St Johns College - Yearbook (Annapolis, MD)

 - Class of 1895

Page 14 of 42


St Johns College - Yearbook (Annapolis, MD) online yearbook collection, 1895 Edition, Page 14
Page 14

Text from page 14:

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215 's'r. Joiuixrs CQLLEGIAN. U ideal, a purely spiritual' state, where. the bickerings of the real world should beforgotten in peace, affec- tion.. and purity. However much he himself might bedisqualified from participating. inlthis Elysian bliss is not pertinent to the subject. Heine united in his character something of the demon with the nobility of a god, and it is not for us to condemn a nat- ural predfection which he seemed un- able to overcome. We should rather forget failings, and generously pour out our sympathy when we think of an ardent nature like his own blight- ed by .hopeless and unrequited love. The literary iniiuence of the mid- dle ages exerted itself upon Heine. His impressible naturelwas readily receptive to its charm, and it became a bountiful source of many"-of his noblest efforts. He -matured in the Romantic school and became one of as inert faithful disciples. Hispmisa was stored with myths, legends and superstitious, and with artful skill he reproduced its subtle and pleasing effects. He was perhaps the highest ideal of the Romantic school, and his free, daring' fancy, luxuriant imagi- nation, suggestive humoii, and bi-ting irony, fulfilled the most exacting re- quirements of the critical Schlegees. In politics Heine was an 'uncom- promising Liberal, and desirous of a kingdom of intellectual joy. As a member of the Romantic school he had thoroughly grasped the spirit of medimval institutions, and he viewed the political problems of his day with the convictions of the past. Germany had been prosperous under .that with a restoration of their o the old order, and Heine government, would come a revital prosperity. But he was thorou hl impractical. The men who. were work the changehad never received political training, were ignorant of business, only acquainted with art and literature, and 'it is' nogsmallt wpnder thatthe scheme was a disas- trous failure. In his political view Heinewas true to his Jewish an try and their traditions. The pcm of the middle ages appealed strongly to him, and in his Hebrew inclina- tions may be found muchfthat iniiu- enced his entire life. Heine lived in an age of intellec- tual ferment, tossed on .the tempest- uous seas of controversy, sweptzalong by the current of life and action. German life was thrilled to its very 'center with higher spiritual ideals, nobler aspirations and generous sen- tirnents. Heine voiced' the popular ideas. This boisterous life was nec- essary to the development of his gen- ius. Had he retired to the cloister and cultivated a scepticism the world would perhaps have never heard of Heinrich Heine, the poet. This would have suited the calm nature of Goethe, but if Heine had been hap- pier and less human it is doubtful if he had sung. Perhaps the aims of his intense belief were not' accom- plished, perhaps those illusions that restlessly drove him onward have vanished, perhaps the German people were too sober, and too little imagi- native, to be other than- temporarily keyed up to that groping after im-

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