« 上一页继续 »
LIFE IN THE NORTH.
BY FREDERIKA BREMER.
WRITTEN FOB SAKTAIN'S MAGAZINE, AND TRANSLATE!) FROM THE ORIGINAL SWEDISH
BY MARY HOWITT.
(Concluded from page 164.)
Young and vigorous shoots are richly germinating at the present moment in the literature of Denmark, in its poetry, as well as in its prose. Love to the fatherland, and to that which is peculiar in its scenery and in the life of its people, is the chief character of these. This love is felt in Stein Steinsen Blicher's vivid description of the grand scenery of Jutland, and the present life there. And the Every-day Stories published by J. L. Heiberg, in which the hand of a woman is universally recognised, and which delineate the life of the middle classes in Denmark with equal cordiality and humour, have been favourites through the whole of Scandinavia. Fresh and vigorous, it is a plant which springs up from the life of the people in the North.
In other branches of art this new life has also revealed itself. Contemporaneously with Oehlenschlager appeared Thorwaldsen, a poet in sculpture, and through him a vast wealth of works of plastic art, the admiration of our time. Thorwaldsen in form adhered to the antique, but in vividness of expression, in freshness, in youthful naivety, he is the child of the "green islands," he is the son of Dana. This great artist was one of the fortunate of earth. His life was a continued glad creation; he lived acknowledged and honoured in his own time and by his own country, and died, shortly after the day of his public triumph, without sickness or the pains of death—died, or rather fell asleep, whilst listening to beautiful music in the temple of Thalia, surrounded by his friends and admirers.
The Danish people, in Thorwaldsen's Museum, have raised to him a monument as honourable to the artist as to the people, who thus know how to value their own great men, and who now, in the monument which is placed above his grave, possess a living fountain for the perpetual enjoyment of art, and for new inspiration. We are amazed when we behold the riches of the works produced by the hand of this master; the wealth of conception, of expression, of his many-sided comprehension
Vol. vi. 24
of the ideals of life. Thorwaldsen was a giant in plastic art; an intellectual Titan, who merely wanted one thing to conquer heaven— the knowledge of the highest ideal, of the sublirntst beauty—the strength, the love, the sorrow and the joy of Christendom. In the centre of Thorwaldsen's Museum is Thorwaldsen's grave, covered with fresh, blooming roses—here emblems without flattery.
Jericho and Bissen are the greatest of Denmark's living sculptors, both of them men of strong and original powers. The former of these has shown by his " Christ," his " Angel of the Resurrection," and his groups of " Adam and Eve," his deep feeling for the deepest sentiment of life. The latter has begun to represent in marble the gods and the heroes of the northern my thology, and in so doing has opened to plastic art a new career.
Denmark has in painting a young and promising school of artists, who, whilst they confine themselves faithfully to nature, and seek for truth in its beauty, still more seek for these in their native land, and represent it in their pictures. Thus, of historical painters, MarStrand, Simonsen, and Sonne; of painters of genre pictures, Schleisner and Monnier; of sea-painters, Melry and Lorensen; of landscape, Skoooaard, Keirrkow, and Rump; of flower painters, Jensen and Ottensen, and of portrait painters, Gartner, Schitz, and others. Amidst this group of Danish artists there has lately appeared one—neither Danish nor northern, but whom Denmark ought henceforth to reckon among her own—with all the glowing energy of colouring, of expression and eye peculiar to the South, and with faults and merits which belong to genius. It is a woman rich in genius, a daughter of Poland, and now the wife of a Danish artist. It is Elizareth Bauman, now Mrs. Jericho, who has recalled in Denmark the memory of the pencil of Rubens, of his fire, and his creative life.
In music Hartman, Rong, and Gade, have caused tones to sound which never before were heard in scientific music, tones and melodies formerly heard only in the northern war-ballads and the songs of the people, but in which the northern genius reveals that deep feeling, that earnestness, and that fervency, that peculiar tone of gladness or of sorrow which belongs to its peculiar life, and which every heart in the North recognises as the innermost tone and voice of its own being. The most tender melancholy and the boldest strength here meet in harmonious conjunction. There is "a voice that calls aloud" in this voice,—a voice of sublime longing, and of prophetic consolation.
Whilst the genius of art has thus spread forth its wings, that of science is not behindhand. The mother tongue, the first common mark of a people, through the labours of the great philologist, Rask, and of Malbeck, the author of the Danish Dictionary, and an indefatigable collector of Danish historic literature, has freed itself from the fetters of foreign language, and the tongue of Norrana, in its primitive beauty, has drawn nearer to each other the hitherto separated classes of the people by means of that mother tongue which has become universally popular through the poets.*
Like twin stars in the heaven of science appeared, as thinkers and writers, the two brothers Oersted;—A. S. Oersted, the lawyer, penetrating with all the power of a methodical mind into the legislation of Denmark, recasting it, and establishing the state on a religious basis; the natural philsopher, H. C. Oersted, discovering hitherto unknown powers of nature, and erecting the physical world on the foundation of the spiritual — "the movable upon the immovable." His great discovery in the year 1820, of electro-magnetism, or of the law of sympathetic power between electrified bodies and the magnet, which caused his name and that of his native land to resound through the whole learned world, has, of late years, given birth to the electric telegraph, by whose wires the thoughts of the world, and the affairs of commerce fly from country to country, from city to city, from mind to mind. His small, but from its contents great, work on "Kundshabs-tvntm vateru-enhet i det hele verlderu-allt,"^ which may, perhaps, be translated in " The Identity of the Perceptive Faculty in the whole universe," is one of the seeds of thought which genius sows for the nourishment of centuries. This work, with its severe logie, its bold
* About the same time attention has again turned to the treasures of Icelandic literature. Former investigations acquired a higher national importance through the labours of Finn, Magnusen, and Rafn, and those of later times, by means of those zealous collectors, Thomson and N. M. Peterson, the translator and commentator of the Ieelandic Sagas.
t Which was delivered by him at Keil, at the scientiSc meeting there in 1844, and published in Germany from this oral delivery under the title, "Ueber die Wamteinhat da ErhelUnutvermogens tm ganten Writ-all.''
; trains of thought, and its grand views of the i universe—this work, which casts new light on the light of the stars, which draws the whole starry firmament nearer to the human heart, which clearly demonstrates that there is nothing discoverable in the whole visible creation which is entirely foreign to human reason, and to the laws which are required and ordained for this earth, and which clearly makes out that the human being is a central thought in the universe—this work ought to be unknown neither to the true thinker nor to any trne poetic mind.
Oersted, the lawyer and late minister, has, during the political disturbances of the last years in Denmark, become somewhat in opposition to the people, whose universally beloved leader he had so long been. He has experienced contradiction and hostility; he has been misunderstood; he has suffered injustice. Well to him! He has thus fully consummated a great life; for no great life is consummated without the fiery ordeal of misconception, without some portion of the martyr's lot. The great thing is to pass through all this and still to preserve love, and still to preserve hope. To do this is the glory of a human life. Nobility and steadfastness of character are, however opinions moy differ, the rock against which the stormy billows break, which stands firm in silent grandeur, only becoming the more brilliant when the waters have withdrawn, when the billows are lulled, when the strife of the day is over. And the day of acknowledgment already dawns over the noble statesman, in the words which were addressed to him in the name of the states by one of his noble opponents, at the closing session at Roeskilde,—" As we thanked him when he stood forward to oppose our views, and led us either to abandon them or to support them more steadfastly, so will he live continually in our remembrance as one of life's most beautiful minds, whose gigantic intellectual powers are still exceeded by his amiable character."
The life of Oersted the naturalist, appears to pass on in a joyous light. Rich in his "lightjoy," in science, in the comprehension of the laws of nature, of its harmonies and its responses, he still, youthful and fervent in his old age, endeavours daily to extend this joy over larger circles—to the young, to the unlearned, to women, to the people who labour in the sweat of their brow, and is aided to do so by his extraordinary skill in expressing himself clearly and intelligibly—in the best sense of the word popularly.
And if many did as he, if all the wealthy in light and in joy wished and worked in his spirit, how much of that which is dark and threatening in the physiognomy of the present time would vanish! No, we do not deceive ourselves, and the experience of our own life strengthens this belief, that in the essential movement which agitates the age, there is, beyond its dark shadows, a secretlonging for light; there is a thirsting for a finer, a more beautiful existence in thought, in feeling; for a nobler enjoyment in the proper light-life of humanity.
The flowers and the trees press forwards towards the light; the birds sing to the light, and all nature longs for the life of light. "Light! more light !" is often the last word of the dying human being, and the most fortunate among the living has no higher name for his happiness than "light-joy." And they who sit in darkness, should not they follow the inborn impulse of all existence? Yes, they will long, they will straggle; they will through night and day, through evil and through good, seek their way to the light, until the Creator's "Let there be light!" shall have penetrated the world, and shall have filled every depth and every soul with the bright joy of existence.
But over those, who in the love of their human brethren, in the divine impulse of communication, go forth to their less-favoured fellow-beings to labour for them to that purpose, over them rests the blessing of the light!
Whilst H. C. Oersted from his little island proclaims the laws which regulate the whole universe, his disciple Fokchhammer, penetrating into the peculiar stratification of this island, has thrown new light on geology, and has opened the pathway to a deeper knowledge of the earth's history. And the young Waarsac, searching into the depths of the graves, has compelled long-slumbering races, through the symbolic language, which he knows how to interpret, to bear a clearer testimony than hitherto, to the early inhabitants of the North, to their culture and their connexion with other nations.
Professor Schouw, at the same time the favourite interpreter of the language of the vegetable world, and one of the noblest spirits of the political life of the present day, has, especially in his geography of plants, and his researches into the relative climates of the world, produced works of great value and interest. For the rest, almost every branch of natural science has in Denmark its young, promising worshippers.
To the group of naturalists belongs that of the Danish physicians which has, for a long time, been regarded as one of the most distinguished in Europe. Mighty foreign monarchs have called in the aid of Danish physicians. Bang, Trirr, and Stein are names which resound with gratitude and praise, as well abroad, is in Denmark.
Philosophy has only of late opened its eye in the North, but when it has done so, it is with a glance peculiar to the North. That glance penetrates to the central region of life; to the depths, to the heights; it seizes upon the organic centre, and makes it its point of vision for the survey of the world. Ttchi Rothe, who lived in the eighteenth century, may perhaps be considered as the first philosopher in Denmark. His work on the Effects of Christianity on the nations, shows a profound mind and great historical penetration.
But the philosophical spirit has its new-birth in Denmark, with Ch. F. Sibbern. Sibbern in his youth was possessed by an excessive sensibility. He passed through every kind of suffering of which the human heart is susceptible; through every shade of its most violent pangs to its most subtle nervous pains. In "The Posthumous Letters of Gabriel" he has preserved to the world the remembrance of this period. But the new Werter was not overcome by his sorrows. He overcame them by a union with the higher powers of life, and thus his sorrows became the wings which bore him to a higher development of his own being. During his solitary wanderings into wood and meadow, he turned the eye of contemplation down into his own breast. He now placed before himself the old rule, "Know thyself," as the point from which his new intellectual life should begin. His feelings grew into thoughts; his thoughts became systematized, and these produced his excellent work, "Psychological Pathology," the fruit of a large and warm heart as well as a strong logical brain; a mine of deep, inspired observation conceived in the noblest philosophy of life. Sibbern's philosophy is a philosophy of life, the ground of which is peculiarly adapted to the people of the North. It is not the abstractions of Fichte, removed from the actual by a proud intellectual life which triumphs over pain, over combat, over weakness and sorrow, over all the struggling constitution of humanity. It is not that of Hegel,v a sublimating of existence into thought and understanding, as being the only real, and in consequence giving a somewhat depreciating view of the life of the heart and of feeling. No! It is a philosophy of life which embraces with love and power the whole of life; life in all its greatness; its littleness; its sweetness; its bitterness; in a word, in all its truth. It is a philosophy of life which regards combat as the condition and the glory of life; which considers suffering and sorrow as the purifying flames out of which
» The service rendered to the world by the great German philosophers is not lessened for that they did not penetrate to the centrum of existence. They have prepared the way. They had their time and their mission. The time of the Scandinavian thinkers is come!
the Phoenix of life supplies itself anew with stronger, with more beautiful wings.
Thus has the philosophical consciousness of the North adopted the primitive understanding of life peculiar to the North, that which is expressed in the myth of the life of the gods and heroes in Valhalla, in which every day is a combat, but combat a sport, and every night a feast of victory.
"The Letters of Gabriel," have the same relationship to Sibbern's Pathology that the flower has to the fruit. And he who becomes acquainted with the author of these works cannot but wish that he would continue the Letters of Gabriel, and show us in a complete biography how suffering and combat may produce fruit in life and in science; how the noble enthusiast may become a wise man; how the suffering youth may change into the most happy and amiable of old men.
But it is not Sibbern alone—it is all the great minds of Denmark at the time who pay homage to this philosophy of life. And if you inquire of this from those young men with silvery locks, Mynster, Grundtvig, the brothers Oersted, Sibbern, Ingemann, all so different in minds, in science and in genius, you would hear them all acknowledge the same views of life; hear them all express words which make it a pleasure to live—nay even to suffer. You will perceive in them that the race of "Yenglinger" is not extinct—that it lives still on in the North.
The theologian philosopher, H. Martknsen, is in eminent meaning a spiritual sower. Young yet, and in the prime of his mental powers, he scatters around him through his living word, and through his philosophical writings, (highly prized in Sweden and Germany, as well as in Denmark,) the seeds of a new development of religious life in the church and in science, and this through a profounder understanding of its being, through the explication of the life of faith by the life of reason, through the union of the deep feeling with the logical intellect. In his "Systematic Exposition of the Christian Doctrine," which isshortly expected from the press, a full statement of his views is looked for. By what is known of these views, from the works he has already published, it is hoped that they will lead to a new birth in the life of the Church, in great and in small, in the state and in the solitary heart. The extraordinary clearness and distinctness with which this richly-gifted mind can set forth in words the most profound speculative philosophy, together with his interesting and genial mode of expression, make him a popular writer. In his Systematic Exposition of Christian Doctrine we expect to find a work not alone for the learned. It is high time that theology is made popular.
Our Lord made himself so eighteen hundred years ago.
Whilst Martensen with his wealth of genius casts from his central position light upon every sphere of existence, upon all the phenomena of life, Soben Kierkegaard stands like another Simon Stylites upon his solitary column, with his eye unchangeably fixed upon one point. Upon this he places his microscope and examines its minutest atoms; scrutinizes its most fleeting movements; its innermost changes; upon this he lectures, upon Uiis he writes, again and again, infinite volumes. Everything exists for him in this one point. But this point is—the human heart; and as he ever reflects this changing heart in the eternal, unchangeable, in that " which became flesh and dwelt amongst us," and as he amidst his wearisome logical wanderings often says divine things, he has found in the gay, lively Copenhagen not a small publie, and that principally of ladies. The philosophy of the heart must be near to them. Of the philosopher who treats on this subject, people say good and bad, and—wonderful things. Solitary lives he who wrote for "the solitary,"v inaccessible and in fact known by no one. During the day, he may be seen passing up and down the most crowded streets of Copenhagen, in the midst of the throng, and by night light is seen to shine within his solitary house. Rich, independent, he appears to be rather of a jaundiced and irritable temper, which will quarrel with the sun if it shines otherwise than as he wished. For the rest, in him is seen something of that metamorphosis of which he likes to write, which he has experienced in himself, and which has led him from a sceptical waverer, through sorrow and trembling "to the hill of light from which he now expatiates with inexhaustible power upon " the gospel of suffering," upon "deeds of love," and "the inner mysteries of life." Soren Kierkegaard belongs to those few, introverted characters, who have been met with from the remotest times in the North, though oftener in. Sweden than in Denmark, and it is to his kindred spirits that he talks about the sphinx in the human breast; that silent, enigmatical, above all, mighty heart.
From the problem of the inner life we will now pass to the outer, to that which the great struggle of the day is endeavouring to solve. There appears to be a gulf between these, but we do not regard it as such, and we will cast some light upon that.
In political development the Scandinavian North does not stand behind, but rather takes
• "To the solitary souls" is the only dedication which Soren Kiorkegaard prefixed to his " Instructive Tales."
precedence of the lively South. The freedom of the people is an old idea up in the North. Its sovereignty was first acknowledged in Sweden, later in Norway, latest in Denmark, but there it is now most supreme. The political evolution which, without revolution, has lately occurred in Denmark, and which has changed the government from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy based on democratic principles, has, nevertheless, roots which strike baok into remote times. And it may be said that the absolute monarch, Frederick the Third, commenced the enfranchisement of the people, which, continued by Frederick the Sixth, was completed under the reign of Frederick the Seventh. This was accomplished unanimously by king and people, in a moment of great outward danger, when the country was attacked by a powerful enemy. Then did king and people join together and stand as one man, ready to offer up goods and life for the common fatherland—for the right and honour of Denmark. This great movement, which still swells in the heart of the people, has given a strong impulse to the highest moral and political development, and a new strength to monarchy in the North.
The spirit of freedom has called forth even here some of those darker phenomena which have gloomed and retarded the advance of freedom in other countries. The strife between gods and giants still goes forward in this day. Which shall become the conqueror 1
We look back with hope to the oldest history of the North, to that prophecy which is contained in the first appearance of the first settlers in the North under the peaceful guidance of Asarna, and to the voluntary homage paid by the people to their superior wisdom.
We look upon the great rising middle class which daily grows in the North by additions from the aristocratic order as well as from the artisan classes, who make labour their honour, and the noblest humanity the object of their education. We behold an emancipation, in the best sense of the word, which raises more and more the subjected classes, and levels the separating barriers of rank and fashion.
Lastly, we look with confidence upon the oldest sanctuary of the North, on domestic life, and on home. We see the home as it was formerly in the North, a "holy room," unspoiled by the storms either of times or seasons, as it was of old, and more than of old, a home for the divine powers of truth, of fidelity, of selfsacrificing love. We see the sacrificial hearth stand in the home, and the altar in the church in the northern land; and upon these we build onr trust, that here the development of freedom will become mighty without its counter-balancing evil, and that here the people will not
mistake that natural needful aristocracy which is founded by the ordination of the Creator, which consists in a true superiority, above all, in that which the human being acquires for himself by ability and virtue. Does not the prophetic Iduna stand in the circle of the northern gods, goddess alike of youth and piety, bearing with her the fruit of renovation, that fruit without which the gods themselves must become old?
The authority of the people—that is in reality the aim for which the people are striving, an aim far higher and nobler than that of earthly prosperity. The people, the nation, must come to majority, must become of age, as well as the individual—they must by free will alone, without outward compulsory power, know how to determine its destiny. But powerful is no one, and great is no one in the last instance, who does not acquire rule over (the word must be spoken, for a truer cannot be found) his own sinful heart.
The kindred people of the North seem to be called upon by character and history, as well ! as by the development of the nations, to set an example to other people by a noble, a powerful, and an independent life.
The spring approaches. It seems as if it this year would come early in the North. Nature comes forth to her festival of gladness. Shall human beings advance against each other in the work of destruction 1 That is the question of the day. In Denmark they are arming for war, and above the blue waters of the Sound float's the purple-red flag of the ships of war— floats " Dannebrog," (the national flag.)
We acknowledge that all our sympathies are for this beautiful land, for the amiable people here, for the nation of faithful subjects, of oppressed peasants, who from Schleswig call on the mother-country for help, and who, as in the peasant Lorenz Skow, find an interpreter possessed of the most fervid eloquence. We have already referred to the silent work of peace which is going forward here, and whioh is preparing a future for Denmark over which war and death cannot have any real power. Peaceful and fruitful seasons, good rulers and statesmen have, during the last thirty years, made the land rich and happy.*
Little Denmark is for the present one of the most flourishing and best governed states in Europe.f The sense of this increases the naturally buoyant and sanguine temper of the
* As one of the remarkable statesmen ought to be mentioned Professor David, an industrious improver of prisons and prison discipline in this country.
f The active educational spirit in the country, and the great demand to which it has led for knowledge and ability, has conduced very much to the formation of a distinguished class of officials who now contribute greatly to the strength of the nation.