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spectacle presented itself. At Grandpré, where the principal hospital of the Prussians was established, it was ascertained that three thousand dead men had been buried in the surrounding fields. The road taken by the enemy was strewed with fragments of waggons and baggage. The French allowed several convoys of sick to continue their way without molestation, not less from motives of apprehension of catching the infection than from feelings of humanity.
But if the sick' were overlooked, the able-bodied were vigorously harassed. During the eight days that Brunswick had remained motionless at the foot of the upland of Valmy, Dumouriez, who foresaw that he had no alternative left to him save to retreat, had taken the precaution of throwing his cavalry upon the flanks of the enemy. (This was while the negotiations were going on.) Beurnonville and Dillon, thus placed in a position to harass a retreating army to almost any extent, with few chances of reprisals, allowed it neither rest nor respite, but daily captured hundreds of prisoners and many convoys. Add to this, Miaczinski, who commanded at Sedan, was pushed forward to intercept the allies at the point where, emerging from the defiles of the Argonne, they would advance upon
the Meuse in order to cross the river. To this effect General Chazot was sent with four battalions and two squadrons to reinforce the division under Miaczinski.
Three commissioners of the Convention, Sillery, Carra, and Prieur, had joined the army under Dumouriez, and success having attended upon his plans, although persevered in in opposition to the orders of the said Convention, they approved of everything he had done, and sent off the most reassuring despatches to Paris, informing the representatives of the people of the disasters that had befallen the retreating army, and of the ardour of the troops who were launched on in pursuit, their swords in the backs of the enemy. “Never,” they wrote, “ was war carried on with greater activity or gaiety than this ; we no longer sing ça ira ! but cela va!"
On the 12th of October, Dillon occupied the heights around Verdun, and summoned the commandant of the allies to withdraw in the course of the day if he wished to avoid a useless effusion of blood. Conditions were proffered that he should not be harassed on his retreat, and a safe convoy be given to the sick. The place was accordingly evacuated, and the next day the republicans took possession of the town, which was afterwards destined to be the prison of the English detained in France by imperial exigencies.
On the 18th of October, Kellermann having driven in the advanced posts of the allies with a brisk cannonade, found himself in front of Longwy. The Duke of Brunswick and General Kalkreuth sent out a parliamentary, but Kellermann, less accommodating than Dillon, replied that he could enter into no conference so long as the enemy was on the territory of the republic.
The envoy offered to give up Longwy on the 26th ; Kellermann insisted upon the 22nd. Upon that day, the evacuation began at ten in the morning, and by four o'clock in the afternoon the French flag once more floated at the extreme point of the north-eastern frontier. Next day Kellermann fired three salvoes of artillery to announce that the enemy was no longer in the territory of the republic.
NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE,
A MODERN DANISH EPIC.
STUDENTS of Scandinavian literature, until of late an unknown world to the overwhelming majority of Englishmen, but now, we are happy to think, numbering many able and enthusiastic explorers, have long been aware that Denmark within the two last decades has produced one of the most remarkable poems of modern times. We refer to the book which gives its title to the present paper—the “ Adam Homo" of Frederik Paludan-Müller. With little in it of the sublime lyric sweep of Ewald, or the romantic fulness and opulence distinguishing the works of Oehlenschläger~characteristics that give the first an imperishable name in the annals of Danish, and the second the same renown in those of European poetry—this ripened fruit of Paludan-Müller's creative genius has, on account of other qualities which are equally important in the sphere of all genuine and noble song, won for itself a very high place in the recent literature of the Scandinavian nations. By many of the writer's own countrymen, of course, its merits are befittingly appreciated, and the Danes point to it with pardonable pride as presenting, when viewed both in the light of its poetical universality and its artistic excellence, a picture unsurpassed even in the noble gallery of contemporaneous European literature. But, in England, the poem has been hitherto unknown known only to the comparatively small though ever-increasing number to whom things and persons Scandinavian have become matters of interest within the last ten or fifteen years. A brief description, therefore, of its character, and analysis of its contents, accompanied by a few translated extracts, may not prove unacceptable to the general reader.
“ Adam Homo" is pre-eminently a poem of the present time; and such a fact just constitutes, in our opinion, one of its peculiar charms. To make the fair flower of poetry shoot up from the arid soil of everyday life as it stretches waste and
when man's triumphs won over physical nature, while realising so many of the dreams of old romance, yet rather seem to absorb his intellectual energies to the exclusion of the diviner and more spiritual element which is the vital breath of the genuine muse—to accomplish this task was Paludan
in an age
Adam Homo. Et Digt. Af Frederik Paludan-Müller. Tredie Udgave. Kjöbenhavn: 1857. (Adam Homo. A Poem. By Frederik Paludan-Müller. Third Edition. Copenhagen : 1857.)
† It is only right to say that a recent article in the National Review drew attention to Paludan-Müller's great poem. But, although an able and genial paper, it, in various respects, dealt rather indirectly than directly with the work, and by no means rendered justice to many of its surpassing merits. Aug.–VOL. cxxxiv. NO. DXXXVI.
Müller's distinctive aim, and the effort has been crowned with the success it merited. He rightly saw that whatever poetic virtue lay in the of the Past had largely evaporated, and that a new source of inspiration must be sought for in our own era, where the heart of humanity still throbs with the old fervid passion, although overlapped by much that artificially controls its beatings and conceals its movements from the unreflective eye.
Oehlenschläger, for example, had exhausted the great hero-world of the early North; breathing life into the dead gods of the Odinic mythology once more, he had crowded his stage with the colossal shapes of the Scandinavian Valhalla ; but the resuscitated Aser and Asynier, however stately their tread and grand their utterance, palled upon men's minds at last, and Thor hurled his thunderbolts and Freya waved her sunny locks in vain. The Middle Ages, too, were gone for
With the gorgeous magnificence of their crusader-chivalry, their tournays, and their Parliaments of Love, they had all been conquered, again and again, for poetry. There was nothing new or wonderful in splintering a worn-out spear on that Field of the Cloth of Gold. And so, wisely turning from the broken cisterns of the Past, Paludan-Müller struck out in the ordinary existence of the Present a fountain of perennial song. If “ Adam Homo” be the most profound and far-searching of all its author's productions, it is especially so by reason of the skilful touch with which, throughout its pages, he lays open the mysteries of our modern social life. The nineteenth century lies there in brief compass, anatomised by a dexterous poetic hand. That this is no empty or exaggerated praise, will be freely corroborated by the majority of those acquainted with the work.
But not only is “ Adam Homo" emphatically a poem of the present time—it is also a wonderfully rich and varied portraiture of life. Some of the earlier writings of the author evinced more of the purely lyrical element. Withdrawn from the modern world, and wooing the ideal forms of antique beauty, he produced compositions conspicuous for their classic grace and loveliness, such as Amor and Psyche,” and others of a similar kind. The objective element, however, seems ultimately to have asserted its right as the predominating influence in his works, and culminated in the very production we are now considering. Not that we by any meaus intend to convey the idea that “ Adam Homo” is exclusively of an objective character; on the other hand, the subjective tone that prevails in many passages is thoroughly apparent, and too frequently, as we think, injures the pictorial vigour of the poem, and distorts its symmetry as a work of art. Yet the presiding spirit is, beyond all doubt, that of the objective muse; the individuality of the author is, except in his occasional bursts of lyric emotion, merged in that of each personage he portrays and lost sight of in each incident he describes ; and the result is an epic fulness of narration, a dramatic embodiment of character, and 'a far-extending panorama of existence-features which form the chief glory of objective poetry from the days of old Homer downwards. Life in the simple rural parsonage, life in the streets and saloons of the crowded capital, life in the fair garden and the solitary forest, life in the halls of the Danish aristocracy, life on the steps of the throne itself—it is still the opulent, many-hued, many-sounding life of the world, in its multitudinous gradations, with its multitudinous joys and sorrows, that makes the
burden of his song-and to which he has given new weight and significance in its connexion with his hero's destiny.*
As in the case of most objective poems, there is a pervading realism in “ Adam Homo,” which not seldom is so true to nature as to grate somewhat disagreeably on the reader's mind; but this very loyalty to nature is, in a work thus planned and executed, rather a virtue than a blemish, and, besides, if it be a defect, it is amply atoned for by the imaginative beauty that inspires so many other portions of the work. It is a proof of the remarkable versatility of the author's genius that he can pass with the greatest ease from descriptions, almost distressingly pre-Raphaelite in their minuteness, of ordinary and trivial objects, to the lofty sphere of the Ideal, and the contemplation of the profoundest spiritual truths. He has struck with the hand of a master all the chords of the poetic lyre. It is just this marvellous many-sidedness that has especially led the admirers of “ Adam Homo” to compare it to the two great achievements of Byron and Goethe-the “Don Juan" and the “ Faust.” Certainly the epithet which Goethe himself bestowed on the former of these two poems—"a work of boundless geniality''+-may with perfect fitness be applied to Paludan-Müller's latest creation; and, as has been with truth remarked, while the Dane is manifestly inferior to the Englishman in the photography of wild and fiery passion, he far transcends him in the artistic clearness and harmonious repose that Byron so largely lacked, and that ever must be viewed as forming the genuine basis of the highest and noblest poetry. But in “Faust” and “ Don Juan" there is the same element of universality, the same empire wielded over the world of song, from the rhymed prosaic utterances of every-day life to the sweetest or sublimest strains. Now, as regards “ Adam Homo," the case is similar. We would style it a Danish intermingling of these two celebrated poems -pervaded, of course, by a strongly marked originality of its own, and, let us further add, by a distinctly Christian spirit. Overflowing alternately with humour and pathos, blending in strange but not unnatural conjunction deep tragedy with sportive comedy-a profound religious reverence, nevertheless, breathes through many of its pages. Would that Paludan-Müller had simply confined himself to religion! He must needs intrude, following a singular bent of mind- rarely found coincident with his other intellectual characteristics-into the foreign domain of dogmatical theology, and thence transplant flowers, as he vainly fancies, wherewith still further to adorn the crowded garden of his Muse. To this, the crowning defect of the entire poem, we may afterwards have occasion to refer. Meanwhile, let us pass to our promised analysis, merely premising that, as regards the mould in which the work is cast, it thoroughly harmonises with the subject. The execution is supremely worthy of the
* Paradoxical as it may appear, while the poem is a picture of life universal, it is also in a peculiar sense a picture of life national. It is supremely, intensely Danish. This feature, indeed—its Danskhed, or “ Danishness"-—has greatly contributed to its popularity in Denmark, and renders it valuable everywhere as a faithful representation of Danish manners and Danish character. Yet Adam Homo is not simply a Dane; he is a type of the entire human family.
t “ Ein gränzenlos-geniales Werk, menschenfeindlich bis zur herbsten Grausamkeit, menschenfreundlich, in die Tiefen süssester Neigung sich versenkend.”— Goethe's Works, vol. xxxiii. p. 151. The “hideous misanthropy," however, admits of little application to the pages of " Adam Homo."
theme. The stanza employed is the ottava rima, modified, however, in a way which is undoubtedly an improvement on the ordinary form, the second and third lines occasionally rhyming together instead of the first and third, and the fourth and fifth instead of the fourth and sixth. Greater ease and variety are the natural result. As to the versification in general, it may be affirmed that the Danish language was never wielded with such masterly skill and power. From the breathings of the tenderest love to the wildest cry of sorrow, from the broadly comic or the sharply satirical to the mysterious abstractions of philosophy, across a range so varied and extensive Paludan-Müller has proved at once the resources of the Danish tongue, and the supremacy he exercises over it. We only regret that, just from this very circumstance—the predominant " curiosa felicitas verborum"—it is hopeless to attempt an adequate English translation of many of the finest portions of the work.
In the first verses of a brief prologue the author informs us why he has chosen his peculiar subject.
The ancient days have faded long ago,
page. Adam Homo (the very name, as the reader will perceive, suggests the true nature of the entire work, symbolising the struggle of humanity from the cradle to the grave) is the son of a parish priest in the neighbourhood of Veile, on the Danish mainland; and the poem opens with his birth. The character of the father-shrewd, selfish, aiming only at worldly advancement, get all the while attached to his offspring with an affection that really redeems him from our otherwise irrepressible dislikeis beautifully relieved by that of the mother, whose sweet and gracious spirit breathes like some healing and fragrant balm through the earlier period of the hero's history. In the description of the female character Paludan-Müller peculiarly excels; and among the most successful of his feminine portraits may be classed old Pastor Homo's gentle-hearted spouse. The christening of the infant is graphically related, with much of the quaint and quiet humour that pervades so many portions of the