Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

parts of the kingdom. Hellingly, Ardingly, and Markly are made to rhyme with “fly.” Amongst surnames Alchorne is corrupted into “Orchin," Alcock or Aucock into “Orkit," and Pocock into “ Pockit” or “Pawk."

The white smock-frock or round-frock, once the characteristic dress of the Sussex peasantry, is seldom worn now. It was formerly the custom for a squire or farmer to be carried to the grave by his tenants or labourers dressed in black smock-frocks. We may sometimes see a carter, clad in one of these old-fashioned garments, plodding along the dusty marsh road, or "Pevensey trade,” in charge of his heavy farm waggon and its team of four strong horses. We may also occasionally see upon the downs the now uncommon sight of a cart or plough drawn by oxen instead of horses.

Pevensey must have been entirely isolated by water or marsh in Roman times, and except that it lay near to the harbour, it was, from a strategic point of view, in a position of small importance compared to Eastbourne, which was the key to the only available road up the country, namely, one which followed the foot of the downs, and so avoided the swamps and forests of the interior. It would have been a cramped and unhealthy site for a garrison camp, much more so for a city. Pevensey would have been known as the port of Anderida, even though the city of that name were situate four or five miles distant at Eastbourne.

The foundations of a Roman villa which were discovered at the latter place in 1848, near where the Queen's Hotel now stands, had been for the most part washed away by the sea, and there is a ridge of rocks in front of the town, uncovered at low tide, which appears to have formed the foundation of the cliff at no very remote period. It is not impossible, therefore, that the site of the much sought-for Roman colony of Anderida may, after all, have been at Eastbourne, and have been long ago submerged beneath the waves, just as we know old Hastings and old Winchelsea were in more recent times.

THOMAS H. B. GRAHAM.

GOETHE AND WEIMAR.

O Weimar! dir fiel ein besonder Loos!
Wie Bethlehem in Juda, klein und gross.

GOETHE, “ Auf Mieding's Tod."
O Weimar ! but thine is a singular fate !
Like Bethlehem city, so small, yet so great.

W

EIMAR is a city of memories and of graves. The existing

city is scarcely the reality : it dwells on the airy borderland between a dream and an actuality : but, nevertheless, very vivid and very dear to the imagination is the now torpid town, peopled vitally by the shadows of the mighty dead. It is the city emphatically of a genius and a prince ; although round Goethe, like planets placed too near the sun, move the comparatively fainter spectres of Schiller, of Herder, of Wieland, and other minor stars; while the fair images of noble and graceful women-as the two Duchesses, Frau von Stein, Corona Schröter, and others-lend woman's charm to the group and complete the constellation. Yes; it is a city of the past, a city of the dead-but of the dead who are living yet; of the dead whose life and work posterity will not willingly let die. As you gaze upon the houses, and learn to know the dwelling-places of Goethe, Schiller, Herder, Wieland, the men as they lived cease to be mere names, and become once more living personalities. Day by day, as you linger in quiet, quaint little Weimar, the impression deepens; and you realise clearly to the imagination the days and ways of the heroes of the Glanz-Periode. These were the streets they saw ; these were the houses in which they lived. “Things seen are mightier than things heard ;” and he who would care to image in his fancy these men as they lived, and moved, and had their being, must go to Weimar, and there, intensely receptive, must allow the Athens of the Ilm to work upon the mind. Creative criticism must visit Weimar. Of itself, the place would not greatly attract ; but Weimar is pre-eminently the city of Goethe.

But for its galaxy of writers Weimar would be in no way great ; but it is darkness which enables us to see the stars, and before we study the little city as it now is, we should essay to look upon Weimar as it was when the men who have made it so great first arrived in it—that is, we must begin by trying to recall the Weimar of the last quarter of the last century.

It now contains 21,500 inhabitants. In the last five-and.twenty years of the eighteenth century—Karl August reigned, it must be remembered, from 1775 to 1828-Weimar contained 6,000 inhabitants, and about 500 houses. In 1851 Weimar was computed to possess 12,000 inhabitants, dwelling in 1,000 tenements. The old streets, narrow, winding, and dirty, the old houses, still exist ; but the city walls, the old towers, the city ditch, which then still in part lingered, have disappeared. Weimar may now be termed a park, with a villette added to it; but at the time which we are now trying to recall, the park -- which we owe chiefly to Goethe-had not been made ; and Madame de Staël says, Weimar n'est pas une petite

, ville, mais un grand château.It was a great palace with a village attached to it. Schiller, writing to Körner, speaks of das Dorf Weimar; calls the place a village. The Präsidentin von Schwendler asked her postillion "when they were going to arrive at Weimar?” “Madame, you are now in Weimar," was the answer.

At the gates, a Thorschreiber, a registering clerk, took down the names of all who in carriages passed into, or out of, the city, in order to report such names to Serenissimo. This regulation was in force in Karl August's time. Goethe writes to Frau von Stein, with whom he wished to take a drive into the country, and begs her, in order to avoid being reported at the gate, to get out of the carriage at the Sternbrücke. He does not like to prohibit the Thorschreiber from reporting names, because das sieht kurios aus--that would appear singular or suspicious. To the westward of the old esplanade, a new quarter, consisting of large, quite modern houses, has recently sprung up; but towards the end of the last century there were, in Weimar, none but old houses. The streets then were not lighted at night. The houses were dirty and discoloured ; but now paint and white-washing, which add to cleanliness and cheerfulness, hide something of the aspect of antiquity. The pavement was then notoriously bad ; it is not good now. Weimar to day enjoys the reputation of being very free from Räder-Gerrassel, from the rattling of wheels; but when the men who made the place what it now is first saw Weimar, few indeed must have been the peasants' carts, or extra-posts, which disturbed the still serenity of its ever-quiet streets. The old market-place is (with the exception of a new town-hall) pretty much now what it was then. Old houses, some quaint and picturesque-especially that

even

house, date 1549, in which the two Kranachs, father and son, livedsurround the open space. The old Schloss, the Herzogsburg, was burned down in 1774, a year before Goethe came to Weimar ; and while the present palace, erected under his superintendence, was being built, the ducal family lived in the Fürstenhaus. The new Schloss was first inhabited in 1803. The railway station is mercifully placed far from the heart of the city ; but to attain to it, you pass the new muscum, and observe several new houses and streets. Karl August did not become Grand Duke until after the Congress of Vienna : but Weimar, on the death of Wilhelm III., had passed, in 1482, into the possession of that Ernestine line to which the Duchy still belongs. In those old days Weimar contained no statues ; not

one of Bernhard of Weimar, the successor in command of Gustav Adolf; but it now boasts statues of Wieland (a bad work); a good one of Herder, which still records on the pedestal his aspiration towards Licht, Liebe, Leben ; and a double statue of Goethe and of Schiller, standing together before the theatre, which was built in 1868. Rietschel has succeeded better with Schiller than he has with Goethe. Schiller was easier to treat; he answered much more nearly to the popular idea of a poet ; but Gocthe was himself too ideal to be successfully idealised by a sculptor. Rietschel has given to his Goethe a bourgeois air and manner; and has half-subordinated the poet to the Philistine.

In trying to recreate in our fancy the dull little city into which Karl August attracted so much grace and genius, we can scarcely picture to ourselves any image which shall be too small, dark, and narrow. The citizens were poor, and their way of life may be mildly described as simple. All splendour, or even comfort, centred in the Schloss.

In our dream-walks through Weimar we always inevitably turn to the Park. Goethe, even as a mere gardener, worked for posterity; and time ripens all natural beauties. Seventy years have improved the trees which were planted, the walks which were first designed. There are no boundaries to the Park, and it seems, therefore, to be almost boundless. There are no railings, gates, fences. It begins just behind the Bibliothek, and five minutes bring you into it from the heart of the little city. It contains winding walks, with cool shade when the sun shines ; it contains rocks, mosses, huts, houses, temples, monuments; and you can still identify Schiller's favourite bench. There is the Templar's house, and that Römisches Haus which the Duke built twenty years after Goethe's arrival in Weimar. The gardens give an idea of great space, so well are they designed. There is the Borkenhäuschen, or little hut, built of the bark of trees, to which Karl August, attended by a single hussar, so often retreated in order to escape from the tedious ceremonies of little Court-life. Opposite to the Borkenhäuschen, the gentle Ilm flowing between them, is that Gartenhaus in which Goethe lived, summer and winter, for seven years. When first he reached Weimar, the young poet lived for some little time in the Jägerhaus, since pulled down, which stood close to the Frauenthor, near Wieland's modest dwelling ; but he took a fancy for the Gartenhaus, then belonging to Bertuch, and Karl August said playfully to its owner, " Bertuch, ich muss deinen Garten haben !" and the Prince bought the little residence, and gave it to the poet. From the house there is no view of the city or of other houses. A road, leading to Ober-Weimar, runs before it, and, opposite to it, wide meadows, tree-surrounded, stretch out to the banks of the quiet Ilm. Goethe came from the one side, Karl August from the other; the one from the Gartenhaus, the other from the Borkenhäuschen, when they met to bathe, as they often did o' nights, in the river. Goethe loved the Gartenhaus, and he always retained it after he had moved to the greater house in Weimar. He speaks of it as a Hohes Dach und niedriges Haus,” a high-pitched roof, and lowly house. It contains but very few rooms, and those are simple and are small. A modern gardener would probably object to reside in this Gartenhaus, which was for so long the dwelling-place of Goethe. Karl August, it is said, ceased to visit the Borkenhäuschen because he there saw an apparition. He told the details only to Goethe. The Gartenhaus is surrounded by fine trees, and it is set in a pleasant little garden, which Goethe himself delighted to cultivate. The rooms are preserved, so nearly as possible, in the state in which Goethe left them. His simple furniture still stands in the few and small rooms in which he lived and worked. We find that sometimes, in summer, Goethe slept,

. wrapped in a cloak, in the balcony of his Gartenhaus. He was, until the later years of his long life, always hardy, fond of exerciseof dancing, swimming, fencing, riding, skating-and he was, in this respect, somewhat un-German. Goethe was an almost perfect instance of a just balance between physical and mental qualities, of a healthy mind in a healthy body. His attribute of physical health and beauty rendered him an Apollo in his splendid youth, a Jupiter in his stately age ; and mentally he is, perhaps, the greatest man who, since Shakspeare, has left a record of himself.

In the Wittumspalais, or Dowager Palace, Weimar possesses a unique relic of the life of royalty during its Glanz-Periode. Here,

a

« ÖncekiDevam »