H. C. (Hans Christian) Andersen.

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

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was broken, and outside on the wall there stood living in every
feature, as we see it still, and ineffaceable, the figure of the
councilor of Presburg. The devil had blown him into the
smooth wall like a colored shadow.

Our steamer was again on its flight : we met another
steamer, Arpad ; it came from Vienna, and like ours, was over-
loaded with passengers. Hats swung, handkerchiefs waved,
we looked in each other's eyes, we saw ourselves there, and


the picture vanished again. Not one of the many figures has
remained behind in memory, except that of a lady in a nan-
keen cloak, and with a green parasol ; she has found a place
in my heart. I hope she is as affable as she appeared to be.

The whole morning, long before we had reached Presburg,
we saw a thick, heavy smoke rising in the horizon ; it was
a fire ; the half of Theben had burnt that day. We ap
preached this place at sunset ; it is one of the most pictur-
esque on the whole voyage. A ruin stood on the top of the
mountain, certainly the finest along the shores of the Danube.
The red glare of the evening sun shone on the wet mill-wheel,
which, as it went round, seemed to be of beaten gold.

All was green and fragrant around ! What beauty, what
magnificence in the whole scenery ! Theben, in Hungary, is
a little spot fallen from heaven, and here, in all this splendor
of nature, was wailing and need. Half of the town lay in rub-
bish and ashes ; a thick smoke fumed from the burning
houses ; the small chimneys stood like pillars in the air ; the
roof had been torn off the church ; the blackened walls had
been licked by the red flames ! What misery ! many mothers
were yet seeking their children. A woman stood by the shore
and wrung her hands ! A burnt horse limped away over the
bridge !

We hurry past. We are in Austria ! next morning we shall
see Vienna ! *

Meagre, endless forests lay before us ! The air was thick
and hot already in the early morning. There was no sun-
shine, as over the Mediterranean and the Bosphorus. I fan-
cied I was at home on a warm, oppressive summer's day !
My voyage was now over. A dejection of spirits crept over
me, and pressed on my heart a prediction of something
evil ! In our little Denmark every person of talent stands so

1 The voyage from Constantinople to Vienna occupies twenty-one days,
besides the quarantine, and is extremely fatiguing. They pay in the first
cabin one hundred gulden, in the second seventy-five, and on deck fifty.
(A gulden is about half a crown English.) From Vienna to Constantinople
the voyage is made in eleven days, it being with the stream. The pay-
.ncnt on board is, therefore, somewhat more : the first cabin is one hun-
dred and twenty-five gulden, the second cabin eighty-five, and on deck



near the others, that each pushes and treads on the other, for
all will have a place. As regards myself, they have only eyes
for my faults ! My way at home is through a stormy sea ! I
know that many a wave will yet roll heavily over my head before
I reach the haven ! Yet this I know full well, that posterity
cannot be more severe to me than are those by whom I am

Stephen's Tower stood in the thick warm air, above the
blue-tinged trees of the Prater.



THE Dane who travels in Germany comes more and more
to the conviction, if he has not done so at home, that the
Danish stage occupies an important place. Most of the large
German theatres may, certainly, be allowed to contain con-
siderable talent ; but the Danish stage possesses many claims,
and has infinitely greater powers. Several of our actors and
actresses would, if the Danish language were as extended as
the German, acquire an European celebrity. Our repertory
of acting plays is, besides, so rich in original works, that they
can furnish intellectual food for the winter evenings of so good
a quality, that there is no need to resort to translations.

Holberg, Oehlenschlager, Heiberg, Overskou, and Hertz
form a quintuple, which, in dramatic literature, would do
honor to any country. " Germany has not one theatre like
that in Copenhagen," I have heard several of my countrymen
say, and I must acknowledge the truth of the assertion, when
they do not reckon Vienna amongst the German cities. Burg
Theatre, in Vienna, stands quite as high as the Danish theatre ;
and in some respects higher, from the mass of extraordinary
talent it possesses, the union, the concert of their acting, and
the nature displayed in their performances. Anschiitz, Koni,
Lowe, Carl la Roche, Wilhelmini, Fichtner these are artists
in the real signification of the word ! Madame Rettich, Fru
von Weissenthurn 1 nay, I should set down an endless row of
names, were I to point out those who may justly be called
excellent. But we must not forget to add that Burg Theatre
has this advantage, that it puts out its whole strength upon
comedy, tragedy, and dramas. Our theatre, on the contrary



as we have but that one, must, besides these different kinds
of performances, divide its powers between the opera, the
vaudeville, and the ballet.

" Hoftheater nachst dem Karnthner Thor," in Vienna, is
appropriated to the opera and the ballet. During my stay
I did not hear German opera here, but Italian, and that the
most excellent I have ever heard. The male singers were
Napoleone Moriani, Badiali, Donzelli; and the ladies Tadolini,
Frezzolini, and Schoberlechner. I heartily wished that the
Copenhageners might once hear such an Italian opera ; they
would and must be enchanted! Hitherto they have known
none, and have for some years past despised and overlooked
what they did not know. 1 The Northerns cannot sing Italian
music : the reason, probably, why " La Gazza Ladra " was
hissed off our stage. Italians should sing their own music,
their own recitative. Then there is soul indeed ! It streams
out from within ! It is as if their thoughts and speech must
reveal themselves in song it is their language.

In the Italian towns they present only two or three operas
the whole season. There was a great change of pieces at the
Karnthner Thor Theatre. The newest I heard was " II Tem-
plario," by Nicolai. The choruses are particularly fine. The
subject is the same that Marschner has treated ; but Marsch-
ner's harmony is, certainly, far superior, and, in my opinion,
has only this fault, that the recitatives are wanting. These, it
appears to me, ought to be introduced, instead of the dialogues,
which disturb, nay, almost mar the effect of the music. In
the world of tones all must be music !

The theatre " Nachst dem Karnthner Thor," has, besides
the opera, a ballet ; but though there is a large stage here,
with plenty of pomp and show, yet the ballet department will
not bear any comparison with that of the Copenhagen theatre,
which, at this time, stands very high, and our ballets surpass in
taste and poetry all those I have had an opportunity of seeing
in Germany and Italy. Paris and Naples, without doubt, excel
us in the number of their dancers, and in their splendid deco-
rations, but not in composition.

1 It was after my return home to Copenhagen that the first Italian com-
pany came here.


When the Italian Galeotti died in Denmark, Terpsichore
wept. Who was there that could supply his place as ballet
composer ? No one took his place ; but a new one was born,
who, like every true genius, made his own way and that is
Bournonville. He is a true poet ; his " Waldemar " is a great
imitative drama, supported by Frohlich's genial music, and
his " Festen i Albano " is a lyric poem.

Besides these two royal theatres, Vienna has several others
in the suburbs, where the honest citizen enjoys the dialects,
and sees every-day-life illumined by the Bengal lights of
poetry. We dwellers in the North must live with those of
Vienna, and know the people well, ere we can value rightly
that genial life which exists in these lightly-sketched pieces.

If a man would know a German theatre in its best aspect,
if he would know German dramatic literature, know it when
spoken from that rostrum it was written for, he must make a
stay in Vienna, and then he will not, as I have heard Danes,
say : " There is no German theatre, no German dramatic lit-
erature ! " One evening's visit to the Burg Theatre will con-
vince him that the Germans have a theatre, and as to its
literature their dramatic repertory speaks for itself. Schro-
der's comedy, " The Ring " ; Jiinger's, " He has his Nose
everywhere " ; a drama like Ifland's " The Hunters " ; trage-
dies like Goethe's " Egmont " and Schiller's " Wilhelm Tell,"
are fresh and imperishable branches in a dramatic literature ;
and amongst the younger men what does not the dramatic
power and poesy of Halm and Bouernfeld proclaim ? and we
only name two natives of Vienna.

We have in Denmark a species of poetic drama which they
do not possess in Vienna ; I mean the Heiberg vaudevilles ;
but however great an effect these have produced at home,
partly from their own merit and partly from their excellent
performance, yet I believe they cannot, in humor and poetic
worth, be accounted better than some in a style of poetry they
have in particular in Vienna, and we have not their local
comedies, and, in especial, Raimund's !




THE larger squares and chief streets in Vienna present the
appearance of a complete picture gallery ; every shop has its
handsomely painted sign, either the portrait of some famous
person or an allegorical piece. Every open place or square,
and every street afford subjects for paintings that might adorn
a whole gallery, from its living throng and its different groups.
Yet sketches of this kind we already have in great numbers ;
so by way of change we will just cut out a few profiles of well-
known persons ; but you must remember that profiles do not
give more than the shadow of a likeness.

"We are in Volksgarten." Gentlemen and ladies stroll
under the green trees in lively conversation ; the waiters fly in
all directions to procure ices. The tones of a great orchestra
spread through the garden. In the midst of the musicians
stands a young man of dark complexion ; his large brown
eyes glance round about in a restless manner ; his head, arms,
and whole body move ; it is as if he were the heart in that
great musical body, and, as we know, the blood flows through
the heart : and here the blood is tones ; these tones were
born in him ; he is the heart, and all Europe hears its mu-
sical beatings ; its own pulse beats stronger when it hears
them : the man's name is Strauss.

We are in one of the suburbs ; in the midst of an English
park ; there is a little palace, and there lives Prince Didrik-
stein. We pass through a range of handsome rooms ; the
sounds of a piano meet our ears. The scene is rich and
pretty here ; here is a charming prospect over the garden
terraces. The tones we hear have their birth from one of the
piano's masters. Liszt does not play thus ! He and the one
we hear are equally great and equally different. Liszt aston-
ishes, we are carried away by the whirling bacchanals ; here,
on the contrary, we stand aloft on the mountain in the clear
sunlight of nature, filled with greatness and refreshed with
peace and grace ; we feel glad in the holy church of nature
where the hymns mingle with the dancing herdsman's song.


Who is the mighty ruler of this piano ? Regard him ; he is
young, handsome, noble, and amiable ! Do you not know my
profile ? Then I must write the name under it Sigismund

We drive out to Hitzing, the Fredericksberg l of Vienna ; we
stand by a delightful little summer residence ; the garden is
rich in trees and flowers. The old lady within is the gai-
dener ; she has planted every tree : she has set every flower
in the ground : here are pine and birch, tulips and odorous
lindens. Flowering rose hedges form the borders around the
fresh grass-plot. A tall, hale old woman comes to meet us ;
what penetration is in her eye, what mildness in every feature !
Who is she ? We enter the room ; on the table stands an ele-
gant vase with the image of a lyre encircled by a laurel
wreath ; its leaves are partly gilt, partly green. The names
of comedies are impressed on these leaves ; the gilt ones
announce the pieces in which she, as an actress, enchanted a
whole people ; the green leaves bear each the name of one
of her own dramatic works ; the meaning is, that she has
gilded the other authors' laurels, her own stand always fresh
and green ! The vase is a gift from brother and sister ar-
tists ; at the bottom we read her name Johanne von Weis-
senthurn. 2

We are in Vienna-: we go up some broad stone steps, be-
tween thick cold walls ; large iron doors with padlocks on,

1 Fredericksberg, at about an English mile from Copenhagen, is the re-
sort of the people, as Hampstead, Highgate, Greenwich, or Richmond, is
for the Londoners.

a Since my return home to Denmark, this highly respected actress has
taken leave of the stage ; she played the last evening in two of her own
pieces. The translations from her " Sternberg Estate," and " Which of
them is the Bride ? " have been successful on the Danish stage. Previous
to her leave-taking, she performed often, not only at the Burg Theatre,
but at the palace of Schonbrunn ; she told me she had lately performed
the old mother's part in Le Gamin tU Paris, for the first time ; but at the
moment when the boy springs up on the chair, puts the paper hat on his
head, folds his arms, and imitates Napoleon, she was so overwhelmed with
recollections of the place, and from that stage, that she had nearly forgot-
ten her part for the moment : just here, in this same little theatre, she had
played before the real Napoleon, who in the same position had looked a
her, the German actress.


present themselves on each side, within which money and im-
portant papers are kept. We enter a small chamber; the
walls are hidden by book-shelves in which stand large folios ;
round about are packets of writings and all the appliances of
business. A tall, serious man sits before the desk ; it is not
poetic matters that occupy him. The austere expression in
his countenance changes to sadness. He looks at us ; there
are soul and thought in that look ! How often has he not fixed
it on the face of nature, and it was reflected therein ! In his
youth he sang for us about the combat in his soul ; his muse
revealed itself spectral-like, and yet the picture was like the
fresh, blooming maid, " Die Ahnfrau." In his manhood he
gave us " The Golden Fleece ; " it is hung up in the Muses'
temple ; his name beams forth Grillparzer.



WE have not only left the Imperial city, we have even come
into the midst of Bohemia. Rich corn-fields, linden-trees, and
pictures of saints these attract us here.

It is sunset ; we see " Riesenbirge " alas ! how small, how
misty ; I fancy I see Kullen from the coast of Zealand ! It
is not the Greek mountain outline ; here is not the Greek at-
mosphere with its transparency. But yet I know this spot :
the sight of these low mountains, that extended green field,
the linden-trees, and this stone-heap close by the way-side. I
saw it several years ago, and just in the same light as now !
It seems not to have won a flower, not a bush more since I
last passed here ; in my thoughts and heart there is a new, a
richer flower-blossom than these : flowers from the North, the
South, and the East. The place has even lost : the chief
figure, which in my memory belongs to this landscape, is want-
ing. Here on this stone-heap there sat a young workman in
a blue blouse, his hat covered with oil-cloth, stick in hand, and
knapsack on his back ; he was the picture of youth and health.


Where is he now wandering in the world ? Or perhaps h
has already found a quiet home, sits with wife and child just
now at this hour, and tells them of his wanderings through Bo-
hemia. There is much to hear ; a wandering life is a life full
of change ! Does he remember his resting here on the stone-
heap ? Does he remember the diligence which then drove
past him? A stranger peeped out of the window, and let him,
as the best figure in the landscape, mirror itself in his thoughts.
No, he remembers it not He throws his arm around his wife,
kisses his beautiful boy. The traveller is yet no further in the
world than by the stone-heap there where the workman sat.



ALOFT on the mountain, with prospect over city, river, and
wood-grown isles, lies old Hradschin. The church here con-
tains the body of St John Nepomucen in a magnificent silver
coffin. What pomp within, what splendid scenery without ! and
yet this is not the place that the Dane visits first in Prague.
Down by the market-place is a poor little church ; a piazza
and a narrow yard lead to it. The priest says mass before the
altar ; the congregation kneel, and mumble an " Ora pro no-
Ins /" It sounds like a hollow, mournful sigh from the abyss ; it
pours forth like a painful sob, a cry of lamentation. The Dane
wanders through the aisle to the right ; a large red-brown
stone, in which is carved a knight in armor, is set in the
pillar. Whose bones lie mouldering within ? A countryman's !
a Dane's ! a master-spirit ! whose name sheds a lustre over
Denmark ! that land which expelled him. His castle at
home is sunken in rubbish ; the ploughshare passes over the
spot where he, in his cheerful room, searched the writings, and
received the visits of kings ; the sea-gull flies through the
air, where he read the stars from his tower ; his island of
life and happiness is in strange hands. Denmark does not
own it ; Denmark owns not even his dust ; but the Danes
mention his name in their bad times, as if a denunciation pro-



ceeded out of it : " These are Tycho Brahe's days ! " say

The Dane weeps by Tycho's grave in a foreign land, and
becomes wrathful against an undiscerning age. Denmark,
thou hast hearts in thy shield ; have one also in thy breast 1 "
Be still, son of a younger race ; perhaps thou thyself, hadst
thou lived in his time, wouldst have misjudged him like the
others; his greatness would have stirred up the sediments
of thy vanity, and thou wouldst have cast it into his life's cup.
Race resembles race therein consanguinity betrays itself.

A sunbeam falls on the grave-stone perhaps a tear also !
The congregation mumble their evaporating, painful " Ora pro



SPRING will soon be here ; the birds of passage then tend
toward the South. Homeward I go from Bohemia's capital in
steamships and steamboats ! Well-known, changing scenes
glide past ; beautiful summer scenery, friendly faces, friendly
voices the hours vanish, and before I know it, I am in the

Yet I still see Hradschin beaming in the sun, high above
flourishing fields and charming groups of trees. Beautiful
morning ! blot out from my memory the remembrance of yes-
ter-evening's wandering in the " Baumgarten," the park of
Prague. It appeared to me like a church-yard where people
would be merry, but could not. Decent, orderly, but tiresome
burgher families sat and drank ale under the trees where not
a single bird twittered ; ugly Bajaderes with buckram in their
coats went up and down ; even the puppet theatres were in
a bad humor ; no one spoke for the dolls ; they dumbly threw
out their arms, and fought each other. A coffin played the
principal part in the piece.

Why does the inelegant, ungraceful, unhandsome, fix itself
so strenuously in the mind ? Prague has so much that is
characteristic and beautiful ! Fresh, balmy morning, blot out
all ugly and unpleasant remembrances !


The flag waves on the Bohemia* Like a fish through the
water, it shot down the stream between picturesque, wood
covered rocks. On every ruin, and in every little town that
we dart past, there waves a flag ; they greet us with music ;
the people wave their hats ; small cannons crack, and echo
answers : it is a charming voyage.

We have a Copenhagener with his daughter on board. " It
is delightful ! " says she ; " but the water is so horribly yel-
low ; here are none of our beech woods ! "

" They are terrible mountains ! " says the father. " See,
what a fellow ! I shall not go up it ! One can see just as
well from below ! "

That one can<?/ / Ascend the rock ! Let the fresh moun-
tain breeze whistle round you, and be glad with the great
abroad and with the beautiful at home !

Hirniskretschen greets us ; we are on the borders of Saxony.
" Trakten tir "vacker i hvad som finncs och forsvinncr for b'gat
i Italien, gor nu en star efect, smd strommar smd berg / " This
is the whole of Ehrensvard's striking description of the Saxon
Switzerland !

When the Naphtha spring has ceased to stream forth, we
then value the last bubbling drops ! Farewell, ye green, wood-
crowned rocks, I exchange you for the extended plain with
clover and beeches by the open strand.

Dresden lies before us in the thick air, Northern Germany's
Florence ; where Madonna, the Virgin mother, stands with
the heaven-born child on the hovering cloud. The Protestant
bends to the divinity in art ! Dresden is a friend one will
not willingly lose ; he has something what shall I call it?
half civic, half romantic in his character. His gardens are of
a rocky nature, with Konigstein and Bastei ; his study the gal-
lery with the magnificent paintings. The new theatre is a pic-
ture-book, so motley and splendid, with gold and scroll work.
Yes, here we are in the middle of the picture-book ; we are
overwhelmed with its diversified splendor ! Authors' portraits
adorn the ceiling ; the boxes are gilded and well poised ;
beauty sits here in the mussel-shell, as her sister Venus Ana-

1 This is the first steam-vessel that sailed between Prague and Dresden
k began to ply about a month before my arrival.


dyomene has so often done ; the drop curtain presents to us
Parnassus, where well-known figures appear before us, Cal-
deron, Moliere, Gozzi, Schiller, Goethe, and other great spirits.
The border forms an arabesque of a dramatic character ; here
are Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Mephistopheles, Faust, and
so on in an endless row. Yes, the theatre is a real picture-
book, the play and opera are the text. I trust it will cause
us to forget the imposing imagery.

It is well to be here ; but we are on a journey " bent on
speed ; " yet a pressure of the hand from our dear Dahl,
Vogel, Winckler, and the roaring, snorting, tearing, steam-
engine is away over field and meadow to Leipsic, to Magde-
burg, and again by steam to the furthest corner of Germany,
to great Hamburg. It is a short voyage ; the hours may be
told ; but we stop on the way, and that for days.

Melody has a strange power friendship and admiration
are equally as powerful. Mendelssohn -Bartholdy lives in

How snug and comfortable it was in his home ; a handsome
and friendly wife, and all so hospitable for the stranger ! A
little morning concert, where, by the by, I heard " Adam," was
given in Mendelssohn's room. The gifted Frau Goethe from
Weimar and I were the fortunate guests. In the church, and
on the same organ that Sebastian Bach played, Mendelssohn
gave me one of Bach's fugues and a few of his own composi-
tions. Mountain and valley, heaven and the abyss poured
forth their hymns from the organ-pipes ; that was, in truth, a
church concert ! Thou hast played for me, and therefore I
bring thee my poor tribute.

The steam-carriage flies with the swallow's flight. We are
in Magdeburg. We sleep here a night, and are again on the

The steamer is dirty and heavy ; it stops on its course, goes
on a little way, runs aground, and goes on again ; the beauti-
ful scenery around reveals itself in a willow-tree or a pasture
field. It is cold and gray here. The poet must help nature,
for it always helps him. They read on board, for here is a per-
fect reading-room. What book is that which two at once are
so buried in ? It is a Danish book. Do not sav that Denmark


has no mountains ; its literature is a mountain, high and wood-
grown ; it is seen from our neighbor-lands, shining blue in
the horizon. Be cordial to us ; wander through our spiritual
mountain scenery : here extend Oehlenschlager's mighty for

Online LibraryH. C. (Hans Christian) AndersenA poet's bazaar : a picturesque tour in Germany, Italy, Greece, and the Orient → online text (page 30 of 31)