H. C. (Hans Christian) Andersen.

A poet's bazaar : a picturesque tour in Germany, Italy, Greece, and the Orient online

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Yes, even in the inspired bridal dress ! Shall I again meet
him ? was my last thought ; and chance would have it that
we should meet on our travels, meet at a place where my
reader and I least could imagine ; meet, become friends, and
again separate ; but it belongs to the last chapter of this
flight. He went to Victoria's capital, and I to Gregory
X VI.'s.



V.

THE MAID OF ORLEANS.
A SKETCH.

WE were on the opposite side of the Elbe. The steam
boat glided down on the Hanoverian side between the low
green islands, which presented us with prospects of farm-
houses and groups of cattle. I saw happy children playing
on the half-drawn up boats, and thought how soon this play
must be over, how they would perhaps fly far forth into the
world, and then would come the remembrance of these small
flat islands, like the Hesperian gardens with their childhood's
golden apples and oranges.

We were now at Harburg : every one looked after his own



12 A POETS BAZAAR.

baggage, and saw it placed on the porter's barrow ; but a tall
and rather stout lady with a proud carriage not in harmony
with her faded chintz gown, and a cloak which had certainly
been turned more than once, shook her head at every porter
who stretched out his hand to take her little travelling bag,
which she held in her hand. It was a man's bag in every way,
and she would not give it into other hands, for it was as if it
contained a valuable treasure. She followed slowly after us
all into the quiet town.

A little table was laid for me and a fellow-traveller, and
they asked us if a third could be permitted to take a place at
the table. This third person arrived ; it was the lady in the
faded gown ; a large boa, somewhat the worse for wear, hung
loosely about her neck : she was very tired.

" I have travelled the whole night," said she ; " I am an
actress ! I come from Lubeck, where I performed last night ; "
and she sighed deeply as she loosened her cap-strings.

" What is your line ? " I asked.

" The affecting parts," she replied ; and threw her long boa
over one shoulder with a proud mien. "Last night I was
The Maid of Orleans. I left directly after the close of the
piece, for they expect me in Bremen. To-morrow I shall make
my appearance there in the same piece ; " she drew her
breath very deep, and threw the boa again over the other
shoulder.

She immediately ordered a carriage, as she intended to
travel post ; but it was to be only a one horse chaise, or she
would prefer one of the landlord's own, and a boy with her, for
in case of need she could drive herself. " One must be eco-
nomical, particularly in travelling," said she. I looked at her
pale face ; she was certainly thirty years of age, and had been
very pretty ; she still played The Maid of Orleans, and only
the affecting parts.

An hour afterward I sat in the diligence ; the horn clanged
through the dead streets of Harburg ; a little cart drove on
before us. It turned aside, and stopped for us to pass ; I
looked out, it was " The Maid of Orleans " with her little bag
between her and a boy, who represented the coachman. She
greeted us like a princess, and kissed her hand to us ; the



THE RAILROAD.



'3



long boa waved over her shoulders. Our postilion played a
merry tune, but I thought of " The Maid of Orleans," the old
actress on the cart, who was to make her entry into Bremen on
the morrow, and I became sad from her smile and the postilion's
merry tones. And thus we each went our way over the heath.



VI.

THE RAILROAD.

As many of my readers have not seen a railroad, I will
first endeavor to give them an idea of such a thing. We will
take an ordinary high-road : it may run in a straight line, or it
may be curved, that is indifferent ; but it must be level level
as a parlor floor, and for that purpose we blow up every rock
which stands in the way ; we build a bridge on strong arches
over marshes and deep valleys, and when the level road stands
clearly before us, we lay down iron rails where the ruts would
be, on which the carriage wheels can take hold. The locomo-
tive is placed in front, with its conductor or driver on it, who
knows how to direct and stop its course ; wagon is chained
to wagon, with men or cattle in them, and so we travel.

At every place on the way they know the hour and the min-
ute that the train will arrive ; one can also hear, for miles, the
sound of the signal whistle, when the train is coming : and
round about where the by-roads cross the railway the guard
or watchman puts down a bar, so as to prevent those who are
driving or walking from grossing the road at a time when the
train is approaching ; and the good folks must wait until it
has passed. Along the road, as far as it extends, small houses
are built, so that those who stand as watchmen may see each
other's flag and keep the railroad clear in time, so that no
stone or twig lie across the rails.

See, that is a railroad ! I hope that I have been under-
stood.

It was the first time in my life that I had seen such a one.
For half a day and the succeeding night, I had travelled with
the diligence on that horribly bad road from Brunswick to



14 A POET'S BAZAAR.

Magdeburg, and arrived at the latter place quite tired out, and
an hour afterward I had to set out again on the railroad.

I will not deny that I had previously a sort of feeling which
I will call rail way- fever, and this was at its height when I en-
tered the immense building from whence the train departs.
Here was a crowd of travellers, a running with portmanteaus
and carpet-bags, and a hissing and puffing of engines, out of
which the steam poured forth. At first we know not rightly
where we dare stand, fearing that a carriage, or a boiler, or a
baggage chest might come flying over us. It is true that one
stands safely enough on a projecting balcony ; the carriages we
are to enter are drawn up in a row quite close to it, like gondo-
las by the side of a quay, but down in the yard the one rail
crosses the other like magic ties invented by human skill ; to
these ties our magic car should confine itself, for if it come out
of them life and limb are at stake. I gazed at these wagons, at
the locomotives, at loose baggage wagons, and Heaven knows
what ; they ran amongst each other as in a fairy world. Every-
thing seemed to have legs ; and then the steam and the noise
united with the crowding to get a place, the smell of tallow, the
regular movement of the machinery, and the whistling, snort-
ing, and snuffing of the steam as it was blown off, increased
the impression ; and when one is here for the first time, one
thinks of overturnings, of breaking arms and legs, of being
blown into the air, or crushed to death by another train ; but
I think it is only the first time one thinks of all this. The
train formed three divisions ; the first two were comfortably
closed carriages, quite like our diligences, only that they were
much broader ; the third was open c.nd incredibly cheap, so
that even the poorest peasant is enabled to travel by it : it is
much cheaper for him than if he were to walk all the distance,
and refresh himself at the ale-house, or lodge on the journey.
The signal whistle sounds, but it does not sound well ; it bears
no small resemblance to the pig's dying song, when the knife
passes through its throat. We get into the most comfortable
carriage, the guard locks the door and takes the key ; but we
can let the window down and enjoy the fresh air without being
in danger of suffocation : we are just the same here as in an-
other carriage, only more at ease : we can rest ourselves, if
we have made a fatiguing journey shortly before.



THE RAILROAD. j 5

The first sensation is that of a very gentle motion in the
carriages, and then the chains are attached which bind them
together ; the steam whistle sounds again, and we move on ;
at first but slowly, as if a child's hand drew a little carriage.
The speed increases imperceptibly, but you read in your book,
look at your map, and as yet do not rightly know at what
speed you are going, for the train glides on like a sledge over
the level snow-field. You look out of the window and dis-
cover that you are careering away as with horses at full gallop ,
it goes still quicker; you seem to fly, but here is no shaking,
no suffocation, nothing of what you anticipated would be un-
pleasant.

What was that red thing which darted like lightning close
past us ? It was one of the watchmen who stood there with
his flag. Only look out ! and the nearest ten or twenty yards
you see, is a field which looks like a rapid stream ; grass and
plants run into each other. We have an idea of standing
outside the globe, and seeing it turn round ; it pains the eye
to keep it fixed for a long time in the same direction ; but
when you see some flags at a greater distance, the other ob-
jects do not move quicker than they appear to do when we
drive in an ordinary way, and further in the horizon everything
seems to stand still ; one has a perfect view and impression of
the whole country.

This is just the way to travel through flat countries ! It is
as if town lay close to town ; now comes one, then another.
One can imagine the flight of birds of passage, they must
leave towns behind them thus.

Those who drive in carriages, on the by-roads, seem to stand
still ; the horses appear to lift their feet, but to put them down
again in the same place and so we pass them.

There is a well known anecdote of an American, who, trav-
elling for the first time on a railroad, and seeing one mile-
stone so quickly succeed another, thought he was speeding
through a church yard, and that he saw the monuments. I
should not cite this, but that it with a little trans-atlantic
license, to be sure characterizes the rapidity of this manner
of travelling ; and I thought of it, although we do not see any
mile-stones here. The red signal flags might stand for them,



1 6 A POET'S BAZAAR.

and the same American might have said, " Why is every on
out to-day with a red flag ? "

I can, however, relate a similar story. As we sped past
some railings that appeared to me to be a pole, a man who
sat beside me said, " See ! now we are in the principality of
Cothen," and then he took a pinch of snuff, and offered me
his box : I bowed, took a pinch, sneezed, and then asked :
" How far are we now in Cothen ? " " O," replied the man,
"we left it behind us while you were sneezing! "

And yet the trains can go twice as quickly as they did on
this occasion ; every moment one is at a fresh station, where
the passengers are set down and others taken up. The speed
of the whole journey is thus diminished : we stop a minute,
and the waiter gives us refreshments through the open window,
light or solid, just as we please. Roasted pigeons literally fly
into one's mouth for payment, and then we hurry off; chatter
with our neighbor, read a book, or cast an eye on nature with-
out, where a herd of cows turn themselves round with astonish-
ment, or some horses tear themselves loose from the tether
and gallop away, because they see that twenty carriages can
be drawn without their assistance, and even quicker than if
they should have to draw them, and then we are again sud-
denly under a roof where the train stops. We have come
seventy miles in three hours, and are now in Leipsic.

Four hours after, on the same day, it again proceeds the
same distance in the same time, but through mountains and
over rivers ; and then we are in Dresden.

I have heard many say that on a railroad all the poetry of
travelling is lost, and that we lose sight of the beautiful and
interesting. As to the last part of this remark, I can only say
tftat every one is free to stay at whatever station he chooses,
and look about him until the next train arrives ; and as to all
the poetry of travelling being lost, I am quite of the contrary
opinion. It is in the narrow, close-packed diligences that
poetry vanishes : we become dull, we are plagued with heat
and dust in the best season of the year, and in winter by bad,
heavy roads ; we do not see nature itself in a wider extent,
but in longer draughts than in a railway carriage.

O what a noble and great achievement of the mind is this



GELLERT'S GRA VE. \ 7

production ! We feel ourselves as powerful as the sorcerers
of old ! We put our magic horse to the carriage, and space
disappears ; we fly like the clouds in a storm as the bird of
passage flies ! Our wild horse snorts and snuffs, and the dark
steam rushes out of his nostrils. Mephistopheles could not
fly quicker with Faust on his cloak ! We are, with natural
means, equally as potent in the present age, as those in the
Middle Ages thought that only the devil himself could be '
With our cunning we are as his side, and before he knows it
himself we are past him.

I can remember but a few times in my life that I ever felt
myself so affected as I was on this railroad journey : it was thus
with all my thoughts that I beheld God face to face. I felt
a devotion such as, when a child, I have felt in the church alone
and when older, in the sun-illumined forest, or on the sea in a
dead calm and starlight night. Feeling and Imagination are
not the only ones that reign in the realm of poetry : they have
a brother equally powerful ; he is called Intellect : he pro-
claims the eternal truth, and in that greatness and poetry re-
side.



VII.

GELLERT'S GRAVE.

GELLERT is buried in one of the church-yards in Leipsic.
The first time I was in Germany, in the year 1830, I visited
this grave ; Oehlenschlager's gifted daughter, Charlotte, was
at that time on a visit to Brockhaus ; she conducted me to
the poet's grave. A thousand names were scratched on the
grave-stone and cut in the wooden palings around it ; we also
wrote our names. She broke off a rose from the grave, and
gave it me as a remembrance of the place.

Ten years afterward I came this way alone. I found the
church-yard easily enough ; but the grave itself I could not
find. I asked a poor old woman where Gellert was buried,
and she showed me the place. " Good men are always sought
for," said the old woman ; " he was a great man ! " and she
'ooked on the imple grave with peaceful devotion. I soughl



1 8 A POETS BAZAAR.

amongst the many written names for the two that were in-
scribed when I was last here ; but the railings had been lately
painted over, perhaps painted several times since then. New
names were written, but the name on the grave-stone Gel-
lert's name remained the same. It will be discovered there
when those lately written have disappeared and new ones
are inscribed again ; the immortal name stands, the names of
mankind are blotted out. The old woman broke off a rose
for me, a rose as young and fresh as that which Charlotte
herself, in all the freshness of youth, gave to me at the same
place ; and I thought of her as I saw her then before me ; she,
that fresh rose, who is now in the grave ! She whose soul
and mind breathed life's gladness and the ardor of youth !
This rime I wrote not my name on the railing : I placed the
white rose in my breast, and my thoughts were with the dead.



VIII.

*

NUREMBERG.

Wenn einer Deutschland kennen
Und Deutschland Heben soil,
Darf man ihm Niirnberg nennen,
Der edlen Kiinste voll ;
Die nimmer nicht veraltet,
Die treue fleiss'ge Stadt;
Wo Diirer's Kunst gewaltet,
Und Sachs gesungen hat.

SCHENKENDOW.

THE history of Casper Hauser bears the stamp of a previous
century ; nay, however true we know it to be, we cannot
exactly think of it as something that occurred in our time ;
yet it performs a part in it, and amongst the large towns of
Germany, as chance would have it, Nuremberg was the scene
of this strange adventure.

It is said of Kotzebue, that he wrote "The Cross Knights,"
to make the scenery and decorations of the theatre available ;
even so we may almost imagine that Casper Hauser was de



NUREMBERG. IQ

signed for the city of Nuremberg ; for, if we except Augsburg,
no city from its exterior leads us back into the Middle Ages
so impressively as the free, old " Reichsstadt," Nuremberg.
Several years ago, when I was in Paris, I saw a panorama by
Daguerre, who has since become so famous, which, if I
recollect rightly, represented the Dey of Algiers's summer pal-
ace ; from the flat roof one looked over the gardens, the moun-
tains, and the Mediterranean ; but in order to prepare and
bring the spectators into the proper mood, we had to pass
through some rooms which were fitted up in the Oriental style,
and we looked through small windows over the top of a palm-
tree or high cactuses. I was reminded of this arrangement
as we rolled into Nuremberg through ancient France.

From the moment we reached the city of Hof in Bavaria,
everything begins, by degrees, to sustain that fantasy which,
in Nuremberg, expands into dreams of the Middle Ages, and
which finds there a correct and well-arranged scene for its vis-
ionings.

After passing Miinchberg, we were in the mountains ; and
the country around displayed a more romantic character. It
was in the evening light. The mountain " der Ochsenkopf,"
the largest here, was quite hidden by the misty clouds ; the
road became narrower and dark ; at Bernech it was quite in-
closed by steep cliffs ; to the left, at some yards above us, stood
a ruined tower, which in ancient times certainly commanded
the entrance to this place. Bernech itself, with its uneven
streets, the lights that moved about within the old houses ; the
postilion's music, which sounded as melancholy as the tune
of an old ditty everything breathed the spirit of romance.

I felt inclined to put words to these minor tones, words
about the Robber Knight who lay on the watch in the old
tower whilst the Nuremberg merchants passed the ravine
with their wares ; words of the attack in the moonlight night,
as the red and white Main saw it, and afterward related it to
brother Rhine under the vine-crowned shores.

We passed through Bayreiith, Jean Paul's town, and in the
gay light of morning we saw the large city of Nuremberg.

When I came quite near to it, its old grass-grown moats, its
double walls, the many gates with towers in the form of up-



JO A POET'S BAZAAR.

right cannons, the well-built streets, magnificent walls, and
Gothic buildings constrained me to acknowledge, " Thou art
yet Bavaria's capital ! It is true thou wert compelled to give
thy crown to Munich ; but thy royal dignity, thy peculiar
greatness, thou bearest still ! Under thy sceptre, civic indus-
try, art, and science went hand in hand together ; far and
wide sounded the strokes of Adam Kraft's hammer, and the
bells of Master Conrad and Andreas ; Albert Diirer's genius
sounds the praise of Nuremberg's name louder than the shoe-
maker Hans Sachs could do it, although he had an immortal
voice. Peter Fischer caused the metal to flow in bold and
beauteous figures as they presented themselves to his imag-
ination ; Regiomontan raised thy name to the skies, whilst thy
children, through him, became greater, comprehending and
appreciating the useful and the noble. The marble was chis-
eled into graceful statues, and the wooden block transformed
into a work of art.

The postilion blew his horn through the streets of Nurem-
berg. The houses are diversely built, and yet are stamped
with the same character ; they are all old, but well preserved ,
most of them are painted green, and some have images in the
walls ; others are furnished with projecting bow-windows, and
balconies ; others again have Gothic windows with small octag-
onal panes, inclosed in thick walls ; on the pointed roofs are
seen rows of windows, the one standing above the other, and
each surmounted by a little tower. The water of the foun-
tains falls into large metal basins, surrounded by wrought iron
balustrades of a tasteful form. But such things are not to be
described, they must be drawn ! Had I talent to have done
it, I would have placed myself on the old stone bridge over
the river whose yellow water hurries rapidly on, and there
would have depicted the singular projecting houses. The old
Gothic building yonder on arches, under which the water
streams, stands prominently over the river, adjoining a little
hanging garden with high trees and a flowering hedge ! Could
I paint, I would go into the market, force my way through the
crowd, and sketch the fountain there ; it is not so elegant as
in the olden times with its rich gilding, but all the splendid
bronze figures stand there yet. The seven Electoral Princes,



NUREMBERG. 2 1

Judas Maccabeus, Julius Caesar, Hector, and others of like
illustrious names. Sixteen of them adorn the first row of col-
umns, and above these Moses stands forth with all the proph-
ets. Were I a painter, I would go to the tomb of St. Sebal-
dus, when the sunlight falls through the stained glass win-
dows on the statues of the Apostles, cast in bronze by Peter
Fischer, and the church and tomb should be drawn as they
were reflected in my eyes : but I am not a painter, and can-
not delineate them. I am a poet ; accordingly I inquired
for Hans Sach's house, and they showed me into a by-street,
and pointed to a house ; it had the old form, but it was a new
house. Hans Sach's portrait hung there, with his name under
it ; but it was not the house where he lived and made shoes.
It is the site, but everything upon it is new. The portrait
proclaims that it is a tavern bearing his name for its sign.
Six thousand two hundred and sixty-three comedies, tragedies,
songs, and ballads, are said to have been written here ! *

From the poet's house I went to the King's palace, and this
building admirably harmonizes with the old city of Nurem-
berg. Knightly splendor without and comfort within ! There
are high walls : the court-yard itself is narrow, but the large
linden-tree that grows there has a fragrance which makes the
place cheerful. The small rooms, where so much that is great
has occurred, seem to dilate as we contemplate them ; for
every spot here has a peculiar interest of its own. 2 The
richly-painted arms in the ceiling, the old pictures of saints,
their heads surmounted by their stiff golden glories, with
which the walls are ornamented, confer even upon the small-
est chamber a sort of grandeur that the mind gives to every-
thing by which fancy is set in motion.

The stoves are all of clay, large and painted green ; they

1 Hans Sachs was born in 1495, and died the 2oth of January, 1576.

8 In one of the rooms there hangs a large gilt frame, inclosing a small
poem, which contains the following thought ; it has been written of late
years by a book-binder named Schneer, a citizen of Nuremberg. The
terse is as follows :

" Enge wohnte man sonst, weit war es aber ira Herzen,
Also ertonte uns jiingst ' LudwigV begeisterter Spruch
Drum 1st klein auch die Burg, in der einst die Kaiser gewohnet
Fiihlt sich gewiss hier Sein Herz heimisch im engen Gemach."



22 A POET'S BAZAAR.

might, with their thousands of gilded figures, Christian and
heathen images, supply material for strange stories. What
evenings might not a child enjoy and dream away, when the
fire in the stove lights up these heraldic painted walls, and
the gilded figures step forth and disappear again, just as the
flames fall on them, or are withdrawn from them. From that
child's imaginings Brentano could compose a deathless story
for us.

Whilst I was thinking of this, the keeper led me about,
and repeated the names and the dates of the various subjects.
I looked at his little boy who followed us, but who stopped
every moment to play near a window. I would much rather
have sat with the little fellow and heard him relate realities
or dreams and in fact most of the tales that are told us by
older persons and called historical are nothing else than the
latter. I could have wished to have stood with him in the
moonlight and looked over the old Gothic town, whose towers
point toward the stars as if they would interpret them ; to
have looked over the plain whence the postilion's horn sounds,
and then thought of Wallenstein's troopers who sounded here
to battle : in the mist that soars over the meadows, I could
fancy I saw the Swedish troopers who fought for their faith.

I should like to sit with the little one under the linden-
tree in the narrow palace yard, and see with him what the
legend says of Eppelin, the wild Knight of Gailingen. From
his castle he could witness every expedition of the Nuremberg
merchants as they went with their wares to the city, and
like the falcon dart upon his prey ; but the falcon was now



Online LibraryH. C. (Hans Christian) AndersenA poet's bazaar : a picturesque tour in Germany, Italy, Greece, and the Orient → online text (page 2 of 31)