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Full text of "Heine in America .."

1^ '' 



i6- ) 



PUBLICATIONS 

OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA 



AMERICANA GERMANICA 

MONOGRAPHS DEVOTED TO THE COMPARATIVE 
STUDY OF THE 

Literary, Linguistic and Otiier Cultural Relations 

OF 

Germany and America 

EDITOR 
MARION DEXTER LEARNED 

University of Pennsylvania 

(See List at the End of the Book) 






HEINE IN AMERICA 



Thesis presented to the Faculty oj the Graduate School 
of the Universitv of Pennsylvania in partial fulfill- 
ment of the requirements for the Degree 
of Doctor of Philosophy. 



By 

H. B. SACHS 



Ctmcricana (Bermantca 

Number 23. 




Publications of the 

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA 

1916 



Copyright 1916 

BY 

H. B. Sachs 



TO 
MARION DEXTER LEARNED 



INTRODUCTION. 

The spirit of the world 

Beholding the absurdity of men — 

Their vaunts, their feats — let a sardonic smile 

For one short moment wander o'er his lips. 

That smile was Heine! 

— Matthew Arnold. 

In 1826 the first volume of the Reisehilder appeared, and 
Germany realized instantly that it possessed a new great writer 
of prose. In 1827 came Das Buck der Lieder, and Europe pos- 
sessed a new great poet. Yet, before these facts could be duly 
recognized and openly acknowledged in England and America, 
the genius of Heine had to conquer great prejudices. Heine 
detested the English; he said that he might settle in England if 
it were not that he would find two things there — coal-smoke and 
Englishmen, neither of which he could abide. The air of 
London felt like an oaken cudgel upon his shoulders. His notes 
on English institutions, literature, the English attitude were 
insolently malignant. All this was not calculated to endear him 
to the leaders of English opinion. Consequently we need not be 
surprised to find eminent critics joining in the general expres- 
sion of indignation and abhorrence. 'T-fere was a poet," Kings- 
ley said, "who might or might not be a genius, but who was 
certainly a leper." Men like Carlyle, who were the interpreters 
of German literature in England, and whose opinions were re- 
garded as authoritative, did not hesitate to pass judgment of 
condemnation on Heine. "That blackguard Heine" is Carlyle's 
only reference to Heine. Ever)rthing about him proved, in 
English eyes, detestable. He was a Jew, and a pagan and a 
skeptic — a truly delicious compound for the Englishman. He 
had erected an idolatrous Napoleon legend just when the Na- 
poleonic phantom had been laid comfortably to rest. In Eng- 
land it was long before the fascinating genius of Heine made 
peace with the spirit of the nation. In Clough and Matthew 

(9) 



lo Introduction 

Arnold we have the first conscious introduction of Heine's in- 
fluences into English poetry. The school of Pater and Swin- 
burne adopted Heine's modern and yet intense paganism. The 
memory of Heine thus gradually overcame the bitter prejudices 
of English readers. The interest in Heine has increased amaz- 
ingly in England; thanks in the first place to Matthew Arnold's 
admirable essay/ and next to the writers of various magazine 
articles, which have appeared in England and in America. 
Special mention must be made of the excellent contributions 
towards an enlightened estimate of Heine's works by George 
Eliot,^ J. D. Lester,^ and Charles Grant.^ We cannot overesti- 
mate the great influences which these views have had in Amer- 
ican criticisms of Heine. In many instances American critics 
have either quoted, restated with approbation or wholly appropri- 
ated the estimates of Arnold and Grant. Matthew Arnold 
in his remarkable essay on Heine said : "Heine is note- 
worthy because he is the most important successor and con- 
tinuator of Goethe in Goethe's most important line of activity 
— his activity as a soldier in the war of liberation of humanity. 
. . . Heine is in the European literature of that quarter of 
a century, which follows the death of Goethe, incomparably the 
most important spirit." Suoh an estimate of Heine from. Eng- 
land's most distinguished critic could not fail to dominate Amer- 
ican criticism on the works of the poet. 

Precisely the same prejudices, which existed in England 
against Heine, appeared in America in a less bitter form. So 
long as American criticism on German literature was influenced 
by Gervinus, Menzel and other detractors of Heine, together 
with the indignation of the Englishmen, we must not expect to 
find just and sympathetic criticism. Misconceptions, maccura- 
cies must arise so long as original thought and independent in- 
vestigations were deemed unnecessary. Longfellow writes an 



^ Cornhill's Magazine, Vol. 8, 1863, pp. 233-249. Reprinted in Essays on 
Criticism. 

' Westminster Review, 1856. Reprinted in her essays. 

'Fortnightly Review, Vol. 6, N. S., 1869, pp. 287-303. 

* Contemporary Review, Vol. 38, 1880, pp. 372-395. 



Introduction i i 

essay on Heine repeating the views of depreciative German 
critics rather than stating his own. All early critics place im- 
plicit confidence in the staternents and anecdotes of Strodt- 
mann and have no scruples about inserting absurdities attributed 
to Heine. One reviewer reports Heine as dead in 1849. Almost 
all critics quote, in order to add authority to their views, a re- 
mark of Goethe given in Eckermann's Conversations: "One 
thing is lacking in him — love." The reference, as one of Mr. 
Storr's ^ reviewers pointed out, is not to Heine, but to Count 
Platen. How could anyone acquainted with Heine's genius as- 
sume that Goethe would give expression to such an absurd 
opinion? Mr. Storr pleads as an extenuating circumstance that 
he was misled by Strodtmann.*^ Mr. William Sharp," the 
author of the best English monograph on Heine, and Matthew 
Arnold, both in his Essays on Criticism, and in his poem Heine's 
Grave, endorse this absurdity. 

If the bitterness of the early American reviewers of Heine's 
works was due to the English influence and the slavish adher- 
ence to views of German critics, Heine did not fail to add a 
provocation by his fierce and withering satire. Not satisfied 
with his ridicule of the English, Heine made a virulent attack 
on Americans. In 1830 he writes to his friend Borne from the 
lonely little island of Heligoland : ". . . or shall I betake 
myself to America — to that huge region of free men, where the 
invisible fetters would be more galling to me than the visible 
ones at home;, and where the most odious of all tyrants — the 
mob — exercises its brutal authority. Thou knowest what I 
think of this accursed land, which I used to love before I had 
understood it. And yet my vocation as liberator compels me 
publicly to praise and extol this country! Oh, you good Ger- 
man peasants, go to America! You will there find neither 
princes nor nobles; all men are alike there; all are equally 



° Heine's Travel Pictures, translated by Francis Storr. 2d Ed. London, 

1895. Preface. 

1867-69. 

' Adolf Strodtmann, Heinrich Heine's Leben und Werke. 2 Bds. Berlin, 
''Life of Heinrich Heine, by William Sharp. London, 1888. 



12 Introduction 

churls — except, indeed, a few millions whose skins are black or 
brown, and who are treated like dogs." 

By such denunciations Heine alienated many Americans. 
Are we to wonder that American critics assumed a hostile at- 
titude towards him and endeavored to find cause for denounc- 
ing his character? This indulging in personalities, for which 
they condemned Heine's criticism of A, W. Schlegel and Borne, 
now became characteristic of the criticism on Heine. Ripley 
and other eminent critics in their reviews of Heine's works con- 
cerned themselves chiefly with condemning his character and 
searching for imperfections in his works. When they found 
any flaw they proceeded at once to exaggerate it. But the time 
for a more just appreciation of Heine was destined to come and 
was ushered in by George Eliot and Matthew Arnold. 

But misunderstandings of Heine's character did not cease 
until the publication of Heine's Familienlehen by his nephew 
Baron von Embden more than ten years ago. Heine's affec- 
tion for his mother, sister and his surprising devotion to his 
wife "came as a complete revelation to all who had painted him 
as a devil. 



Heine in American Criticism. 

North American Review, 
(Vol. XLII, 1836, pp. 163-178.) 

This article is a review of Letters Auxiliary to the History 
of Modern Polite Literature in Germanw by Heinrich Heine. 
Translated from German by G. W. Haven, Boston, 1836. 

Acknowledging that the book presents the views of a man 
of uncommon talent and power, the reviewer declares that Heine 
is an enemy of superstition, bigotry and tyranny without being 
a friend of religion and true liberty; a hater of the vices of 
others, without being a lover of virtue. Heine's perception of 
others' foibles and faults is as quick and sure, as his ridicule is 
pointed and his sarcasm withering. His natural powers are in- 
disputably of a high order. As a critic he exhibits a penetration 
and clearness of perception and strength and distinctness of de- 
lineation, an abundance and happiness of illustration, an appro- 
priateness of comparison, and a liveliness, ease, and vigor of 
style, rarely united in one man. His control of the language is 
remarkable. The reviewer doubts whether Heine is surpassed 
or equalled in this respect, by any writer of that time. After 
some comment on Heine's prejudices and unfairness as a critic, 
the reviewer says : "Heine combines the volatile, effervescent 
spirit of the French with the philosophical depth of the Ger- 
mans. His poetical talent, even if he had not evinced it by the 
particular productions which rank him high among the living 
poets of Germany, is apparent both from his appreciation of the 
same power in others, and from the beauty of many passages in 
the work under consideration, passages which have all that con- 
stitutes true poetry except versification. . , . Heine pre- 
sents a mixture of good and bad qualities. . . . We are far 
from advocating or even excusing his political, theological and 
philosophical opinions; but we would, in fairness, acknowl- 
edge the correctness, justice and originality of many of his 
criticisms." 

(13) . 



14 Heine in American Criticism 

The reviewer then proceeds to make the reader acquainted 
with the original of Mr. Haven's translation. In doing this he 
uses as far as possible Heine's own words, in order to give not 
merely an account of Heine's opinions, but also some specimens 
of his manner. In speaking of Heine's attack on A. W. Schlegel 
the reviewer waxes warm and says: "This is on the whole the 
most exceptionable jjortion, indicating a relentless, atrocious 
hostility, for which there is, upon Heine's own showing, no 
sort of ground. We are naturally led to suspect some private 
grudge. The description of the personal appearance of A. W. 
Schlegel, and the allusions to his private affairs, are so evidently 
in l)ad taste and proofs of 2 rancorous and implacable malice, 
that we pass by them in silent contempt." 

Heine attributes Tieck's change from his first to his second 
manner to the influence of the Schlegels, and the change to the 
third manner to the influence of Goethe. These changes struck 
Heine as a strange discrepancy between the understanding and 
the imagination. The reviewer here takes exception to Heine's 
view and endeavors to explain these three manners of Tieck as 
the principal stages of a perfectly natural and spontaneous pro- 
cess of the inner man; a perfect harmcmy; the absence of ex- 
tremes; in a word the result of a natural and complete develop- 
ment. 

The review concludes with remarks on Heine's criticism of 
Schelling. Hegel, StefFens and Gorres, which the reviewer con- 
siders full of interest and humor, but by no means free from 
prejudice. 

Henry Wadsworth Longfelix)w (1807-1882). 
1 807- 1 882. 
Longfellow affords an excellent illustration of a man of 
talent and genius failing to understand the significance of Heine 
in the literature of Europe. The views he expresses in his 
article on Heine in Graham's Magazine " are not quite in accord 
with what he really felt concerning Heine. This will be evident 



* Graham's Magaeine, Vol. XX. 1842, pp. i34-»37- 



Heine in American Criticism 15 

from the quotations from his journal. Although Longfellow 
does not omit mentioning all the faults attributed to Heine's 
style by the enraged German critics, yet he does not hesitate to 
imitate Heine's manner in Hyperion and Voices of the Night. 
This illustrates the truth of the saying that what a rnan con- 
demns publicly, he often hastens zealously to imitate. 

Matthew Arnold's estimate of Heine on first reading was 
anything but favorable, as his letters ^ show. Happily Arnold 
travelled soon far from the state of mind in which he could 
regard the Reisehilder as "the most ridiculous thing in the 
world." He knew that to speak of Heine as a man who tried to 
be gloomy was the reverse of the truth, and he consequently 
expressed the truth upon mature reflection. But Longfellow re- 
printed his essay to serve as an introduction to the article on 
Heine in the Poets and Poetry of Europe a few years later. 

In Hyperion (1839), Chapter VU, in speaking of Menzel's 
attack on Goethe, Paul Fleming says : "But, of all that has 
been said or simg, what most pleases me is Heine's Apologetic, 
if I may so call it; in which he says that 'the minor poets who 
flourished under the imperial reign of Goethe, resemble a young 
forest' . . . (Cf. Heine's view of Goethe in Romantische 
Schule)." After quoting the passage, Paul Fleming says: 
"Do you not think that beautiful?" "Yes, very beautiful," says 
the Baron, "and I am glad to see that you can find something to 
admire in my favorite author, notwithstanding his frailties; or, 
to use an old German saying, that you can drive the hens out 
of the garden without trampling down the beds," 

The Romantische Schule seems to have been a great favorite 
with Longfellow and he quoted the sections treating of Goethe, 
Des Knabemvunderhorn and Das Niehelungen Lied in his Poets 
and Poetry of Europe. 

In his article in Graham's Magazine, '^^ Longfellow says: 
"Ludwig Borne once said that Voltaire was only the John the 



* Letters of Arnold, edited by W. E. Russel. Vol. i, pp. lo-ii. Letter to 
his mother, May 7, 1848. 

" Graham's Magazine, Vol. XX, pp. 134-137. 



1 6 Heine in American Criticism 

Baptist of Antichrist, but that Heine was Antichrist himself. 
Perhaps he paid Heine too great a compHment; yet the remark 
is true as far as this, that it points him out as the leader of that 
new school in Germany which is seeking to establish a religion 
of sensuality, and to build a palace of Pleasure on the ruins 
of the church. The school is known under the name of Young 
Germany. It is skeptical and sensual; and seems desirous of 
trying again the experiment so often tried before, but never 
with any success, of living witiiout a God. Heine expresses 
this in phrases too blasphemous or too voluptuous to repeat. 
Heine's plans for regenerating society are at best but vague 
opinions thrown out recklessly and at random, like fire-brands, 
that set in a flame whatever light matter they fall uixm. . . . 

"The style of Heine is remarkable for vigor, wit and bril- 
liancy; but is wanting in taste and refinement; to the reckless- 
ness of Byron he adds the sentimentality of Sterne. The 
Reisebilder is a kind of Don Juan in prose, with passages from 
the Sentimental Journey. He is always in extremes, either of 
praise or censure; setting at naught the decencies of life, and 
treating the most sacred things with frivolity. Throughout 
his writings you see traces of a morbid, ill-regulated mind; of 
deep feeling, disappointment and suffering. His sympathies 
seem to have died within him, like Ugolino's children in the 
tower of Famine. With all his various powers, he wants the one 
great power — the power of truth ! He wants, too, that ennobling 
principle of all human endeavors, the aspiration after an ideal 
standard, that is higher than himself. In a word he wants 
sincerity and spirituality. 

"In the highest degree reprehensible, too, is the fierce, im- 
placable hatred with which Heine pursues his foes. No man 
should write of another as he permits himself to do at times. 
In speaking of Schlegel, as he does in his German literature, he 
is utterly without apology. And yet to such remorseless invcc- 
tiveness, to such witty sarcasms, he is indebted to a great degree 
for his popularity. It was not till after he had bitten the heel 
of Hercules, that the Crab was placed among the constellations. 



Heine in American Criticism 17 

"The minor poems of Heine, like most of his prose writings, 
are but a portrait of himself. The same melancholy tone — the 
same endless sigh — pervades them. Though they possess the 
highest lyric merit, they are for the most part fragmentary — 
expressions of some momentary state of feeling — sudden ejacula- 
tion of pain or pleasure, of restlessness, impatience, regret, long- 
ing, love. They profess to be songs and as songs must they be 
judged and as German songs. Thus these imperfect expressions 
of feeling — these mere suggestions of thought, — this luminous 
mist, that half reveals, half hides the sense, — this selection of 
topics from scenes of every-day life, and in fine, this prevailing 
tone of sentimental sadness, will not seem affected, misplaced nor 
exaggerated. At the same time it must be confessed that the 
trivial and commonplace recur too frequently in these songs. 
Here, likewise, as in the prose of Heine, the lofty aim is want- 
ing; we listen in vain for the spirit-stirring note — for the word 
of power — for those ancestral melodies, which amid the uproar 
of the world, breathe in our ears forevermore the voices of 
consolation, encouragement and warning. Heine is not suffi- 
ciently in earnest to be a great poet." 

How beautifully and poetically has Longfellow pointed out 
all conceivable as well as inconceivable defects in Heine's style! 
Yet how inadequate, unfair and negative is this criticism ! Long- 
fellow fails to see Heine's real place in the world's literature 
and his real contribution and influence. Not a word does Long- 
fellow say about Heine's wonderful sea-poetry ! Probably when 
Longfellow read the Romanzero he reached different conclu- 
sions. Instead of striving to refute the misstatements and 
exaggerations of Longfellow's criticism we will leave that for 
subsequent reviews. Let us quote a passage from Longfellow's 
journal to see what he said a few years after this criticism 
appeared in Graham's Magazine. 

In the Journal,^^ June 4, 1846, Longfellow commented on 
the Book of Songs as follows: "A true summer morning, warm 



^ Life of H. W. Longfellow, edited by Samuel Longfellow. 3 Vols. 
Boston, 1893. Vol. II, p. 41. 



i8 Heine in American Criticism 

and breezy. F. sat under the linden-tree and read to me Heine's 
poems, while I lay under a hay-cock. . . . Heine, delicious 
poet for such an hour! What a charm there is about his Buck 
der Lieder! Ah, here they would be held by most people as 
ridiculous. Many poetic souls there are here, and many lovers 
of song, but life and its ways and ends are prosaic in this 
country to the last degree." 

Other passages might be quoted to prove that Longfellow's 
appreciation of Heine became more sympathetic but this will 
suffice. Later we shall see how Longfellow caught the manner 
of Heine in his poetry. 

Sarah Austin.'* 

Remarkable, considering the date when it was written, is 
the pregnant and just tribute paid to the merits of Heine in 
Sarah Austin's brief sketch. After giving some well chosen speci- 
mens of Heine's brilliant and witty prose style, she proceeds to 
give a brief biographical and critical sketch, calling attention, in 
a graceful manner, to Heine's significance in European literature 
as follows: "Some of his songs are beautiful, especially those 
written in Heligoland, the imagery of which is drawn from the 
northern seas and their various aspects. Their lyrical sweetness 
is not surpassed by anything in the German language, except by 
some of Geothe's songs. Heine's prose style is also regarded in 
Germany as admirable even by those who least admire the matter 
of his writings. As a proof of his artistical merit, I might men- 
tion the pretty sort of echo of the beginning with which the 
Hartz-miners closes." 

Colonel T. W. Higginson in his latest work (Part of a 
Man's Life, Boston, 1905), speaks of Sarah Austin's German 
Prose Writers as one of the first books which kindled his literary 
enthusiasm. It was together with Heine's work Die Roman- 
tische Schule, among the first books which created in America 
the zeal for German literature. 



^Fragments from German Prose Writers, translated by Sarah Austin, 
with Biographical Sketches of the Authors. New York, 1841, p. 220. 



Heine in American Criticism 19 

W. H. HURLBUT.13 

Of all criticisms on Heine we have no hesitation in pro- 
nouncing Hurlbut's the unique and most amusing. That Hurl- 
but was possessed of a fertile imagination from the inexhaustible 
store from which he preferred to draw in sketching Heine's life, 
rather than go to the trouble of investigating, will be obvious. 
That there were rumors of Heine's death in 1848 is not improb- 
able; but how can we excuse the audacity of a man who writes 
with certainty without ascertaining the real facts? The mourn- 
ful description of Heine's lamentable death in 1848 is too amus- 
ing to be omitted. If we bear in mind that Heine's malady began 
in 1848 and his death occurred in 1856, Hurlbut's sketch affords 
us more amusement. The article begins with a brief and clear 
outline of the rise and character of the school known as Young 
Germany. After connecting Heine with this school, Hurlbut 
says: "In 1830, he went to Paris, and finding the extravagance, 
intellectual and social, of that fermenting city the atmosphere 
best suited to his restless nature, he fixed there his abode. There 
he continued to reside, occupying himself with his literary labors, 
poetical and political, and enjoying with full zest the brilliancy 
and reckless gaiety of a circle in which he held a central place 
till his death in 1848. The close of his life was darkened by great 
physical sufferings, and greater social and spiritual misery. He 
was struck at once with paralysis and with blindness. These de- 
privations shutting him out from those material sources of delight 
at which he had nourished himself so long, embittered his temper 
and led him to a neglect of the elegancies and amenities of life, 
which soon drove away many of his butterfly friends. And 
though his genius and importance still secured to him the admir- 
ation and the sympathy of a few superior persons, he may be 
said to have been withdrawn from the cheerful light of human 
society and to have died in a very desolate and mournful con- 
dition. This brief account of a career, uneventful as are the 
lives of the majority of literary men, comprises all that we have 



^* North American Review, Vol. LXIX, 1849, pp. 216-249. 



20 Heine in American Criticism 

learned with certainty of the outward biography of Heine. It 
comprises, too, we are incHned to think, all that we need know 
of that biography. His birth, his occupation, his place of resi- 
dence, his death — these are all the important keys that iiis history* 
can give us to the outward character of a man and of his 
works." 

Having dashed off this biographical sketch Hurlbut now 
turns his attention to making a careful review of Heine's literary 
activity in various departments of literature. The most important 
of Heine's works, that upon which his fame must eventually rest, 
is, in Hurlbut's opinion, the Reisebildcr. He assigns it a high 
place among literary favorites of all literatures, and finds these 
two seals of genius stamped upon the greater part of the Reise- 
bilder — entire independence of thought and feeling, and true 
poetic power of description and representation. The careless 
audacity, Hurlbut declares to be tlie very spirit of the movements 
in these travels. What he particularly regards as a distinctive 
merit of the Reisebildcr is the entire absence of cant. The 
scenes in the Hartzreise Hurlbut thinks are portrayed with ad- 
mirable skill and force. 

Of Heine's satirical powers he finds De I'Allemagne to be 
the finest exhibition. But he warns the general reader to beware 
of the Romantische S chide if he reads for information, and if 
he values his literary integrity and would keep his mind free 
from prejudice. After advising the reader to shun the danger- 
ous brilliancy of the Romantiscfie Schule, Hurlbut continues: 
"To all serious persons, of whatever nation, it must remain only 
an entertaining abomination. We dismiss it with alacrity to its 
proper circle — the Inferno of literature, into which it will as- 
suredly sink. We cannot be considered as unmerciful in con- 
signing Atta Troll, Deutschland and many other merely political 
squibs, to the more ignoble quarter of that Elysium in which so 
many mighty shades of Rome, France, and England dwell." 

If the RomantiscJic Schule, Atta Troll and Deutscltland were 
consigned to the realm of the shades and oblivion by Hurlbut's 
tmmercif ul condemnation, the Buck der Lieder was at least saved 



Heine in American Criticism 21 

to posterity by him. In this beautiful collection he enjoys the 
fragrance of a gifted nature, the peaceful working of a naturally 
clear and noble heart. The enjoyment is marked by a spirit of 
skepticism. In criticising the Buck der Lieder Hurlbut says: 
"The poet asserts himself in these masterly compositions — the 
tenderness, the glow, the hope find expression in most exquisite 
forms. His plastic power is remarkable. Heine is unquestion- 
ably the greatest artist among the younger German poets, but to 
compare him to Goethe is exaggerated praise. We are charmed 
by the seductive beauty and melody of his verse. And when, in 
some parts of that extraordinary poem, The North Sea, Heine 
really rises to pure and lofty feelings, to grand and simple 
thoughts, the solemnity and powers of his measures, sometimes 
rolling out with the rhythm of the waves, reveal the intrinsic 
greatness of the poetic nature which was lost to art and to its 
own true happiness in the turmoil of our times." 

The Neue Gedichte Hurlbut declares to be the saddest, the 
most lamentable, perhaps, that ever proceeded from a man so 
capable of greatness. Heine's raillery, which he calls the "evil 
spirit," here tramples down the holiest feelings and scoffs at 
the most beautiful thoughts. The fatal element in Heine's char- 
acter Hurlbut declares to have been the want of any resolute 
adherence to a great and noble purpose. The reviewer objects 
to calling Heine the German Byron, because they only resemble 
each other in artistic power, sensualism and love of the sea. 
Hurlbut thus distinguishes them: "The gay, reckless, witty poli- 
tician is wholly different from the magnificent English scoffer. 
The one was a scoffer among scoffers, the other a terrible scorner 
in a day of fearful convulsions and wrathful conflicts. Their 
very sensualism bore not the same stamp; with Heine it was 
sentimental, with Byron it was passionate." 

Vainly endeavoring to find a parallel for Heine, because he 
thinks the comparison with Byron unsatisfactory, Hurlbut finally 
lands upon an absurd solution of the problem by suggesting that 
Heine might, with justice, be called a nineteenth century Wie- 
land. 



22 Heine in American Critkism 

Putnam's Monthly Magadne. 

(Vol. VI, 1855, pp. 475-481.) 

Henry Heine. 

The reviewer writes a letter from Oberwesel-on-the-Rhine 
to a friend in Park Place. In this letter he speaks of Heine as 
the genius who tore up the treaties of Viennd, a tearful trifler, 
a sardonic sentimentalist who laughs at old legends over his wine, 
and shudders beneath the Lorelei-rocks in the twilight. The music 
of Heine's melodies, the subtle and true rhythm of his genius 
enrapture the writer of the letter when he first hears the Lorelei 
in the sweet Rhenish weather. In speaking of the Lorelei the 
writer says: "How completely is Heine's own individuality pre- 
served in the half smile which plays upon his lips as he ends his 
song! He seems to throw off the brief mood of romance, and 
turns on his heels again, to skepticism — and entire Germany has 
produced only two poets beside Heine, who could have written 
this song of the Liirlei, and neither one of them could thus have 
concluded it ; Uhland was too serious a sentimentalist, Goethe too 
consummate an artist." 

After briefly sketching Heine's life and giving in translation 
some specimens of his poetry, the writer comments on the Reise- 
bilder as follows: "The Reisebilder was almost as original in 
form as it was fresh in substance; . . one is vaguely re- 

minded by it of the Sentimental Journey. But the reminiscence 
is so very vague ! It always reminds me much more strongly of 
a comic opera. What opera ever had an overture more ex- 
quisitely constructed than those songs of the Heimkehr in which 
all the coming work is so musically resumed, hinted or foretold?" 

The writer is delighted with the style of the Reisebilder, the 
rhythm of which glides on in prose as "harmonious as the flow 
of a forest brook, and ever and anon is broken into little melodi- 
ous cascades of verse." He enjoys the grace and power with 
which Heine paints all manner of scenes and persons. Heine's 
description of London he considers one of the finest ever written 
of that indescribable, inexhaustible London. After dwelling upon 
and analyzing the exquisite, limpid style of Heine, the reviewer 



Heine in American Criticism 2-3 

maintains that of the Germans only Lessing has approached and 
Goethe surpassed it. The art of composition has decHned in Ger- 
many since the avatar of Heine, but the decline did not begin with 
him. 

Heine has been classed by some critics with the great humor- 
ists. This classification is obviously incorrect, and the reviewer 
very justly takes issue with these critics, and makes the following 
distinction : "If to be capricious is to be a great humorist, then 
he (Heine) is one. But the best quality of humor lies deep in 
the soul, beneath the light play of caprice. The style of a great 
humorist, of Jean Paul, for instance, or Carlyle, does not glitter, 
it glows. The style of Heine is, in no wise, incandescent, but 
rather scintillating. Compare Heine's Sketch of Religion and 
Philosophy in Germany with Carlyle's Past and Present, and you 
will see clearly what I mean." 

Having drawn this distinction, the writer speaks of Heine's 
remarkable attainments in French and gives some account of Die 
Romantische Schule, Der Salon, Vermischte Schriften, Ludwig 
Borne, and Heine's last days. Pointed, brilliant, fanciful, and 
fascinating as is the prose style of Heine, the writer thinks that 
the most abiding charm of his genius is to be found in the fine 
lyrical qualities: "In his own secret heart, I doubt not he 
(Heine) cherished, most of all his works, those exquisite 
effusions which collected in half a dozen series from the Lyrical 
Poems, published in 1822, to the Romanzero (the saddest and 
poorest of them all) published in 1853, comprise some of the 
truest, and sweetest, and strongest lyric poetry of modern times." 
In concluding his letter, the writer takes advantage of the oppor- 
tunity to censure Gervinus for his unjustifiable attitude toward 
Heine and says: "And though Gervinus (respectable Gervinus) 
has thought fit to omit Heine from his very stupid history, as 
long as the German language shall live, these songs will live, in 
which the German consonants have been wrought to melodies as 
delicious as were ever trilled through the vowels of Italy." 

In addition to this criticism on Heine's literary achieve- 
ments, this article also contains some meritorious, metrical trans- 
lations of some of Heine's most famous lyrics. But of these we 



24 Heine in American Criticism 

shall treat in the section dealing with American translations of 
Heine's works. 

This sympathetic and appreciative estimate was evidently 
written while the writer was under the spell of Heine's magic, 
and consequently he fails to point out the defects in Heine's 
works, on which other critics are so fond of dwelling to a 
monotonous extent. 

Charles Godfrey Leland. 

As a man of considerable talent and fame, a very close 
student of Heine, the opinions and views of Leland are worthy 
of our careful attention and respect. Captivated with the genius 
of Heine, he, nevertheless, was conscious of the German's defects 
and inconsistencies. Leland's criticisms of Heine appeared as 
prefaces to the various translations, the first of which, the Reise- 
hilder, appeared in Philadelphia, in 1855, with the title. Pictures 
of Travel. In this preface, Leland expresses the opinion that no 
modem German writer has exerted an influence comparable to 
that of Heine, and that since Goethe no author has penetrated 
so generally through every class of society. This universality of 
popularity he considers the surest test of the existence of genius. 
Leland groups Heine with that great band which numbered Lu- 
cian, Rabelais and Swift among its members. The secret of 
Heine's popularity among the Germans, Leland finds to he uni- 
versality of talent, sincerity and weaknesses, and the graceful art 
of communicating to the most uneducated mind refined secrets 
of art and criticism. Considering it worse than folly to attempt 
to palliate Heine's faults, Leland condemns the vulgarity of niiuiy 
passages in the Reisebilder. That Heine was a genius, and not a 
clever imitator of gefiius, he thinks, is shown by his many and 
marvellous prophecies or intuitions. The fact that Heine can 
only be fully comprehended as a whole, and the more one reads 
him, the better he is appreciated, Leland finds to be only char- 
acteristic of great writers who do not reproduce themselves. 

In the preface to his translation of Heine's Florentine Nights 
(London, 1891) Leland says: "It is much to say of a volu- 
minous writer in prose as well as in verse, that he has left few 



Heine in American Criticism 2-5 

lines that can be spared from the literature of the world. Goethe, 
whom we cheerfully acknowledge greater than Heine, is totally 
unable to stand such a test in his poetical works, even to say 
nothing of his prose. . . . Heine was a poet by the grace 
of God and carried the happy instinct of his verse into his prose. 
As a poet he was essentially a 'Volksdichter.' He was equipped 
with two intellectual gifts, perfect lucidity and perfect propor- 
tion. He was at the same time a most original and accurate 
thinker, and possesses in the discussion of grave matters the ease 
and brightness and symmetry which have constituted his charm 
as a lyric poet." 

Of much greater merit and value as criticism than the pre- 
ceding is the preface which Leland wrote for his translation of 
De I'Allemagne (London, 1892). After expressing his admir- 
ation of the brilliancy and fascination of the style of this work, 
Leland says: "Such writers are invaluable as educators or 
trainers of thought and style. One cannot praise too highly, as 
regards depth and value, the manner in which he has seized, in 
a most independent, original manner, on the leading names whicli 
truly illustrate German thought since Luther, or the exquisite 
skill and refined art with which he has concisely and beautifully 
set them forth. The wonderful parallel which runs through his 
work, like a motive through an opera, of the progress of the 
mental revolution in Germany and the political in France. The 
simile is grandly sustained and carried to a triumphant conclu- 
sion." 

The principal faults of the Romantic School and Religion 
and Philosophy in Germany, according to Leland are : ( i ) A 
fair and harmonious idea of the balance of any author described 
is not given because the author was manifestly unable to accord 
or co-ordinate error and merit in others. This is the result of 
Heine's love of gossip and scandal and his boyish susceptibility 
which made him for the moment altogether enthusiastic, either 
with admiration or anger, at a character or a book, without 
reflecting on the other side; (2) The childish jealousy, or merely 
personal dislike, which he had not the good sense to control or 
conceal. Heine had not the vast impartiality of a Goethe. Hence 



26 Heine in American Criticism 

he neglects the real influence or action of certain authors in their 
time, although he does it well with others ; (3) He does not give 
intelligently and succinctly the method of any philosopher, and in 
several cases this is done so imperfectly as to almost induce the 
suspicion that he had not clearly understood them. This is cer- 
tainly the case as regards the methods of Kant, Fichte and Schel- 
ling, while as to Hegel he really tells us nothing at all. 

In conclusion Leland says about "Germany": "It is an 
eccentric, though brilliant and genial mingling of metaphysics, 
mockery and memoir. He did not explain German metaphysics 
well or clearly to the multitude ; he simply made its vast influence 
understood by entertaining and personal gossip, interspersing so 
much that was vivacious, original and true with a great deal that 
was frivolous and sometimes false, as to produce the greatest 
masterpiece of melange known in literature." 

Despite these shortcomings of Heine as a critic and inter- 
preter, Leland thinks that in the Salon ** Heine shows himself 
absolutely a master in criticising pictures, music, and the stage 
with marvellous ability, carefully avoiding technical terms. He 
believes the Salon to be, as a whole, the one which, of its kind, 
combines more suggestive thought, amusement, and information 
than any other with which he is acquainte<l. Very justly Leland 
disapproves of Heine's pitiful and disagreeable abuse of Raupach 
and SfKJntini. 

Pointing out as the predominant characteristic in which 
Heine greatly surpassed all writers of his time that "he nothing 
touched which he did not adorn," Leland, in his preface to the 
French Affairs,^^ calls attention to two very eminent points in 
this book. One is the masterly manner in which Heine as early 
as 1832, immediately after Louis Phillipe's succession to the 
throne, pointed out clearly and accurately the causes which would 
lead to that monarch's overthrow. These causes were bound up 
with many influences which are still in vivid action, and which 



'* The Salon, translated from German of Heine by C. G. Leland. London, 
1893. Preface. 

** French Affairs, Letters From Paris, translated from German of Heine 
by C. G. Leland. London, 1893. 



Heine in American Criticism 2y 

no writer has expressed more wisely, more searchingly or more 
succinctly than Heine. Therefore Leland thinks that the French 
Affairs forms an admirable preparation for a study of French 
politics of the present day. The reason why these letters have 
never received the recognition due to their real merit, Leland 
thinks, is owing to the heedless manner in which they were 
written and the flippant gossip introduced to catch the eye of the 
general reader. The second remarkable point in these letters in- 
cluding those in "Lutetia" is the fact that Heine, alone, in the 
early thirties foresaw very clearly the future of Socialism and the 
troubles which it was to cause. 

Speaking of Heine's incongruities, Leland says : "The Ger- 
mans call Jean Paul 'the Only One,' because he is supposed to be 
quite peculiar in his incongruities or in combining opposite char- 
acteristics. Yet I am certain that in this respect Heine, and not 
Jean Paul, may claim precedence. There is at least in Richter 
a deep moral unity, and however eccentrically he piled up or 
overwrought his intertwined sentences, he never once fell into 
the vulgar and careless style of the very worst of scribblers for 
the press. But Heine exhibits in his intellectual efforts such 
startling contradictions as were never yet beheld in living mortal ; 
while as regards style or writing, there are in his works hundreds 
of passages in which literary art attains the most exquisite per- 
fection; while, on the other hand, it is undeniable that there is 
not a living writer of the English language, be he ever so 
humble a tyro on the obscurest sheet, who would scrawl, even in 
haste, such bungling, reiterative, and shallow sentences as may 
be found at times rather frequently in all of Heine's works, but 
especially in this {French Affairs).'' 

Leland's preface ^® to his translation of Heine's Familien- 
lehen is a review of this book, which he considers to be the best 
life of Heine which had yet appeared. In prefaces and notes to 
his translations Leland had laid great stress on the extraordinary 
contradictions which Heine's character presents, and which Le- 



" The Family Life of Heine, edited by von Embden and translated by 
C. G. Leland. London, 1893. 



28 Heine in American Criticism 

land thought entitled him to be called in preference to Jean Paul, 
"the Only One" (the unique), in literature. Now Leland finds 
that in a complete abandon to Hellenism, Heine was always con- 
sistent. And as a final, overwhelming proof of Heine's bizarre 
nature, Leland learns that the professed roue was in reality all 
his life long possessed by such an intense absorbing love for his 
mother and sister, and had constantly after marriage such faith- 
ful moral devotion to his wife, perhaps unparalleled in literary 
biography. 

George Ripley. 
Putman's Monthly Magazine. 

(Voivm, 1856, pp. 517-526.) 

Ripley's paper on Heine's last days severely condemns his 
character. It is rather analytical and philosophical in tone; but 
it confines itself closely to the data given in Alfred Meissner's 
ErinnerungenV As an introduction to his review of Meissner's 
little volume Ripley says: "Heine was not the man to secure the 
love or even the esteem of general society. His wit had Uk> sharp 
an edge to conciliate the favor of common acquaintance. He 
wielded it too recklessly to inspire confidence in his moral 
integrity. His insatiable love of fun, his instinctive sense of the 
ludicrous, and his miraculous command of the vocabulary of 
humor, were combined with a subtle Mephistophelean malice, and 
an audacious disregard of consequences, which were saved from 
being repulsive only by his brilliant keenness of intellect, and the 
original and surprising escapades of his fancy, which leave the 
reader in a state of piquant gpratification and eager curiosity at 
CMncc." 

The revelations of Heine's remarkable idiosyncrasies as illus- 
trated by the incidents contained in Meissner's ,book attracted 
Ripley. He considered Heine one of the most illustrious poets 
Germany has produced, possessing a restless and yearning soul 
enclosed in a tender and almost weak constitution, and experienc- 



" Heinrich Heine's Erinnerungen, by Alfred Meissner, 1856. 



Heine in American Criticism 29 

ing both the rapture and the wretchedness of life, with the exal- 
tation of enthusiasm. While Heine was being consumed by con- 
troversy and ambition, there was another characteristic, thinks 
Ripley, which tended to destroy his physical life: "He was the 
poet of love, and predestined to devote his life to the celebration 
of female beauty. He sang of passion in all its forms, from 
Platonism to the Witches' Sabbath. He found expression for its 
tenderest breathings, as if he possessed the heart of the elves; 
and was as familiar with its bolder display as if he had shared 
in the feasts of the fauns. . . . For Heine love was the 
element of life; no intoxication of the senses; no temporary 
plunge into dissoluteness, but an immeasurable passion, which 
penetrated his whole being and kindled it into an ardent and 
beautiful flame. . . . His soul was completely given to what 
he lived. In this passion whose music rang through his nature, he 
felt himself elevated above the discords of the world, of society, 
of political forms, and it also took him out of himself and the 
perpetual dualism of his character. But these flames, in which 
he loved so well to breathe, devoured his life, consuming his very 
soul." 

Ripley comments on the difference in the natures of Borne 
and Heine, calling Heine a child — his brain swarming with gay 
visions — wild, unlicensed, extravagant — a poet, a sybarite, a 
creature of the world — fond of frivolous society. Ripley believes 
that Heine could not have been a friend of moral earnestness, 
because he liked nothing so well as an obstreperous laugh. After 
repeating some of the incidents given by Meissner illustrative of 
the great wretchedness and agony of Heine's last days, Ripley 
exclaims: "Such was the end of one of the most extraordinary 
poets of recent times. But whatever claims his poetry may assert 
on the admiration of the world, his personal character can never 
be arrayed in attractive colors. But compared with any true 
ideal of humanity, Heine was not a man to command approval 
or love. This scoffing element in his nature was predominant 
over the suggestions of truth. Devoted to the worship of beauty, 
his life plan left no place for the pursuit of good. He seems 
never to have recognized the presence of the ethical principle in 



30 " Heine in American Criticism 

the constitution of man. The voice of duty was never heard 
amidst the seductive melodies of his song. He was possessed, Hke 
many other men of genius, with a gigantic selfishness. Unscrup- 
ulous in the exercise of his wit, he made fewer friends than ad- 
mirers, and his enemies were more than either. No one can say 
that he did not deserve his fate. His personality was one from 
which the heart shrinks ; his life, though impassioned, was grim 
and unloving; his death was lonely, without faith and without 
hope; his genius will consecrate his memory, but can never re- 
deem his character." 

Meissner, in his Erinnerungen, paints Heine's character in 
attractive colors, but Ripley evidently regarded his testimony as 
insufficient in view of the damaging evidence presented by other 
accounts of Heine's wickedness. It is hardly fair to judge the 
susceptible nature of Heine by such harsh Puritanic standards, as 
Ripley was inclined to do, or to endeavor to bind the impulses 
of Heine's wild and wayward genius by artificial rules. Had 
Ripley lived to read Heine's letters addressed to his mother and 
sister, so inspired with passionate affection, allied to the most 
delicate and unaffected respect, he would doubtless been less 
severe in his condemnation of Heine's character. 

Theodore Parker. 

Profoundly learned in the German language, philosophy and 
literary criticism, Theodore Parker saw the need, in America, 
of a new kind of criticism. It must be like the German in its 
depth, philosophy, all-sidedness and geniality. It must have the 
life, wit and sparkle of the French. Most of the American critics 
at that time (1839) were, somewhat shallow, and they wrote 
often of what they understood but feebly and superficially. 
Parker did a great deal towards exciting a desire for more 
thorough critical ability among Americans. His papers on Ger- 
man literature and Strauss are among the best on the subject 
published in American reviews. He wrote a critique of Menzel's 
History of German Literature and criticisms of Goethe and 
Schiller. 

Parker was greatly interested in Heine and his works are 
full of references and quotations from Heine's poetry and criti- 



Heine in American Criticism 31 

cisms. Of Parker as a translator of Heine's poetry we shall speak 
later. As a specimen of Parker's acumen as a critic and appreci- 
ation of Heine's genius we will quote a passage from a letter ^* 
to Mrs. Apthorp dated September 21, 1857: ". . . Heine 
has a deal of the Devil in him, mixed with a deal of genius. No- 
body could write so well as he — surely none since Goethe; that 
Hebrew nature has a world of sensuous and devotional emotion 
in it, and immense power of language also. But his genius is 
lyric, not dramatic, not epic; no Muse rises so high as the 
Hebrew, but it cannot keep long on the wing. The Psalrhs and 
Prophets of the Old Testament teach us this; Oriental sensu- 
ousness attained their finest expression in the Song of Solomon, 
and in Heine's Lieder. In the latter the idol is veiled in thin 
gauze; in the former it is without the veil. Much in Heine I 
hate — much likewise, I admire and love. The Romansero I 
never like enough to read. Heine was malignant and blasphem- 
ous." 

James Russel Lowell. 
The Dancing Bear}^ 
Far over Elf-land poets stretch their sway, 
And win the dearest crowns beyond the goal 
Of their own conscious purpose; they control 
With gossamer threads wide-flown our fancy's play, 
And so our action. On my walk today, 
A wallowing bear, begged clumsily his toll. 
When straight a vision rose of Atta Troll, 
And scenes ideal witched mine eyes away. 
"Merci, Mossieu!" the astonished bearward cried. 
Grateful for thrice his hope to me, the slave 
Of partial memory, seeing at his side 
A bear immortal. The glad dole I gave 
Was none of mine ; poor Heine o'er the wide 
Atlantic welter stretched it from his grave. 



^^ Life and Correspondence of Theodore Parker, by John Weiss. New 
York, 1864. Vol. I, p. 306. 

" Works of J. R. Lowell. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston and New 
York, 1895. Vol. IV, p. 184. 



32 Heine in American Criticism 

That Heine was a great favorite with Lowell we are assured 
by various sources of information, principally Mr. W. D. How- 
ells' My Literary Friends and Acquaintances and My Literary 
Passions. When Mr. Howells visited Lowell in i860, the con- 
versation at once turned on Heine, and Lowell expressed his ap- 
preciation and great admiration of Heine's genius. Yet Lowell 
cautioned Mr. Howells to avoid imitating Heine's cynicism. 

In his essay on Carlyle,^^ speaking of Goethe's and Richter's 
influence on Carlyle, and the fact that the Germans had persuaded 
themselves that the essence of true humor is formlessness, Lowell 
says : "Heine had not yet shown that a German might combine 
the most airy humor with a sense of form as delicate as Goethe's 
own, and that there was no need to borrow the bow of Philoctetes 
for all kinds of game. Mr. Carlyle's tendency was toward the 
lawless, and the attraction of Jean Paul made it an overmastering 
one." 

Later, in his admirable essay on Lessing,^^ Lowell again 
expresses his opinion of Heine's style : "That the general want 
of style in German authors is not wholly the fault of the language 
is shown by Heine (a man of mixed blood) who can be daintily 
light in Grerman." 

And a few pages further on Lowell ^^ says : "Heine himself, 
the most graceful sometimes, the most touching, of modern 
poets, and clearly the most easy of German humorists, seems to 
me wanting in a refined perception of that inward propriety, 
which is only another name for poetic proportion, and shocks us 
sometimes with an Unflathigkeit, as at the end of his Deutsch- 
land, which, if it makes Germans laugh, as we should be sorry to 
believe, makes other people hold their noses. Such things have 
not been possible in English since Swift, and the persifleur Heine 
cannot offer the same excuse of savage cynicism that might be 
pleaded for the Irishman." 

The foregoing passage shows us that Lowell was conscious 



»*Vol. II, p. 90. 
«Vol. II. p. 167. 
«Vol. II, p. 170. 



Heine in American Criticism 33 

of the defects in Heine's style. Such instances of revolting vul- 
garism Lowell very justly condemned. Heine's mockery and 
cynicism also come in for their share of censure. In this same 
essay on Lessing,^^ Lowell remarks: "To the Germans, with 
their weak nerve of sentimentalism, his (Lessing's) brave com- 
mon sense is a far wholesomer tonic than the cynicism of Heine, 
which is, after all, only sentimentalism soured." 

Lowell's essay on Witchcraft ^* contains among others the 
following reference to Heine's wit and wisdom in adapting and 
utilizing his materials : "While Schiller was lamenting the Gods 
of Greece, some of them were nearer neighbors to him than he 
dreamed; and Heine had the wit to turn them to delightful ac- 
count, showing himself, perhaps, the wiser of the two in saving 
what he could from the shipwreck of the past for present use on 
the prosaic Juan Fernandez of a scientific age, instead of sitting 
down to bewail it." 

The weakness of the humorist is explained by Lowell's care- 
ful analysis in his essay on Fielding. '^^ While doing this Lowell 
says: "The weakness of the humorist is that he can never be quite 
unconscious, for in him it seems as if the two lobes of the brain 
were never in perfect unison, so that if ever one of them be on 
the point of surrendering itself to a fine frenzy of unqualified 
enthusiasm, the other watches it, makes fun of it, renders it un- 
easy with a vague sense of absurd incongruity, till at last it is 
forced to laugh when it had rather cry. Heine turned this to his 
purpose, and this is what makes him so profoundly and yet some- 
times so unpleasantly pathetic." 

The influence of the Spanish romances on the form of 
Heine's verse, Lowell says in his notes ^^ on Don Quixote, is un- 
mistakable. 

Speaking of Thoreau,^'^ Lowell says that both Thoreau and 
Carlyle represented the reaction and revolt against Philisterei, a 



"Vol. II, p. 229. 
''Vol. II, p. 327. 
*° Vol. VI, p. s(>. 
'•Vol. 6, p. 116. 
"Vol. I, p. 364. 



34 Heine in American Criticism 

renewal of the old battle begun in modern times by Erasmus and 
Reuchlin, and continued by Lessing, Goethe, and, in a far nar- 
rower sense, by Heine in Germany. 

In his essay on Winter ^^ Lowell exclaims: "He (Winter) 
does not touch those melancholy cords on which Autumn is as 
great a master as Heine." Though fragmentary, desultory and 
scattered, these references to Heine's works give us a fairly clear 
idea of Lowell's estimate of the importance of Heine in modern 
European literature. 

North American Review. 
(Vol.98, 1864, p. 293 ff.) 

The publication of Leland's translation of Heine's Book of 
Songs called forth this critical notice. It begins with the remark 
that the triumphant question of the lively French Abbe "Si un 
Allemand pent etre bel esprit" waited nearly two centuries to be 
answered, and at last, not by a pure Teuton, but by a German Jew. 
Of Heine as a wit the reviewer says: "No wittier man than 
Heine ever lived, nor any whose wit had more purpose in it. 
Tempered as it was with poetic sentiment, intensified by a feeling 
half patriotism and half of the race that has no country, its cut 
was far deeper than that of Voltaire. If he often seems the most 
careless of persifleurs, the real strength of Heine, as of Byron, 
lay in the sad sincerity which was the base of his humor." Be- 
cause Heine is a man of Jewish birth, the reviewer thinks that 
the lack of "vivida vis" of nationality in his lyrical poems may 
well be forgiven. He considers Heine's lyrics the most grace- 
ful, easy and pathetic of modern times. The cause of Heine 
being a mocker, he thinks, is not because he lacks deep and genu- 
ine feeling, but because his enthusiasm has been disappointed and 
disillusioned. 

This is the extent of the critical estimate of Heine given in 
this review. The remainder of the article is devoted to an appre- 
ciative commendation of Leland's success as a translator of 
Heine's verse. 

" Vol. 3, p. 259. 



Heine in American Criticism 35 

Frederic H. Hedge. ^^ 

Hedge was a very learned man and a keen critic. Espe- 
cially true is this of his scholarly attainments in the knowledge 
of German literature, and as such his views are of the highest 
value. It was not till late in life that he became professor at 
Harvard. He had already published his volume of translations 
and biographical sketches — Prose Writers of Germany. In the 
case of Heine, he appended to his own criticism, the critique of 
Matthew Arnold {Cornhill's Magazine, 1863). "Since the Sor- 
rows of Werther," says Hedge, "no book had so profoundly 
stirred the German mind as the Reisehilder. As a writer, Heine 
takes rank with the foremost satirists of modern times. But he 
was more than a satirist, he was a lyric poet of the highest order. 
A union unparalleled in any other writer before or since of lyric 
sensibility with bitter sarcasm, of the tenderest sweetness with the 
sharpest irony, is characteristic of the man. To say that he is the 
wittiest of German writers is saying little, for German writers 
are not remarkable for wit. We may say without hesitation he is 
one of the wittiest of men; we may place him by the side of 
Voltaire." 

In Hoi4/rs With German Classics,^^ Hedge treats more at 
length of Heine, whom he considers unsurpassed in the attribute 
of wit. Among writers of all nations, Hedge thinks, Heine 
stands pre-eminent in the union of dissimilar and antagonistic 
traits — sarcasm and genuine poetic feeling, Mephistophelean and 
lyric grace, the bitterest and the sweetest in mental life. But 
Heine's pre-eminent talent, Hedge finds to be wit of the Voltairian 
type: wit born of cynicism and inspired by contempt. 

Arnold's statement that Heine is the most important suc- 
cessor and continuator of Goethe as a liberator of humanity, is 
regarded by Hedge as absolutely false. To support his objection 
to Arnold's view Hedge writes: "To say that a mocker, a persi- 
fleur, one whose favorite use of the pen was to bespatter some 



^* Prose Writers of Germany, by Frederic H. Hedge. New Edition, Phila- 
delphia, 1870, pp. 568-580. 

*• Hours With German Classics, by Frederic H. Hedge. Boston, 1886, pp. 
502-528. 



36 Heine in American Criticism 

respectability, from whom it is so hard to get a serious word on 
any subject, who seemed to look upon the universe and life as a 
colossal farce, — to say that such a one has, of German authors 
next to Goethe, contributed most to the liberation of humanity, 
is to grievously mistake the forces and influences by which human 
nature is made free. Liberation comes, not by snarling at op- 
pressors or grimacing at society, but by elevating the mind and 
enlarging the intellectual horizon. This, Goethe with earnest 
effort, promoting the culture which alone makes free, spent his 
life in doing. Only on an earnest, patient, reverent soul could 
his mantle fall. Heine was not of that sort; when he called 
himself a soldier in the war of liberation of humanity, he mistook 
the quarrel with existing institutions for real enlargement and 
soul emancipation." 

Of Heine's prose works. Hedge considers the Reisebilder 
the best from a literary point of view, because it is the freshest, 
the freest, the most thoroughly impregnated with the author's 
genius and also stamped with his faults. The chief merits of 
the Reisebilder^ according to Hedge, are flashing wit, rollicking 
humor, eloquence, pathos and piquancy; and the defects, coarse 
and bitter satire, unjust criticism, prejudice and egotism. The 
influence of Sterne's Sentimental Journey Hedge finds only in 
the form of the Reisebilder but not in the substance. Of Heine's 
lyrical powers Hedge has this to say: "As a lyric poet Heine 
must always rank high, not only among German, but among 
all modem European singers. His songs have that subtle inde- 
scribable, inexplicable charm which we find in Goethe, in Uhland, 
in Beranger, and in Bums; but, above all, in some of Shakes- 
peare's songs. There is in them a spontaneity which is lacking 
in many poets who far excel him in other qualities — in fire and 
force — as Schiller and Byron. There is a touch-and-go character, 
a fugitive grace, like the momentary fluttering of a humming- 
bird about a honeysuckle. Their substance is of the lightest, 
airiest (I am speaking of the songs), — a fleeting thought arrested 
and crystalized in verse; the mood of the moment breathed in 
numbers, words coming unsought to embody a sentiment — fall- 



Heine in American Criticism 37 

ing, as it were, accidentally into metrical cadence and just happen- 
ing to rhyme: no appearance of elaboration, no suggestion of 
conscious effort, — sometimes a vexatious looseness of versifica- 
tion; . . . never were songs more popular than Heine's." 

Very characteristic of Heine, thinks Hedge, is the blending 
of sadness and jest in one weird little poem. Beneath Heine's 
cynicism and vituperation there was a latent love of his father- 
land. This, and his yearning, unconquerable affection for his 
mother, Hedge commends as Heine's redeeming traits. 

Heine's essay on the history of religion and philosophy in 
Germany, Hedge naturally finds superficial, yet he ranks it in 
merit next to the Reisehilder . The dissertation on The Romantic 
School is, in Hedge's judgment, too much praised by non-German 
readers, ignorant of the writers treated, who regard it as the 
most valuable of Heine's productions. Hedge denies that Heine 
ranks third among the poets of Germany, because he was no 
"maker"; he was "not a great poet, but a marvellous songster, 
and beyond comparison, Germany's wittiest writer, — the foremost 
satirist of his time." 

Lucy Hamilton Hooper, 

Lucy Hooper is particularly noteworthy as a translator of 
German verse. Her translations from Goethe, Geibel, Schiller, 
Hebbel and Vogl, display rare talent. Especially was she success- 
ful in her rendering of Goethe's inimitable and fascinating 
Fisher, and The King of Thule. Why she should have given us 
so many translations from Geibel and so few from the others, is 
not apparent. As indicative of her estimate of Heine let us take 
her poem On a Portrait of Heine: ^^ 

Behold! the limner's magic art 
In few, yet wondrous lines doth tell 
How beautiful, how sad, how sweet 
The face of him who sang so well ! 
The Poet, not the Infidel, 



"^ Poems by Lucy Hamilton Hooper. Philadelphia, 1871, p. 62. 



38 Heine in American Criticism 

Looks from those features calm and fair ! 
No skeptic sneer their beauty mars, 
For Death is near and Thought is there. 
Thus thou didst look, thus hadst thou sung, 
What immortality were thine! 
We ne'er had prayed then, "God forgive, 
And World forget, each mocking line!" 
Forgive, O God, forget, O World. 
What blasphemy he could create ! 
Let but that sweet, sad face recall 
How sweet his song, how sad his fate ! 

Kate Hillard.'^ 

Although Kate Hillard advances no original views concern- 
ing Heine, she, nevertheless, gives us a careful and lucid view of 
all previous criticisms. The morbidly discordant tone that often 
haunts one in reading the poetry and prose of Heine seems to her 
to betray a lack of health in the writer. She complains that the 
exquisite fancy, the delicate grace of a song is spoiled by the 
laugh in the last line. The strange distortion of this noble soul, 
she believes to have had its origin in a subtle deterioration of the 
brain, commencing early and culminating in the softening of the 
spinal marrow which resulted in death after eight years of in- 
tense suffering. 

Kate Hillard finds much that was similar in the natures of 
Byron and Heine. Of the two, Heine appears to her the simpler 
and the sweeter, because while Byron was bitter and affected, 
Heine was more sincere in his grief as well as in his joy. The 
worst trait in Heine's character, she believes to be his savage 
attacks on Borne and Schlegel. Her characterization of Heine 
is interesting if not original: "Imagine a nature with all the 
Hebraic inheritance of pride, intensity, and stubborn devotion 
to the idea, power and sadness as of the sea ; endow it with Hel- 
lenic susceptibility to beauty and to love, with ardent passions 



\Lippincptt's Magazine, Vol, X, 1872, pp. 187-194. 



Heine in American Criticism 39 

and tender sensibilities ; add to these the German dreaminess and 
quiet humor, simplicity and tenderness, through which play swift 
gleams of truly French wit and enthusiasm; and then in this 
wonderfully organized brain, this instrument that should be 
capable of producing the strongest and sweetest of earthly har- 
monies, implant a fatal disease that gradually tightens its hold 
till life itself is stifled in its terrible grasp. Is it any wonder that 
some of the strings jangle? . . . a single thing is lacking in 
his brilliant career, a healthy brain." 

Yet in spite of this lamentable situation, Kate Hillard admits 
that the good, the true and the beautiful preponderate in Heine's 
writings. In his poetic soul suffering and sorrow are transmuted 
into golden thoughts and precious fancies. Heine, she thinks, 
rivals Tennyson in the melodious charm of his verse. The ex- 
quisite grace, the dainty finish, the wonderful imagery lead her 
to call Heine pre-eminently a poet of the poets. Noteworthy 
is her comparison of Goethe and Heine: "He (Heine) has a sub- 
tle faculty of suggestion that seems to open through the narrow 
windows of his shortest poems wide vistas of thought and feel- 
ing. It is a divine incompleteness more attractive than the full- 
arbed beauty that leaves nothing more to be desired. Herein 
lies the greatest difference between the songs of Heine and of 
Goethe. The shortest verses of Goethe contain a fully-rounded 
thought, complete and perfect from all sides. It is finished and 
there is nothing for the most daring and restless fancy to add or 
alter. But Heine gives us in his songs a sort of touch-and-go 
effect that is inexpressibly charming. It is like a bird that lights 
on a bending branch, shakes out one burst of melody and is gone 
before you fairly realize its presence." 

In spite of all the faults that stand out frankly on the sur- 
face of Heine's soul, she finds that there is something fascinating 
in his loving heart, his brilliant intellect, sparkling wit, his tender, 
mournful pathos, the wonderful imagination of the man. In- 
expressibly touching is the spectacle of his suffering during his 
last days, and it is no wonder that Kate Hillard was powerfully 
affected by it. 



40 Heing in American Criticism 

S. A. Stern.^* 

The biographical and critical introduction which Stern 
gives to his Scintillations from Heine, is based largely on 
Strodtmann and Arnold, and consequently presents very little 
worthy of our serious consideration. Mr. Stern thinks that 
Heine's faults were as patent as his virtues ; but that his genius 
was greater than either. 

William Dean Ho wells.'* 

While reviewing Stern's Scintillations and Lord Houghton's 
monograph on Heine, Mr. Howells took advantage of the oppor- 
tunity to express his admiration of his adored Heine. The 
Florentine Nights, Mr. Howells calls a weird, romantic mono- 
logue containing the wildest inventions and caprices, and con- 
tinues: *Tt is incoherent, changeful, lawless, natural, and en- 
chanting as a dream, full of the tenderness and insult of Heine's 
passion, with enough of his fine, coarse suggestion; the slight 
thread of narrative is dropped whenever the author likes, and his 
fancy ranges satirically to anything else in the world, — art, 
politics, religion and the odiousness of England and the English 
people, the delightfulness of Paris ..." 

Mr. Howells thinks that Heine loses in translation that soft- 
ness of outline, that play of light and shadow which characterize 
him; he becomes harsh, sharp and sometimes shabby. Heine, 
says Mr. Howells, can best be appreciated by young men not past 
the age of even liking the faults of genius, whereas men in middle 
life are somewhat wearied, though Heine remains wonderful. 
Of Heine's sentimentalism Mr. Howells says: " All expressions 
of Heine's mind were tinged or interspersed with the same sort of 
passionate sentimentalism, his criticism, satire, politics, religion, 
even his contempt. There was always something creative, too, in 
his writing; the poet in him constantly strove to give objective 



"Scintillations Front the Prose Works of Heine, translated by S. 
Stern. New York, 1873. 

'*4tl(intic Monthly, Vol. 32, 1873, p. 237 f. 



Heine in American Criticism 41 

shape to what he felt or thought, and the process was the same 
whether he was allegorizing his youthful love of beauty or re- 
cording his youthful detestation of England." 

To give a general idea of Florentine Nights, Mr. Ho wells 
calls it a wandering and wilful expression of Heine's mind upon 
anything that comes into it. Charm is the only unity he finds, 
and at the same time he remarks that some passages of the 
Florentine Nights are not to be read aloud to young ladies. In 
reviewing Lord Houghton's monograph, Mr. Howells recognizes 
the unmanageableness of Heine's character and endeavors to 
explain the enigma of his genius by calling him a poetic humorist. 

Of Hettner's History of German Literature, Mr. Howells 
writes, that it is the only German book, excepting those of 
Schopenhauer and Heine, which is written in a pleasing, grace- 
ful style. 

More valuable as criticism is Mr. Howells' review ^^ of Le- 
land's translation of Heine's works. Concerning Heine's prose, 
Mr. Howells says that it has the mood and music of poetry and 
sings and laughs and sighs and capers as it goes. The newspaper 
letters from Paris to the Augsburger Zeitung, covering the emo- 
tions if not the events of two revolutions, are in Mr. Howells' 
opinion, the most valuable and delightful record of that period. 
Apropos of these letters Mr. Howells exclaims: "Heine is 
always a mocking-bird, of the gayest and saddest note in the 
world ; but it must be allowed that he is much more a mocking- 
bird when he is not doing duty as a carrier-pigeon for the Augs- 
burger Allgemeine Zeitung, but he is wildly tuning and tumbling 
in airy heights and depths of his own choosing." 

Howells conceives of Heine as an ultimation of an English 
impulse. The rise of the suspiratory and inter jectional school 
of highly poetized and highly personalized English prose 
(Sterne's Sentimental Journey) transfused into Heine a fresh 
inspiration, a novel force, a charm unknown before. But 
Sterne's coquettish, capricious pose was quickly transformed 
in Heine, whose attitude was no longer that of the Englishman. 



' Harper's Magazine, Vol. 107, 1903, p. 480 f. 



42 Heine in American Criticism 

Inwardly Heine was not Sterne alone, but also Voltaire and 
Rabelais. But more and more Heine's own strange physiog- 
nomy shone through till that became all and the contributory 
expressions nothing. Once Heine became himself, he remained 
an influence and force destined to be felt wherever literary 
art feels the need of liberation. 

Interesting is Mr. Howells' acknowledgment of Heine's 
universal influence: "What Heine does for the reader, who is 
also a writer, is to help him find his own true nature, to teach 
him that form which is the farthest from formality; to reveal 
to him the secret of being himself. He cannot impart the grace, 
the beauty in which he abounds, but if his lover has either in 
him, Heine will discover it to him. The delight of his instruction 
will be mainly aesthetic, but the final meaning of his life and work 
is deeply and sadly ethical." 

Howells regards Heine as the arch-mocker, before whom 
Aretino and Voltaire must bow their heads. That self -mockery 
of Heine's, he says, is bewitching, but it is not one of the things 
which Heine profitably teaches, because it invokes everything, 
unfaith as well as faith. Heine had no philosophy of art, or 
conduct, or politics that lasts, except freedom. But what will 
be lasting in Heine, says Howells, is his literature, his poetry, 
which is no more separable from his prose than from his verse. 

After deploring the fact that Heine often misbehaved, and 
at times atrociously and infamously, Howells concludes: "Yet 
with all his offensiveness, he could be of an exquisite gentleness, 
purity, and tenderness. He was not a very good Jew, but he 
asserted nobly the dignity of Judaism: he was a doubtful Chris- 
tian, but he felt to the heart the beautifulness of Christ; he was 
a poor pattern of Protestantism, yet he was as far from being 
a Catholic as from being a pagan or a Puritan. For all his sins 
he paid with sufferings of such rarely exampled severity that 
they might well have persuaded him of a moral government of 
the world, if they were not mere accidents befalling him while 
worse sinners went free." 



Heine in American Criticism 43 

S. L. Fleishman. 

The biographical and critical sketch of Heine in Fleish- 
man's Prose Miscellanies ^^ is valuable in many respects. 
Fleishman follows the account of Strodtmann, the able and 
sympathetic biographer of Heine. In fact, the biographical 
and anecdotal portions of this sketch may be considered as merely 
a translation and condensation of Strodtmann's Heine's Lehen 
und Werken. The apparent contradictions in Heine's personal 
character are utilized by Fleishman in explaining the surprises, 
paradoxes, and startling anti-climaxes in which his writings 
abound. After acknowledging that a more witty, poetic, and 
enjoyable style than Heine's cannot be found in the literature 
of any country, Fleishman continues: "His love of antithesis is 
one of the marked features of his style. He delights in stirring 
the mind of the reader with tragic emotion, deep pathos, beauti- 
ful and elevated thoughts simply to surprise him in the con- 
cluding line with some terse, cynical remark or quaint, humor- 
ous conceit totally out of harmony, as it would seem at first 
thought, with what had preceded." 

Many critics maintain that these anti-climaxes mar some of 
Heine's finest poems, and give the impression that Heine is 
mocking both himself and his readers. Fleishman accounts for 
these inconsistencies by attributing to Heine two natures com- 
bined in one, where the fervid fancy and wild poetic enthusiasm 
are tempered by sound, practical common sense. Heine's poetry 
has been compared to a beautiful rose beneath which lurks the 
stinging thorn. Concerning this, Fleishman remarks: "None 
more than Heine appreciated the beauty and the fragrance of the 
rose, but he knew also, that the thorn also was there. His habit 
of looking at the two sides of everything — ^the bright and the 
dark, the poetical and the prosaic, the strong voice and the 
weak echo, the contrast between noble, exalted, ideal aspirations 
and the disheartening shortcomings in actual life, — it is this 
that embitters the life and writings of Heine." 



"Prose Miscellanies From Heine, translated by S, L. Fleishman. Phil- 
adelphia, 1876. 



44 - Heine in American Criticism 

Burns, Byron and Heine are called by Fleishman the most 
eminent modern poets of the egotistic or subjective school. 
Heine can be as grand, romantic, and picturesque as Byron, 
and as simple, unpretentious and quaintly humorous as Burns. 
After a comparison of the sea-poems of Byron and Heine, 
Fleishman reaches this conclusion: "Heine's sea-poems are as 
majestic as Byron's grand apostrophes to the ocean. Both im- 
press upon us the conception of the immensity and grandeur of 
nature, but Heine by some droll anti-climax in the concluding 
verse always wipes away this impression of awe. Byron is arti- 
ficial. Heine is as natural, graceful and attractive as Burns." 

That wonderful collection of poems. The Romanzero, 
Fleishman agrees, is the "last, free forest-song of Romanticism." 
Believing it to be useless to seek to palliate Heine's faults, Fleish- 
man exclaims: "Richly endowed by nature, he did not always 
use his gifts wisely or well. This perversion of his talents will 
always be a blot on his fame ; his sin brings its own punishments. 
Gifted with the most wonderful and versatile powers — a clear 
insight into men and things, a vivid imagination enabling him 
to fill up the gaps of history and biography, a poetic power and 
fervor that could clothe even the most hideous objects in robes 
of beauty and tenderness, a wit that for sting has not its superior 
in any literature, dramatic and descriptive powers of the very 
highest order, — with such qualities he could not fail to acquire 
a large circle of readers." 

Fleishman thinks that Heine has failed to win a place in 
the affection of people, because he lacks moral character, hence 
men seek in vain for noble teachings, for lofty and elevating 
thoughts free from cant in Heine's works. No amount of 
grace, talent or genius, he says will make up for this deficiency, 
and for his licentiousness. The Nation in a review of Fleish- 
man's translation. Prose Miscellanies, speaks of the Romantic 
School, as follows: "It is a late day to call attention to the 
admirable way in which Heine wrote this chapter of literary 
history. Many long-winded German commentators and collec- 
tors of mouldy facts have toiled over the same ground, nearly 
buried beneath their learning, without half the insight of Heine, 



Heine in American Criticism 45 

without half of his brilHant gift of exposition. Compare for 
instance, Haym's massive work with these few chapters, and 
it is easy to see on which side the advantage lies — certainly not 
with the heaviest battalions." Heine has been accused, with 
much justice, of indulging in harsh personalities, notably in the 
case of the Schlegels. Yet it is remarkable, thinks Mr. Fleish- 
man,^'^ that Heine's literary judgments have been substantially 
indorsed by posterity. Fleishman regards the Romantic School, 
a review of German literature by one of the masters of that 
literature, as a classic of its kind. 

The Suahian Mirror, Heine's caustic review of some of 
the minor poets of Germany, though written in Heine's most 
characteristic style, brilliant, witty, Mr. Fleishman finds repre- 
hensible because it is personal and written with a decided spite 
of malice. 

Junius Henry Browne." 

This review begins with the customary remark that Heine 
was one of the wittiest of men, and after touching on his in- 
fluence and unquestioned force it calls attention to Heine's eccen- 
tric character, antagonisms and inconsistencies. "Much that 
Heine did," continues Browne, "was intolerable and inexcus- 
able, and yet his worst behavior was relieved by exceeding 
goodness. Quotations from Heine are as contradictory as him- 
self. Their great range and inconsistency may be illustrated 
by saying that they would excuse and condemn every act, noble 
and ignoble, of his checkered career. They were the offspring 
of impulse." 

Very justly Mr. Browne believes the strong influence which 
Byron exerted on Heine to have operated mainly through sym- 
pathy. Heine found in Byron his own thoughts and feelings 
forcibly expressed. Their temperaments were a good deal alike, 
and consequently, thinks Mr. Browne, they often struck the same 
keys and produced the same notes. But Mr. Browne wishes us 



" The Romantic School, by Heinrich Heine. Translated by S. L. Fleish- 
man. New York, 1882. Preface. 

**Appleton's Journal, Vol. 17, 1877, pp. 23-31. 



46 Heine in American Criticism 

to understand that there was no imitation on the part of Heine ; 
he was as original as Byron ; the muse of both was in their own 
brain and heart. 

Heine was accused by Longfellow of insincerity, yet Mr. 
Browne emphasizes his belief that Heine was absolutely and 
invincibly sincere. 

Speaking of the Reisehilder, Mr. Browne says: "His work 
was prose and poetry combined, embracing graphic and striking 
impressions of his travel and his reflections thereon, eloquent, 
charming, often pathetic, but mingled with the caustic irony and 
biting satire that are inseparable from his writings." 

Heine's dramas Almansor and Ratclijfe, having no dramatic 
interest are pronounced by Mr. Browne of mediocre merit. Of 
Heine's retort to Platen, Browne says: "It was the quintessence 
of wormwood, terrible, withering, annihilating. It showed the 
immense power of his sarcasm, his genius for stabbing with 
poisoned stilettos." 

The principal defects and blemishes of the Book of Songs, 
according to Mr. Browne, are its radicalism, scoffing and skepti- 
cal spirit. But he finds it to be true to life and the treatment 
to be almost faultless: "It had the perfume of true poetry. In 
simplicity and suggestiveness the production was Greek. Be- 
hind an airy lightness was the deepest import; a delicate touch 
undulated down to the heart of nature, the sweetness and charm, 
grace and sensuousness of the verse." 

Comparing the lyric genius of Goethe and Heine, Mr. 
Browne finds it difficult to decide to whom to award the su- 
periority. As a lyric poet, Mr. Browne feels sure that Heine 
has never been surpassed by any German, except Goethe, if even 
by him. The prose style of Heine Mr. Browne regards as admir- 
able, ranking above that of Goethe. This he regards as a marvel- 
lous achievement in view of the general carelessness of structure 
and finish of GeiTnan prose. 

The Franzosische Zustdnde, Mr. Browne finds to be strong 
and sparkling, deeply veined with irony and abounding in pre- 
dictions, some of which were remarkably fulfilled. 



Heine in American Criticism 47 

Concerning the Romantic School, Mr. Browne has this to 
say: "It was savage in its assaults. In it Heine laid about him 
on every side with supreme bitterness and deliberate malice. Its 
author was obviously bent on exhibiting his talent for abuse, 
at the expense of truth of contemporaneous authors." 

Heine's virulent attack on Borne is considered by Browne 
a disreputable achievement because all sense of justice and de- 
cency was absorbed in his mania for detraction. 

The New Poems are highly praised by Mr. Browne; he 
considers many pieces as not suffering in comparison with those 
of the charming Book of Songs. 

After declaring Atta Troll to be a satire of the highest 
order, and some of the final poems to be wonderfully weird and 
shudderingly beautiful, Mr. Browne concludes his critique by 
predicting that Heine will be remembered by posterity as a great 
poet and not as a soldier in the war of liberation of humanity. 

James K. Hosmer.^^ 

James K. Hosmer was professor of English and German 
literature in Washington University, St. Louis, Mo., and in that 
capacity he was able to compare the genius of Heine with illus- 
trious geniuses of English literature. A careful perusal of Hos- 
mer's History of German Literature shows us in what high 
esteem he held Heine's critical abilities. The Romantische 
Schule was a special favorite with him, and consequently he 
quotes Heine frequently, especially in treating of the Niehelungen 
Lied, Luther, Lessing, Goethe, Novalis, Tieck and Jean Paul. 

In Heine, Hosmer thinks, the spirit of the Jewish race, so 
intense, so persistent, so trampled by persecution, has found 
an adequate voice, — a voice in which there is at times the bitter- 
ness and gall as of the waters of Marah, poured out too indis- 
criminately upon the innocent as well as upon those worthy of 
scorn. 

Hosmer quotes approvingly Matthew Arnold's view that 
Heine became the first poet of his time, the greatest name in 

^A Short History of German Literature, by James K. Hosmer. New 
York, 1878. Revised Edition, New York, 1892, pp. 497-533. 



48 Heine in American Criticism 

German literature since the death of Goethe. Of Heine's con- 
ception of love in his early poems Hosmer writes: "It is far 
enough from being the highest, and sometimes a bold, cynical 
defiance of propriety appears, which grew upon him as he went 
forward," 

The causes which brought down upon Heine the fierce perse- 
cutions, Hosmer finds to be his witty, graphic prose, his noncha- 
lant irreverence, which not infrequently runs into insolence and 
blasphemy, his disregard of proprieties, his outspoken scorn 
of the powers that rule. About Heine's wit and sentiment Hos- 
mer writes: "Nothing was ever so airy and volatile as his wit, 
nothing ever so delicate as his sentiment. There has not lived 
in our time such a master of brilliant graphic description. The 
Germans have been accused of wanting greatly in wit and 
humor, but certain it is that this German Jew more than any 
man probably of the present century in the civilized world pos- 
sessed these gifts. We must regard him as a genius coordinate 
with Aristophanes, Cervantes and Montaigne. His conversation 
was full of it, even when he lay in the greatest misery on his 
mattress grave." 

Hosmer judges Heine's brilliant wit with severity because 
his wit was often distorted to cynicism ; his frivolity to insolence 
and vulgarity. In art, patriotism, religion or freedom he finds 
Heine wanting in sincerity, because he sometimes suddenly inter- 
rupts the expression of intense emotion by a grotesque sugges- 
tion which makes the emotion or its object ridiculous. 

In comparing Heine with English writers, Hosmer finds 
that he has points of resemblance with Sterne, still more with 
Byron, but that he is more closely analogous in genius and char- 
acter to Dean Swift. Of Heine's resemblances to Swift, Hos- 
mer says: "Such gall and wormwood as they could pour upon 
their adversaries, what sinners elsewhere have tasted! With 
what whips of scorpions they smote folly and vice; but who 
will dare to say it was through any love of virtue? Both libelled 
useful and honorable men with coarse lampoons; in both there 
was too frequent sinking into indecency. Heine was not alto- 
gether a scoffer." 



Heine in American Criticism 49 

Of course, Hosmer knew that Heine had also the power 
of touching the tenderest sensibiHties, Hosmer next dwells on the 
influence of Romanticism and the popular ballad on Heine's 
plaintive songs. The air of naturalness and immediateness of 
Heine's poems he believes to be owing to a certain assumed 
negligence and consummate art. To illustrate his opinion that 
no poet has ever been able to convey more thoroughly the im- 
pression of perfect artlessness, Hosmer says of the Lorelei: "The 
words of the Lorelei, so simple, so infantile almost in sense, and 
yet with which is marvellously bound such tender feeling! As 
one repeats the lines they are almost nothing. Yet caught within 
them, like some sad sweet-throated nightingale within a net, 
there pants such pathos! The child of the Jew, Heine, was of 
the race among the races of the earth possessed of the most in- 
tense passionate force, and in him his people found a voice. 
Now it is a sound of wailing, melancholy and sweet as that 
heard by the rivers of Babylon when the harps were hung upon 
the willows, — now it is a tone pure and lofty as the peal of the 
silver trumpets before the Holy of Holies in the temple service, 
when the gems in the high priest's breastplate flashed with the 
descending Deity; now a call to strive for freedom, bold and 
clear as the summons of the Maccabees. But think of the cup 
that has been pressed to the Jew's lips! The bitterness has 
passed into his soul, and utters itself in scorn and poisoned mock- 
ing. He cares not what sanctities he insults, nor whether the 
scoff touches the innocent as well as the guilty. Persecution 
has brought to pass desperation, which utters itself at length in 
infernal laughter. May we not see in the statue of Venus of 
Milo a type of Heine's genius — so shorn of strength, so stained 
and broken, yet, in the ruin of beauty and power, so unparalleled ?*' 

A. Parker.'**' 

This sketch by Parker indicates only in the broadest outlines 
the scope and general character of Heine and his works. Parker 
pronounces Heine one of the most original figures in all litera- 

** Lip pine on' s Magazine, Vol. XXVI, 1880, pp. 604-612. 



50 Heine in American Criticism 

ture, and thinks that his genius never found its highest ex- 
pression, for, confined within a narrower channel by not en- 
Hsting in all the conflicts of his day his genius would have been 
irresistible, where now its force is only brilliantly dispersive. 
Of Heine's service to literature, Parker says: "He created a 
prose style unequalled in clearness and brilliancy by anything 
previously known in German literature — Goethe's prose is pon- 
derous in comparison — and its influence will be felt long after 
certain of its mannerisms have passed into oblivion. His wit 
is destined to immortality by reason of the serious purpose that 
underlies it. It has a spontaneity which no wit ever exercised 
for its own ends can ever have." Those who call Heine frivo- 
lous and mocker, simply because he can jest at serious things, 
Parker thinks can only know him very superficially or else 
must be ignorant of the real part which humor has to play in 
the world. Heine's service in the war of liberation of humanity, 
Parker declares, was his setting an example of a man who could 
speak unflinchingly for principles at a time when such utterance 
was not easy, — truly a great service to posterity. 

M. D. Conway.*^ 

Beginning ostensibly as a review of Snodgrass's Wit, Wis- 
dom and Pathos of Heine, with the remark that there is no page 
of Heine's without its wit, wisdom and pathos, Mr. Conway 
really aims in this article to present a study of Heine. The 
secret of the tenderness felt by scholars and poets for the 
memory of Heine, is according to Mr. Conway, the fact that 
Heine's pathos is born of his vicarious sufferings for the hap- 
pier thinkers of today, and because with this pathos he unites 
so much wit. This is precisely Matthew Arnold's explanation of 
the effectiveness of Heine's writings. 

At this point Mr. Conway ventures on an absurd statement: 
"At Gottingen he (Heine) had discovered that he had no faith in 
the dogmas of Judaism, and was baptised in the Lutheran, 
Church." Gross ignorance of the life of Heine and the motives 



The International Review, Vol. 12, 1882, pp. 425-438. 



Heine in American Criticism 51 

which prompted his abandoning Judaism can only account for 
such mis-statements. Worse than this is Mr. Conway's assertion 
that because Heine aimed to tell the truth about the English, 
they could never forgive him. As a specimen of Mr. Conway's 
insight let us read the following piece of clever criticism: "He 
(Heine) was the best European traveller and no other work 
equals the Pictures of Travel, for fine characterization of Euro- 
pean communities. He also wrote poetry while he wandered, 
never any that was poor: much that was great." What a brilliant 
characterization! The discovery that the first hero of his 
worship (Don Quixote) was only an effigy made up to be 
laughed at, had a lasting influence on Heine, thinks Mr. Con- 
way, and caused him to become a mocker. After exalting the 
mind to some exquisite vision of beauty or character, Heine too 
often shatters it all by a mocking line, complains Conway, and 
he thinks this laughter is really the sigh of a soul in pain, unable 
to find a true satisfaction. 

For subtle suggestiveness and beautiful imagery, Conway 
thinks that Heine's art as a writer has never been exceeded even 
by Goethe. Conway here mentions a passage in Heine's Floren- 
tine Nights, which he believes has not its equal in Goethe's 
Italian letters. 

The truest vision of Heine, he finds to be that of the re- 
fined artist kneeling to the last before the perfect ideal of 
humanity, Venus of Milo — armless though it be — not able to be- 
stow bounties like a Madonna or other conventional idol of the 
world. 

A. Langel.*^ 

The occasion of this article was the appearance of the 
fragment of Heine's Memoirs, of which the critics had spoken 
lightly. Langel was very much charmed by them; he admires 
their pregnant brevity. In the story of the childish and un- 
conscious love of Heine for Sefchen, the daughter of the execu- 
tioner, he finds the genius of Heine in the embryonic state, with 



The Nation, Vol. 39, 1884, p. 89. 



52 Heine in American Criticism 

all its wonderful qualities and also with its defects. Heine, 
Langel maintains, was all Heine at the age of twenty-five and 
life added not much to him; his source of inspiration was only 
renewed when the approach of death began to be felt. After 
reviewing the criticisms of Montegut, Langel comes to the con- 
clusion that when Heine wrote in 1816 his Two Grenadiers, 
he was already the great lyric poet whom the world has since 
admired. 

William R. Thayer.*^ 

Reviewing Weill's volume of Souvenirs Intimes, of Heine, 
Thayer remarks that close inspection of Heine's private life 
diminishes whatever personal esteem his works may have gained 
for him. He dislikes Heine's bitterness and mockery and finds 
him devoid of genuine sincerity and almost bereft of moral 
sense, and says: "His (Heine's) writings, in the long run, are 
as unwholesome as a diet of pickles would be," 

Emma Lazarus.^* 

The Venus of the Louvre. 

Down the long hall she glistens like a star, 
' The foam-born mother of love, transfixed to stone, 
Yet none the less immortal, breathing on. 
Time's brutal hand hath maimed, but could not mar, 
When first the enthralled enchantress from afar 
Dazzled mine eyes, I saw not her alone 
Serenely poised on her world-worshipped throne. 
As when she guided once her dove-drawn car, — 
But at her feet a pale death-stricken Jew, 
Her life adorer, sobbed farewell to love. 
Here Heine wept ! Here still he weeps anew. 
Nor ever shall his shadow lift or move 
While mourns one ardent heart, and poet brain. 
For vanished Hellas and Hebraic pain. 



' Lippincotfs Magazine, Vol. 33, 1884, pp. 409-413. 
' The Century Magazine, Vol. VII, 1884, pp. 210-217. 



Heine in American Criticism 53 

The secret cause of Heine's iinhappiness and moral and 
intellectual inconsistencies Emma Lazarus finds to be a fatal and 
irreconcilable dualism, forming the basis of his nature — Heine, 
a Jew with the mind and eyes of a Greek. In setting forth this 
view she writes: "In, Heine, the Jew, there is a depth of human 
sympathy, a mystic warmth and glow of the imagination, a 
pathos, an enthusiasm, an indomitable resistance to every species 
of bondage, totally at variance with the qualities of Heine the 
Greek. On the other hand the Greek Heine is a creature of 
laughter and sunshine, possessing an intellectual clearness of 
vision, a plastic grace, a pure and healthy love of art for art's 
own sake, with which the sombre Hebrew was in perpetual 
conflict. 

"What could be the result of imprisoning two such antagonis- 
tic natures in a single body? What but the contradictions, the 
struggles, the tears, the violence, that actually ensued? For 
Heine had pre-eminently the artist capacity of playing the spec- 
tator to the workings of his own mind, and his mordant sarcasm 
and merciless wit were but the expression of his own sense 
of the internal incongruity. . . . Today his muse is the 
beautiful Herodias, the dove-eyed Shulamite, tomorrow it will 
be Venus Anadyomene, the genius of blooming Hellas." From 
this inherent self-contradiction, Emma Lazarus thinks, sprang 
Heine's alternations of enthusiasm and cynicism, of generosity 
and egotism, his infidelities, his laughter and his tears. 

As a critic, she finds that his literary opinions were fre- 
quently extravagant and partial. Speaking of Heine's marvel- 
lous command of language she says: "For him human language 
seems to lose its inadequacy and intangibility, for him the German 
tongue lays aside its harshness and unwieldiness to become the 
most pliant musical medium of lyrical utterance." 

To find a parallel for the magnificent imagery and voluptu- 
ous orientalism of the Intermezzo, Emma Lazarus deems it 
necessary to go back to the Hebrew poets of Palestine and Spain. 
In Ratcliffe she fails to find a trace of the poet of the Intermezzo, 
and Ahnansor she considers an improvement on Ratcliffe, 



54 Heine in American Criticism 

Nevertheless, as a tragedy, she thinks Almansor is a complete 
failure, lacking the essential elements, — interest, action, and 
character. 

The detached cosmopolitanism of Goethe, she considers cold 
when compared with the ringing, burning words of Heine's The 
Spinners. 

The rich and spicy aroma, the glowing color, the flavor of 
the Orient so characteristic of Heine in the Intermezzo, Emma 
Lazarus finds in the poetry of the mediaeval Spanish Jews and 
consequently she regards the Intermezzo as a well-sustained 
continuation of the Divan and Gazelles of Judah Halevi, or the 
thinly veiled sensuousness of Alcharisi and Ibn Ezra. With 
respect to this influence she says: "Heine is too sincere a poet 
to be accused of plagiarism, but there can be no doubt that, im- 
bued as he was with the spirit of his race, revering so deeply 
their seldom studied poetic legacy, he at times unwittingly re- 
peated the notes which rang so sweetly in his ears. What the 
world thought distinctly characteristic of Heine was often simply 
a mode of expression peculiar to his people." To illustrate her 
meaning she quotes a few lines from Judah Halevi and calls 
attention to the fact that Heine had celebrated his great prede- 
cessor in the poem entitled Judah Halevi, and that its passion- 
ate lamentation for Jerusalem has the very ring of Halevi. De- 
spite the magical fascination of Heine's style, she dislikes the 
morbid, lachrymose sentimentality and the occasional flippancy 
and vulgarity, and this she thinks "precludes Heine from wear- 
ing the crown of those poets whose high prerogative it is to 
console, to uplift, to lead humanity." Physically, mentally and 
morally, Emma Lazarus maintains, Heine lacked health. 

F. Marion Crawford. 

Highly commendable is the accurate and delightful char- 
acterization of Heine given by Mr. Crawford in his book en- 
titled. With the Immortals}^ Here Heine, made visible by Mr. 
Chard's experiments, speaks in his own person. In Chapter IV 



* With the Immortals^ by F. Marion Crawford. London, 1888. 



Heine in American Criticism 55 

we have a good description of Heine's wonderful and sarcastic 
face. Mr. Crawford represents Heine in conversation as re- 
gretting his bitter-sweet emotions. He conceives of Heine as 
made up of contradictions, always out of harmony with his 
surroundings and in perpetual exile; in Germany a Frenchman, 
in France a German ; among Jews a Christian, among Christians 
a Jew, with Catholics a Protestant, with Protestants a Catholic. 

The magic of Heine's style is carefully analyzed and the 
effectiveness is illustrated, together with its weakness by having 
Heine tell a terribly sad story of an old beggar dying in a snow 
storm; the sympathy of the audience is aroused, then suddenly 
Heine introduces a facetious remark, wiping away the effect. 
Gwendolene, Mr. Chard's wife, said: "I wish you would not 
talk in that light way, after what you have been telling us so 
earnestly." Heine answered: "I cannot help it, madam, I have 
a particular talent for being easily moved ; and when I am moved 
I shed tears, and when I shed tears it seems very foolish and 
I at once try to laugh at myself — or at the first convenient object 
which falls in my way. For tears hurt — ^bitterly sometimes, and 
it is best to get rid of them in any way one can, provided one 
does not put them beyond one's reach altogether." When Heine 
has explained to Mr. Chard how pain can be sweet, he is brought 
together with such illustrious men as Chopin, Caesar and Dr. 
Samuel Johnson, and, of course, brilliant, witty discussions 
follow. 

Crawford has made a careful study of Heine and endeavors 
in this book, With the Immortals, to present the real portrait 
of Heine. At times Mr. Crawford succeeds in making Heine 
witty, ironical and sarcastic as in real life. He has been also 
tolerably successful in reproducing Heine's anti-climaxes and 
subtleties of thought. To ascertain in what esteem Mr. Craw- 
ford holds Heine we need only reflect that he has made him the 
leading figure among the immortals of this book. But Mr. Craw- 
ford realizes that Heine's immortality is owing to his attain- 
ments as a lyric poet and wit and not as a soldier in the war of 
liberation of humanity. 



56 Heine in American Criticism 

W. S. SlMONDS.^® 

The forces that ruled Heine in his briUiant and stressful 
career, Mr, Simonds maintains are a passion for the beautiful, 
for the pleasure in life and for freedom. On almost everything 
Heine wrote, Mr. Simonds finds the stamp of genius, and some- 
times that subtle burst of laughter. Arnold's view that Heine's 
warfare was waged on Philistinism exclusively, Mr. Simonds 
thinks is too narrow. Yet he insists that Heine will be remem- 
bered only for his Book of Songs and the Rom^nzero. The 
vague restlessness that sometimes turns to mocking laughter so 
almost like despair, Mr. Simonds explains as the cry of that 
wandering spirit searching for happiness, for beauty, and finding 
only dust and ashes where it sought its lost ideal. 

HjALMAR HyORTH BoYESEN.*'^ 

In his essay on Carmen Sylva, Mr. Boyesen in speaking 
of the lyric poet as necessarily a tuneful egoist who mirrors 
his soul's physiognomy in his song, writes as follows: "Goethe, 
the greatest lyric genius of the century, set his own heart to 
music, and Heine, who follows close behind him, drew no less 
freely upon his emotional experience." 

Die Romantische Schule is a great favorite with Mr. Boyesen 
as with all American writers on Romanticism, and he quotes 
Heine quite frequently, notably in the characterization of Lessing, 
Novalis and Tieck. On page 285 of his Essays on German Litera- 
ture, Boyesen says: "Heine's essay on Romanticism is a most 
fascinating book, which is equally remarkable for its epigram- 
matic brilliancy, its striking originality, and its utter injustice 
and unreliability." 

In commenting on Heine's criticism of Tieck's Marchen, 
Boyesen writes: "This is not criticism, but it is better than 
criticism : it is not negatively analytical, but conveys by a certain 
happy choice of adjectives some of the more positive qualities 
of the poet (Tieck) and indeed those very qualities which are 
surest to escape analysis." 

**The Dial (Chicago), Vol. 12, 1892, pp. 213-215. 

*' B^says on German Literature, by H, H. Boyesen. New York, 1892, 



Heine in American Criticism 57 

Charles De Kay.*® 

Mr. De Kay regards Heine not only as a literary star of the 
first brightness, but as a Captain in the battle America has been 
fighting. Heine's wit reminds him of Rabelais rather than 
of Sterne. It was the peculiar quality of the Weltschmerz, 
thinks Mr. De Kay, that rose from Heine's verse and prose, 
sweet but with a suggestion of death that characterizes Heine 
and makes him relished by thousands. 

B. W. Wells.''^ 

Considerable space is devoted to a sympathetic study of 
Heine by Mr. Wells, in his Modern German Literature, because 
he regards him as the only writer of primary importance since 
Goethe's death. Mr. Wells finds two characteristics that con- 
nect Heine with the Romanticists, his irony and his national 
democratic protest. This irony he thinks, sprang from the in- 
compatibility of two elements in Heine's nature, — the Hellenic 
joy of life such as inspired Goethe's Roman Elegies and the 
Hebrew earnestness nursed by the study of Hegel. Of these 
two elements Mr. Wells writes: "Each seemed by turns to 
show him the emptiness of the other. He never succeeded in 
establishing a harmony between these antinomies of his character. 
Hence came a mocking spirit to which very little was sacred, and 
which Heine possessed in a higher degree than any writer of the 
century." 

The Intermezzo , Mr. Wells maintains, marks an advance in 
form, on the earlier poems, but ethically it showed increasing 
bitterness, sinking sometimes to vituperation, and a reckless bold- 
ness that rose at times to sensuality. Yet he admits that some 
of Heine's most perfect lyrics are to be found in it. 

Heine learned to know and love the sea as no other German 
poet has done. Concerning the poems grouped under the title. 



* The Family Life of Heine, by von Embden. Translated by Charles De 
Kay. New York, 1893. Preface to English translation. 

*' Modern German Literature, by Benjamin W. Wells. Boston, 1805. 
pp. 324-364. 



58 Heine in American Criticism 

Heimkehr, with the later "Nord-See" cycle, Mr. Wells says 
that they are the finest verses of the sea that Germany has ever 
produced and will bear comparison with the best work of Byron 
and Shelley in this field. Of the Reisehilder {Harzrcise), Mr. 
Wells writes: "None resisted the charm of this imperishable 
monument of satiric wit ; it was something new in German litera- 
ture. Such light, easy, sparkling prose, such graceful, daring, 
bubbling wit, had not yet been seen in Germany, and were to re- 
main an unattained model for the imitation of following genera- 
tions. Heine has never been equaled in this field save by himself, 
and he has not always maintained the level of the Harzreise. 

Despite the capricious disorder of the Biich le Grand, Mr. 
Wells finds in it a life that defies criticism, graceful, grotesque, 
cynical, na:ive, with a vigor, a brilliancy, a keenness of scorn, 
and a fire of enthusiasm. That the poems of the Romanzero, 
so tender, so melodious, so exquisite in form and fancy should 
be the product of the sleepless nights of a bed-ridden sufferer, 
seems to Mr. Wells to be almost beyond belief. Seeing in Heine 
the skeptical representative of a time of ferment and the one who 
transferred to a political and social field the activity of Goethe 
in a literary sphere, Mr. Wells concludes as follows : "He (Heine) 
is the wittiest, clearest, keenest satirist, the most delicate and 
graceful writer of songs in Germany. . . . Less positive 
than Goethe, he has not the peculiar quality that makes a classic 
for all ages and peoples, and yet, as Matthew Arnold says, he is 
"incomparably the most important figure of that quarter of a 
century that follows the death of Goethe." 

Frank E. Sawyer.^® 

This musical critic possesses also considerable poetic talent. 
As a lover of music he is naturally a lover of the Musicians' 
Poets and particularly Heine, whose influence on Sawyer's poetry 
is unmistakable. In his Notes and Half Notes, Sawyer has the 
following sonnet on Heinrich Heine, Shubert's poet: 



* Notes and Half Notes, by Frank E. Sawyer. New York, 1896, p. go. 



Heine in American Criticism 59 

More than all other poets, it is thou, 

Heine, to whom the world's musicians kneel. 

Thou know'st so well all that tried spirits feel 

Who never to a man-made law will bow ! 

Thou see'st us men with thorn encircled brow, 

Who, outcast from our kind, to God appeal. 

But God is sphinx-like ; then our hearts we steel, 

And drain life's wine cups, knowing all is now! 

Yet e'en when flashing forth they falchion bare. 

Thou droppest song-pearls, which the musician strings 

Into a necklace for his lady fair: 

Pearls with the argent gleam of angel wings 

Which surely they have caught, sometime, somewhere, 

When thou wast soaring for God's hidden things. 

William Stein way.^^ 

In this article Mr. Steinway first gives an indication of the 
representations and arguments by which the authorities of 
Diisseldorf and Mayence justified their refusal of a monument to 
Heine. Then he states, refutes and ridicules the New York 
press objections to a Heine monument in New York on the 
ground that Heine could not be credited with the overwhelm- 
ing genius which compels recognition. In the course of his re- 
marks Mr, Steinway says: "Thus, on grounds of pure prejudice, 
Heinrich Heine, incomparably the most popular of all German 
poets, not excepting Goethe or any other ; ranking, by universal 
recognition, with the very first men of genius of all the world's 
ages: whose creations have entered more largely and lastingly 
into the domain of music than those of any other writer, had 
been formally pronounced unworthy of monumental honors in the 
land of his birth. There are innumerable generations still to 
come which will give the world none who can excel the lyrics 

of Heine." 

Marion M. Miller.^^ 

Recognizing in Heine a brilliant, original spirit and creative 
genius, Mr. Miller begins his review of Ellis's translation of 
Heine's Prose Writings (Camelot Series). Mr. Miller classes 

" The Forum, Vol. 20, 1896, p. 746 f . 

" Bachelor of Arts, Vol. II, 1896, p. 778 f. 



6o Heine in American Criticism 

Heine as belonging to the ancient Greek cult of Adonis- 
worshippers, those who mourned with Bion and Moschus the 
loveliness of Life in Death. As a humorist, he thinks, Heine is 
inferior to Artemus Ward in so far as personal satire is beneath 
a humor of ever glowing geniality, but Heine's cosmopolitanism 
makes him the typical humorist of the nineteenth century. 

In analyzing Heine's humor Mr. Miller continues as follows: 
"The epigrammatic form in which his humor is often cast is 
typically French; the humanity exhibited by his half-comic, half- 
pathetic characters, thoroughly English; and the broad ethical 
purpose of the whole, even when commingled with the fiercest 
satire, as universal and exalted as the prophetic cry of Elijah 
among the priests of Baal or of Carlyle against the modern shrine 
of Mammon." The union of all that is intellectual and emotional 
and ethical in modern humor is found by the reviewer in the 
Reisehilder. 

Mr. Miller calls the Romantic School and Religion and 
Philosophy in Germany, magnificent criticism, and much needed 
models for modern reviewers, combining as they do, exposition 
that is not pedantic, and comment that does not rely on paradox 
alone for its raison d'etre. 

In conclusion Mr. Miller calls attention to the great influence 
of Heine in the sphere of social reform, and asserts that Heine 
is esteemed by Socialists as the poet of revolt against established 
social institutions. 

KuNO Francke.^^ 

Professor Francke does not sympathize with the violent 
declamations of contemporary Anti-Semitism against the so- 
called inroad of Judaism into German culture. Borne's and 
Heine's services as forerunners of the revolution of 1848, he 
considers sufficient to secure them an honorable place in German 
history. In Heine, he admires a poetic genius in whom vibrated 
the accords and discords of a whole century. Unwilling to join 
in the defamation of Borne and Heine, Francke says: "If there 
is to be blame, and alas ! there is ample ground for it, let them 

^Social Forces in German Literature, by Kuno Francke. N.ew York, 
1896, pp. 509. 514, 519-527. 



Heine in American Criticism 6i 

be blamed first who stigmatized these Jews as Jews, who slandered 
their race and vilified their ideals, who cast suspicion upon their 
motives and slurs upon their achievements, who forced them into 
unworthy compromises and stratagems or else into a sterile 
opposition to the whole existing order, who in a word by dis- 
franchising them, made them either scoffers or fanatics or both." 

Neither Heine nor Borne is regarded by Francke as an in- 
tellectual leader, because neither has added to the store of 
modern culture a single original thought or a single poetic symbol 
of the highest life. Their strength, he contends, was consumed 
in negation, their mission was fulfilled in fighting the principles 
of the Holy Alliance, in helping to break down the absolutism of 
Metternich and in making room again for the ideas which had 
led to the national revival of 1813. 

Of all the accusations against Heine, Francke regards the 
assertion that he had no heart for Germany, as the most unjust. 
He finds a note of deep-felt sadness and longing, homesickness 
and isolation in the lines on Germany: 

Ich hatte einst ein schones Vaterland 

Der Eichenbaum 

Wuchs dort so hoch, die Veilchen nickten sanft 

Es war ein Traum. 

Das kiisste mich auf deutsch und sprach auf deutsch 

(Man glaubt es kaum 

Wie gut es Klang) das Wort : "Ich Hebe dich !" 

Es war ein Traum." 

Heine's Pantheism, — the emancipation of the flesh, Francke 
considers as a new form of that ideal of free humanity toward 
which all German culture from Luther to Goethe had tended. 
On this point Francke says: "It is one of Heine's lasting achieve- 
ments to have brought out, in those much-abused and much- 
appropriated essays, "On the History of German Religion and 
Philosophy, this inner continuity of the intellectual development 
of modern Europe." 

The fatal defect and barrenness of Heine's life, he declares 
to be his failure to place his genius in the service of the ideals 
of existence of which he had spoken so fervently, and his abjur- 



62 Heine in American Criticism 

ing Judaism and adopting the outward form of a creed which 
he inwardly despised. Consequently he believes Heine to have 
been religiously, politically and even artistically a renegade. 

Francke considers Heine an unworthy disciple of Goethe, 
because Goethe remained faithful to the modern ideal of hu- 
manity and his very doubt was at bottom constructive and 
reverent, whereas Heine denounced this ideal; his very belief 
being negative and frivolous. After finding the stability, serious- 
ness and trust in the goodness of human nature lacking, he con- 
cludes as follows: "As to his art, nothing could be more signifi- 
cant for Heine's character than that this greatest lyric genius since 
Goethe should have produced hardly a single poem which fathoms 
the depths of life. This master in the art of poetic hypnotizing 
hardly ever sets free our higher self. This brilliant painter of 
nature, who with a few careless touches charms a whole land- 
scape before our eyes, who is as much at home on the lonely downs 
of the North Sea as in the mountain wildernesses of the Pyrenees, 
hardly ever allows us a glimpse into the mysterious brooding and 
moving of nature's creative forces. This accomplished connois- 
seur of the human heart, this expert of human desires, hardly 
ever reveals the secret of true love. This philosophic apostle of 
a complete and harmonious humanity revels as a poet in exposing 
his own unharmonious, fickle, scoffing, petulant self. ... Is 
it too much to say that of all the writers of his time Heine is the 
saddest example of the intellectual degeneration wrought by the 
political principles of the age of the Restoration?" 

William T. Brantly.^* 

This article is a review of American translations of the 
prose writings of Heine. Brantly is of the opinion that as a 
great lyric poet, Heine's fame is secure, and that his place is 
indubitably with the immortals. Heine, he feels sure, pos- 
sesses every merit that a prose writer should have — precision, 
balance, wit, humor, pathos, learning, originality, and above all, 
a style of limpid clearness and sovereign charm. In all Heine's 



'Conservative Review, Vol. I, 1899, pp. 60-73. 



Heine in American Criticism 63 

twelve volumes of prose, Mr. Brantly does not find a dull line. 
As a critic of literature and philosophy, he thinks, Heine dis- 
plays extraordinary acumen and learning. Intellectually and 
physically he regards Heine as a mixture of Apollo and Mephis- 
topheles sometimes wholly an Apollo, sometimes wholly a scof- 
fing, sneering, witty Mephistopheles and very often both at the 
same time. Mr. Brantly considers the reckless abuse of persons 
as one of the most astounding things in Heine's prose, and con- 
cludes: "Heine's work in its totality is like a vast building con- 
taining within its circumference every variety of architecture — 
a solemn Gothic nave leading the spirit heavenward, a gorge- 
ous Renaissance palace, full of the lust of the flesh, of the lust of 
the eye and the pride of life; a pagan temple of Aphrodite, — an 
abode of love and beauty." 

W. A. R. Kerr.'*'^ 

The reason why Heine is the greatest favorite among the 
foreign poets with English readers, Mr. Kerr thinks, is because 
he is at once as sentimental as Orlando and as cynical as Jaques 
and possesses infinite variety. Heine's fame, he thinks, rests 
upon his strange mingling of sentiment and cynicism. Of 
Heine's sea-poetry Mr. Kerr says: "He struck an almost un- 
touched chord in German song. Till then the mystery, the cease- 
less change, the subtle suggestiveness of the ocean, had been un- 
noticed in Germany," 

The work that Heine produced during his years of suffering, 
Mr. Kerr finds tainted by an increasing cynicism, a growing 
recklessness and a regrettable tendency to coarseness. 

Lilian Whiting.^® 

The singular richness in beauty and melody of Heine's 
songs are duly appreciated by this poetess, and she has given us 
some fine translations of Heine's lyrics. The Song of Heine's 
Pine and Palm (Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam) she regards as 

" Canadian Magazine, Vol. 15, 1900, p. 35 f . 

" The World Beautiful in Books, by Lilian Whiting. Boston, 1901. 



64 Heine in American Criticism 

a wonderful example of a picture poem. Of her work as a 
translator of Heine's verse we shall speak in a subsequent 
section. 

Calvin Thomas.'^'' 

Heine's rnuch reviled emancipation of the flesh, Professor 
Thomas finds also in the early works of Schiller and he suggests 
that here is an opportunity for malicious criticism to assert 
itself. In speaking of Schiller's erotic verses addressed to Laura, 
Thomas says: "We miss in them altogether the captivating sim- 
plicity which the young Goethe and later, the young Heine 
caught from the songs of the people." 

John Firman Coar."® 

"As I was born to heap eternal ridiciule on all that is worth- 
less, gone to seed, absurd, false, and farcical, so it is but a trait 
of my nature to feel that which is sublime, to admire that which 
is majestic and to glorify that which has life." 

In these words of Heine, Coar finds the keynote to his 
character as a man and poet. He regards as wrong the view 
that Heine was destructive out of mere love of destruction. 
The inconsistencies of all Heine did and wrote, Coar believes, 
find their ultimate unity in the consistency of his democracy. 

Speaking of the Reisehilder and Buch der Lieder, Coar 
says : "Intensely subjective these works certainly were, but their 
intense subjectivity was objectively conceived. It is evident that 
the poetic consciousness from which they emanated was satu- 
rated with the restless, troubled craving of contemporary life, 
not as the negation of his personal desires, but as the negation 
of its own social ideals, and this fact gave to his poetry a quality 
not to be found in the poetry of isolation. In his poetic sub- 
jectivity was reflected the contrasts of an objective reality. They 
were the contrasts that the contemporaries felt, and that he too, 



" The Life and Works of Schiller, by Calvin Thomas. New York, 1901, 
p. 20. 

°* Studies in German Literature in the Nineteenth Century, by J. F. Coar. 
New York, 1903, pp. 160-192. 



Heine in American Criticism 65 

as a child of his day, felt, though he felt them more keenly. 
Ihese his poetic imagination laid hold of and fashioned into 
forms poetic." 

Coar believes that Heine overstepped the bounds of decency 
in attacking Platen and Borne. Highly creditable he finds 
Heine's devotion to his wife and affection for his mother. The 
Romansero he pronounces to be in many respects the noblest 
work of Heine's poetic pen, the three books, Histories, Lamen- 
tations and Hebraic Melodies comprising the great lyric trilogy 
of his life, Mr, Coar condemns severely Heine's gibes and 
flippant grossness. The poetical life of Heine is divided by Mr. 
Coar into five phases of growth. In the first the personal 
element predominates, and the result is his songs of love. In the 
second phase Heine observed objective life through the medium 
of his emotions and subjective world sorrow came to the 
surface, characterized also by the retention of the poetic dream- 
land as a refuge from the discordant reality. In the sea poetry 
his enlarged conception of nature modified the poetic activity 
of Heine and his poetry entered on a third phase. The most 
significant feature of this change was the attempt to measure 
human life not by the standards of personal volition, but by the 
standards of a great natural phenomenon. Heine's exile brought 
to fruition the theme of liberty and he passed through the fourth 
phase. In the Romanzero we see the poet in the last phase of 
his activity. The fight for freedom, Coar insists, made Heine a 
theoretical democrat, though it deprived him of the power to 
conceive the poetic vision of democracy. About Heine's de- 
mocracy Coar writes: "His civic democracy could express it- 
self in poetry only through negation of political forms, and his 
religious democracy only through accentuation of the sensual 
element of life." 

This Mr. Coar declares was the tragedy of Heine's last 
days, the failure of his life. The Book of Songs, Coar says, 
"came like gusts of refreshing wind, so unconventional and 
sprightly was the treatment of their themes and so close to the 
hearts of men these themes themselves." 



66 Heine in American Criticism 

Robert W. Deering.^^ 

Professor Deering recognizes in Heine the keenest satirist, 
and after Goethe, the most graceful, gifted poet of the century, — 
the best embodiment of his restless, discontented age, and one of 
the most important, though unwholesome, influences in modern 
German literature. He repeats Matthew Arnold's view of Heine 
as a splendid genius gone adrift for lack of moral balance. Of 
the Book of Songs, Deering says: "It will preserve Heine's 
memory to posterity. It contains some of the choicest gems of 
lyric poetry in German or any other literature. No mere words 
can describe the deep feeling, the noblest sentiment, the tender 
pathos, the haunting melancholy, the exquisite imagery, the per- 
fect rhythm, of many of these songs." 

But the sweet harmony of these chords, Deering finds, is 
often broken by the jangling discord of Heine's frenzied bitter- 
ness; his mingling of the holiest sentiment with a mocking 
cynicism, and a bestial sensuality. Acknowledging the Reise- 
bilder to be the most remarkable travels ever written, Deering 
continues: "They offer us the most amazing bizarre collection 
of sparkling wit, rollicking humor, cutting criticism, tender 
pathos, venomous satire, downright vulgarity, that was ever 
printed." 

The colossal egotism of the Reisebilder Deering considers 
the best commentary on Heine's character and genius. Behind 
all his cynical abuse the writer finds in Heine a latent love of the 
old home, an unfailing affection for his mother, and these he 
calls Heine's redeeming traits. He thinks that Heine was too 
unstable or volatile to be a real thinker about anything; his 
opinions are too subjective to be reliable; they are founded on 
personal pique and prejudice rather than on facts. That Heine 
was a liberator of thought and leader of men, Deering denies 
because he thinks Heine was not the master of great ideas, but 
the slave of great passions. As a critic, he regards Heine as 
negative, — tearing down, never building up. Of Heine's wit he 
says: "It is a lightning bolt, — brilliant but blasting." 



The Chautauquan, Vol. XXXV, 1902, pp. 271, 280. 



Heine in American Criticism 67 

Richard Hochdoerfer.®*' 

Of Heine's prose work Professor Hochdoerfer is inclined 
to regard the inimitable Harj^reise as the finest example. In 
spite of the fine satire and brilliancy of Atta Troll and Deutsch- 
land he cannot consider them as German classics, because, in 
these poems as in the controversial writings against Count Platen 
and Borne, he finds the brilliant and fearless wit impaired by a 
certain mannerism and recklessness foreign to Heine's earlier 
muse. Mr. Hochdoerfer thinks that the poems Heine wrote dur- 
ing his last years are among his best, — ^not less entitled to im- 
mortality than those incorporated in the Buch der Lieder. 

He feels confident in calling the Book of Songs one of the 
world's classics; yet the spirit of mockery and vulgarity break- 
ing forth in the closing lines of a poem, he thinks, mars its 
beauty as "a hideous sore or vulgar line disfigures an otherwise 
perfect face." Hochdoerfer calls Ratcliffe and Almansar poems 
in dramatic form without any of the qualities fitting for stage 
representation. The poems of the North Sea Cycle he takes to 
be Heine's most peculiar and incomparable contribution to Ger- 
man literature. The Pilgrimage to Kevlaar, Hochdoerfer con- 
siders a master-stroke of Heine's genius, and sure of a place 
among the best German ballads. Concerning the Book of Songs, 
he says: "In the Book of Songs Heine has erected to himself 
a monument which will stand the test of time and make in- 
vective powerless. Friend and foe must concede that the senti- 
ment to which these songs give utterance has never found a more 
beautiful body. No folksongs have achieved greater popularity. 
He played the harp of love, he played on the strings of the 
human soul with such perfect mastery that all people capable of 
passion and emotion listen with love and laughter, with trem- 
bling and tears." 

Anna Alice Chapin."^ 

Of all the descriptions of the Marseillaise ever writen, Miss 
Chapin thinks there in none so fine as that of Heine. In regard 

** Introductory Studies in German Literature, by Richard Hochdoerfer. 
Chautauqua, N. Y., 1904, pp. 189-216. 

*^ Makers of Song, by A. A. Chapin. New York, p. 331. 



68 Heine in American Criticism 

to this she writes: "His sensitive appreciation seized upon the 
vivid qualities of the great song, and inspired him with images 
and phrases such as he only knew how to combine." 

Heine's style she considers inimitable and his prose the 
purest extant. 

E. S. Meyer.«2 

In criticising two new Heine Portraits Mr. Meyer says of 
the first : "This is undoubtedly from the poet's young manhood, 
from his warm, full, voluptuous throbbing spring of love and song. 
It is a face of feeling rather than of thought; it appeals rather 
to the heart than to the mind. Heine at this age was all feeling ; 
to him now the emotion of the moment was the real truth of 
life and its artistic expression an absolute necessity. The sub- 
jective impressions of the flying hours, so intensely absorbed, 
left no time for thought. All was emotion, a passionate longing 
for fuller, larger perfect feeling. The portrait is not good and 
yet it presents almost our ideal of a lyric poet, young, tender, 
strong, passionate, but full of sadness and longing. This is the 
German poet, the Heine of the Bit^h der Lieder, the exquisite 
expression of youth's passionate certainty that life is nothing 
but love, love with its glorious rapture of possession and its fear- 
ful void of loss." 

The second portrait represents Heine twenty years later, 
still in full possession of his great intellectual power, but the face 
looks cold, cynical, almost embittered. Commenting on this 
change Meyer remarks : "Thirty years' desecration of, and con- 
sequent supposed disillusion in, all he once cherished most, — life, 
love, religion, fatherland — are indelibly stamped upon this coun- 
tenance. He has drunk so greedily the precious wine of life that 
now there are bitter dregs in every draught." 

Joseph Jacobs.^^ 

In his biographical sketch Mr. Jacobs treats of Heine in his 
relation to Judaism. He seeks to find the reason why Heine did 
not devote his great powers to the services of his race and re- 



• Critic, Vol. 44, p. 234 f . 

^Jewish Encyclopaedia, Vol. VI, pp. 327-334- 



Heine in American Criticism 69 

ligion, in his earlier training and environment. Except for the 
few years at Berlin, Heine did not come under any specifically 
Jewish influences of a spiritual kind ; yet Mr. Jacobs thinks that 
this Berlin influence was deep enough to stamp Heine's work 
with a Jewish note throughout his life. Heine's wit and pathos, 
Mr. Jacobs maintains, are essentially Jewish. 

William V. Byers.^* 

After Horace, Mr. Byers declares, Heine has had no su- 
perior as a master of lyrical expression. Among moderns, he 
thinks. Burns alone compares with Heine and even Burns him- 
self, though greater as a poet, is his inferior as a musician. Al- 
though Heine was one of the greatest of wits as well as the great- 
est musician of his age, Mr. Byers does not rank him as a great 
poet, because a great poet must be a great thinker, whereas Heine 
was only the poet of the IVeltschmerc. 

Heine's Reisehilder, he believes, might have kept his name 
alive had he never written the Lieder. 

In the essays and songs Mr. Byers finds much that is ab- 
normal and diseased, but little that is commonplace and nothing 
that is merely silly. At the worst he considers Heine diabolical, 
but this diabolism is that of a great soul cast down but not lost. 

Richard Burton.*'* 

Judging by quality. Professor Burton places Heine with the 
few great poets and literary men of Germany. Heine's lyrics, 
he thinks, have not been surpassed in Germany, and rank with 
the masterpieces of their kind in world literature. As a prose 
writer he finds Heine had extraordinary brilliancy, vigor of 
thought and grace of form, and as a thinker he regards him as 
one of the pioneers of modern ideas in our country. What 
Burton regards as reprehensible is that Heine is at times sen- 
sual, ribald and blasphemous. He does not consider Heine an 
admirable character. 



" The World's Best Essays, edited by D. G. Bremer. St. Louis, Mo. 
Vol. VI, p. 2153 f. 

''^Library of the World's Best Literature, edited by C, D. W?i,rn?r. Ne\y 
York. Vol. XII, pp. 7185-7220. 



yo Heine in American Criticism 

Goethe and Heine he names as the chief exponents of German 
lyric poetry and in this respect he thinks Heine is incomparable. 
Of their relative merits he says : "Nor in lyric expression need 
Heine yield to Goethe. Some of Heine's lyrics are among the 
precious bits of poetry which the world has taken forever to its 
heart, — their haunting perfection, their magic of diction, and 
witchery of music are delicious." 

The exquisite deep romanticism of the lyrics, Burton finds, 
is sometimes rudely broken by Heine's own sneering laugh. As a 
prose writer he regards the Reisebilder as his finest example and 
says : "These gay, audacious, charming, bitter travel sketches, — 
these phantasy sketches are of very unequal merit, rang- 
ing from the exquisite lyric work of the opening section and the 
delightful narrative of the experiences in the Harz Mountains 
to the sparkling indecencies of the division dealing with Italy, 
and the more labored argument and satire of the English frag- 
ments. 

"Of the Reisebilder as a whole the inspiration grows stead- 
ily less in the successive parts. The style is of unprecedented 
vigor and brilliancy." 

To say a wise, keen thing in a light way, to say it directly, 
yet with grace. Burton realizes, calls for a beautiful talent; but 
to accomplish this in and with the German language, he thinks, 
is a double triumph for Heine. Although he recognizes in Heine 
a thinker, a force in the development of modern ideas, — the ideas 
of liberty in its various applications, yet Burton thinks that 
Matthew Arnold has exaggerated this influence in his remarkable 
essay on Heine and goes too far in declaring him the "most im- 
portant German successor and continuator of Goethe in Goethe's 
most important line of activity, that of a soldier in the war of 
liberation of humanity." Nevertheless, Burton admits that 
Matthew Arnold's estimate hits nearer the mark than the mis- 
appreciations of too many critics of his own country. Heine's 
mission, as an individualist and iconoclast, he finds was to satir- 
ize with trenchant power existing abuses. 

In Heine's sentiment Burton finds much of the morbid and 
in this respect he calls him decadent, that is unwholesome, ex- 



Heine in American Criticism 71 

travagant and bestial. But intellectually, he feels sure, Heine 
saw clearly and he was at bottom sane. 

Thomas Wentworth Higginson.®® 
Among the books which first awakened his literary enthusi- 
asm, and created in him a zeal for German literature, Colonel 
Higginson mentions Heine's Romantische Schule translated by 
G. W. Haven (Boston, 1836). Speaking of some favorite pas- 
sages in this book Higginson says : "I fear that my boyish copy 
of Heine opens of itself at the immortal compliment given by 
the violin player Solomons to George HI of England, then his 
pupil : 'Violin players are divided into three classes : to the first 
class belong those who cannot play at all; to the second class 
belong those who play very miserably; and to the third, those 
who play finely; Your Majesty has already elevated yourself to 
the rank of the second class.' Tried by such a classification, 
Heine certainly ranks in the third class, not the second." 

Higginson thinks it strange that of the two German authors 
who bid fair to live longest on the road to immortality, the one, 
Goethe, should be the most absolutely German among them all, 
while Heine died in heart, as in residence, a Frenchman. 

Should we require additional evidence of Colonel Higgin- 
son's high estimate of Heine we may find it in the numerous 
witticisms quoted from Heine to adorn and enliven Higginson's 
various prose writings. 

Walt Whitman. 

Dr. Riethmueller ^^ in his investigation was not fortunate 
enough to be able to consult Mr. Traubel's ^^ recent publication 
and consequently could not ascertain Whitman's estimate of 
Heine. One citation ^"^ sounded depreciative : "For American 
literature we want mighty authors, not even Carlyle and Heine — 
like, born and brought up in (and more or less essentially par- 



'^ Part of a Man's Life, by T. W. Higginson. Boston and New York, 
190S, p. 165 f. 

" IValt Whitman and the Germans, by Richard Riethmueller. Philadel- 
phia, 1906, p. 25. 

•* With Walt Whitman in Camden, by Horace Traubel. Boston, 1906. 



^2 Heine in American Criticism 

taking and giving out) the vast abnormal ward or hysterical 
sick chamber which in many respects Europe, with all its glories, 
would seem to be." 

But Traubel's book has supplied the necessary light. On 
page 98 '^^ he reports Whitman (May 3, 1888), while speaking 
of his Leaves of Grass and their alleged indecency, as saying in 
these words: "But all this fear of indecency ; all this noise about 
purity and sex and all the social order and the Comstockism par- 
ticular and general is nasty — too nasty to make any compromise 
with. I never come up against it but I think of what Heine 
said to a woman who had expressed to him some suspicion about 
the body. 'Madam,' said Heine, *are not all naked under our 
clothes?' I have not yet succeeded in getting the waist-coat 
out of customs . . ." 

Traubel tells us that Whitman (May 5, 1888) had been 
reading Heine again — the Reisebilder, concerning which he said: 
"I have the book here; it is good to read at any time — Heine 
is good for almost any one of my moods. And that reminds 
me: the best thing Arnold ever did was his essay on Heine; 
that is the one thing of Arnold's that I unqualifiedly like." 

On May 27, 1888, Whitman asked Traubel how his father 
was and then said: "Your father is a great man. He was here 
the other day ; . . . spouted German poetry to me, — Goethe, 
Schiller, Heine, Lessing. I couldn't understand a word, but I 
could understand everything else. . . . There he was spout- 
ing away in a language strange to me — yet very much of it 
seemed as plain as if it was English." 

However, the most significant passage for us is given by 
Traubel on page 46 1 . Whitman had been looking over Arnold's 
essay on Heine again and said : "I would read it if I was you, 
Horace. It's the only thing from Arnold that I have read with 
zest. Heine! Oh, how great! The more you stop to look, to 
examine, the deeper seem the roots; the broader and higher the 
umbrage. And Heine was free — was one of the men who win 
by degrees. He was the master of a pregnant sarcasm : he brought 
down a hundred humbuggeries if he brought down two. At 
times he plays with you with a deliberate, baffling sportiveness." 



Heine's American Translators y:^ 



HEINE'S AMERICAN TRANSLATORS. 
Introduction. 

Although the number of American translators of Heine's 
works is amazingly large, yet we must remember that there were 
other means by which Americans unable to read German could 
become acquainted with him. The English magazines, which 
had a large circulation here, continued to publish criticisms and 
translations from which many American literary men first 
learned to appreciate the genius of Heine. Many of these articles 
were reprinted in the Living Age. Complete translations of 
Heine's poems by E. A. Bowring and others appeared in England 
as early as 1858, and, being reprinted in Bohn's Library, served 
to augment the number of American translations. Later Heine's 
Book of Songs, compiled from the translations of E. A. Bowring 
and Theodore Martin, appeared in New York, and specimens of 
these and other English metrical translations from Heine were 
reprinted in America in such selections as the University of 
Literature, and the Library of World's Best Literature, as well 
as in Longfellow's Poems of Places and Poetry of Europe. 
Other English translations from Heine, such as those of Snod- 
grass, Egan, Wallis, Storr, Ellis, Sharp and Kate Freiligraph? 
Kroeker also had large sales in this country, thus attesting the 
astonishing demand in America for translations from Heine. 

The first collection of the works of Heine in seven volumes 
was published in Philadelphia in 1857-59. As early as 1855, a 
translation of the Reisebildcr by Leland appeared in Philadelphia. 
That Heine himself was gratified by Leland's translation of the 
Reisebilder is obvious from the following extract from a letter to 
Mr. Calmann Levy: "A piece of good news that I forgot to com- 
municate to you the other day. An English translation of the 
Reisebilder which has appeared in New York (Philadelphia; 



74 Heine's American Translators 

none ever appeared in New York) has met with an enormous 
success, according to a correspondence in the Augsburg er Zeitung 
(which does not love me enough to invent successes for me), 
Henri Heine, Paris, Wednesday, October 4, 1855." 

In our long list of American interpreters of Heine we shall 
find many famous names and not a few obscure ones. Con- 
sidering the difficulty of the task, we need not be surprised to find 
that so, many have given us poor renderings. In some cases it 
is exasperating to see what a miserable appearance the exquisite 
lyrics of Heine present after mutilation by clumsy and unskilled 
hands. But we must not condemn too severely, and it is beyond 
the scope of this treatise to enter into details concerning the in- 
numerable inelegancies and inaccuracies in the various trans- 
lations. If the translator adheres strictly and pedantically merely 
to the form of the original, his translation loses the wonderful 
unlabored simplicity, and we get an awkward, insipid metrical 
copy. Those who concern themselves with the idea, and not with 
the form, obtain results equally disappointing. That the task of 
successful and felicitous translation is not an impossible one, will 
be obvious from the specimens which we shall quote later. If 
the translator succeeds in preserving the spirit and tone of the 
original, so that the translated copy arouses the understanding 
and emotions of the foreigner, we may consider him successful. 

Yet the best translation takes much of the soul out of poetry 
like Heine's; though the form and features of the original are 
preserved, its very breath of life is gone — it is like a corpse, 
whose cheeks do not glow, whose eyes do not dream or flash or 
sparkle, whose heart does not thrill or throb with feeling, it is 
pale and still and cold. 

In this section we shall treat briefly, in chronological order 
as far as possible of the various translations from Heine's works 
which have appeared in America, our aim being rather to give a 
complete view of the field without entering into wearisome 
details. 



Heine's American Translators 75 

G. W. Haven. 

''Letters Auxiliary to the History of Modern Polite Liter- 
ature in Germany, by Heinrich Heine, translated from the Ger- 
man by G. W. Haven. Boston, 1836." We cannot overestimate 
the significance and influence of Haven's translation; it served 
to introduce American readers to the treasures and beauties of 
German literature and established the fame and popularity of 
Heine in America. Immediately after its publication, a lengthy 
review of Heine's work appeared in the North American Reviezv. 
This translation really became a text book on German literature, 
and was one of the few books that created an enthusiasm for 
German literature in this country. Longfellow incorporated 
Heine's criticism on Goethe and the Niebelungen and Des Kna- 
benwunderhorn in Hyperion and The Poets and Poetry of 
Europe. 

The substance of the Letters Auxiliary formed originally a 
part of a larger work written and published in French with the 
title Sur\ VAllemagne, and Heine, having reason to expect a trans- 
lation into German, executed the work himself. From fear of 
the censorship and from a due regard to the feelings of his 
countrymen, he omitted not only the political, but also the most 
offensive portions of the theological and philosophical parts. 
This modified work is the original of Haven's translation. 

To the great merits of Haven's translation the reviewers 
have given us sufficient testimony and assurance. His is, indeed, 
a translation, not only of the letter, but of the spirit also. One 
reviewer expressed his admiration of Haven's talent as a trans- 
lator in a convincing manner, and requested him to pursue his 
career and gratify the American public with many similar proofs 
of his acquirements and ability. 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. 

The winter of 1836, spent by Longfellow in Germany, 
appears to have been the time when most of his translations 
from the German were made. Translating played an important 
part in the development of Longfellow's powers. He found an 



yd Heine's American Translators 

outlet for his metrical thought and emotion in the translation 
of lyrics. This was a pleasant avocation for him and to the 
end of his life he found an ever grateful occupation in recast- 
ing the foreign thought of other men in moulds of his own. His 
appreciation of European literary art was the occasion for a fine- 
ness of literary expression quite beyond his earlier independent 
efforts. He found, in translating, a gentle stimulus to his poetic 
faculties, and reverted to it when wishing to quicken his spirit. 
"I agree with you entirely," he writes to Freiligrath, November 
24, 1843, "in what you say about translations. It is like running 
a ploughshare through the soil of one's mind ; a thousand germs 
of thought start up, which otherwise might have lain and rotted 
in the ground." 

There were two special incentives to his translating. In 
1843 he undertook the preparation of the Poets and Poetry of 
Europe and in 1874 he began the collection known as Poems of 
Places. In preparing his academic lectures and the critical 
papers, which he contributed to the periodicals, he found occasion 
to introduce a number of translations. 

In Hyperion (1839) when speaking of Goethe and Menzel, 
Longfellow introduced Heine's view of Goethe, translated from 
Die Romantische Schule. Longfellow's paper on Heine appeared 
in Graham's Magazine in 1842. To illustrate his criticism he 
translated in this article the following excerpts from the Reise- 
hilder: (i) Tour to the Harz Mountains (Scene on the Brocken, 
Reisehilder, Vol. i), (2) Street Musicians (Reisehilder, Vol. 3). 

The only metrical translation, which Longfellow published 
from Heine appeared in The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems 
(1846) with the title The Sea Hath Its Pearls, comprising the 
first three verses of the longer poem with the title Nachts in der 
Cajilte, which forms a portion of Heine's Die Nordsee in his 
Reisehilder. This translation has a quality distinctively Long- 
fellow's while still a faithful rescript of the original. But he has 
not succeeded, in this translation, in rendering the rhythm of the 
original. This is evident by a comparison of the translation 
with the original (Elster, I, 171). 



Heine's American Translators yy 

Nachts in der Kajiite. 

Das Meer hat seine Perlen, 
Der Himmel hat seine Sterne, 
Aber mein Herz, mein Herz, 
Mein Herz hat seine Liebe. 
Gross ist das Meer und der Himmel, 
Doch grosser ist mein Herz, 
Und schoner als Perlen und Sterne, 
Leuchtet und strahlt meine Liebe. 
Du kleines, junges Madchen, 
Komm an mein grosses Herz ; 
Mein Herz und das Meer und der Himmel 
Verg-ehen vor lauter Liebe." 



fc)" 



" The sea hath its pearls, 
The heaven hath its stars ; 
But my heart, my heart, 
My heart hath its love. 
" Great are the sea and the heaven, 
Yet greater is my heart; 
And fairer than pearls and stars 
Flashes and beams my love. 
" Thou little, youthful maiden. 
Come unto my great heart ; 
My heart, and the sea, and the heaven 
Are melting away with love." 

Sarah Austin. 

Sarah Austin's translations of selections from Heine's prose 
are to be found in her Fragments from German Prose Writers 
(New York, 1841 ). On pages 60-63 we have The Harts-Miners 
from the Reisebilder, and on pages 152-154 The Harts also 
from the Reisebilder. The book also contains a brief biographi- 
cal and critical sketch of Heine. Whatever she translated from 
Heine is certainly well done, and she managed to select such 
passages as well illustrate the artistical merit of Heine's prose 
style. 

W. H. HURLBUT. 

In his critique on Heine in the North American Revie^v 
(Vol. LXIX, 1849, pp. 216-249), Hurlbut incorporated ex- 



78 Heine's American Translators 

tracts from the Reisebilder which he translated to illustrate 
the charms of Heine's style. Besides these quotations the re- 
view also contained the following metrical translations of 
Heine's poems. Wir sassen am Fischerhause,^^ Ich bin die 
Prinzessin Use (Elster, I, 159), Die Wallfahrt nach Kevlaar 
(Elster, I, 146), Dii schones Fischermddchen, Ein Fichtenbatnn 
steht einsam. These translations adhere very closely to the 
original rhythm and yet the melody is lost to a considerable 
extent. If they have but few other merits, Hurlbut's versions 
are at least faithful in reproducing the spirit and tone 
of Heine's lyrics. These translations were evidently considered 
excellent for we find Longfellow and others frequently quoting 
them. As a specimen of Hurlbut's ability as a translator let us 
take the familiar lyric, Dii schones Fischermddchen, rendered, 
by him as follows: 

Thou charming fishermaiden, 
Come push thy boat to land, 
And sitting here beside me, 
Talk with me, hand in hand. 
On my heart thy young head lay, 
Oh! trust thyself to me; 
Thou day by day confidest 
Thyself to the raging sea. 
And like that sea my heart is, 
With storms and ebb and flow, 
And richest pearls too, sleeping 
In silent depths below. 

Perhaps in many respects a more meritorious translation 
is his rendering of the inimitable Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam: 

A lonely fir-tree standeth 

On a chilly Northern height. 

The snow and the ice while it sleepeth, 

Weave round it a garment white. 

It dreameth of a palm tree. 

That far in the Eastern land. 

Alone and silent mourneth 

On its plain of burning sand. 



** Heinrich Heine's Samtliche Werke, von Ernst Elster, Leipzig. 



Heine's American Translators 79 

Alfred Baskerville. 

As early as 1854 Baskerville had published his Poetry of 
Germany in Philadelphia. It consisted of selections from up- 
wards of seventy of the most celebrated poets, translated into 
English verse, with the original text on the opposite page. This 
book had a large sale and a fifth edition appeared in 1866. It is 
dedicated to the memory of his wife, of whose valuable assist- 
ance the translator was deprived by death, during the progress 
of the translation. This volume presents to the English 
reader a tolerably complete outline of modern German poetry, 
giving the most popular pieces of the most celebrated poets. 
The selection begins with Hartmann von der Aue, Wolfram 
von Eschenbach, Walter von der Vogelweide and Gottfried 
von Strassburg. The poets are arranged according to priority 
of birth. The selections are confined to lyrical poems. The 
original text has been placed on the opposite page and in many 
cases this acts as a mirror, and reflects with increased vividness 
the defects of the translations. In every case the metre of the 
original has been adhered to even to the ancient hexameter and 
pentameter. Baskerville endeavored to infuse the spirit of the 
original into his translations, and yet he usually renders the 
German literally. We can doubtless find, in these translations, 
sufficient cause for blame, without cavilling at occasional imper- 
fections in the rhymes, but we must be lenient and take into 
consideration the difficulty of the task. From Heine, Baskerville 
translates the following: Die Grenadiere, Lorelei, Habe mich 
mit Liehesreden, Und wiissten's die Blumen die Kleinen, Warum 
sind denn die Rosen so Mass, Liebste, sollst mir heute sagen, Du 
schones Fischerm'ddchen, Das Meer ergldnste weit hinaus, Ich 
stand gelehnt an den Mast, Mein Kind, wir waren Kinder, Ich 
rief den Teufel und er kam. Of these, Baskerville comes near- 
est to perfection in his translation of Das Meer ergldnste weit 
hinaus. 

The sea in the glow of departing eve 

Far, far in the distance shone ; 

We sat by the fisherman's lonely cot. 

In silence we sat and alone. 



8o Heine's American Translators 

The mists arose, and the waters swelled, 

The sea-gull flew to and fro; 

And from thine eyes, as they beamed with love, 

I saw the tear-drops flow. 

I saw them falling upon thy hand, 

Then on my knee I sank; 

And from thy little lily hand 

The burning tears I drank. 

E'er since that hour, I've pined away, 

My soul with longing dies; 

That wretched maiden has poisoned me 

With the venom of her bright eyes. 



Graham^s Magazine. 

In Graliam's Magazine, Volume XLVII, 1855, page 429, we 
find the following translation from Heine: 

A Fragment: Wenn ich in deine Augen sehe. 

" As within thine eyes I look. 
All my pain the heart forsook, 
When my lips with thine are sealed, 
All the wounds of life are healed. 

On thy heart when I recline. 
Heaven's happiness is mine; 
When thou say'st I love but thee — 
Bitter tears fall fast and free. 

This translation is too free, in fact, almost a paraphrase. 
In order to get his rhyme the translator has spoiled the effect by 
shifting from the present tense (line i ) to the past tense (line 2). 

The epigram translated from Heine in Graham's Magazine, 
Volume XLVIII, 1856, page 326, fails to render the rhythm of the 
original : 

Wir fuhren allein im dunkeln. 

All night alone we journeyed on. 
In a carriage close together ; 
We laughed and talked right joyously, 
In spite of wind and weather. 



Heine's American Translators 8i 

But when first broke the morning's light, 
Judge of our fright, my child ! 
Between us sat a blind-eyed boy 
T'was love with aspect mild. 



Charles Godfrey Leland. 

Charles Godfrey Leland was a man of many accomplish- 
ments. A Philadelphian by birth, he commanded a Pennsylvania 
Battery in the Civil War. It was a humorous ballad, Hans 
Breitmann's Barty that made him famous. He was the author 
of nearly a hundred books, covering many varieties of literature. 
His translation of Heine has the reputation of being the finest 
in the English language, though he was not always successful 
in interpreting the German poet's verse. That was better done 
by the poetess, Emma Lazarus. 

While employed on the Philadelphia Bulletin, Leland trans- 
lated Heine's Reisebilder (Pictures of Travel). For it, poetry 
included, he was to receive three shillings a page. Even this 
was never paid in full ; he was obliged to take part of the money 
in engravings and books and the publisher failed. It ' passed 
into other hands, and many thousands of copies were sold ; from 
all of which he, of course, got nothing. This translation of the 
Reisebilder appeared in Philadelphia in 1855, and was favorably 
received by all reviewers. That Heine himself was pleased by 
it we have already learned from the extract of the letter to 
Calmann-Levy quoted in the introduction. A fourth edition 
appeared in Philadelphia in 1863 and a fifth edition in New 
York in 1866. In all more than ten thousand copies were sold 
before the new edition of Leland's translation of the Reisebilder 
appeared in London in 1891. When Leland had published his 
translation of the Reisebilder in 1855, Bayard Taylor got a copy 
of it, Taylor went in company with Thackeray to New York, 
and told Leland subsequently that they had j-ead the work aloud 
between them alternately, with roars of laughter, till it was 
finished ; that Thackeray praised the translation to the skies, and 
that his comments and droll remarks on the text were delightful. 



82 Heine's American Translators 

Thackeray was a perfect German scholar, and well informed as 
to all in the book. 

Leland had bestowed much care on cleansing the Reisehilder 
in his translation. The omissions are confined almost entirely 
to what Heine in later years himself altered or rejected. It is 
impossible to perfectly transfer the original spirit of Heine's glori- 
fied and clarified prose in English. Leland's translation is far 
from being perfect as regards simplicity of language allied to 
melody and brilliancy, but Leland did his best to reproduce it. 

In 1891, the first volume of Leland's complete translation 
of Heine's works appeared in London. This volume contained 
the Florentine Nights, The Memoirs of Herr von Schnabelewop- 
ske, The Rabbi of Bacharach and Shakespeare's Maidens and 
Women. Volumes II and III also printed in London in 
the same year, contained a reprint of Leland's translation of the 
Reisebilder, omitting the poems which appear in the Buch der 
Lieder. In the next year (1892), Volume IV, the Salon ap- 
peared in London. Of this edition Volumes V and VI (Lon- 
don, 1892), contained the translation of Germany, comprising, 
Religion and Philosophy in Germany, The Romantic School, 
Elementary Spirits, Doctor Faust, The Gods in Exile, and The 
Goddess Diana. The following year (1893), Leland's transla- 
tion of French Affairs appeared in London making up Vol- 
umes VII and VIII of the complete edition of Heine's prose. 
The Family Life of Heine, edited by von Embden, was also trans- 
lated by Leland and published in London in 1893. This volume 
is a life of Heine, illustrated by one hundred and twenty-two 
hitherto unpublished letters addressed by Heine to different mem- 
bers of the family. To many, the translations from Heine pub- 
lished by Leland in London were a grievous disappointment, for 
they expected from him something better. There are many 
pages in which the original seems to be reproduced with as much 
fidelity and as much grace as can reasonably be expected in a 
translation from a writer so difficult as Heine. R. M'Lintock "^^ 
in his review of Leland's translation of the Florentine Nights, 



^* Academy, Vol. 40, 1891, p. 256 f. 



Heine's American Translators 83 

etc. (Vol. I), says: "A better knowledge of German and more 
care in the writing of English should be shown by Leland. There 
are readings of the original which must be pronounced utterly 
indefensible and there are English sentences which come peril- 
ously near to being mere nonsense." 

Mr. M'Lintock gives some examples of Leland's inaccura- 
cies in translating and thinks that to find such absurd passages in 
the work of a man already famous is decidedly discouraging. 
In Volume I, Leland has made some faint efforts to expurgate 
the text, has omitted half a page in one place, and here and there 
an odd sentence or two. Heine is inexpurgable, and squeamish 
people had best have nothing to do with him at all. 

In his translation of the French Affairs, Leland has care- 
fully studied and compared the different texts, French and Ger- 
man, and has omitted not a passage, or even a shade of thought 
of any value in either. This greatly increased the labor and the 
difficulty of the task. 

Reviewing Leland's translation of Florentine Nights (Vol. 
I), Mr. N. S. Simonds ^^ writes: "Mr. Leland gives in this 
volume an excellent translation of Heine's prose. If it be said 
in criticism that Mr. Leland has occasionally coined a stiff and 
unnatural phrase to fit the German idiom, it may be replied that 
such slips are the fate of translators generally. Less excusable 
is the intrusion of too frequent footnotes which repeatedly 
encumber rather than illuminate the page." 

In his review "^^ of the prose writings of Heine, W. T. 
Brantly criticises Leland's translation as follows: "In Leland's 
translation the felicity and flavor of the original is lost, but it is 
no disparagement to Leland's admirable rendition to say that 
he has not achieved the impossible." Mr. W. D. Howells ^^ con- 
siders Leland's version of Heine a great achievement, although 
he disapproves of Leland's commenting the text with excuses, 
explanations and reproaches and sometimes condemnations out- 
right. But Howells does justice to the fact that the translator 



" The Dial (Chicago), Vol. 12, pp. 213-215. 
" Conservative Reviciv, Vol. I, 1899, pp. 60-73. 
" Harper's Magazine, Vol. 107, 1903, pp. 480-483. 



84 Heine's American Translators 

has rendered the original with a conscience which has spared 
no pains in comparing the French texts with the German texts in 
which Heine sometimes wrote the original simultaneously or 
alternately. Of the translation as a whole Howells says: "The 
work done is one which a literary man of Leland's distinct talent 
might well be content to have for his final work, though all 
would be sorry to liave the Hans Breitmann Ballads forgotten 
in it." 

Even the friendliest critic does not pretend that Leland's 
version is of an even texture. They are all sensible of a certain 
heaviness in it which cannot truly render the original, and of 
certain attempted analogues in American and English parlance 
which are not quite responsive to the student slang of the French 
and German. And yet in spite of all the inaccuracies, inelegancies, 
and shortcomings of Leland's translation, no one can examine 
it without recognizing the fidelity and the painstaking fulness 
with which the original has been followed and reported. Leland 
also translated Heine's Buch der Lieder and it appeared in Phila- 
delphia in 1864. A third edition was published in New York in 
1868. Most of these songs had already been published by Le- 
land in his translation of the Reisehilder in 1855. He now re- 
stored them to their original metres. 

A man of varied cultivation and genial temperament, of 
an ardent appreciation of his author, Leland certainly brought 
eminent qualifications to his labor of love. He has fairly justi- 
fied the expectations of those who augured most highly of his 
success from their knowledge of his fitness. Yet we must assent 
to the axiom of Cervantes, that no translation of poetry can be 
made without sensible loss of that indefinable aroma which char- 
acterizes the writing of masters in their own language. Never- 
theless Leland's versions are generally faithful, easy and elegant, 
conveying with curious nicety, the tone as well as the meaning 
of the original. 

The only poem in this volume in which Leland has departed 
from the original metre is Das Meer ergldnzte weit hinaus."'^ If 



'*Elster, I, 102 (Heimkehr). 



Heine's American Translators 85 

we remember that a great proportion of words which are mono- 
syllables in English are two or three syllables in German, a pecu- 
liarity which renders literal translation into the same metre as 
the original, and into the same number of words almost impossi- 
ble, we will be inclined to forgive Leland for giving us some 
free renderings and paraphrases instead of translations. As an 
example of some of Leland's blunders and failures to convey the 
proper meaning we may take his rendering of the play on words 
in the last lines of the poem Sei mir gegrilsst, du Grosse.'^° Le- 
land translates : 

Die Thore jedoch, die liessen 
Mein Liebchen entwischen gar still; 
Ein Thor ist immer willig, 
Wenn eine Thorin will, 
as follows: 

But the wicket-gate was faithless 
Through which she escaped so still ; 
Oh, a wicket is aways willing 
To ape when a wicked one will. 

To give some idea of Leland's ability as a translator of 
Heine's lyrics, let us quote the following specimens as illustrat- 
ing the translator at his best : 

Bergstimme.'^^ 

Ein Reiter durch das Bergthal zieht. 

A rider through the valley passed, 
And sang a mournful stave, — 
" And ride I hence to my true love's arms. 
Or to a gloomy grave?" 
The rocks an echo gave: 
" A gloomy grave !" 

And onward rode the cavalier, 
And still his sighs increase; 
" So I must away to an early grave ! 
Well, then — the grave hath peace." 
The echo would not cease: 
" The grave hath peace." 



"Elster, I, 104 
'•Elster, I, 35. 



86 Heine's American Translators 

And from the rider's care-worn cheek 
A single tear there fell ; 
" And if only the grave has peace for me, 
Why, then, — in the grave all's well !" 
The echo gave a knell, — 
" In the grave all's well !" 

Wir sassen am Fischerhause.'^'^ 

We sat by the fisher's cottage 
And looked at the stormy tide: 
The evening mist came rising. 
And floating far and wide. 

One by one in the lighthouse 
The lamps shone out on high; 
And far on the dim horizon 
A ship went sailing by. 

We spoke of storm and shipwreck, 
Of sailors who live on the deep. 
And how between sky and water 
And terror and joy they sweep. 

We spoke of distant countries, 
In regions strange and fair. 
And of the wondrous beings 
And curious customs there ; 

Of perfumes and lights on the Ganges, 
Where trees like giants tower, 
And of beautiful silent beings 
Who kneel to the lotus-flower; 

Of the wretched dwarfs of Lapland, 
Broad-headed, wide-mouthed, and small, 
Who crouch round their oil-fires, cooking, 
And chatter and scream and bawl. 

And the maidens earnestly listened, 
Till at last we spoke no more: 
The ship like a shadow had vanished. 
And darkness fell on the shore. 

" Elster, I, 98. 



Heine's American Translators 87 

During the progress of his translation of the Book of Songs, 
Leland had access to the various translations from Heine's lyrics, 
by Baskerville, Furness "^^ and Bowring. The influence thus 
exerted on his translations is clearly discernible and the numer- 
ous resemblances and uses of the same tricks in translating, 
cannot be said to be accidental. 

Putnam's Monthly Magazine. 

(Vol. VI, 1855, p. 475 f.) 
This fascinating review of Heine's works contains a few 
specimens of translation that have not been surpassed in some 
respects. Very few versions have rendered the subtle rhythm 
of Heine's exquisite lyrics with such spirit and charm. Take 
for example the translation of the Lorelei: 

I know not what it presages. 

That I should be saddened so; 

A legend of long passed ages 

Haunts me, and will not go. 

Tis cool, and the dusk is growing. 
And quietly flows the Rhine; 
In the sunset's golden glowing 
The peaks of the mountains shine. 

Far up in the golden beaming 
Sits the maiden divinely fair ; 
The gold in her robes is gleaming, 
She is combing her golden hair. 

With a golden comb and glancing 
She is combing her tresses there; 
And she singeth a song entrancing, 
A weird and wonderful air ! 

The heart of the boatman that hears it 
Grows wild with a passionate love; 
He sees not the rock as he nears it. 
He sees but the siren above! 

The waves to their fatal embraces 
Take the boat and the boatman too; 
Such work with her musical graces. 
It pleases the Lorelei to do ! 



''* Gems from German Verse, translated by. W. H. Furness. Philadel- 
phia, i860. 



88 Heine's American Translators 

This translation possesses many merits not found in others. 
It is, indeed, a lame attempt to do the immortal poem into Eng- 
lish, because it is far from literal. But, whatever fault we may 
find with the translation, we must acknowledge that it is faithful 
to the spirit of the original. This was the first version in which 
the foreboding force of the word "bedeuten," in the first line, 
was preserved. The gleam of mocking gayety which breaks out 
in the last verse, has been invariably lost by the translators. The 
ending of the song indicates Heine's individuality. He seems 
to throw off the brief mood of romance and returns to skepticism 
and satire. 

The reviewer also gives a translation of some verses written 
by Heine on the Jewish Hospital at Hamburg. As a keynote to 
the Reisehilder, the reviewer gives the following translations from 
the Heimkehr (Elster, I, 95 f. ) : 

In mein gar zu dunkles Lehen."^^ 

On my life, too dark and gloomy. 
Once there gleamed a vision bright. 
Now that vision bright hath vanished. 
And I stand in utter night. 

When a child in lonely darkness 
Feels its terrors on him crowd. 
He, to chase his doubts and horror, 
Shouts some cheerful song aloud. 

So a noisy child, I'm singing. 
While in shade and gloom I stray; 
Though my song be not delightful, 
Yet it drives my fears away !" 

Sag, wo ist dein schbnes Liehchen.^^ 

Say ! where is thy fair beloved. 
Once by thee so sweetly sung, 
When the magic flames of passion 
Through thy spirit flashed and sprung. 



'» Elster, I, 95. 
•"Elster. I, 134. 



Heine's American Translators 89 

Oh! those flames have sunk and faded, 
And my heart is dull and cold ; 
And this book, an urn funereal, 
Ashes of my love doth hold ! 

W. H*. FURNESS. 

Undoubtedly the best translation into English of Heine's 
Nach Frankreich 2ogen zwei Grenadier is the one made by W. H. 
Furness, and was first printed in his volume of translations en- 
titled Gems from German Verse, Philadelphia, i860. This excel- 
lent translation of the Two Grenadiers was subsequently reprinted 
in the collection of translations entitled Pearls from Heine (Phil- 
adelphia, 1865). After making some trifling changes, Furness 
incorporated this translation together with his translation of the 
Lorelei into his volume of Verses, Translations from the German 
and Hymns, which appeared in Boston in 1886. Disregarding the 
few faulty rhymes, these translations may be regarded as attain- 
ing perfection, since they are remarkably faithful to the letter, 
form and spirit of the original. To make a good translation of 
the Two Grenadiers is extremely difficult, because the rhythm of 
each line answers exactly to the mood and matter — the. mournful 
iambics, "Der Andre sprach ! das Lied ist aus ; the fiery anapaests : 
Dann reitet mein Kaiser wohl iiber mein Grab" — the wildness of 
the strophe "Was schert mich Weib, was schert mich Kind," have 
been but seldom well rendered by translators. 

In his translation of the Lorelei, Furness has been successful 
in conveying the foreboding effect of the word "bedeuten" in the 
first line, and in reproducing the anti-climax and mocking gayety 
of the last lines. As an indication of Furness's ability as a trans- 
lator of German lyrics, we will quote his two translations from 
Heine : 

. Nach Frankreich zogen zwei Grenadier . 

{The Two Grenadiers.) 

To France were travelling two grenadiers. 
From prison in Russia returning. 
And when they came to the German frontiers 
They hung down their heads in mourning. 



90 Heine's American Translators 

There came the heart-breaking news in their ears 
That France was by fortune forsaken ; 
Scattered and slain were her brave grenadiers, 
And Napoleon, Napoleon was taken. 

Then wept together those two grenadiers, 
O'er their country's departed glory; 
"Woe's me," cried one, in the midst of his tears, 
"My old wound, — how it burns at the story !" 

The other said, "The end has come. 
What avails any longer living? 
Yet have I a wife and child at home. 
For an absent father grieving. 

"Who cares for wife? Who cares for child? 
Dearer thoughts in my bosom awaken; 
Go beg, wife and child, when with hunger wild, 
For Napoleon, Napoleon is taken ! 

"Oh, grant me, brother, my only prayer, 
When death my eyes is closing : 
Take me to France, and bury me there ; 
In France be my ashes reposing. 

"This cross of the Legion of Honor bright, 
Let it be near my heart, upon me ; 
Give me my musket in my hand, 
And gird my sabre on me. 

"So will I lie, and arise no more, 
My watch like a sentinel keeping. 
Till I hear the cannon's thundering roar. 
And the squadrons above me sweeping. 

"Then the Emperor comes ! and his banners wave, 
With their eagles o'er him bending; 
And I will come forth, all in arms, from my grave, 
Napoleon, Napoleon attending!" 

Ich weiss nicht was soil es bedeuten. 
(Lorelei.) 

I do not know what it foretelleth 
I am so sad at heart. 
My mind on a legend dwelleth. 
That comes and will not depart. 



Heine's American Translators 91 

The air is cool in the twilight, 
And the Rhine flows smoothly on. 
The peaks of the mountains sparkle 
In the glow of the evening sun. 

High on yon rock reclineth 
A maiden strangely fair, 
Her golden apparel shineth, 
She combs her golden hair. 

With a golden comb she combs it, 
A song the while sings she; 
All weird and wondrous is it, 
And mighty the melody. 

The boatman, as it comes o'er him, 
It seizes with fierce delight; 
He heeds not the rocks before him, 
His gaze is fixed on the height. 

I believe in the end that the billows 
O'er the boatman and boat roll high ; 
And this with her fearful singing 
Was done by the Lorelei. 

Christopher P. Cranch. 

This American landscape painter, poet and translator was 
the son of William Cranch, the eminent jurist, Chief Justice of 
the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, 1805-1855. Chris- 
topher P. Cranch was born in Virginia in 18 13 and died at 
Cambridge, Mass., in 1892. He entered the ministry, but soon 
retired to devote himself to art. He published Poems (1844), 
The Bird and the Bell (1875), Ariel and Caliban (1887), and 
prose tales for children. Some of his translations are excellent. 
His translation of Heine's Lorelei may be found in the volume 
entitled Folk Songs, edited by J. W. Palmer, New York, 1861. 
This version is quite literal, but the last strophe is badly rendered. 
Heine's individuality, so completely preserved in the half smile 
which plays upon his lips as he ends his song, is lost in Cranch's 
rendition. 



g2 Heine's American Trafvslators 

The Lorelei. 

I know not what it presages, 
This heart with sadness fraught; 
'Tis a tale of the olden ages, 
That will not from my thought. 

The air grows cool and darkles; 
The Rhine flows calmly on ; 
The mountain summit sparkles 
In the light of the setting sun. 

There sits in soft reclining, 
A maiden wondrous fair, 
With golden raiment shining, 
And combing her golden hair. 

With a comb of gold she combs it ; 
And combing, low singeth she, 
A song of a strange, sweet sadness, 
A wonderful melody. 

The sailor shudders, as o'er him 
The strain comes floating by; 
He sees not the cliffs before him, 
He only looks on high. 

Ah ! round him the dark waves, flinging 
Their arms, draw him slowly down ; 
And this, with her wild, sweet singing. 
The Lorelei has done. 

Sidney Lanier (1842-1881). 

This well-known American poet, critic and litterateur, al- 
though possessing a good knowledge of German, has given us 
only two metrical translations from that language. Lanier wrote 
a sonnet in German to Nannette Falk-Auerbach. This sonnet 
was originally written in German and published in a German daily 
of Baltimore, while the author's translation appeared at the same 
time in the Baltimore Gazette. The two translations, which he 
made from the German, are Herder's Spring Greeting and 
Heine's Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam. Few poems surpass this 
lyric either in beauty and simplicity of form or depth of expres- 
sion. How felicitously Lanier has rendered these characteristics 



Heine's American Translators 93 

may be seen from his rendition, which follows. It is dated 1864 
and was made by Lanier while at Point Lookout Prison : 

The Palm and the Pine}^ 

In the far North stands a Pine-tree, lone, 
Upon a wintry height ; 
It sleeps ; around it snows have thrown 
A covering of white. 

It dreams forever of a Palm 
That far i' the Morning-land, 
Stands silent in a most sad calm, 
Midst of the burning sand. 

Theodore Parker (1810-1860). 

This noted American clergyman, lecturer, reformer and 
author was born in Lexington, Mass., and died in Florence, Italy. 
He was a conspicuous advocate of the abolition of slavery and 
rendered his country its debtor by his eminent service in that 
cause. 

Some of Parker's translations of German poetry are remark- 
ably well done, but many are left in an imperfect condition. 
There are specimens from Hymns of the Mystics, of Paul Ger- 
hardt, from the poetry of the Boy's Wonder-Horn, from Schwab, 
Simon Dach, Popular Collections, Riickert, Korner, Geibel, Opitz 
and Heine. Some translations from Heine, which he made while 
he was meditating an article upon that poet, are well done. The 
translations from Parker, which we shall quote, are taken from 
The Life and Correspondence of Theodore Parker, by John 
Weiss, New York, 1864 (Vol. II, 31-36). Here is Parker's 
version of Heine's "Vorrede zur dritten Auflage" of his Buch 
der Lieder (1839), beginning with the line, "Das ist der alte 
Marchenwald." 

This is the old- poetic wood ; 
The linden's breath comes stealing; 
And glancing wondrously, the moon 
Enchanteth every feeling. 



** Poems by Sidney Lanier, edited by his wife. New York, 1899, p. 232. 



94 Heine's American Translators 

I walked therein, and as I went 
Above I heard a quiring: 
It was the nightingale; she sang 
Of love and love's desiring. 

She sang of love and love's woe, 
Of laughter and of weeping; 
She joy'd so sadly, plain'd so gay, 
That dreams came back from sleeping. 

I walked therein and as I went, 
Before me saw, extending 
In ample space, a castle huge, 
Its gables high ascending. 

Windows were closed, and everywhere 
A silence and a mourning. 
As if in those deserted walls 
Was quiet death sojourning. 

Before the door a sphinx there lay. 
Part joy, part fear, half human; 
Body and claws a lion's were, 
The breast and head, a woman, — 

A woman fair; her pallid face 
Spoke of most wild desiring; 
The silent lips were arched with smiles, 
A tranquil trust inspiring. 

The nightingale, too, sweetly sang. 
Could I resist her? Never! 
But as I kissed the handsome face 
My peace was gone forever! 

Living became the marble form, 
The stone began to shiver, 
She drank my kisses' fiery glow 
With thirsty lips that quiver. 

She almost drank away my breath, 
And then, with passion bending. 
She coiled me round, my mortal flesh 
With lion-talons rending. 



Heine's American Translators 95 

Ecstatic torture, woeful bliss! 
Joy, anguish, without measure! 
And while the talons grimly tear, 
Her kisses give such pleasure! 

The nightingale sang, "Handsome sphinx! 

Love, what is intended — 
That all thy blessed beatitudes 
With death-throes thou hast blended ? 

"Oh, handsome sphinx, come solve for me 
The riddle, tell the wonder! 
For many a thousand years thereon 
Thought I, and still I ponder." 

Parker also gave us an impromptu translation from memory 
of Heine's Lorelei. How musically Parker could render Heine's 
lyrics is well illustrated by his admirable translations of Und 
wiissten's die Blumen, die kleinen; Du hast Diamanten und Per- 
len; Die Linde bliihte, die Nachtigall sang; Du hist wie einc 
Blume and Mein, wir waren Kinder, of which we shall only quote 
the last two as perhaps presenting Parker at his best in translating 
Heine. These two matchless lyrics have not been better trans- 
lated into English, 

Du bist wie eine Blume. 

Thou art a little flower, 
So pure, and fair, and gay, 

1 look on thee, and sadness 
Steals to my heart straightway. 

My hands I feel directed 
Upon thy head to lay. 
Praying that God may keep thee 
So pure and fair and gay. 

Mein, wir waren Kinder. 

My child, when we were children, 
Two children small and gay. 
We crept into the hen-house 
And laid us under the hay. 



96 Heine's American Translators 

We crow'd as do the cockerels, 
When people passed the wood, 
" Ki-ker-ki!" and they fancied 
It was the cock that crow'd. 

The chests which lay in the court-yard, 
We paper'd them as fair, 
Making a house right famous, 
And dwelt together there. 

The old cat of our neighbor 
Oft came to make a call; 
We made her bow and courtesy, 
And compliment and all. 

We ask'd with friendly question, 
How she was getting on; 
To many an ancient pussy, 
The same we since have done. 

In sensible discoursing 

We sat like aged men, 

And told how, in our young days, 

All things had better been. 

That faith, love, and religion 
From earth are vanish'd quite, 
And told how dear is coffee, 
And money is so tight. 

But gone are childish gambols. 
And all things fleeting prove; 
Money, the world, our young days. 
Religion, truth, and love. 

Hiram Corson. 

The two translations, which Mr. Corson made of Heine's 
songs, are to be found in Pearls from Heine, Philadelphia, 1865. 
This pamphlet is not readily accessible, but may be found in the 
library of the American Philosophical Society. In this volume of 
translations Corson has contributed his versions of Ich stand 
gelehnt an dem Mast, and Am Fenster stand die Mutter {Wall- 
fahrt nach Kevlaar). Both are admirably done, and the sim- 
plicity and melodious gliding of the rhythm are well reproduced. 



Heine's American Translators 97 

We would gladly cite both translations, but owing to the length 
of die Wallfahrt nach Kevlaar, we must content ourself with only 
the first, which, however, will amply attest the merits of Corson's 
ability. 

Ich stand gelehnt an dem Mast. 

I stand supported by the mast. 
And watch the wavelets free. 
Adieu, my beauteous Fatherland! 
My ship sails fast from thee! 

I'm gliding by my loved one's home, 
That looks upon the sea ; 
I wildly gaze at its glistening panes, 
But no hand waves to me. 

Away, ye tears ! from my eyes away ! 
That I may clearly see; 
My fainting heart, be stout and strong, 
And fail not now to me. 

J. W. MONTCLAIR. 

We have only been able to find one translation from Heine 
by Montclair, and this in the volume before mentioned, Pearls 
from Heine. Consequently we can say but little regarding this 
translator. With the exception of three lines, the translation is 
remarkably accurate and liberal, and preserves the spirit and tone 
of the original admirably, 

Auf FlUgeln des Gesanges. 

On wings of song and music, 
Beloved, I'd waft thee away 
To the flowering banks of Ganges, 
Forever blooming and gay. 

Its floral realm shall receive thee, 
Illumed by the silent moon ; 
There the lotus-flowers are longing 
To greet their companion soon. 

There violets nod and titter. 
Or gaze on the stars above ; 
And roses with eloquent fragrance, 
Recount their legends of love. 



98 Heine's American Translators 

Within the spice-groves are lurking 
The innocent, cunning gazelles ; 
And distant is heard the rushing 
Of the holy tide as it swells. 

Under the palm will we linger, 
Housed from the open skies; 
In raptures of love and contentment. 
Dreaming with open eyes. 

Wm. H. Furness, Jr. 

Wm. H. Furness, Jr., the brother of Horace Howard 
Furness, also contributed one translation to the Pearls from 
Heine — namely, the translation of the poem from the Lyrical 
Intermezzo, beginning with the line "Die Lotusblume angstigt." 
This translation possesses all the distinguished characteristics of 
the other translations in the Pearls from Heine, and we can 
hardly refrain from expressing our regret that we have not more 
versions from Heine by the same men. 

The Lotus-Flower. 

(Die Lotus-Blume angstigt). 

The lotus-flower pineth 
Beneath day's splendor bright: 
With head all bent and drooping, 
Dreaming, she waits the night. 

The moon, who is her lover, 
Awakes her with its light. 
And she lifteth to it fondly 
Her lily face so white. 

She blooms, and glows, and glistens, 
And gazes calmly above; 
She sighs, and weeps and trembles. 
From love and the pain of love. 

T. Emblet Osmun. 
Once more are we placed in the embarrassing situation of 
endeavoring to form a judgment of a man's ability as a trans- 
lator with only one specimen extant. This is his translation of 



Heine's American Translators 99 

Heine's Du hist wie eine Blume, so often badly rendered even 
by excellent translators. That Osmun's version is far from per- 
fect will be obvious after examination. His translation is to be 
found in Pearls from Heine. 

Du hist wie eine Blume. 

Thou art as some fair flower, 
So chaste, so gay, so sweet: 
I look on thee, and Sorrow 
Finds in my heart a seat. 

I feel as I were prompted 
On thy head my hands to lay, 
And pray to God to keep thee 
So sweet, so chaste, so gay. 

Kate Hillard. 

In her article on Heine in Lippincott's Magazine (Vol. X, 
pp. 187 f.), Kate Hillard gives a few specimens of translation. 
She finds the mournful secret of Heine's poetic strength in the 
words of the poem, Aus meinen Thrdnen spriessen (Elster, I, 
66), which she renders rather poorly, especially the first strophe, in 
which neither the rhythm nor the meaning is accurately or felici- 
tously translated. The second strophe is a decided improvement : 

Aus meinen Thrdnen spriessen. 

From my tears sweet flowers are springing 
All over the blossoming dales. 
And my sighs are changed by magic 
To a chorus of nightingales. 

And if thou wilt love me, darling, 
To thee the flowers I'll bring. 
And before thy chamber window 
The nightingales shall sing. 

This hardly conveys the effect of Heine's poetry, the subtle 
aroma of beauty has fled, which is the greatest charm of the 
poem. Far more successful is her rendering of the often trans- 
lated beginning of the Nachts in der KajUte (Elster, I, 171), the 
perfection of whose melody it is impossible to reproduce. 



lOO Heine's American Translators 

Das Meer hat seine Perlen. 

The sea hath its pearls, 
The heavens have their stars, 
But my heart, my heart, 
My heart has its love. 

Great are the sea and the heavens, 
But greater is my heart, 
And brighter than pearls or stars 
Sparkles and glows my love. 

Thou youthful little maiden, 
Come to my mighty heart: 
My heart and the sea and the heavens 
Are melting away with love. 

While she failed to reproduce the exquisite melody of the 
above-cited poem by neglecting the feminine endings and rhymes, 
she certainly secured literal exactness of meaning in the very 
rhyme and rhythm of the original in her translation of the poem 
beginning with the line Mit schwarzen Segeln segelt mein Schiff 
(Elster, I, 229), which she translates as follows: 

With black sails hoisted, sails my ship 
Far over the tossing tea: 
Thou knowest well how sad I am, 
Yet still tormentest me. 

Thy heart is faithless as the wind, 
It changes unceasingly: 
With black sails hoisted, sails my ship 
Far over the tossing sea. 

John B. Phillips. 

John B. Phillips was a native of Kennet, Pa., and a friend 
of Bayard Taylor. Many of the most confidential letters written 
by Taylor in early life were addressed to Phillips. After study- 
ing medicine in Paris, Phillips settled in St. Paul, Minn., where 
he passed the rest of his life in the practice of his profession and 
in the office of State Commissioner of Statistics. He was a man 
of strong character, and of marked literary tastes, as his trans- 



Heine's American Translators loi 

lations from Heine and other German poets as well as his own 
sonnets show. Dr. Phillips died at the age of fifty-six, April 2y, 
1877. Bayard Taylor wrote in the New York Tribune an 
obituary notice of his friend. 

William Wetmore Story. 

W. W. Story was born at Salem, Mass., in 1819, and died 
in Italy in 1895. ^^ was the son of Joseph Story, the eminent 
American jurist, and achieved considerable fame as a sculptor and 
poet. In the Poets and Poetry of Europe, by H. W. Longfellow 
(Philadelphia, 1870), on page 351, we find the following transla- 
tion, by W. W. Story, of Heine's poem, Ein Fichtenbaum 
St e lit einsam (Elster, I, 78) : 

A lonely fir-tree standeth 
On a height where north winds blow. 
It sleepeth, with whitened garment, 
Enshrouded by ice and snow. 
It dreameth of a palm-tree, 
That far in the Eastern land, 
Lonely and silent, moumeth 
On its burning shelf of sand. 

Simon Abler Stern. 

The scintillations ^^ Stern gives us are passages from essays 
and letters not before translated, and that weird, romantic mono- 
logue called Florentine Nights. In this translation Heine loses 
that softness of outline, that play of light and shadow, which 
characterize him; he becomes harsh, sharp, sometimes shabby, 
and you see how occasionally he forces his fantastic attitudes. 
However, there are passages of the Florentine Nights which do 
not suffer mortally from translation, and one of these is that 
very Heinesque hit where Max tells of his passion for the 
beautiful statue which he found when a boy in the neglected 
garden of his mother's chateau. The other scintillations are as 
satisfactory as such selections can very well be; but each lover 



■^ Scintillations from the Prose Works of Heinrich Heine, translated 
from the German by S. A. Stern. New York, 1873. 



102 Heine's American Translators 

of Heine will find fault with them, as not the best, and, in his 
turn, would doubtless choose passages which Stern would have 
condemned. The book is prefaced by a very sensibly written 
sketch of Heine's life and some study of his genius; and this 
also will not meet with much favor from Heine's habitual 
readers. Indeed, Heine lends himself as little as any author 
that ever lived to the purposes of the biographer or critic per- 
haps, because he has himself so thoroughly done the work of 
autobiography and self-criticism, that nothing really remains 
for others. 

The Nation in a review of Stem's translation says : "Mr. 
Stem has succeeded in putting Heine into an English dress, and 
in doing it so well that those who read the great original will 
still find pleasure in seeing with what ingenuity and studious 
zeal our uncouth English has been subdued to the interpretations 
of the wittiest of Germans, and the most delicate of word- 
painters in French or German." By giving excerpts, in brief 
compass, as Stem does in the latter part of the volume, there 
is left on the reader's mind an impression of abruptness and 
forced wit, as if Heine were constantly attempting to be epigram- 
matic; whereas, part of the greatest charm of Heine's style are 
the flashes of wit and humor, touches of pathos, profound philo- 
sophical thoughts, beautiful word pictures, stinging sarcasms — 
all linked together by the most natural and ingenious gradations. 
Of all writers, Heine most abounds in startling surprises, para- 
doxes, and anti-climaxes, yet such is his marvellous skill of com- 
bination that amid all his extravagant fancies nothing seems 
forced or unreal. No writer better bears being quoted in brief, 
witty excerpts, yet none loses more by such treatment than Heine. 

J. M. Merrick. 

After Merrick was graduated from Harvard University, 
as Bachelor of Science, he became instructor in Chemistry in the 
Lawrence Scientific School. In 1874 he published in Boston 
his specimens of translations in a volume entitled, Nugae Inutiles 
This book contains translations from Horace, Catullus, Homer 
and Heine. The original Latin or German words are followed 



Heine's American Translators 103 

by metrical translations into English. Merrick's translations 
are, for the most part, faithful to the letter and form, although 
he often fails to reproduce the melody and spirit. As a speci- 
men of his skill as a translator let us cite his version of Ich bin die 
Prinzessin Use (Elster, I, 159). 

Princess Use ( pages 1 1 6- 1 1 9 ) . 

I am the Princess Use, 
And I live in Ilsenstein, 
Come with me to my castle, 
And a happy lot is thine. 

Thy head will I besprinkle 
With water fresh and fair : 
Thy sorrow all thou shalt forget, 
Though sick at heart with care. 

My soft white arms shall hold thee 
Close to my whiter breast, 
And lulled with dreams of fairyland. 
Thou there shalt take thy rest. 

I will kiss thee and embrace thee, 
As I kissed and held the head 
Of the noble Emperor Henry, 
Who now is with the dead. 

The dead are dead and buried. 
And only the living live; 
But I am fair and blooming. 
With a merry heart to give. 

My heart throbs neath the water, 
And my crystal castle rings : 
The knight with the ladies dances, 
The squire huzzas and sings. 

'Mid the rustle of silken dresses, 

The clatter of spurs is heard ; 

And with fiddles and horns and kettle-drums 

The listener's blood is stirred. 

But thee shall the arms encircle 
That held the Emperor fast, 
And stopped his ears with their fingers 
When I heard the trumpets' blast. 



I04 Heine's American Translators 

For I am the Princess Use, 
And in Ilsenstein I dwell : 
Come home with me to my castle 
And all with thee shall be well. 

To point out some of the shortcomings of Merrick's rendi- 
tions we need only mention a few examples. In the last line of 
the fifth strophe, "Mein lachendes Herze bebt," is badly rendered 
by the line "With a merry heart to give." Still worse is Mer- 
rick's perversion of the meaning in his translation of strophe six : 

Komm in mein Schloss herunter, 
In mein Kristallenes Schloss. 
Dort tanzen die Fraulein und Ritter, 
Es jubelt der Knappentross. 

The third line in both the second and the third strophes, 
has the wrong metre. Somewhat better is Merrick's translation 
of Die Jung f ran schldft in der Kammer (Elster, I, io6) : 

The maiden sleeps in her chamber, 
The tremulous moon looks in ; 
Outside is singing and ringing, 
And waltzing tunes begin. 

" I will look and see from my window 
Who troubles my rest outside." 
A skeleton stands in the moonlight there, 
And fiddles and sings beside. 

" Thou didst promise me a dance once, 
And thy word thou dost not keep. 
Tonight is a ball in the churchyard. 
We'll dance while other folk sleep." 

He seizes the maiden roughly, 
And pulls her out of her bed: 
She follows the bones that, singing 
And fiddling, stride ahead. 

He fiddles and dances and capers, 
And rattles his bones long dead, 
And horridly in the moonlight 
Keeps nodding and nodding his head. 



Heine's American Translators 105 

Other translations from Heine in this volume by Merrick 
are: Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne, Freundschaft, 
Liebe, Stein der Weisen, Mensch verspotte nicht den Teufel, 
Das ist des Friihlings traurige Lust and Sapphire sind die Aug en 
dein, of which we shall only quote the last one: 

Sapphires are thy eyes, 
So lonely and so sweet ; 
Thrice happy is the man 
Whom they with love do greet. 

A diamond is thy heart, 

That glorious splendor throws; 

Thrice happy is the man 

For whom that dear heart glows. 

Rubies are thy lips, 
None fairer are to see 
Thrice happy is the man 
Whose rubies bright these be. 

Could I but find this man 
In a lonesome greenwood, 
His luck should all leave him, 
On the spot where he stood. 

S. L. Fleishman. 

In his Prose Miscellanies from Heinrich Heine, Philadel- 
phia, 1876, Fleishman gives us translations from The Salon, The 
Memoirs of Herr von Schnabelezvopske, Religion and Philoso- 
phy in Germany, The Romantic School, The Schivabian School, 
The Gods in Exile and Confessions. Unfortunately the translator 
has resorted in this volume of selections to extensive expurgating 
and trimming. Nobody can translate Heine without facing the 
problem whether to present the great man as he was, or to de- 
stroy much of the psychological value of his work by injudicious 
trimming to suit the translator's idea of public taste. In making 
this selection of Heine's prose writings for publication, the trans- 
lator was bewildered by an embarrassment of riches. To give 
only these few pages while so many delightful passages are 
omitted is very unsatisfactory and misrepresents the genius of 



lo6 Heine's American Translators 

Heine. However, whatever Fleishman selected for translation 
he certainly rendered faithfully and in many cases happily; yet 
there are passages where the brilliant, witty, poetic style of 
Heine's prose appears dull and insipid in the translation. The 
book also contains a very excellent sketch, biographical and 
critical, of Heine and his works. In this sketch Fleishman fol- 
lows the account of Strodtmann's Heine's Lehen und Werke. 
Six years later (1882), Fleishman published his translation of 
Heine's Romantic School, in New York. This translation was 
undertaken at the suggestion of his wife and was completed by 
her assistance. In addition to the Romantic School, this volume 
contains a translation of the Suabian Mirror and Heine's intro- 
duction to an illustrated edition of Don Quixote. 

Realizing that he had made a mistake in trimming the prose 
of Heine in his previous volume of translations, Fleishman 
profited by this opportunity to acknowledge his error, conse- 
quently in this volume he presents Heine as hejs, and is careful 
to avoid distorting the meaning. He leaves the task of vindica- 
tion to Heine himself. In the preface to this translation of the 
Romantic School, Fleishman devotes some space to calling atten- 
tion to the significance of Heine as critic and as a writer on 
German literature, especially for foreigners. As far as we have 
been able to observe, the translator has rendered the German with 
felicity and accuracy, and we have no hesitation in saying that it 
is a decided improvement on Fleishman's previous efforts in 
translating, as indicated by his Prose Miscellanies. 

James K. Hosmer. 

Of Hosmer as a critic we have already spoken. His essay 
on Heine,^^ in his History of German Literature, contains numer- 
ous translations of excerpts from Heine's prose, and metrical 
translations of passages from Deutschland, ein Wintermdrchen, 
some stanzas from the New Alexander directed against the 
King of Prussia, The Princess Use, and the lines Heine wrote to 



** A Short History of German Literature, by J. K. Hosmer. New York, 
1878, pp. 497-533. 



Heine's American Translators 107 

his wife when he was on his death bed. Hosmer's translation 
of the Prin^essin Use (Elster, I, 159), is Hteral but not poetic. 
The rhythm is poorly reproduced and the melodious flow is 
almost absent. The rhyme in strophe three is faulty. 

Princess Use. 

Ich bin die Prinsessin Use. 

I am the Princess Use ; 
To my castle come with me, — 
To the Ilsenstein my dwelling, 
And we will happy be. 

Thy forehead will I moisten, 

From my clear, flowing rill ; 

Thy griefs thou shalt leave behind thee. 

Thou soul with sorrow so ill ! 

Upon my bosom snowy, 

Within my white arms fold. 

There shalt thou be and dream a dream 

Of the fairy lore of old, 

I'll kiss thee, and softly cherish. 
As once I cherished and kissed 
The dear, dear Kaiser Heinrich, 
So long ago at rest. 

The dead are dead forever, — 
The living alone live still ; 
And I am blooming and beautiful, 
My heart doth laugh and thrill. 

O come down into my castle, — 
My castle crystal bright! 
There dance the knights and maidens. 
There revels each servant-wight. 

There rustle the garments silken. 
There rattles the spur below ; 
The dwarfs drum and trumpet and fiddle 
And the bugles merrily blow. 

Yet my arm shall softly enclose thee, 
As it Kaiser Heinrich enclosed : 
When the trumpets' music thundered. 
His ears with my hands I closed. 



io8 Heine's American Translators 

Henry Phillips, Jr. 

Henry Phillips was formerly librarian of the American 
Philosophical Society, and in several volumes of translations 
from the German has shown great skill as a translator of poetry. 
He has, indeed, succeeded in surpassing the originals, especially 
in the case of some obscure German poets. In 1878 Phillips pro- 
duced his Poems Translated from the Spanish and German. 
It appeared in Philadelphia, and one hundred copies were printed, 
exclusively for private circulation, as in the case of his later 
volume of translations from German poets. Both of these are 
to be found in the Library of the American Philosophical Society 
in Philadelphia. Unfortunately this excellent translator devoted 
most of his attention to adorning inferior German poets in splen- 
did English dress and he shunned the masters almost entirely. 
From Heine he gives us only three translations and these are 
contained in his first volume, Poems Translated from the Spanish 
and German. In the poem, Zzuei Brilder, Phillips reproduces the 
meaning, spirit and tone admirably, but departs at times from 
the trochaic rhythm, and in Belsazer some of the rhymes are 
bad. Since these translations from Heine by Phillips are so ex- 
cellent, and because the volume in which they are to be found 
is to most people inaccessible, we shall quote all of them. They 
will serve as specimens of Phillips' ability as a translator of 
German verse. 

Zwei Brilder (Elster, I, 36). 

Oh en auf der Bergespitse. 

The Duel. 

High on yonder mountain's summit, 
Stands a castle veiled in night ; 
In the valley gleam bright lightnings. 
Whirling swords with blazing light. 

Those stern fighters are two brothers, 
Madly hungering for a life; 
Speak and tell us now the reason 
Of this wild nefarious strife? 



Heine's American Translators 109 

For the love of Countess Laura 
Have both hearts with wrath been swayed, 
And they have drawn their murderous weapons 
To possess the beauteous maid. 

Which one of the two combatants 
Can the fair one's favor boast ? 
Neither has she more incHned to — 
Sword! thy point shall do the most! 

And they duel, bold, determined, 
Clashing, flashing, blow on blow, 
Thrusting blindly in mad darkness, 
Stumbling midst the bushes low. 

Woe, ye fratricidal monsters! 
Woe, ye vale of bloody zeal ! 
Each one falls to earth prostrated 
By his brother's bloody steel. 

Generations have departed, 
Centuries have rolled away ; 
On the hill-side, sadly gloomy. 
Stands the castle to this day. 

But when eve falls on that valley, 
Strange the tale the peasants say, 
As the church bells toll out midnight. 
Once more clangs the brothers' fray ! 

Belsazer (Elster, I, 46). 

Die Mitternacht zog ndher schon. 

The midnight hour onwards passed ; 
All Babylon was sunk in rest. 

Save where the palace stood on high, 
Belshazzar held wild revelry; 

Where in the chambers filled with lights. 
The king caroused among his knights. 

Around sate his minions, in purple's rich fold, 
And quaffed mighty bumpers from beakers of gold. 

Deep clanged the bright goblets, wild reveled the guest. 
The king's stubborn heart swelled with pride in his breast. 



no Heine's American Translators 

The wine's reddest glow burns in his mad cheeks, 
And many a wicked thought he speaks. 

And blindly his madness his soul onwards spurred 
'Till he blasphemed the Godhead with direst of word. 

And he swore and he raged in his infamies wild, 
While the servile crew mean flatteries smiled. 

And he shouted an order with eyes aflame — 
Away one hurried and back quick came. 

And brought of gold vessels a heavy load 
That once served the worship of Israel's God. 

And with his rash hands polluted by sin, 

The king seized a chalice and poured the wine in. 

And raised it to his lips so vile. 

And drained it and cried with drunken smile. 

"Jehovah, I to thee in scorn, 

For I am the king in Babylon!" 

Yet scarce had the sound died away on the ear 
In his bosom there came a gruesome fear. 

And shouting and laughter ceased sudden with all, 
And silence like death reigned supreme in the hall. 

While in horror and terror and wonder all stand, 
For lo ! on the wall seems a human hand ! 

That wrote and wrote on the marble so white 
With letters of fire, and vanished from sight. 

With staring eyes and bated breath 
The king sat motionless, a living death. 

And the roistering crowd were filled with dread. 
Were silent and motionless as dead. 

The Magi came at the king's command, 
But none these words could understand. 

That very night by his menial train 
That impious monarch in sleep was slain. 



Heine's American Translators 1 1 1 

H'or' ich das Liedchen klingen (Elster, I, 8i). 

When'er I hear that song again 
My darHng used to sing, 
My breast is racked with savage pain, 
My heart doth madly spring. 

A gloomy yearning sends my soul 
Into the forest drear. 
Where misery beyond control 
Bursts forth in many a tear. 

Theodore Tilton. 

Theodore Tilton, editor, poet and lecturer, was born in 
New York in 1835. He was the editor of The Independent and 
founder of the Golden Age. He is known chiefly from his suit 
against Henry Ward Beecher begun in 1874, which resulted in 
the disagreement of the jury. Among his poems are Thou and 
I, a lyric of humn life, and translations from Goethe and Heine. 
In his volume of poems published in New York in 1880, Tilton 
incorporated his translations of Goethe's Konig in Thule and 
Heine's Ritter Olaf, translated in the original metres. .This is 
perhaps the most literal rendering of Ritter Olaf in English, 
and the spirit of the original is fairly well reproduced. 

Ritter Olaf (Elster, I, 273). 

Vor dem Dome stehen Zwei Manner. 

At the door of the Cathedral 
Stand two men together waiting; 
Both are clad in scarlet raiment; 
One the king and one the headsman. 

And the king saith to the headsman, 
" From the Psalm the priests are singing, 
Now methinks the marriage is ended: 
Headsman, hold thy good axe ready!" 

Clang of bells and peals of organ! 
Forth the folks stream from the temple; 
Motley is the throng, — and, midway, 
Come the bridal pair, be jeweled. 



112 Heine's American Translators 

Pale and full of fear and sorrow 
Looks the king's all beauteous daughter; 
Bluff and blithesome looks Sir Olaf, — 
And his red mouth, it is smiling! 

And with smiling red mouth, saith he 
To the king, who, standeth scowling, 
" Sire, this day, my head requirest : 

" I this day must die ! O let me 
Live the day through till the midnight, 
That my nuptials I may honor 
With a wedding- feast and torch-dance! 

" Let me, let me live, I pray thee, 
Till the last cup shall be emptied — 
Till the last dance shall be finished! 
Let me live until the midnight !" 

And the king saith to the headsman, 
" To our son we grant a respite — 
Let him live until the midnight! 
— Headsman, hold thy good axe ready!" 



II. 



Sir Olaf at the festive board 

Drains the last flagon that is poured; 

Close clinging to his side 

His sobbing bride! 

— Before the door stands the headsman! 

The waltz begins; and Sir Olaf the waist 

Of his young wife clasps, and away in wild hast€ 

They whirl to the glitter and glance 

Of the last torch-dance! 

— Before the door stands the headsman ! 

The blare of the trumpets is loud and glad ; 
The sigh of the flutes is soft and sad ; 
Each guest beholding the dancing twain. 
Feels a shiver of pain 
— Before the door stands the headsman ! 



Heine's American Translators 113 

And while they dance in the echoing room, 

To the ear of the bride thus whispers the groom, 

How dearly I love thee can never be told — 

The grave is so cold !" 

— Before the door stands the headsman! 



III. 

Sir Olaf it is noon of night! 
Thy life has filled its measure; 
Thou with the daughter of a prince 
Hast had unhallowed pleasure. 

The monks, with murmuring voice, begin 
The prayer for the dead's redeeming; 
The man in red, on a scaffold black, 
Stands with his white axe gleaming. 

Sir Olaf strides to the castle yard: 
The lights and the sword shine brightly; 
The red mouth of the knight, it smiles! — 
And he crieth gayly and lightly : 

"I bless the sun, I bless the moon. 
And the stars that in heaven glitter; 
And I also bless the little birds 
That in the tree-tops twitter. 

" I bless the sea, I bless the land. 
And the dewy meads of clover; 
I bless the violets — mild as the eyes 
Of my darling to her lover! — 

" Those violet eyes of thine, my wife, 
Now sending my soul to heaven! — 
And I also bless the lilac-tree 
Where thou to my arms wert given !" 

Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens). 

In Chapter XVI of A Tramp Abroad (1880), Mark Twain 
gives an amusing account of the Lorelei legend. The air of the 
Lorelei he tells us, he could not endure at first, but by and by 
it began to take hold of him. He prints in this chapter the words, 
music and the legend of the Lorelei, and, after some droll re- 



114 Heine's American Translators 

marks on the legend he says: "I have a prejudice against the 
people who print things in a foreign language and add 
no translation. When I am the reader, and the author 
considers me able to do the translating myself, he pays 
me quite a nice compliment, but if he would do the trans- 
lating for me I would try to 'get along without the 
compliment. If I were at home, no doubt, I would get a 
translation of this poem, but I am abroad and can't; therefore 
I will make a translation myself. It may not be a good one, for 
poetry is out of my line, but it will serve my purpose — which is, 
to give the un-German young girl a jingle of words to hang 
the tune on until she can get hold of a good version, made by 
some one who is a poet and knows how to convey a poetical 
thought from one language to another." 

Then Mark Twain gives the following translation of 
Heine's Lorelei: 

I cannot divine what it meaneth, 

This haunting nameless pain: 

A tale of the bygone ages 

Keeps brooding through my brain: 

The faint air cools in the gloaming, 
And peaceful flows the Rhine, 
The thirsty summits are drinking 
The sunset's flooding wine; 

The loveliest maiden is sitting 
High-throned on yon blue air, 
Her golden jewels are shining, 
She combs her golden hair; 

She combs with a comb that is golden, 
And sings a weird refrain 
That steeps in deadly enchantment 
The listener's ravished brain. 

The doomed in his drifting shallop, 
Is tranced with the sad sweet tone, 
He sees not the yawning breakers, 
He sees but the maid alone. 



Heine's American Translators 115 

The pitiless billows engulf him ! — 
So perish sailor and bark; 
And this, with her baleful singing, 
Is the Lorelei's gruesome work. 

As Mark Twain has explained the purpose of his transla- 
tion of the Lorelei we must refrain from judging it severely. 
We need merely note that he has failed to convey the foreboding 
effect of hedeuten in the first line, and did not reproduce the 
sudden change to mockery in the last strophe as indicated in 
the line "Ich glaube die Wellen verschlingen" . But in all other 
respects the translation is admirable, and the melodious gliding 
of the rhythm is delightful. Mark Twain was a perfect German 
scholar, and of this fact, his famous essay on the German lan- 
guage is sufficient evidence. Delicious and characteristic are Mark 
Twain's remarks on Garnham's translation of the Lorelei (Chap- 
ter XII, Tramp Abroad) : 

*T have a translation by Garnham, Bachelor of Arts, on the 
Legends of the Rhine, but it would not answer the purpose I 
mentioned above, because the measure is too nobly irregular, it 
don't fit the tune snugly enough; in places it hangs over at the 
ends too far; and in other places one runs out of words before 
he gets to the end of a bar. Still Garnham's translation has high 
merits, and I am not dreaming of leaving it out of my book. I 
believe this poet is wholly unknown in America and England. I 
take peculiar pleasure in bringing him forward because I con- 
sider that I discovered him: 

I do not know what it signifies, 
That I am so sorrowful ? 
A fable of old times so terrifies. 
Leaves my heart so thoughtful. 

The air is cool and it darkens, 
And calmly flows the Rhine ; 
The summit of the mountain barkens 
In evening sunshine line. 

The most beautiful maiden entrances 
Above wonderfully there. 
Her beautiful golden attire glances, 
She combs her golden hair. 



Il6 Heine's American Translators 

With golden comb so lustrous, 
And thereby a song sings, 
It has a tone so wondrous. 
That powerful melody rings. 

The shipper in the little ship 
It affects with woes and might: 
He does not see the rocky clip, 
He only regards dreadful height. 

I believe the turbulent waves 
Swallow at last shipper and boat 
She with her singing craves 
All to visit her magic moat. 

"No translation could be closer. He has got in all the facts ; 
and in their regular order, too. There is not a statistic wanting. 
It is as succinct as an invoice. That is what a translation ought 
to be. It should exactly reflect the thought of the original. 
You can't sing, 'Above wonderfully there,' because it simply 
won't go to the tune, without damaging the singer; but it is a 
most clingingly exact translation of 'Dort oben wunderbar,' — 
fits it like a blister. Mr. Garnham's reproduction has other 
merits, — 3. hundred of them, — but it is not necessary to point 
them out. They will be detected." 

Emma Lazarus (1849-1887). 

Of all American translations of Heine's poems, we must 
pronounce the one made by Emma Lazarus as being on the whole, 
the most satisfactory. In reviewing her works we are struck by 
the precocity and spontaneity of her poetic gift, for she was a 
born singer; poetry was her natural language. At the age of 
eleven the War of Secession inspired her first lyric outbursts. 
Her poems and translations written between the ages of four- 
teen and seventeen were collected and constituted her first pub- 
lished volume. A profound melancholy pervaded that book. 
Foremost among the translations are a number of Heine's songs, 
rendered with a finesse and literalness that are rarely combined. 
Emma Lazarus possessed eminent qualifications for translating 
Heine's poems. She was akin to Heine in combining Hellenism 



Heine's American Translators 117 

and Hebraism in her nature. Already in her first volume we 
observe traces of this kinship and affinity that afterwards so 
plainly declared itself. Her works like Heine's are subjective 
and biographical. 

In 1 88 1 appeared her translation of Heine's Poems and 
Ballads (New York, 1881), to which she prefixed a biographical 
sketch of Heine. This translation was at once generally accepted 
as the best version of that untranslatable poet. Very curious is 
the link between that bitter, mocking, cynical spirit and the re- 
fined, gentle spirit of Emma Lazarus, as is well indicated in her 
translations. Of her translations from Heine in general we may 
say that she has given us as faithful and accurate a reproduction 
of the thought, spirit, tone, rhythm and melody of the original 
as is possible. In some poems she falls below the standard of 
excellence which she usually maintains. Positive traces of her 
depending on previous versions, — not to be designated as acci- 
dental resemblances — are discernible now and then. Her rhymes 
are for the most part exact, and she endeavored throughout to 
reproduce the limpidity, ease, simplicity and subtle suggestive- 
ness of the original, and with considerable success. As. her vol- 
ume of translations from Heine has become almost inaccessible 
we will cite a few specimens. The only copy which we have 
been able to find in Philadelphia is in the possession of ex-Judge 
Sulzberger, 

The Pine and the Palm (Elster, I, 78). 

Ein Fichtenbamn steht einsam. 

There stands a lonely pine-tree. 

In the north, on a barren height ; 

He sleeps while the ice and the snow-flakes 

Swathe him in folds of white. 

He dreameth of a palm-tree 
Far in the sunrise lana, 
Lonely and silent longing 
On her burning bank of sand. 



Ii8 Heine's American Translators 

Du hist wie eine Blume (Elster, I, 117). 

Thou seemest like a flower, 
So pure and fair and bright ; 
A melancholy yearning 
Steals o'er me at thy sight. 

I fain would lay in blessing 
My hands upon thy hair; 
Imploring God to keep thee 
So bright and pure and fair. 

Du schones Fischerm'ddchen (Elster, I, 99) 

Thou fairest fishermaiden, 
Row thy boat to the land, 
Come here and sit beside me, 
Whispering hand in hand. 

Lay thy head on my bosom, 
And have no fear of me ; 
For carelessly thou trustest 
Daily the savage sea. 

My heart is like the ocean. 
With storm and ebb and flow ; 
And many a pearl lies hidden 
Within its depths below. 

Das Meer hat seine Perlen (Elster, I, 171). 

The ocean hath its pearls. 
The heaven hath its stars 
But oh! my heart, my heart. 
My heart hath its love. 

Great are the sea and the heavens, 
But greater is my heart; 
And fairer than pearls or stars 
Glistens and glows my love. 

Thou little youthful maiden, 

Come unto my mighty heart! 

My heart, and the sea, and the heavens 

Are melting away with love. 



Heine's American Translators 119 

Nacht lag auf meinen Augen (Elster, I, 90). 

Night lay upon my eyelids. 
About my lips earth clave ; 
With stony heart and forehead 
I lay within my grave. 

How long I cannot reckon 
I slept in that strait bed; 
I woke and heard distinctly 
A knocking overhead. 

"Wilt thou not rise, my Henry ? 
The eternal dawn is here; 
The dead have re-arisen, 
Immortal bliss is near." 

*T cannot rise, my darling, 

I am blinded to the day. 

Mine eyes with tears thou knowest, 

Have wept themselves away." 

"Oh, I will kiss them, Henry, 
Kiss from thine eyes the night. 
Thou shalt behold the angels 
And the celestial light." 

*T cannot rise, my darling. 

My blood is still outpoured. 

Where thou didst wound my heart once, 

With sharp and cruel word." 

"I'll lay my hand, dear Henry, 
Upon thy heart again. 
Then shall it cease, from bleeding. 
And stilled shall be its pain." 

"I cannot rise, my darling, 
My heart is bleeding — see! 
I shot myself, thou knowest. 
When thou wert reft from me!" 

"Oh, with my hair, dear Henry, 
I'll stanch the cruel wound. 
And press the blood-stream backward, 
Thou shalt be whole and sound." 



I20 Heine's American Translators 

So kind, so sweet she wooed me, 
I could not say her nay. 
I tried to rise and follow. 
And clasp my loving May. 

Then all my wounds burst open, 
From head and breast outbrake 
The gushing blood in torrents — 
And lo, I am awake! 

Even at the cost of sacrificing the enchanted melody, Emma 
Lazarus, in her article on Heine in the Century Magazine (Vol. 
VII), gave a few prose translations, for only in such literal 
versions could she hope to convey an approximate idea of the 
piercing subtlety of thought and innuendo so peculiar to Heine's 
poems. 

Henry C. Lea. 

This eminent writer on ecclesiastical history was born in 
Philadelphia in 1825. He has published Superstition and Force 
(1866), Sacerdotal Celibacy (1867), Studies in Church History 
(1869), ^"d a History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages 
(1887). In 1882 appeared in Philadelphia his Translations 
and Other Rhymes. This volume was privately printed and a 
copy may be found in the Library of the Historical Society in 
Philadelphia. It contains translations from Goethe, Uhland, 
Schiller, Herder, Dach and Heine. Mr. Lea's version of Heine's 
famous sonnet to his mother, Im tollen IVahn halt' ich dich einst 
verlassen is a fine specimen of accurate and spirited translation 
(Elster, I, 57). 

I left thee once my spirit madly burning, 
To wander onwards to earth's farthest shore. 
And find if I could quench the thirst I bore 
For love and satisfy my heart's wild yearning. 

So love I sought, through every pathway turning. 
With outstretched hand I went from door to door. 
Begging a little love from each one's store. 
But they gave only cruel hate and spurning 



Heine's American Translators 121 

And thus in quest of love I wandered ever, 
Seeking for love and finding love, ah, never! 
Then homeward turned, spent with vain endeavor. 
And thou didst come with hasty step to meet me, 

And what in thine o'erbrimming eyes did greet me — 
That was the love whose quest so long did cheat me ! 

Beautifully has Mr. Lea translated Heine's Wallfahrt 
nach Kevlaar (Elster, 146), which we shall quote in preference 
to the remaining translations from Heine, such as the Lorelei, 
etc., because it represents in our opinion Mr. Lea's best effort 
in that line. Especially commendable is the fidelity with which 
the original is reproduced. 

Am Fenster stand die Mutter. 

The mother stood at the window, 
The youth lay on his bed, 
"Come, Wilhelm dear," she said. 

"I am so sick, O mother, 
I can neither hear nor see. 
I think of the dead Gretchen, 
And my heart aches wofuUy." 

"Rise, and we'll go to Kevlaar, 
With book and rosary, 
God's Mother there will surely 
Cure thy sick heart for thee." 

Now swells the chanting solemn. 
The church's banners shine, 
As on goes the procession. 
Through Collen on the Rhine. 

As the crowd sweeps on, the mother 
Leads her son tenderly. 
And both join in the chorus — 
"Sweet Mary, praise to Thee !" 

n. 

The Mother of God at Kevlaar 
Wears today her richest gear. 
She has much to do, for gather 
Sick folk from far and near. 



122 Heine's American Translators 

And these poor sick ones bring her, 
As offerings to suit, 
Limbs made of wax so neatly — 
Full many a hand and foot. 

And whoso a wax-hand offers 
She frees his hand of pain ; 
And whoso a wax-foot offers. 
The foot is made whole again. 

And many who went on crutches 
On the rope can dance around; 
And many can play on the viol 
Who had not a finger sound. 

The mother has taken a candle 
And a waxen-heart has made — 
"Take this to God's sweet Mother, 
She will heal thy grief," she said. 

The son takes the wax-heart sighing, 
To the shrine he sighing goes. 
The tears from his eyes are flowing, 
As the prayer from his sick heart flows. 

"Thou Blessed of all the Blessed, 
Thou Queen upon Heaven's throne, 
Thou God's own purest virgin. 
To Thee be my sorrows known! 

"I dwell alone with my mother. 
At Collen on the Rhine, 
Collen where there is many 
A church and chapel and shrine. 

"And near to us dwelt Gretchen, 
Who now lies 'neath the ground — 
Mary, I bring Thee a wax heart, 
Heal thou my heart's deep wound! 

"Heal thou my heart that's broken, 
And I will most fervently 
Sing every night and morning. 
Sweet Mary, a praise to Thee!" 



Heine^s American Translators 123 

III. 

The sick son and his mother 
In a room together slept, 
The Mother of God came thither, 
And silently in she stepped. 

The sick youth she bent over, 
And on his heart so seared 
She laid her hand, and softly 
She smiled and disappeared. 

In her sleep all this the mother 
Saw — and yet more she marked 
From her slumber she awakened, 
For the dogs so loudly barked. 

There lay outstretched before her, 
Her son all stark and dead. 
While o'er the wan, shrunk features. 
The dawn its radiance shed. 

The hands she gently folded — 
N Benumbed with grief was she 

Yet her low voice rose devoutly — 
"Sweet Mary, praise to Thee !" 

Mr. Lea's translation of the Lorelei is poor, yet in the last 
strophe he has felicitously caught the tone and spirit of the 
sudden gleam of mockery so characteristic of Heine: 

I believe that the end of the story 
Is the sinking of skiff and youth, 
And that mischief with her singing 
Hath the Lorelei wrought in sooth ! 

F. Johnson. 

Johnson translated Heine's Lyrisches Intermezzo, and en- 
titled his volume, A Romance in Song. This book appeared 
in Boston in 1884. 



124 Heine's American Translators 

Frederic H. Hedge. 

Selections from the prose of Heine were given by Hedge 
in his Prose Writers of Germany. He also translated extracts 
from the Reisebilder, in his essay on Heine, in the volume en- 
titled Hours with German Classics (Boston, 1886), in addition 
to giving some specimens of metrical translations. Professor 
Hedge, whatever else he was, was no poet, and he set a bad 
example when he murdered Goethe's Der Erlkbnig, in which no 
one can detect a suspicion of the beautiful ballad strain of the 
original in his dry and spiritless rendering. A certain bland 
self-assurance which does not dream of the subtler difficulties 
to be overcome is what strikes one as a characteristic of Hedge's 
dealings with Goethe and Heine. His translation of Heine's 
Ein Reiter durch das Bergthal zieht and IVallfahrt nach Kevlaar, 
are certainly bad. 

In the following specimen (which is the best Hedge has 
done with Heine), the grace and easy levity of the original song 
are entirely absent: 

Es treibt mich hin, es treibt mich her! 
Noch wenige Stunden, dann soil ich sie schauen, 
Sie selber, die schonste der schonen Jungfrauen; 
Du treues Herz, was pochst du so schwer! 

etc. (Elster, I, 31), is thus rendered by Hedge: 

I'm tossed and driven to and fro; 
A few hours more and I shall meet her, — 
The maid, than whom earth knows no sweeter: 
Heart, my heart, why throbb'st thou so? 
But the hours they are a lazy folk ; 
Leisurely their slow steps dragging, 
Yearning, creeping, lingering, lagging, — 
Come, hurry up, you lazy folk! 
With hurry and worry I'm driven and chased ; 
But the hours were never in love, I judge, 
And so they conspire to wreak their grudge 
In secretly mocking at lover's haste. 



Heine's American Translators 125 

Charles T. Brooks (181 3-1883). 

Charles Timothy Brooks was born in Salem, Mass, in 181 3. 
He enjoyed the study of German, with whose masterpieces in 
prose and poetry his name was to be so honorably identified in 
after years as translator and critic. He was initiated into the 
language and its literature by those enthusiastic and eminent 
German scholars. Dr. Karl Follen and Prof. Charles Beck. In 
1838 he offered his tribute, a volume of translated German 
poetry to the Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature, edited 
by George Ripley, in the interests of the Transcendental philoso- 
phy. The qualities which distinguished Brooks as a translator 
from the German, were his rare knowledge of the language and 
its literature, great practice in composition, a cultivated gift of 
expression and a warm poetical sympathy. His first considerable 
publication was a translation of Schiller's William Tell (1837). 
His collection of translated poems contributed to Ripley's Speci- 
mens of Foreign Literature (Vol. XIV of Series), has already 
been alluded to. He was singularly happy in his rendering of 
shorter poems and lyrics. His exquisite versions of the ballads 
and songs of Uhland, Lenau, Chamisso, A. Griin, Freiligrath 
and Heine, and his fine translation of Faust will longest preserve 
his literary reputation with posterity. In 1842 his second col- 
lection of translated verse under the title of German Lyric 
Poetry was published in Philadelphia. Brooks is also famous 
for his translations from Jean Paul. In Poems Original and 
Translated, by Charles T, Brooks (Boston, 1885), we find the 
following fine translation from Heine (page 184 f). 

Meergruss (Elster, I, 179). 
Thalatta, Thalatta! 
Sei mir gegriisst, du ewiges Meer! 
Thalatta! Thalatta! 
• Hail to thee ! hail ! thou infinite sea ! 
Hail to thee ! hail ! ten thousand times 
My bounding heart greets thee ! 
As whilom ten thousand 
Greek hearts leaped up to greet thee — 
Misery — vanquishing, homesick, and languishing, 
World-renowned Greek hearts heroic. 



126 Heine's American Translators 

The billows were swelling, 
Were swelling and sounding; 
The sun-beams were flashing and playing, 
Refulgent with rosy lustre: 
Up rose the flocks of startled sea mews 
Wheeling away — loud screaming ; 

'Mid stamping of war steeds and clattering of bucklers, 
It rang through the welken like triumph's shout; 
Thalatta! Thalatta! 

Welcome once more thou infinite sea ! 

Like voices of home, thy murmuring waters; 

Like dreams of my childhood, sunbeams and shadows 

Flit o'er thy weltering billowy domain. 

And memory forever reviews the old story 

Of all the precious glorious playthings, 

Of all the glittering Christmas presents, 

Of all the branching trees of red coral, 

Gold fishes, pearls and shells of beauty. 

The secret stores thou treasurest up 

Below in thy sparkling crystal house. 

Oh, how long have I languished in dreary exile ! 
Like a dry, withering flower. 
In the tin case of the botanist pining. 
So lay my heart in my breast. 
I seem like one who, the live-long winter 
A patient, sat in a dark sick-chamber, 
And now I suddenly leave it. 
And, lo ! in her dazzling effulgence, 
Comes the emerald Spring, sun-wakened, to greet me, 
And the rustling trees, white and blossoming murmur, 
And the fair young flowers look up at me 
With radiant, sunny glances, 
All is music and mirth and beauty and bliss. 
And through the blue heavens the warblers are singing, 
Thalatta! Thalatta! 

Thou valiant, retreating heart ! 

How oft, how bitterly 

Harassed thee the Northland's barbarian maidens! 

Bending their great eyes upon thee, 

Fiery arrows they darted; 



Heine's American Translators 127 

With words all crooked and polished 
Threatened to rend my bosom asunder; 
With arrow-head billets they smote to destroy 
My wretched, bewildered brain. 
Vainly I held up my shield against them ; 
The arrow came hissing, the blows fell crashing, 
And pressed by the Northern barbarian maidens, 
Fought I my way to the sea — 
And now I breathe freely once more, 
And breathe out my thanks to the sea, 
The blessed, the rescuing sea! 
Thalatta! Thalatta! 

Newell Dunbar. 

In Newell Dunbar's book, Heinrich Heine, His Wit, Wis- 
dom and Poetry, Preceded by the Essay of Matthew Arnold 
(Boston, 1892), edited by Newell Dunbar, we have a good an- 
thology, sips hastily snatched — the cream of the inimitable Heine 
is what this little book aims to present. The skimming is skilfully 
performed and affords delicious refreshment and sustenance. 
Dunbar acknowledges his indebtedness to the excellent volume of 
selections by Snodgrass. Dunbar's volume combines prose and 
verse in about equal proportions, something like an all-around 
presentment of the author being thus given in a single volume. 
In this respect the book is unique. The incorporation in it of 
the sympathic essay of Matthew Arnold greatly enhances the 
value. Also some of the illustrations used had never hitherto 
been placed before English readers. As this volume is merely 
a compilation from other translators, we need not speak of its 
merits. 

Frances Hellman. 

The Lyrics and Ballads of Heine and Other German Poets, 
translated by Frances Hellman, New York, 1892, contains ninety- 
six pieces from Heine supplemented by forty-six others from 
Goethe, Geibel, Uhland and others. The verse for the most part 
flows easily and gracefully. There are not a half dozen lines in the 
whole collection that fail in that respect. So far as we have 
been able to compare translation with original, there are no 



128 Heine's American Translators 

blunders in sense — not even the customary one in the last line of 
Heine's Am fernen Horisonte. Like the one just named, many 
of the poems, especially of Heine's, are well rendered and the 
translator has contrived in most cases to preserve the original 
rhythm. As a specimen of her translations from Heine we shall 
take Die Bergstimm,e (Elster, I, 35), Ein Reiter durch das 
Bergthal Zieht. 

The Mountain Voice. 

Across the vale, in slow, sad pace, 
There rides a trooper brave; 
"Oh ! go I now to sweetheart's arm, 
Or to a gloomy grave?" 
The mountain answer gave : 
"A gloomy grave." 

And onward still the horseman rides, 
And sighs with heaving breast: 
"So soon I go then to my grave, 
Ah well, the grave brings rest." 
The mountain voice confessed : 
"The grave brings rest." 

And then down from the horseman's cheek 
A woeful tear-drop fell; 
"And if the grave alone brings rest, 
All will, in the grave, be well." 
The voice — ^with hollow knell : 
"In the grave be well." 

Charles De Kay. 

A translation of the familiar letters of Heine addressed 
chiefly to his mother and sister is what Mr. De Kay has given us 
in his Family Life of Heine (New York, 1893). These letters 
were first collected and published by Von Embden, Heine's 
nephew. They are not literary at all. Heine was often loose in 
construction and sometimes ungrammatical, but at the same time 
the German is easy. These letters reflect the hopes and needs of 
Heine and his attitude of mind toward money, his wife> house- 



Heine's American Translators 129 

hold, publisher, friends, enemies and relations. Broad wit is not 
absent. De Kay's translation is for the most part faithful, yet he 
fails to reproduce the grace and ease of the original with felicity. 

Arthur Dexter. 

Karpeles called the book, Heinrich Heine's Life Told in His 
Own Words, edited by Gustav Karpeles, and translated from the 
German by Arthur Dexter (New York, 1893), an autobiography. 
As Heine did not select the materials of which it is composed 
and join them in a volume to tell the story of his life. Dexter has 
changed the title. For the same reason he has omitted much that 
he thought would not interest American readers. The metrical 
portions of this translation are literal, but the melodious union of 
simplicity with wit and pathos, so characteristic of Heine's poetry, 
is not reproduced by the translator. Dexter has also inserted in 
this volume a few letters taken from Heine's Familienleben, 
edited by his nephew, Baron von Embden. To give examples of 
Dexter's metrical translations we quote the following specimens : 

Auf Fliigeln des Gesanges (Elster, I, 68). 
Upon the wings of melody ■ 

My heart's delight I will bear 
To the far-off streams of the Ganges, 
To a spot of beauty rare. 
There lies a blooming garden, 
Beneath the moonlight clear; 
The lotus flowers are waiting 
For their little sister dear. 
The violets titter and gossip, 
And look at the stars above ; 
Each rose in the ear of her lover 
Whispers her story of love. 
The gazelles, in their innocent cunning, 
Listen and pass with a bound ; 
And the waves of the sacred river 
On the distant shore resound. 
Here will we lie in the shadow. 
Under the palm of the stream, 
And drink deep of rest and passion. 
And dream a heavenly dream. 



130 Heine's American Translators 

Ein Fichtenhaum steht einsam (Elster, I, 78). 

A pine-tree stands deserted 
On the barren northern height, 
It slumbers, by the ice and snow 
Wrapped in a mantle white. 

It is dreaming of a palm-tree 
In the far-off morning-land, 
Deserted and grieving in silence. 
By the cliffs and burning sand. 

Edward Everett Hale. 

In his volume entitled For Fifty Years (Boston, 1893), 
Edward Everett Hale gives two metrical translations from 
Heine. Owing to their length, we cannot quote both, although 
they are well done. We can get an idea of their excellence by com- 
paring Neptune Descending with the original. The other trans- 
lation beginning with the line, "Midnight rests upon the city", 
was written by Mr. Hale in 1843, but not published until 1893. 
It consists of sixty- four lines, and the rhythm flows along ad- 
mirably. 

Neptune Descending. 

There he sat high, retired from the seas ; 
There looked with pity on his Grecians beaten, 
There burned with rage at the god-king who slew them. 
Then he rushed forward from the rugged mountain quickly de- 
scending ; 
He bent the forests also as he came down. 
And the high cliffs shook under his feet. 
Three times he trod upon them. 
And, with his fourth step, reached the home he sought far. 

There was his palace, in the deep waters of the seas. 

Shining with gold and builded forever. 

There he yoked him his swift footed horses. 

Their hoofs are brazen, and their manes are golden. 

He binds then with golden thongs, 

He seizes his golden goad. 

He mounts upon the chariot and doth fly, — 

Yes ! he drives them forth into the waves ! 



Heine's A merican Translators 131 

And the whales rise under him from the depths, 

For they know he is their king; 

And the glad sea is divided into parts, 

That his steeds may fly along quickly ; 

And his brazen axle passes dry between the waves, 

So, bounding fast, they bring him to his Grecians. 

Madison Cawein. 

In The White Snake a/nd Other Poems (Louisville, 1895), 
(J. P. Marton and Company, translations from the German by 
Madison Cawein), the well-known poet, offers three translations 
from Heine, namely, Palsgravine Jutta, containing twenty-one 
lines; from the Jehuda hen Halevy, containing seven four-line 
strophes; and Perduse, containing thirty-six strophes of two 
lines each. Of this book, there were but one hundred and fifty 
copies printed, of which one hundred copies were for sale. 

Marion M. Miller. 

The article on Heine by M. M. Miller in the Bachelor of 
Arts (Vol. n, 1896), contains a fairly accurate translation of 
Heine's Weavers: 

With thirsty eyes, darkened by grieving, 
Gnashing their teeth, a web they are weaving: 
"Thy shroud are we shaping, O Germany old. 
And into it weaving a curse three-fold — 
Weaving, a-weaving! 

"A curse on God ! In vain supplication 
We prayed him in horrors of cold and starvation. 
All bootless we waited and hoped and believed 
Us he has bemocked and befooled and deceived — 
Weaving, a-weaving! 

"A curse on Kaiser, the rich man's Kaiser! 
For woes of the poor no kinder, no wiser; 
He lets us, when from us our last groat is wrung 
As though we were dogs, be shot at and hung, — 
Weaving, a-weaving! 



132 Heine's American Translators 

"A curse on country, the fatherland rotten, 
Where shame and disgrace flaunt, and truth is forgotten, 
Where every bloom fades untimely away 
And royal batten the worm on decay, — 
Weaving, a-weaving! 

"The loom is a-creaking, in ceaseless flight 
The shuttle is glancing by day and by night, 
Thy shroud are we shaping, O Germany old ! 
Yes, into it weaving the curse, three-fold, — 
Weaving, a-weaving!" 

Eugene Field. 

In his various editions of poems, Eugene Field gives us 
some fine specimens of translations from Luther, Uhland, 
Korner and Heine. Although his translations from Heine are 
not literal, yet they are masterly reproductions of the tone, spirit 
and melody of the original. Let us take for example, his beauti- 
ful rendering of the exquisite lyric Atts meinen Thrdnen spries- 
sen (Elster, I, 66) : 

Love Song ^* — Heine. 

Many a beauteous flower doth spring 
From the tears that flood my eyes, 
And the nightingale doth sing 
In the burden of my sighs. 

If, O child, thou lovest me, 
Take these flowerets fair and frail, 
And my soul shall waft to thee 
Love songs of the nightingale. 

Eugene Field is also felicitous in his paraphrase ^^ of 
Heine's Es fdllt ein Stern herunter (Elster, I, 88). 

There fell a star from realms above — 
A glittering glorious star to see ! 
Methought it was the star of love. 
So sweetly it illumined me. 



^ Songs and Other Verse, by Eugene Field. New York, 1896, p. 30. 
Songs and Other Verse, p. 184. 



Heine's American Translators 133 

And from the apple branches fell 
Blossoms and leaves that time in June ; 
The wanton breezes wooed them well 
With soft caress and amorous tune. 

The white swan proudly sailed along 
And vied her beauty with her note — 
The river jealous of her song, 
Threw up its arms to clasp her throat. 

But now — oh, now the dream is past — 
The blossoms and the leaves are dead. 
The swan's sweet song is hushed at last. 
And not a star burns overhead. 

Another clever translation is Field's version of Heine's 
Widow or Daughter f 

Shall I woo the one or the other? 
Both attract me — more 's the pity! 
Pretty is the widowed mother, 
And the daughter, too, is pretty. 

When I see that maiden shrinking, 
By the gods I swear I'll get 'er! 
But anon I fall to thinking 
That the mother '1 suit me better ! 

So like any idiot ass 
Hungry for the fragrant fodder. 
Placed between two bales of grass, 
Lo, I doubt, delay, and dodder ! 

Field being an enthusiastic admirer of Heine's lyrics, and 
possessing a fine poetic feeling has been marvelously successful 
in the few specimens that he translated from the Buck der Lieder. 

W. A. R. Kerr. 

The Canadian Magazine (Vol. XII, 1899) published the 
first contribution of W. A. R. Kerr to the already large num- 
ber of American translations from Heine. In this number of 
the magazine, Kerr published two translations and subsequently 
in his article on Heine (Canadian Magazine, Vol. XV), he 



134 Heine's American Translators 

introduced a few more. While these versions give indication 
of considerable talent in translating, yet they fail to reproduce 
the directness and simplicity of the originals. The subtle 
thought and innuendo and grace are but poorly reported. The 
following specimens represent Mr. Kerr's best efforts in trans- 
lating Heine: 

Recollection. 

The yellow foliage shivers, 

Down fall the dry leaves to their doom — 

Ah, all that was fair and lovely 

Sinks withered in the tomb. 

The tops of the forest are shimmering 
Beneath the wan sun's sad light. 
The last cold kisses of summer 
Give way to the winter night. 

I cannot keep from weeping 
From my heart's inmost cell ; 
This scene once again reminds me 
Of when we said farewell. 

And I was forced to leave thee, 
I knew thou wert dying now — 
I was the parting summer, 
The dying forest thou. 

Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam. 

A pine-tree standeth lonely 

On a bare northern height. 

It slumbereth, while ice and snow flakes 

Are veiling it in white. 

And of a palm-tree it dreameth. 
That far in the Orient land 
Lonely and silent mourneth 
On a burning rocky strand. 

Edward Henry Keen. 

The only translation from Heine published by Mr. Keen, 
is to be found in the Outlook (Vol. 69, page 978). 



Heine's American Translators 135 

SchattenkUsse, Schattenliehe (Elster, I, 229). 

Shadow love, and shadow kisses, 
Shadow life so fleet and strange, 
Will all hours be sweet as this is ? 
Tell me, dear one, must they change? 

Nothing stays of all we cherish, 
Weary eyes will fall asleep; 
All things fade, and pass and perish, 
Loving hearts must cease to beat. 

John Hay. 

The volume of Poetns by John Hay, published recently 
by Houghton, Mifflin and Company, contains some excellent 
translations and paraphrases from Heine's songs and ballads. 
How well Hay could paraphrase Heine's lyrics may be seen 
from the following rendering of Du bist wie eine Blumc: 

When I look on thee and feel bow dear. 
How pure, and how fair thou art, 
Into my eyes there steals a tear, 
And a shadow mingled of love and fear 
Creeps slowly over my heart. 

And my very hands feel as if they would lay 
Themselves on they fair young head. 
And pray the good God to keep thee alway 
As good and lovely, as pure and gay, — 
When I and my wild love are dead. 

Heine's Azra is admirably rendered. The words by Hay 
fit the wonderful music written by Rubenstein very well, and 
yet the translation is literal: 

Tdglich ging die W under sc hone. 

Daily went the fair and lovely 
Sultan's daughter in the twilight, — 
In the twilight by the fountain, 
Where the sparkling waters plash. 

Daily stood the young slave silent 
In the twilight by the fountain. 
Where the plashing waters sparkle, 
Pale and paler every day. 



136 Heine's American Translators 

Once by twilight came the princess 
Up to him with rapid questions: 
" I would know thy name, thy nation, 
Whence thou comest, who thou art?" 
And the young slave said, "My name is 
Mahomet, I come from Yemmen. 
I am of the sons of Azra, 
Men who perish if they love." 

Other translations and paraphrases from Heine to be 
found in Hay's poems are Good and Bad Luck, The Golden 
Calf, To the Young, and The Countess Jutta. Of these we 
shall only quote the last, because this puts Hay's ability to a 
severe test in reproducing the melody and flow of Heine's so- 
called irregular rhythms. The others are mostly free render- 
ings, but possess the peculiar flavor which stamps them as the 
peculiar work of Heine. How thoroughly Hay was dominated 
by Heine we shall learn later. 

Countess Jutta. 

The Countess Jutta passed over the Rhine, 
In a light canoe by the moon 's pale shine. 
The handmaid rows and the Countess speaks : 
" Seest thou not there where the water breaks 

Seven corpses swim 

In the moonlight dim? 
So sorrowful swim the dead! 
"They were seven knights full of fire and youth. 
They sank on my heart and swore me truth. 
I trusted them; but for Truth's sweet sake. 
Lest they should be tempted their oaths to break, 

I had them bound. 

And tenderly drowned! 
So sorrowful swim the dead!" 
The merry Countess laughed outright! 
It rang so wild in the startled night ! 
Up to the waist the dead men rise 
And stretch lean fingers to the skies. 

They nod and stare 

With glassy glare! 
So sorrowful swim the dead! 



Heine's American Translators 137 

In many instances Hay transforms almost rather than 
translates, simply retaining the most delicate perfection of the 
thought, re-embodied in a new form. 

Lilian Whiting. 

While the lyrical translations of Miss Whiting do not offer 
the most perfect approach to the spirit of the originals, yet she 
shows an exquisite interpretation of the poet's art, being herself a 
poetess of no mean ability. In her World Beautiful in Books 
(Boston, 1901), we find two translations from Heine; namely, 
Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam and Mein Liebchen, wir sassen 
zusammen. 

Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam. 

A pine-tree stood alone on 
A bare, bleak, Northern height, 
The ice and the snow they swathe it 
As it sleeps there all in white. 

'Tis dreaming of a palm tree 
In a far-off Eastern land 
That mourns, alone, and silent, 
On a ledge of burning sand. 

Mein Liebchen wir sassen zusammen. 

My darling we sat together, 

We two in our frail boat ; 

The night was calm o'er the wide sea 

Whereon we were afloat. 

The Spectre-Island, the lonely, 
Lay dim in the moon's mild glance ; 
There sounded sweetest music, 
There waved the shadowy dance. 

It sounded sweeter and sweeter, 
But we slid past forlornly 
Upon the great sea-flow." 
It waved there to and fro ; 



138 Heine's Influence on American Literature 



HEINE'S INFLUENCE ON AMERICAN LITERATURE. 

Introduction. 

So powerful has been Heine's influence that unmistakable 
traces are discernible in the Hteratures of all cultured lands. His 
works are read, admired and translated into every cultivated 
language. Heine's claim to immortality is that in his works the 
whole spiritual life of his age is reflected and expressed. Its in- 
tellectual endeavor, its wildest passions, its tenderest emotion, its 
hope and its disappointment find a voice in his verse. A high 
theme, but one which he treated in no abstract manner, in no 
careful exalted style. There lives in his works a spirit which 
breaks through the national boundaries of talent and feeling. 
Heine is not infrequently praised and esteemed in foreign 
countries more than Goethe. We have a monograph by Louis 
Betz on Heine in France, a very comprehensive and diligent 
piece of research work from which we learn much. On Heine's 
influence in Russia, Italy and South America, similar works have 
appeared. In England the influence of Heine's works manifested 
itself slowly, for his genius had to make peace with the temper 
of the nation. In spite of many eminent examples to the con- 
trary, the natural tendency of the English lyric is robust and joy- 
ous. To Clough and Matthew Arnold we may attribute the first 
conscious introduction of Heine's influences into English 
poetry. When they first imitated the cadences of Heine, a force 
was required which should be a powerful reaction against the 
false melancholy of Byronism. The best work of Arnold dis- 
played a peculiar originality, by fusing with the serene philosophy 
of Wordsworth and the sensuous ecstasy of Keats, the sensi- 
bility and vibrations of the soul of Heine. To a still later school, 
that of Pater and Swinburne, Heine's great discovery lay less in 
his attitude of intellectual revolt than in his adoption of a modern 
and yet intense paganism, — the originality and vitality of his at- 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 139 

titude toward beauty. It is undoubtedly the most independent, the 
most unacademic that the world had seen. Heine in an age but 
half emancipated from the so-called rules of Aristotle, and sur- 
rounded by those who could give a reason for every article of 
imaginative faith which they professed, played the double part 
of a rebel angel and delicious child. "English literature owes to 
Heine, if not directly, at least indirectly, and to elements first 
unchained by him, all that is most original, least servile, and most 
sensitive in the European arts of today," says Edmund Gosse. 
Heine's very powerlessness and faint intellectual beatings against 
the prison bars of life, have helped greatly to break down the 
stronghold of conventionality. It is precisely the mystery of 
Heine, his enigmatic smile, his want of definite outline, which, 
combined with the pure flame of his genius, have given to his ar- 
rogance and irony, his pity and indignation, his romantic melody 
and his capricious wit their triumphant charm. Wherever a new 
vision of beauty arises, wherever the false is mocked at and the 
true encouraged, wherever the conception of a young enthusiasm 
disturbs the comfortable inaction of the elderly, there Heine is \ 
present in spirit. 

In the poetry of Robert Buchanan and James Thomson, the 
author of the City of Dreadful Night, the influence of Heine is 
clearly seen. Sharp in his Earth's Voices celebrates nature after 
the manner of Heine. 

Concerning Heine's influence in America very little of a 
positive nature has been known. As early as 1885 C. G. Leland 
had declared in his preface to his translation of Heine's Reise- 
hilder, that no living German writer had exerted an influence at 
all comparable to that of Heine, and that since Goethe, no author 
had penetrated so generally through every class of society. Mr. 
E. C. Stedman in his Poets of America (Boston, 1886) had 
called attention to the influence of Heine on Longfellow's Hy- 
perion and Voices of the Night and had even gone so far as to point 
out some resemblances. Mr. Stedman was also struck by Poe's 
absolute love of beauty and was inclined to find a parallel in 
Heine's idolatry of the Lady of Milo. To Lowell belongs the 



140 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

credit of discovering Heine's dominating influence on W. D. 
Howells. In some prose sketch of Howells, Lowell's keen analy- 
sis had found the Heine, and Lowell advised Howells to try to 
sweat the Heine out as men do mercury. Professer T. R. Louns- 
bury in his volume on J. F. Cooper in the American Men of 
Letters series noted some close similarities between Cooper's 
phrases and descriptions of events in Paris after the July Revolu- 
tion, and those of Heine in the columns of the Augsburg Allge- 
meine Zeitung. William Sharp in his Life of Heine (London, 
1888) conjectured that Frank Stockton, the American humorist, 
derived hints for one or two of his best known tales from 
Heine's extravaganza The White Elephant, to be found in the 
Romanzero. Professor Brander Matthews in his Introduction 
to American Literature says that Longfellow's lyrics have a 
singing simplicity caught probably from German lyrists such as 
Uhland and Heine. Equally vague and inconclusive are the con- 
jectures of C. F. Richardson, who in his American Literature 
acknowledges, in an indefinite manner, Longfellow's indebted- 
ness to Heine, and hints at the possibility of this influence being 
present in R. H. Stoddard and W. W. Story. Concerning 
Heine's influence on the poetry of W. D. Howells, Richardson 
feels at liberty to express himself with more certainty and empha- 
sis. The general scope and nature of Heine's influence are thus 
defined by W. D. Howells in Harper's Magazine (Vol. 107, 
pp. 480-483 ) : "Heine remained an influence and force destined to 
be felt wherever and whenever literary art feels the need of liber- 
ation. What Heine does for the reader, who is also a writer, is 
to help him find his own true nature; to teach him that form 
which is the farthest from formality ; to reveal to him the secret 
of being himself. He cannot impart the grace, the beauty in 
which he abounds, but if his lover has either in him, Heine will 
discover it to him. The delight of his instruction will be mainly 
aesthetic, but the final meaning of his life and work is deeply and 
sadly ethical." 

After hearing the testimony of these authoritative voices 
concerning the extent and character of the influence exerted by 
Heine in America, one can realize the difficulty of giving a com- 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 141 . 

plete account of such a pervading force. This force has mani- 
fested itself in both prose and verse, and has been operative since 
the publication of Haven's translation of Die Romantische Schule 
in Boston, in 1836. Heine's influence first appears in a positive 
form in Longfellow's Hyperion and continues to the present day, 
being still recognizable in the verse of such contemporary poets 
as Madison Cawein and Lilian Whiting, and in the novels of 
W. D. Howells and Marion Crawford.^® Heine himself was well 
aware of his enormous popularity in America. Attacks on his 
character and works in Germany saddened his last days. Dur- 
ing Meissner's last visit to him in the summer of 1854 Heine 
remarked: "How the journals calumniate me! What a miser- 
able wretch am I, according to those articles. How many faults 
do they find in my works? If this goes on much farther I shall 
soon cease to be counted among the poets. I am treated so only 
in that Germany which I love so well, while France gives me 
nothing but words of praise, America reprints me, and scholars 
in New York and Albany make me the subject of their lectures." 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807- 1882). 

German influence began to exert itself on Longfellow when 
he was a student, and continued to make itself felt in his later 
life during his first visit to Germany, in 1829. In August of the 
following year he returned to America, and was for five years 
professor of modern languages at Bowdoin College. Here he 
read more or less German literature. In April, 1835, Longfellow 
again sailed for Europe, traveled through Germany and Switzer- 
land, and in the following October returned to America in order 
to become professor of modern languages at Harvard. He de- 
livered lectures and wrote on German literature. In April, 1842, 
he went to Europe for the third time. In Germany he planned 
his Christus, made the acquaintance of Freiligrath, and turned 



" In view of this immense extent of Heine's influence, we will in our 
present section confine ourselves mainly to tracing the influence in American 
poetry, beginning with Longfellow and concluding with John Hay, Eugene 
Field, and others, who died but recently. 



142 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

his attention to the Jungdeutsche Schide. Returning to America 
in the winter of 1842 he remained for twenty- five years in 
America, and delivered lectures on Goethe and Schiller, and 
published his Poets and Poetry of Europe, and read the works of 
Fichte, Kant, Grillparzer, Uhland and Heine. In 1868 he went 
to Europe for the last time, and on his return to America, read 
Schlegel, Grimm and Voss. Longfellow also felt the German 
influence through his friendly relations with Freiligrath, Karl 
Follen, Franz Lieber, Karl Schurz and Johann Georg Rohl. But 
not only in his life as a scholar and man do we observe the in- 
fluence of German spirit and culture, but also in his poetical and 
prose works. Goethe interested him always and Richter was his 
favorite author. How deep and permanent his impressions of 
Germany were is evident in many passages. Especially is the 
Rhineland mentioned frequently. Longfellow's genius was al- 
most feminine in its flexibility and sympathetic quality. It 
readily took the color of its surroundings and opened itself 
eagerly to impressions of the beautiful from every quarter, but 
especially from books. The young poet's fancy was instinctively 
putting out feelers toward the Old World. After his visit to 
Europe he returned deeply imbued with the spirit of romance. 
It was his mission to refine American tastes by revealing new 
springs of beauty in the literature of foreign tongues. His mis- 
sion was interpretative; his inspiration came to him, in the first 
instance, from other sources than the common life about him. 
He naturally began as a translator, and in subtler ways than by 
direct translation he infused the fine essence of European poetry 
into his own. We have already noted the recognition and 
acknowledgment of Longfellow's indebtedness to Heine, by 
such eminent American litterateurs and critics as Richardson, 
Matthews, and Stedman. In previous sections we have discussed 
Longfellow's criticisms on Heine and his transaltion of Nachts 
in der Kajiite and various prose extracts from Graham's Magch 
sine. Of the numerous quotations from Die Romantische 
Schule in Hyperion and Poets and Poetry of Europe we have 
already spoken. In his edition of Poems of Places Longfellow 
inserted a number of poems from Heine translated by various 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 143 

men, and in the preface he said : "For myself, I confess that 
these poems have an indescribable charm, as showing how the 
affections of men have gone forth to their favorite haunts, and 
consecrated them forever." 

In his article on Heine in Graham's Magazine Longfellow 
had said that Heine's style was remarkable for vigor, wit and 
brilliancy. Commenting on Heine's Buck der Lieder Long- 
fellow wrote in his journal,^'^ June 4, 1846: "A true summer 
morning, warm and breezy. F. sat under the linden-tree and 
read to me Heine's poems, while I lay under a hay-cock. . . . 
Heine, delicious poet, for such an hour ! What a charm there is 
about his Buck der Lieder! Ah, here they would be held by 
most people as ridiculous. Many poetic souls there are here and 
many lovers of song; but life and its ways and ends are prosaic 
in this country to the last degree." 

In Volume II, page no, in the Journal, February 9, 1848, 
we read the following: "Received some German books — 
sketches of the German political lyric poets, with portraits. 
. . . Heine, a pleasant face, and indicating the sarcastic na- 
ture of the modern Scarron." 

Writing to James T. Fields, from Nahant, August 15, 
1859, Longfellow®^ comments on Heine's Lutere as follows: 
"Read Lutere by Henri Heine ; spicy descriptions of Paris and 
Parisian notabilities in the days of Louis Philippe." 

In a letter ®^ to G. W. Greene, dated March 7, 1879, Long- 
fellow says of Zendrini's translation of Heine: "A 
more important achievement is a translation of Heine's poems 
into Italian by Bernardino Zendrini — a volume of over four 
hundred pages, sent me by the translator, desideroso di un sua 
guidisio." As far as I have examined it, he has done his work 
well. And what a difficult work ! There is evidently a great and 
strange fascination in translating. It seizes people with irresist- 
ible power and whirls them away till they are beside them- 



*' Life of H. W. Longfellow, edited by Samuel Longfellow. 3 Vols. Bos- 
ton, 1893. Vol. II, p. 41. 

"Life of Longfellow, by Samuel Longfellow. Vol. II, p. 372. 
"Vol. Ill, p. 298. 



144 Heine's Infliience on American Literature 

selves. It is like a ghost beckoning me to follow." The forego- 
ing quotations show how frequently Longfellow occupied him- 
self with the reading and study of Heine's works, and we shall 
now proceed to consider the traces of Heine's influence which are 
recognizable in Longfellow's works, confining ourselves mainly 
to his poetry. Longfellow appears to have made his acquaintance 
with Heine's works very early in life, for in his sketch book 
Outre-Mer (1833 and 1835) where Irving's Sketch Book is the 
model, we can find traces of German influence, especially Heine's 
Reisehilder. Compare, for instance, the remarks made by Long- 
fellow on the narrowness of the streets of Genoa with that of 
Heine in his Reisehilder, on the same point. In Hyperion ( 1839) 
he shows us pictures of German life and is full of allusions to 
German literature and quotations from Heine, Goethe and Jean 
Paul. The grotesque episode of Frau Kranick's tea in Ems is 
conceived entirely in the manner of Heine. The sentimental 
tone that prevades Hyperion is the very thing which Longfellow 
subsequently found fault with in the Reisehilder. The view of life 
presented in his Hyperion is optimistic, yet it is overhung with 
the same purple melancholy and affected by that same feeling of 
sadness so characteristic of some of Heine's verse in the BiLch der 
Lieder. It was with justification that Poe called Longfellow a 
sentimentalist as Longfellow had called Heine, when speaking of 
the Reisehilder. Longfellow's fame began with the appearance 
in 1839 of his Voices of the Night. Only nine new pieces were 
in this book : these with the translations following have charac- 
teristics that his verse continued to display. The Prelude re- 
calls Heine's third edition of the Buch der Lieder {"Das ist der 
alte Mdrchenwald," Elster, I, 8), then just published. Aside from 
the influence of Heine's manner as indicated in the melodious 
quality of the verse, the simplicity, the symbolism, the quiet, 
smooth beginning, these two preludes have many characteristics 
in common. The sylvan scene corresponds to der alte Mdrchen- 
wald; the slumberous sound of the leaves of the patriarchal tree 
clapping their hands in glee, which brings the feelings of a 
dream, corresponds to 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 145 

" Sie jubelt so traurig, 
Sie schluchzet so froh; 
Vergessene Traume erwachen." 

Both preludes have the reverie, the visions of youth. 
" Before me rose an avenue 
Of tall and sombrous pines" ; 

reminds us of "Ich ging fiirbass, und wie ich ging, so sah ich 
vor mir liegen auf frei^m Platz ein grosses Schloss," etc. To 
Heine the sylvan scene recalls the vision of his youthful love and 
pain, to Longfellow it recalls the dreams of youth, visions of 
childhood that were so sweet and wild. Distant voices tell Long- 
fellow that visions of childhood cannot stay, and that other 
themes now demand his lay. Henceforth his song must be, the 
forest where the din of iron branches sounds, and the river re- 
flects the heavens all black with sin; all forms of sorrow, and 
delight, — these must now be his theme. We see here the deep 
tinge of melancholy which pervades Heine's Vorrede zur dritten 
Auflage of his Buck der Lieder. Longfellow realizes that delight 
exists together with sorrow. We are naturally reminded of the 
words of the nightingale in Heine's prelude: 

"Die Nachtigall sang: O schone Sphinx! 
O Liebe ! was soil es bedeuten, 
Dass du vermischest mit Todesqual 
Alle deine Seligkeiten." 

Later poems show very well that Longfellow caught the 
manner of Heine. In The Day is Done, The Bridge, Twilight, 
we find repeated the reverie and the favorite rhythm of Heine. 
These poems also reproduce the wonderful singing quality of 
Heine's verse, but of course they do not contain the scorn and 
passion of the German. Longfellow like Heine is the poet of 
sentiment. The spontaneous ease and grace are the best technical 
qualities of Longfellow's lyrics, and these qualities he derived 
chiefly from a careful study of Heine. In some poems Long- 
fellow displays a subtlety in feeling and suggestiveness that re- 
mind us of Heine's lyrics. The Fire of Driftwood is the subtlest 



146 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

thing in feeling that Longfellow ever wrote. If there is any par- 
ticular in which Longfellow's inspiration came to him at first 
hand and not through books, it is in respect to aspects of the sea. 
On this theme no American poet has written more beautifully 
and with a keener sympathy than the author of The Wreck of the 
Hesperus, and of Seazveed. Yet Longfellow owes part of this 
inspiration to Heine's sea-poetry, Die Nordsee. The poem en- 
titled the Fire of Driftwood reminds us of Heine's Wir sassen am 
Fischerhause (Elster, I, 98). The resemblances in theme and 
situation are of course merely accidental, but the manner, tone 
and spirit is the same in both poems. Compare for instance the 
first strophes of both poems : 

" Wir sassen am Fischerhause, 
Und schauten nach der See ; 
Die Abendnebel kamen, 
Und stiegen in die Hohe." 

" We sat within the farm-house old, 
Whose windows, looking o'er the bay, 
Gave to the sea-breeze damp and cold, 
An easy entrance night and day." 

The Open Window reproduces admirably the favorite 
rhythm, the tone, spirit, simplicity, suggestiveness, melody, grace 
and charm of Heine's songs. The theme is, to be sure, hardly 
Heine-like, but everything else is decidedly in Heine's character- 
istic manner. Other examples of the influence of Heine's tech- 
nique might be mentioned, but these will suffice to convince us 
that the grace that takes the ear with delight, the singing sim- 
plicity and all other fascinating characteristics of Longfellow's 
lyrics are mostly copied from Heine, although the influence of 
Uhland is also very strong. 

Heine begins quietly, smoothly. He produces his effect not 
by direct delineation or representation, but by the suggestion of 
the less important of the small things in which the great are re- 
flected. Remarkable is Heine's style for condensation, pregnant 
brevity, and subtle suggestiveness. These characteristics of 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 147 

Heine's technique Longfellow endeavored to imitate and in the 
poems mentioned he succeeds well. But Longfellow was not a 
mocker and he did not permit a discordant note to jingle in his 
lyrics, and consequently the sudden revulsion of mood, so often 
found in the last lines of Heine's poems, is entirely absent. How 
successfully Longfellow was able to imitate Heine's technique i? 
well illustrated by the poem entitled Twilight, which may be 
compared to Heine's Das ist ein schlechtes Wetter (Elstei, 
I, 109) : 

The twilight is sad and cloudy, 
The wind blows wild and free, 
And like the wings of sea-birds 
Flash the white caps of the sea. 

But in the fisherman's cottage 
There shines a ruddier light. 
And a little face at the window 
Peers out into the night. 

Close, close it is pressed to the window. 
As if those childish eyes 
Were looking into the darkness 
To see some form arise. 

And a woman's waving shadow 

Is passing to and fro. 

Now rising to the ceiling, , 

Now bowing and bending low. 

What tale do the roaring ocean 
And the night-wind, bleak and wild. 
As they beat at the crazy casement, 
Tell to that little child? 

And why do the roaring ocean, 
And the night-wind, wild and bleak, 
As they beat at the heart of the mother, 
Drive the color from her cheek? 



148 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891). 

If some small savor creep into my rhyme 
Of the old poets ; if some words I use, 
Neglected long, which have the lusty tJhews 
Of that gold-haired and earnest-hearted time, 

Whose loving joy and sorrow all sublime 

Have given our tongue its starry eminence, 

It is not pride, God knows, but reverence 

Which hath grown in me since my childhood's prime. 

— James Russell Lowell. 

In mature youth Lowell took his seat in the Harvard Chair 
of Modern Languages, succeeding Longfellow as professor in 
1855. Already possessing scholarly knowledge of the German 
language and literature, Lowell in 1851 visited Europe and 
widened his acquaintance with modern languages. A little vol- 
ume of poems entitled A Year's Life appeared in 1841. This 
was marked by no great originality. In these early verses 
Lowell showed himself to be a young man of sentiment and 
sometimes of sentimentality. Margaret Fuller asserted that 
neither the imagery nor the music of his verse was his own. 
The lines quoted above acknowledge the force of this criticism. 
The influence of Wordsworth and Tennyson may be distinctly 
traced in most of his early poems. But Lowell was not so spon- 
taneously and exclusively a poet as Longfellow. His prose is 
superior; wit sparkles through his essavs and in the best parts 
of the Fable for Critics and Biglow Papers. The influence of 
Heine can be traced in Lowell's prose and poetry. For his 
brilliant wit and satirical style Lowell is greatly indebted to 
Heine. Atta Troll and Deutschland were favorites with Lowell, 
and his penchant for satire was stimulated and developed by the 
perusal and study of these satirical poems. That Atta Troll 
constantly haunted his mind we are assured by the well-known 
sonnet The Dancing Bear, previously quoted. 

Lowell in his essay on Lessing shows us how well he was 
acquainted with Deutschland. In discussing Lowell's criticisms 
on Heine we pointed out his appreciation of the German's wit, 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 149 

humor, pathos, grace and dainty lightness. Lowell's Harvard 
Anniversary Address (1886) contains reference to Leland's 
translation of Heine's Reisehilder, and to Heine's hating the 
Romans because they invented the Latin language. 

His essay on Witchcraft contains comment on the quota- 
tion from Heine : "Genau bei Weibern, Weiss man neimals wo 
der Engel aufhort und der Teufel anfangt." Should we require 
further proof of Lowell's familiarity with Heine's characteristic 
style we may get it from W. D. Howells' book entitled Liter- 
ary Friends and Acquaintances (New York, 1900). On his first 
visit to New England Mr. Howells visited Lowell and told him 
of the trouble he had in finding him, and could not help dragging 
in something about Heine's search for Borne when he went to 
see him in Frankfurt. Then Lowell spoke to Howells about 
Heine and when Howells showed his ardor for the German poet, 
he sought to temper it with some judicious criticisms and told 
Howells that he had kept the first poem he had sent him for the 
Atlantic Monthly for the long time it had been unacknowledged 
to make sure it was not a translation from Heine. Mr. Howells 
in his volume entitled My Literary Passions tells us that in some 
prose sketch of his, Lowell's keen analysis had found the Heine, 
and that Lowell advised him to sweat the Heine out of his bones 
as men do mercury. 

Lowell's fine prose style shows the influence of Heine in the 
airy lightness, wit, humor, grace and satirical pungency. The 
great difference between Lowell's early prose and that of his 
mature style is attributable to the aesthetic lessons from Heine; 
we observe a change from polixity, bombast, ambiguity, affected- 
ness, flatness, sterility, and heaviness to simplicity, lightness, 
brevity, naturalness, vigor, brilliancy, wit, humor and epigram- 
matic charm. Many of the witticisms, epigrams and satirical 
shafts can be traced back to similar utterances in the Reisehilder, 
Atta Troll and Deutschland. But we must confine ourselves to 
Heine's influence on Lowell's poetry and content ourselves with 
the above remarks on the development of the American critic's 
prose style. 



150 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

Lowell's verse, while lacking to some extent the evenness 
and instinctive grace of Heine's lyrics, yet displays the same 
melodious qualities and sentimentality. The poem In the Tzvi- 
light Deep and Silent repeats the reverie, longing, sentimentality, 
subtle suggestiveness and imagery of Heine's lyrics. The calm 
beginning, simplicity and melodious flow of verse also remind us 
of Heine's manner. Quite in the manner of Heine is also the 
song What Reck I of the Stars?". The technique and sentimen- 
tality of the poem reminds us of Das Meer hat seine Perlcn. 

In the poem From the Close-shut Windoivs Gleams No Spark 
we find Heine's melancholy sigh, longing, subtle suggestiveness, 
pregnant condensation, sentimentality, but not his gleam of scorn 
or mockery. Heine's influence is again strongly in evidence in 
the sentimentality of such early lyrics as Moonlight Deep and 
Tender. Of the most convincing nature are the traces of Heine's 
influence in the poem The Captive. Here we have the manner of 
Heine's ballads imitated. If we compare it, for instance, with 
The Pilgrimage to Kevlaar we see that the methods employed 
to produce the effect are precisely the same; especially is this 
noticeable in the incompleteness and suggestiveness. The gift 
of describing by means of introducing characters into lyric poetry 
was common to both Heine and Lowell. Another striking simi- 
larity is the imagery and symbolism employed in the seventh 
strophe of this same poem. The Captive. Let us compare it with 
Heine's matchless and famous poem Ein Fichtenbaum steht 
einsam : 

Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam 
Im Norden auf kahler Hoh' 
Ihn schlafert; mit weisser Decke 
Umhiillen ihn Eis und Schnee. 
Er traumt von einer Palme, 
Die fern im Morgfenland 
Einsam und schweigend trauert 
Auf brennender Felsenwand. 

The seventh strophe of Lowell's poem, The Captive, is as 
follows : 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 151 

^ On a green spot in the desert, 

Gleaming like an emerald star, 
Where a palm-tree, in lone silence, 
Yearning for its mate afar. 
Droops above a silver runnel, 
Slender as a scimitar. 

Lowell undoubtedly had Heine's famous poem in mind when 
he wrote these lines. Anyone at all familiar with Heine's manner 
and technique in his ballads will be at once struck by the re- 
semblance and influence which such ballads as The Captive pre- 
sent. Heine's influence is chiefly discernible in the manner em- 
ployed by Lowell in his lyrical poems to produce his effect. Ac- 
cordingly he does this by suggestion, and indirect representation 
as Heine always does. Lowell, however, was not so felicitous in 
reproducing the perfection, grace, subtlety of thought and aroma 
of Heine's lyrics. In this respect Lowell was surpassed by Long- 
fellow, who succeeded admirably in imitating Heine's cadences 
and style in many poems. 

Bayard Taylor (1825-1878). 

Taylor was a man of buoyant and eager nature ; he possessed 
a remarkable memory, a talent for learning languages, and too 
great a readiness to take on the hue of his favorite books. His 
poetry, though full of glow and picturesqueness is largely imita- 
tive, suggesting Tennyson not infrequently, but more often 
Shelley. The dangerous quickness with which he caught the 
manner of other poets made him an admirable parodist and en- 
abled him to give us his wonderful translation of Faust. The 
dominant German influence in Taylor is, of course, Goethe. His 
whole life may be said to have been devoted to the study of 
Goethe's life and works. In his twelve lectures on German litera- 
ture delivered at Cornell University, Taylor concludes with Jean 
Paul. Of Heine, Taylor speaks but seldom in his various works. 
In Views A- foot (Chapter XI) Taylor while speaking of Freili- 
graph remarked: "He (Freiligrath) is now in Paris, where 
Heine and Herwegh, two of Germany's finest poets, both banished 
for the same reason, are living. The free spirit which charac- 



152 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

terizes these men, who come from among the people, shows 
plainly the tendency of the times." 

From references in Views A-foot and By-Ways of Europe 
to the Lorelei legend and Barbarossa in Kyffhaiiser, and from his 
remarks °^ on John B. Phillips' translation of Heine's Gods of 
Greece, we learn of Taylor's familiarity with Heine's poems. 
C. G. Leland in his Memoirs (New York, 1893, p. 228) tells us 
that Taylor read in conjunction with Thackeray, his (Leland's) 
translation of Heine's Reisebilder (1855). 

Heine's influence on Taylor was slight and manifested itself 
chiefly in his use of the ballad or folksong measures and in the 
simplicity of diction. The poem On The Headland (*'The Poet's 
Journal") repeats Heine's favorite rhythm and also his longing 
and sentimentality. The same rhythm is found in Exorcism, 
Squandered Lives, In Winter, etc. Heine's symbolism of Ein 
Fichtenhaum steht einsam is evidently copied in the title of 
Taylor's poem The Palm and the Pine, although there is no other 
resemblance between the two poems. A Picture (Poems and 
Lyrics) is somewhat in Heine's manner, repeating the favorite 
rhythm, reverie, subtle suggestiveness, and longing. The same 
smooth and quiet beginning, the vision, the passion and feeling of 
desolation that we find so frequently in Heine, is characteristic of 
A Picture. Peculiarly Heineesque is the sudden recovery from 
the reverie and revulsion of mood as expressed in the last strophe 
of this poem (A Picture) : 

I see him through the doleful shades 
Press onward, sad and slow, 
Till from my dream the picture fades. 
And from my heart the woe. 

Richard Henry Stoddard. 

In his Reminiscences R. H, Stoddard leads us to believe that 
he was not a scholar and was not able to read foreign languages. 
But he tells us that it was his custom to read translations of 



*^ Life and Letters of Bayard Taylor, edited by Taylor & Scudder. 4th 
Ed. Boston, 1885. VoL II, p. 55- 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 153 

Goethe's works and Bowring's translations from European lan- 
guages. He was united in bonds of personal friendship and liter- 
ary enthusiasm with such good German scholars as Bayard 
Taylor, George Boker, E. C. Stedmann and Eugene Field, all 
well acquainted with the works of Heine. Under these circum- 
stances it is highly improbable that such an eminent lyric poet and 
literary critic as Stoddard should have been ignorant of Heine's 
lyrics. Positive and undeniable traces of Heine influence can be 
found in Stoddard's poems. The spontaneous and imaginative 
music of his verse is produced largely by Heine's technique. Pes- 
simistic and aging strains betokening a sense of life's weariness 
and uncertain skies, pervade a good deal of Stoddard's poetry 
and remind us of the "Weltschmerz" of Heine's poems. Concern- 
ing this echo in Stoddard, Richardson ^^ says: "Let his best and 
brightest self sing down in a lyric, or weigh down with some 
strong line from sonnet or ode, such anacreontic memories, such 
Cis-Atlantic echoes or sympathetic answers of Heine, — whose 
influence in the world I am almost ready to declare mischievous." 
By "anacreontic memories" Richardson means Stoddard's songs 
on Asiatic themes. Richardson,^^ who classes Heine with the 
poets of the lesser order (Sappho, Horace, Petrarch, Gray, 
Wordsworth), disapproves of this Heine influence in the 
poems of Stoddard. How admirably Stoddard could imitate 
Heine's lyrics will be obvious if we compare his poem Thou 
Pallid Fishermaiden with Heine's celebrated Du schones Fischer- 
m'ddchen. 

The Sea.'^^ 

(The Lover.) 

Thou pallid fishermaiden, 
That standest by the shore, 
Why dost thou watch the ocean. 
And hearken to its roar? 



'^American Literature, by C. F. Richardson. New York, 1895. Vol. 
11, p. 253. 

"American Literature, Vol. II, p. 151. 

*^ The Poems of R. H. Stoddard. Complete Edition. New York, 1882, 
p. 75. 



154 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

It is some Danish sailor, 
That sails the Spanish main: 
Nor will thy roses redden 
Till he returns again. 

Thou simple fishermaiden, 
He cares no more for thee: 
He sleeps with the mermaidens, 
The witches of the sea. 

Thou should'st not watch the ocean 
And hearken to its roar, 
When bridal bells are ringing 
In little kirks ashore. 

Go, dress thee for thy bridal, 
A stalwart man like me 
Is worth a thousand sailors, 
Whose bones are in the sea. 



A finer imitation of Heine's Du schones Fischei mddclun 
could scarcely be made. The rhythm, tone, spirit, theme, senti- 
ment and manner are identical in both poems. The first line is 
almost a translation; the adjective pallid is more appropriate to 
a fishermaiden than "schones." Of poems repeating and re-echo- 
ing the "Weltschmerz" and pessimism, Stoddard has written 
very many. These can be easily found and the Heine influence 
detected. But we shall conclude our study on Stoddard by quot- 
ing one more delicious lyric which we regard as an imitation of 
Heine's familiar vein: 

The Sea.^^ 
( The Lover. ) 

You stooped and picked a red lipped shell, 

Beside the shining sea; 

"This little shell, when I am gone, 

Will whisper still of me." 

I kissed your hands upon the sands. 

For you were kind to me. 



^ Poems of R. H. Stoddard. New York, 1882, p. 59. 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 155 

I hold the shell against my ear, 

And hear its hollow roar; 

It speaks to me about the sea, 

But speaks of you no more. 

I face the sands, and wring my hands, 

For you are kind no more. 

Charles Godfrey Leland (1824-iQo^). 
While in Germany during the years' 1845-48 Leland ^^ read 
broad and wide in German literature, as may be found by ex- 
amining the notes to his translation of Heine's works. In Ger- 
many he became a pupil of Professor Friedrich Thiersch who 
trained Heine to art. Leland made the acquaintance of Ole 
Bull, the violinist, who told much about Heine. Ole Bull 
had known Heine very well and he described to Leland his bril- 
liancy in the most distinguished literary society, where in French 
the German wit bore away the palm from all Frenchmen, 
"Heine flashed and sprayed in brilliancy like a fountain." In 
this manner Leland's enthusiastic admiration for Heine origi- 
nated. Heine dominated his thoughts henceforth, and all his 
literary work showed clearly the powerful influence. Of Leland 
as a critic and translator we have already spoken in preceding 
sections. In the preface to his translation of the Reisehilder Le- 
land had declared that no living German writer had exerted an 
influence comparable to that of Heine, and that since Goethe, no 
author had penetrated so generally through every class of 
society. Traces of Heine's influence appeared in Leland's early 
works. The Hans Breitmann Ballads are written in English as 
imperfectly spoken by Germans. Hans is a jocose burlesque 
of a type of Germans. Teutonic philosophy and sentiment, beer, 
music and romance have been made the medium for laughter. 
Leland jests with the new German philosophy in the manner of 
Heine. Breitmann is represented as one of the battered types 
of the men of '48, whose education had led him to scepticism and 
indifference. His mockery reminds us of Heine's predominant 
vein. But in the case of Breitmann the mockery is accidental and 
naive, while Heine's is keen and deliberate. Breitmann's mock- 
ery differs from Heine's as drollery differs from brilliant satire. 

*° Memoirs by C. G. Leland. New York, 1893, p. 156. 



156 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

These poems abound in words, phrases, suggestions, and coup- 
lets borrowed from old ballads, from Heine and from other 
sources. We have burlesque imitations of familiar ballads of 
Goethe and Heine, The influence of Heine is also discernible 
in the simplicity of diction and versification, melody and the 
"Volkslied" tone that prevails throughout the various ballads and 
songs. Concerning Heine's wit Hans Breitmann remarks: 

'Twas like de sayin' that Heine 
Hafe no witz in him goot or bad : 
Boat he only kept sayin' witty dings, 
To make beoples pelieve he had. 

We often get an echo from a Heine lyric in a couplet, as in 
Am Rhein, No. 11, where the following lines remind us of simi- 
lar ones in the Lorelei: 

Am Rhein ! Again am Rhein ! 
In boat oopon der Rhein! 
De castle-bergs soft goldnen 
Im Abendsonnenschein. 

A fine imitation or burlesque of Heine's Ich bin die Prin- 
zessin Use is to be found in the ballad Der noble Ritter Hugo. In 
this ballad we are also reminded of Heine's Lorelei and Goethe's 
Fischer. But it bears the closest resemblance to the Prinzessin 
Use. Leland has caught the manner of Heine admirably in this 
ballad, imitating every characteristic feature. 

Ballad. 

Der noble Ritter Hugo 

Von Schwillensaufenstein, 

Rode out mit shpeer and helmet, 

Und he coom to de panks of de Rhine. 

Und oop der rose a meer maid, 
Vot hadn't got nodings on, 
Und she says, "Oh, Ritter Hugo, 
Vhere you goes mit yourself alone ?" 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 157 

And he says, "I rides in de creenwood 
Mit helmet und mit spheer, 
Till I cooms into ein Gasthaus 
Und dere I trinks some beer." 

Und den outspoke de maiden 
Vot hadn't got nodings on : 
"I ton't dink mooch of beoplesh 
Dat goes mit demselfs alone. 

"You'd petter coom down in de wasser, 
Vere dere's heaps of dings to see, 
Und haf a shplendid tinner 
Und drafel along mit me. 

"Dere you sees de fisch a schwimmin, 
Und you catches dem efery one." — 
So sang die wasser maiden 
Vot hadn't got nodings on. 

"Dere ish drunks all full mit money 
In ships dat vent down of old ; 
Und you helpsh yourself, by dunder ! 
To shimmerin crowns of gold. 

"Shoost look at dese shpoons und vatchesi 
Shoost see dese diamant rings ! 
Coom down und full your bockets, 
Und I'll giss you like avery dings. 

"Vot you vantsh mit your schnapps und lager? 
Coom down into der Rhine ! 
Der ish pottles der Kaiser Charlemagne 
Vonce filled mit gold-red wine!" 

Dat fetched him — ^he shtood all shpell pound ; 
She pooled his coat-tails down. 
She drawed him oonder der wasser, 
De maiden mit nodings on. 

The coupling of love and death so characteristic of Heine's 
poems finds an echo in Leland's volume entitled The Music Les- 
son of Confucius and Other Poems (Boston, 1872). This fact is 
well exemplified in the poem The Fountain Fay, which is a sort 



158 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

of Lorelei. The motto of this poem might very well be the lines 
from Heine's prelude to the third edition of his Book of Songs, 
from which the inspiration is drawn: 

Entziickende Marter und wonniges Weh ! 
Der Schmerz wie die Lust unermesslich ! 
Derweilen des Mundes Kuss mich begliickt, 
Verwunden die Tatzen mich grasslich 

Die Nachtigall sang: "O schone Sphinx! 
O Liebe! was soil es bedeuten, 
Dass du vermischest mit Todesqual 
All deine Seligkeiten? 

The Fountain-Fay.^^ 

Ye gentles all who love your life 
•Beware, beware the water wife! 

She singeth soft, she singeth low ; 

Her lute is the mountain-streamlet's flow ; 

Her harp the pine-wood's mournful moan; 
She sits in the forest and sings alone. 

And her songs, like rippling rivers roll ; 
Beware, beware, ere they drown the soul I 

Ride where you may, ride where you will. 
The Fountain-Fay may meet you still. 

He rode alone in the silent night. 

She swam like a star to his left and right. 

He rode by the linden blooming fair. 
The wood-bird sung: "Oh, boy, beware!" 

He came to the fountain in the wood ; 
The Fay in her beauty before him stood. 

In the starlight, silver sparkling glance 
Her sisters swam in the Elfin dance. 

"Alight, young minstrel, brave and gay, 
And sing us thy sweetest, strangest lay !" 



•• The Music Lesson of Confucius and Other Poems, by C. G. Leland. 
Boston, 1872, pp. 102-103. 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 159 

He tuned his lute, and the tinkling sounds 
Flitted like birds through the greenwood bounds. 

He sang so sweet — he sang so long, 
The flower-buds opened to hear his song. 

He sang so gently of maiden love, 

He ripened the fruit on the boughs above. 

"Far in the East is a rosy light ; 

What shall he have for his song this night ?" 

"I ask no more for lute and lay, 

Than a kiss from the lips of the Fountain-Fay." 

She kissed him once — to the minstrel's sight 
The world seemed melting in golden light. 

Once more and his soul to the land of the fay 
In beauty and music seemed floating away. 

As she kissed him, again the spirit had fled : 
He lay in the moon-rays, cold and dead. 

But far from above a whisper fell: 

"Green earth, with thy valleys and lakes — farewell !" 

Ye who know not the life of poesy, 
Of beauty, romance, and fantasie! 

And who think there can be no world like this, 
Beware of the fairy — beware her kiss. 

It is hardly necessary to observe that to this Heineesque 
poem Leland has added didactic features entirely foreign to 
Heine's manner. Instead of the nightingale of Heine's prelude 
who asks the sphinx for a solution of the mystery of this coup- 
ling of pleasure and pain, or love and death, Leland's didacticism 
induces him to introduce and substitute the wood-bird telling the 
boy to beware of the Fay. The poem Waking Dreams ^"^ repeats 
Heine's unlabored imagery, reverie, condensation, and subtle sug- 
gestiveness together with his yearning and disappointment: 



'^ Music Lesson of Confucius, p. 128. 



i6o Heine's Influence on American Literature 

That thought is no reality, 
Oft waking with a start, we find ; 
But from reahty take thought, — 
How little then remains behind. 

I walk the greenwood all alone, 
And thou in spirit by my side ; 
Ah, then thou art, indeed, my own, 
A something more than earthly bride. 

A dead leaf falls, the vision flies 

Like morning mist from mountain stream ; 

Yet take that vision from my life. 

And life itself were but a dream. 



Another poem in this same volume (Music Lesson of Con- 
fucius) displaying Heine influence is the one entitled The Dream 
(p. 88). As usual Leland adds a prefatory strophe which Heine's 
suggestive manner would have left to the imagination. The 
symbolism employed in this poem by Leland also reminds us of 
Heine's manner. The effect is produced by indirect representa- 
tion. The sentiment is also quite that of Heine. 

An ancient dream has wandered 
Through earth since the earliest time, 
And he o'er whom it sweepeth 
Grows stern — or it may be weepeth. 
Like one who suffers with longing 
For a sweet yet terrible crime. 

It hath but a single picture : 
A fountain which leaps and foams, 
And by it a woman sits yearning. 
Starting 'mid reveries — burning 
For a love which never comes. 

The fountain leaps up in passion, 

Darts out in a gleaming pain ; 

And the longing of him who dreameth, 

And the passion of her who seemeth. 

Fall back into foam again. ; 



Heine's Influence on American Literature i6i 

The influence of Heine's method of description and imagery 
is seen in Leland's poem Eva.^^ The manner is that of Heine's 
Sapphire sind die Augen dein. 

Eva. 

I've seen bright eyes like mountain lakes, 
Reflecting heaven's blue; 
And some like black-volcano gulfs, 
With wild fire flashing through. 

But thine are like the eternal skies, 
Which draw the soul afar — 
Their every glance a meteor, 
And every thought a star. 

Some lips when robbed seem cherries sweet, 
Small sin to those who stole — 
But thine are like the Eden fruit, 
Whose theft may cost a soul. 

Oh coral fruit of paradise ! 
Who would not grasp the prize? 
With heaven so near to bring him back. 
In those eternal eyes. 

In this poem we have once more the co-existence of pleasure 
and pain, love and death, the surest evidence of Heine's in- 
fluence in modern poetry. Entirely in the manner of Heine and 
possessing characteristics only found united in Heine's poetry is 
Leland's poem Then and Now.^^ The pregnant brevity, the 
subtlety of thought and suggestiveness, and particularly the last 
two lines in their epigrammatic turn are peculiar to Heine : 

Then and Now. 

We met and spoke in darkness, 
But my spirit knew your grace, 
And my heart had felt your fetters 
Ere my eyes had seen your face. 



* Music Lesson of Confucius, p. ii8. 
'Music Lesson of Confucius, p. 123. 



1 62 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

That evening dream is over, 
No cloud between us rolls ; 
Now the light is on our faces, 
And the darkness in our souls. 

If the manner, tone and spirit of Heine are well reflected 
and repeated in Then and Now, his reverie, passion, longing, dis- 
appointment and despair are well reproduced in Leland's Para- 
dise Lost,^^^ where Heine's manner is also imitated. 

Paradise Lost. 

And we are in the winter. 
Sadly chilled with frost and snow ! 
Oh, how strange amid my memories 
Seems last summer's rosy glow. 

When your bright eyes opened on me, 
Like two dew-filled lotus flowers, 
When I saw myself reflected 
In the depths of heaven's bowers. 

But in my deepest rapture 
It all vanished — and I fell 
Back to artificial roses : — 
Heavenly lotus, fare thee well ! 

Many more poems might be cited which show Heine's in- 
fluence in thought, tone and manner, but lack of space forbids; 
and we shall conclude our study of Leland's poems by quoting 
one more very characteristic poem, The Mountain and Sea.^^^ 

The Mountain and Sea. 

When gazing on a summer sea 
Beneath a purple sky, 
It oft has seemed a mountain ridge 
Far rising blue and high. 

Now gazing inland and afar. 
The thought still comes to me. 
How much yon distant mountain line 
Is like the dim blue sea. 



'Music Lesson of Confucius, p. 145. 
^ Music Lesson of Confucius, p. 129. 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 163 

When thou art seated by my side 
Loved memories ever rise ; 
When thou art gone up swells the tide 
Of those sweet, sea-blue eyes. 

William Dean Howells (1837- ). 

"I have never'greatly loved an author, without wishing to 
write like him." 

— ^W. D. Howells, My Literary Passions. 

Mr. Howells was born in Ohio. His early life was that of 
a western country editor. In i860 he published jointly with his 
friend, Piatt, a book of verse, Poems of Two Friends. His part 
was remarkable for little but for its imitation of well-known 
themes and styles. Some years later he published a volume of 
poems all his own. The work in this little book was neatly ex- 
ecuted; it contained delicate poetical conceits and flights of 
fancy; but it was poor poetry and failed to gain for its author 
acceptance as a poet of mark and eminence. In i860 Mr. Howells 
did not wish to be anything else but a poet. Lowell had accepted 
and begun to print in the Atlantic Monthly five or six poems of 
his. Besides this he had written poems and sketches, and criti- 
cisms for the Saturday Press, of New York, and he was always 
writing poems and sketches, and criticisms in his own paper. He 
read Thackeray, Eliot, Hawthorne, Reade, De Quincey, Tenny- 
son, Longfellow and Heine and ever more Heine, where there was 
not something new from the others, Mr. Howells has done his 
work of autobiography with such candor and thoroughness that 
we shall let him relate his experience with the works of Heine in 
his own words. Inhishook entitled My Literary Passions.'^^^ Mr. 
Howells tells us how he was initiated into the study of German 
after he left his position as city editor in Cincinnati and returned 
to his home in Columbus, Ohio : "At the same time I took up the 
study of German, which I must have already played with, at such 
odd times as I could find. My father knew something of it, and 
that friend of mine among the printers was already reading it 



New York, 1895, p. 165 f. 



164 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

and trying to speak it. I had their help with the first steps so 
far as the recitations from Ollendorf were concerned, but I was 
impatient to read German, or rather to read one German poet, who 
had seized my fancy from the first line of his I had seen. This 
poet was Heinrich Heine, who dominated me longer than any one 
author that I have known. Where and when I first acquainted 
myself with his most fascinating genius, I cannot be sure, but I 
think it was in some article of the Westminster Review, where 
several poems of his were given in French and German; and 
their singular beauty and grace at once possessed my soul. I was 
in a fever to know more of him, and it was my great good luck 
to fall in with a German in the village who had his books. He 
was a book-binder, one of those educated artisans whom the 
Revolution of 1848 sent to us in great numbers. He was a Han- 
overian and his accent was then, I believe, the standard, though 
Berlinese is now the accepted pronunciation. But I cared very 
little for accent ; my wish was to get at Heine with as little delay 
as possible, and I began to cultivate the friendship of that book- 
binder in every way. ... I clothed him in all the romantic 
interest, I began to feel for his race and language, which now 
took the place of the Spaniards and Spanish in my affections. He 
was of very quick and gay intelligence, with more sympathy for 
my love of my author's humor than for my love of his sentiment, 
and I can remember very well the twinkle of his little sharp, black 
eyes with their Tartar slant, and the twitching of his keenly- 
pointed sensitive nose, when we came to some passage of biting 
satire, or some phrases in which the bitter Jew had unpacked all 
the insult of his soul. We began to read Heine together when my 
vocabulary had to be dug almost word by word out of the diction- 
ary, for the bookbinder's English was rather scanty at the best, 
and was not literary. As for the grammar, I was getting that up 
as fast as I could from Ollendorf, and from other sources, but I 
was enjoying Heine before I well knew a declension or a con- 
jugation. As soon as my task was done at the office, I went home 
to the books and worked away at them until supper. Then my 
book-binder and I met in my father's editorial room, and with a 
couple of candles on the table, between us, and our Heine and 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 165 

the dictionary before us, we read until we were both tired out. 
. . . It seems to have been summer when our reading began. 
. . . I can see the perspiration on the shining forehead of the 
book-binder as he looks up from some brilliant passage, to ex- 
change a smile of triumph with me at having made out the mean- 
ing with the meagre facilities we had for that purpose. Some- 
times in the truce we made with the text, he told a little story of 
his life at home, or some anecdote relevant to our reading, or 
quoted a passage from some other author. It seemed to me the 
make of a high intellectual banquet, and I should be glad if I 
could enjoy anything as much now. We walked home as far as 
his house; ... we exchanged a joyous *Gute Nacht,' and 
I kept on homeward through the dark and silent village street, 
which was really not that street, but some other where Heine had 
been, some street out of the Reisehilder, of his knowledge or of 
his dream. When I reached home it was useless to go to bed. I 
shut myself into my little study, and went over what we had read, 
till my brain was so full of it that when I crept up to my room 
at last, it was to lie down to slumbers which were often mere 
phantasmagory of those witching Pictures of Travel. . . . 
The German of Heine when once you are in the yoke of his ca- 
pricious genius, is very simple, and in his poetry it is simple from 
the first, so that he was perhaps the best author I would have 
fallen in with if I wanted to go fast rather than far. I found 
this out later when I attempted other German authors without the 
glitter of his wit or the lambent glow of his fancy to light 
me on my hard way. I should find it hard to say just why his 
peculiar genius had such an absolute fascination for me from the 
very first and perhaps I had better content myself with saying 
simply that my literary liberation began with almost the earliest 
word from him; for if he chained me to himself, he freed me 
from all other bondage. I had been at infinite pains from time to 
time, now upon one model, now upon another. ... I had 
supposed with the sense at times that I was wrong, that the ex- 
pression of literature must be different from the expression of 
life ; that it must be an attitude, a pose, with something of state 
or at least of formality in it ; that it must be this style, and not 



1 66 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

that, that it must be like that sort of acting which you know is 
acting when you see it and never mistake for reality. There are 
a great many children apparently grown up, and largely accepted 
as critical authorities, who are still of this youthful opinion of 
mine. But Heine at once showed me that this ideal of literature 
was false ; that the life of literature was from the springs of the 
best common speech, and that the nearer it could be made to con- 
form in voice, look and gait, to graceful, easy picturesque and 
humorous or impassioned talk, the better it was. He did not 
impart those truths without imparting certain tricks with them, 
which I was careful to imitate as soon as I began to write in his 
manner, that is to say instantly; . . . my final lesson from 
him, or the final effect of all my lessons from him, was to find 
myself, and to be for good or evil whatsoever I really was. I 
kept on writing as much like Heine as I could for several years, 
though, and for a much longer time than I should have done if 
I had ever become equally impassioned of any other author. 
Some traces of his method lingered so long in my work that 
nearly ten years afterward Mr. Lowell wrote me about something 
of mine that he had been reading. 'You must sweat the Heine 
out of your bones as men do mercury.' And his kindness for me 
would not be content with less than the entire expulsion of the 
poison that had in its good time saved my life. I dare say it 
was all well enough not to have it in my bones after it had done 
its office, but it did do its office. It was in some prose sketch of 
mine that his keen analysis had found the Heine, but the foreign 
property had been so prevalent in my earlier work in verse that 
he kept the first contribution he accepted from me for the Atlantic 
Monthly a long time, or long enough to make sure that it was not 
a translation of Heine. Then he printed it, and I am bound to say 
that the poem now justifies his doubt to me, in so much that I do 
not see why Heine should not have had the name of writing it if 
he had wanted. His potent spirit became immediately so wholly 
my control, as the mediums say, that my poems might as well have 
been communications from him as far as any authority of my 
own was concerned ; and they were quite like other inspirations 
from the other world in being so inferior to the work of the spirit 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 167 

before it had the misfortune to be disembodied and obliged to use 
a medium. But I do not think that either Heine or I had much 
lasting harm from it, and I am sure that the good, in my case at 
least, was one that can only end with me. He undid my hands, 
which I had taken such pains to tie behind my back, and he for- 
ever persuaded me that though it may be ingenious and surprising 
to dance in chains, it is neither pretty nor useful." 

If all authors were as frank in acknowledging their indebted- 
ness as Mr. Howells, investigations like this would be quite un- 
necessary. It remains for us merely to add to and exemplify Mr. 
Howells' remarks just quoted. He tells us also in his Literary 
Passions that he went on reading his adored Heine much more 
than Goethe, Schiller or Uhland. He went on writing him too, 
just as he went on reading and writing Tennyson. Heine was 
always a personal interest with him and every word of his made 
Howells long to have him say it to him, and tell him why he said 
it. Heine bore to him the message of humanity. He knew the 
ugliness of Heine's nature; his revenge fulness, and malice, and 
cruelty, and treachery and uncleanness; and yet he found him 
supremely charming among the poets he read. The tenderness 
Mr. Howells still feels for Heine is not a reasoned love, as he 
himself acknowledges. Mr. Howells had a room-mate in Colum- 
bus, Ohio, who was a contributor to the Atlantic Monthly and who 
read Browning as devotedly as Mr. Howells read Heine. What 
Mr. Howells could not endure without pangsof secret jealousy was 
that his room-mate should like Heine, too, and should read him, 
though in an English version. Concerning this intruder Mr. 
Howells writes in his Literary Passions: "He (Mr. Howells' 
room-mate) had found the origin of those tricks and turns of 
Heine's in Tristram Shandy and the Sentimental Journey; and 
this galled me, as if he had shown that some mistress of my soul 
had studied her graces from another girl, and that it was not all 
her own hair that she wore. I hid my rancor as well as I could, 
and took what revenge lay in my power by insinuating that he 
might have a very different view if he read Heine in the origi- 
nal." 



1 68 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

While he was in Venice as United States Consul, Mr. Ho wells 
devoted most of his leisure hours to the study of Italian literature. 
For the present he went no further in German literature, and he 
recurred to it in later years only for deeper and fuller knowledge 
of Heine. In his Literary Friends and Acquaintances (New 
York, 1900) he tells us that when he was on his first visit to New 
England in i860, he was resolved above all things to see things 
as Heinrich Heine saw them, or at least to report them as he did, 
no matter how they appeared. He went about framing phrases 
to this end, and trying to match the objects of interest to them 
whenever there was the least chance of getting them together. 
He was the mere response and hollow echo of Heine. The Italian 
Journeys appeared in 1869 ^"^ showed distinct traces of Heine's 
influence in the pseudo-cynicism, satirical tone, and sentimen- 
tality. In speaking of Genoa he repeats the remark from Reise- 
hilder that the streets of Genoa are so narrow that the people sit 
and talk in their doorways, and touch knees with the people sitting 
and talking on the thresholds of the opposite side. When Mr. 
Howells classes the French commercial travelers as "cattle" we 
are reminded of Heine's famous division of the inhabitants of 
Gottingen (in Harzreise) into professors, students, philistines 
and cattle. To illustrate the influence of Heine on Mr. Howells' 
early prose style, manifesting itself in pseudo-cynicism, satire, 
wit, humor and epigram, we shall quote a passage from Chapter 
VI of the Italian Journeys: "Like the Englishman who had no 
prejudices, I do hate a Frenchman ; and there were many French- 
men among our passengers on the Messina in whose company 
I could hardly have been happy, had I not seen them horribly sea- 
sick. After the imprudent old gentleman of the sardines and 
fruit-pie, these wretched Gauls were the first to be seized with 
the malady, which became epidemic, and they were miserable up 
to the last moment on board. To the enormity of having been 
born Frenchmen they added the crime of being commercial 
travellers, — a class of fellow-men of whom we know little at 
home, but who are met everywhere in European travel. They 
spend more than half their lives in movement from place to place, 
and they learn to snatch from every kind of travel its meagre 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 169 

comforts, with an insolent disregard of the rights and feehngs of 
other passengers. They excuse an abominable trespass with a 
cool 'Pardon !' take the best seat everywhere, and especially treat 
women with savage rudeness, to which an American vainly en- 
deavors to accustom his temper. I have seen commercial travellers 
of all nations, and I think I must award the French nation the 
discredit of producing the most odious commercial travellers in 
the world. The Englishman of this species wraps himself in his 
rags, and rolls into his corner, defiantly, but not aggressively 
boorish ; the Italian is almost a gentleman ; the German is apt to 
take sausage out of a newspaper and cut it with his penknife; the 
Frenchman aggravates human nature beyond endurance by his 
restless ill-breeding, and his evident intention not only to keep all 
his own advantages, but to steal some of yours upon the first 
occasion. There were three of these monsters on our steamer: 
a slight, bloodless young man, with pale blue eyes and an in- 
credulous grin; another, a gigantic, full-bearded animal in 
spectacles; the third an infamous, plump, little creature, in ab- 
surdly tight pantaloons, with a cast in his eye, and a habit of suck- 
ing his teeth at table. When this wretch was not writhing- in the 
agonies of sea-sickness, he was on deck with his comrades, lec- 
turing them upon various things, to which the bloodless young man 
listened with his incredulous grin, and the bearded giant in spec- 
tacles attended with a choked look about the eyes, like a suffering 
ox. They were constantly staggering in and out of their state- 
room, which for my sins was also mine ; and opening their abomi- 
nable, commodious, travelling-bags, or brushing their shaggy 
heads at the reeling mirror, and since they were born into the 
world, I think they had never cleaned their finger-nails. They 
wore their hats at dinner, but always went away after soup, 
deadly pale." 

These passages indicate the influence of Heine's satire, 
humor, cynicism, mockery, and his epigrammatic, light and grace- 
ful style. His novels abound in quotations from Heine. The 
characters sing and recite Heine's songs in the original. Mr. 
Howell's prose contains numerous allusions, echoes and reminis- 
cences from Heine's lyrics. A fine illustration of this is found 



170 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

in the Italian Journeys in the chapter entitled For<za Maggiore. 
In this chapter the author speaks of Grossetto and says among 
other things: "Further, one may say that Grosetto is on the dili- 
gence road from Avita Vecchia to Leghorn and that in the very 
heart of the place there is a very lovely palm-tree, rare, if not 
sole, in that latitude. This palm stands in a well-sheltered, dull, 
little court, out of everything's way, and turns tenderly towards 
the wall that shields it on the north. It has no other company but 
a beautiful young girl, who leans out of a window high over its 
head, and I have no doubt talks with it. At the moment we dis- 
covered the friends, the maiden was looking pathetically to the 
northward, while the palm softly stirred and opened its plumes, 
as a bird does when his song is finished; and there is very little 
question but it had just been singing to her that song of which 
the palms are so fond — 

*Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam 
In Norden auf kahler Hoh.' 

"Grossetto does her utmost, to hide the secret of this tree's 
existence, as if a hard, matter-of-fact place ought to be ashamed 
of a sentimentality of the kind." 

The reference is, of course, to Heine's song Ein Fichtenbaum 
steht einsam, and from this poem Howells derived his inspiration 
for his poetical description of Grossetto. His description of 
Padua is entirely in the manner of Heine. The charm derived 
from sauntering, the reveries, and meditations and the capricious 
views remind us at once of similar passages in the Reisebilder. 
Other characteristic passages might be cited from the Italian 
Journeys to show Heine's influence but these will be sufficient 
for our purpose. Many of the brilliant, witty remarks and sar- 
casms in the Suburban Sketches are slight modifications or render- 
ings of Heine's. In the sketch entitled A Day's Pleasure we find 
the following passage : "I never see one of those fellows," 
(sentries) says Cousin Frank, "without setting him to the music 
of that saddest and subtlest of Heine's poems. You know it 
Lucy" ; and he repeats: 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 171 

Mein Herz, mein Herz, ist traurig 
Doch lustig leuchtet der Mai ; 
Ich stehe gelehnt an der Linde, 
Hoch auf der alten Bastei. 

Am alten grauen Thurme 
Ein Schilderhauschen steht ; 
Ein rothgerockter Bursche 
Dort auf und nieder geht. 

Er spielt mit seiner Flinte, 
Sie funkelt im Sonnenroth, 
Er praesentiert, und schultert, — 
Ich wollt, 'er schosse mich todt.' 



"Oh !" says Cousin Lucy, either because the poignant melan- 
choly of the sentiment has suddenly pierced her, or because she 
does not quite understand the German, "you never can tell about 
women." 

The condensation of thought or pregnant brevity is so re- 
markable in Heine's poems that a poem like the one above quoted 
often suggested a whole scene in Mr. Howells' sketches. 

Even such a late work as Literature and Life (New York, 
1902) reveals traces of Heine influence. Especially characteristic 
for wit, humor, sarcasm, mockery and cynicism are such chapters 
as the one on The Psychology of Plagiarism. Mr. Howells' 
detestation of the English finds an antecedent and parallel in 
Heine's hatred of the same people as expressed in his English 
Fragment. Sir Walter Besant says that Mr. Howells is the only 
American who hates the English nation. Traces of Heine's 
cynicism still linger in him. We shall now turn our attention to 
his relatively unimportant verse, which is dominated and sad- 
dened by the influence of Heine. Mr. Howells has already char- 
acterized his early verse and it only remains for us to cite ex- 
amples of his imitations of Heine. First we shall quote the 
poem which was published in the Atlantic Monthly (January, 
i860) and which Lowell suspected of being a translation from 
Heine. The poem is so obviously and thoroughly Heineesque 
tliat it is useless for us to point out parallels and resemblances in 



172 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

Heine's Buck der Lieder. The same melancholy sigh, the longing, 
the disappointment, the passionate love coupled with the thought 
of death, that pervade and form the themes of Heine's poems are 
imitated and expressed in Heine's manner and favorite rhythm. 
Mr. Howells succeeded in imitating and reproducing the subtle 
charm and suggestiveness so characteristic of Heine's poems. 

Motto from Heine: Das Vergnilgen ist Nichts als ein hochst 
angenehmer Schmerz. 

Andenken}'^^ 



Through the silent streets of the city, 
In the night's unbusy noon. 
Up and dov^^n in the pallor, 
Of the languid summer moon. 

I wander and think of the village, 
And the house in the maple-gloom, 
And the porch with the honeysuckles 
And the sweet-brier all abloom. 

My soul is sick with the fragrance, 
Of the dewy sweet-brier's breath : 
Oh, darling! the house is empty, 
And lonesomer than death ! 

If I knock, no one will come; — 
The feet are at rest forever, 
If I call no one will answer; 
And the lips are cold and dumb. 

The summer moon is shining 
So wan and large and still, 
And the weary dead are sleeping 
In the graveyard under the hill. 

II. 

We looked at the wide, white circle 
Around the autumn moon. 
And talked of the change of weather, 
It would rain, to-morrow, or soon. 



^'^ Atlantic Monthly, 5, p. 100 f. 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 173 

And the rain came on the morrow, 
And beat the dying leaves 
From the shuddering bows of the maples 
Into the flooded eaves. 

The clouds wept out their sorrow; 
But in my heart the tears 
Are bitter for want of weeping, 
In all these autumn years. 



III. 

It is sweet to be awake musing 
In all she has said and done, 
To dwell on the words she uttered. 
To feast on the smiles I won. 

To think with what passion at parting 
She gave me my kisses again, — 
Dear adieux, and tears and caresses,— 
Oh, love! was it joy or pain? 

To brood with a foolish rapture. 
On the thought that it must be 
My darling this moment is waking 
With tender est thoughts of me ! 

sleep! are thy dreams any sweeter? 

1 linger before thy gate 

We must enter at it together, 
And my love is loath and late. 

IV. 

The bobolink sings in the meadow. 
The wren in the cherry-tree; 
Come hither, then little maiden. 
And sit upon my knee. 

And I will tell thee a story 
I read in a book of rhyme ; — 
I will but feign that it happened 
To me, one summer-time. 



174 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

When we walked through the meadow, 
And she and I were young; — 
The story is old and weary 
With being said and sung. 

The story is old and weary 
Oh, child! is it known to thee? 
Who was it that last night kissed thee 
Under the cherry-tree 



V. 

Like a bird of evil presage, 

To the lonely house on the shore 

Came the wind with a tale of shipwreck. 

And shrieked at the bolted door. 

And flapped its wings in the gables, 
And shouted the well-known names, 
And buffeted the windows 
Afeard in their shuddering frames. 

It was night and it was day-time. 

The morning sun is bland, 

The white cap waves come rocking, rocking, 

Into the smiling land. 

The white cap waves come rocking, rocking, 
In the sun so soft and bright. 
And toss and play with the dead man 
Drowned in the storm last night. 

VI. 

I remember the burning brushwood, 
Glimmering all day long 
Yellow and weak in the sunlight, 
Now leaped up red and strong. 

And fired the old dead chestnut. 
That all our years had stood. 
Gaunt and gay and ghostly, 
Apart from the sombre wood. 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 175 

And flushed with sudden summer, 
The leafless boughs on high 
Blossomed in dreadful beauty 
Against the darkened sky. 

We children sat telling stories 
And boasting what we should be, 
When we were men like our fathers, 
And watched the blazing tree. 

That showered its furry blossoms, 
Like a rain of stars, we said. 
Of crimson and azure and purple 
That night when I lay in bed. 

I could not sleep for seeing, 
Whenever I closed my eyes. 
The tree in its dazzling splendor 
Against the darkened skies. 

I cannot sleep for seeing. 
With closed eyes to-night, 
The tree in its dazzling splendor, 
Dropping its blossoms bright. 

And old, old dreams of childhood 
Come thronging my weary brain. 
Dear foolish beliefs and longings, 
I doubt, are they real again ? 

It is nothing, and nothing, and nothing, 
That I either think or see; — 
The phantoms of dead illusions 
To-night are haunting me. 



A more Heineesque poem would be hard to find; — a 
mingling of pessimism, joy, pain, sentiment and sentimentality, 
particularly the mockery in the last lines. 

Another poem in the same manner appeared in the Atlantic 
Monthly (April, i860) : 



1/6 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

Lost Beliefs, 

One after one they left us, 
The sweet birds out of our breasts 
Went flying away in the morning 
Will they come again to their nests ? 

Will they come again at nightfall, 
With God's breath in their song? 
Noon is fierce with the heats of summer. 
And summer days are long! 

Oh, my life! with thy upward liftings, 
Thy downward-striking roots, 
Ripening out of thy tender blossoms 
But hard and bitter fruits, — 

In thy boughs there is no shelter 
For my birds to seek again ! 
Ah! the desolate nest is broken 
And torn with storms and rain! 

The volume of Poems published by W. D. Howells in 1886 
(Boston, Ticknor & Co.), is a collection of poems previously 
published in magazines, and contains many poems written in the 
manner of Heine. 

Passion, tenderness, yearning, waiting, doubting and despair 
is the theme of the poem Forlorn; the manner is that of Heine; 
reverie and suggestiveness are the means of delineation. A very 
close imitation of Heine's theme and manner is the poem Pleas- 
ure-Pain. The motto is from Heine: "Das vergniigen ist Nichts 
als ein hochst angenehmer Schmerz." A portion of this we have 
already cited under Andenken. It is really made up of a series of 
poems in the same vein. To the ones that appeared in the 
Atlantic Monthly, Mr. Howells afterwards wrote the following 
verses in the same vein : 

Full of beautiful blossoms 
Stood the tree in early May : 
Came a chilly gale from the sunset. 
And blew the blossoms away; 



Heine's Influence on American Literature i yy 

Scattered them through the garden, 
Tossed them into the mere : 
The sad tree moaned and shuddered, 
"Alas! the Fall is here." 

But all through the glowing summer 
The blossomless tree throve fair. 
And the fruit waxed ripe and mellow, 
With sunny rain and air. 

And when the dim October 
With golden death was crowned, 
Under the heavy branches 
The tree stooped to the ground. 

In youth there comes a west wind 
Blowing our bloom away, — 
A chilly breath of Autumn 
Out of the lips of May. 

We bear the ripe fruit after, — 
Ah, me! for the thought of pain! — 
We know the sweetness and beauty 
And the heart-bloom never again. 

One sails away to sea. 

One stands on the shore and cries ; 

The ship goes down, the world, and the light 

On the sullen water dies. 

The whispering shell is mute. 

And after is evil cheer : 

She shall stand on the shore and cry in vain, 

Many and many a year. 

But the stately, wide-winged ship 
Lies wrecked on the unknown deep; 
Far under, dead in his coral bed. 
The lover lies asleep. 

The same gloom and melancholy tone, and sad dreaming 
pervade the poem In August. The nature-symbolism and sugges- 
tion are those of Heine. The little drowsy stream dreams of 
June, the robins are mute, there is no wind to stir the leaves, the 
cricket grieves. All nature bewails the dead summer The same 



178 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

might be said about The Empty House, a dreary and desolate 
place where mystery, ghosts and gloom linger. Heine's reverie, 
melancholy, and mockery are reproduced and repeated in Heine's 
manner with his symbolism, indirect representation, subtle sug- 
gestiveness and conciseness in the poem Bubbles: 

I. 

I stood on the brink in childhood, 
And watched the bubbles go 
From the rock-fretted sunny ripple 
To the smoother tide below. 

And over the white creek-bottom, 
Under them every one, 
Went golden stars in the water. 
All luminous with the sun. 

But the bubbles broke on the surface, 
And under, the stars of gold 
Broke; and the hurrying water 
Flowed onward, swift and cold. 

II. 

I stood on the brink in manhood. 
And it came to my weary brain. 
And my heart, so dull and heavy 
After the years of pain. 

That every hollowest bubble 
Which over my life had passed 
Still into its deeper current 
Some heavenly gleam had cast. 

That, however, I mocked it gayly, 
And guessed at its hollowness. 
Still shone, with each bursting bubble. 
One star in my soul the less. 

Reminding us of Heine's manner is the delicious suggestive- 
ness of the poem Gone. A mere suggestion and yet what a multi- 
tude of thoughts arise on reading it. Entirely in Heine's manner 
is the little fragment The Sarcastic Fair: 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 179 

" Her mouth is a honey-blossom. 
No doubt, as the poet sings ; 
But within her lips, the petals. 
Lurks a cruel bee, that stings." 

These lines recall those from Heine's Vorrede zur dritten 
Auflage (Buck der Lieder), referring to the Sphinx. 

Entziickende Marter und wonniges Weh ! 
Der Schmerz wie die Lust unermesslich ! 
Derweilen des Mundes Kuss mich begliickt, 
Verwunden die Tatzen mich grasslich. 

In the poem Rapture we again have anguish, despair, mourn- 
ing, the joining of love with death. Love and pain, longing and 
disappointment are sung in the poem The Thorn, with the recog- 
nition of the fact that every rose has its thorn. The sad mystery 
of life is sentimentally lamented in the poem, The Mysteries, with 
Heine's characteristic brevity. 

The poem, Snow-Birds, recalls Heine's Traumhilder, from 
which the inspiration is doubtless derived. A clever imitation of 
Heine's manner as seen in such poems as Der bleiche, herhstliche 
Halbmond; Wir sassen am Fischerhause ; Wallfahrt nach Kev- 
laar, is given us in Mr. Howells' poem entitled Feuerbilder. The 
tone, spirit, and sentiment, and especially the mockery in the last 
lines, are like Heine from beginning to end. The rhythm is also 
that usually employed by Heine in such poems. Noteworthy is 
also the calm beginning. 

Feuerbilder. 

The children sit by the fireside 
With their little faces in bloom; 
And behind, the lily-pale mother. 
Looking out of the gloom. 

Flushes in cheek and forehead 
With a light and sudden start; 
But the father sits there silent, 
From the fire-light apart. 



i8o Heine's Influence on American Literature 

" Now, what dost thou see in the embers ? 
Tell it to me, my child," 
Whispers the lily-pale mother 
To her daughter sweet and mild. 

" O, I see a sky and a moon 
In the coals and ashes there, 
And under, two are walking, 
In the garden of flowers so fair. 

" A lady gay, and her lover, 
Talking with low voiced words. 
Not to waken the dreaming flowers 
And the sleepy little birds." 

Back in the gloom the mother 

Shrinks with a sudden sigh, 

"Now, what dost thou see in the embers ?" 

Cries the father to the boy. 

** O, I see a wedding procession 
Go in at the church's door, — 
Ladies in silk and knights in steel, — 
A hundred of them, and more. 

" The bride's face is as white as a lily, 
And the groom's head is as white as snow ; 
And without, with plumes and tapers, 
A funeral paces slow." 

Loudly then laughed the father, 
And shouted again for cheer, 
And called to the drowsy housemaid 
To fetch him a pipe and beer. 

Reverie, longing and the usual Heine characteristics are in- 
corporated in the poem, While She Sang. Many more poems 
might be mentioned which contain distinct traces of Heine's in- 
fluence. We shall now quote three short poems which display 
this influence in a concise manner : disappointment, unrequited 
love, longing, insuperable obstacles and cynical mockery are 
their themes: 

A Poet. 

From wells where Truth in secret lay. 
He saw the midnight stars by day. 



Heine's Influence on American Literature i8i 

" O marvellous gift !" the many cried, 
" O cruel gift !" his voice replied. 

The stars were far and cold and high, 
That glimmered in the noon day sky; 

He yearned tow^ard the sun in vain, 
That warmed the lives of other men. 

Convention. 

He falters on the threshold, 
She lingers on the stair: 
Can it be that was his footstep? 
Can it be that she is there ? 

Without is tender yearning. 

And tender love is within; 

They can hear each other's heart-beats 

But a wooden door is between. 

The Poet's Friends. 

The robin sings in the elm, 

The cattle stand beneath. 

Sedate and grave, with great brown eyes 

And fragrant meadow-breath. 

They listen to the flattered bird, 
The wise-looking, stupid things; 
And they never understand a word 
Of all the robin sings. 

Certain it is that Mr. Howells did his future poetical reputa- 
tion an injustice by electing to have it estimated from the per- 
formance and promise of these imitations. This became evident 
when he published Stops of Various Quills (New York, 1895). 
This book of verse possesses high quality; indeed, if Mr. Howells 
had never published anything but Stops of Various Quills, the 
probability is that he would have taken rank as a poet of marked 
individuality and high achievement. These lyrics are mostly of 
a philosophical character, but always truly poetical, because they 
are always expressive of emotion, sometimes of purely senti- 
mental emotion. The influence of Heine is still seen in the 



1 82 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

spirit-anguish. A brooding melancholy resultant of the unsatis- 
fied craving of a high, idealistic intelligence pervades the volume. 
The "Weltschmerz" is still present in his verse. But this melan- 
choly is lit up with a gleam here and there of vague, undefined 
faith and trust in things as they are, in the ultimate issue of all. 
The poems are intense, but sober; often prompted by spiritual 
pain, but withal, calm and serene. Their tune seems sometimes 
over-morbid as in Heine. In both Heine and Howells this tone 
is the echo of real feeling and no mere affectation. The Stops of 
Various Quills come very near to perfection in form, thus show- 
ing that Mr. Howells still benefited by the lessons he learned 
from Heine. These poems are curiously simple in structure and 
diction, but none the less forceful and artistic. They are brief and 
concise ; not a line, not a word too many. Their imagery is fresh 
and striking; their coloring is warm, human, and natural. That 
Heine's irresistible spell is still somewhat effective is clearly in- 
dicated in such poems as the Bewildered Guest and Question, 
which may have drawn their inspiration from such poems as Am 
Meer, am wiisten, ndchtlichen Meer. The pseudo-cynicism is 
also in evidence in a few of the poems, such as Society and 
Heredity. 

Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836- ). 

Mr. Aldrich's charm is French and classic as distinguished 
from German and Romantic. The influence of Hafiz, Herrick, 
Tennyson and Keats can also be traced in his poetry. That he 
was but little attracted by such poets as Heine is evident from 
the following verses : 

I little read those poets who have made 
A noble art, a pessimistic trade, 
And trained their Pegasus to draw a hearse 
Through endless avenues of drooping verse. 

Yet in the finish, suggestiveness and symbolism we are 
often reminded of Heine. In the volume Flower and Thorn 
(Boston, 1877), the poems An Untimely Thought Rencontre, 
Identity and Destiny, recall Heine in their unlabored suggestive- 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 183 

ness, but in sentiment, tone and manner they are entirely remote 
from that poet. The Pine and the Walnut (Atlantic Monthly, 
Vol. XXXV, 551), in its symbolism recalls Heine's Pine and 
Palm. An echo of Heine is seen in Mr. Aldrich's fine sonnet, 
The Lorelei. Mr. Aldrich is only indebted to Heine for the 
theme; the manner, tone and spirit are entirely different from 
Heine's famous song: 

The Lorelei.^""^ 

Yonder we see it from the steamer's deck, 
The haunted mountain of the Lorelei — 
The hanging crags sharp-cut against a sky 
Clear as a sapphire without flaw or fleck. 
'Twas here the Siren lay in wait to wreck. 
The fisher-lad, at dusk, as he rowed by, 
Perchance he heard her tender amorous cry, 
And, seeing the wondrous whiteness of her neck. 
Perchance would halt, and lean towards the shore, 
Then she by that soft magic which she had 
Would lure him, and in gossamers of her hair, 
Gold upon gold, would wrap him o'er and o'er. 
Wrap him, and sing to him, and drive him mad, 
Then drag him down to no man knoweth where. 

John A. Dorgan.^"^ 

This obscure poet was a servile imitator of Heine. His 
poems deal with Heine's favorite themes — love and death, melan- 
choly, sighing, disappointment, nightingales, reveries, dreams, and 
sphinxes. The manner, tone, spirit, are entirely Heine's, even 
the mockery in the last lines is reproduced. The Tannhauser 
ballad is a cheap imitation of Heine's famous ballad. The Bard 
of Pain is evidently a poem commemorative of Heine. We shall 
give but one specimen of these imitations, The Mermaid, an 
imitation of Heine's Lorelei: 



"* The Poems of T. B. Aldrich. Boston and New York. Houghton, 
MifBin & Co., p. 393. 

'■" Studies, by J. A. Dorgan. 3d Ed. Philadelphia, 1866. 



184 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

The mermaid sits in the moonshine white, 

And sings as she combs her hair, 

A marvellous song that thrills the night 

With its burden strange, Beware ! Beware ! Beware ! 

And the billows begin to tremble and moan — 

To moan and dash themselves at her feet, 

As, ere her lips, their hearts repeat 

The strain they long have known — 

The serpent strain they have heard so oft. 

So lithe, so deadly bright and soft ; 

And the winds, her bodiless slaves. 

Arise from their secret caves. 

And howl, as if to drown the strain. 

Of her tremulous song: 
In vain ! in vain ! its wild refrain 

They deepen and prolong. 

Gone is the magic moon; 

And over the sky, so late, so fair, 

As black cloud drifts, through whose rugged rifts 

The stars like torches flare ; 

And out of the howling foam beneath 

Come sounds of peril and pain and death ; 

Voices that tell of the shipwreck there; 

Shrieks and curses of drowning men; 

And now and then, 

Sobs and sighs that lift the hair 

And lie like a curse on the fainting air ; 

And now and then above the war 

Of darkness and despair, 

The mocking pain of that wild refrain, 

Beware! Beware! Beware! Beware! 



L. G. Thomas. 

In his volume of Poems (New York, 1871), Thomas gives 
us an imitation of Heine's Lorelei. Other poems in the volume 
show traces of Heine's influence, but as this poet is almost un- 
known, we shall content ourselves with quoting his imitation of 
the Lorelei: 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 185 

Lorelei. 

Lorelei, so wildly sad 
The song of love thou singest me, 
The very grief that drove thee mad 
Hath made me mad for love of thee. 

Thou sittest on yon rocky height. 
O'er calm, sad brow thy raven hair 
Floats free as if in joy's despite, 
In all the beauty of despair. 

And gazing on that face so fair, 
From whence all joy is banished quite, 
I know calm grief to be more rare 
Than ever is loose-tressed delight. 

Therefore, I reck not of my boat, 
Which heaveth with the heaving wave; 
But onward, onward, let it float, — 
Why should I shun a watery grave? 

But I will ever gaze, and gaze 

Up to thy face, while to my death 

I drift, and drift, through fearful maze; 

To catch each tone I hold my breath. 

And I will perish at thy feet, 
Nor lose one glance of those sweet eyes, 
O thus to perish were more sweet. 
More sweet than opening Paradise ! 

Emma Lazarus (i 849-1887). 

Books were the world for Emma Lazarus from her earliest 
years ; in them she lost herself and found herself ; and from them 
she drew her inspirations. Her first published volume (1866), 
contained specimens of translations from Heine. The poems in 
this volume were crude and immature ; but they are nevertheless 
characteristic, giving, as they do, the keynote of much that after- 
wards enfolded itself in her life. A profound melancholy per- 
vades the book, reminding us of Heine. There is not a wholly 
glad and joyous strain in the volume. The recurrence of broken 
vows, broken hearts, and broken lives in the experience of this 



1 86 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

maiden just entered upon her teens, leads us to believe that she is 
merely imitating Heine. The gloomy and sombre streak later 
took deeper root; it became the stamp and heritage of her race, 
born to suffer. But dominant and fundamental though it was, 
Hebraism was only latent thus far. It was classic and romantic 
art that first inspired her. She pictures Aphrodite the beautiful, 
arising from the waves, and the beautiful Apollo. Beauty, for its 
own sake, supreme and unconditional, charmed her. Her restless 
spirit found repose in the pagan idea — the absolute unity and 
identity of man with nature, as symbolized in the Greek myths, 
where every natural force becomes a person, and where in turn, 
persons pass with equal readiness and freedom back into nature 
again. In these connections the influence of Heine at once sug- 
gests itself — Heine the Greek, Heine the Jew, and Heine the 
Pantheist. Already in this early volume we have traces of the 
kinship, affinity and influence that afterwards so plainly declared 
itself. Foremost among the translations are a number of Heine's 
songs, excellently rendered. At the age of twenty-one she pub- 
lished her second volume, Admetus and Other Poems. Of classic 
themes we have Admetus and Orpheus, and of romantic the 
legend of Tannhduser, showing clearly the influence of Heine's 
ballad, Tannhduser. All are treated with the artistic finish of 
Heine. She sounds no new note; Heine's desolation, loneliness 
and despair are repeated. Her poems, like Heine's, are subjective 
and biographical. Some later poems show that she fell under 
the influence of Emerson, with whom she was brought into per- 
sonal relations. He became her mentor. Even his encourage- 
ment failed to elate her and the morbid, melancholy tone pre- 
vailed in her works. Her brain spent itself in dreaming and 
reverie. As in Heine, we still have in her poems the landscape of 
the night, the glamour of moon and stars, pictures half real and 
half unreal, mystic imaginings, fancies, dreams, and throughout 
the unanswered cry, the eternal Wherefore of Destiny (of. 
Heine's Frag en, Nordsee). In 1874 she published Alide, a ro- 
mance in prose drawn from Goethe's autobiography (Dichtung 
und Wahrheit). In 1881 appeared the translation of Heine's 
poems and ballads and a few years later her essay on Heine's 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 187 

genius in the Century Magazine (Vol. VII). She was charmed 
by the magic of his verse, the irridescent play of his fancy and 
the sudden cry of the heart, piercing through it all. She was only 
vaguely conscious of the real bond between her and Heine. Her 
last days were like those of Heine on his mattress-grave in Paris. 
She, too, the last time she went out, dragged herself to the 
Louvre, to the feet of the Venus, the goddess without arms, who 
could not help. Her intellect also seemed kindled anew during 
her long agony and suffering. Never did she appear so brilliant 
as when she was wasted to a shadow. The poem Tannhduser 
was written in 1870. It is an unrhymed narrative. Many critics 
accused her of borrowing from Morris's Hill of Venus; but her 
poem was written before William Morris's poem appeared. Her 
chief indebtedness is to Heine's Tannhduser. Many poems might 
be cited which show traces of Heine's influence on Emma Lazarus, 
but we shall confine ourselves to a few poems which she herself 
acknowledged ^"^ to be imitations of Heine. 

Heine tells us in his Correspondence that the ensemble of 
his romance Donna Clara was a scene from his own life — only 
the park of Berlin became the Alcade's garden, the Baroness a 
Sefiora, and he himself a St. George or even an Apollo. This 
was only to be the first part of a trilogy, the second of which 
shows the hero jeered at by his own child who does not know 
him, whilst the third discovers the child, who has become a 
Dominican, and is torturing to death his Jewish brethren. The 
refrain of these two pieces corresponds with that of the first. 
Indeed, Heine tells us that this little poem was not intended to 
excite laughter, still less to denote a mocking spirit. He merely 
wished, without any definite purpose, to render with epic im- 
partiality in this poem an individual circumstance, and at the 
same time, something general and universal — a moment in the 
world's history which was distinctly reflected in his experience, 
and he had conceived the whole idea in a spirit which was any- 
thing rather than smiling, but serious and painful, so much so, 
that is was to form the first part of a tragic trilogy. Guided 



^ Poems of Emma Lazarus. 2 Vols. Boston, 1889. Vol. II, p. 213. 



1 88 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

by these hints, Emma Lazarus has endeavored to carry out in the 
two following ballads Heine's first conception. How well she 
has succeeded in imitating and reproducing Heine's manner, tone 
and sentiment will become obvious. 

Don Pedrillo. 

Not a lad in Saragossa 
Nobler-featured, haughtier-tempered. 
Than the Alcalde's youthful grandson. 
Donna Clara's boy Pedrillo. 

Handsome as the Prince of Evil, 
And devout as St. Ignatius 
Deft at fence, unmatched with zither. 
Miniature of knightly virtues. 

Truly an unfailing blessing 
To his pious widowed mother, 
To the beautiful, lone matron 
Who foreswore the world to rear him. 

For her beauty hath but ripened 
In such wise as the pomegranate 
Putteth by her crown of blossoms, 
For her richer crown of fruitage. 

Still her hand is claimed and courted, 
Still she spurns her proudest suitors, 
Doting on a phantom passion, 
And upon her boy Pedrillo. 

Like a saint lives Donna Clara, 
First at matins, last at vespers, 
Half her fortune she expendeth 
Buying masses for the needy. 

Visiting the poor afflicted. 
Infinite is her compassion, 
Scorning not the Moorish beggar, 
Nor the wretched Jew despising. 

And — a scandal to the faithful. 
E'en she hath been known to welcome 
To her castle the young Rabbi, 
Offering to his tribe her bounty. 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 189 

Rarely hath he crossed the threshold, 
Yet the thought that he hath crossed it, 
Burns like poison in the marrow 
Of the zealous youth Pedrillo. 

By the blessed Saint lago, 
He hath vowed immortal hatred 
To these circumcised intruders 
Who pollute the soil of Spaniards. 

Seated in his mother's garden, 
At high noon, the boy Pedrillo, 
Playeth with his favorite parrot. 
Golden-green with streaks of scarlet. 

"Pretty Dodo, speak thy lesson," 
Coaxed Pedrillo — "thief and traitor" — 
"Thief and traitor" — croaked the parrot, 
"Is the yellow-skirted Rabbi." 

And the boy with peals of laughter, 
Stroked his favorite's head of emerald. 
Raised his eyes, and lo! before him 
Stood the yellow-skirted Rabbi. 

In his dark eyes gleamed no anger, 
No hot flush o'erspread his features 
'Neath his beard his pale lips quivered. 
And a shadow crossed his forehead. 

Very gentle was his aspect. 
And his voice was mild and friendly, 
"Evil words, my son, thou speakest. 
Teaching to the fowls of heaven. 

" In our Talmud it stands written. 
Thrice curst is the tongue of slander. 
Poisoning also with its victim, 
Him who speaks and him who listens." 

But no whit abashed, Pedrillo, 
"What care I for curse of Talmud? 
'Tis no slander to speak evil 
Of the murderers of our Savior. 



190 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

*' To your beard I will repeat it, 
That I only bide my manhood, 
To wreak all my lawful hatred, 
On thyself and on thy people." 

Very gently spoke the Rabbi, 
"Have a care, my son Pedrillo, 
Thou art orphaned, and who knoweth 
But thy father loved this people?" 

" Think you words like these will touch me? 
Such I laugh to scorn, sir Rabbi, 
From high heaven, my sainted father 
On my deeds will smile in blessing. 

" Loyal knight was he and noble. 
And my mother oft assures me, 
Ne'er she saw so pure a Christian, 
'Tis from him my zeal deriveth," 

" What if he were such another 
As myself who stand before thee?" 
"I should curse the hour that bore me, 
I should die of shame and horror." 

" Harsher is thy creed than ours ; 
For had I a son as comely 
As Pedrillo, I would love him, 
Love him were he thrice a Christian. 

" In his youth my youth renewing 
Pamper, fondle, die to serve him, 
Only breathing through his spirit — 
Couldst thou not love such a father?" 

Faltering spoke the deep-voiced Rabbi, 
With white lips and twitching fingers, 
Then in clear, young, steady treble, 
Answered him the boy Pedrillo : 

** At the thought my heart revolteth. 
All your tribe offend my senses. 
They're an eyesore to my vision, 
And a stench unto my nostrils. 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 191 

" When I meet these unbeHevers, 
With thick-lips and eagle noses, 
Thus I scorn them, thus revile them, 
Thus I spit upon their garment." 

And the haughty youth passed onward. 
Bearing on his wrist his parrot. 
And the yellow-skirted Rabbi 
With bowed head sought Donna Clara. 

Fra Pedro. 

Golden lights and lengthening shadows. 
Flings the splendid sun declining. 
O'er the monastery garden 
Rich in flower, fruit and foliage. 

Through the avenue of nut trees, 
Pace two grave and ghostly friars, 
Snowy white their gowns and girdles. 
Black as night their cowls and mantles. 

Lithe and ferret-eyed the younger, 
Black his scapular denoting 
A lay brother ; his companion 
Large, imperious, towers above him. 

'Tis the abbot, great Fra Pedro, 
Famous through all Saragossa 
For his quenchless zeal in crushing 
Heresy amidst his townfolk. 

Handsome still with hood and tonsure, 
E'en as when the boy Pedrillo, 
Insolent with youth and beauty, 
Who reviled the gentle Rabbi. 

Lo, the level sun strikes sparkles 
From his dark eyes brightly flashing 
Stem his voice : "These too shall perish, 
I have vowed extermination. 

" Tell not me of skill or virtue, 
Filial love or woman's beauty. 
Jews are Jews, as serpents serpents. 
In themselves abomination." 



192 Heine's Influence on American Literature 

Earnestly the other pleaded, 
"If my zeal, thrice reverend master, 
E'er afforded the assistance, 
Serving thee as flesh serves spirit. 

" Hoimding, scourging, flaying, burning. 
Casting into chains or exile. 
At thy bidding these vile wretches. 
Hear and heed me now, my master. 

" These be nowise like their brethren, 
Ben Jehudah is accounted 
Saragossa's first physician. 
Loved by colleague as by patient. 

" And his daughter Donna Zara 
Is our city's pearl of beauty. 
Like the clusters of the vineyard 
Droop the ringlets o'er her temples. 

" Like the moon in starry heavens 
Shines her face among her people, 
And her form hath all the languor, 
Grace and glamour of the palm-tree. 

" Well thou knowest, thrice reverend master. 
This is not their first affliction. 
Was it not our Holy Office 
Whose bribed menials fired their dwelling ? 

" Ere dawn broke, the smoke ascended. 
Choked the stairways, filled the chambers, 
Waked the household to the terror 
Of the flaming death that threatened. 

" Then the poor bed-ridden mother 
Knew her hour had come : two daughters, 
Twinned in form, and mind, and spirit. 
And their father — who would save them? 

" Towards her door sprang Ben Jehudah, 
Donna Zara flew behind him 
Round his neck her white arms wreathing. 
Drew him from the burning chamber, 

" There within, her sister Zillah 
Stirred no limb to shun her torture, 
Held her mother's hand and kissed her. 
Saying, *We will go together.' 



Heine's Influence on American Literature 193 

" This the outer throng could witness, 
As the flames enwound the dwelHng, 
Like a glory they illumined 
Awfully the martyred daughter. 

" Closer, fiercer, round they gathered, 
Not a natural cry escaped her. 
Helpless clung to her her mother, 
Hand in hand they went together. 

" Since that 'Act of Faith' three winters 
Have rolled by, yet on the forehead 
Of Jehudah is imprinted 
Still the horror of that morning. 

" Saragossa hath respected 
His false creed ; a man of sorrows, 
He hath walked secure among us. 
And his art repays our sufferance." 

Thus he spoke and ceased. The Abbot 
Lent him an impatient hearing, 
Then outbroke with angry accent, 
"We have borne three years, thou sayest? 

" 'Tis enough ; my vow is sacred. 
These shall perish with their brethren. 
Hark ye ! In my veins' pure current 
Were a single drop found Jewish. 

" I would shrink not from outpouring 
All my life blood but to purge it. 
Shall I gentler prove to others ? 
Mercy would be sacriligious. 

" Ne'er again at thy soul's peril, 
Speak to me of Jewish beauty, 
Jewish skill or Jewish virtue. 
I have said. Do thou remember?" 

Down beside the purple hillside 
Dropped the sun, above the garden 
Rung the Angelus' clear cadence 
Summoning the monks to vespers. 



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