The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 06 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 679 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 06.

Britannia, the sea is thine!  But the sea hath not water enough to wash away the shame which that mighty one hath bequeathed to thee in dying.  Not thy wind bag, Sir Hudson—­no; thou thyself wert the Sicilian bravo whom perjured kings lured that they might secretly revenge on the man of the people that which the people had once openly inflicted on one of themselves.  And he was thy guest, and had seated himself by thy hearth.

Until the latest times the boys of France will sing and tell of the terrible hospitality of the Bellerophon, and when those songs of mockery and tears resound across the strait, there will be a blush on the cheek of every honorable Briton.  But a day will come when this song will ring thither, and there will be no Britannia in existence—­when the people of pride will be humbled to the earth, when Westminster’s monuments will be broken, and when the royal dust which they inclosed will be forgotten.  And St. Helena is the holy grave whither the races of the east and of the west will make their pilgrimage in ships, with pennons of many a hue, and their hearts will grow strong with great memories of the deeds of the worldly savior, who suffered and died under Sir Hudson Lowe, as it is written in the evangelists, Las Cases, O’Meara, and Autommarchi.

Strange!  A terrible destiny has already overtaken the three greatest enemies of the Emperor:  Londonderry has cut his throat, Louis XVIII has rotted away on his throne, and Professor Saalfeld is still, as before, professor in Goettingen.

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The sallow man stood near me on the deck, as I gazed on the green shores of the Thames, while in every corner of my soul the nightingales awoke to life.  “Land of Freedom!” I cried, “I greet thee!  Hail to thee, Freedom, young sun of the renewed world!  Those older suns, Love and Faith, are withered and cold, and can no longer light or warm us.  The ancient myrtle woods, which were once all too full, are now deserted, and only timid turtle-doves nestle amid the soft thickets.  The old cathedrals, once piled in towering height by an arrogantly pious race, which fain would force its faith into heaven, are crumbling, and their gods have ceased to believe in themselves.  Those divinities are worn out, and our age lacks the imagination to shape others.  Every power of the human breast now tends to a love of Liberty, and Liberty is, perhaps, the religion of the modern age.  It is a religion not preached to the rich, but to the poor, and has in like manner its evangelists, its martyrs, and its Iscariots!”

“Young enthusiast,” said the sallow man, “you will not find what you seek.  You may be in the right in believing that Liberty is a new religion which will spread over all the world.  But as every race of old, when it received Christianity, did so according to its requirements and its peculiar character, so, at present, every country adopts from the new religion of liberty only that which is in accordance with its local needs and national character.

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 06 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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