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to be named, but read. His “Gotha Lion," is the national song, and is set to fine music. We shall never forget hearing our friend Madame von Schoultz sing this spirited song on a fine summer day, beneath the pine-trees of the solitary Haardt Forest, while peasant women cutting grass in the forest glades for their cows, gathered round; and though they understood not a word of the Swedish original, yet excited by its bold martial tone, brandished their sickles, like wild Mänades, and accompanied the rhythm by their expressive gestures.
Tegnér is not only at present the most popular poet of Sweden, but the bold advance which he has made beyond the established models of the country, and his success in it, show what Swedish poets may yet accomplish by following on in the track of a higher and freer enterprise.
The remaining poets of what is strictly called the Gothic School, though men of high merit, we must briefly notice. They are Ling, Afzelius, Nicander, Von Beskow and Lindblad ; and they present the system of their sect, as run to ripest seed.
The merits of P. H. Ling are thus stated by Lénström: Ling is a lyrical descriptive poet; not purely lyrical, for he had too little poetical art, and a paucity of ideas. He is not epic, for he lacks calmness and actuality, as well as sufficient knowledge of men and things, and therefore is deficient in the power of sketching character and giving life to his compositions. His “Asar' is the most long-winded poem in the language.' "
Sturzenbecher, in his lectures, gives a similar and very lively portraiture of him : “ Ling was of a soaring nature, but somewhat too rude, something too oldNorthern. His poetry flies up to the very regions of eternal snow, where only a few solitary Rollers
twitter amongst the thin birches, and here and there a stunted pine leans over the mountain cataract. · He had at bottom a genuine lyrical vein ; but seduced by the example of the fabricators of Northern poetwork on the large scale, which is become now-a-days so much the fashion both in Sweden and Denmark, he too resolved to manufacture something in the grand style, of magnificently astounding dimensions. He set himself, therefore, to compose a multitude of Northern dramas, by which he probably expected to become another Oehlenschläger; and also a couple of great Northern epics, The Asar' and 'Tirfing. These works are
“ sufficiently tedious, and are destitute of all knowledge of the chief elements which are necessary for the treatment and the characters of a drama or an epic. In his dramas, his heroes stand talking together from moruing till night, as if talk, were it ever so beautiful, could move the world one inch further. In the epic poems he generally sinks down into the style of the chronicler, and gives you descriptions of actions; but these are not the actions themselves that keep the machinery in motion. Whenever he becomes lyrical, he is at once a poet, and becomes imposing, effective and exalted ; and many of the choruses in his dramas are actual master-pieces, and show what he would have been had he followed his own genius, and not seized on a lyre strung with a bear's entrails.”
Besides the two epics, Ling wrote no less than nine dramas; but he was still more distinguished as a gymnast than a poet; and the critic just quoted describes him in this character, thus : “I have called Ling, considered as a poet, an apparition from the old world of heathenism. The whole man looked just something of that kind as he was to be seen of days in his great gymnastic hall in Stockholm, clad in a strange, hairy and rugged costume of
wolf-skin, cut according to his own peculiar fancy; and in which his meagre form presented itself in a style most strikingly original. Ling was, in fact, an original in everything. Together with poetry, he had, from his earliest years, with the utmost ardour, embraced all such knightly usages as stood in connection with gymnastics, for the universal use of which he enthusiastically and indefatigably contended as the only means of restoring in the North a more vigorous race, a race like those old Berserker who were so dear to him.
“He thus raised gymnastics into a regular science, based on anatomical and physiological principles, and created an entirely new department of them. These were the socalled Medical Gymnastics, which have proved themselves by no means a contemptible branch of the general science of maintaining or restoring health.”
Ling's system has been for some time practised with great success by Mr. Doherty, of Great Marlborough Street, London, under the name of Kynesipathy. Ling died in 1839.
Arvid August Afzelius, is another lyric poet, who, like Ling, has injured his claims to admiration by too extravagant an adhesion to the rage for the old-Northern. The Afzelian poetry, says the critic just quoted, is the extreme consequence of the inflated, old-North, wolf-skin clothed character, which, from the first, lay at the foundation of the Gothic School's whole field of action. It became, in course of development, such a vapouring with big, strong words, such an uninteresting and old-world boasting about hero-courage, and lion-marrow, that, at the first searching glance, it vanished into thin air. Antiquity was become so monstrously huge, that it was obliged to bow its head to find room between heaven and earth, and the writers now under notice carried the
foolery to its height. Vitalis wrote how the “Goths eat lion-marrow with a spoon;" Ling and Afzelius used the like extravagance, for the two poets had much in common. Afzelius was also as superfine in his phrases as strong: he gives you not only a “golden harp with silver airs," but a "golden hair,” a “golden castle," and a “ diamond hall,” into the bargain.
But Afzelius has greater claims on the public esteem than those resulting from his poetry. His love of antiquity has produced other and inestimable poets. It is he who, with the learned Rask, has translated into Swedish Sämund's Edda. It is he who with Geijer, has collected the “Ancient Folk-Visor," in three volumes; and has since himself published, under the title of “Svenska Folkets Sagohäfder,” a sort of history of Sweden drawn from the traditions of the people. These are works, which of themselves give an immortality, and are well-springs of poetry which will for ever pour their quickening currents through the heart of youthful genius.
Afzelius is a clergyman, who since 1821 has been pastor in the little town of Enköping, in Uppland, and bears the character of being of a social and agreeable temperament. His most popular original poems are “The Neck's Polska,” and “ Tomtarne,” the Hobgoblins. He is chaplain to the King.
Karl August Nicander, who died in 1839, wrote “The Rune-Sword,” a tragedy ; “Hesperides,” a collection of prose and poems, chiefly written in Italy; “The Lion in the Desert ;” and “Memories from the South,” besides two volumes of poems. Nicander is one of those poets whose writings charm you at the moment, but leave little impression behind. If you allow him genius, it is not of the deep, powerful, and thought-inspiring kind. He is full of external beauty. All that relates to style, colour, elegance and picturesque effect, is conspicuous in Nicander. If he had been a painter, he would have been a brilliant colourist, a sketcher of light, beautiful forms, and sunny, Southern scenes; but you would not find yourself arrested by any face or figure which touched your deeper feelings, and created a desire to linger by it. Nicander, like so many Scandinavians, had a passion for Italy; and his “ Moonlight Night in Albano,” his “Happy Week in Venice," and his “ Departure from Italy,” are amongst the warmest, and most lovely reminiscences of that beautiful land. His romantic poems of " King Enzio,” and “Tasso's Death,” are full of the same spirit, and, in fact, Nicander, though classed with the Gothic School, because he first appeared in the “ Iduna," is far more of a Troubadour than a Northern bard. He is altogether a very charming, rather than powerful writer ; but possessing a warm feeling for the beautiful, and a rich and brilliant style in expressing it. He is also the graceful translator of “Othello," and Schiller's “Maid of Orleans."
Bernhard von Beskow is the author of various works, chiefly historical dramas, which if they do not display the highest traces of genius, are still distinguished for their masterly style and artistic adaptation to the stage. They may, in fact, be ranked as the first approach to a real practical and national drama. Swedish critics, while they do not allow him great imagination, admit that his conceptions of character are correct, and that though his. feelings are not glowing and energetic, they are warm with patriotism, and the love of virtue and beauty. To us, the merits of Beskow appear many, and directed to the elevation of literature and the character of his native country. Some of his cotemporaries are inclined to ridicule him as of the kid-glove school ; but, however von Beskow may incline to fashionable and aristocratic tastes in some things, it is certain that he has worked him