settled down into regular classics, except Haller, Muller, the elder Voss, Schiller, and Burger. This number is certainly small, and Goethe alone survives, to maintain the glory of the deceased generation of his friends and rivals. But, narrow as the circle is, and though the strictness of posterity will perhaps make it yet narrower, still I know of none in the modern languages—except our own—where one so interesting can be found as the circle of German literature. It has all the freshness and faithfulness of poetry of the early ages, when words were still the representatives of sensible objects, and simple, sensible feelings rather than of abstractions and generalities; and yet, having flourished so late, it is by no means wanting in modern refinement and regularity. In this singular state, uniting much of the force and originality of the barbarous ages to enough of the light polish of those that are more civilized, it has continued just about fifty years; but in the last thirty no considerable author has appeared. Much of this barrenness is, I am persuaded, to be charged to the philosophy of Kant, which for nearly twenty years ruled unquestioned, and absorbed and perverted all the talents of the land. It was a vast ‘Serbonian bog, where armies whole have sunk,’ and from which even the proud and original genius of Schiller hardly escaped. Its empire, however, was soon gone by; but then followed the French usurpation, which overturned at pleasure the literary establishments of the land, and silenced systematically all authors who did not write as they were bidden. This, too, has gone by; but whether their literature will return with their returning independence and peace, is a problem time only can solve.
To Edward T. Channing, Boston.
Gottingen, April 19, 1816.. . . .You tell me you have been amused with the occasional hints I have given you of the life of a student at a German university. You shall then have more of them, and particularly an account of some events connected with this subject, which have lately occurred here under my immediate observation. There are, at all the considerable literary establishments in Germany, secret associations among the students, consisting of all persons from the same country or province, which are not only connected with all similar associations at the same university, but with all similar associations throughout Germany. The bond of their union is a chivalrous, or, if you please, a captious rule of honor, and its basis is