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master. General von Gerlach caught cold at the funeral of the late king, and died a few days after; but the influences now brought to bear on the royal mind are, although different, not much better. The king is in the hands of a military clique-of the “Ungeist (reaction) in uniform,” as the Berliners say; and the policy which it is likely to recommend will hardly be one of concession. M. von der Heydt, the Elberfeld banker, who was the moving spirit of the last ministerial combination, is a man of shifts and expedients; a keen intellect, but of a coarse low type, both mentally and morally. In his heart he was probably not disinclined to yield,-witness the incident of the stolen letter, which was used last spring to influence the elections. M. von der Heydt, at the commencement of his political career in 1847, took the side of the constitutionalists; and, according to Prussian ministeriale convenances, he is perhaps not quite responsible for all the reactionary proceedings of the cabinets of which he has formed a member. M. Bismark Schönbausen never was a constitutionalist. From the first he has been the avowed cnemy of free government.
one of the founders of the Kreuzzeitung; and although he has of late rather drawn off from it in the direction of French absolutism, he still holds most of its heresics.
Many seem to think that his policy will be to bid for the support of the Gotha party throughout Germany, and of those politicians of the constitutional and Fortschritt sections in the Prussian parliament who care more for the German question than for internal reforms, by picking a quarrel with Austria, or by attacking Denmark. That personal hatred to Count Rechberg, and strong political feeling, would impel him to persuade his royal master to buckle on his old sword, and begin a new thirty years' war, is likely enough; but those who, relying on his known admiration for the success of the imperial legerdemain at Paris, expect him to inaugurate a brilliant despotism at home, and "to flood Hesse, Hanover, and the Mecklenburgs with troops," do not give him the credit of knowing the difference between the world of dreams and the world of realities. If, again, any arrangement satisfactory to Germany is to be arrived at with Denmark, it will hardly be by violence. We who hold that Lord Palmerston's proposal for dividing Schleswig was about the best likely to be hit upon, would tremble for the results, if Prussia, by her rash proceedings, forced all peace-loving Europe to become distinctly Danish. The powers will hardly allow this international chancery-suit to end in a war.
A more satisfactory turn of events, as it seems to us, would be the following. The government will meet the Chambers in January. August Reichensperger, or some such person, might
propose a vote of indemnity to the ministers for their unconstitutional proceedings, which might be carried, on the understanding that henceforward all the estimates should be presented before any money is paid, except under most peculiar circumstances. The government project for the reform of the army organisation might also be accepted, as it is a fait accompli, the king yielding the popular demands about introducing the non-noble element more largely into the far too close corporation of officers.
It must be admitted, we fear, that, from the military point of view, the king is to a great extent right in his proposals. The old Prussian army would appear to be a very indisferent force, likely to be swept away as easily as at Jena in any contest with France. Further, the king ought to concede the reform of the Herrenhaus. His most reactionary ministers will find it hard work to get on with that absurd body.
All we are now saying may be destined to be merely what the Germans call fromme Wünsche (“pious hopes”); and before these pages see the light, events may occur to render what we venture to propose entirely impossible. The king is angry. The liberals are, most naturally, exasperated. The chief of the cabinet is a violent and headstrong man. Any day may bring us evil tidings; but, next to the king's retreating from a position to which he is quite unequal, we should think that the solution which we have sketched would best save the dignity of all parties, and lead to the most permanent gain, alike to the internal constitutional life of Prussia, and to her position in Germany. The minor states will never rally round a despotic or half-despotic power. A thoroughly liberal system should rise before the eyes of the King of Prussia, like the cross of Constantine : "In hoc signo vinces.”
ART. IV.-SHELLEY'S POETICAL MYSTICISM. Relics of Shelley. Edited by Richard Garnett. Moxon, 1862. Memorials of Shelley. By Lady Shelley. Moxon, 1859. Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron. By E. J.
Trelawny. Moxon, 1858. The Life of Percy Bysshe Shellry. By Thomas Jefferson Hogg.
Vols. I. and II. Moxon, 1858. The little volume which stands at the head of our list will not add much, probably was not intended to add much, to the fame of Shelley. One poem, indeed, of rare beauty, printed before only in the pages of Macmillan's Magazine, it contains; but for the rest we have nothing but sparkling fragments of fancy-like powdered diamond-dust-to prove, what no one doubted, that even the clippings of Shelley's bright imagination had caught the intrinsic lustre of his mind. Perhaps the literary part of the volume is rather an excuse to usher in Mr. Garnett's reply to Mr. Peacock’s reflections on Shelley's conduct towards his first wife. But even this is scarcely wise; for though it is a convincing argument for an arrest of judgment in the case, until the further evidence promised by the poet's family shall in due time be produced, few would have been inclined to pass sentence wrongfully, in anticipation of that publication, and these unfortunate
instalments of an incomplete apology have the effect of concentrating a needless and fatal attention on the morbid places in the poet's life. Whenever the private reasons that still induce his family to withhold circumstances which they regard as clearing his memory from the only grave moral imputation ever cast on it shall cease to operate, it will be the proper time to estimate Shelley's character and career as a whole. In the mean time, with the fresh materials that the last few years have given us,-in Mr. Trelawny's Recollections, Mr. Hogg's satirical and vulgar but still important biographical volumes, and Lady Shelley's Memorials,—this seems no unfit occasion to review afresh the general character of his poetry in special relation to the intellectual influences which it has exerted, and will continue to exert so long as the young continue to thirst for the intoxicating ether of intellectualised passion and to spurn the clay of common earth.
Shelley was a poetical mystic, but a poetical mystic of a very unique kind. Usually the word denotes a tendency to bore deep into the world of divine Infinitude, a disposition to prostrate the mind before the Eternal Will, and to bring the
mysteries of faith close to the simplest acts of daily life. This is not only the common tendency of the religious mystics, but it was the characteristic of some of Shelley's own contemporaries: in philosophy, of Coleridge; in poetry, of Wordsworth. In this sense, however, mysticism is usually the characteristic of a mature, not of a youthful, mind; and Shelley's poetical mysticism is, in the quick throb of its pulses, in the flush and glow of its hectic beauty, in the thrill of its exquisite anguish and equally exquisite delirium of imagined bliss,essentially and to the last the mysticism of intellectual youth. Shelley's poetry is the poetry of desire. He is ever the homo desideriorum ;—always thirsty, always yearning; never pouring forth the strains of a thankful satisfaction, but either the cravings of an expectant rapture, or the agony of a severed
This is the great distinction which separates him from the other poetical mystics of his day. Wordsworth, for instance, is always exulting in the fulness of nature; Shelley always chasing its falling stars. Wordsworth gratefully pierces the homely crust of earth to find the rich fountains of life in the Eternal Mind; Shelley follows with wistful eye the fleeting stream of beauty as it for ever escapes him into the illimitable void. Hence Shelley's great admiration for Goethe's Faust, as a poem expressive of illimitable desires.
He says, in one of his letters to Mr. Gisborne, that “it deepens the gloom, and augments the rapidity of ideas ;" "and yet,” he adds, “the pleasure of sympathising with emotions known only to few, although they derive their sole charm from despair, and the scorn of the narrow good we can attain in our present state, seems more than to ease the pain which belongs to them. Perhaps all discontent with the less (to use a Platonic sophism) supposes
the sense of a just claim to the greater, and that we admirers of Faust are on the right road to Paradise. Such a supposition is not more absurd, and is certainly less demoniacal, than that of Wordsworth, where he says:
“This earth, Which is the world of all of us, and where
We find our happiness, or not at all.' As if, after sixty years' suffering here, we were to be roasted alive for sixty million more in Hell, or charitably annihilated by a coup-de-grace of the bungler who brought us into existence at first. This passage, written not in Shelley's earlier days,
" but within a few months of his death, when he was thirty years of age, brings out with striking force, in its utter blindness to Wordsworth's meaning, how impossible it was for the eager-souled poet of unsatisfied desire--the poet of perpetual flux and reflux, the Heraclitus of the modern world—to enter into the mind of
the poet of intellectual rest and “lonely rapture.”. Of course Wordsworth had no such theological meaning as Shelley indicates. He merely intended to affirm, that if the springs of infinite joy are not to some extent discoverable in man here, as he was sure that they were, they can scarcely be inherent in human nature at all, and therefore not in the world to come. But it was so impossible for Shelley to conceive any fulness of joy in the present world, that he supposed Wordsworth to be launching a thunderbolt against the school of the Unsatisfied,—the school who sang with him :
“ Nor was there aught The world contains the which he could approve, when he was in fact only testifying to the spiritual opulence of this homely earth. The same extraordinary contrast comes out in two of the most beautiful poems which our language contains,-Shelley's “Skylark” and Wordsworth’s “Skylark.” Shelley's “Skylark” is a symbol of illimitable thirst drinking in illimitable sweetness,-an image of that rapture which no man can ever reach, because it soars so far from earth, because it is ever rising with unflagging wing, ever exhausting old delights. Shelley will not recognise its carthly form or abode at all ; it is not a bird whose nest is on the ground; it is a winged desire, always rising, aspiring, singing, “like an unbodied joy, whose race is just begun :"
“ Hail to thee, blithe spirit,
Bird thou never wert, —
Pourest thy full heart
Higher still, and higher,
From the earth thou springest;
The blue deep thou wingest;
In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun,
Thou dost float and run, Like an unbodied joy, whose race is just begun.” Yet even this symbol of a thirst ever new, and ever slaked from sweeter fountains, throws him into utter dejection before this most marvellous of English lyrics closes:
" We look before and after,
And pine for what is not;
With some pain is fraught;