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- Hyperion - 5/43 -


reader's imagination, and lead it onward in a bold flight, through the glow of sunrise and sunset, and the dewy coldness and starlight of summer nights. He is difficult to understand,--intricate,-- strange,--drawing his illustrations from every by-corner of science, art, and nature,--a comet, among the bright stars of German literature. When you read his works, it is as if you were climbing a high mountain, in merry company, to see the sun rise. At times you are enveloped in mist,--the morning wind sweeps by you with a shout,--you hear the far-off muttering thunders. Wide beneath you spreads the landscape,--field, meadow, town, and winding river. The ringing of distant church-bells, or the sound of solemn village clock, reaches you;--then arises the sweet and manifold fragrance of flowers,--the birds begin to sing,--the vapors roll away,--up comes the glorious sun,--you revel like the lark in the sunshine and bright blue heaven, and all is a delirious dream of soul and sense,--when suddenly a friend at your elbow laughs aloud, and offers you a piece of Bologna sausage. As in real life, so in his writings,--the serious and the comic, the sublime and the grotesque, the pathetic and the ludicrous are mingled together. At times he is sententious, energetic, simple; then again, obscure and diffuse. His thoughts are like mummies embalmed in spices, and wrapped about with curious envelopements; but within these the thoughts themselves are kings. At times glad, beautiful images, airy forms, move by you, graceful, harmonious;--at times the glaring, wild-looking fancies, chained together by hyphens, brackets, and dashes, brave and base, high and low, all in their motley dresses, go sweeping down the dusty page, like the galley-slaves, that sweep the streets of Rome, where you may chance to see the nobleman and the peasant manacled together."

Flemming smiled at the German's warmth, to which the presence of the lady, and the Laubenheimer wine, seemed each to have contributed something, and then said;

"Better an outlaw, than not free!--These are his own words. And thus he changes at his will. Like the God Thor, of the old Northern mythology, he now holds forth the seven bright stars in the bright heaven above us, and now hides himself in clouds, and pounds away with his great hammer."

"And yet this is not affectation in him," rejoined the German. "It is his nature, it is Jean Paul. And the figures and ornaments of his style, wild, fantastic, and oft-times startling, like those in Gothic cathedrals, are not merely what they seem, but massive coignes and buttresses, which support the fabric. Remove them, and the roofand walls fall in. And through these gurgoyles, these wild faces, carved upon spouts and gutters, flow out, like gathered rain, the bright, abundant thoughts, that have fallen from heaven.

"And all he does, is done with a kind of serious playfulness. He is a sea-monster, disporting himself on the broad ocean; his very sport is earnest; there is something majestic and serious about it. In every thing there is strength, a rough good-nature, all sunshine overhead, and underneath the heavy moaning of the sea. Well may he be called `Jean Paul, the Only-One.'"

With such discourse the hour of dinner passed; and after dinner Flemming went to the Cathedral. They were singing vespers. A beadle, dressed in blue, with a cocked hat, and a crimson sash and collar, was strutting, like a turkey, along the aisles. This important gentleman conducted Flemming through the church, and showed him the choir, with its heavy-sculptured stalls of oak, and the beautiful figures in brown stone, over the bishops' tombs. He then led him, by a side-door, into theold and ruined cloisters of St. Willigis. Through the low gothic arches the sunshine streamed upon the pavement of tombstones, whose images and inscriptions are mostly effaced by the footsteps of many generations. There stands the tomb of Frauenlob, the Minnesinger. His face is sculptured on an entablature in the wall; a fine, strongly-marked, and serious countenance. Below it is a bas-relief, representing the poet's funeral. He is carried to his grave by ladies, whose praise he sang, and thereby won the name of Frauenlob.

"This then," said Flemming, "is the grave, not of Praise-God Bare-bones, but of Praise-the-Ladies Meissen, who wrote songs `somewhat of lust, and somewhat of love.' But where sleeps the dust of his rival and foe, sweet Master Bartholomew Rainbow?"

He meant this for an aside; but the turkey-cock picked it up and answered;

"I do not know. He did not belong to this parish."

It was already night, when Flemming crossedthe Roman bridge over the Nahe, and entered the town of Bingen. He stopped at the White Horse; and, before going to bed, looked out into the dim starlight from his window towards the Rhine, and his heart leaped up to behold the bold outline of the neighbouring hills crested with Gothic ruins;--which in the morning proved to be only a high, slated roof with fantastic chimneys.

The morning was bright and frosty; and the river tinged with gay colors from the rising sun. A soft, thin vapor floated in the air. In the sunbeams flashed the hoar-frost, like silver stars; and through a long avenue of trees, whose dripping branches bent and scattered pearls before him, Paul Flemming journeyed on in triumph.

I will not prolong this journey, for I am weary and way-worn, and would fain be at Heidelberg with my readers, and my hero. It was already night when he reached the Manheim gate, and drove down the long Hauptstrasse so slowly, that it seemed to him endless. The shops werelighted on each side of the street, and he saw faces at the windows here and there, and figures passing in the lamp-light, visible for a moment and then swallowed up in the darkness. The thoughts that filled his mind were strange; as are always the thoughts of a traveller, who enters for the first time a strange city. This little world had been going on for centuries before he came; and would go on for centuries after he was gone. Of all the thousands who inhabited it he knew nothing; and what knew they, or thought, of the stranger, who, in that close post-chaise, weary with travel, and chilled by the evening wind, was slowly rumbling over the paved street! Truly, this world can go on without us, if we would but think so. If it had been a hearse instead of a post-chaise, it would have been all the same to the people of Heidelberg,--though by no means the same to Paul Flemming.

But at the farther end of the city, near the Castle and the Carls-Thor, one warm heart was waiting to receive him; and this was the German heart of his friend, the Baron of Hohenfels, with whom he was to pass the winter in Heidelberg. No sooner had the carriage stopped at the irongrated gate, and the postilion blown his horn, to announce the arrival of a traveller, than the Baron was seen among the servants at the door; and, a few moments afterwards, the two long-absent friends were in each other's arms, and Flemming received a kiss upon each cheek, and another on the mouth, as the pledge and seal of the German's friendship. They held each other long by the hand, and looked into each other's faces, and saw themselves in each other's eyes, both literally and figuratively; literally, inasmuch as the images were there; and figuratively, inasmuch as each was imagining what the other thought of him, after the lapse of some years. In friendly hopes and questionings and answers, the evening glided away at the supper-table, where many more things were discussed than the roasted hare, and the Johannisberger; and they sat late into the night, conversing of the thoughts and feelings and delights, which fill the hearts of young men, who have already enjoyed and suffered, and hoped and been disappointed.

CHAPTER VI. HEIDELBERG AND THE BARON.

High and hoar on the forehead of the Jettenbühl stands the Castle of Heidelberg. Behind it rise the oak-crested hills of the Geissberg and the Kaiserstuhl; and in front, from the broad terrace of masonry, you can almost throw a stone upon the roofs of the city, so close do they lie beneath. Above this terrace rises the broad front of the chapel of Saint Udalrich. On the left, stands the slender octagon tower of the horologe, and, on the right, a huge round tower, battered and shattered by the mace of war, shores up with its broad shoulders the beautiful palace and garden-terrace of Elisabeth, wife of the Pfalzgraf Frederick. In the rear are older palaces and towers, forming a vast, irregular quadrangle;--Rodolph's ancientcastle, with its Gothic gloriette and fantastic gables; the Giant's Tower, guarding the drawbridge over the moat; the Rent Tower, with the linden-trees growing on its summit, and the magnificent Rittersaal of Otho-Henry, Count Palatine of the Rhine and grand seneschal of the Holy Roman Empire. From the gardens behind the castle, you pass under the archway of the Giant's Tower into the great court-yard. The diverse architecture of different ages strikes the eye; and curious sculptures. In niches on the wall of Saint Udalrich's chapel stand rows of knights in armour, all broken and dismembered; and on the front of Otho's Rittersaal, the heroes of Jewish history and classic fable. You enter the open and desolate chambers of the ruin; and on every side are medallions and family arms; the Globe of the Empire and the Golden Fleece, or the Eagle of the Cĉsars, resting on the escutcheons of Bavaria and the Palatinate. Over the windows and door-ways and chimney-pieces, are sculptures and mouldings of exquisite workmanship; and the eyeis bewildered by the profusion of caryatides, and arabesques, and rosettes, and fan-like flutings, and garlands of fruits and flowers and acorns, and bullocks'-heads with draperies of foliage, and muzzles of lions, holding rings in their teeth. The cunning hand of Art was busy for six centuries, in raising and adorning these walls; the mailed hands of Time and War have defaced and overthrown them in less than two. Next to the Alhambra of Granada, the Castle of Heidelberg is the most magnificent ruin of the Middle Ages.

In the valley below flows the rushing stream of the Neckar. Close from its margin, on the opposite side, rises the Mountain of All Saints, crowned with the ruins of a convent; and up the valley stretches the mountain-curtain of the Odenwald. So close and many are the hills, which eastward shut the valley in, that the river seems a lake. But westward it opens, upon the broad plain of the Rhine, like the mouth of a trumpet; and like the blast of a trumpet is at times the wintry wind through this narrow mountain pass. The blue Alsatian hills rise beyond; and, on a platform or strip of level land, between the Neckar and the mountains, right under the castle, stands the city of Heidelberg; as the old song says, "a pleasant city, when it has done raining."

Something of this did Paul Flemming behold, when he rose the next morning and looked from his window. It was a warm, vapory morning, and a struggle was going on between the mist and the rising sun. The sun had taken the hill-tops, but the mist still kept possession of the valley and the town. The steeple of the great church rose through a dense mass of snow-white clouds; and eastward, on the


Hyperion - 5/43

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