if Lessing was the first to call it forth, it was rather from accident than extraordinary genius or boldness.
The literature of Germany now sprang at once from its tardy soil, like the miraculous harvest of Jason, and like that, too, seems in danger of perishing without leaving behind it successors to its greatness.
Besides the four whom I have named, I know of no authors who have enjoyed a general and decisive popularity, and who have 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