Excerpt from Book of the Poets: The Modern Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Of all those countries which were so in¿uenced, Germany was the chief. It was fortunate, in this case, that she had no previous national literature, and therefore she had little to unlearn. When the na... turally strong and fervent spirit of her people was aroused to thought and inquiry, she advanced in consequence, with all the freshness and buoyancy of a first existence, to the creation of a national poetry; and instead of taking their models from the writers of the eighteenth century, the German poets went to a more congenial source - to Shak speare, and the great English poets of the early ages. These they studied, until they had caught their spirit and inspiration; and thus when they sang, it often seemed as if our illustrious dead of England had awoke to life, under the shock and stir of the mighty passing events, and had added, to their own native grandeur of intellect, the treasures of modern science and phi los0phy. And how natural it was that England, when she had become weary of the effete poetry which she had endured so patiently, should turn and listen to those rich echoes of tones that had been ¿ung abroad from her own lyre? The new race of English poets,who were to enlighten and adorn the nineteenth century, betook themselves to those streams of inspiration that had ¿owed from the fountain - head of England; and while they imbued their own minds with the impassioned Spirit of the new-born Teutonic Muse, they prepared their countrymen, in many instances, for the change, by translations from the most distinguished of their German contemporaries. In this manner, Germany, our mother-land, reciprocated the benefits which she had previously derived from her illustrious child. And no national jealousy could intervene between such endeared rela tionships, to mar the mutual harmony, and interrupt the pro jected renovation. German and English poets laboured with united hand and heart, as the children of one race, in the pro duction of a common good.
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