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such expression is however to be found in any of his published writings; yet the following passage, from the fourth of those celebrated satires which he published in the Low German dialect, will show very distinctly how highly he estimated the work in question:

“For worldly wisdom never book could claim
From fitting readers higher praise or fame
Than the Fox Reynard—a plain book, where clear
As in a mirror doth sound sense appear;
For in its rhymes a wit which all must prize,
Like a rich treasure, balf concealed lies."*

Coming nearer to our own times, we find the accomplished and tasteful Herder recommending it to Goethe, as an old German epic, as fine in its way as the Iliad itself; and Goethe, after having once perused it, not only confirming Herder's opinion, but seeking to secure for it additional favour in the eyes of his countrymen, and of all lovers of poetry and humour, by telling the tale anew in his own stately, yet melodious verse, and with his peculiar grace and wit. After this, surely no apology can be necessary for

Academical Dissertation which he first published in 1709 upon
the subject of Reynard, and afterwards prefixed to the reprint
of the Low German version, which he published in 1711 from
the rare edition printed at Lubeck in 1498.
* “In weltlicher Wysheit ys kein Boeck geschreven

Den men billich mehr Rohm und Loff kann geven
Als Reineke Voss-ein schlicht boek darinnen
Tho sehende ys ein Spegel hoger sinnen;
Vorstendigheit in dem ringen Gedicht
Als ein durbahr schat verborgen licht.”

detailing at some length, the various famous histories and right merry adventures,' in which the crafty courtier of the King of Beasts plays his busy part; first, however, saying a few words touching the nature and spirit which pervade the numerous stories in which Reynard the Fox figures as the hero.

§ 11. Hearne the antiquary, whose judgment cannot be pronounced, like his industry, unquestionable, said, when speaking of the English version of this romance, “It is an admirable thing;” and so far he was right. But when he followed up this assertion with another, viz. “and the design, being political and to represent a wise government, was equally good,”– with all deference be it spoken, he clearly was mistaken. The design is not a political one, neither is it, as others have erroneously characterized it, satirical. Jacob Grimm, in the very first chapter of his introductory essay to the valuable work which he has published upon the subject of Reynard,* enters into a discussion upon this point, and shows very clearly the impossibility of the popular stories, in which animals are the actors, being in their nature satirical. We regret that we are precluded by its length from extracting this chapter, in which the learned author displays a critical acumen only to be

* Reinhart Fuchs von Jacob Grimm. Berlin, 1834, 8vo. The work is dedicated to Lachman, to whom, in the year 1840, he addressed a supplement containing his latest discoveries, under the title of “ Sendschrieben an Karl Lachman von Jacob Grimm. Ueber Reinhart Fuchs.


excelled by the indefatigable research manifested in the succeeding pages of his work.

In lieu thereof, we will therefore substitute the following profound, albeit quaintly enunciated, comments upon the story, from the pen of one, who being more German than the Germans,” has naturalized among us their semi-æsthetic, semi-mystical, spirit of criticism, making some persons think, and others think that they think. First, protesting however against the heretical notion that any 'true irony' has part or lot in Reynard's history; and at the same time pardoning the heresy (to use the words of Mr. Carlyle himself) as “the product of poor humanity, from whose hands nothing, not even a Reineke de Fos, comes perfect.”

“ This remarkable book comes before us with a character such as can belong only to a very few ; that of being a true world's book, which through centuries was everywhere at home, the spirit of which diffused itself into all languages and all minds. These quaint Æsopic figures have painted themselves in innumerable heads; that rough, deep-lying humour has been the laughter of many generations, so that, at worst, we must regard this Reinecke as an ancient idol, once worshipped, and still interesting for that circumstance, were the sculpture never so rude. We can love it, moreover, as being indigenous, wholly of our own creation, it sprang up from European sense and character, and was a faithful type and organ of these. But independently of all extrinsic considerations, this fable of Reinecke may challenge a judgment on its own merits.

“Cunningly constructed, and not without a true poetic life, we must admit it to be: great power of conception and invention, great pictorial fidelity, a warm sunny tone of colouring, are manifest enough. It is full of broad, rustic mirth; inexhaustible in comic devices: a World-Saturnalia, where Wolves tonsured into Monks and nigh starved by short commons, Foxes pilgriming to Rome for absolution, Cocks pleading at the judgment-bar, make strange mummery. Nor is this Wild Parody of Human Life without its meaning and moral : it is an Air-pageant from Fancy's Dream grotto, yet Wisdom lurks in it; as we gaze, the vision becomes poetic and prophetic. A true Irony must have dwelt in the poet's heart and head : here, under grotesque shadows, he gives us the saddest picture of Reality; yet for us without sadness; his figures mask themselves in uncouth, bestial vizards, and enact, gambolling; their Tragedy dissolves into sardonic grins. He has a deep artful Humour, sporting with the world and its evils in kind mockery : this is the poetic soul, round which the outward material has fashioned itself into living coherence And so, in that rude old Apologue, we have still a mirror, though now tarnished and time-worn, of true magic reality; and can discern there in cunning reflex, some image both of our destiny and of our duty, for now, as then, “Prudence is the only virtue sure of its reward,” and Cunning triumphs where Honesty is worsted ; and now, as then, it is the wise man's part to know this, and cheerfully look for it, and cheerfully defy it;


“Ut vulpis adulatio
Here thro' his own world moveth,
Sic hominis et ratio
Most like to Reynard's proveth.”

“ If Reinecke is nowise a perfect Comic Epos, it has various features of such, and, above all, a genuine Epic spirit, which is the rarest feature.

“ It has been objected that the animals in Reinecke are not animals, but men disguised; to which objection, except in so far as grounded on the necessary indubitable fact that this is an Apologue or emblematic Fable, and no Chapter of Natural History, we cannot in any considerable degree accede. Nay, that very contrast between Object and Effort, where the Passions of men develope themselves on the Interests of animals, and the whole is huddled together in chaotic mockery, is a main charm of the picture. For the rest, we should rather say, these bestial characters were moderately well sustained: the vehement, futile vociferation of Chanticleer; the hysterical promptitude, and earnest profession, and protestation of poor Lampe the Hare ; the thick-headed ferocity of Isegrym ; the sluggish, gluttonous, rapacity of Bruin ; above all, the craft, the tact, and inexhaustible knavish adroitness of Reinecke himself, are in strict accuracy of costume. Often also their situations and occupations are bestial enough. What quantities of bacon and other proviant do Isegrim and Reinecke forage; Reinecke contributing the scheme for the two were then in partnership,—and Isegrim paying the shot in broken bones! What more characteristic than the

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