without a guide-board; in this foreshadowing precisely that change which has also come over the prose novel.
Granting that much fiction, at any rate, has a moral expressed or implied, it is to be observed that all fiction has changed its note in other respects within the last century, and must accept its own laws.
Formerly conveying its moral often through a symbol, it now conveys it, if at all, by direct narrative.
The distinction has never been better put than in a remarkable and little-known letter addressed by Heine
on his death-bed (1856) to Varnhagen von Ense
, in giving a personal introduction to Ferdinand Lassalle
“The new generation,” wrote Heine
, “means to enjoy itself and make the best of the visible; we of the older one bowed humbly before the invisible, yearned after shadow kisses and blue-flower fragrances, denied ourselves, wept and smiled and were perhaps happier than these fierce gladiators who walk so proudly to meet their death-struggle.”
The blue-flower allusion is to the favorite ideal symbol of the German Novalis
; and certainly the young men who grew up fifty or sixty years ago in America
obtained some of their very best tonic influences through such thoroughly ideal tales as