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of his letters, the correctness and In 1771 Holty, the elegiac, and ease of his friend Gotter's versifica. Voss, the bucolick poet, Miller, au. tion : to him all he produced was thor of Siegwart and Mariamne, a carried for criticism, and was at first writer of great sensibility, and the sturdily defended against objections, two counts Stolberg, of whom Frebut much was always altered eventu- derick Leopold is the most knowa ally in deference to the judgment of by poems, travels, and a romance the censor. Flushed with the glow called “ The Island,” came to Gotof animation, Burger would often tingen, as yet “youths unknown to present his verses with the comic fame." They were soon attracted entreaty, for this once not to find any by the natural magnetism of genius fault; yet he was best pleased with a within the circle which had assemcaptious commentary, which puteve- bled round Burger; and after his ry epithet to the torture. Thus he removal from Gottingen, in the folgradually accomplished himself in lowing year, they continued to visit the fine art de faire difficilement des his rustic retreat. It was the in
fluence of Boie which obtained for Throughout life he maintained Burger, in 1772, a sort of stewardthat his reputation as a poet was far ship of the manor of Alten Gleichen, less a result of any unusual talent in under the noble family of Usler. him, than of the perpetual use of the The acceptance of the place occafile, meaning by ihat, the extraordi. sioned a reconciliation between the nary pains he bestowed on all his poet and his grandfather, who was compositions ; his best poems, lie willing to encourage this symptom said, were precisely those which of economic care and returning pruhad cost him most labour. dence, by paying off the debts incurwould alter not merely words and red at Gottingen by his grandson. lines, but left scarcely one vestige of Boie was absent. A less faithful his first composition. A translation friend undertook the liquidation ; of the Hamearl of Bernard, and nearly seven hundred dollars of this another most masterly one of the advance passed into the hands, not Pervigilium Veneris, were among of Burger's creditors, but of a spendthe exercitations which Burgerchro thrift associate. The student could nicled in the German Muses' Alma not refund: the grandfather was innack. The comic ballad Europa is exorable; and Burger migrated to also his, although the loose turn of his new residence, still encumbered the story occasioned him to sup with college debts, which for years press his usual signature.
disturbed his repose, but which his In Germany it is not uncommon sloth could never summon the means for polished families to bespeak a
of discharging birth day ode, an epithalamium, or Here it was that Burger first met an elegy on those occasions which with Herder's dissertation on the form a sort of epocha in the history songs of rude nations, which drew of their existence. To the poet a his attention to the ballads of Eng.. pecuniary recompence is sent, and a land, and with Percy's Reliques, splendid edition of his work is dis- which immediately became his matributed among the friends of the nual. These books decided for ever house. The notice which Burger the character of his excellence. began to obtain occasioned many ap. From a free translation of “ The plications of this kind : and to him Friar of Orders Gray” (Bruder it was convenient, by means like Graurock), and “The Child of Elle” these, to repair his shattered finan (Die Entführung), and from an imi.
Several heirs of fortune, seve tation of Dryden's Guiscardo and Siral happy mothers, have now the gismunda (Lenardo and Blandine), pleasure of boasting, “ my birth day he rapidly passed on to the prowas sung,” or “my wedding was duction of " The Wild Huntsman," celebrated, by Burger."
6 The Parson's Daughter,” and
“ Lenore.” The two latter are pro. he conducted his bride. An old bably the finest ballads extant. "No schoolfellow, Gockingk, went to other minstrel communicates to the visit him there on his marriage, reader an equal degree of interest and renewed an intimacy, which and agitation; it is difficult to peruse suffered no subsequent interruption. them in the closet without break Financical difficulties were proing loose into pantomime. Nor is he bably the cause which, in 1776, less master of the more difficultly aroused Burger to publish in the arousable, rapid, and impetuous German Museum, then a magamovements of the soul, than of the zine of some celebrity, proposals for tenderer feelings of the heart. His an Iambic version of the Iliad. extraordinary powers of language The annexed specimens were distinare founded on a rejection of the con- guished for a more than Homeric ventional phraseology of regular po- rapidity of diction, and for an abetry, in favour of popular forms of sence of stateliness, less unfaithful expression, caught by the listening than the euphemism of Pope, and artist from the voice of agitated na more attaching than the solemnity ture. Imitative harmony he pur- of Cowper.
But as the younger sues almost to excess: the onoma. count Stolberg had also made some topæia is his prevailing figure ; the progress in the same enterprise: interjection his favourite part of as his specimens, more dexterously speech: arrangement, rhyme, sound, chosen, divided at least the suffrage time, are always with him an echó of critics, and possessed the advanto the sense. The hurrying vigour tage of copying the hexametrical of his diction is unrivalled ; yet is so lines of the original; as his industry natural, even in its sublimity, that speedily outstripped the short fits of his poetry is singularly fitted to be- Burger's application, and soon comcome a national and popular song. pleted the publication of the liad; The Lenore was first communicated this enterprise was abandoned withto Boie, who eagerly induced seve out advantage to his fortune or his ral of the Gottingen party to ride fame, after having extended beyond with him to Alten Gleichen, and six books. The Epistle of Defiance, hear it. The effect was peculiarly addressed on the occasion to Stolgreat on the younger count Stolberg, berg, is one of the most spirited of at the stanza,
Burger's smaller poems.
His next literary undertaking was Anon, an iron-grated door
a translation of Macbeth, brought Fast biggens on their view: He crack'd his whip, and smash! in
out at Hamburg for the benefit of twain
Schroder, an artist-actor who excelBolt, bar, and portal flew.
led in personating the heroes of
Shakspeare. This translation alFrederick Leopold, on hearing these though too much abridged, and in lines, started from his seat in an. the witch scenes too low, is in some agony of rapturous terror.
respects superior to the original Near two years were passed The character of Banquo has aclonesomely by Burger in his rural quired more consequence, by the instation, but they were the two troduction of a good soliloquy at the years of his life the most valuable beginning of the second act. Of the to the public. He married, in Sep- third act the third scene is omitted : tember 1774, a farmer's daughter the murder of Banquo being made of the neighbourhood, by name Nie known from the narration of the dock, whose devoted, whose heroic murderer in the next. In like manattachment to him, was
ner the second scene of the fourth more conspicuous than in moments act is curtailed; the disgusting of the most untoward adversity. butchery of Macduff's child being far In the village of Wollmershausen, more pathetically stated by Rosse he hired the snug cottage to which afterwards. The fourth scene of
the fifth act is also with propriety tuition. He read lectures there on omitted ; as the removal of Birnam the German style and the theory of wood is sufficiently explained by the taste; and after five years residence narrative of the scout.
obtained a professorship. The father-in-law of Burger died As soon, or, perhaps, rather soon. in 1777. In consequence of this er than his circumstances properly cvent, an intricate and inconveni- permitted, he became united to his ent executorship devolved on the former wife's younger sister, the so poet. A law-suit, which it obliged often celebrated « Molly" of his him to conduct, displayed, indeed, love-songs. During her short stay his professional qualifications, but with him she was the darling of his absorbed his leisure in vexatious fri- affections; but she died in child-bed volities. The inheritance to which he of her first daughter, the very year acceded, did not much improve his in which she married. His children, circumstances; which an increasing after this catastrophe, were dispersfamily rendered daily more insuffi- ed among different relatives. cient.
Burger undertook, in 1787, to In 1778 he undertook the exclu- lecture on the critical philosophy of sive compilation of the Gottingen Al. Kant, and his course was much atmanack of the Muses (while Goeck- tended. In this year the jubilee of ingk and Voss established a new one the foundation of the Gottingen uniat Hamburg), and assisted also in versity was celebrated : two poems, other periodical publications. The were dedicated by him to the occawages of authorship no where form sion, and the grateful college conan adequate resource, if a liberal ferred, in return, a doctor's degree. maintenance be the object. There is, in November 1789 he became pro. however, a pleasure in composition, fessor of philosophy. there is a pleasure in praise, there About this time an anonymous is a pleasure, even when unknown, poem arrived from Stutgard, in in contributing to tincture the gene. which the author, who was a female, ral flow of opinion ; these constitute professed to have attached herself the chief rewards, for, as a neces to Burger, from the perusal of his sary division of human labour, it is his heart-felt poems; and with a certainly underpaid. Burger found liberal zeal, by way of recompence, it so; and, in 1780, forsook the offered him her hand in marriage. muses for Pan, and applied to the The verses were well turned, and rural gods for a maintenance refus- highly complimentary; and there ed him by the nine. The farm he was an interesting singularity in hired was situate in Appenrode. their heroic cast of sentiment. BurAn additional motive to this deter- ger drew up a very gallant reply, mination was, perhaps, that the ac and printed both the poems in the counts of his stewardship were neg. Almanack of the Muses. Intimations ligently managed ; and that some now came in whispers, that the thing, very like a formal charge of lines were intended for the indivi. peculation, had been made against dual, not for the public. Burger him to the lords of Uslar. This ac set off for Stutgard. cusation, indeed, Burger repelled ; pleased not only when she sang; but his carelessness made his resig- and Burger married her immedination a duty, and it was accepted ately. with readiness.
It is melancholy to relate, that In 1784 his wife died. His farm this truly poetical union afforded no appeared unproductive, probably be source of happiness to the husband; cause it was abandoned to the ma. and that, in 1792, after little more nagement of servants; and he once than three years cohabitation, a semore removed, with his children, to paration was accomplished by apGottingen, where he subsisted partly plication to a court of justice. Durby writing, and partly by private ing this unfortunate connexion Bur
ger was assailed with a deep hoarse not as her equals, but as her supeness, which he never overcame, and riors, it becomes necessary that she which unfitted him for lecturing. should excel in contrivance; I do This reduced him once more to de not mean in that prudent forethought, pendence on the booksellers for sub- which enables a good wife to prosistence. A pulmonary disease was, portion the family expenditure by in the mean time, making a rapid the regular order of necessities, comprogress; it affected his spirits less forts, conveniences, and superfluities: than his health ; but it snatched him, this gradation must be reversed, and in June, 1794, from a country which superfluities take the lead. Expenhe had illustrated, at the age of for- sive wines may be introduced on ty-six years and five months.
great occasions, by a daily retrenchHis physician Dr. Jager, and his ment of small beer; and wax lights friend the benevolent Reinhard, the may be had for routs, by limiting attendants of his last moments, ac the number of kitchen candles. If cepted the care of his four surviving her husband and children dine on children. His property was found hashed mutton, she can provide ices insufficient for the payment of his in the evening; and, by leaving debts. A monument has been erect their bedchambers comfortless and ed to his memory, by voluntary sub- inconvenient, she can afford more scription, in a garden at Gottingen, drapery for the drawing-room. where he commonly walked. Even white morning dresses will His works consist of
not be so very expensive, provided Anthia and Abrokomas, trans- you are expert in haggling with the lated from Xenophon of Ephesus. washerwoman, and do not dislike
Poems. Vol. I, 1778. Vol. II, being dirty when you are invisible; 1789.
and if you know cheap shops, and Macbeth, altered from Shak- the art of driving bargains, you may speare.
even save money by making useless Munchausen's Travels.
purchases. New-modelling your Miscellaneous works, two household and personal ornaments lumes, containing the six first books is, I grant, an indispensable duty ; of the Iliad, some prose versions for no one can appear three times from Ossian, and the papers insert- in the same gown, nor have six pared in various magazines, of which ties without one additional vandyke the philological (Hubnerus Redivi. or festoon to the window-curtains. vus) and the political (Die Republic These employments will therefore England) are calculated to excite occupy your mornings till the hour some curiosity.
of visiting arrives ; then you must take care to dismiss the bed-gown and work-bag, and, having cram
med every thing ungenteel out of For the Literary Magazine. sight, assume the airs of that happy
creature who has nothing in the THE MELANGE. world to do, and nothing to think
of but killing time.
THE following passage presents
City Shower. an excellent description of a family, where comfort is sacrificed for the There is something consumsake of appearances:
mately sullen in a rainy day, in the As, after all her exertions, her si- city. The streets sound hollow, as tuation in life does not allow of her be now and then a heavy coach drives ing genteel in every thing, parsimo- along; or as the drenched horse nious economy and heedless expence clatters rapidly over the paveinents take their tarn. To be as smart, with luis drizzling rider. The lady
visitant trips homeward (for it rains the broad sun shedding a faint light too hard to get a coach), her muslins over the deepened landscape; the clinging and fadging to her limbs, so birds shaking their little wings, and that they creek with their tight sit. opening their merry throats; and ting; and the citizens trudge home man and beast peaceful and conto their wives, to pass the afternoon tented. and have tea and whaffles. The poetical part of the confusion of gutters, mingling into quagmires, Why is it said that there are and the objects of their sweeping three graces, that they are sisters, fury and destruction, is very aptly and that they hold each other by the set forth by Swift :
hand? Why are they represented as
young smiling virgins, habited in Now in contiguous drops the flood Boating robes, and their arms covercomes down,
ed with a transparent veil? Some Threatning with deluge this devoted say the first bestows the benefaction, town.
the second receives, and the third To shops in crowds the daggled females fiy,
returns it. Why do the graces dance Pretend to chcapen goods, but nothing --Because such is the progress of a
holding each other by the hand? buy. The templar spruce, while every of him who receives it, but must ne
benefit which passes into the hands spout's abroach, Stays till it's fair, yet seems to call a
vertheless, at last return to those of coach.
the benefactor ; because the beauty The tuck'd up seamstress walks with of this progress is lost as soon as it is hasty strides,
interrupted, while, on the contrary, While streams run down her oiled um it subsists while benefits are bestowbrella's sides.
ed and returned reciprocally. They Here various kinds, by various fortunes have a smiling air, because the led,
countenances of those who give, and Commence acquaintance underneath of those who receive, are usually a shed.
arrayed in smiles. They are young Now from all parts the swelling ken- because the remembrance of benenels flow,
fits received ought never to grow And bear their trophies with them as old. They are virgins because they they go ;
ought to be without change and with Filths of all hues, and odours seem to
out blemish. They wear no zone, tell What street they came from, by their because benefits are not to be liga
tures and chains. The veil which sight and smell;
covers their arms is transparent, Drown'd puppies, stinking sprats, all drench'd in mud,
because benefactions ought to be viDead cats, and turnip-tops, come
sible. tumbling down the flood. How different is a shower in the It is, as far as it relates to our country! How pleasant is it, then, present being, the great end of eduto sit at the window of my country cation to raise ourselves above the house, and listen to the gentle kis. vulgar ; but what is intended by the ses of rain.drops and leaves; to vulgar, is not, methinks, enough unhear the cirooping bird chirp faintly derstood. In me, indeed, that word from the orchard; and the dripping raises a quite different idea from cattle, gathering close, low at the what usually does in others; but gate. How soft the air, filled with perhaps that proceeds from my The freshness of the vallies, and the being old, and beginning to want the luxuriance of the plains. But how relish of such satisfactions as are the ma' sweeter is its clearing up, at ordinary entertainment of men. evening; the rainbow glimmering; However, such as my opinion is in