Page images

prose will be caught by the poetry. Germanizing English ones.
Here is a pas-
Shakespeare, Milton, Dante, Coleridge, sage from "Hans Breitmann's Barty,"
Wordsworth, Mrs. Browning, and Tenny- which will illustrate these peculiarities of
son are excellent authorities on the subjects idiom; and the reader will notice how mak-
of death, the sorrow which follows death, ing one's self "at home" comes out as
and the hopes which soothe the heart and making one's self" to house"
draw the eyes of sorrow towards the
"blessed home." The pieces of the minor
poets are full of good feeling; but justice
requires it to be said that some of them are
poor, and could be profitably replaced by
much finer verses finer, we mean, in the

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


AMERICA has been busy of late years in sending us humorists and prime donne; and among the former, Mr. C. G. Leland certainly claims a well-merited place. The odd, quaint little ballads collected in this tiny volume are really very amusing; and although it is obvious that much of their fun consists in the jumbled English-German of the writing, there are still to be found bits of humour as sly and as apparently unconscious as those of Mr. James Russell Lowell; while the grave burlesque of certain other passages is quite as good as much of the late Artemus Ward. Hans Breitmann is an American Hudibras, who goes forth to the wars. His adventures are related in his own peculiar diction- the mixture of mongrel German, bad English, and Yankeeisms which the ruder kind of German emigrant sometimes acquires in America. No one can properly appreciate the fun of these ballads unless his acquaintance with German enables him to recognize the oddities produced by Anglicizing German words and

* Hans Breitmann's Party. With Other Ballads.

By C. G. Leland. London: Trubner.

- a confusion in both languages which is scarcely explicable: :

"Hans Breitmann gife a barty;

Dere all vas Souse and Brouse,
Ven de sooper comed in, de gompany
Did make demselfs to house;
Dey ate das Brot and Gensy broost,
De Bratwurst and Braten vine,
Und vash der Abendessen down
Mit four parrels of Neckarwein.
Hans Breitmann gife a barty;

Ve all cot troonck ash bigs.

I poot mine mout' to a parrel of bier
Und emptied it oop mit a schwigs.
Und den I gissed Madilda Yane

Und she shlog me on de kop,
Und de gompany vighted mit daple-lecks
Dill de coonshtable made oos shtop.

Hans Breitmann gife a barty

Where ish dat barty now?
Vhere ish de lofely golden cloud

Dat float on de moundain's prow?
Vhere ish de himmelstrahlende Stern-
De shter of de sphirit's light?
All goned afay mit de Lager Beer-
Afay in de ewigkeit !"

Hans Breitmann goes to fight the rebels. He encounters a colonel of cavalry, and a tremendous hand-to-hand fight takes place. Breitmann disarms his enemy, and, as the latter lies prostrate on the ground, Breitmann offers to spare his life if he will believe in moral ideas. The conquered foe knows nothing about moral ideas; he confesses that he is "ignoranter ash de nigs for dey takes de Tribune;" and, in the course of his reply, he reveals the fact that he is Breitmann's son. Breitmann exclaims: :

"Und vas dy fader Breitmann? Bist du his kit und kin? Den know dat ich der Breitmann dein lieber

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Vater bin!

Breitmann pooled his hand-shoe off und shooked him py de hand; Ve'll hafe some trinks on strengt' of dis else may I pe tam'd!'


Oh! fader, how I shlog your kop,' der younger

Breitmann said;

I'd den dimes sooner had it coom right down on

mine own headt !'

Oh, never mind - dat soon dry oop- I shticks him mit a blaster;

If I had shplit you like a fish, dat vere a vorse



[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

It make so glad our hearts to hear dat dey did
so succeed.
Und damit has sein Ende DES JUNGEN BREIT-

For Hans Breitmann's lingual powers it must be said that he is able to make himself intelligible in a foreign country. Perhaps a considerable majority of his English readers who will laugh over his bad pronunciation might not shine much better themselves were they to avoid valets-de-place and polyglot waiters.

By far the funniest thing in the book, however, is a burlesque ballad of the Rhine. The old story of the knight and the mermaid, which has been told in a hundred different ways, is here put into modern words; and the maiden "who has got nothing on tempts the knight down into subaquean haunts with promises of material blessings. The ballad is altogether so quaint and dry in its humour that it will bear quoting in full:


"Der noble Ritter Hugo

Von Schwillensaufenstein,

Rode out mit shpeer and helmet,

Und he coom to de panks of the Rhine.
Und oop dere rose a meer-maid,

Vot hadn't got nedings on,
Und she says 'Oh, Ritter Hugo,

Vhere you goes mit yourself alone?'
And he says, ' I rides in de creen wood,
Mit helmet und mit spheer,

Till I cooms into ein Gasthaus,
Und dere I trinks some beer.'

Und den outsphoke de maiden
Vot hadn't got nodings on:
"I tont dink mooch of beoplesh
Dat goes mit demselfs alone.

You'd petter coom down in de wasser,
Vere dere's heaps of dings to see,

Und hafe a sphlendid tinner

Und drafel along mit me.

'Dere you sees de fisch a schwimmin',
Und you catches dem efery one:'
So sang dis wasser maiden
Vot hadn't got nodings on.

Dere ish drunks all full mit money

In ships dat vent down of old; Und you helpsh yourself, by dunder! To shimmerin' crowns of gold.

'Shoost look at dese shpoons und vatches!
Shoost see dese diamant rings!
Coom down and full your bockets,

Und I'll giss you like efery dings.

'Vot you vantsh mit your schnapps und lager!
Coom down into der Rhine!

Der ish pottles der Kaiser Charlemagne
Vonce filled mit gold-red wine!'
Dat fetched-he sthood all sphell pound;
She pooled his coat-tails down,
She drawed him oonder der wasser,

De maiden mit nodings on."

"Das hat mit ihrem Singen, die Lorelei gethan." Mr. Leland should go a step fur nunciation of English, let him write a balther. Having burlesqued the German prolad or two in French and German, with the pronunciation conferred upon those languages by the English. Perhaps the result would be more pitable than comic.

From The Daily News.

which announced the return of the Swedish
an error in the telegram
Arctic Expedition. The highest latitude
deg. 40 min. instead of 81 deg. 40 min.
attained by Professor Nordenskiold was 82
The difference is important. In fact, the
Swedish expedition at once takes its place
as the most promising attempt yet made to
determine whether the North Pole can be
reached or not. In the first place, the ex-
pedition attained a higher latitude on the
open sea than had ever before been reached.
Sir Edward Parry travelled as far north as
latitude 82 deg. 45 min. over the ice fields
which lie to the north of Spitzbergen. Thus
the Union Jack has been carried some three
miles or so further north than the Swedish
flag. But the ease and rapidity with which
the Swedes accomplished their work place
the late expedition fully on a par with
Parry's boat-and-sledge journey; and the
evidence which it affords respecting the sea-
route to the Pole is quite as important as
that which is suggested-rather than di-
rectly presented-by Parry's voyage.
will be remembered that Parry's party found
that the ice-fields over which they were la-
boriously tracking their way northwards,
were floating almost as fast towards the


cates is as yet forty or fifty miles off, or even further. Therefore, the northern boundary of Parry's ice-field must have lain far away to the north; and adding the distance thus indicated to the southerly drift of the field, it will be seen that the open water which lay beyond the ice-field must extend within two or three hundred miles of the North Pole, if not nearer. This, be it remarked, is certain; the open sea probably extends much further north; since there is every reason for supposing that Parry's ice-field had been floating about in those northern seas for weeks before he began to traverse it. Thus we learn from Parry's experience, combined with that gleaned by Professor Nordenskiold, that the open sea route towards the Pole only rerequires to be boldly and perseveringly

south. So far, then, there was evidence visible when the open water which it indithat the sea on which the fields had formed was both wide and deep. It also became clear that this sea extends much further to the north than Parry had been able to get, because it is obvious that the ice on which he and his party stood when they had attained their highest northerly latitude must have been much further towards the north a few days before since it had been floating continually southwards during that time. But still, it was not clear from Parry's voyage that the northern seas are ever navigable in those high latitudes. For anything which appeared, it might be a part of the economy of the Arctic regions that a vast icefield extending in a solid mass right across the North Atlantic, in latitudes higher than any yet reached, should float each year bodily southwards. There was, indeed, no reason for supposing pursued in a well-fitted and strongly-built that Parry's experience was exceptional; steamer, to reward the Arctic voyager with nor did it appear at all unlikely that what a much closer approach towards the North happened to the north of Spitbergen might Pole than has ever yet been attained-if indicate that a similar process was taking not even with success in reaching the Pole place_right across those northern seas. itself. One circumstance, however, seems But Professor Nordenskiold's voyage in to merit attention. Captain Koldewey, it the Sofia has shown that in the very lati- will be remembered, tried to make the tude to which Parry found that the great shore of Greenland in latitude 76°, and afice-field extended northwards in an un- terwards bore away to the east. The Swedbroken mass there is open water commu- ish expedition also traversed the eastern nication further west. If a process resem- part of the North Atlantic. Now, it seems bling that observed by Parry was going on to us that Dr. Kane's discovery of an open during the present year, then it must be tidal sea to the north of Kennedy's Chanassumed that the Sofia was outside the nel indicates that the true course for an western border of the great ice-field. Now, Arctic explorer, when once the eightieth if we imagine the case of a more powerful parallel has been reached, is to bear off steamer thus situated, at so early a season towards the north-west. For it is certain as to permit of a more protracted struggle that the tidal waves of the Atlantic find with the difficulties presented by the ice- their way in that direction. It is equally encumbered seas, we shall see that there certain, also, that the warm waters of the would be a very fair prospect of the Pole, Gulf Stream pour round the unknown northor at least a very high latitude, being ern shores of Greenland to Kane's sea, since reached. For the great ice-field which car- the observed temperature of that sea indiried Parry southwards must have been float-cated in a very obvious manner the action ing freely. Therefore, a ship placed on its of the enormous volume of water carried border could have found a channel around northwards by the Gulf Stream. Besides, it; and, further, since the motion of the by adopting a north-westerly course a ship field was towards the south, the open water would increase her chance of escaping from around it must have been widening on its the outlying arms of the enormous ice-fields northern border. So that the further north which float about to the north of Spitberthe ship was pushed the clearer would her gen. An attempt to reach Kane's sea from course become. Again, we have already Spitzbergen is worth making. Success in remarked that the most northerly point such an attempt would be fully as imporreached by Parry must have been much tant as success in reaching the Pole; but nearer the Pole a few days before Parry in all probability the latter exploit would turned his face southwards. But this is be a sequel to the former, since there is not all. Parry saw towards the north good reason for believing that the sea on no sign of open water. The experienced whose shores Dr. Kane and his party found Arctic traveller can detect the neighbour- the limit on their northward progress is the hood of an open sea long before the water true Polar ocean, and is navigable throughbecomes actually visible to the eye. The out the summer months right up to and bephenomenon termed the " water-sky" is yond the Pole.


IF England were ever to become the centre of a region of active earthquakes like Peru and Ecuador, - earthquakes not like that of October, 1863, and yesterday week, which alarmed a few nervous people, but such as turn cities into lakes, substitute active volcanoes for fertile farms, and throw up new mountains, what would become of the English character? It is not impossible; or if it is, it is an impossibility which we have no means of knowing, for it seems pretty certain that the surface of the earth is but a thin crust confining the wildest and most destructive forces, which are always striving to break out, and succeed whenever a cracking of that crust, owing to any sudden cooling or overheating of the surface, enables them to do so. Though it seems probable that we have a thicker crust between us and the earthquake-forces in England than either South America or Calabria, we have no assurance that any inward disturbance of the interior force may not cause some new rift that might lay us open to the same terrible dangers. If that were ever to happen, should we verify Mr. Buckle's theory of the degrading effect produced on the minds of all the races of men by any destructive forces of overpowering and overwhelming magnitude, in the presence of which man is almost helpless, and paralyzed even where he is not helpless? Supposing a slight earthquake a day were the ordinary rule, as it is in some parts of South America, and a terribly destructive shock at intervals of a few years, should we remain what we now mean by true" Britons" for another generation? Would not the great external change soon work its effect on our characters, impress on us the uncertainty of life and property in a sense in which our religious teachers have entirely failed to engrave it on our minds, -and yet instead of spiritualizing us, deaden us more effectually than ever to all truly spiritual impressions? We think it is scarcely possible to doubt that so it would be. And if so, it is a curious lesson to those teachers who are always trying to persuade us that the thought of death should be ever present with us, that wherever Nature herself succeeds in stamping this indelibly on men's minds, the result is not to refine the grosser, and strengthen the spiritual, affections of human nature, but only to diminish the total force of human character altogether, and perhaps even to foster the impatient and gambling dispositions

which risk much and rashly for immediate gains, at the expense of those slowly cumulative energies which sow early in the faith that they shall reap late, but certainly.

Yet it might seem that earthquakes are sent especially and providentially to aid in the realization of that attitude of mind which Roman Catholics call "detachment," for no other phenomenon, natural or supernatural, so completely snaps all the ties between man and every physical and earthly object of attachment. Pestilence may kill us, but if it does not, it may leave us infinitely richer by the death of others; from famine, or flood, or drought, or volcanic eruption we may escape to other lands; we may ensure ourselves against fire or wreck, or almost any other physical danger; but if the earth itself gives way beneath us, if the "real" estate vanishes, if there is no footing beneath us on which to flee away, if the city is swallowed up at our feet as it was at those of Lord Carnarvon's friend in Peru, if the insurers disappear, and the whole property which is the basis of insurance sinks into the yawning gulf, if there is left no room for ascetic self-denial because nothing earthly to cling to, then, indeed, one would suppose that we should try what we could manage in the way of clinging by our consciences and spirits to the spiritual Will, which is the only reality left to us. Yet, as a matter of fact, it is nearly certain that if all our habits of trust in what, though we may call it earthly, has ever been the foundation of our ordinary life and duties, were to be rudely broken at once, men would find it not more, but much less easy, to trust implicitly the Divine Spirit itself. "Detachment," in the Catholic sense, cannot be reached by merely breaking earthly and human ties, but only by cultivating the spiritual. To be physically detached from all objects of earthly desire is not a step towards, but a step away from, life in God,for the essence of that, is trust, acquiescence in His will because it is His will, and the essence of this is nakedness, the sudden sense of emptiness, and helplessness, and fear, and want, and impotence, all of them emotions in the last degree opposed to those at which the religious spirit aims. The first physical (or is it moral?) effect of an earthquake seems to be to strip men of all their sense of moral relation to the universe altogether, to reduce them to the sickness of absolute isolation, and this even before the shock has worked its destructive effects. A gentleman who was in one of the worst earthquakes at Copiapo said, "Before we hear the sound, or at least are fully conscious of hearing it, we are made sensible,

I know not how, that something uncommon is going to happen; everything seems to change colour; our thoughts are chained immovably down; the whole world appears to be in disorder; all nature looks different from what it was wont to do; and we feel quite subdued and overwhelmed by some invisible power beyond human control or comprehension." That is almost a prose account of what Dr. Newman paints in verse as his conception of the detachment of death itself:

"I am no more; for now it comes again,
That sense of ruin which is worse than pain,
That masterful negation and collapse
Of all that makes me man, as though I bent
Over the dizzy brink,

Of some sheer infinite descent;
Or worse, as though

Down, down for ever I was falling through
The solid framework of created things,
And needs must sink and sink
Into the vast abyss. And crueller still,
A fierce and restless fright begins to fill
The mansion of my soul."





Peel's Act" and cash payments be suspended, but all need for cash payments abruptly abolished, that not only the small boroughs might prove "rotten," but the very largest, that the Irish Churches might be "disestablished" without the vote of either House of Parliament, and the tenure of the Throne itself "dangerously touched" without any conspiracy either Roman Catholic or Fenian? Suppose a British Parliament deliberating under such conditions as these or anything remotely approaching them, - under fears such as would be reasonable in Quito and not unnatural at Lima, — and what would British ' good sense," and British tenacity of purpose, and that British courage which does not seem to know when it is beaten, become ? We suspect that no character would show less brilliantly than the British under such circumstances as these. Its strength consists very much in a slow but deeply graven, imagination, which takes a profound impression from all those transactions to which it is well accustomed, and is very obtuse to all others, so obtuse as not to admit any disturbance from considerations which seem to be irrelevant to the ordinary course of its daily work. once this practical line of expectation and confidence be rudely shaken, and it is almost impossible to say what form British character would take. It would scarcely show the strenuousness of ants, which go to work at once to repair all the mischief done to their nest, and this as often as the injury is repeated; for British confidence seems to be easily disheartened, witness the prolonged panic caused by the evidence of And the Briton is the last man who can speculative and ill-managed companies in be supposed to have learned this at all. the last few years. Let only Nature treat The good in him mainly consists in the the Englishman as badly as the speculative tenacity with which he lives in a narrow set trader has recently treated him, and all of visible relations, and the punctuality would soon be either at a stand-still, or with which he fulfils the duties which so else there would be a great rush towards arise to him. What would a British Parlia- immediate enjoyment by way of seizing on ment be like if deliberating under the fixed the only certainty; more probably, perimpression that all they did one year might haps, the former; for the speculative and be undone the next, that some morning gambling spirit in Englishmen is caused the new Embankment might turn out to be more by narrow and overweening self-conat the top of a new chain of hills, and the fidence than by anything like desperatestones of the Houses of Parliament them- ness; and though Englishmen would not selves associated with it, 'that the Docks create if the fear of sudden destruction was at Devonport might any night be left by strong upon them, it is not perhaps very the sea some three miles inland, that the like them to throw away recklessly anything City and Westminster might be shuffled, they have. We suspect that a deep physiand the Marquis of Westminster suddenly cal distrust of Nature would operate on beggared by the fall of all his houses and Englishmen very like their recent deep the death of most of his tenants, that the moral distrust of commercial enterprise,— bullion at the Bank of England might dis- that it would simply paralyze and narrow appear without what is called "a flow," their active powers, but in no way contribwithout being exported, and not only ute to enlarge their spiritual life.

And since even a Catholic does not regard
the detachment of death as a moral dis-
cipline for any one who has not cultivated
spiritual life before the crash comes,
the moral effects of the earthquake, which
are the next thing to death, the sinking
away of all physical stays, the abandonment
of man to the absolutely "unknown and un-
knowable" as regards all earthly life, can-
not be supposed to be a moral discipline,
except to him who has really learned to
live a hidden life which no convulsions of
this sort even threatens.


« PreviousContinue »