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Guymond De la Touche (search for this): chapter 6
out all his days in peace and happiness and good cheer as any one I have seen for a long time. April 11.—This evening I have been for the first time to the French theatre; and I hasten to note my feelings and impressions, that I may have them in their freshness. It was rather an uncommon occasion,—the benefit of Mdlle. St. Val, now sixty-five years old, who has not played before for thirty years; and Talma and Mdlle. Mars both played . . . .The piece was Iphigenie en Tauride, by Guymond de la Touche, which has been on the stage sixty years, but I cannot find its merits above mediocrity . . . . . Iphigenie was performed by Mdlle. St. Val, who is old and ugly. She was applauded through the first act with decisive good-nature, and in many parts deserved it; but in the second act, when Talma came out as Orestes, she was at once forgotten, and he well deserved that in his presence no other should be remembered . . . . The piece and his part, like almost everything of the kind in the
e was to be a function at the Institute the next day, and that if Mr. Ticknor would like to be present, he would give him a ticket. The offer was accepted with proper acknowledgments. Humboldt then added, Perhaps your friend would like to go too? His companion said he should be very glad, and a ticket was given to him also. As they parted, his friend said, Now, is there a Frenchman in all Paris who would have done this? I was sitting with him to-day, and, turning round, observed a large Mercator's Chart of the World suspended in front of the table at which he studies, and it seemed to me at the instant to be an emblem of the immensity of his knowledge and genius, which reach on all sides nearly to the limits of human acquirement, and on some have certainly extended to those limits. I have been most surprised at his classical knowledge, at his taste, and familiarity with the ancient and modern languages, for here he might be to a certain degree dispensed from the obligation of ext
. Von Schlegel. Duke and Duchess de Broglie. Humboldt. Helen Maria Williams. Madame de Stael. say. Benjamin Constant. Southey. Madame Recamier. Chateaubriand. adventure with the police. Marshal Davoust. visit to Draveil. Journal. Gottingen, March 26, 1817.—Yesterday I went round and took leave of all my acquaintances and friends. From many I did not separate without a feeling of deep and bitter regret, which I never thought to have suffered on leaving Gottingen. From Eichhorn, whose open-hearted kindness has always been ready to assist me; from Dissen, whose daily intercourse and conversation have so much instructed me; from the Sartorius family, where I have been partly at home, because there is more domestic feeling and happiness there than anywhere else in Gottingen, and where the children wept on bidding me good by; from Schultze, whose failing health will not permit me to hope to receive even happy news from him; . . . . and above all from Blumenbach, ante
F. G. Klopstock (search for this): chapter 6
early friends, of whom the world has since heard so much,—of Holtz, whose life he has written so well; of Leopold Stolberg, for whom, in spite of changes and errors, he seems to have lost none of his regard; and, clarum et venerabile nomen, of Klopstock, with whom he was intimate. Of the last he told me that, after visiting him in 1789, at Hamburg, Klopstock walked with him a mile out of the city, and when they parted, told him, as their conversation had been political, with a kind of prophetKlopstock walked with him a mile out of the city, and when they parted, told him, as their conversation had been political, with a kind of prophetic emphasis which left an indelible impression on Voss's mind, The troubles now breaking out in France are the beginnings of a European war between the patricians and the plebeians. I see generations crushed in the struggle. I see, perhaps, centuries of war and desolation, but at last, in the remote horizon, I see the victory of Liberty. The contest thus far has been carried on in the spirit he predicted, and the prophecy of such a man deserves to be recorded, to await the issue. Voss neve
y chief amusement was to observe how exactly these people from Vienna, Hamburg, Konigsberg, and Trieste, are like the merchants in Amsterdam, London, and Boston, and to listen to their comical abuse, which all true Frankforters poured out against the Diet, its members, their operations, pride, etc., etc. I passed an extremely pleasant evening at Senator Smidt's, a man of talent, Ambassador from Bremen, with much influence in the Bundestag. There was a large supper-party, consisting of Count Goltz, the Prussian Ambassador, the Darmstadt Minister, Baron Gagern, the Minister of the King of Holland for Luxembourg,—the most eloquent member of the Diet, and one whose influence over public opinion is probably greater than that of any other, and his influence over the Diet as great as anybody's,—Frederick von Schlegel, again to my great satisfaction, etc., etc. Baron Gagern reminded me of Jeremiah Mason, Mr. Ticknor, on a visit to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, before he went to Europe, c
Aeschylus (search for this): chapter 6
e, and instead of being an accidental amusement, it is an every-day want. I do not speak now of their tragedy, which wants force and passion, and pleases me little; it has all the beauties of an inimitable diction, but as to the ordinary pretence of the French men of letters that it is the continuation and perfection of the Greek, I think it entirely false. How, for instance, can they compare a theatre, of which a story is related like that of the first representation of the Eumenides of Aeschylus, with a theatre of proprieties and conventions? A Greek was not more unlike a Frenchman than the theatres of the two nations. But in respect to the comedy, I cannot avoid agreeing with the French critics. In fact, it seems to me to make a genus in the drama by itself, and it is a great injustice to it to call it by the same name that is worn by other genera in other nations. The Misanthrope, for instance, or Tartuffe, have but little in common with the English comedy, except inasmuch a
Edmund Kean (search for this): chapter 6
study of the ancient statues struck me in the passage,—when, in his second insanity, he cries out in agony,— Vois-tu d'affreux serpens, de son front s'elancer, Et de leur longs replis te ceindre, et te presser?— he started back into the posture of Laocoon with great effect. Like Demosthenes, he has had difficulties to overcome, and even now at times he cannot conceal an unpleasant lisp; but I have never seen acting, in many respects, like his. Cooke had a more vehement and lofty genius, and Kean has sometimes, perhaps, flashes of eccentric talent; but in an equal elevation of mind, and in dignity and force, Talma, I think, left them all far behind. April 14.—I called this morning on A. W. Schlegel. His history, like his brother Frederick's, is singular and unfortunate. Their father was a man of considerable learning, and a poet whose religious odes and hymns are still read. Augustus, who was his youngest son but one, was sent early to Gottingen, where he remained five years. A
De France (search for this): chapter 6
the loss of his place in the Academy, which was taken from him because he voted for the perpetual exile of Louis XVI. May 2.—This evening I have passed, as I do most of my Sunday evenings, very pleasantly, at Helen Maria Williams's. The company generally consists of literary Englishmen, with several Frenchmen, well known in the world,—such as Marron the preacher, whom Bonaparte liked so much, Stapfer the Swiss minister, who concluded the treaty of 1802, several professors of the College de France, etc. This evening Mrs. Godwin was there, wife of the notorious William Godwin, and successor to the no less notorious Mary Wollstonecraft. She has come to Paris to sell a romance, of which I have forgotten the title, that her husband has recently written, and thinks as good as Caleb Williams. The booksellers of Paris, I believe, are not of his opinion, and probably they are right, for Mr. Godwin is no longer at the age in which the imagination is capable of such efforts. Miss Williams
Walter Channing (search for this): chapter 6
to the king. It is plain and simple, and showed that his orders from the Emperor were such as would have justified any general oppressions and cruelty, though I think hardly such special instances of inhumanity as I have heard of. To Mrs. Walter Channing. Paris, August 1, 1817. . . . . I have been above a week at Mr. Parker's, at Draveil, about twelve miles from Paris, a superb establishment, whose completeness splendor, and hospitality, equally struck me. Several persons were staying ings they had no more passages of the first order of poetry to offer, and I had still Shakespeare's best plays in reserve, so that I prevailed on putting the vote, by four to two, without counting myself. . . . . Farewell, George. To Dr. Walter Channing. Paris, August 12, 1817. . . . . If you wish to have my opinion of the French theatre, I am perfectly ready to say that it affords an entertainment such as I have never known elsewhere, and for the most natural of all reasons,— because
Bishop Gregoire (search for this): chapter 6
m being oppressive or obtruding by a sort of modesty which makes it impossible for him to offend,—all together render him one of the most interesting men in the world, and the idol of Parisian society. April 29.—I go often to see Bishop or Count Gregoire, who receives company every evening. He has played a distinguished part in French affairs, from the year 1789 till the fall of Bonaparte; but, like many other men of distinction, he plays it no longer. Amidst all changes and perils, howeverffice; so, if I had written treason, the ministry would never have been the wiser for it. It has been suggested to me that my habit of staying at home all day and going out in the evening, visiting no public places, and knowing such men as Count Gregoire, Benjamin Constant, the Marquis de Lafayette, Gallois, etc., may have drawn this inquisition upon me. It is possible, but I doubt it. You will understand, of course, that the object of the government was to find correspondence, etc., with
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