30 MODERN GERMAN LITERATURE the period depicted. It is the tragedy of the Peasants' Rebellion of 1525, unrolled in a series of loosely connected scenes; and the peasants as a mass are the hero, though the play takes its name from one of their leaders. To Hauptmann's immense sorrow the play was ill received; his grief is symbolically woven into the poetry of his next play, The Sunken Be// - cIm Tale klingt sie, in den Bergen nicbf; the bell of his art rang in the lowlands but not on the heights. The reason for the immediate failure ofF/orian Geyer lay partly in a reaction of taste - neo-romanticism was beginning -, partly in the inherent weakness of the naturalistic conception of tragedy: in Florian Gejer"wz have a series of dissolving views which do not rivet the attention. But Hauptmann had already struck out into new paths: in Hanneles Himmelfahrf1 (i 893) he had combined naturalism with the time-old Marchendrama, the three essential ingredients of which - dream, allegory, supernatural beings - here harmoniously link and fuse. Hannele, the fourteen-year-old daughter of a drunk- ard in a Silesian village, runs away from her father's ill-treatment and tries to drown herself, as her mother had done before her, in the village pond. She is rescued, and is taken by her teacher to the workhouse; in the dreams of her fever, which pass over the stage, she sees Bible texts and fairy-tale story realized, with herself as the heroine in the magical white light of it. The awakenings of puberty lend a chill warmth to her visions: her teacher is the Saviour, whom she is to wed. The angel of death stands, black- robed and black-winged, in the room, sword in hand; a hunch- backed village tailor comes and robes her in a bridal dress of white silk, and puts glass slippers on her feet: the angel lifts his sword and vanishes: Hannele is dead. Angels lay her in her coffin; a stranger who resembles the village teacher bids her rise: she kneels at his feet: he takes all her lowliness from her, and angels take her to kingdom come. Verse of great beauty had mingled with the naturalistic prose of Hannele: it is by the beauty of its verse that Die mrsunkene Glocke (1896) lives and will live. Only the old witch speaks in (Silesian) dialect, and even this is verse. All the naturalistic stock-in-trade (except the ethics of the rights of passion) is dropped: there are long resonant monologues, the only reality is folded in the spirals 1 In later editions the title, owing to the indignation of Christians, was changed to Hannele.