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 of 42
Page 14 of 42

St Johns College - Yearbook (Annapolis, MD) online yearbook collection, 1895 Edition, Page 13
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Page 14 text:

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-

Page 13 text:

ST JOHN S into English, but no translation can do him justice. To be appreciated they must be read in the original, where the full charm of the verse can appeal to the reader. Heine possessed the lyrical faculty COLLEGIAN also knew the outside world with itS foibles and insincerity. The pas- sionate predominated, and he gave fierce outcries to the emotions that stirred his ardent nature. He com bined the dual character of Faust H. 214. in an intense degree, and stands the foremost lyric poet of Germany. His lyrics are sweetly musical, but often marred by their ironical tone. His ballads are popular and his prose strong and vigorous. His later works, 'fGods in Exile," 'fAtta Troll" and "Romancero," reveal his true poetic stature. 'Here there is har- mony oflthe conflicting traits .that ruled his imagination. These are aesthetical, not ethical, and to be enjoyed must be approached with the mind fully prepared to bend to the rapid changes and brilliant transi- tions of his verse. True he mocks, lltughs, and derides, but he thrills us with forbidden pleasures. We quaff the sweetness of stolen waters. We are concerned with him as an individual. Only by studying his personality can we understand his dual nature, and account for his seeming eccentricities. Heine,s na- ture was emotional and passionate, which fired his fancy to give utterance to ideas and truths that the more composed and intellectually balanced Goethe did not feel. He did this at the expense of that sanity and unity which characterizes the earlier and greater poet. Besides this, he had a cool and calm faculty of judgment. .He was acquainted with the world of the spirit, purity and faith, but he and Mephistoles, and was unable to entirely disassociate the two. He de- lighted to unite the purest pathos with the most repulsive incidents, and to encircle low vulgarities with the most brilliant flashes of political fancy. a It would naturally be supposed that these opposite tendencies of his imagination would have neutralized each other, but this was not the case. And it is here that Heine's genius displays itself in rising above obsta- cles, that would ordinarily destroy, on the one hand, keen humor and a Bohemian caste of character, on the other, pure feeling and lofty aspira- tions. We sometimes see a minglingof lamentation and mockery, in which he confesses that his soul has been torn, and his li fe.-blasted, but on the whole his works are singularly free from allusions to himself-quite the opposite from what we should expect from one of his temperament,when we recall to mind the universe filled with the scoffs, sncers and fancied woes of Lord Byron. But here it must be borne in mind that Heine, although he sneered and satirized, was not a pessimist, and misanthropy did not cause him to lose 'faith in' mankind, but he only ridiculed that he might lead men to the consummation of his

Page 15 text:

' ST. JOHN'S GOLLEGIAN. 216 possible ideals, but Heine's claims to immortality rest on the fact that he completely reflected the spiritual age in which he lived and had his being, and of which he was the legitimate offspring. S. M. WOLFINGER. LOGKSLY HALL. In the course oflife our minds are oftentimes carried back to some period of our existence which seems to have for so a peculiar si gnilicance, whether it be on account of some marked success or failure, or on account of some deep affliction or sorrow. The event, whatever it may be, leaves a deep impression on our minds, and often the most trivial occurence is sufficient to cause a rush of thoughts and feelings over the occurrences of that particular time and occasion. "Locksley Hall" is the product of such a recollection of long past scenes and experiences, and as our first im- pressions generally count a great deal our attention is at once attracted and our sympathy enlisted by the manner in which the poem com- mences. We are so impressed with the solem nity of the occasion of the visit by Tennyson to the home of his earlier years, we feel this desire to be alone on that occasion so natural, and the influence of memories, tender or sorrowful an agency, in the overflow of feelings in words, that at once we feel that there is strong reason for inspiration' in the poem. We can easily put ourselves in the poets place, and in the dim light of early morning see in the distance Locksley Hall, gloomy and fraught with recollection overlooking the ocean where once the lovers were want to stroll, and amid the awe and stillness of that quiet hour, moved to silent meditations by the gentle rustle of leaves of overhead, there comes to us "A feeling of sadness and longing That is not akin to pain, And resembles so rrow only As the mist resembles the rain." The sentiment of the poem is this, Tennyson had fallen in love with his cousin, and was betrothed to her when an unworthy suitor wins her affection, and marries her. The poets disappointment and vexation breaks- forth in scathing rebuke at the fickle- ness of heart, and in protest against social inducements to dissipation and immorality., He reviews the hopes and aspirations of his youth at the time when he was filled with ambi- tion to search deep into the mysteries of nations, forseeing wars and deso- lation, yet feeling that these would finally be ended by an united brother- hood, 'fthe Federation of the world." He yearns to drawn his emotions by a return to these reflections, yet even here there is a strain of despair for the world of knoledwge is so exten- sive that the individual is overawed with the contemplation thereof, and the little of wisdom which he has gained by experience is fraught with sadness. But, thinks he, is it not better to secure oblivion of past sor- row bv deserting civilization, and in the wilds of nature crush out all ac-

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St Johns College - Yearbook (Annapolis, MD) online yearbook collection, 1895 Edition, Page 27

1895, pg 27

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