquisite.

“ Die Dichter haben's gut; sie können immer

Die Kinder alle in der Nähe haben.
Der Mahler ist ein armer Vater, der
Sie in die weite Welt aussenden muss;
Da müssen sie nachher sich selbst versorgen.” †

Seeking t’ escape the snares around her laid, -
And it is good to see a hapless woman
That has once fallen redeem herself;—in truth

There be few men methinks could do as much.

What a fair picture !
This dark o'erhanging shade, the long fair hair,
The delicate white skin, the dark blue robe,
The full luxuriant life, the grim death's head,
The tender womanhood, and the great book-
These various contrasts have you cúnningly

Brought into sweetest harmony.
| Well for the poet! he can ever have

The children of his soul beside him here;
The painter is a needy father; he
Sends his poor children out in the wide world
To seek their fortune

« EelmineJätka »