페이지 이미지

separately from the plates, intended to class with descriptions forinally picturesque. There is no attempt at that regular lengthened kind of representation, in which Mrs. Radcliffe has so powerfully painted in words a tract of the country along this river. There is less of it than is given, with the spirited exhibition also of other matters, in a very clever book, published two or three years ago under the title of An Autumn near the Rhine. Nor is there much of that strain of sentimental philosophizing which we expected to find, after being informed that the Author has enjoyed the friendship of Göthe, Wieland, Kerder, · Voss, Böttiger, and most of the distinguished literary charac' ters of Germany,' and that he is a successful poet. And we are not so fascinated with the speculative musings and moral taste of the German geniuses, as to regret very deeply that this has been forborne; though it may be conceived as a possibility, that a tourist's mind might be so constituted, that nothing which could be said of the country surveyed by him, would be so interesting, or even valuable, as the reflections and speculations which should be suggested to him in passing over it. Indeed, there have actually been men respecting whom it might have been wished, as Gibbon did respecting Volney, that in this capacity of reflecting and speculating observers, it had been possible for them to travel over the whole world: but assuredly, Volney was not the man. For such a service, he had, doubtless, a superior degree of intellectual adaptation ; but when his pervading purpose was to be, as if it were the grand duty of his existence, to give every thing on earth a tongue and a language to forswear religion, we might well be content that he should rather stay at home, to digest the vituperations and beatings (literally such, it was reported) of the fierce imperial master with whom he could not agree about a popish establishment in France, with an infidel as sacred head of the church.

But to return to the Tour of the Rhine. It is not written in the form of a travelling narration, lively and moving on; though there does occur two or three times some mention of the tra

vellers,' as leaving one spot to advance to another. It is substantially of the character and form of what is denominated topography, including much historical and antiquarian matter, and with an apparent competence in the Writer to take cognizance of a greater variety of subjects than many topographers have well known how to manage.

* M. von Gerning,' savs his Translator, “has viewed the banks of the Rhine with the eye of a man of taste, a scholar, and an antiquary; indeed he has considered his subject with reference to almost every department of knowledge. Ilis account of the school of art at Cologne will be more acceptable in this country than in his own; and his opinions in disputed points of antiquarian rescarch may probably be questioned


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

by some but for all his opinions the baron is himself responsible, not his translator. It has been the object of the translator, not merely to translate the work, but to supply, in the shape of notes, the elucidations which several subjects required, to render them intelligible to the English reader.'

Among these elucidations are many explanations of words, local names and other terms, which, in the view of that same English reader,' will too probably appear to spread a frightful air of barbarism over the pages; and the more manfully he strives at the utterance of them, the more will he wonder at the taste with which the ancestors of the Germans made their choice in the market of tongues at Babel,-if indeed any choice was allowed them in the matter.

The Author has all the requisite partiality for his subject. He says,

No stream is so deeply interesting in an historical point of view; and the regions through which the river flows have all the charm of the valleys of Italy. Time has in both written the book of nature and humanity in large characters, and preserved it for posterity.-A capital section of this book belongs to Mentz.'


And at Mentz, after a particular and somewhat interesting account has been given of the country and the very numerous medicinal springs at and round Wiesbaden,-at Mentz, as being near the point where the fine scenery of the banks commences, the series of descriptions begins. This city, as being rescued from the grasp of foreign ambition,' the Author hopes for ever,' is hailed with a laudably patriotic delight; but the utmost allowance for this worthy feeling will hardly suffice for tolerating the surpassing extravagance of the assertion, that the situation of * Mentz may well bear a comparison with that of Naples or Constantinople.' The glow of pleasure seems to be chilled at beholding this important city as now placed under what he denominates, with a sneer, the Rhenish-Hessian and purely li'beral government.'



It is triply-defended,' he says, and tenfold fortified; and it has also been made a new staple and frontier station for the collection of duties on the Rhine: but alas! it will not soon become again a beautiful and happy place of residence.'

No one will wonder it should not be exactly so at present, on reading that six thousand soldiers and six thousand poor are included in the census which makes the whole number of the inhabitants but thirty-two thonsand. Such a state of things will add powerfully to the gloomy effect of the broad traces of desolation, left by the recent war. 'Many a noble temple,' he says, and splendid palace in Mentz, was burnt and destroyed. The 'rich and beautiful Carthusian convent, and the fairy palace which

bore the name of Favorite, with its enchanting garden, enjoy ́ing a delightful view of the heights of Taunus, and of the moun'tain road, have also disappeared.' However questionable it may be, whether these had contributed in any very substantial manner to the real advantage of the people, they had certainly contributed to that higher, gayer tone of spirits which the people, when not severely oppressed by poverty, are very apt to feel in identifying themselves in some way with whatever forms the boast, the pride, and the magnificence of the place where they live.

A great number of the particulars of the Roman operations in fighting and building, and of the train of events and changes through subsequent ages, including the invention of printing, are assembled in the history given of this city; and the most remarkable objects now existing in it and its vicinity, are named and described. The whole work, indeed, is an immense accumulation of brief notices and proper names. It must have cost the Author very great labour and research, to be qualified to attach to so many spots and objects, their respective portions of history; to affix the dates of buildings, ruinations, and rebuildings; to name founders, destroyers, distinguished visitants, remarkable events, original proprietors, transfers, exchanges, and resumptions of possession; and to bestrew among these dry particulars the much more amusing material of the monkish legends of the middle ages. Great praise for antiquarian inquisitiveness is due, even whatever errors there may be in so extensive a detail. What errors there may really be, we are persuaded no human being, at least out of Germany, will ever, as to the greater portion of that detail, be interested enough to undergo the labour of examining; as nothing can be conceived less capable of being made attractive to an exercise of the mind, (to any one at a distance from the places,) than the local records of baronial feuds, and ecclesiastical politics. Here and there, the Author seems touched by some intimation that his readers may be tired; and diverts, as for the purpose of relief and stimulation, to an eulogy of the charms of nature. This might be expected to be done in the continental style of gilt epithet and hyperbolical sentiment. 'Golden' and 'sweet' are favourite words; and the Baron will sometimes go off in strains like the following:

These scenes are equally dear to the nearer and the more remote inhabitants of the surrounding country, and many a one whose eye first opened on them, still turns with unabated enthusiasm to the stream which has long agitated him with the keenest emotions. Our minds here are involuntarily attuned to joy, and at each well known spot our native Rhenish songs burst instinctively from our heaving breasts.' p. 41.

This paradise, (the Rheingau,) like the region of Naples, may be styled a portion of heaven fallen down to the earth. The majestic Rhine lingers in his course through it, and, in honour of it, forms nine verdant

islands. The solemn Taunus throws his woody arms around it, to protect it from the rough and boisterous north. Vine-covered hills, fields and meadows, and human dwellings, are intermingled most agreeably; and in this Elysium, we fly from place to place in an overpowering ecstacy, which defies description.' p. 43.

There needs not such extravagance as this, to make us believe that the Rhingau is a rich and beautiful region. We are satisfied it deserves its fine character; and can believe also in the good qualities ascribed to its inhabitants, though, in any questionable matter, we might well demur to a full reliance on the testimony of a Writer who can actually, as in the following extract, take prayer and bell-ringing for the very same thing.

The inhabitants of the Rheingau are kind, frank, hospitable, and, generally speaking, endowed with a certain innate hilarity, which well becomes them. As the district was itself separated from the country adjacent, by the Rhine and a trench, its inhabitants were, in like manner, a separate people. They form, as it were, only one family, especially the inhabitants of Rüdesheim, who are almost all related to each other, and who seldom marry elsewhere. Persons when they meet, greet each other with the words, "Good time!" which, in a bad time, sounded doubly grateful.

In former days, the festal peals of the baptized and consecrated Maybells sweetly echoed through the pleasant hills and valleys of the Rheingau, from the setting in of even, to the dawn of morning, with the view of obtaining the blessing of Heaven on the labours of man in the season of hope, when he commits the source of his future subsistence to the bosom of the earth, and when, in the unsuspecting confidence of piety, he supposes the continuance or the failure of the bounty of nature, may depend on the efficacy of his prayers. This ringing of bells has been prohibited here as well as elsewhere, on account of the disturbance which it occasioned by night.


The most delightful periods of the year in the Rheingau, and more, particularly in Rüdesheim, are, that in which the vine puts forth its blossoms, when the whole country is filled with the most delightful fragrance; and autumn, when grapes of the very best quality invite to enjoyment. They are not trodden here, but beat; and we, therefore, drink the must without hesitation or disgust.


The same wild hubbub and idle discharge of fire-arms which take place elsewhere, are not to be heard in the Rheingau; but the men and women connected with the vine-cultivation, forin processions with music and singing. A female's elected wine-matron in the bacchanalian procession, at the end of the vintage.' p. 53.

A single paragraph from the account of Nieder-Ingelheim, (a place bearing, to the eyes of the thorough antiquary, marks more captivating than all that blooms on the ground or shines in the sky, in the form of some venerable walls, and other remains of the palace of Charlemagne, built between 768 and 774,') will furnish a good specimen of the manner in which our labori

ous Author brings the historic particulars of a place together, while it is, perhaps, almost worth transcribing for the information it contains. After mentioning that this was the scene of the adventure of Eginhard and Emina, recollected by every reader of the Spectator, he proceeds:

• This Neider-Ingelheim, also called in documents Englilonheim, Hingilenheim, Ingulunheim, but most frequently Ingilenheim, is one of the most memorable places on the Rhine. Various ecclesiastical and imperial assemblies were held at Ober-Ingelheim, a short distance from it. Here Charlemagne held the first imperial diet, in the year 774; and in 778, deprived Thasilo, Duke of Bavaria, of his dignity, for the crime of læsæ majestatis, or high treason. Again, in 814, Louis the Pious or Mild, in Nieder-Ingelheim, took king Harold (Herioldus) of Denmark under his protection, and ordered the convert to be baptized at St. Alban, at Menta. Ilere the same Louis, in 817, received ihe deputies of Leo, Emperor of the East, and afterwards the splendid embassy of the Emperor Theophilus from Constantinople. On a verdant island adjacent, now called the Alte Sand, this Louis the good-natured terminated his life, through grief on account of his son Louis the German, to whom he owed his liberation, in 834, from the convent at Soissons, having entered the field against him, in consequence of his recent division of the Empire. The succeeding Carolingians, down to Louis IV, the Child, frequently resided at Ingelheim; the Othos and Salian emperors did the same. The celebration of the marriage of Henry III. with the daughter of William of Poitou, took place here in 1039. Here also Henry IV. determined and irresolute by turns, was in 1106 made a prisoner by his infamous son, and forced to resign the imperial crown; when even the Bishop of Spires, who was indebted to him for his dignity, treated him as an outlaw, and refused to give him either food or shelter. p.61.

To what insignificance many great events to great people may be reduced, in the esteem of after ages! Insomuch, that such facts of authentic history as the following, will inuch more sensibly stir the minds of most of our readers. When the site of the convent of Gottesthal was to be determined,

St. Bernard, it is said, met a friendly boar in the wood, which, with its snout, drew a plan of the church on the spot where it was first built. It seems it was first erected on the hill, but invisible spirits transported the stones, with the boar, to the present site.' p. 50.

Somewhere near Ruedesheim, John Brumpser, or Brempser, was reminded of a vow he had made in his imprisonment in Palestine, to found a convent, by

' a wild ox, which dug out of the earth, in the adjoining wood, the image of our Saviour. The convent was accordingly built and endowed ; and it was called Noth-Gottes, (Need of God,) as this word resounded on the spot where the image was found. It was long preserved in the chapel of the convent, with the tongue of the dragon slaiu by Von Brompser in the Holy Land. The horn is still preserved, fashioned into a chandelier.'

« 이전계속 »